World Financial Crisis (and fallout) Part 5

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World Financial Crisis (and fallout) Part 5

I never thought we'd need a Part 5, but there's continuing evidence of economic trouble ahead.


Weak US numbers cast doubt on recovery


Unemployment claims are up, home sales are plunging without government incentives and manufacturing growth is slowing.

Meanwhile, 1.3 million people are without federal jobless benefits now that Congress adjourned for a weeklong Independence Day recess without passing an extension. That number could grow to 3.3 million by the end of the month if lawmakers can't resolve the issue when they return.

Ireland took the austerity pill, but it's not working

Rather than being rewarded for its actions, though, Ireland is being penalized. Its downturn has certainly been sharper than if the government had spent more to keep people working. Lacking stimulus money, the Irish economy shrank 7.1 percent last year and remains in recession.

Joblessness in this country of 4.5 million is above 13 percent, and the ranks of the long-term unemployed — those out of work for a year or more — have more than doubled, to 5.3 percent.



epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Account Holders of Liquidated Venezuelan Bank to Receive Nearly All their Funds

By Steven Mather -

Caracas, Venezuela, June 25, 2010 ( The Venezuelan government released the deposits of nearly all Banco Federal’s account holders today only 11 days after the banks operations were suspended for failing to comply with banking regulations.

On June 14, Banco Federal was closed and all its accounts were frozen after its owners ignored several government warnings that they must increase the bank’s reserves in order to guarantee deposits.

The bank held only BsF920 million in reserve for BsF3.5 billion of deposits.

According to the Superintendent of Banks and other Financial Institutions (Sudeban), Humberto Ortega Diaz, such a ratio risked a bank run which could have had a domino effect on the stability of the whole banking system.

Banco Federal had also failed in its legal obligation to ensure its financial resources were allocated towards developing the productive economy of the country and was suspected of involvement in illegal currency trading....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Is Advice from the IMF Better than Advice from a Drunk in the Street?
By Dean Baker

Source: Guardian Unlimited
Thursday, July 01, 2010

That is the question that people around the world should be asking as the International Monetary Fund dishes out its prescription for austerity. The IMF program calls for cutbacks in government support for health care, pensions and a wide range of other public services. It also calls for weakening labor market regulations that provide workers with job security.

These recommendations are being given in a context where the world economy is suffering from a massive shortfall of demand. In other words, tens of millions of people are unemployed right now because there is not enough spending to keep them employed. The IMF's program is almost certain to reduce spending further leading to even larger shortfalls in demand and more unemployment.

But, the IMF says that we should trust them. The question we should all be asking is "why?".....


Schwarzenegger orders minimum wage for state workers


The Schwarzenegger administration today ordered State Controller John Chiang to reduce state worker pay for July to the federal minimum allowed by law -- $7.25 an hour for most state workers.


Ouch. This is just until there's agreement on the state budget but still, it can't be a happy day if you work for the State of California.


It's not just PIIGS any more:


"Greece by Lake Michigan"

George Victor

I missed that wonderful little NYTimes story, F-P.    Wonder if the voters of all these debt-laden states that followed Illinois' formula are beginning to understand their role in the Conservatives' operational plan to replace state social institutions with private? (that's really not creating too large a plot theory either, eh?  Steve's hell-bent on the same thing.  But will the average masses awaken - or be awakened - to what's up?)

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Sticking the Public with the Bill for the Bankers' Crisis
By Naomi Klein - June 28th, 2010
Published in The Globe and Mail

My city feels like a crime scene and the criminals are all melting into the night, fleeing the scene. No, I’m not talking about the kids in black who smashed windows and burned cop cars on Saturday.

I’m talking about the heads of state who, on Sunday night, smashed social safety nets and burned good jobs in the middle of a recession. Faced with the effects of a crisis created by the world’s wealthiest and most privileged strata, they decided to stick the poorest and most vulnerable people in their countries with the bill.

