Ghost Dog's Journal
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Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 13,947
Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 13,947
Brit gone native. Cooperative member. Ecology. Cartography. Programming. Music production.
- 2015 (9)
- 2014 (27)
- 2013 (57)
- 2012 (23)
- 2011 (6)
- December (6)
- Older Archives
...(Long, Good Read)...
... I quickly discovered that of all the subdisciplines of economics, international trade theory was the silliest. Gunboats and military spending make no appearance in this theorizing, nor do the all-important “errors and omissions,” capital flight, smuggling, or fictitious transfer pricing for tax avoidance. These elisions are needed to steer trade theory toward the perverse and destructive conclusion that any country can pay any amount of debt, simply by lowering wages enough to pay creditors. All that seems to be needed is sufficient devaluation (what mainly is devalued is the cost of local labor), or lowering wages by labor market “reforms” and austerity programs. This theory has been proved false everywhere it has been applied, but it remains the essence of IMF orthodoxy.
Academic monetary theory is even worse. Milton Friedman’s “Chicago School” relates the money supply only to commodity prices and wages, not to asset prices for real estate, stocks and bonds. It pretends that money and credit are lent to business for investment in capital goods and new hiring, not to buy real estate, stocks and bonds. There is little attempt to take into account the debt service that must be paid on this credit, diverting spending away from consumer goods and tangible capital goods. So I found academic theory to be the reverse of how the world actually works. None of my professors had enough real-world experience in banking or Wall Street to notice.
I spent three years at the New School developing an analysis of why the global economy is polarizing rather than converging. I found that “mercantilist” economic theories already in the 18th century were ahead of today’s mainstream in many ways. I also saw how much more clearly early economists recognized the problems of governments (or others) relying on creditors for policy advice. As Adam Smith explained, a creditor of the public, considered merely as such, has no interest in the good condition of any particular portion of land, or in the good management of any particular portion of capital stock. … He has no inspection of it. He can have no care about it. Its ruin may in some cases be unknown to him, and cannot directly affect him.
The bondholders’ interest is solely to extricate as much as they can as quickly as possible with little concern for the social devastation they cause. Yet they have managed to sell the idea that sovereign nations as well as individuals have a moral obligation to pay debts, even to act on behalf of creditors instead of their domestic populations...
... The disabling force of debt was recognized more clearly in the 18th and 19th centuries (not to mention four thousand years ago in the Bronze Age). This has led pro-creditor economists to exclude the history of economic thought from the curriculum. Mainstream economics has become blindly pro-creditor, pro-austerity (that is, anti-labor) and anti-government (except for insisting on the need for taxpayer bailouts of the largest banks and savers). Yet it has captured Congressional policy, universities and the mass media to broadcast a false map of how economies work. So most people see reality as written by the One Percent, and it is a travesty of reality.
Spouting ostensible free market ideology, the pro-creditor mainstream rejects what the classical economic reformers actually wrote. One is left to choose between central planning by a public bureaucracy, or even more centralized planning by Wall Street’s financial bureaucracy. The middle ground of a mixed public/private economy has been all but forgotten, denounced as “socialism.” Yet every successful economy in history has been a mixed economy.
Posted by Ghost Dog | Wed Sep 30, 2015, 05:59 AM (2 replies)
It was decided that negotiations with Eurozone EU had to absorb most of the new government's energies at first, though.
Type "Syriza corruption" into google. Please do your own research rather than blindly repeating corrupt MSM propaganda / frames / memes. Eg:
The same applies to Podemos and allies / potential allies in Spain, where I live, btw. Look it up.
Posted by Ghost Dog | Tue Jul 14, 2015, 12:29 PM (0 replies)
The new measures Greece must now implement
The final Euro Summit statement confirms that Greece has agreed to immediately implement sweeping measures, after a bruising battle in Brussels:
This includes pension reforms, liberalising its economy (from Sunday opening hours to opening up closed professions), privatising its energy transmission network, reforming its labour market practices (including new rules on industrial action, and collective dismissals), and action on non-performing loans:
That is on top of the austerity its MPs agreed on Friday:
Here’s the key points:
- carry out ambitious pension reforms and specify policies to fully compensate for the fiscal impact of the Constitutional Court ruling on the 2012 pension reform and to implement the zero deficit clause or mutually agreeable alternative measures by October 2015;
- adopt more ambitious product market reforms with a clear timetable for implementation of all OECD toolkit I recommendations, including Sunday trade, sales periods, pharmacy ownership, milk and bakeries, except over-the-counter pharmaceutical products, which will be implemented in a next step, as well as for the opening of macro-critical closed professions (e.g. ferry transportation). On the follow-up of the OECD toolkit-II, manufacturing needs to be included in the prior action;
- on energy markets, proceed with the privatisation of the electricity transmission network operator (ADMIE), unless replacement measures can be found that have equivalent effect on competition, as agreed by the Institutions;
- on labour markets, undertake rigorous reviews and modernisation of collective bargaining, industrial action and, in line with the relevant EU directive and best practice, collective dismissals, along the timetable and the approach agreed with the Institutions. On the basis of these reviews, labour market policies should be aligned with international and European best practices, and should not involve a return to past policy settings which are not compatible with the goals of promoting sustainable and inclusive growth;
- adopt the necessary steps to strengthen the financial sector, including decisive action on non-performing loans and measures to strengthen governance of the HFSF and the banks, in particular by eliminating any possibility for political interference especially in appointment processes.
