Economic Articles from 2018
How a small town reclaimed its grid and sparked a community revolution
by Aditya Chakrabortty
Posted April 14, 2018
In the east German city of Potsdam, the privatisation of water pushed charges up by a third within two years – so it was cancelled. City after city has taken back bin collection in-house. And then there’s energy. In 2005, Wolfhagen was into the final straight of taking its grid into public hands. Since then 284 municipalities, including the second-biggest city of Hamburg, have followed suit.
Such cases don’t get much of a showing in the British press. The pundits and policy wonks who equate public ownership with Red Robbo, Bakelite phones and stale British Rail sandwiches never mention that across Europe there have been 567 instances of public services being taken into public ownership since the year 2000. Everything from care homes for the elderly to bus companies is now run by continental towns and cities. More…
What if People Owned the Banks, Instead of Wall Street?
by Jimmy Tobias
Posted April 11, 2018
When Craig Brandt marched into the City Council chambers in Oakland, California, in the summer of 2015, he was furious about fraud.
The long-time local attorney and father of two had been following the fallout from the Libor scandal, a brazen financial scam that saw some of the biggest banks on Wall Street illegally manipulate international interest rates in order to boost their profits. By some estimates, the scheme cost cities and states around the country well over $6 billion. In June of 2015, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Barclays, among other Libor-rigging giants, pleaded guilty to felony charges related to the conspiracy and agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion in criminal fines to US regulators. But, for Brandt, that wasn’t enough. He wanted the banks banished, blocked from doing business in his city. More…
The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Is Bad News for the Planet
by Ellen Brown
Posted April 9, 2018
Global food control has nearly been achieved, by reducing seed diversity and establishing proprietary control with GMO seeds distributed by only a few transnational corporations, led by Monsanto; and by a massive, taxpayer-subsidized propaganda campaign in support of GMO seeds and neurotoxic pesticides. A de facto cartel of giant chemical, drug, oil, banking and insurance companies connected by interlocking directorates reaps the profits at both ends, by waging a very lucrative pharmaceutical assault on the diseases created by their toxic agricultural chemicals.
In the U.S., only about 0.6 percent of the total agricultural area is devoted to organic farming. Most farmland is soaked in pesticides and herbicides. But the need for these toxic chemicals is a myth. In an October 2017 article in The Guardian, columnist George Monbiot cited studies showing that reducing the use of neonicotinoid pesticides actually increases production, because the pesticides harm or kill the pollinators on which crops depend. Rather than an international trade agreement that would enable giant transnational corporations to dictate to governments, he argues that we need a global treaty to regulate pesticides and require environmental impact assessments for farming. More…
Transforming the way municipalities collect and spend their money
by Oscar Perry Abello
Posted April 5, 2018
It’s no surprise that Malia Cohen worries about what local public dollars are doing. As a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the municipal legislative body, it’s her job to know how, where and why the city’s money is coming in and going out. But recently, Cohen has joined a growing number of public officials around the country who are wondering what happens in between — what happens when the money in the city coffers goes to sleep at night.
In fiscal year 2017, the city of San Francisco took in an average of $508 million a month in revenues and put out $467 million a month in expenses. But in between, the banks that handle all that cash sometimes used public dollars in ways that, in the opinions of Cohen and others, contradict the reasons why that money is coming and going in the first place. More…
Money Creation — What The World Thinks
by Stan Jourdan
Posted April 4, 2018
A recent survey covering 20 countries concludes that only 20% of the population is aware that money creation is being largely managed by the private banking sector and 13% agrees this should be so. In contrast, nearly 59% would prefer that such a privilege be granted to public institution.
How many people are aware that private banks create money ; and is this system the favorite option of citizens? These questions were part of the Glocalities survey carried out by Motivaction International and the Sustainable Finance Lab that was held in December 2013 and January 2014. More than 23,000 people in 20 countries participated to the poll. The results (pdf) from this unique survey provide greater legitimacy to our money reform proposal which aims at making money creation managed by and for the public. More…
Alarm Bells Sounded on Wall Street’s Derivatives
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted April 4, 2018
On February 14, the week after the Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced two separate days of more than 1,000-point losses, the House Financial Services’ Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities and Investment convened a hearing to discuss various legislative proposals to return to the wild west era of derivatives trading on Wall Street. (Many, including Wall Street On Parade, believe that we’ve never left that era – the risks have simply been hidden behind a dark curtain.
One lonely voice for sanity on the witness panel, which was stacked with industry trade groups, was Andy Green, Managing Director at the Economic Policy Center for American Progress. Green’s written testimony stated that the legislative proposals “slice, dice, or otherwise poke holes – sometimes large holes – in the firewalls placed in the derivatives markets by post 2008 reforms….” More…
Get Out of Big Banks NOW!
by Randy Langel
Posted March 29, 2018
A few months ago I discovered that US banks are not legally required to give you cash whenever you request a withdrawal It turns out that as soon as you deposit money in a bank, the funds become the bank’s property and you become an unsecured creditor holding an IOU from the financial institution. In trying to verify this I began researching the US financial system. As I dug deeper I uncovered a complex series of federal laws, risky big bank financial maneuvers, international financial group agreements, secret G20 leader approvals, and a mysterious, relatively unknown organization which happens to be most powerful financial entity in the world. These convoluted pieces of information came together when I unearthed a document co-authored by the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Bank of England outlining how the next big bank failure would be handled.
As of December 2012, federal laws, government agency approvals, international agreements, and tactical procedures are in place so the next big bank failure will trigger an entirely new resolution policy. No longer will there be a government-taxpayer funded Bail-Out, but rather a Bail-In. The big banks will be allowed to confiscate your deposits at their discretion with no prior notice. Your compensation for the bank’s absconding with your money is a new issuance of stock (equity) in their bank.
In other words, you may walk into your bank one day and instead of getting cash for a withdrawal request, you will receive a stock certificate and it will be your responsibility to convert it to cash. This legal seizure of your money will most likely happen in just one night in a process called “overnight sweeps.” More…
Here is a video that outlines the risk to taxpayer funds held by schools, universities, municipalities, counties etc if they are deposited in a big bank. This video may be useful to present to public officials to inform them of the dangers of losing taxpayer public funds under their care.
Wall Street Is Winning By Going Dark
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted March 26, 2018
As front page news focuses more and more on the Russia-Trump investigation, there is rarely an in-depth journalistic investigation into the dangerous risks building up on Wall Street that makes front page news. And yet, as we know from the epic financial crisis of 2008, an unreformed Wall Street presents the gravest threat to America’s long-term vitality and economic might.
Take, for example, what happened this past Monday. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) awarded a record $83 million to three whistleblowers from one of America’s largest retail brokerage firms, Merrill Lynch, part of the sprawling Bank of America. That bank holds $1.4 trillion in deposits, much of which is FDIC insured and backstopped by the U.S. taxpayer — the same taxpayer that bailed out Bank of America in 2008. More…
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