Debt and Deficit as Shock Therapy » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.
When Naomi Klein published her ground-breaking book The Shock Doctrine (2007), which compellingly demonstrated how neoliberal policy makers take advantage of overwhelming crisis times to privatize public property and carry out austerity programs, most economists and media pundits scoffed at her arguments as overstating her case. Real world economic developments have since strongly reinforced her views.
Using the unnerving 2008 financial crash, the ensuing long recession and the recurring specter of debt default, the financial oligarchy and their proxies in the governments of core capitalist countries (Read more…)
Activist and art professor Max Haiven recently delivered a TED talk at TEDxNovaScotia titled “>The Debt of Creativity, in which he elaborates on the ideas he discussed in his essay Privatizing Creativity. It’s worth 15 minutes of your time to tune in.
Image: A Debtors’ Prison — William Hogarth.
Sometimes Question Period is downright funny. Witness this exchange on the provincial debt between Opposition Leader Danielle Smith and Premier Redford.*
Ms Smith: In Medicine Hat earlier this month the Premier said this about debt: it’s not debt; it’s hope. So let’s take some of the Premier’s other quotes and sub in “hope” for “debt” to see if that sentence makes sense. First: Alberta does not have hope, and we will not incur hope. Then there’s this: we cannot come out of the current fiscal situation with hope. And a PC campaign ad: Albertans want to know that (Read more…)
Indebted States of America by Maine artist Eric Leppanen is created with 169 of his own credit cards, collected over the past 23 years, adorned with the 50 U.S. state quarters and framed in gold leaf.
“It speaks to the marketing of ‘Big Banks’ to indebt Americans with bait and switch tactics and easy/free money,” explained Leppanen in an email. “The last 20 years of credit card marketing has fueled the economic boom, collapse and enslavement of millions and our own government is a shining example for all of us to follow.”
“After 16 years working for Bank (Read more…)
While this was written by Cicero in 44 BCE, after the assassination of Caesar and a year before Antony had Cicero murdered, the sentiment can be heard in today republicans–particularly those associated with the Tea Party. Any attempt at redistribution, according to Cicero, threatens the very foundation of the republic, which, he points out, was instituted to protect the sanctity of private property:
‘Those who wish to present themselves as populares, and for that reason attempt agrarian legislation so that landholders are driven from their dwellings, or who think that debtors ought to be excused from the money that (Read more…)
I’m not sure what to make of the hoopla going on in the US right now. I’m inclined to think it’s all just political theatre, as Gerald Celente calls it, designed to distract the people from the real issues – the central one being, who controls the government and the nation? Wall Street, the big […]
This comic does in one cartoon what the first chapter of Debt, the First 5000 Years does (pretty well) in one chapter. Alltop is a macro-humor generator.
This week’s TED Talk features Adam Baker, founder of ManVsDebt, a blog which focuses on a simple message: The first step to living a life of passion and purpose is to remove the barriers that hold you back. It sounds like good advice to me! * ManVsDebt.com
Brazil has announced that they will essentially “write off” about $90 million in debt from African nations. This is for helping the countries alleviate their huge levels of debt while helping create stronger economic ties between Brazil and their indebted partner nations.
“To maintain a special relationship with Africa is strategic for Brazil’s foreign policy.”
He added that most of the debt was accumulated in the 1970s and had been renegotiated before.
A spokesman for Brazil’s Foreign Ministry told Efe news agency that the debt restructuring for some countries would consist of more favourable interest rates and longer repayment (Read more…)
They’ve haunted me. Incessantly. The ghosts of Reinhart and Rogoff. Their research here, there, everywhere.
Bank of Canada speeches? Yes. Finance Department talking points? Check. House of Commons debates? Yup. Globe editorials? Ditto. Discussions with fellow progressives? Sadly, yes.
Results? Arguments conjured in their name. Reason decapitated. Modern Monetary Theorists (MMT) banished to the netherworld of cranks.
But we told you so. We told you so**:
Randy Wray, writing a little more than a year ago, called them out, saying: “One hopes that the database they have assembled might provide more detail. . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Beating Back the Ghosts: Be Gone Appeals to Reinhart and Rogoff Authority. Welcome the Triumph of Reason.
Please see today’s Vancouver Sun — or click here — for my latest letter to the editor. This one is about BC Premier Christy Clark’s efforts to raise government revenue via liquefied natural gas production. As regular readers might expect, I am not exactly on board.
Assorted content for your Sunday reading.
