Sunday, November 30, 2014

European Union and Austerity

Roberto Savio
November 26, 2014
Inter Press Service
Since the signing of the Single European Act in 1986, the European Union has been unable to agree on legislation which would provide working people with minimum social guarantees and common rights as workers in the face of the onslaught of the unified market forces. The result has been the continued erosion in the social well being of European workers.

Anti-austerity protest in Brussels, Belgium, home to the Parliament of the European Union, Surat Lozowick
After the Italian sea search-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum at a cost of nine million euros a month, through which the Italian Navy has rescued nearly 100,000 migrants – although perhaps up to 3,000 have died – from the Mediterranean since October 2013, Europe is now presenting its new face in the Mediterranean.
The European Union is launching Joint Operation Triton with a monthly budget of 2.9 million euros and funds secured until the end of the year. Its function is to enforce border controls – not to save “boat people” – and it will patrol just thirty nautical miles from the coast, which pales in comparison with Italy’s Mare Nostrum operation which saw patrols being sent close to the Libyan coast.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bottom Economics _ Krugman

Rock Bottom Economics
Paul Krugman
Six years ago the Federal Reserve hit rock bottom. It had been cutting the federal funds rate, the interest rate it uses to steer the economy, more or less frantically in an unsuccessful attempt to get ahead of the recession and financial crisis. But it eventually reached the point where it could cut no more, because interest rates can’t go below zero. On Dec. 16, 2008, the Fed set its interest target between 0 and 0.25 percent, where it remains to this day.
The fact that we’ve spent six years at the so-called zero lower bound is amazing and depressing. What’s even more amazing and depressing, if you ask me, is how slow our economic discourse has been to catch up with the new reality. Everything changes when the economy is at rock bottom — or, to use the term of art, in a liquidity trap (don’t ask). But for the longest time, nobody with the power to shape policy would believe it.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The $ 9 Billion Fraud of J. P. Morgan Chase

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This Changes Everything

A review of the book that I discussed in class.

Naomi Klein CreditSuzanne DeChillo/The New York Times 
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“Every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable.” Thus spoke President Kennedy in a 1961 address to the United Nations. The threat he warned of was not climate chaos — barely a blip on anybody’s radar at the time — but the hydrogen bomb. The nuclear threat had a volatile urgency and visual clarity that the sprawling, hydra-headed menace of today’s climate calamity cannot match. How can we rouse citizens and governments to act for concerted change? Will it take, as Naomi Klein insists, nothing less than a Marshall Plan for Earth?
“This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” is a book of such ambition and consequence that it is almost unreviewable. Klein’s fans will recognize her method from her prior books, “No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies” (1999) and “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” (2007), which, with her latest, form an antiglobalization trilogy. Her strategy is to take a scourge — brand-­driven hyperconsumption, corporate exploitation of disaster-struck communities, or “the fiction of perpetual growth on a finite planet” — trace its origins, then chart a course of liberation. In each book she arrives at some semihopeful place, where activists are reaffirming embattled civic values.
To call “This Changes Everything” environmental is to limit Klein’s considerable agenda. “There is still time to avoid catastrophic warming,” she contends, “but not within the rules of capitalism as they are currently constructed. Which is surely the best argument there has ever been for changing those rules.” On the green left, many share Klein’s sentiments. George Monbiot, a columnist for The Guardian, recently lamented that even though “the claims of market fundamentalism have been disproven as dramatically as those of state communism, somehow this zombie ideology staggers on.” Klein, Monbiot and Bill McKibben all insist that we cannot avert the ecological disaster that confronts us without loosening the grip of that superannuated zombie ideology.

Oligarchs determine our politics.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Government spending per country.

Data summary

Government spending by country - projected. GDP. 
Country200820122017%-point change, 2012- 2017
Australia 34.48 36.4 34.56 -1.84 
Austria 49.34 51.51 49.25 -2.26 
Belgium 49.8 52.81 50.68 -2.13 
Canada 39.83 42.02 40.54 -1.48 
Cyprus 42.13 47.15 47.92 0.77 
Czech Republic 41.15 43.52 43.77 0.25 
Denmark 51.6 58.22 52.16 -6.06 
Estonia 41.04 45.26 39.49 -5.77 
Finland 49.32 54.37 53.84 -0.53 
France 53.28 56.17 52.71 -3.46 
Germany 44.05 44.93 44.11 -0.82 
Greece 50.6 51 42.78 -8.22 
Hong Kong 18.9 20.88 17.76 -3.12 
Iceland 44.64 44.56 40.47 -4.09 
Ireland 42.57 42.83 35.97 -6.86 
Israel 45.43 44.28 43.94 -0.34 
Italy 48.6 51.01 49.73 -1.28 
Japan 35.73 41.12 40.32 -0.8 
Korea 22.39 21.51 20.7 -0.81 
Luxembourg 37.12 43.81 45.11 1.3 
Malta 43.93 43.97 41.21 -2.76 
Netherlands 45.98 50.08 49.86 -0.22 
New Zealand 32.67 34.24 29.88 -4.36 
Norway 39.64 44.31 46.79 2.48 
Portugal 44.8 46.7 44 -2.7 
Singapore 17.85 17.68 19.87 2.19 
Slovak Republic 35.05 36.93 36.67 -0.26 
Slovenia 41.46 46.16 43.09 -3.07 
Spain 41.3 42.7 39.53 -3.17 
Sweden 49.15 49.16 46.6 -2.56 
Switzerland 31.3 33.44 33.3 -0.14 
Taiwan 22.3 21.15 19.41 -1.74 
United Kingdom 42.92 45.46 39.17 -6.29 
United States 39.2 40.65 39.39 -1.26 
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, October 2012

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