Norway's Sovereign Wealth Risk Vortex

What does Norway get out of its Oil Fund, if not More Strategic Infrastructure Investment? For the past generation Norway has supplied Europe and other regions with oil, taking payment in euros or dollars. It then sends nearly all this foreign exchange abroad, sequestering its oil-export receipts – which are in foreign currency – in the Oil Fund, to invest mainly in European and U.S. stocks and bonds. The fund now exceeds $500+ billion, second in the world to that of Abu Dhabi. What do Norwegians get out of these financial savings, besides a modest interest and dividend yield? The export surplus is said to be too large to spend more than a small fraction (a Procrustean 4 percent) at home without causing inflation. As an excuse for placing its export savings ...

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 has made the argument over Fed policy so important over ...

Russian TV, the G20 and US dollar diplomacy

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Michael was interview on Russian TV yesterday by Lauren Lyster. Watch the 10 minute clip here. There is no possibility of agreement at the upcoming G20 summit because the U.S. is declaring financial war on other countries, believes American economist Michael Hudson. The U.S. has been pushing China to revalue its currency – at a time when Washington has been pumping billions of dollars into its economy – a move viewed by other countries as an attempt to deliberately weaken the greenback. The issue of exchange rates is expected to be one of the toughest discussion points at the G20 summit in South Korea later this week.

America’s China Bashing: A Compendium of Junk Economics

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It is traditional for politicians to blame foreigners for problems that their own policies have caused. And in today’s zero-sum economies, it seems that if America is losing leadership position, other nations must be the beneficiaries. Inasmuch as China has avoided the financial overhead that has painted other economies into a corner, nationalistic U.S. politicians and journalists are blaming it for America’s declining economic power. I realize that balance-of-payments accounting and international trade theory are arcane topics, but I promise that by the time you finish this article, you will understand more than 99% of U.S. economists and diplomats striking this self-righteous pose. The dollar’s double standard gives America an international free ride For over a century, central banks have managed exchange rates by raising or lowering the interest rate. Countries ...

China's Policy Checkmate

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Interview with Xulin Dong May 2010 DX: You have strongly advocated the use of taxation as a most effective and desirable way to prevent real-estate bubble. Now in the Chinese media there’s a good deal of discussion about the need to re-design China’s real-estate tax regime. In particular, about the merit of a US type of property tax. So what are the key elements of a good real-estate regime? MH: For starters, there is confusion about just what a “land tax” is. China has a policy of granting long-term leases, for up to 70 years for residential property. The price charged for these leases is NOT a land tax. It gives security of land title – that is, of land tenure. On the assumption that a building will have a useful life of ...

Dollar Hegemony and the Rise of China

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Hudson to Premier Wen Jaibao, March 15, 2010 Dear Premier Wen Jiabao, I write this letter to counteract some of the solutions that Western politicians are recommending for China to cope with its buildup of excess foreign-exchange reserves. Raising the renminbi’s exchange rate against the dollar will not cure the China-US payments imbalance. The dollar glut will continue, and so will the currency fluctuation among the dollar, euro and sterling, leaving no stable store of value. The cause of this instability is that each of these three currency areas has grown top-heavy with by debts in excess of the ability to pay. What then should China should it do with its buildup of excess reserves, if not recycle its inflows into their bonds? Four possibilities have been suggested: (1) to revalue the renminbi, ...

Banks Profit Going Up and Down

Michael Hudson on Renegade Economists Radio discussing China's looming isolationism, the background on G20 austerity plans plus a few serves on what economics should be looking at. Hudson appears at the 2 minute mark. Audio - 22/06/2010 Subscribe to the Renegade Economists podcast

Trouble in Europe, China

Based on an interview with Eric Janszen of iTulip April 10, 2010 On April 10, 2010 I caught up with Michael Hudson and he was in rare form. Readers know that my personal view is that much of the right wing of the political spectrum doesn’t know what the problem is and all of the left wing, while nailing the problem, doesn’t know how to solve it. No one is too left wing or too right wing to get an interview here. Interviewer (EJ): Thank you for your time this morning. Hudson (MH): Glad to be here. EJ: It’s been a while since I’ve interviewed you so let’s have a wide-ranging discussion today. I want to include your Thursday Financial Times article on the fate of the ex-Soviet debtor nations, the Bank of ...

Railway Financing and the Shape of China’s Future: Some Lessons from American Economic History

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Report for the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation “Is it British wealth we want when we desire to develop our resources or build railroads? No, we do not need the wealth, for at this moment we are the richest nation on the face of the globe. We need the money.” – John Brown, Parasitic Wealth, or Money Reform (1898:34) These words were written over a century ago by an American who saw that it was money that put the nation’s tangible wealth, its natural resources and labor, in motion. Recognizing that money was essentially a social and legal institution, a creation of the state, the author urged the government to finance the railroads by printing its own money rather than borrowing from private banks and investors. This would ...