IMF and debt: a new consensus?

15 April 2021 — Michael Roberts Blog

by michael roberts

There is much talk among ‘progressive’ economists that the IMF and the World Bank have turned over a new leaf.  Gone are the days of supporting fiscal austerity, demanding that national governments get public debt levels down and insisting on conditions for countries borrowing IMF-WB funds that their governments privatise their state assets, deregulate markets and reduce labour rights.

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Ecuador: reversing the pandemic slump?

8 February 2021 — Michael Roberts Blog

by michael roberts

The leftist candidate Andrés Arauz took the lead in the first round of the presidential elections in Ecuador.  Arauz won 31.5 per cent of the vote, putting him about 11 percentage points clear of his nearest rivals. It was unclear who Arauz would face in the run-off. Indigenous leader Yaku Pérez and Guillermo Lasso, a wealthy ex-banker, were in a technical tie for second place, with Perez on 20.04 per cent to Lasso’s 19.97 per cent.  The second run-off round will be in April but if Arauz runs against the pro-business Lasso, he is likely to win; it’s less sure against Perez.

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Mega-rich recoup COVID-19 losses in 9 months but for everyone else…

26 January 2021 — True Publica

The 1,000 richest people on the planet recouped their COVID-19 losses within just nine months, but it could take more than a decade for the world’s poorest to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic, reveals a new Oxfam report today. ‘The Inequality Virus’ is being published on the opening day of the World Economic Forum’s ‘Davos Agenda’.

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Three tragedies born in the womb of neo-liberalism

25 January 2021 — theplanningmotivedotcom

At first sight, the Pandemic, Grenfell and Brexit, don’t seem to be connected, but they are. They represent the uncivilised outcomes of an unrestrained capitalism obsessed by cutting costs, the state and regulations. The result is that the short-term enrichment of the tiny minority are now being swamped by the longer-term losses that the rest of society will be forced to bear.

grenfell-pandemic-brexit.pdf

John Pilger: ‘I spoke to impoverished families in 1975 and little has changed since then’

26 November 2020 — John Pilger

John Pilger interviewed Irene Brunsden in Hackney, east London about only being able to feed her two-year-old a plate of cornflakes in 1975. Now he sees nervous women queueing at foodbanks with their children as it’s revealed 600,000 more kids are in poverty now than in 2012.

A British family from the film ‘Smashing Kids’, 1975. Photograph: John Garrett

When I first reported on child poverty in Britain, I was struck by the faces of children I spoke to, especially the eyes. They were different: watchful, fearful.

In Hackney, in 1975, I filmed Irene Brunsden’s family. Irene told me she gave her two-year-old a plate of cornflakes. “She doesn’t tell me she’s hungry, she just moans. When she moans, I know something is wrong.”

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Exiting the false “jobs versus environment” dilemma

16 November, 2020 — ROAR

The workerist environmentalism of Italy’s Porto Marghera group connects the workplace and the community in the struggle against capitalist “noxiousness.”

Amidst the renewed rise of obscene inequalities, a wave of protests is sweeping through Italy, from south to north. On the one hand, the pandemic has engendered an upsurge in workplace disputes to defend health and in mobilizations to protect the income of workers affected by COVID-19-related restrictions. On the other hand, however, we have also witnessed successful interventions coordinated by the right and infused with a bewildering array of conspiracy theories in response to such measures.

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Rishi Sunak’s planned cut to benefits is much bigger than Osborne’s in 2015

6 October 2020 — True Publica
Rishi Sunak’s planned cut to benefits is much bigger than Osborne’s in 2015

By Torsten Bell, Karl Handscomb and Adam Corlett: Back in 2015, 3.3 million working families were on track to lose an average of over £1,000 a year from the following April. As Figure 1 shows, today, the income of roughly twice as many families is at risk, with 6 million households (containing 12 million adults and 6 million children) set to have their income reduced by £20 a week from April 2021. This is principally because this time the cut will affect all recipients of Universal Credit or tax credits, whether they are working or not. The planned cut by Rishi Sunak, at around £8 billion, is therefore over twice as big as the £3.4 billion George Osborne intended (£3.7 billion in 2021-22 money). Continue reading

Blight and Revelation: Coronavirus, Austerity and the UK

12 August 2020 — Global Research

Epidemiologist Michael Marmot begins his August 10 piece in The Guardian on a sombre note.  It is drawn from The Plague by Albert Camus.  “The pestilence is at once blight and revelation; it brings the hidden truth of a corrupt world to the surface.”  Professor Marmot uses the UK’s inglorious record on combating COVID-19 as a mirror for both blight and revelation. 
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Macron wounded, but still eyeing austerity

11 July 2020 — Red Flag
Macron wounded, but still eyeing austerityThe second round of the French local elections, at the end of June, was bad news for president Emmanuel Macron, whose candidates did very poorly. In response, Macron switched prime ministers, replacing high-profile operator Edouard Philippe with an unknown right winger, Jean Castex, whose previous experience consisted mostly of being mayor of a town with 6,000 inhabitants. “I’m not looking for the limelight”, confirmed Castex on the day of his appointment. Meanwhile, mobilisations for Black lives and working-class anger at austerity and job losses have marked the month since the raising of the lockdown. What are the prospects for the year to come?

Meet BlackRock, the New Great Vampire Squid

22 June 2020 — Greanville Post

Ellen Brown

Blackrock

BlackRock is a global financial giant with customers in 100 countries and its tentacles in major asset classes all over the world; and it now manages the spigots to trillions of bailout dollars from the Federal Reserve. The fate of a large portion of the country’s corporations has been put in the hands of a megalithic private entity with the private capitalist mandate to make as much money as possible for its owners and investors; and that is what it has proceeded to do.

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