Predictions for 2016

As I write, global stock markets kicked off 2016 by plunging, so much so in the case of China that stock market exchange was closed to stop selling.  The fall was prompted by all-round disappointing surveys of business activity in China, India, the US and parts of Europe. Indeed, by the end of 2015, most stock markets had their worst yearly results since the Great Recession in 2009  Clearly, rich investors and financial institutions are getting worried that the global economy, far from picking up pace, is slowing even further. It has now been eight years of what I have …

Sell everything ahead of stock market crash, say RBS economists

Royal Bank of Scotland warns of ‘cataclysmic’ year with slumps in shares and oil and advises clients to shift to bonds Stock markets have already come under severe pressure in 2016, with the FTSE 100 down more than 5% in its worst start since 2000. Investors face a “cataclysmic year” where stock markets could fall by up to 20% and oil could slump to $16 a barrel, economists at the Royal Bank of Scotland have warned.In a note to its clients the bank said: “Sell everything except high quality bonds. This is about return of capital, not return on capital. …

Kuznets, Piketty, Marx and human development | Michael Roberts Blog

Kuznets, Piketty, Marx and human development A new index of human development (HDI) has been created.  The origins of the HDI are found in the annual Development Reports of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). These were devised and launched by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq in 1990 and had the explicit purpose “to shift the focus of development economics from national income accounting to people-centered policies”. Human well-being is widely viewed as a multidimensional phenomenon of which income is only one facet.  Human development defined as “a process of enlarging people’s choices” (UNDP 1990, p. 10), namely, enjoying a healthy life, acquiring knowledge and achieving …

The Great Greek Bank Robbery – Yanis Varoufakis

ATHENS – Since 2008, bank bailouts have entailed a significant transfer of private losses to taxpayers in Europe and the United States. The latest Greek bank bailout constitutes a cautionary tale about how politics – in this case, Europe’s – is geared toward maximizing public losses for questionable private benefits. In 2012, the insolvent Greek state borrowed €41 billion ($45 billion, or 22% of Greece’s shrinking national income) from European taxpayers to recapitalize the country’s insolvent commercial banks. For an economy in the clutches of unsustainable debt, and the associated debt-deflation spiral, the new loan and the stringent austerity on …

A poisonous concoction | Michael Roberts Blog

A poisonous concoction Crude oil prices have hit a seven-year low after last week’s decision in Vienna of OPEC, the oil cartel, not to put any limit on oil production next year. Demand for oil has slowed sharply and oil stocks have built up to a record 3bn barrels while oil tankers circle the waters around refineries in the US and Europe unable to unload because there is no demand. At the same time, the prices of important raw materials like iron ore and copper hit new lows. The transport of these resources in ‘bulk carriers has collapsed, as measured by …

Varoufakis

THE ECONOMIC CASE FOR AUTHENTIC DEMOCRACY: Yanis Varoufakis

THE ECONOMIC CASE FOR AUTHENTIC DEMOCRACY: TED GLOBAL-GENEVA 8th December 2015 Yesterday I delivered a TED Global talk in Geneva on the future of democracy and capitalism. While awaiting the video, here is the text of my talk. INTRODUCTION: DEMOCRACY IS NOT INEVITABLE Democracy: In the West we make the colossal mistake of taking it for granted. We see democracy not as the most fragile of flowers that it really is but as part of our society’s furniture – as an intransient given. We also believe that capitalism inevitably begets democracy. It doesn’t! Capitalism may have yielded liberal democracies in America …

Manufacturing Consensus – Hilary Benn’s Speech

MANUFACTURING CONSENSUS – HILARY BENN’S SPEECH Everyone laughs when dictators claim ‘Victory!’ having secured fully 99 per cent of the vote. The deception is so naked, so obvious – nobody is fooled by this supposed ‘national consensus’. By contrast, when Western politics and media appear to reach a consensus on the benevolent intent of ‘our’ leaders, on the Hitlerian qualities of ‘our’ latest Official Enemy – when war is understood to be an unavoidable necessity by just about everyone – nobody blinks an eye. The beauty of a system like ours – controlled by propaganda rather than Big Brother-style censorship …

You’re doing my head in: madness and me today

by Stevie Anderson Branch Chair Clydebank SSP You’re all bugging me, including me. I’m bugging me too. That’s a full stop there, not an exclamation. I’m not exclaiming anything. I’m saying it. Listen, don’t listen, it’s up to you. Much too much I can’t keep up, I can’t keep all this in my head, I can’t work it out, sort it, make it better, make it less painful, get it to make sense. I can’t do this. Stop. I’m not suicidal. Nor am I unwell, low, mad, not coping well or any of the other easy ways we find to …

RISE Conference: From the Floor

Jordan Daly Co-Founder of Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) RISE Conference: From the Floor This weekend, I attended my first political conference. Like many other young people across Scotland, my engagement with active politics began throughout the 2014 referendum – the energy, vibrancy and diversity that the campaign created was infectious; and it left a lot of us with a drive to effect real change through direct activism and participation. RISE (Respect, Independence, Socialism, Environmentalism), Scotland‘s newest left wing electoral alliance – which will be footing candidates in the 2016 Holyrood elections – held it’s first annual democratic conference on …