Category Archives: Διεθνής πολιτική οικονομία

Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent’s Stealth Takeover of America

To put the success into perspective, MacLean points to the fact that Henry Manne, whom Buchanan was instrumental in hiring, created legal programs for law professors and federal judges which could boast that by 1990 two of every five sitting federal judges had participated. “40 percent of the U.S. federal judiciary,” writes MacLean, “had been treated to a Koch-backed curriculum.”

MacLean illustrates that in South America, Buchanan was able to first truly set his ideas in motion by helping a bare-knuckles dictatorship ensure the permanence of much of the radical transformation it inflicted on a country that had been a beacon of social progress. The historian emphasizes that Buchanan’s role in the disastrous Pinochet government of Chile has been underestimated partly because unlike Milton Friedman, who advertised his activities, Buchanan had the shrewdness to keep his involvement quiet. With his guidance, the military junta deployed public choice economics in the creation of a new constitution, which required balanced budgets and thereby prevented the government from spending to meet public needs.

via Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent’s Stealth Takeover of America

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The Real Cause of the Italian Bank Bailouts and Euro Banking Troubles

The clear winner of the banking union has been the German banking system: All German banks, but especially the small and medium ones, who benefitted from the establishment of a 30 billion euro balance sheet floor for banks to be subjected to ECB supervision. To obtain such condition as part of the first pillar, German minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble threatened to veto the banking union project as a whole, and it is no mystery that he was thinking precisely about banks such as the relative small Sparkassen (savings banks).

Of the 417 Sparkassen, only one is under the supervision of the ECB today; we are talking about banks that count for the 22.3% of the loans in that country for a total of 1000 billion euro.

But this is not the only way these public banks, traditionally tied to the German ruling party CDU, were protected. At least two other ways deserve mention.

The first is how the so-called Institutional Protection Schemes (IPS) were kept outside the European regulation. IPS are systems of mutual protection and guarantees of the associate banks, regulated via a contract. They exist in Germany (Sparkassen and Volksbanken), Austria (Raiffeisen banks) and Spain (saving banks). IPS aren‘t banking groups, nor banks networks. Hence, they are not directly under the European discipline—the European Directive on capital requirements [CRD IV] does not even mention them—nor the Basel Accords. This is how Thomas Stern, expert for banking regulation at the Austrian Financial Markets Authorities, characterized the situation: “The decision of the European legislator to not extend the regulation about capital and liquidity to the IPS is remarkable and hard to understand from a prudential point of view.” Stern wrote these lines in 2014, but the situation is hardly improved since then.

via The Real Cause of the Italian Bank Bailouts and Euro Banking Troubles

DERIVATIVES — Suhail Malik and Ulf Martin (September 2016) – Pseudorational Control and the Magma of Reality – The Ontology of Finance: Price, Power, and the Arkhéderivative – YouTube

Martin, Ulf. 2016. Pseudorational Control and the Magma of Reality. Unpublished paper presented at the Department of Political Science, York University, September 27: 1-37.

 

The Ontology of Finance: Price, Power, and the Arkhéderivative

 

via DERIVATIVES — Suhail Malik and Ulf Martin (September 2016) – YouTube

Financial Secrecy Index 2018

Financial Secrecy Index 2018

via Financial Secrecy Index 2018 – Tax Justice Network

Iceland Alone and Latvia Captured

Valdis Dombrovskis (then prime minister of Latvia) co-authored a 2011 book entitled ‘How Latvia Came Through the Financial Crisis’. As the book documents, the rescue package for Latvia was not put together in Latvia’s capital Riga or in a neutral third country. Rather “Swedish Minister of Finance Anders Borg called the closest friends of Latvia to an emergency meeting at Arlanda airport.” They did not even bother to go to downtown Stockholm.