And on top of that, Greece will also establish a new fund to sell off valuable assets to help repay its new bailout, and refinance its banks.
Posted by Ghost Dog | Mon Jul 13, 2015, 05:44 AM (2 replies)
Today’s bailout deal comes just eight days after the Greek people comprehensively rejected its creditors’ original demands.
Analyst Marc Ostwald of ADM Investors services reckons the measures in this bailout package are “infinitesimally worse” than the ones turned down in last Sunday’s referendum:
Indeed what is on the table as a deal highlights that:
a) there is no long-term future for the Eurozone;
b) the desire on the part of Eurozone creditor nations to completely destroy the Greek economy - it can certainly be asserted that this is indeed a worse deal than the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.
In terms of a near-term timeline, he says:
a) Tsipras will have to form a new government of national unity as soon as he gets back to Athens
b) By Wednesday 15th, Greece will have to pass laws including simplifying VAT rates, and applying VAT on a wider basis, cutbacks on pensions, and making its statistics agency independent.
c) Once these have been passed, ESM bail-out parliamentary process can commence, and this will require parliaments in Finland, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Slovakia and Estonia to approve starting ESM talks
d) The Greek parliament will then have to rush through further laws to attain brige financing to pay the ECB on July 20th.
Posted by Ghost Dog | Mon Jul 13, 2015, 04:58 AM (1 replies)
Let the Games begin.
(Or else we expel Germany & sycophantic followers, and regroup around just France).
Posted by Ghost Dog | Sat Jul 11, 2015, 08:45 PM (1 replies)
... Greece is playing a rough hand, and more than anything else, playing for time. What else does one think they would have gotten out of the Berlin blockheads, a fair deal, a workable solution? Hah!
Why should that happen now, when the crony capitalists have been pushing so hard for deprivation first, and then privatization and a general looting of productive assets next? This is a well-established pattern.
I think this was laid out in a pretty straightforward manner a couple of weeks ago. But the sturm und drang is certainly diverting, especially the German hubris and the Greek negotiation tactics. You cannot adequately follow the game unless you understand the objectives...
... The real solutions are fairly simple, but will not happen because there are such powerful interests allied against them. And they have managed to delude a vocal portion of the populace by feeding them a steady diet of slogans, sociological phantoms for children, and economic hoo-haw.
Financial reform and wage growth, with more certainty in the big variables of healthcare costs and retirement plans is key to a sustainable and organic recovery.
The way things are arranged now, hiring even a single person is a 'step function' because you are not only signing them up for a wage, but for benefits that can vary all over the place and represent a burden for a new or small business.
Gee, I wonder what a developed country would do. Oh yes, the US started on the path for a sane solution in this matter in the 1930s and the New Deal, but alas, were hijacked along the way.
Single payer healthcare and a robust social security system, taking the matter out of the hands of individual businesses who look for ways to cheat and cut corners would be more cost effective and much more workable.
And much easier then to get business to pay a living wage to a national workforce in which essential items like healthcare were not wild cards and the feeding grounds of healthcare and insurance monopolies that add roughly 50 percent overhead to the costs.
And finally there is the matter of tax loopholes and multinational tax cheating to consider.
And for the love of God: break up the Banks.
But the sine qua non is campaign finance reform. The current system of soft bribery for the political class makes a progressive democracy ineffective in the face of big money and crony capitalism.
Oh well, interesting times. It is a good phrase for the day.
Posted by Ghost Dog | Sat Jul 11, 2015, 07:57 PM (1 replies)
Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek finance minister
Friday 10 July 2015 19.25 BST
Greece’s financial drama has dominated the headlines for five years for one reason: the stubborn refusal of our creditors to offer essential debt relief. Why, against common sense, against the IMF’s verdict and against the everyday practices of bankers facing stressed debtors, do they resist a debt restructure? The answer cannot be found in economics because it resides deep in Europe’s labyrinthine politics...