How else can we interpret the G20’s final communiqué, which includes not even a measly tax on banks or financial transactions, yet instructs governments to slash their deficits in half by 2013. This is a huge and shocking cut, and we should be very clear who will pay the price: students who will see their public educations further deteriorate as their fees go up; pensioners who will lose hard-earned benefits; public-sector workers whose jobs will be eliminated. And the list goes on. These types of cuts have already begun in many G20 countries including Canada, and they are about to get a lot worse. For instance, reducing the projected 2010 deficit in the U.S. by half, in the absence of a sizeable tax increase, would mean a whopping $780-billion cut....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Austerity for workers, tax cuts for business—Europe’s class policy
8 July 2010

A new report by the statistical office of the European Union, Eurostat, reveals that in the wake of the most serious economic crisis since the 1930s, European governments are continuing to cut corporate taxes while increasing the tax burden on the working population.

Eurostat reports that European governments cut the average rate of corporate taxation across the continent from its 2009 level of 23.5 percent to a new record low of 23.2 percent. The reduction continues a trend which spans many years and has resulted in a major shift in tax policy.

This is but one expression of the ruthless class policy being pursued by governments across Europe and internationally—whether nominally “left” or conservative—to make the working class pay for the crisis of the capitalist system. The result is ever greater levels of social inequality, as wealth is funnelled from the bottom to the top....


Greece's best option is an orderly default

It is time to recognise that Greece is not just suffering from a liquidity crisis; it is facing an insolvency crisis too. Rating agencies have started to downgrade its public debt to junk level, while spreads on Greek sovereign bonds last week spiked to new highs. The €110-billion bail-out agreed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in May only delays the inevitable default and risks making it disorderly when it comes. Instead, an orderly restructuring of Greece’s public debt is needed now.



epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

How to Tame Financial Speculators
Asian Countries Regulate Speculative Capital Flows

by Kavaljit Singh

Just days before the G20 summit in Toronto, South Korea and Indonesia  announced several policy measures to regulate potentially destabilising capital flows which could pose a threat to their economies and financial systems.

The policy measures announced by South Korea and Indonesia assume greater significance because both countries are members of the G20. In 2010, South Korea chairs the G20.

South Korea Imposes Comprehensive Currency Controls

On 13 June 2010, South Korea announced it would be imposing currency controls which are much wider in scope than foreign exchange liquidity controls announced earlier in 2009. The policy measures have three major components:

First, there are new restrictions on currency derivatives trades, including non-deliverable currency forwards, cross-currency swaps and forwards. New ceilings have been imposed on domestic banks and branches of foreign banks dealing with foreign exchange (forex) forwards and derivatives. For Korean banks, there will be a limit on currency forwards and derivatives positions at 50% of their equity capital. For foreign banks, the ceilings will be set at 250% of their equity capital, against the current level of around 300%....


Capitalist tried Keynes ideas. Taht lasted untill the 1960s. Then they tried Friedman's ideas. That lasted until 2008. Now they are just having G20 meetings that agree on nothing and spending $1 billion on security.


I have asimple solution for the capitalsits. One world country and one world currency.


Really bad idea.

Europe is having problems because they have a shared currency.

OTOH I am inferring that you want a world wide socialist command economy.  Good luck getting that.



After reading the news paper, I've come to the realization that commoners like myself are not supposed to think about these things. Democratizing money and banking is out of the question and should be left to the elite who are educated and most capable to manage the nation's finance and credit,  because as they say, it's very complicated and should be left to those who are well read and bred. Meanwgile us working class slobs should simply trust and obey, because it's the only way. We'd better watch out. There may be dogs about, Excuse us Mr newz writer while we follow you and the rest of your bleeting sheep into the valley of bright knives and cold storage where we should be sliced into lamb cutlets and made to hang on high hooks. Babblers in this thread think dangerous thoughts.


