Is the global economy just a giant debt scam? What the financial elite doesn’t want you to know | Salon.com

Let’s restate that, because it gets more shocking the more you think about it. The bailout money came from the European Central Bank and the IMF, largely meaning the taxpayers of France, Germany and other prosperous nations of Western Europe. Exactly none of it went to restore social services or repair roads in Greece. All of it was used to make payments on the Greek government’s existing debt — most of which was to banks in Western Europe. So Angela Merkel and François Hollande (then the French president) and other political leaders extorted money from their own taxpayers, on the pretense that they were helping out a small, struggling nation on Europe’s southern fringe, and siphoned it directly to the biggest European banks, largely in their own countries. It was a direct wealth transfer from ordinary people to the financial elite.

Source: Is the global economy just a giant debt scam? What the financial elite doesn’t want you to know | Salon.com

A Most Internationally Modernized City – Next City

The New Celestial Empire:

Author’s note: China’s “One Belt One Road” Initiative is an audacious plan to cover half the earth in Chinese-built infrastructure: railways, highways, shipping lanes, and energy corridors. One of the initiative’s marquee projects is a railway that China would like to build from its southern city of Kunming all the way through Southeast Asia to Singapore. Construction has just gotten started, particularly in Laos, the first Southeast Asian country the railway would run through. A poor and extremely undeveloped place, Laos has seen China’s presence grow quickly in recent years. I traveled to Laos in March 2017 while researching a book about the railway to see for myself how the project was coming along. What I found was surreal.

In the remote Laos-China border region, China is turning highland villages into teeming industrial hubs. Engineers have sliced modern highways — the kind you rarely see in Laos — through the jungle. And in one case, Chinese city-builders are resurrecting Boten, a former casino town that had been abandoned years prior, retrofitting it to serve as the railway’s entry point into Laos. This chapter-length excerpt is a snapshot of this isolated region and its dramatic transformation, as China begins its inexorable march with steam shovels, blueprints and big plans for the future.

Source: A Most Internationally Modernized City – Next City

Bank of America confirms Dublin as location for EU hub

Even if the UK reverses and doesn’t Brexit, the genie is out of the bottle. While London may survive as Europe’s premier financial center in a no-Brexit scenario, it will be by a smaller margin and with more competition.
Frankfurt and Dublin will be more important as financial centers with or without Brexit. Paris will gain – especially as high-speed transportation links advance. Just as Wall Street now stretches coast-to-coast, the European financial industry will spread across Europe. And don’t forget, non-financial institutions are also important and also relocating. For a country with strict gun control, the Tories-led UK has amazingly managed to shoot itself in one foot with no-Brexit and both feet with Brexit.

Wall Street giant Bank of America Merrill Lynch has picked Dublin as the preferred location of its EU hub, joining a growing number of international financial groups to outline initial plans for how they plan to deal with the fallout from Brexit.

Speaking to The Irish Times in Dublin on Friday, group chief executive Brian Moynihan said this will result in the bank’s existing Irish subsidiary merging with its current most important EU banking unit, based in London.

It will also involve the group setting up an EU trading operation, or broker-dealer, in the Republic, which will require separate Central Bank approval, he said.

 

Source: Bank of America confirms Dublin as location for EU hub

China smashes solar energy records, as coal use and CO2 emissions fall once again

In one sector after another, the US is falling behind. The US isn’t losing its global leadership, its walking away.

We are witnessing a historic passing of the baton of global leadership on technology and climate from the United States to China. The new U.S. administration has said it will abandon climate action, gut clean energy funding, and embrace coal and oil — the dirty energy sources of the past that experts say can’t create a large number of sustainable new jobs. At the same time, China is slashing coal use and betting heavily on clean energy, which is clearly going to be the biggest new source of permanent hig

Source: China smashes solar energy records, as coal use and CO2 emissions fall once again

The shifting global landscape – The Boston Globe

If my view is broadly correct, the great foreign policy challenge of our age will be to manage cooperation among many competing and technologically advanced regions, and most urgently to face up to our common environmental and health crises. We should move past the age of empires, decolonization, and Cold Wars. The world is arriving at the “equality of courage and force” long ago foreseen by Adam Smith. We should gladly enter the Age of Sustainable Development, in which the preeminent aim of all countries, and especially the great powers, is to work together to protect the environment, end the remnants of extreme poverty, and guard against a senseless descent into violence based on antiquated ideas of the dominance of one place or people over another.

Jeffrey D. Sachs is University Professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, and author of “The Age of Sustainable Development.”