... The euro is a hybrid of a fixed exchange-rate regime, like the 1980s ERM, or the 1930s gold standard, and a state currency. The former relies on the fear of expulsion to hold together, while state money involves mechanisms for recycling surpluses between member states (for instance, a federal budget, common bonds). The eurozone falls between these stools – it is more than an exchange-rate regime and less than a state.
And there’s the rub. After the crisis of 2008/9, Europe didn’t know how to respond. Should it prepare the ground for at least one expulsion (that is, Grexit) to strengthen discipline? Or move to a federation? So far it has done neither, its existentialist angst forever rising. Schäuble is convinced that as things stand, he needs a Grexit to clear the air, one way or another. Suddenly, a permanently unsustainable Greek public debt, without which the risk of Grexit would fade, has acquired a new usefulness for Schauble.
What do I mean by that? Based on months of negotiation, my conviction is that the German finance minister wants Greece to be pushed out of the single currency to put the fear of God into the French and have them accept his model of a disciplinarian eurozone.
Comment ( sacco ):
"Based on months of negotiation, my conviction is that the German finance minister wants Greece to be pushed out of the single currency to put the fear of God into the French and have them accept his model of a disciplinarian eurozone."
That was my conclusion in February when you were elected, Yanis. That, and to assign the maximum possible blame to SYRIZA and avoid the IMF and most powerful EZ leaders accepting any.
Merkel's (and Schäuble's) role in this fiasco is that, even as the most powerful leader in the Eurozone, she has consistently avoided presenting any hint of the realities of life in a curreny union (i.e. transfers or surplus recycling) to her electorate (even though the success of the Euro has been vastly to Germany's profit), seemingly for fear of losing ground in the opinion polls and worry about how any hint of realism might be exploited by AfD. (German friends tell me that this is rather typical of her lack of courage and initiative on difficult matters — that she usually prefers to wait until somebody else appears who can catch the blame; David Cameron has certainly been a sucker for this punishment in the past.)
Of course, though, the longer she persists and the more acute the Greek crisis becomes, the more costly any eventual admission of the facts of life might be: through her persistent avoidance of actually doing anything to manage the issue she has allowed her self to be pushed into a corner from which there is no easy or cheap escape. Thus Greece must now be sacrificed in an orgy of blame in order that none of the actors with any power to alter the course of events need accept any fault: "we were always right and all the blame for everything lies with the profligate and unreasonable Greeks." Of course, the failure of the overwhelmingly powerful parties to guide the situation to a less completely catastrophic resolution (and the horribly expensive drag it continues to impose on European economies) gives the lie to this position but, sadly, it can still be retailed in the superficial politics of the national media, especially because the facts of how the Greek economy was 'managed', particularly during 2004–09, provide the kernel of truth to lend credibility to the misleading, facile, and short-sighted narrative assembled around it. Horribly short-sighted —to allow narratives of national virtue, vice and morality to develop— given the well-known historical trope that whenever currency union has been tried without mechanisms for transfers of surplus recycling it has provoked resentment and the rise of far-right nationalist populism in both the stronger and the weaker regions! ...
Posted by Ghost Dog | Fri Jul 10, 2015, 04:55 PM (2 replies)
Speaking at a event for the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), of which he is a patron, the prince complained that “the irresistible power of ‘business as usual’ has so far defeated every attempt to ‘rewire’ our economic system in ways that will deliver what we so urgently need”.
He said: “Yet if we are to limit climate change, conserve resources and keep ecosystems functioning, while at the same time improving the health and wellbeing of billions of people – including the several billion who are projected to be added later this century – then we will need to see profound changes.”
The prince also attacked what he characterised as the wastefulness of modern society. “The challenge now is to go much further and much faster, progressively eliminating waste by developing a circular economy that mimics nature’s loops and cycles, rather than perpetuating our largely unsustainable and linear way of doing things,” he said...
... At the event, the prince unveiled a report from the CISL. It argued the world’s current course revealed “a monumental market failure” and that “there seems to be a strategic chasm between where the world agrees it should be headed and the direction of the economy”. The report made a series of recommendations that would affect business, include raising green taxes, requiring companies to reveal their environmental impacts and ending the damage caused by short-term profit-seeking...
(The good read is the report linked from the article (the 'Prince Charles' trademark used here to call media attention, you'll notice) - more direct link: http://www.cisl.cam.ac.uk/publications/rewiring-the-economy-ten-tasks-ten-years
Despite many business leaders engaging with their peers, politicians and policymakers to turn sustainability ambition into practice, inequality is still rising, ecosystems are being degraded, resources depleted and greenhouse gas levels are climbing. These trends are detrimental to environments, communities, businesses and long-term economic performance.