- Joseph Stiglitz discusses how the U.S.’ extreme inequality is limiting its prospects for economic recovery: There are all kinds of excuses for inequality. Some say it’s beyond our control, pointing to market forces like globalization, trade liberalization, the technological revolution, the “rise of the rest.” Others assert that doing anything about it would make us all worse off, by stifling our already sputtering economic engine. These are self-serving, ignorant falsehoods.
Market forces don’t exist in a vacuum — we shape them. Other countries, like fast-growing Brazil, have shaped them in
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links
Many scoff at the conservative analogy that the American government should manage its finances like a household, but little do they realize the idea doesn’t strengthen conservativism, it weakens it.
After a fiscal cliff deal that only increased taxes, many right-leaning politicians are preparing for a fight in order to cut spending. To bring the budget debate of Washington to the kitchen table of American families, many fiscal conservatives are comparing government finances to those of a household, progressives should not just let them, but they should do the exact same thing.
Democrats shouldn’t fight this nation-as-a-household analogy, they should
. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Your Country’s Finances Are Exactly Like Yours
This and that for your Wednesday reading.
- Pat Atkinson highlights what should probably be the story of the year for 2012: the continued degradation of Canadian democracy under a government which views Parliament and the public with an alarming degree of contempt: Harper’s Conservatives see Parliament as a nuisance. Committees meet in secret, and opposition MPs aren’t to reveal what is learned. And it is clear that most of Parliament’s power has been centralized into a prime minister’s office that is determined to control governing party MPs and even its cabinet ministers.
Paul Thomas, professor emeritus of politics at
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links
Canada’s dangerously high household debt is being caused by people spending beyond their means, this Conservative government has done everything possible to make sure Canadians continue to do just that. In 2006 a newly elected Conservative government… . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: In Their Words: Conservatives Responsible For High Household Debt
Canada’s debt is growing faster than our ability to pay for it. Since 2008 Canadian public debt has been growing faster than our GDP. Though there are many warning signs of economic trouble, there is no clearer caution of a potential crisis than when… . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Canadian National Debt Growing Faster Than GDP
Though many would say that fiscal deficits from this Conservative government are the most worrying, their lack of economic knowledge is far more dangerous. Before showing the economic ignorance of Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre a quick introduction… . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Conservative Fiscal Deficits & Ignorant Surpluses
This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Lawrence Martin’s take on Robocon doesn’t offer much by way of new information, but nicely sums up exactly what deliberate vote suppression and electoral fraud should mean for a governing party:At issue here is … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
Referenced IMF data can be found here Canada’s increasing Debt-to-GDP ratio is a problem no one is talking about. While the country’s gross government debt (which includes all levels of government) is large, it is rising faster than our … . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Conservative Canada Is Closer To Crisis
Voters showed the Republican Party doesn’t represent America, but in losing the election and now facing hard choices, for America’s sake, perhaps Republicans should. For today, after losing the Presidency, again, and additional senate seats, Republica… . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Now Americans Need To Follow Republican Lead
Sept 2012: Unemployment is up at 7.4%; it has been increasing since June while American unemployment has only gone down.
July 2012: Worst trade deficit ever in Canadian history at $2.3 billion.
2012: GDP growth rate is declining (PDF pg 22). Canada is no longer the fastest growing economy in the G7; it is now behind America and Japan, as well as other more comparable resource-based economies like Australia and Norway.
2007-2012: Growing debt-to-GDP ratio, now at 85%. Since 1996 Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio had been decreasing from a dangerously high 102% to an eventual low of 66% in
. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: The Conservative Economic Record
The Ontario government Fall Economic Statement and Fiscal Review ignores and hides billions savings the province will gain from lower borrowing rates in coming years.
While this statement acknowledges that borrowing rates will be considerably lower in coming years–and more than 100 basis points lower in 2014–their forecast of debt interest costs (on page 85) is identical to what Ontario’s 2012 budget reported (on page 167). This makes little to no sense, particularly with the province’s debt also lower than they had anticipated in the budget.
The only possible explanation would be a very large shift in composition from
. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Ontario hiding savings from lower interest rates
Canadians are now more indebted than either Americans or the Brits at the peak of their housing bubble. Statistics Canada today revised the national accounts. The result on the household debt front was that instead of Canadian households having a debt to disposable income ratio of 154, it has now been revised upwards to 166.
The new data allows better disaggregation of non-profits and households that were previously lumped together. The lower debt ratios of non-profits were making the entire sector look like it had less debt. Now that households can be pulled out and examined
. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Household debt going from bad to worse