Source: The shifting global landscape – The Boston Globe

Deutsche Bank Chief Economist Joins SocGen Chairman in Trying to Foment Banking Crisis to Get Germany, Brussels to Blink | naked capitalism

Another race to the crash: who goes first Deutsche Bank or Italian Banks? Can bankers get politicians to pull the emergency cord? Who gets screwed? Stay tune for Crash 2.0.

Why bank executives are stoking a banking crisis, with Deutsche Bank in their crosshairs.

Source: Deutsche Bank Chief Economist Joins SocGen Chairman in Trying to Foment Banking Crisis to Get Germany, Brussels to Blink | naked capitalism

Andrea Leadsom could be PM in weeks, and these telling discoveries prove she’d be a disaster | The Canary

Aside from the issues raised in the article, Ms. Leadsom was on the BBC when the Brexit win was announced. Her response – now is the time to take a deep breathe and think about the next steps. Right, jump off the cliff and then think about the parachute. Maybe her campaign symbol should be the Coyote from the Road Runner cartoons.

Evidence that damages her bid to become next PM

Source: Andrea Leadsom could be PM in weeks, and these telling discoveries prove she’d be a disaster | The Canary

Panama papers: “an old tradition of English piracy” | openDemocracy

Looking at the documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca and one thing is clear: Britain’s network is once again at the core. More than half of the companies listed in the documents are registered in the UK or its Overseas Territories, and Hong Kong plays a huge role.

Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising. Britain has for for a while now been thought to be the global capital for money laundering. And it’s no shock that nothing has been done about it. In 2010, two years after they crashed the global economy, the City paid for more than half of the Conservative party’s election campaign, helping (along with the aforementioned Lord Ashcroft) them limp them over the line, with a Lib Dem shaped crotch. Though, of course, Labour did little to regulate in the previous 13 years.

If we want to understand modern Britain, first we need to realise that our primary economic function in the world is probably our network of tax havens. After all, around $21tn is estimated to sit in offshore accounts, of which Britain’s territories are said to make up by far the biggest part. Our own GDP is only around $3tn.

Second, we need to get to grips with the serious claims about our role as the global money laundering capital: a function which pushes up the price of the pound, making other exports unaffordable (bye bye steel), and drives up the cost of houses in London and the South East, fuelling a vast speculative bubble which sucks investment out of the rest of the economy.

And third, we need to think about how this gradually dawning economic reality interacts with our politics: not through the obvious corruption of direct bribery, but through revolving doors between government and civil service, through old boy’s networks and friendship groups, through perfectly legal election donations and media domination.

Source: Panama papers: “an old tradition of English piracy” | openDemocracy

Massive leak reveals offshore accounts of world leaders | Center for Public Integrity

PANAMA PAPERS

An investigation published today by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and its media partners reveals the hidden workings of a secretive industry that banks and lawyers use to hide the financial holdings and dealings of powerful clients, including prime ministers, parliamentarians, plutocrats and criminals, according to a trove of leaked documents.

The files, known as the Panama Papers, exposes the offshore holdings of 12 current and former world leaders and reveals how associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies, according to the joint investigative project conducted by ICIJ, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other news organizations around the globe. ICIJ is the international arm of the Center for Public Integrity.

The files — which total more than 11.5 million documents — contain new details about major scandals ranging from England’s most infamous gold heist in 1983, an unfolding political money laundering affair in Brazil and bribery allegations currently convulsing FIFA, the body that rules international soccer and is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.

Source: Massive leak reveals offshore accounts of world leaders | Center for Public Integrity

In Democrats’ Eyes, Republicans Are Helping Foster Chinese Power – Real Time Economics – WSJ

Are Republicans aiding Chinese efforts to undercut America’s global economic sway?

That’s the case some Democrats are making, complaining that GOP lawmakers are eroding U.S. soft-power overseas by refusing to back the key international institutions where the U.S. has long exercised intellectual, political and economic leverage.

via In Democrats’ Eyes, Republicans Are Helping Foster Chinese Power – Real Time Economics – WSJ.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em?

While Obama is at least attempting to deal with the end of U.S. hegemony, Republicans will promote rhetoric over reality and further weaken the U.S.’s global influence.

Now that Australia, New Zealand, India, and Indonesia are also considering joining the bank, the United States is clearly tempering its opposition. In fact, Washington ultimately may be left out since the Republican-dominated Congress is unlikely to allow the United States to join the new bank.

via If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em? | Foreign Policy.

FDR v. Obama

“I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.” – FDR

“Yes we can.” – Obama – But we didn’t.