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Finance and Economy

The Eurasian Century Has Already Begun

India, China and ASEAN are the greatest market opportunities, with the greatest potential for growth in nominal terms if the dollar declines. China, India and ASEAN also account for about 45% of the global population versus less than 5% for the US. All Eurasia accounts for more than 60%. No matter who wins the election in November, the US is not returning as the engine of global economic growth. Instead, it is adopting the mercantilist import-substitution policies that built the “miracle” economies of East Asia. Recent studies from sources such as the Pew Research Center and the University of Washington have ranked the US from 24th to 38th in the world in terms of health care and education, math, and science. This is a deep hole to climb out of. As the US turns to the task of putting its own house in order, the Eurasian Century has already begun.

Could Climate Change Spark A Financial Crisis? Candidates Warn Fed It’s A Risk

A few of the Democrats running for president have started warning about climate change in a way that voters rarely think about yet can profoundly affect their lives. To sum it up: If you think the housing crisis was bad, wait until you see how the climate crisis plays out for financial markets. The candidates are urging the Federal Reserve—the United States' central bank—to work with financial institutions around the world to confront climate risks that could trigger cascading collapses.

Study Strongly Supports Public Banking To Finance Infrastructure

In honor of the Bank of North Dakota’s centennial anniversary, here is an excellent academic report from Cornell University that includes a detailed case study of BND’s 2015 Infrastructure Loan Fund. The report examines the “unique benefits of public banksand explores strategies for the implementation of similar structured institutions in New York State and the broader US context.” Prepared by Shareef M. Hussam for Professor Mildred Warner at Cornell’s Department of City and Regional Planning, it provides strong academic reinforcement for advocates’ testimony...

Offshore Finance: How Capital Rules The World

Offshore finance is not solely about capital moving beyond the reach of states, but involves the rampant unbundling and commercialization of state sovereignty itself. Offshore jurisdictions effectively cultivate two parallel legal regimes. On the one hand, we have the standard regulated and taxed space for domestic citizens in which we all live, on the other we have an “extraterritorial” secretive offshore space exclusively maintained for foreign businesses and billionaires, or non-resident capital, comprising “a set of juridical realms marked by more or less withdrawal of regulation and taxation”.

The World Is Dangerously Lowballing The Economic Cost Of Climate Change

It’s almost impossible to calculate how many trillions of dollars it could cost. Leading global forecasts widely underestimate the future costs of climate change, a new paper warns. The findings, to be released Monday in the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, say projections used by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change rely on outdated models and fail to account for “tipping points” ― key moments when global warming rapidly speeds up and becomes irreversible. The IPCC, established in 1988, is the leading international body for assessing climate change, and took on an expanded role after every country on Earth signed the Paris Agreement, the first global pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Do Financial Markets Still Exist?

No one should find this a surprising suggestion.  The Bank of Japan has a long tradition of propping up the Japanese equity market with large purchases of equities. The European Central Bank purchases corporate as well as government bonds.  In 1989 Fed governor Robert Heller said that as the Fed already rigs the bond market with purchases, the Fed can also rig the stock market to stop price declines. That is the reason the Plunge Protection Team (PPT) was created in 1987. Looking at the chart of futures activity on the E-mini S&P 500, we see an uptick in activity on February 2 when the market dropped, with higher increases in future activity last Monday and Tuesday placing Tuesday’s futures activity at about four times the daily average of the previous month.  Futures activity last Wednesday and Thursday remained above the average daily activity of the previous month...

Trump & Fed: Shadow Bankers Deepening Control Of US Economy

Trump's imminent appointments of Fed chairs, vice-chairs and governors may prove the first step in the total capture of the US central bank by the shadow banker element in the US economy. What are sometimes referred to as 'shadow bankers' have been running the economy and drafting US domestic economic policy since Trump took office. 'Shadow banks' include investment banks, private equity firms, hedge funds, insurance companies, finance companies, and asset management companies. They exist outside the traditional commercial banking system (for example: Chase, Bank of America, Wells) and are virtually unregulated. Globally, they now control more investible liquid assets than do the world's commercial banks.

