Economic Articles from 2018

Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk

[Economic]
Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk
by Ellen Brown
Posted September 17, 2018

privately owned Central Banks buying stocksExcluding institutions such as Blackrock and Vanguard, which are composed of multiple investors, the largest single players in global equity markets are now thought to be central banks themselves. An estimated 30 to 40 central banks are invested in the stock market, either directly or through their investment vehicles (sovereign wealth funds).

The result, as noted in a January 2017 article at Zero Hedge, is that central bankers, “who create fiat money out of thin air and for whom ‘acquisition cost’ is a meaningless term, are increasingly nationalizing the equity capital markets.” Or at least they would be nationalizing equities, if they were actually “national” central banks. But the Swiss National Bank, the biggest single player in this game, is 48 percent privately owned, and most central banks have declared their independence from their governments. They march to the drums not of government but of private industry. More…

Two Knockout Blows to US Imperialism: De-Dollarization and Hypersonic Weapons

[Politics]
Two Knockout Blows to US Imperialism: De-Dollarization and Hypersonic Weapons
by Federico Pieraccini
Posted September 17, 2018

new strategic allianceIn the current multipolar world in which we live, economic and military factors are decisive in guaranteeing countries their sovereignty. Russia and China seem to be taking this very seriously, committed to the de-dollarization of their economies and the accelerated development of hypersonic weapons.

The transition phase we are going through, passing from a unipolar global order to a multipolar one, calls for careful observation. It is important to analyze the actions taken by two world powers, China and Russia, in defending and consolidating their sovereignty over the long term. Observing decisions taken by these two countries in recent years, we can discern a twofold strategy. One is economic, the other purely military. In both cases we observe strong cooperation between Moscow and Beijing. The merit of this alliance is paradoxically attributed to the attitude of various US administrations, from George Bush Senior through to Obama. The special relationship between Moscow and Beijing has been forged by a shared experience of Washington’s pressure over the last 25 years. More…

Trump Takes on the Fed

[Economic]
Trump Takes on the Fed
by Ellen Brown
Posted September 17, 2018

stock marketEver since the 1970s, the Fed and other central banks have insisted on their independence from political control. But according to Timothy Canova, Professor of Law and Public Finance at Nova Southeastern University, independence has really come to mean a central bank that has been captured by very large banking interests. It might be independent of oversight by politicians, but it is not a neutral arbiter. This has not always been the case. During the period coming out of the Great Depression, says Canova, the Fed as a practical matter was not independent but took its marching orders from the White House and the Treasury; and that period was the most successful in American economic history.

According to Bernard Lietaer, a former Belgian central banker who has written extensively on monetary innovation, the real job of central bankers today is to serve the banking system by keeping the debt machine going. More…

Looking Back on the Prosecution Failures after the 2008 Wall Street Crash

[Economic]
Looking Back on the Prosecution Failures after the 2008 Wall Street Crash
By James A. Kidney
Posted September 12, 2018

banker immunity from prosecutionAs the nation approaches the 10th anniversary of the demise of Lehman Brothers, which is popularly pegged as the beginning of the Great Recession, one is struck by the current events that tie back to the world-wide financial crisis of a decade ago.

Big Wall Street banks are as up to their necks in risky derivatives, as in 2008.

Once again, the political powers are reveling in a long bull market and listening to wealthy bankers proclaim a pressing need to be relieved of minimal regulation.

In the view of some, current threats to the market economy are reminiscent of 2008, along with pollyannaish predictions from lawmakers and regulators from the White House on down that all is sound. More…

Wall Street’s Derivatives Nightmare: New York Times Does a Shallow Dive

[Economic]
Wall Street’s Derivatives Nightmare: New York Times Does a Shallow Dive
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted September 12, 2018

Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, architects of collapseThe New York Times published a 1300-word shallow dive into the byzantine, globally-interconnected world of financial derivatives in its print edition yesterday. After years of ignoring this seismic problem since it last blew up the U.S. financial system in 2008, what accounts for the New York Times’ newfound interest? We can sum up its 1300 word article using only three letters – CYA (CoverYourAss!)

What frightened the Times into this foray into the dark web of financial derivatives held by the biggest Wall Street banks was a frightening, 111-page deep dive into the subject by Michael Greenberger, a law professor at the University of Maryland’s Carey School of Law. Greenberger knows a thing or two about derivatives, having previously served from 1997 to 1999 as the Director of the Division of Trading and Markets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) under its head Brooksley Born. More…

The Myth Of Fed Independence

[Economic]
The Myth Of Fed Independence
by Murray Rothbard
Posted September 11, 2018

Federal Reserve has total control of monetary systemBy far the most secret and least accountable operation of the federal government is not, as one might expect, the CIA, DIA, or some other super-secret intelligence agency. The CIA and other intelligence operations are under control of the Congress. They are accountable: a Congressional committee supervises these operations, controls their budgets, and is informed of their covert activities. It is true that the committee hearings and activities are closed to the public; but at least the people’s representatives in Congress insure some accountability for these secret agencies.

It is little known, however, that there is a federal agency that tops the others in secrecy by a country mile. The Federal Reserve System is accountable to no one; it has no budget; it is subject to no audit; and no Congressional committee knows of, or can truly supervise, its operations. The Federal Reserve, virtually in total control of the nation’s vital monetary system, is accountable to nobody – and this strange situation, if acknowledged at all, is invariably trumpeted as a virtue. More…

The Whole System Is Rigged

[Politics]
The Whole System Is Rigged
by Chris Martenson
Posted September 7, 2018

the system is riggedRecently I’ve been frustrated by the efforts to convince Americans that our democracy is under attack by outside agents when there’s ample evidence — concrete, hard, firm evidence which I’ve repeatedly covered — that US elections have been spitting out improbable and even sometimes impossible election results for the past 14 years, ever since insecure, low-integrity eVoting platforms and central tabulators were introduced.

Yes, nefarious agents may well indeed be undermining our democracy. But the real villains appear much more domestic than foreign.

There’s nothing more poisonous to the notion of democracy than fraudulent election outcomes. Nothing. And yet the number of people rising up in protest on this issue may as well be zero, as long as we’re rounding to the nearest whole percentage. Meanwhile millions are up in arms about the still-unproven allegations that Russia tipped the recent presidential elections with a laughably tiny amount of social media ads. More…

The cashless society is a con – and big finance is behind it

[Economic]
The cashless society is a con – and big finance is behind it
by Brett Scott
Posted September 3, 2018

banks forcing people to leave cashAll over the western world banks are shutting down cash machines and branches. They are trying to push you into using their digital payments and digital banking infrastructure. Just like Google wants everyone to access and navigate the broader internet via its privately controlled search portal, so financial institutions want everyone to access and navigate the broader economy through their systems.

I recently got a letter from my bank telling me that they are shutting down local branches because “customers are turning to digital”, and they are thus “responding to changing customer preferences”. I am one of the customers they are referring to, but I never asked them to shut down the branches.

There is a feedback loop going on here. In closing down their branches, or withdrawing their cash machines, they make it harder for me to use those services. I am much more likely to “choose” a digital option if the banks deliberately make it harder for me to choose a non-digital option. More…

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Why do we have a perfectly secure system in place for using a credit/debt card to buy a $2 slushy at 7-11, but somehow secure and trustworthy voting remains a mysteriously-unachievable outcome for a nation as advanced as the US?

Chris Martenson

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