Category Archives: Economy

How America became an oligarchy

According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Using data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page concluded that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of—or even against—the will of the majority of voters. America’s political system has transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where power is wielded by wealthy elites. Continue reading

$1.5 quadrillion time bomb

When investing becomes gambling, bad endings follow. The next credit crunch could make 2008-09 look mild by comparison. Bank of International Settlements(BIS) data show around $700 trillion in global derivatives. Continue reading

Greece: Breaking out of the euro prison

Slaying the euro minotaur is not easy. Greeks have been suffering for years now, having learned the hard way that prosperity with shiny euros in their hands was not miraculously just waiting around the corner. What was waiting was a hoard of German bankers, eager to buy up Greek islands for winter vacations, sleazy banks eager to syphon Greek earnings into offshore accounts, and more schemes by high financiers. Continue reading

The ECB’s noose around Greece’s neck

How central banks harness governments

Remember when the infamous Goldman Sachs delivered a thinly-veiled threat to the Greek Parliament in December, warning them to elect a pro-austerity prime minister or risk having central bank liquidity cut off to their banks? (See January 8 post here.) It seems the European Central Bank (headed by Mario Draghi, former managing director of Goldman Sachs International) has now made good on the threat. Continue reading

Death, drugs, and HSBC

How fraudulent blood money makes the world go round

Recent reporting on illegal tax evasion by the world’s second largest bank, HSBC, opens a window onto the pivotal role of Western banks in facilitating organised crime, drug-trafficking and Islamist terrorism. Governments know this, but they are powerless to act, not just because they’ve been bought by the banks: but because criminal and terror financing is integral to global capitalism. Now one whistleblower who uncovered an estimated billion pounds worth of HSBC fraud in Britain, suppressed by the British media, is preparing a prosecution that could blow wide open the true scale of criminal corruption in the world’s finance capital. Continue reading

Swimming with the sharks: Goldman Sachs, school districts, and capital appreciation bonds

Remember when Goldman Sachs—dubbed by Matt Taibbi the Vampire Squid—sold derivatives to Greece so the government could conceal its debt, then bet against that debt, driving it up? It seems that the ubiquitous investment bank has also put the squeeze on California and its school districts. Not that Goldman was alone in this; but the unscrupulous practices of the bank once called the undisputed king of the municipal bond business epitomize the culture of greed that has ensnared students and future generations in unrepayable debt. Continue reading

Whatever became of economists and the American economy?

According to the official economic fairy tale, the US economy has been in recovery since June 2009. Continue reading

Why public banks outperform private banks: Unfair competition or a better mousetrap?

In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bank of North Dakota (BND), the nation’s only state-owned bank, “is more profitable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has a better credit rating than JPMorgan Chase & Co. and hasn’t seen profit growth drop since 2003.” The article credited the shale oil boom; but as discussed earlier here, North Dakota was already reporting record profits in the spring of 2009, when every other state was in the red and the oil boom had not yet hit. The later increase in state deposits cannot explain the bank’s stellar record either. Continue reading

Our house of cards

As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has observed, the payroll jobs reports no longer make any logical or statistical sense. Ask yourself, do you believe that retailers responded to the very disappointing Christmas season by rushing out in January to hire 46,000 more retail clerks? Continue reading

The December 2014 payroll jobs report

On January 9, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a quarter of a million new jobs were created in December. Continue reading

EU showdown: Greece Takes on the vampire squid

Greece and the troika (the International Monetary Fund, the EU, and the European Central Bank) are in a dangerous game of chicken. The Greeks have been threatened with a “Cyprus-Style prolonged bank holiday” if they “vote wrong.” But they have been bullied for too long and are saying “no more.” Continue reading

Setting America’s priorities for 2015

Marci Rosenberg, a senior speech language pathologist at the University of Michigan, earns about $73,000 a year. Continue reading

Magic growth numbers from the government

Everyone wants good news, so the government makes it up. The latest fiction is that US real GDP grew 4.6% in the second quarter and 5% in the third. Continue reading

Russian Roulette: Taxpayers could be on the hook for trillions in oil derivatives

The sudden dramatic collapse in the price of oil appears to be an act of geopolitical warfare against Russia. The result could be trillions of dollars in oil derivative losses; and the FDIC could be liable, following repeal of key portions of the Dodd-Frank Act earlier this month. Continue reading

Financial market manipulation is the new trend: can it continue?

Financial imperialists attack Russia

A dangerous new trend is the successful manipulation of the financial markets by the Federal Reserve, other central banks, private banks, and the US Treasury. The Federal Reserve reduced real interest rates on US government debt obligations first to zero and then pushed real interest rates into negative territory. Today the government charges you for the privilege of purchasing its bonds. Continue reading

Bail-in and the Financial Stability Board: The global bankers’ coup

On December 11, 2014, the US House of Representatives passed a bill repealing the Dodd-Frank requirement that risky derivatives be pushed into big-bank subsidiaries, leaving our deposits and pensions exposed to massive derivatives losses. Continue reading

Another fabricated jobs report

Friday’s payroll jobs report is another government fairy tale or, to avoid polite euphemisms, another packet of lies just like the House of Representatives Resolution against Russia and every other statement that comes out of Washington. Continue reading

