How Financial Oligarchy Replaces Democracy

Will Greece Let EU Central Bankers Run Riot Over Sovereignty? When Greece exchanged its drachma for the euro in 2000, most voters were all for joining the Eurozone. Their hope was that it would ensure stability, and that this would promote rising wages and living standards. Few saw that the stumbling point was tax policy. Greece was excluded from the eurozone the previous year as a result of failing to meet the 1992 Maastricht criteria for EU membership, limiting budget deficits to 3 percent of GDP, and government debt to 60 percent. The euro also had other serious fiscal and monetary problems at the outset. There is little thought of wealthier EU economies helping bring less productive ones up to par, e.g. ...

EU: Class War Declared

Concentration of financial power in non-democratic hands is inherent in the way that Europe’s centralized planning in financial hands was achieved in the first place. The European Central Bank has no elected government behind it that can levy taxes. The EU constitution prevents the ECB from bailing out governments

Will Iceland Vote “No” or commit financial suicide?

A landmark fight is occurring this Saturday, April 9. Icelanders will vote on whether to subject their economy to decades of poverty, bankruptcy and emigration of their work force. At least, that is the program supported by the existing Social Democratic-Green coalition government in urging a “Yes” vote on the Icesave bailout. Their financial surrender policy endorses the European Central Bank’s lobbying for the neoliberal deregulation that led to the real estate bubble and debt leveraging, as if it were a success story rather than the road to national debt peonage. The reality was an enormous banking fraud, an orgy of insider dealing as bank managers lent the money to themselves, leaving an empty shell – and then saying ...

Hudson on The View from Europe

Another excellent interview with Bonnie Faulkner. Topics covered: Financial and fiscal austerity policies; the appeal of economic austerity to bankers; economic depression and war; post-WWII vs. post-cold war economic policy; government to government grants vs. commercial lending; the euro and dollar; privatization in New Zealand and elsewhere; social unrest; speculation and prices; criminalization of the economy; impoverishment of the US. Listen Download via right-click Some cheeky comments on the KPFA site

Financial Interests Dictate Sovereign Policy

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Interview with Michael Hudson, Eleftherotypia, Sunday December 12, 2010. 1. A recent article of yours, “Schemes of the Rich and Greedy,” cites the bailouts in Europe among such schemes. What are the main faults with bailouts, and for whom are they designed? The financial sector is trying to get politicians to siphon off money from labor and industry to pay bankers. This will impede capital formation and living standards. The banks misrepresented the real value of balance sheet and hence what they really were owed under actual market conditions. Now that they have taken the money and run, the «real» economy is being told to pay the off their bad loans. The arrogance of this demand prompted Angela Merkel to ask why governments ...

Adam Smith critiques the Deficit Reduction Commission

What would Adam Smith have said about the Bowles-Simpson economic report last week? What a pity the great free marketer was not around to serve on the Deficit Reduction Commission. He not only would have rolled over in his grave, he would have risen up wielding an ax to the fiscal proposals that are diametrically opposite to the fiscal principles that he and his original free market contemporaries urged. Writing in the wake of the French Physiocrats with their Impôt Unique to collect the revenues that France’s landed aristocracy drained from the countryside and towns, Smith endorsed the idea that the least burdensome tax was one that fell on land rent: A more equal land-tax, a more equal tax upon the rent of ...

Krugman, China and the role of finance.

Here’s the quandary that the U.S. economy is in: The Fed’s quantitative easing policy– creating more liquidity so that banks can lend more – aims at helping the economy “borrow its way out of debt.” But banks are not lending more, for the simple reason that a third of U.S. real estate already is in negative equity, while small and medium-sized businesses (which have created most of the new jobs in America for the past few decades) have seen their preferred collateral (real estate and sales orders) shrink. How can banks be expected to lend more to re-inflate the economy’s asset prices while wages and consumer prices continue to drift down? The “real” economy as a whole therefore must shrink. What ...

Tech Bubble: Who Benefited?

An Interview with Michael Hudson for Counterpunch By STANDARD SCHAEFER During the boom of the 1990s, neoliberal economists and the financial press promoted the the high tech revolution for its ability to reduce production costs. As long as government did not interfere with markets, technology would lead to an improvement in the quality of life. The ultimate beneficiary was supposed to be the consumer. This did not happen. The main beneficiary was Big Finance. Finance capital, long assumed to play a facilitating role, not a dominating one, actually led to scaled back and distorted technological innovations. Deregulation in finance and the privatization of public services lead to market manipulation, and record consumer debt. Legal protection of intellectual property rights also allowed corporations to ...

The Coming Financial Reality

An Interview with Economist Michael Hudson for Counterpunch By STANDARD SCHAEFER The war in Iraq is allegedly over, interest rates are going lower and there are rumors of recovery although the economy is still in the doldrums. A Bush is president, but an election is around the corner. It sounds a bit like the recession of 1990-1991. In fact, the recovery from that period, anemic as it was marked by very little growth in employment--was actually stronger than this one. The US economy grew at an annual rate of 3.1% compared to the 2.6% annual rate currently. Except for the 1992 recovery, the last seven economic recoveries were much stronger than this one, and each of them, corresponded with the usual ...