Although the repo market is little known to most people, it is a $1-trillion-a-day credit machine, in which not just banks but hedge funds and other “shadow banks” borrow to finance their trades. Under the Federal Reserve Act, the central bank’s lending window is open only to licensed depository banks; but the Fed is now pouring billions of dollars into the repo (repurchase agreements) market, in effect making risk-free loans to speculators at less than 2%.
with Chris Hedges
As 2019 comes to a close and we enter a new decade, we look back at the major events and issues that shaped the year with Chris Hedges. We discuss the rise of the Right, in part due to the weaknesses of the Left, what the Sanders campaign means for activism and achieving meaningful social change and whether or not the United States is ready for a massive uprising against neo-liberalism, as is happening around the world. The next decade will be a time when major crises such as the climate, wealth inequality and militarism are devastating. At some point, a spark will be lit in the US, but in the current environment, that is likely to result in greater movement to the right unless we prepare now to build power on the left.
RT on Jan 2, 2020
Continuing with their New Year’s Eve celebrations, the Keiser Report is joined by Dr. Michael Hudson, author of Super Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of US World Dominance. Will 2020 see further decline in that super imperialism about which he first wrote all those decades ago? They discuss this and then turn to the upcoming elections in the US and whether or not he believes the stock market numbers will aid Trump. Finally, the discussion takes in Hudson’s views on uprisings globally and whether they herald the end of the age of neoliberalism.
Chapter 2 from A People’s History of the United States.
A black American writer, J. Saunders Redding, describes the arrival of a ship in North America in the year 1619:
Sails furled, flag drooping at her rounded stern, she rode the tide in from the sea. She was a strange ship, indeed, by all accounts, a frightening ship, a ship of mystery. Whether she was trader, privateer, or man-of-war no one knows. Through her bulwarks black-mouthed cannon yawned. The flag she flew was Dutch; her crew a motley. Her port of call, an English settlement, Jamestown, in the colony of Virginia. She came, she traded, and shortly afterwards was gone. Probably no ship in modern history has carried a more portentous freight. Her cargo? Twenty slaves.
What’s going on in the repo market? Rates on repurchase agreements (“repo”) should be around 2%, in line with the fed funds rate. But they shot up to over 5% on September 16 and got as high as 10% on September 17. Yet banks were refusing to lend to each other, evidently passing up big profits to hold onto their cash – just as they did in the housing market crash and Great Recession of 2008-09.
“Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality. For one very rich man there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many.” — Adam Smith
Many of the most pressing problems all nations face are a result of failing to adequately tackle our increasing level of global interdependence.
Mobilized capital can play the tax-regime of one country off against another with ease, such that there is a race to the bottom with respect to the corporate tax revenues which might be expected from even the wealthiest transnational corporations. Such economic arbitrage is possible precisely due to the propagation of widespread variations in the distribution of social justice across the planet. There are no national solutions to such problems, which ultimately require the more equitable distribution of social justice on a global scale.
goingundergroundRT on Oct 30, 2019
On this episode of Going Underground, ahead of a UK General Election in December, we speak to BAFTA-award winning director Ken Loach and BAFTA-award winning writer Paul Laverty on their new film “Sorry We Missed You”, highlighting the struggles of a family living facing an uphill struggle since the 2008 financial crash in the neoliberal gig economy. They discuss the film, the illusion of choice in the free market and how it damages workers’ rights, the hardship of workers in gig economy jobs, the rise of Amazon and how companies like Amazon show capitalism can’t be regulated, the culture of shaming the poor and lauding entrepreneurs, the ignoring of corporate fraud and the continuous focus on welfare fraud, why the ideology of socialism still faces difficulty after the collapse of the Soviet Union and more!
This 10-page paper was written for the Economics of Happiness Conference co-sponsored by Local Futures, held in Jeonju, Korea, on October 16-17, where I was the keynote speaker — a wonderful city and great experience!
Satisfaction in the workplace is a major component of the “happiness” index; but it is a satisfaction that young people joining the workforce today are not feeling. In a 2017 book titled Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials, Malcolm Harris asks why the millennial generation – those born between 1981 and 1996 – are so burned out. His answer is, “the economy.” Millennials are bearing the brunt of the economic damage wrought by late 20thcentury capitalism, with economic insecurities throwing them into a state of perpetual panic. Harris argues that if they want to meaningfully improve their lives and the lives of future generations, they will have to overthrow the system and rewrite the social contract.
Conceding that their grip on the economy is slipping, central bankers are proposing a radical economic reset that would shift yet more power from government to themselves.
Central bankers are acknowledging that they are out of ammunition. Mark Carney, the soon-to-be-retiring head of the Bank of England, said in a speech at the annual meeting of central bankers in August in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, “In the longer-term, we need to change the game.” The same point was made by Philipp Hildebrand, former head of the Swiss National Bank, in an August 2019 interview with Bloomberg. “Really there is little if any ammunition left,” he said. “More of the same in terms of monetary policy is unlikely to be an appropriate response if we get into a recession or sharp downturn.”
Why we need to abolish the Democratic National Committee, even if that means breaking up the Democratic Party
Thursday’s debate on Walt Disney’s ABC channel is shaping up as yet another shameless charade. The pretense is that we are to select who the Democratic presidential candidate will be. But the limited airing of their personalities reflects the fact that most Americans, as the Irish say, vote with their backsides, belonging to the informal but dominant party of non-voters who choose not to be sucked into legitimizing the bad choices put before them.
In the vast literature dealing with the rise of Christianity, we find many different accounts of how this small sect of Jewish messianists arose, spread, and eventually took over the Roman Empire. However, most of these histories focus on Christianity as a group defined by a set of beliefs, or a group dedicated to the adoration of the person of Jesus Christ. While it is true that Christianity, as it arose, was certainly those things, it was also a group with its own socio-economic ideology and set of practices.
We are again reaching the point in the business cycle known as “peak debt,” when debts have compounded to the point that their cumulative total cannot be paid. Student debt, credit card debt, auto loans, business debt and sovereign debt are all higher than they have ever been. As economist Michael Hudson writes in his provocative 2018 book, “…and forgive them their debts,” debts that can’t be paid won’t be paid. The question, he says, is how they won’t be paid.
with Abby Martin
Empire Files on Aug 27, 2019
Abby Martin sits down with renowned Marxist Economist Richard Wolff to discuss the growing popularity of socialism under Trump and its historical roots in America, misconceptions about Russia and China’s economic success and Marx’s theory of alienation and monopoly capitalism.
The US-led NATO alliance this week designated a whole new hemisphere to itself for “security” operations. No longer merely an “Atlantic” organization, it’s assuming the role of policing the Pacific. Quite a self-promotion.