US resorts to illegality to protect failed policies

In a blatant and massive market intervention, the price of gold was smashed last Friday. Right after the Comex opened on Friday morning 7,008 paper gold contracts representing 20 tonnes of gold were dumped in the New York Comex futures market at 8:50 a.m. EST. At 12:35 a.m. EST 10,324 contracts representing 30 tonnes of gold were dropped on the Comex futures market. Continue reading

New G20 rules: Cyprus-style bail-ins to hit depositors and pensioners

On the weekend of November 16, the G20 leaders whisked into Brisbane, posed for their photo ops, approved some proposals, made a show of roundly disapproving of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and whisked out again. It was all so fast, they may not have known what they were endorsing when they rubber-stamped the Financial Stability Board’s “Adequacy of Loss-Absorbing Capacity of Global Systemically Important Banks in Resolution,” which completely changes the rules of banking. Continue reading

Swiss gold referendum: What it really means

In a few days, the Swiss people will go to the polls to decide whether the Swiss central bank is to be required to hold 20% of its reserves in the form of gold. Polls show that the gold requirement is favored by the less well off and opposed by wealthy Swiss invested in stocks. These poll results provide new insight into the real reason for Quantitative Easing by the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank. Continue reading

WSJ reports: Bank of North Dakota outperforms Wall Street

While 49 state treasuries were submerged in red ink after the 2008 financial crash, one state’s bank outperformed all others and actually launched an economy-shifting new industry. So reports the Wall Street Journal this week, discussing the Bank of North Dakota (BND) and its striking success in the midst of a national financial collapse led by the major banks. Continue reading

Ideological foundations of the mainstream neoclassical economics: Class interests as ‘economic theory’

There is now a widespread consensus that mainstream/neoclassical economists failed miserably to either predict the coming of the 2008 financial implosion, or provide a reasonable explanation when it actually arrived. Not surprisingly, many critics have argued that neoclassical economics has created more confusion than clarification, more obfuscation than elucidation. Economic “science” has, indeed, become “an ideological construct which serves to camouflage and justify the New World Order.” Continue reading

A global house of cards

As most Americans, if not the financial media, are aware, Quantitative Easing (a euphemism for printing money) has failed to bring back the US economy. Continue reading

More lies from ‘our’ government: The latest jobs report

Just as the German media have destroyed their credibility with lies, the US government is consistently destroying Washington’s credibility both with its own citizens and the rest of the world. Continue reading

Making sense of the simultaneous inflation and deflation

While the financial sector of the core capitalist economies is enjoying escalating asset price inflation, the real sector of these economies, especially those of Europe and Japan, is suffering from deflation, that is, stagnation and high unemployment. Continue reading

Why do banks want our deposits?

Hint: it’s not to make loans

Many authorities have said it: banks do not lend their deposits. They create the money they lend on their books. Continue reading

Challenging corporate power in a not-for-profit world

Does changing the way we do business hold the key to creating a world where resources are shared more equitably and consumed within planetary limits? According to Professor Donnie Maclurcan of the Post Growth Institute, the answer is a definitive yes—but only if we can fully embrace a business model that doesn’t require profits to be distributed to shareholders, and works instead to reinvest revenues back into the company. Increasingly, socially and environmentally conscious entrepreneurs are adopting not-for-profit (NFP) business practices across the whole spectrum of traditionally for-profit sectors. Maclurcan, whose book ‘How on Earth’ co-authored with Jennifer Hinton is due out next year, firmly believes that the NFP model presents an alternative macroeconomic framework with the potential to revolutionise how we produce goods and services, and thereby pave the way for an ‘economics of enough.’ Continue reading

Why President Rouhani’s ‘economic package’ is empty

Tired of the oppressive financial hardship, wrought largely by the imperialist economic war against Iran, the Iranian people elected Hassan Rouhani president (June 2013) as he promised economic revival. Continue reading

It’s time for a post-Piketty vision of shared wealth

There is no doubt that Thomas Piketty’s best-seller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, has done a great deal of good in highlighting the urgency of tackling spiralling levels of global inequality. But could his main policy prescription—an annual global tax on capital—lead to a genuine sharing of wealth within and across societies? Continue reading

Building an ark: How to protect public revenues from the next meltdown

Concerns are growing that we are heading for another banking crisis, one that could be far worse than in 2008. But this time, there will be no government bailouts. Instead, per the Dodd-Frank Act, bankrupt banks will be confiscating (or “bailing in”) their customers’ deposits. Continue reading

The lie machine

Corporations, trade pacts and the media

I have come to the conclusion that the West is a vast lie machine for the secret agendas of vested interests. Consider, for example, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Transpacific Trade and Investment Partnership. Continue reading

Towards one quadrillion US dollars in derivatives

A quadrillion figure seems far-fetched, one to be used only when referring to distances in the confines of intergalactic travel, and not the world of international finance. After all, Mars is just a measly 34 million miles away (at perihelion—when at its closest point to the sun); and the edge of our solar system barely reaches 9 or 10 billion miles. So, when talking about a quadrillion dollars, we need to reset our financial minds from the microscopic minimum wage to the mach-speed technology of the Enterprise; and leave behind the Good Ship Lollypop, where most of us uninitiated, financially-duped, yokels travel these days. Continue reading