PuffingtonHost sees a booming Canada drawing Americans:




[url=]Russian Spies Get Quick "Justice" While Wall Street Criminals Remain at Large With Few Prosecutions[/url] 1500 Bankers went to Jail After the S&L Crisis. Almost None Today


Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball

"Capitalism is dead but we still dance with the corpse.."


The US is on the Edge of a Growing Deflationary Sinkhole

"The US is trapped. Caught between rising expenditures and the need to borrow more, outstanding US debt is incapbable of ever being repaid and should the credit rating of the US ever reflect its actual state, sovereign default, not devaluation would be the result.."

US Stocks Plunge

"Friday capped off a week of ominous economic data.."

The 'Berlin Club' German Plan to Put Europe on Rations

"A contingency plan is being drawn up by the German government for stricken countries unable to pay their debts to European banks..."

hold on to your hats it's going to be a bumpy ride..

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

The Globe started its series on Broken Europe with Spain:


In economic terms, Spain’s simultaneous property-bubble collapse and debt crisis mean the country will face years of adjustment to a lower living standard and a less generous government. Given the country’s comparatively strong underlying economy, it does not face a Greek-style lender panic, but it will likely be more than a decade before its economy returns to its previous levels.

The new Europe

In human terms, it means millions of Europeans who had been given a foothold in the middle-class world of property ownership, secure employment and university education have now been plunged into lives of rented rooms, paltry minimum-wage jobs and dependency on an increasingly feeble state. Many face huge burdens of debt.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The “Berlin Club”: Germany plans to put Europe on rations
17 July 2010

A contingency plan is being drawn up by the German government for stricken countries unable to pay their debts to European banks. The plan being discussed by a small cabal of political leaders and finance experts in Berlin would effectively strip governments of the ability to determine broad areas of economic and budget policy.

According to a recent report in Der Spiegel, a group of experts numbering fewer than a dozen are drawing up a document at the request of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. The deliberations on the new plan are being kept as low key as possible in order not to frighten money markets.

In May, Germany agreed with other European governments and the IMF to set up an unprecedented rescue fund of €750 billion (US$945 billion) to be used to refinance the debts of those eurozone countries facing repayment difficulties. The German chancellor is now concerned that the new plan being worked out in Berlin could be regarded as a vote of no confidence in the European bailout package. The euro fell on Monday when news of the plan was leaked.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The “Berlin Club”: Germany plans to put Europe on rations
17 July 2010

A number of important conclusions should be drawn from the plans being prepared in Berlin.

Nearly three years after the finance crisis broke out, it is now entering a new and potentially even more explosive stage. On July 23, the results of stress tests on 91 European banks will be published. Although the tests have been drawn up to disguise as much as they uncover, some financial analysts are predicting that the statistics could reveal major problems in 10 to 20 banks. In this event, further additional billions will be required to bail out these banks and buy up their toxic assets.

Plagued by worries that the eurozone rescue package is insufficient to bail out both ailing European banks and stricken economies, the German government is now drawing up its own radical contingency plan for Europe.

The proposals for a Berlin Club will also only exacerbate national antagonisms across the continent. As Der Spiegel notes: “Countries immediately or potentially threatened by insolvency, like Greece, Portugal and Spain, will be up in arms against the proposals from Berlin. Why should they agree to rules that would make it easier for the remaining euro countries to deny them aid in an emergency?”.....


Reforming the International Financial System

"Below is an overview of the international financial institutions reform plan which has been released by the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs. The document, drafted by the Group of Experts, mirrors exactly the wishes of the world ruling class.

Its driving principle is the creation of a new world reserve currency under IMF surveillance and a system of global economic governance that would supervise the economic policies of individual nation-states.."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Chavez Praises Banco de Venezuela Growth on the First Anniversary of its Nationalisation

By Steven Mather

Caracas, July 19, 2010 ( Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared the performance of the nationalized Banco de Venezuela unprecedented, one year after it passed formally into public hands.