For economies to overcome these challenges there is a clear need to tilt operating conditions in favour of sustainable business practice.
Rewiring the Economy is the University of Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership (CISL)’s ten-year plan to lay the foundations of a sustainable economy. It is built on ten interconnected tasks, delivered by three key groups of leaders: government, finance and business. These tasks are not unique to the plan. Rather, Rewiring the Economy shows how they can be tackled co-operatively over the next decade to create an economy that encourages sustainable business practices and delivers positive outcomes for people and societies.
Clearly these fundamental tasks will need to be sensitive to very different institutional and geographic contexts around the world. It is our ambition to work with leaders from across our global network to explore how best to reflect this, through our focus areas of leadership development, business model innovation, sustainable finance and a just transition to a low carbon economy. Beyond our network, we would like the plan to become a strategic compass bearing for governments, businesses and finance leaders around the world, inspiring new collaborations and enabling a fundamental change in how the global economy is harnessed for social and environmental good.
Posted by Ghost Dog | Fri Jul 3, 2015, 08:07 AM (11 replies)
Source: The Guardian
... Our fight goes on to protect our communities, to defend the vulnerable, to expose spivs and speculators and tax avoiders...
... Supporters of Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos have attended the march in solidarity, joining a handful of people showing their support for similar movements in Greece. Andrea, a 34-year-old Spanish protestor living in London, is part of the Podemos group. “What is happening here now happened four years ago in Spain,” she said. “In 2011, protestors from the ‘indignados’ movement stayed for days in public squares like this. It showed the need for change in Spain. You should do the same!’...
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2015/jun/20/anti-austerity-demonstrations-live
Posted by Ghost Dog | Sat Jun 20, 2015, 10:55 AM (12 replies)
... When postwar growth ended in the late 1960s, the functional needs of capital accumulation began gradually to push aside the social needs whose institutionalized recognition had been the condition for workers being prepared to live with capitalism. More and more “capital controls,” in a broad sense, were removed while one promise after the other that had been made to buy labor in after 1945 was withdrawn. Such promises included a steady increase in living standards, progressive de-commodification of labor through an expanding welfare state, politically guaranteed full employment, “industrial democracy,” an encompassing regime of collective bargaining and trade union rights, a broad public sector providing citizens with social services as well as with stable employment, equal access to education and social advancement, a moderate and certainly not growing level of social and economic inequality, and the like. All of these disappeared or were “reformed,” often beyond recognition. The almost four decades since the end of postwar prosperity were a long series of defeats for labor, and of successful attempts on the part of capital gradually to re-establish its hegemony, with market justice pushing social justice to the sidelines of the political economy. It was not the logic of democratic claim-making or social citizenship or even democratic political opportunism that undercut the postwar social compact, but the historical reassertion of the logic of capital accumulation that had for a limited period been contained and overruled by democratic politics – just as the fiscal crisis of today was not caused by ordinary people demanding more than they were entitled to, but by the winners of the market first refusing to pay for their social license to enrich themselves, and later blackmailing governments to save them from the fallout of their own recklessness.
Right now it is democracy itself that is about to be rescinded – at the national level, which is where it came to be located under democratic capitalism, without replacement at the supranational level, where it should today move but nobody knows how. Increasingly democracy is turning into an empty shell, a formal ritual, not just in the United States but also in Europe. In the camp of the Indignados at the Puerta del Sol in July 2011, I saw a hand-painted sign asking: ¿Como se puede hablar de democracia si no se puede cambiar el sistema económico en las urnas? (How can one speak of democracy if one cannot change the economic system at the ballot box?)...
From January 2012 but apposite today: interview with Professor Wolfgang Streeck of the Max Planck Institue for the Study of Societies, Cologne... .".. I am looking for signs of an impending cultural break with possessive individualism, competitive greed, hedonistic consumerism. This is a tall order indeed, but I feel nothing less would do. Beyond “protest” or calls for “reform,” what would be interesting to see are actual changes in people’s ways of life, some kind of separatism and recapturing of local autonomy, with people cutting themselves loose from the capitalist mainstream and becoming less dependent on it, materially and mentally: a way of life where time matters more than money, ideal goods more than material ones, and social bonds more than individual property. That may not be available without a measure of neo-romanticism or even insurrectionism. What one might hope for is a sort of cultural change that, unlike 1968 and its aftermath, would not lend itself to being transformed into a “new spirit of capitalism,” as described by Chiapello and Boltanski. At the intellectual level, I find the growing literature on low-growth, no-growth and de-growth capitalism (or perhaps post-capitalism?) intriguing and I wish one could find good reasons for believing that working for this politically would not necessarily be futile..."
Posted by Ghost Dog | Sun Oct 26, 2014, 04:02 AM (1 replies)