Monthly Archives: June 2015

Europe as a republic: the story of Europe in the twenty first century | openDemocracy

We are living in a formal European governance system, which has lost the essential function of a political system, which is providing the public good. The buzzwords with which the current euro-crisis is negotiated are: governance, federation, integration, structural reforms, growth, competitiveness, subsidiarity. None of these words is clear; none of these words is warm; none of these words contains any normative grounding; none of these words creates a vision for Europe or unites its citizens behind a common good and a common goal, as they are all formal organisational principles.

via Europe as a republic: the story of Europe in the twenty first century | openDemocracy.

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Last tango in Athens? | openDemocracy

Following the Argentinean example, thousands more are also involved in Greece’s barter network, in which those without sufficient Euros due to loss of work or financial hardship exchange basics like clothes and food or services such as English lessons, massages or haircuts by using the TEM credits system. On Sunday the ECB announced that it would refuse to further capitalise the Greek banks which means that they will literally run out of money very soon. In a post-default scenario a desperate population will resort to joining barter clubs on a massive scale, as 2.5 million Argentineans did in 2002 when liquidity ran dry. These would act as another safety valve against neoliberalism’s devastating consequences.

According to Jorge Rabey, coordinator of a barter club in the Argentinean city of Santa Fe in 2002, “in my city alone, the clubs were used by 4,000 families. Ultimately barter acted as a barrier to poverty and as a form of containment. Santa Fe enjoyed lower levels of violence and social problems during the crisis as the community came together to ensure that basic needs were satisfied.” He adds that “the corporate media and ruling elites were favourable to us in the early days because they were well aware that barter was helping the system to save itself and preserve social order.”

via Last tango in Athens? | openDemocracy.

Europe as a republic: the story of Europe in the twenty first century | openDemocracy

We are living in a formal European governance system, which has lost the essential function of a political system, which is providing the public good. The buzzwords with which the current euro-crisis is negotiated are: governance, federation, integration, structural reforms, growth, competitiveness, subsidiarity. None of these words is clear; none of these words is warm; none of these words contains any normative grounding; none of these words creates a vision for Europe or unites its citizens behind a common good and a common goal, as they are all formal organisational principles.

via Europe as a republic: the story of Europe in the twenty first century | openDemocracy.

3spoken: Greece and the Art of Liquidity

Secondly the ECB is about to undertake €60bn of QE every month starting ‘no later than March 5’. What that means is that the overall system will become short of income earning assets as government bonds are drained by the central banks. Greece may be excluded directly from this process for the time being, but importantly it is the only government in the Eurozone that is on an expansion footing. Everybody else is busily digging their own graves by reducing deficits and other such nonsense and so is issuing as little as possible.

So that leaves new Greek government bonds as pretty much the sole source of anything resembling an interest rate in the whole Eurozone. It will be a very interesting test of ‘liquidity preference’ to see whether all this money that costs banks money to hold on deposit will stay there or whether they will be tempted by the Greek offering.

In other words it ain’t over until the Fat Lady fails to show up at the bond auction.

via 3spoken: Greece and the Art of Liquidity.

Per Kurowski (ex WB executive director) – Tea with FT blog

The problem though is that, may we say naturally, because of conflicts of interest, too many in Europe, like government employees and/or statist ideologues, are too interested in keeping the flow of these easy credits going. In other words, too many have found redistribution and cleaning up debris after the storm to be a politically more rewarding activity than producing or building more storm resistant houses… and this guarantees the continuance of Europe’s “deeply flawed governance”.

Secondly, allowing banks to hold less equity against the borrowings of “the safe”, than against the borrowing of “the risky”, signifies a subsidy to those who already have more and cheaper access to credit, and a regulatory tax on those who already have less and more expensive access to bank credit. And this translates into an odious and dangerous distortion of the allocation of bank credit to real economy, and which also, by negating opportunities to those most in need of it, is an important driver of inequality. Not wanting to understand this could be explained in terms of intellectual and moral procrastination… and in Europe, I am sad to say to many seem to be engaged in that.

via Tea with FT.

Αυτές είναι οι πραγματικές συντάξεις στην Ελλάδα | TVXS – TV Χωρίς Σύνορα

Στα 665,36 ευρώ ανέρχεται η μέση κύρια σύνταξη στην Ελλάδα, σύμφωνα με τα επίσημα στοιχεία της 24ης έκθεσης του πληροφοριακού συστήματος «Ήλιος» του υπουργείου Εργασίας, με την πλειονότητα των συντάξεων να κυμαίνεται από 500 έως 1.000 ευρώ.