At an event last Thursday to commemorate the first anniversary of the nationalization, Chavez proclaimed, “I don’t know if there has been any experience like it before in Venezuela of such growth. That means a lot of things. This throws out all of that information that is emitted from the laboratories of psychological warfare that global capitalism has set up in Venezuela … that manipulate and put fear in the minds of Venezuelans.”

He revealed an increase in deposits of 50.1% at the bank that make it the top performer in the country. “Today, the Bank of Venezuela is in first place out of all the banks in the country. When it was nationalized, and made the property of the nation, it was third place with Bs. 25.7 billion. Now it is in first place, with Bs. 38.6 billion in deposits.”.....


China Calls Our Bluff

"the US is insolvent and faces bankruptcy as a pure debtor nation..."


And that guy worked hard for every penny he made.


IMF Blueprint For a Global Currency

"yes really"

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..use the military to impose austerity measures in europe is spreading beyond greece.

Spanish government prepares to use military against air traffic controllers
By Paul Stuart
10 August 2010

Air traffic controllers at the state-run Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea (AENA) have voted 98 percent in favour of industrial action against a ferocious assault by the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) government of Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero.

However, even before the ballot, the air traffic controllers union (USCA) is seeking to restrict the struggle in advance to a series of token strikes and provide AENA with a 10-day advance notice of dates.

In February the government imposed by decree a 40 percent wage cut on the controllers. According to reports it is now imposing an increase in yearly hours’ commitment from 1,000 to 1,600 and, despite rising levels of illness, a reduction in rest periods.

Recently, government officials accused controllers on sick leave of organising an illegal strike. Development Minister José Blanco threatened to fire the staff, off sick from work due to severe stress and exhaustion, who refused to return to work after he ordered fresh drumhead medical exams. Blanco threatened, “If claims are false then they are breaking the law, which means we can take legal action that may result in them losing their jobs”. According to USCA, workers with serious medical conditions are being pressured, some on tranquilizers, back to work with transport organised by AENA.....


Fed to monetize US debt to stem deflation

More than anything, the announcement was a signal to the markets that the Fed was concerned about the pace of the recovery, and had shifted from its more optimistic assessment earlier this year, that economic growth was sufficiently strong to begin thinking about how to gradually return to normal monetary policy.

For now, the Fed is saying, normal is a ways off. “Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June indicates that the pace of recovery in output and employment has slowed in recent months,” the Fed said in a statement.



George Victor

"In its announcement, the Fed also left unchanged its benchmark short-term interest rate - the federal funds rate, the rate at which banks borrow from one another overnight - at zero to 0.25 percent, its level since December 2008. And it maintained that the rate would remain "exceptionally low" for "an extended period," the language it has been using since March 2009."


Which means that the loonie is about to rise again and really, really help our export industries.


George Victor wrote:
...and really, really help our export industries

George don't you mean...? Er? Ya!


NorthReport wrote:

Chinese miracle a cautionary tale

Back in 1988, the last year of Japan’s 30-year boom, the land in the garden of the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo was allegedly worth more than the entire state of California, but that was just another way of saying “unsustainable property bubble.” The bubble duly burst, bringing down the entire Japanese economy with it — and it has stayed down for the past 22 years, achieving at best 2 percent annual growth and usually much less.

In the mid 1980s, the US economy was recovering from another ideologically induced recession, This was when the US pleaded with Japan to please commit economic suicide in 1985 by signing the Plaza Accord to allow the Yen to rise against the dollar, which ultimately made Japanese exports more expensive and US exports more competitive. Japan has always been a pliant colony of the US since WW II. Will  the CPC in Beijing be as compliant? For some reason I don't think so. Dyer is flapping his gums.


A change of drugs for a bear market


A review of drug-test data compiled by drug testing firm Sterling Infosystems Inc., shows that cocaine is losing its favor among investment professionals. What drug is their choice? Marijuana.


