On September 11th, the Trade Center was blown up by two loaded planes transformed into explosive missiles. For mix of diabolic cunning and inhumanity there is nothing comparable in history. And yet it wasn't the first but the second catastrophe within weeks to devastate Lower Manhattan. The other, by no means the lesser, was the implosion of a highly-rigged stock market which had been mistaken for the economy. That disaster needed no high-jacked planes. It had been hatched by the government itself over several decades.

Everything that we had learned about keeping the market system from falling apart in chaos had been buried. The universities, the media, the textbooks had been purged of references to the great debates of the thirties. The figures that made possible lifting the world out of the Depression of the thirties were declared non-persons. Nothing that Joe Stalin wrought in that line exceeded this. For infernal guile and the number of its victims, Lower Manhattan #1 takes no back seat to Lower Manhattan #2.

But there is a distinct difference in the reactions of the Bush Administration to the two atrocities. The government is not digging in the blood-stained rubble of Lower Manhattan #1 to find out how it could have happened.

Instead, we have had a declaration of war. Rather than asking long-overdue questions of George W., we are saluting him as Commander-in-Chief. It has opened for him a new credit-line in opinion polls touching 90%. Few politicians will risk such a rating by conducting just a "phony" war. And the media, faced with the collapse of advertising income as a result of Manhattan #l, are in desperate need of headlines that will permit them to gain in circulation what they have lost in advertising lineage. So the bombs had to start falling even before it was clear just whom Washington was declaring war against. Nothing like it has occurred since William Randolph Hearst invented the Spanish-American War to peddle papers.

A few brave columnists and comedians have indeed ventured a few questions, but have had their noses pushed in, when not fired.

Deregulation and Globalization (D&G) were supposed to unite the world on the wings of a com-merce soaring over level playing fields. Instead it has split it into murderously hostile camps. A front has opened up that by-passes the mighty American propa¬ganda machine and mocks its technological preeminence.

How could this happen? Go back to the US presidential elections in which the two major candidates agreed that the country was bursting with prosperity. The only problem was how to spend the surplus – by cutting taxes as the Republicans held, or paying off more debt. What nobody in high political circles had the time of day for was something known to any serious economist not in the employ of a bank-brokerage house: You can't pay off the national debt because it is nation's only money supply. To the extent you succeed in doing so, you are deflating an economy already shrunk by the stock market meltdown. While the real economy has been brought down by the levelling of all barriers and controls on speculation and trade, asset inflation was pushed to the skies. But D&G went on churning out more credit money that preyed on rather than served the real economy. The hundreds of millions of unemployed and underemployed abroad were simply annexed to the "natural rate of unemployment" and "zero inflation" programs in the First World. That provided an upward draft to keep the stock markets climbing.

That not only laid the basis for Manhat¬tan #1, but for Manhattan #2. Interest had had been proclaimed the "one blunt tool" for managing the economy. Any academic who dissented from this creed in public found his chances of tenure shrivelled. If you were an analyst working for a bank-brokerage firm, you would be fired. So it was left to a few brave souls – a tiny minority even among critics – to go on scrabbling in the gathering rubble that foretold Manhattan #I.

The Other Lower Manhattan Disaster – A Policy Kit for the Cleanup