"Late last year also saw the unravelling of what analysts said was effectively a state-sponsored pyramid, or Ponzi, scheme run by the central bank, which was borrowing from commercial banks at above-market interest rates to pay back its debts and maintain the Lebanese pound's fixed exchange rate with the US dollar.
At the same time, people were getting increasingly angry and frustrated about the government's failure to provide even basic services. They were having to deal with daily power cuts, a lack of safe drinking water, limited public healthcare, and some of the world's worst internet connections.
- 'Now there is nothing' – Lebanon pushed to brink
- How did Lebanon get into such a deep crisis?
- How Lebanon became the third most indebted nation
Many blamed the ruling elite who have dominated politics for years and amassed their own wealth while failing to carry out the sweeping reforms necessary to solve the country's problems." BBC
"The ruling elites" Ah, yes. I watched them struggle over things like cell phone network licenses and commercial banking licenses needed for money laundering for the drug trade on a grand scale. The level of criminality in the "Ruling Elites" was all pervasive for many years. It was everywhere and so accepted that it was barely hidden at all.
I remember a city wide official promotion for sales of consumer goods. I went into a fancy men's wear shop that week and decided to buy a very fine Italian made black silk jacket. The manager was visibly reluctant. I thought at first it was the sale price. I pressed him on this and he finally said, "Look if I sell it to you, I will just have to stock another one …" Get it? The goods in the store were just props for the façade of whatever criminal enterprise some member of "the elites" was running using the store's overseas supply connections as tools.
But, people were exquisitely polite. The cuisine of all types was exquisitely good in the restaurants. The hotels were above average on the international scene.
But, the government was crooked., very very crooked.
As an example, the reconstruction of the center of Beirut was financed by selling masses of government backed bonds to cronies. These were gifts that keep on giving for a long time.
This kind of catastrophe was inevitable. pl