Ο μέσος όρος των επικουρικών συντάξεων αγγίζει τα 168,47 ευρώ. Συνολικά οι συνταξιούχοι στη χώρα υπολογίζονται 2.656.007. Το 25% είναι ηλικίας άνω των 81 ετών, το 32% μεταξύ 71 και 80 ετών και το 38% μεταξύ 51 έως 70 ετών. Τα υψηλότερα ποσά σύνταξης τα λαμβάνουν συνταξιούχοι ηλικίας μεταξύ 56-65 ετών.

via Αυτές είναι οι πραγματικές συντάξεις στην Ελλάδα | TVXS – TV Χωρίς Σύνορα.

Αμερικανικό ινσιτούτο προτείνει… ανατροπή καθεστώτος | INFOWAR

Πρόκειται για το ίδιο think tank το οποίο πριν από τις εκλογές του 2012 πρότεινε στα κόμματα εξουσίας να δοκιμάσουν ένα τεχνητό bank run προκειμένου να εξασφαλίσουν ότι ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ δεν θα ανερχόταν στην εξουσία.

Για regime chance αλλά για διαφορετικούς λόγους έκανε λόγο σε πρόσφατο tweet του και το πρώην μέλος της Task Force στην Ελλάδα Jens Bastian, σημειώνοντας ότι όσο διαβάζει τους όρους των θεσμών τόσο αναρωτιέται εάν απώτερος στόχος είναι η “αλλαγή καθεστώτος” στην Ελλάδα.

via Αμερικανικό ινσιτούτο προτείνει… ανατροπή καθεστώτος | INFOWAR.

Ντιτρόιτ: Σφαγή των συνταξιούχων πίσω από τη χρεοκοπία | INFOWAR

Μια κολοσσιαία μεταφορά πόρων από τους ασφαλισμένους του Ντιτρόιτ προς τις μεγάλες τράπεζες επιχειρεί ο ειδικός διαχειριστής του δήμου Κέβιν Όρ με την προειλημμένη απόφαση να οδηγήσει την πόλη στη χρεοκοπία.

Οι συνομιλίες του Ορ με τα συνδικάτα κατέληξαν σε αδιέξοδο καθώς ο Τσάρος του Ντιτρόιτ προέβαλε την απαίτηση η πόλη να πληρώσει λιγότερο από δέκα σέντς για κάθε δολάριο που χρωστά στα συνταξιοδοτικά ταμεία.

Αντίθετα οι συμφωνίες στις οποίες κατέληξε τις περασμένες ημέρες ο Ορ με τους καρχαρίες του αμερικανικού χρηματοπιστωτικού συστήματος όπως η UBS, η Bank of America και η Merrill Lynch πιστεύεται ότι προβλέπουν πληρωμές έως και 75 σεντς στο δολάριο.

Αν και οι τελικές λεπτομέρειες αναμένεται να γίνουν γνωστές τις επόμενες ημέρες είναι προφανές ότι πρόκειται για μια κολοσσιαία επιχείρηση αναδιανομής εισοδήματος από τα χαμηλότερα εισοδηματικά στρώματα προς τις οικονομικές ελίτ.

via Ντιτρόιτ: Σφαγή των συνταξιούχων πίσω από τη χρεοκοπία | INFOWAR.

Το λάθος DNA του περιβάλλοντος Τσίπρα | INFOWAR

Όταν ένα μεγάλο τμήμα του πληθυσμού άρχισε να το υποψιάζεται (όπως μαρτυρούν πρόσφατες δημοσκοπήσεις) και κινούνταν πλέον σε πιο ριζοσπαστική γραμμή από την κυβέρνηση, κάποιοι προσπάθησαν να τη «βγουν από αριστερά» με ένα νέο επιχείρημα: «και με ευρώ και με δραχμή ίδια είναι η εκμετάλλευση».

Προφανώς και μπορεί να είναι ίδια η εκμετάλλευση. Όσοι ζήσαμε και με τη δραχμή το γνωρίζουμε στο πετσί μας. Οι πρόσφατες εξελίξεις όμως αποδεικνύουν ότι ενώ το εθνικό νόμισμα θα επέτρεπε θεωρητικά σε μια κυβέρνηση της Αριστεράς να αναδιανείμει τον πλούτο της χώρας, στην ευρωζώνη κάθε τέτοια κίνηση θα πνίγεται σε διάστημα λίγων ωρών από την ΕΚΤ και τους ανθρώπους της στην Αθήνα.

