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Ghost Dog

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 14,839

About Me

Brit gone native. Cooperative member. Ecology. Cartography. Programming. Music production.

Journal Archives

They'll take him out...

Nicely put, Diclotican.

In UK politics, I would like to see Bliar and the whole "New Labour" ideology he helped spawn expelled from the true Labour Party. The Corbyn leadership covers it... Given that the Tory party is also likely to split along EU in/out lines &/or be leached by UKIP and other nutters, UK politics could become more 'interesting', like right now here in Spain, again.

What's worrying is that the president, because 'international finance' would react negatively,

has publicly suggested that such an anti-austerity government would be a threat to the 'national security' of the republic and so the democratically-expressed will of the people should be overridden. At the least he can resist with the pro-austerity minority while mandating a fresh election. At most, I suppose, he can suspend parliament and mobilise armed forces. But perhaps the president himself should be impeached...

"...Almost two thirds of the electorate (62%) – the combined votes of the Socialists, Left Bloc and Communists – voted against rightwing austerity policies, Costa has pointed out. But the president, a former leader of Passos Coelho’s Social Democratic party (PSD), has made it clear he has grave reservations about any Portuguese government propped up by what he described last week as an anti-European, hard-left faction...

...Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, last week described the prospect of a radical anti-austerity coalition in Portugal as “very negative” and Portuguese bond yields rose on Monday, signalling investor fears of a prolonged period of political instability that could damage Portugal’s still-fragile recovery... op. cit."

IMO, were Portugal to leave the eurozone (put perhaps preferably not the EU), switching to a national currency with favorable exchange and interest rates, and apply anti-austerity measures to invest to improve immediate and long-term social & environmental welfare, create employment and stimulate the domestic economy as well as exports, they would probably do well.

World Bank: Rapid acceleration in support for & adoption of carbon pricing policies.

... The World Bank’s annual review of carbon markets shows that schemes designed to ensure polluters either pay for or reduce their emissions were at play in 39 nations and 23 subnational jurisdictions, as of April 2015. “There has been a rapid acceleration in both the support for carbon pricing and the adoption of carbon pricing policies in countries and regions around the world”, said Noah Kaufman, a Climate Economist for the World Resources Institute. “It is now far more difficult for countries to delay climate change action by pointing at the inaction of others.”

Looking only at the financial value of carbon pricing, the progress is significant, and, as of April 2015, the market was worth an estimated $50bn. The increase is made to seem even more significant considering that Australia last year repealed its carbon pricing mechanism and made a quite sizeable dent in the market. Buoyed by South Korea’s newly introduced emissions trading system (ETS) and Portugal’s $5 per tonne of CO2 tax, the market enjoyed a modest pick-me-up last year; compounded further by the expansion of schemes such as those in California and Quebec.

Impressive as the numbers are, the coverage extends to only 12 percent of global emissions, and progress on the issue has been wildly inconsistent. Sure, there is cause for optimism insofar as carbon pricing is finding its way onto the frontlines of global policy discussion, but participants are yet to arrive at a workable solution. Introduced or expanded on the basis that carbon pricing raises revenue and reduces budget deficits, while curbing emissions, the system is seen by many as a costly and sometimes-oppressive policy stance...

... “Politics is the biggest challenge for any climate change policy because, the benefits are distributed throughout the current and future populations of the world, whereas the costs are concentrated on the regions and countries that must pass legislation”, said Kaufman. “While many governments not only see carbon pricing as a way to combat climate change, but also to improve public finances, the worry of short-term increases in energy prices and goods persists. Businesses are worried about their competitiveness and consumers about their energy bill”, said Long Lam, Consultant on Climate Strategies and Policies at Ecofys. “Many carbon pricing schemes therefore have measures in place to compensate businesses and low-income households for the additional costs they face. It will remain a challenge to strike a balance between the incentive to reduce GHG emissions and mitigating these worries to gain public acceptance.”

As it stands, carbon pricing takes one of two forms, either a carbon tax, as in the case of Australia, or an ETS, popularised by the EU. Speaking on the challenges, Kaufman said: “Carbon taxes and emissions trading systems are the best way to overcome this political hurdle, because they generate government revenues that can accomplish important and popular policy objectives, such as lowering taxes, reducing deficits, and investing in infrastructure and education.” However, the promise of broad-based and sustainable gains has eluded the majority, and the priority for participating nations in the here-and-now has fallen on learning from the mistakes made in days past and on reaching a political consensus...


Bubbles Always Burst: the Education of an Economist - Michael Hudson

...(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.

/... http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/28/bubbles-always-burst-the-education-of-an-economist/

"Syriza does not want a new Greece..." Fighting corruption, tax evasion etc. is a Syriza priority.

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.

The new measures Greece must now implement:

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.

/... http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/jul/12/greek-debt-crisis-eu-leaders-meeting-cancelled-no-deal-live

"A worse deal than the 1919 Treaty of Versailles"

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.

/... http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/jul/12/greek-debt-crisis-eu-leaders-meeting-cancelled-no-deal-live

So the EU is finished. It's over.

Let the Games begin.

(Or else we expel Germany & sycophantic followers, and regroup around just France).

Supper at Jesse's Café:

... 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.

/... http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com.es/
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