[url= Palast Confronts The Generalissimo of Globalization[/url] GRTV

WTO puts the heavy on developing countries to open their borders to Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction (FWMD).


[url=]Death By Globalism: Economists haven’t a Clue[/url] 
by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Apparently US fiscal stimulus is stimulating job creation in China and India but not at home.



YOu can tinker with capitalism until your hands bleed. Nothing can change the inevitable.


This Year, US Public Debt Could Reach Endgame,-US-public-debt-could-reach-end...

"Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke issues the warning. Asian nations China and India first, are no longer willing to purchase securities issued by the US Treasury, which this year has about US$ TWO TRILLION short term debt to refinance. Beijing is buying gold instead...The bankruptcy of the United States is now certain.."


I don't believe that is a real quote from Bernanke.  He's a central banker. People with money pay attention to what they say.  The are therefor very careful about what they say.  If Bernanke really said that all hell would be breaking loose right now.

If the US government is going to have trouble borrowing it will be reflected in long term interest rates.  Which are very low right now.


Well then why don't you simply follow the link provided and ascertain for yourself exactly what he did say...?

George Victor

"The bankruptcy of the United States is now certain.."


Clearly, just the sort of statement Bernanke would make...on his deathbed.

George Victor

Some countries are trying to tame finance capital:

Financial Transaction Tax feasible, says report
The Leading Group for Innovative Financing for Development, an inter-governmental organization gathering 55 member states, released a report on 16 July announcing the feasibility of taxing financial transactions. The report, commissioned by 12 of the group's member states, was conducted by a team of international financial experts and focuses on foreign exchange transactions. The report finds that as currency transactions between banks are processed via high-security international systems, which collect a per transaction fee on interbank exchange, it would be relatively easy to implement a foreign exchange tax into the system. The report calculates that introducing a small tax of 0.005% would generate USD$33 billion per year, which could be used to finance development activities such as poverty reduction and sustainable development.

A foreign exchange tax, or Tobin Tax (see JUST THE FACTS), is just one of the many possible financial transaction taxes supported by the Halifax Initiative. The Halifax Initiative welcomes the report and calls on the government to introduce this tax as a first step in implementing a general international financial transaction tax. It also calls for further discussion on the issue at the next G20 in Seoul, South Korea in November.

* The report was commissioned by the governments of Germany, UK, Japan, France, Belgium, Korea, Norway, Senegal, Brazil, Spain, Austria and Chile.

Read the report: The leading Group Report: Globalizing Solidarity: the Case for Financial Levies

Read more about this on page 4: Just the Facts: Robin or Tobin? Financial Transaction Taxes explained!


Labour Day 2010: Austerity, Public Services and the Labour Movement

"For workers across Canada, and indeed everywhere, a radical response will be needed.."


George Victor wrote:

"The bankruptcy of the United States is now certain.."


Clearly, just the sort of statement Bernanke would make...on his deathbed.

That quote is attributed to [url=]Porter Stansberry[/url]


[url=]Bailing out the Fraudsters instead of Saving America’s Economic Base[/url] Is the Economy as Broke as Lehman Was? The Angelides Committee Sidesteps the Mortgage Fraud Issue

by Prof. Michael Hudson

The Fed argues that the economy cannot recover without a solvent financial system. But what about that large part of the financial system based on fraud? Would the economy fall apart without it – without mortgage fraud, without deceptive packaging of junk mortgages, and for that matter without computerized gambling on derivatives? What of the credit-ratings agencies whose AAA writings were as much up for sale as the conscience and honesty of politicians on the Senate and House Banking Committees? Do we really need them?

And does the economy need more credit (that is, debt)? Or does it need jobs? Does it need to un-tax the banks and give tax-favoritism to Wall Street (“capital gains” tax rates) to enable it to earn its way out of debt at the expense of the production-and-consumption economy?