In his book Dombrovskis describes this meeting as “a kind of auction.” This was a rescue package for foreign banks more than the Latvian public. General Government Debt as percentage of GDP was very small in the Baltics when the crisis hit but during the bank rescue they increased in all the Baltic States; according to the IMF, in Latvia from 7 percent in 2007 to 40 percent in 2010.

via Iceland Alone and Latvia Captured

The Future Of Europe – A Space For The Social Policy Avant-Garde

The goals via this new course must be:

A well-balanced welfare-orientated economic policy geared to correcting the inequities of distribution, the eradication of (youth) unemployment and the creation of quality jobs, social and ecologically sustainable investments and protection of the welfare state. Its central element is boosting domestic demand through a productivity-driven wages policy as well as an adequate co-ordination of fiscal policy;
Introduction of a ‘golden rule of fiscal policy’ whereby member states win room for public investments for the future; coupled with an investment offensive (cf DGB-Marshall Plan for Europe) as well as the ETUC Investment Plan for Sustainable Growth and Quality Jobs);
Embedding a ‘protocol for social progress’ within EU primary law which prevents the deregulation of the fundamental freedoms in the area of labour and social law along with the principle “equal pay and equal working conditions for the same work at the same place of work”;
Expanding the social dialogue, extending co-determination, in particular, a directive on the protection of co-determination in cross-border headquarter relocations and the restoration, stablisation and strengthening of free collective bargaining.

via The Future Of Europe – A Space For The Social Policy Avant-Garde

Retooling Social Europe Via Charters Of Rights

The power of accession

The EU could accede to the European Social Charter on the basis of Article 216 (1) TFEU. The idea of accession was also mentioned in 1984, when the European Parliament adopted the Draft Treaty Establishing the European Union, widely referred to as the “Spinelli Treaty”. Chapter 1 (Article 4. 2) refers to “economic social and cultural rights derived from the Constitutions of the Member States and from the European Social Charter”. Initiatives taken during the political run-up to embracing accession may play positively within European public opinion, as these would undoubtedly indicate that the EU is equally committed to the establishment of the internal market, and the creation of an area of freedom, security and justice, including social justice, where egalitarianism prevails in terms of civil, political, economic and social rights.
Window of opportunity

The incomplete project of constitutionalisation of social rights should come to a final conclusion. The European commitment to social rights is essentially rhetorical in nature, being through the years the Achilles heel of “Social Europe”. On that basis, the political and economic conditions may be propitious to reversing the downturn of the social rights. Given that the ultra-critical UK is no longer an “antagonist” of Social Europe owing to the recent Brexit vote, concrete measures via the ESPR could erode the economic and social divergences between Member States that have put Europe’s political cohesion at risk. Finally, this and the threat posed by the rise of extreme-right parties should motivate Europe to rethink its geopolitical role – and, indeed, its very nature.

via Retooling Social Europe Via Charters Of Rights

DIW Berlin: Low interest rate environment amplifies negative effects of austerity policy

Conclusion: Ease austerity measures, boost investment

Now the issue arises as to which measures should be taken in the future to reduce sovereign debt as a means of enlarging governments’ financial room for maneuver and increasing economic growth. Since it does not look like the ECB will raise the prime rate in the near future despite the growing momentum in the euro area’s economic development, the only remaining option is to adjust the consolidation targets. To avoid the enormously contractive and counteractive effects of stringent austerity measures, we recommend making them less restrictive, while at the same time dismantling the tax system’s superfluous bureaucracy and other elements that hamper growth. Debt relief as a means of enlarging governments’ financial room for maneuver should be considered in a tangible manner. And investment that favors long-term potential growth should be systematically supported. This balanced policy mix contains powerful measures with medium-term effects instead of short-term ones. In an environment of low interest rates, debt deleveraging in the private sector, and loss of trust in the financial markets, it seems apt to avoid the high costs of restrictive austerity programs.

via DIW Berlin: Low interest rate environment amplifies negative effects of austerity policy

Growth Is Back! So What?

So what should we actually be concerned about? Instead of growth, well-being (human flourishing), resilience (resisting shocks) and sustainability (caring about the future) should become the collective horizons of social cooperation, of which economics is only a facet. Because these three horizons have been overlooked by mainstream economic thinking in the last three decades, our social world has been mismanaged and our prosperity is now threatened by inequality and ecological crises. At its best, economics measures what counts and provides societies with the means to make it count, among the most powerful of which are robust and relevant social and ecological indicators. Building, disseminating, and using them is thus a practical way to reclaim essential values and advance important issues and policies. Done properly, measuring produces positive collective meaning. Understanding how what matters to humans can be properly accounted for is the first step to valuing and taking care of what really counts.

via Growth Is Back! So What?

