sabato 18 aprile 2015

The trick and the fix for mega banks balances

A graph exposing the bank accounting problem

giovedì 21 agosto 2014

Princeton/Northwestern Study: U.S. is an Oligarchy

Thursday, 24 April 2014 09:45

Princeton/Northwestern Study Seems to Conclude U.S. an Oligarchy

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http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/18120-princeton-northwestern-study-seems-to-conclude-u-s-an-oligarchy
Princeton/Northwestern Study Seems to Conclude U.S. an Oligarchy
An April 9 report by Martin Gilens, a professor of politics at Princeton University, and Benjamin Page, a political science professor at Northwestern University, finds that the majority does not rule in the United States. The researchers further conclude “that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.”
Since the report’s conclusions fit the definition of an oligarchy — a form of government in which power rests with a small number of people — many journalists immediately seized on that term to describe Gilens’ and Page’s findings. And while the authors did refer to the term in their report (e.g., “Most recently, Jeffrey Winters has posited a comparative theory of ‘Oligarchy,’ in which the wealthiest citizens — even in a ‘civil oligarchy’” like the United States — dominate policy concerning crucial issues of wealth- and income-protection”) they did not, themselves, use the term to describe the current U.S. power structure.

mercoledì 20 agosto 2014

The political loss of faith in the godlike powers of central banks

Don't Think It Won't Happen Just Because It Hasn't Happened Yet: Loss Of Faith In The Fed

Tyler Durden's picture

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-18/dont-think-it-wont-happen-just-because-it-hasnt-happened-yet-loss-faith-fed
Much of the supposedly godlike power of central banks is participants' faith in their powers to control not just finance but the real world that can be leveraged by finance.
 
The Grand Narrative of the global economy since the 2008 financial meltdown has been: whatever the problem, zero interest rates and more credit will fix it. Too much debt? Zero-interest rates and more credit will fix that. Government spending far exceeds tax revenues? Zero-interest rates and more credit will fix that. Economy sluggish? Zero-interest rates and more credit will fix that. Few jobs being created? Zero-interest rates and more credit will fix that.
 
Had a bad hair day? Zero-interest rates and more credit will fix it.
 
Implicit in this narrative is the notion that there are no hard limits on credit or central bank money creation. If creating $1 trillion in new credit-money and pushing it into the hands of financiers doesn't do the trick, then push $2 trillion more.
 
Equally implicit is the assumption that the central banks repressing interest rates and creating trillions of dollars out of thin air can control any blowback or unintended consequences triggered by the free money for financiers tsunami. The central banks implicitly claim to be Masters of Universe: not only are there no hard limits on zero interest rates or nearly unlimited monetary heroin, there are also no limits on the power of the Federal Reserve and other central banks to bend markets and behaviors to their will.
 
These implicit assumptions have fostered a quasi-religious belief in the unlimited powers of the central banks and the freshly created credit they issue.

venerdì 15 agosto 2014

Cry for Argentina: Fiscal Mismanagement, Odious Debt or Pillage?

Cry for Argentina: Fiscal Mismanagement, Odious Debt or Pillage?

Argentina has now taken the US to The Hague for blocking the country’s 2005 settlement with the bulk of its creditors. The issue underscores the need for an international mechanism for nations to go bankrupt. Better yet would be a sustainable global monetary scheme that avoids the need for sovereign bankruptcy.
Argentina was the richest country in Latin America before decades of neoliberal and IMF-imposed economic policies drowned it in debt. A severe crisis in 2001 plunged it into the largest sovereign debt default in history. In 2005, it renegotiated its debt with most of its creditors at a 70% “haircut.” But the opportunist “vulture funds,” which had bought Argentine debt at distressed prices, held out for 100 cents on the dollar.
Paul Singer’s Elliott Management has spent over a decade aggressively trying to force Argentina to pay down nearly $1.3 billion in sovereign debt. Elliott would get about $300 million for bonds that Argentina claims it picked up for $48 million. Where most creditors have accepted payment at a 70% loss, Elliott Management would thus get a 600% return.
In June 2014, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a New York court’s order blocking payment to the other creditors until the vulture funds had been paid. That action propelled Argentina into default for the second time in this century – and the eighth time since 1827. On August 7, 2014, Argentina asked the International Court of Justice in the Hague to take action against the United States over the dispute.

mercoledì 13 agosto 2014

What Do the World Bank and IMF Have to Do With the Ukraine Conflict?

What Do the World Bank and IMF Have to Do With the Ukraine Conflict?

In this column, Frédéric Mousseau, Policy Directory of the Oakland Institute and co-author of the report ‘Walking on the West Side: the World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict’, argues that IMF and World Bank aid packages contingent on austerity reforms will have a devastating impact on Ukrainians’ standard of living and increase poverty in the country.
Typical agricultural landscape of Ukraine, Kherson Oblast. Credit: Dobrych (Flickr)/CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Typical agricultural landscape of Ukraine, Kherson Oblast. Credit: Dobrych (Flickr)/CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
OAKLAND, United States, Aug 12 2014 (IPS) - Mostly unreported as the Ukraine conflict captures headlines, international financing has played a significant role in the current conflict in Ukraine.
In late 2013, conflict between pro-European Union (EU) and pro-Russian Ukrainians escalated to violent levels, leading to the departure of President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 and prompting the greatest East-West confrontation since the Cold War.