The question that Washington financial committees should be asking (and economics textbooks should be posing) is whether wider home ownership is really dependent on easier and looser lending standards. After all, the effect of easy credit is to enable borrowers to bid up housing prices. Is this really how to make the U.S. economy more competitive – given the fact that industrial labor now typically pays 40% of its wage income for housing?

Or, does the Fed’s easy-money policy deregulation of oversight open the way for asset-price inflation that puts home ownership even further out of reach – except at the price of running up a lifetime of debt to the banks that write the loans on their keyboard at steep markups over their cost of funding from the compliant Fed?...

That guy knows everything. EVERY thing!


They practice socialism for the rich while preaching free markets for everyone else. Laissez-faire capitalism died in 1929, RIP.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Please limit your posts to 140 characters. I didn't read anything after "spending program." Ta.

(Great post, btw.)


Today, Acting as President of The United States of America, Barack Obama, announced a spending program of $50b on the Three Rs: Roads, Runways, and Rail. This latest stimulating package, the Act. Pres. said, would create construction jobs immediately, and  then many, many more jobs in, presumably, traffic control.

The AP's program is tried and true Keynesianism whereby a government becomes the consumer of last resort. As an economic prescriptive it did wonders following the second whirl of war. The idea is that government spends on infrastructure hiring construction workers, mostly men, who will get married, buy a home, a car, new appliances, furry dice, and then pay for many years more keeping all maintained. And then vacation every year at fictional kingdoms or at endless lines of McDonald restaurants separated by shiny new infrastructure.

That worked, then, because when the Joe Jackhammer would buy a car and washing machine, both were made by other Americans in other American cities. And that American factory would hire more Americans to meet the new demand of Joe (there are few Janes) Jackhammers all over the country. The problem today, of course, is that Joe Jackhammer's car and washing machine, and just about everything else he will buy, will come from overseas. When he calls to inquire if the washing machine warranty covers mixing concrete, he will be as likely to be connected to an operator in Bombay as in Flint, Michigan as even the much heralded "knowledge economy" has been off-shored, dontcha know.

Unfortunately though, that really doesn't matter. Because  Joe Jackhammer is, in most likelihood, all jacked up on debt and so any income he does get will probably go to the bank and collection agents rather than the Wal-Mart mainlining cheap Chinese labour.

Likewise, that doesn't matter either. Because even if Jack was debt free and Westinghovel actually had a factory in Wisconsin, the empire is reduced to striking oil and other minerals in the most unlikely and furthest reaches of a world already wrung of all she can give in service to the Cult of Plastic. Meanwhile, in the process of bludgeoning out whatever minerals and fuels may still linger, what remains of habitat, wilderness, and uncontaminated lakes will be fed through the wood chipper of Western Capitalism to ensure that no CEO need go without a bonus.

A financial crisis seems so quaint. We are facing a more existential crisis. One that threatens our way of life, national economies and nation states. The madness that is beginning to infect the body politic is only the first symptom of a far more sinister disease. But fascism can no more distill energy and matter from the angry mob than can the zombie of global capitalism cease devouring living flesh.  So even the rise of Palin the Impaler and her Army of the Damned Stupid will be short lived. Her powers as Maverick Sorceress will be betrayed to be as bereft as her vocabulary. Not even she can conjure surplus from scarcity (and a surplus of madness, cruelty, and blood don't count). And from there, it is all downhill.

But fear not my Babblerites. We have done well. We continue to do well. We have fuel to waste entertaining ourselves. We have many, many cheap labourers to go through, one at a time, before our iPads and iPhones must rise in price incrementally. We have lakes to destroy and sitcoms to watch and an endless array of distractions to keep our attention glued to the perfecting of the culture of self. I rock. I really, really do. Ta ta, bambinos.


599 woids over 7 paragraphs and 45 lines.  He should be keel-hauled!! (Yeah, great post though. We're glad to have read it. ALL OF It!)