Company Cross-Border Transfer Rules Must End ‘Regime Shopping’

he ETUC has uncovered many examples of abuse of company mobility rules. For example, in the meat-processing sector, work was sub-contracted to Eastern European letter-box companies employing low-paid workers on short contracts. The complexity of such arrangements makes it hard for inspectors with limited resources to follow the trail of responsibility. People work up to 20 hours a day, with no sick pay, overtime compensation or health insurance.

In the construction sector, a Polish-registered company with one room and a shared phone number in Gdansk posted workers to Sweden, where local staff were sacked. The posted workers experienced long hours, bad housing, and non-payment of wages. The company paid no social security contributions in either country, while at the same time deducting charges from workers’ salaries.

via Company Cross-Border Transfer Rules Must End ‘Regime Shopping’

Most Progressives are Neoliberals in Disguise Professor Bill Mitchell – YouTube

Most Progressives are Neoliberals in Disguise Professor Bill Mitchell

via Most Progressives are Neoliberals in Disguise Professor Bill Mitchell – YouTube

Bill Mitchell in Helsinki: The Euro Crisis and Austerity – YouTube

Professor William F. Mitchell discusses the theoretical and political background of the austerity policy. Helsinki University 9th October 2015. Mitchell works as a professor of economics at the University of Newcastle, Australia and as a director of the Centre for Full Employment and Equity. Mitchell’s latest book Eurozone Dystopia (2015) traces the origin of the flawed macroeconomic framework that rendered the Eurozone dysfunctional by design. In the book Mitchell lays bare the foundations of neoliberal “groupthink” that has locked the Eurozone into a destructive path towards persistent stagnation and rising social instability.

via Bill Mitchell in Helsinki: The Euro Crisis and Austerity – YouTube

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems | Books | The Guardian

Neoliberalism’s triumph also reflects the failure of the left. When laissez-faire economics led to catastrophe in 1929, Keynes devised a comprehensive economic theory to replace it. When Keynesian demand management hit the buffers in the 70s, there was an alternative ready. But when neoliberalism fell apart in 2008 there was … nothing. This is why the zombie walks. The left and centre have produced no new general framework of economic thought for 80 years.

Every invocation of Lord Keynes is an admission of failure. To propose Keynesian solutions to the crises of the 21st century is to ignore three obvious problems. It is hard to mobilise people around old ideas; the flaws exposed in the 70s have not gone away; and, most importantly, they have nothing to say about our gravest predicament: the environmental crisis. Keynesianism works by stimulating consumer demand to promote economic growth. Consumer demand and economic growth are the motors of environmental destruction.

via Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems | Books | The Guardian

Brexit And The Status Quo Ex-Ante

Every non-euro country’s government except Britain and Denmark must adopt the euro after 2020. Though severe instability of the euro earlier this decade sapped much of the enthusiasm for adopting it, the requirement is embedded in EU treaties. The fiscal pact (TSCG) is inseparable from joining the euro zone because it is the vehicle for enforcing the Maastricht fiscal rules. Taken together, the rules and the TSCG enforcement procedures combine to make a reactionary and undemocratic policy regime as I argued in a previous SE article.

Assume that as a result of a second referendum and/or a vote of parliament a British government reversed Article 50 and sought to re-establish membership. Clause 5 of Article 50 allows for that possibility — if “a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49”.

Article 49 states that a re-applying government shall be treated as a new applicant. Thus, to re-enter the British government would lose its opt-out from the euro and have to adopt the TSCG. Both would be unwise and together would undermine progressive change in Britain.

via Brexit And The Status Quo Ex-Ante

Inequality In Europe: What Can Be Done?

This is not an exhaustive list but illustrates the breadth of predistribution as an egalitarian strategy. In conclusion, three points ought to be made. Firstly, ‘redistribution’ and ‘predistribution’ are not mutually exclusive. Egalitarians need both. If predistributive measures are effective, they ought to raise the overall tax take by boosting employment participation; greater resilience in the tax base then increases the potential for redistribution and ‘social’ investment over the long-term.

The second point is that predistribution is often politically more difficult than traditional redistribution. Predistribution involves taking on entrenched vested interests, especially in the financial sector. It is important to highlight that lower inequality of primary incomes is positive for economic efficiency as well as social justice. Greater equality helps to create more stable market economies, balanced by societies where democratic politics rather than market forces prevail.

via Inequality In Europe: What Can Be Done?

