Category Archives: Economy

Basic Income: International experience (Brazil, Namibia, Canada, India)

Founded in 1986, the Basic Income European Network (BIEN) is the international NGO that promotes BIG around the world. It held its last conference “Re-democratizing the Economy” at McGill’s Faculty of Law in 2014. A North American congress was held in Winnipeg in May 2016 and its 16th congress will be in July in Seoul, South Korea. Its credo is that some sort of economic right based upon citizenship rather than upon one’s relationship to the production process or one’s family status is called for as part of the just solution to social problems in advanced societies. Continue reading

Basic income: Helicopter money

About 10% of Canadians live in poverty. That figure is even higher in major cities, such as Toronto where the number of children living below the line is nearly 25%. In India, 22% of the people live in poverty. A “guaranteed annual income” (GAI) could wipe out this poverty at a stroke. Continue reading

‘Print the money’: Trump’s ‘reckless’ proposal echoes Franklin and Lincoln

“Print the money” has been called crazy talk, but it may be the only sane solution to a $19 trillion federal debt that has doubled in the last 10 years. The solution of Abraham Lincoln and the American colonists can still work today. Continue reading

France imposes widely despised anti-labor bill by decree

On top of punishing austerity, new rules imposed benefit business exclusively at the expense of worker rights. Continue reading

Bank of North Dakota soars despite oil bust: A blueprint for California?

In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bank of North Dakota (BND), the nation’s only state-owned depository bank, was more profitable even than J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. The author attributed this remarkable performance to the state’s oil boom; but the boom has now become an oil bust, yet the BND’s profits continue to climb. Its 2015 Annual Report, published on April 20th, boasted its most profitable year ever. Continue reading

TTIP—American economic imperialism

Greenpeace has done that part of the world whose representatives are so corrupt or so stupid as to sign on to the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic “partnerships” a great service. Greenpeace secured and leaked the secret TTIP documents that Washington and global corporations are pushing on Europe. The official documents prove that my description of these “partnerships” when they first appeared in the news is totally correct. Continue reading

May Day 2016: No gods, no masters

Each year, as we join millions across the world to celebrate the victories of workers, our own Freedom Day remains still fresh in our minds. Continue reading

Panama Papers offer more evidence that free trade isn’t really free

As much as President Clinton and President Obama like to talk about ‘free trade’ deals, the truth is that the working class ends up paying.

You might wonder what the connection is between a friendly game of golf last summer in Martha’s Vineyard and the Panama Papers. Read on. Continue reading

Pharma giant Pfizer blocked from tax evasion

New Treasury Department rules helped scrap the alleged tax-dodging giant's attempt to merge with overseas firm.

Big Pharma received $127 billion of our tax dollars in 2014 through the federal programs Medicare, Medicaid, VA, and TRICARE. But just because they live on our tax dollars, doesn’t mean Pharma companies want to pay taxes. Increasingly, they seek tax inversions, reincorporating in countries like Britain, Ireland or the Netherlands, often merging with a European entity to duck U.S. taxes. Continue reading

The war on savings: The Panama Papers, bail-ins, and the push to go cashless

The bombshell publication of the “Panama Papers,” leaked from a Panama law firm specializing in shell companies, has triggered both outrage and skepticism. In an April 3 article, titled “Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak,” UK blogger Craig Murray writes that the whistleblower no doubt had good intentions; but he made the mistake of leaking his 11.5 million documents to the corporate-controlled Western media, which released only those few documents incriminating opponents of Western financial interests. Continue reading

Trans-Atlantic & Trans-Pacific ‘Partnerships’ complete corporate world takeover’

As I have emphasized since these “partnerships” were first announced, their purpose is to give corporations immunity from the laws in the countries in which they do business. The principle mechanism of this immunity is the granting of the right to corporations to sue governments and agencies of governments that have laws or regulations that impinge on corporate profits. For example, France’s prohibitions of GMO foods are, under the “partnerships,” restraints on trade that impinge on corporate profits. Continue reading

Jobs report blues

On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 215,000 new jobs in March. Continue reading

The financial system is a larger threat than terrorism

In the 21st century, Americans have been distracted by the hyper-expensive “war on terror.” Trillions of dollars have been added to the taxpayers’ burden and many billions of dollars in profits to the military/security complex in order to combat insignificant foreign “threats,” such as the Taliban, that remain undefeated after 15 years. All this time the financial system, working hand-in-hand with policymakers, has done more damage to Americans than terrorists could possibly inflict. Continue reading

The US economy has not recovered and will not recover

The US economy died when middle class jobs were offshored and when the financial system was deregulated. Continue reading

Inside the black hole of negative interest rates

Many nations that experimented with the Fed’s economic recovery plan are now going beyond the outer limits into the twilight zone of negative interest rates. Some of these nations continued to skirt in and out of the edfge of recession throughout their years of economic stimulus; so, now they’ve powered their programs into hyperdrive to see if they can escape the gravity of their circumstances. Their situation appears desperate and hopeless. Continue reading

U.S. banks ready for negative interest rates?

The test run proved that negative interest rates can push savers into minus territory. Public outrage, while registered is not heard by the central bankers. The reasoning that commercial banks will start making loans because of the cost of sitting on deposits is pure fantasy thinking. Continue reading

Are the payroll jobs reports merely propaganda statements?