Η διαπραγματευτική ομάδα πήγε στη μάχη έχοντας στη διάθεσή της το προκαταρκτικό πόρισμα της Επιτροπής Αλήθειας Δημοσίου Χρέους, που αποδεικνύει ότι το χρέος είναι παράνομο, απεχθές και μη εξυπηρετήσιμο και συνεπώς δεν πρέπει να πληρωθεί. Ακούγοντας όμως το στενό κύκλο συνεργατών του και όχι την κοινοβουλευτική του ομάδα ή τη βάση του κόμματός του, ο πρωθυπουργός αποφάσισε να μην χρησιμοποιήσει τα όπλα που είχε στη διάθεσή του.

via Το λάθος DNA του περιβάλλοντος Τσίπρα | INFOWAR.

Greece is a sideshow. The eurozone has failed, and Germans are its victims too | Aditya Chakrabortty | Comment is free | The Guardian

Those are the basics all Wise Folk agree on. Then those on the right go on to say feckless Greece must either accept Europe’s deal or get out of the single currency. Or if more liberal, they hem and haw, cough and splutter, before calling for Europe to show a little more charity to its southern basketcase. Whatever their solution, the Wise Folk agree on the problem: it’s not Brussels that’s at fault, it’s Athens. Oh, those turbulent Greeks! That’s the attitude you smell when the IMF’s Christine Lagarde decries the Syriza government for not being “adult” enough. That’s what licenses the German press to portray Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, as needing “psychiatric help”.

There’s just one problem with this story: like most morality tales, it shatters upon contact with hard reality. Athens is merely the worst outbreak of a much bigger disease within the euro project. Because the single currency isn’t working for ordinary Europeans, from the Ruhr valley to Rome.

via Greece is a sideshow. The eurozone has failed, and Germans are its victims too | Aditya Chakrabortty | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Αν η Ελλάδα ήταν Ουκρανία θα την είχαν σώσει | INFOWAR

Σχεδόν ταυτόχρονα με την ανακοίνωση του νέου δανείου έγινε γνωστός και ο διορισμός του πρώην προέδρου της Γεωργίας Μιχαήλ Σαακασβίλι ως κυβερνήτη της στρατηγικής σημασίας ουκρανικής επαρχίας της Οδησσού. Πριν από μερικά χρόνια η ανάθεση μια τόσο σημαντικής θέσης σε έναν ξένο υπήκοο, ο οποίος δεν έχει στοιχειώδεις γνώσεις για την περιοχή, θα ακουγόταν σαν κακό ανέκδοτο. Μέσα σε διάστημα λίγων εβδομάδων όμως ο πρόεδρος Πέτρο Ποροσένκο, όχι μόνο προσέφερε την ουκρανική υπηκοότητα σε έναν Γεωργιανό αλλά τον παρουσίασε σαν τον απόλυτο μαχητή της διαφθοράς – παραλείποντας να σημειώσει ότι στη Γεωργία εκκρεμούν εντάλματα σύλληψης με την κατηγορία της κατάχρησης εξουσίας.

via Αν η Ελλάδα ήταν Ουκρανία θα την είχαν σώσει | INFOWAR.

▶ Government Debt and Deficits Are Not the Problem – Private Debt Is – YouTube

Michael Hudson: Why do they call for governments to balance the budget by pushing the economy at large deeper into debt, while trying to save the banks from taking a loss?

via ▶ Government Debt and Deficits Are Not the Problem – Private Debt Is – YouTube.

▶ Amsterdam lecture: private debt, the crisis, economics & the future – YouTube

lecture at the Duisenberg School of Finance focused on the peculiar failure of economic theory to appreciate the role of private debt in causing the economic crisis, and the possible future we face now that private debt is rising once more after only a minor level of deleveraging from the highest level of aggregate private debt in human history.

via ▶ Amsterdam lecture: private debt, the crisis, economics & the future – YouTube.

Greek Deception, Greek Tragedy, German Farce, German Myth – Forbes

This is where Greek deception gives way to German myth—laced with elements of both tragedy and farce. Schäuble’s remedy of Greece’s malaise could hypothetically work if the rebuilding of the trust that investors had in Greece before the crisis could return, and reduce rates to the 5% level they were before the crisis—if not to parity with current German rates, which are effectively zero. But that is patently not feasible when Greece’s government debt ratio has risen from under 120% before the crisis to over 170% now.