How economics became a religion

Contrary to the tenets of orthodox economists, contemporary research suggests that, rather than seeking always to maximise our personal gain, humans still remain reasonably altruistic and selfless. Nor is it clear that the endless accumulation of wealth always makes us happier. And when we do make decisions, especially those to do with matters of principle, we seem not to engage in the sort of rational “utility-maximizing” calculus that orthodox economic models take as a given. The truth is, in much of our daily life we don’t fit the model all that well.

via How economics became a religion | John Rapley | News | The Guardian

Αποκαλυπτική έρευνα για τους «τέσσερις μεγάλους» της φοροδιαφυγής

Η διαρροή των Panama Papers αποκάλυψε, αν όχι το ίδιο το γεγονός, την έκταση της φοροδιαφυγής/φοροαποφυγής και του σαθρού καθεστώτος λειτουργίας των φορολογικών παραδείσων, στους οποίους δεν υπάρχει δικαιοδοσία ελέγχου και επιβολής του νόμου. Στα Panama Papers εμπλέκονται μεγιστάνες, πολυεθνικές και εξέχοντα πολιτικά πρόσωπα. Τι γίνεται όμως με αυτούς που τους ελέγχουν; Η παρούσα αποκαλυπτική έρευνα, που στην Ελλάδα δημοσιεύει αποκλειστικά το tvxs.gr, παρουσιάζει αποδείξεις για την εμπλοκή σε φορολογικούς παραδείσους και τον αδιαφανή τρόπο λειτουργίας των τεσσάρων μεγαλύτερων εταιρειών ορκωτών λογιστών του κόσμου. Πρόκειται για τις «The Big Four»: Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers ή PwC, EY (μέχρι πρόσφατα Ernst & Young) και KPMG.

via Tvxs Αποκλειστικό: Αποκαλυπτική έρευνα για τους «τέσσερις μεγάλους» της φοροδιαφυγής

EU – Fateful Year 2017

Neither holding on to neoliberalism, nor renationalization, nor cosmetic reforms, nor individual measures are the correct answers to the current crisis. Social partners and the European trade unions have repeatedly proposed a package of necessary measures:

Democracy must be extended at European level by strengthening the European Parliament. The promotion of transnational democracy should be accompanied by the creation of a European public (in the media, the political debate, the education system, etc.) where the interests of societal groups feature as a priority.
Fair distribution and positive economic growth must be promoted by joint future-oriented investments and the fight against tax fraud and aggressive tax evasion.
Furthermore, the liberal economic governance and austerity policy of the Stability and Growth Pact must be immediately terminated, establishing at the same time a minimum floor of labor and social law. Fundamental social rights must take priority over internal market freedoms.
Finally, the reshaping and stabilization of the financial sector is a must.

via EU – Fateful Year 2017

For A Treaty Democratizing Euro Area Governance – (T-Dem)

However scattered they may be, these different policies are truly ‘governed’, as a hard core emerged from the ever closer union of national and European economic and financial bureaucracies – French and German national treasuries, ECB executive board, senior economic officials from the European Commission. As matters stand, this is where the Euro Area is supposedly governed and where the proper political tasks of coordination, mediation and balancing among the current economic and social interests are carried out. In 2012, as he gave up reforming the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance, a cornerstone of this Euro Area governance, François Hollande contributed to consolidating this new power structure. From then onwards, this European executive pole has only seen its competences expand. Over a decade, its scope for intervention has become significant, ranging from ‘budgetary consolidation’ (austerity) policies to far-reaching coordination of national economic policies (Six Pack and Two Pack), the set-up of rescue plans for member states facing financial distress (Memorandum and Troika), the supervision of all private banks.

via For A Treaty Democratizing Euro Area Governance – (T-Dem)

Global Inequality: A New Approach For The Age Of Globalization

One of the world’s leading inequality economists, Professor Branko Milanovic, presents a bold new account of the dynamics that drive inequality on a global scale. Drawing on vast data sets and cutting-edge research, he explains the benign and malign forces that cause the rise and fall of inequality within and among nations. He also reveals who has been helped the most by globalisation, who has been held back, and what policies might tilt the balance toward economic justice.

His new book, Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization (2016), addresses economic and political issues of globalisation, including the redefinition of the “Kuznets cycles.”

via Global Inequality: A New Approach For The Age Of Globalization