The Real Causes Of Deficits And The US Debt

By Jack Rasmus for Tele Sur - Nonsense like social security and Medicare will be insolvent by 2030. When in fact social security has created a multi-trillion dollar surplus since 1986, which the U.S. government has annually ‘borrowed’, exchanging the real money in the fund created by the payroll tax and its indexed threshold, for Treasury bonds deposited in the fund. As for Medicare, the real culprit undermining the Medicare part A and B funds has been the decades-long escalating of prices charged by insurance companies, for-profit hospital chains (financed by Wall St.), medical devices companies, and doctor partnerships investing in real estate and other speculative markets and raising their prices to pay for it. As for Part D, prescription drugs for Medicare, the big Pharma price gouging is even more rampant, driving up the cost of the Part D fund. By the way, the prescription drug provision, Part D, passed in 2005, was intentionally never funded by Congress and George Bush. It became law without any dedicated tax, payroll or other, to fund it. Its US$50 billion plus a year costs were thus designed from the outset to be paid by means of the deficit and not funded with any tax.

Obama’s $400,000 Speech Shows Depth Of Corruption

By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. Former President Obama seems to be cashing in or receiving a payoff for his policies as president. He will be receiving a $400,000 payment from a mid-size investment firm, Cantor FItzgerald to speak at a healthcare conference in September. Obama had the chance when his party controlled the House and Senate to actually solve the healthcare crisis by putting in place improved Medicare for all (and don’t fall for the BS that he could not have done it). Instead he put in place the failed Affordable Care Act whose centerpiece was to force people to buy inadequate health insurance. The ACA has failed to control the cost of premiums, co-pays and deductibles while providing shrinking health coverage. It was a gift to the insurance industry, pharmaceutical industry and investors who profit from healthcare. Cantor Fitzgerald is one of those healthcare profiteers that benefits greatly from the ACA.

Financing Recovery And Fairness By Going Where Money Is

By Josh Bivens and Hunter Blair for EPI - Progressive tax increases should be a top policy priority. If the economy returns to and stays at full employment, they can finance current federal commitments to social insurance and public investments as well as future commitments that could stop the rise in income inequality that has stymied living standards growth for the vast majority of Americans over the last generation.

Tallying Up The Mounting Economic Toll Of North Carolina’s HB2

By Alex Kotch for Facing South - Since becoming law in late March, North Carolina's House Bill 2 has sparked national controversy and an ongoing boycott of the state over its discriminatory provisions. HB2 requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate and bars local governments from adopting LGBT protections and minimum wage laws. This week, major college sports leagues became the latest organizations to cancel events in the state because of the law.

Will Death Of Fossil Fuels Take Down The Economy?

By Nafeez Ahmed for AlterNet - It’s not looking good for the global fossil fuel industry. Although the world remains heavily dependent on oil, coal and natural gas—which today supply around 80 percent of our primary energy needs—the industry is rapidly crumbling. This is not merely a temporary blip, but a symptom of a deeper, long-term process related to global capitalism’s escalating overconsumption of planetary resources and raw materials.

War On Savings: Panama Papers, Bail-Ins, And Push To Go Cashless

By Ellen Brown for Web of Debt - The bombshell publication of the “Panama Papers,” leaked from a Panama law firm specializing in shell companies, has triggered both outrage and skepticism. In an April 3 article titled “Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak,” UK blogger Craig Murray writes that the whistleblower no doubt had good intentions; but he made the mistake of leaking his 11.5 million documents to the corporate-controlled Western media, which released only those few documents incriminating opponents of Western financial interests.

Breaking: Iceland PM Resigns Over Panama Papers

By France 24 Europe. "The prime minister told (his party's) parliamentary group meeting that he would step down as prime minister and I will take over," the deputy leader of Iceland's Progressive party and Agriculture Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson told a live broadcast. Gunnlaugsson, 41, had been under pressure to resign after the leaked documents revealed that he and his wife Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands and had placed millions of dollars there. Iceland’s opposition party filed a motion of no-confidence on Monday as thousands of protesters gathered in front of parliament, hurling yogurt, eggs and bananas and demanding the departure of the leader of the centre-right coalition government, in power since 2013.

Stephen Hawking: Be Scared Of Capitalism, Not Robots

By Alexander C. Kaufman for The Huffington Post - Machines won't bring about the economic robot apocalypse -- but greedy humans will, according to physicist Stephen Hawking. In a Reddit Ask Me Anything session on Thursday, the scientist predicted that economic inequality will skyrocket as more jobs become automated and the rich owners of machines refuse to share their fast-proliferating wealth...If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution.
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