Rates on Greek bonds had fallen from almost 30% in 2012 to 6% in mid-2014, but blew out to 7.5% even before the Greek election was called, and when the Troika’s austerity program was being imposed by the pre-Syriza government. At its minimum—before Syriza became a factor—servicing Greek government debt required 12% of Greek’s GDP (see Figure 3). Total government spending in most OECD economies is only two to three times this amount. No OECD government could survive having to spend 33-50% of government revenue on interest payments alone; how then could Greece, with its rampant tax evasion, ever hope to service this amount?

via Greek Deception, Greek Tragedy, German Farce, German Myth – Forbes.

Βίντεο φρίκης δείχνει τα βασανιστήρια του ISIS [ΒΙΝΤΕΟ+ΦΩΤΟΓΡΑΦΙΕΣ] | TVXS – TV Χωρίς Σύνορα

Βίντεο φρίκης δείχνει τα βασανιστήρια του ISIS [ΒΙΝΤΕΟ+ΦΩΤΟΓΡΑΦΙΕΣ] | TVXS – TV Χωρίς Σύνορα.

How big banks are robbing Greek pensioners | The New Daily

In his book Governing by Debt, Maurizio Lazzarato argues that the creditor-debtor centred politics of contemporary capitalism is substantially different from the capital-labour centred politics of post-war capitalism. In fact, to understand what is at stake in contemporary Europe we need to approach debt in its totality – government, corporate, financial and household debt. We have to recognise that the debt relationship is not merely an economic relationship of money owed and collected, but a deeply political relationship of power exercised by one person or institution over another.

via How big banks are robbing Greek pensioners | The New Daily.

Europe’s private debt funds enter public eye – FT.com

life assurers were investing like banks, and their experiment was not far off what today would be called direct lending.

Then as now low yields on government bonds pushed investors with long-term liabilities to look for returns in recherché forms of credit where they would not mind the lack of liquidity. It included private corporate debt. Over the years this market became much bigger in the US.

In Europe, where banks have historically financed almost all corporate investment, it did not. That is changing.

A private debt market is maturing in the region, fed by a continuing retreat by banks from loans to small and middle-market companies, under the pressure of tougher capital rules. Regulators are catching up.

via Europe’s private debt funds enter public eye – FT.com.

Greece – five pictures of a troubled country | Paul Mason | Paul Mason

s the crunch approaches the atmosphere has changed. For six months the centre right in Greece was prepared to wait and let Alexis Tsipras try – and fail – to secure a letup on austerity. Now the old political establishment has understood he intends to take this to the bitter end: a default on Greece’s June payment to the IMF, with possible dire consequences for the banks as early as Monday night.

The ECB’s life support facility – known as Emergency Lending Assistance (ELA) – is conditional on Greece being “in a programme” agreed with lenders. I understand on Friday it was only the intervention of Mario Draghi, the ECB’s boss, that prevented the termination of ELA.

via Greece – five pictures of a troubled country | Paul Mason | Paul Mason.

Debt and (not much) deleveraging | McKinsey & Company

Seven years after the bursting of a global credit bubble resulted in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, debt continues to grow. In fact, rather than reducing indebtedness, or deleveraging, all major economies today have higher levels of borrowing relative to GDP than they did in 2007. Global debt in these years has grown by $57 trillion, raising the ratio of debt to GDP by 17 percentage points (Exhibit 1). That poses new risks to financial stability and may undermine global economic growth.

via Debt and (not much) deleveraging | McKinsey & Company.

Sober Look: Securitization of eurozone sovereign debt – European “safe bonds”

Securitization of eurozone sovereign debt – European “safe bonds”

An open letter written last fall by a group of academics proposed a simple securitization structure of the eurozone sovereign debt. At the time it did not get a great deal of traction, but as ESM comes online, it’s an idea worth some consideration.

First of all the group points out the interconnectedness of sovereign credit and bank credit in Europe. Since the European credit markets are dominated by loans as opposed to the US where corporate bond markets are well developed, tight credit conditions in the banking system can have enormous implications for economic growth in the eurozone. At the same time banks hold tremendous amounts of sovereign bonds as well as each others’ debt. This tight feedback loop between governments and banks creates a potential for rapid crisis escalation.

Source: Euro-nomics group

via Sober Look: Securitization of eurozone sovereign debt – European “safe bonds”.