US economics statistics are so screwed up that they do not provide an accurate picture. Continue reading

Both parties agree: Selling out is worth it

The lobbying industry, despite a small decline in revenue, is still the fastest way to make big bucks in Washington.

Pity poor Washington. No doubt breaking the hearts of elected and appointed government officials, their staffs and hangers-on, the Open Secrets blog at the Center for Responsive Politics reports that the “influence industry appears to be contracting, and the trend continued in 2015.” Continue reading

Financial turmoil and increasing risks of a severe worldwide economic recession in 2016-17

The onset of 2016 has been most chaotic for global financial markets with, so far, a severe stock market correction. As a matter of fact, the first month of 2016 has witnessed the most severe drop in financial stocks ever, with the MSCI All-Country World Stock Index, which measures major developed and emerging stock markets, dropping more than 20 percent, as compared to early 2015. For sure, there will be oversold rallies in the coming weeks and months, but one can expect more trouble ahead. Continue reading

The populist revolution: Bernie and beyond

The world is undergoing a populist revival. From the revolt against austerity led by the Syriza Party in Greece and the Podemos Party in Spain, to Jeremy Corbyn’s surprise victory as Labour leader in the UK, to Donald Trump’s ascendancy in the Republican polls, to Bernie Sanders’ surprisingly strong challenge to Hillary Clinton—contenders with their fingers on the popular pulse are surging ahead of their establishment rivals. Continue reading

A crisis worse than ISIS? Bail-Ins begin

While the mainstream media focus on ISIS extremists, a threat that has gone virtually unreported is that your life savings could be wiped out in a massive derivatives collapse. Bank bail-ins have begun in Europe, and the infrastructure is in place in the US. Poverty also kills. Continue reading

New Year market turmoil

Will 2016 be the year the artificially stimulated US economic house of cards collapses? It’s long overdue. What can’t go on forever, won’t. Markets levitate only for so long. Day of reckoning time inevitably arrives. Continue reading

Who owns the Federal Reserve Bank and why is it shrouded in myths and mysteries?

The Federal Reserve Bank (or simply the Fed), is shrouded in a number of myths and mysteries. These include its name, its ownership, its purported independence from external influences, and its presumed commitment to market stability, economic growth and public interest. Continue reading

What does last week’s ‘rate hike’ mean?

The Federal Reserve raised the interbank borrowing rate last Wednesday by one quarter of one percent or 25 basis points. Readers are asking, “What does that mean?” Continue reading

Reinventing banking: From Russia to Iceland to Ecuador

Global developments in finance and geopolitics are prompting a rethinking of the structure of banking and of the nature of money itself. Continue reading

Hang onto your wallets: Negative interest, the war on cash, and the $10 trillion bail-in

Remember those old ads showing a senior couple lounging on a warm beach, captioned “Let your money work for you”? Or the scene in Mary Poppins where young Michael is being advised to put his tuppence in the bank, so that it can compound into “all manner of private enterprise,” including “bonds, chattels, dividends, shares, shipyards, amalgamations . . .”? Continue reading

Another phony payroll jobs number

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday that the US economy created 271,000 jobs in October, a number substantially in excess of the expected 175,000 to 190,000 jobs. The unexpected job gain has dropped the unemployment rate to 5 percent. These two numbers will be the focus of the financial media presstitutes. Continue reading

US on the road to becoming a Third World country

On January 6, 2004, Senator Charles Schumer and I challenged the erroneous idea that jobs offshoring was free trade in a New York Times op-ed. Our article so astounded economists that within a few days Schumer and I were summoned to a Brookings Institution conference in Washington, DC, to explain our heresy. In the nationally televised conference, I declared that the consequence of jobs offshoring would be that the US would be a Third World country in 20 years. Continue reading

How Obama could beat the debt ceiling and go out a hero

On November 3, the US government will again run out of money due to a debt ceiling artificially imposed by Congress. This is the third time in four years that a radical faction has taken the country to the brink of default to extort concessions that are at best only marginally related to the budget. Continue reading

Killing off community banks: Intended consequence of Dodd-Frank?

At over 2,300 pages, the Dodd Frank Act is the longest and most complicated bill ever passed by the US legislature. It was supposed to end “too big to fail” and “bailouts,” and to “promote financial stability.” But Dodd-Frank’s “orderly liquidation authority” has replaced bailouts with bail-ins, meaning that in the event of insolvency, big banks are to recapitalize themselves with the savings of their creditors and depositors. The banks deemed too big are more than 30% bigger than before the act was passed in 2010, and 80% bigger than before the banking crisis of 2008. The six largest US financial institutions now have assets of some $10 trillion, amounting to almost 60% of GDP; and they control nearly 50% of all bank deposits. Continue reading

Freedom Rider: French workers show how to fight

Workers in the United States have learned some painful lessons: that they live on less than their peers in much of Europe and are woefully insecure in their jobs and retirements—if they have jobs and retirement plans, at all. What U.S. workers have not learned—or have forgotten—is how to fight. They can take some tips from the French, who “throw down the gauntlet at any mention of job loss or pay cuts.” Continue reading

Friday’s payroll jobs report

The 142,000 September payroll jobs reported Friday (2 Oct 2015) by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is too small to be consistent with the still high stock averages or the alleged economic recovery. Moreover, the BLS says that it over-estimated the July and August payroll jobs by 59,000. Continue reading