QE Intentions All Too Obvious

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“Quantitative Easing for Whom? TRNN, March 11, 2015. The European Central Bank’s trillion euro plan will only help keep the banks afloat. SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. In an effort to relieve some pressure on the struggling European economies, Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, announced a 1 trillion euro quantitative easing package on Monday. Quantitative easing is an unconventional form of monetary policy where a central bank creates new money electronically to buy financial assets like government bonds. And this process aims to directly increase private-sector spending in the economy and return inflation to target. Well, what does that mean and what might be wrong ...

Greece: Austerity for the Bankers

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Michael Hudson says Greece’s Finance Minister Varoufakis is proposing austerity on the banking class rather than on the working class to balance the budget. SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. The four-month extension secured by the Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, on Friday came with the condition that Greece provide a list of measures to quell the concerns of its international lenders, especially the German banks represented by the finance ministers in Brussels, who feared that Athens might bail on the promises to cut spending and implement austerity measures. So, on Sunday, Athens provided that list. ...

U-V: Usury to Vested Interests

Parts U-V in the Insider's Economic Dictionary Underdevelopment: The term coined by Andre Gunder Frank to describe the policies which former European colonies and more contemporary third-world countries have been turned into indebted raw-materials exporters rather than balanced economies capable of feeding themselves. (See World System.) Unearned income: See Free Lunch. Unexpected. Whenever bad economic news is announced in the United States, the media almost always attach the adjective “unexpected” to it. This is because it is deemed politically incorrect to expect bad news – to expect unemployment to rise, or to expect retail sales to be down. To accurately expect bad news may be realistic, but to anticipate this reality is something like becoming a premature anti-fascist. So it has become almost ...

T is for Trickle-Down

Part T in the Insider's Economic Dictionary Tableau Économique: The first formal national-income account, developed by the Physiocrat Francois Quesnay on the analogy of the circulation of blood within the human body. (See Economist, Say’s Law.) Taxation: The way in which a government gives value to money by accepting it in payment of taxes or for public services (see State Theory of Money and Chartalism). The basic fiscal-financial principle at work is that whatever revenue the tax collector relinquishes is available to be pledged for debt service. Without taxation, much more of the economic surplus would be taken by the financial sector, especially inasmuch as government money has less basis for issuing its own money and credit as the tax base shrinks. ...

Ukraine denouement

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The  Russian loan and the IMF’s One-Two Punch The fate of Ukraine is now shifting from the military battlefield back to the arena that counts most: that of international finance. Kiev is broke, having depleted its foreign reserves on waging war that has destroyed its industrial export and coal mining capacity in the Donbass (especially vis-à-vis Russia, which normally has bought 38 percent of Ukraine’s exports). Deeply in debt (with €3 billion falling due on December 20 to Russia), Ukraine faces insolvency if the IMF and Europe do not release new loans next month to pay for new imports as well as Russian and foreign bondholders. Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko announced on Friday that she hopes to see the money begin to ...

Ukraine: Victims Pay

SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Michael Hudson report on The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. A ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine has been agreed to, following a marathon all-night, 17-hour negotiation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko. They were flanked byother European leaders keeping vigil. Russia and Ukraine may have many differences, but what they have in common is a looming economic crisis, with oil prices taking a dive on the Russian side and a very expensive war they were not counting on on the Ukrainian side. Joining us now to talk about all of this is Michael Hudson. He is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University ...

The National Interest

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James Carden, “Bretton Woods: The Real Threat to Ukraine's Sovereignty?” The National Interest, February 2, 2015. Tom Friedman and George Soros believe Russia is the greatest threat to Ukraine. History suggests the IMF may be far more dangerous. When politicos and pundits wander off onto some half-baked historical analogy, it more often than not will have to do with comparing this or that current event to (if bad) Munich or (if very bad) 9/11. If the event is praiseworthy, it is likely be compared to the fall of the Berlin Wall or VE Day. When a politician as peripatetic as Mrs. Clinton does it, as when she compared Vladimir Putin to Adolph Hitler last March, one could reasonably enough chalk it up ...

Inequality = Privatisation of the Earth

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Truthdig summarises the interview as: Oxfam reports that just 80 people possess the same quantity of wealth as 3.5 billion others. On RT’s Crosstalk, economist Michael Hudson discusses how this happened with Oxfam official Max Lawson and Richard Wellings at London’s Institute for Economic Affairs. Hudson begins, “According to every economics textbook and all the Nobel prizes for the last 40 years, this can’t be happening. According to the economics textbooks, the wealthy get rich by adding to production. You earn what you make and they’re wealth creators. But in fact what they’re producing isn’t wealth, it’s poverty. And they do this largely because—I think you can think of them as being creditors. They’re creditors to the bottom 99 percent that are ...

Rentier Machinations

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RT news: On Thursday, the Swiss National Bank abolished its policy of keeping the franc artificially weak at a peg of 1.20 to the Euro and fallout from the move ricocheted throughout the markets and around the world. The wild swing in the Swiss currency hit global banks with tens of millions of dollars in losses and triggered the collapse of several brokerage firms. The trading losses occurred within minutes of the SNB’s announcement as the Swiss Franc jumped 30% against the euro almost instantaneously. Erin weighs in. Then, Erin is joined by Michael Hudson, distinguished professor of economics at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. Michael tells us about the connection between volatility in places like Switzerland and Greece and ...