The IMF Changes its Rules to Isolate China and Russia

Michael Hudson A nightmare scenario of U.S. geopolitical strategists is coming true: foreign independence from U.S.-centered financial and diplomatic control. China and Russia are investing in neighboring economies on terms that cement Eurasian integration on the basis of financing in their own currencies and favoring their own exports. They also have created the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as an alternative military alliance to NATO. And the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) threatens to replace the IMF and World Bank tandem in which the United States holds unique veto power. More than just a disparity of voting rights in the IMF and World Bank is at stake. At issue is a philosophy of development. U.S. and other foreign investment in infrastructure (or buyouts ...

Why Greece’s Debt is Illegal

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  Capitalism and Government Debt at Odds in Greece (1/2) Michael Hudson says unlike personal and corporate debt, there is no legal framework for writing off government debt, so there is deliberate anarchy in place -   July 10, 2015   SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. Greece is in the situation they're in, burdened with a huge debt that they cannot pay, because there's no legal framework for writing down debt owed to the IMF, ECB, and intergovernmental bodies, writes Michael Hudson in an article he penned in Counterpunch. So where do we go from here? To answer this question, I'm joined by Michael Hudson. He's a former Wall Street economist and ...

Global Financialization 2015 – The state of play

Cross-posted from The Saker The Saker: We hear that the Ukraine will have to declare a default, but that it will probably be a "technical" default as opposed to an official one. Some say that the decision of the Rada to allow Iatseniuk to chose whom to pay is already such a "technical default". Is there such thing as a "technical default" and, if yes, how would it be different in terms of consequences for the Ukraine for a "regular" default? Michael Hudson: A default is a default. The attempted euphemism of “technical” default came up with regard to the Greek debt in 2012 at the G8 meetings. Geithner and Obama lobbied the IMF and ECB shamelessly to bail out Greece, simply ...

Pawns for Pickings

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cross posted from The Nation Ukraine Is In Crisis. Here’s Why the West Can’t Save It. A video roundtable explains why the IMF, Europe, and Western corporations don’t have the country’s best interests at heart. Alexander Reed Kelly June 9, 2015 A Ukrainian national flag flutters in the wind at a position held by the Ukrainian armed forces near the town of Maryinka in eastern Ukraine. (Reuters/Gleb Garanich) Nearly a year and a half after the Euromaidan protests ushered a new government into power in Kiev, Ukraine is still in trouble. Some 6,200 people have been killed, more than 15,000 wounded, and 1.2 million internally displaced in a civil war that had by mid-March, according to the new president, Petro Poroshenko, destroyed “around 25 percent of ...

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 ...

IMF Meeting Review – Austerity to Cost

A serious depression is pending as a result of austerity, says Professor Michael Hudson, October 17, 2014 SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. On Wednesday this week, the S&P 500 took a dive and then partially recovered itself in what stock market watchers call a selloff scare.   To talk about what is behind the volatility is our regular guest, Michael Hudson. Michael Hudson is distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His latest books are The Bubble and Beyond and Finance Capitalism and Its Discontents. Thank you so much for joining us, Michael. MICHAEL HUDSON, PROF. ECONOMICS, UMKC: It's good to be back.    PERIES: Michael, if you heard stock ...

Losing Credibility: The IMF’s New Cold War Loan to Ukraine

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By Michael Hudson In April 2014, fresh from riots in Maidan Square and the February 22 coup, and less than a month before the May 2 massacre in Odessa, the IMF approved a $17 billion loan program to Ukraine’s junta. Normal IMF practice is to lend only up to twice a country’s quote in one year. This was eight times as high. Four months later, on August 29, just as Kiev began losing its attempt at ethnic cleansing against the eastern Donbas region, the IMF signed off on the first loan ever to a side engaged in a civil war, not to mention rife with insider capital flight and a collapsing balance of payments. Based on fictitiously trouble-free projections of the ability ...

Stockholm Syndrome in the Baltics

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Latvia’s Neoliberal War Against Labor and Industry Published in The Contradictions of Austerity: The socio-economic costs of the neoliberal Baltic model Edited by Jeffrey Sommers & Charles Woolfson This article examines how neoliberal policymakers trained in the United States captured Latvia’s economic policy to impose pro-rentier, pro-bank, anti-labor tax and financial policies. Latvia’s national interests were subordinated to those of the banks, which were mainly Swedish. These banks made real estate loans far in excess of Latvians’ ability to pay, and also lent recklessly to Latvia’s private capital market prior to the autumn 2008 economic crash.  Latvians suffered a ‘Stockholm Syndrome,’ imposing austerity and internal devaluation policies that pauperized the economy while identifying their national interest with Swedish economic views and banking ...