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Why the US trade war with China is a genuine conflict

The trade war between the US and China can only fill us with dread. How will it affect our daily lives? Will it result in a new global recession or even geopolitical chaos?

To orient ourselves in this mess, we should bear in mind some basic facts. The trade conflict with China is just the culmination of a war which began years ago when Donald Trump fired the opening shot aimed at the biggest trading partners of the US by deciding to levy tariffs on the imports of steel and aluminium from the EU, Canada and Mexico.

Trump was playing his own populist version of class warfare: his professed goal was to protect the American working class (are metal workers not one of the emblematic figures of the traditional working class?) from “unfair” European competition, thereby saving American jobs. And now he is doing the same with China.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/us-china-trade-war-trump-us-economy-mexico-steel-a9046501.html

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The Exploitation Time Bomb

Worsening economic inequality in recent years is largely the result of policy choices that reflect the political influence and lobbying power of the rich. There is now a self-reinforcing pattern of high profits, low investment, and rising inequality – posing a threat not only to economic growth, but also to democracy.

NEW DELHI – Since reducing inequality became an official goal of the international community, income disparities have widened. This trend, typically blamed on trade liberalization and technological advances that have weakened the bargaining power of labor vis-à-vis capital, has generated a political backlash in many countries, with voters blaming their economic plight on “others” rather than on national policies. And such sentiments of course merely aggravate social tensions without addressing the root causes of worsening inequality.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/increasing-inequality-economic-political-risks-by-jayati-ghosh-2019-07

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2019 in Economy

 

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The imperial rivalry between the US and China means the left must choose the EU it wants

The US has declared China a “currency manipulator” — which, on the face of it, is like a bear declaring that another bear defecated in the woods. But the formal act of designation is a big deal.

Under a law passed in 1988, when the US first discovered that its global dominance might be under threat from trade competitors, the president is empowered to “initiate negotiations … on an expedited basis” to force China to raise the value of the renminbi against the dollar.

The act includes sanctions such as banning Chinese firms from US contracts, and was described at the time by critics as “the economic equivalent of civilian bombing”. But in truth the economic war between China and the US is already under way, and is wholly framed by Trump’s skewed vision of American geopolitics.

https://www.newstatesman.com/world/north-america/2019/08/imperial-rivalry-between-us-and-china-means-left-must-choose-eu-it-wants

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Asia, Economy, European Union, North America

 

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Yanis Varoufakis: “Never before have we had so much money, yet so little investment in what humanity needs”

Laura Siegler: With the economic rift seemingly still expanding between Southern Europe, on the one hand, and the ‘core’ European countries (Germany, Benelux, France, Scandinavia) on the other, what is the scope for a common environmental agenda of the European left?

Yanis Varoufakis: This question is not just global but also within Europe, because the fragmentation of oligarchy — of capitalism and financialised capitalism — is detrimental to any attack against the climate extinction we are facing. We have a remarkable disconnect, an imbalance, between the amount of liquidity, of money which is available, and the amount of investments — the things the humanity needs. Never before have we had so little investment in what humanity needs, in relation, as a percentage, to the available money. We have the highest amount of savings in the history of capitalism, and the lowest levels of investments, in comparison, especially in the technology of the future that will prevent the climate catastrophe.

https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/yanis-varoufakis-never-money-investment-humanity-needs/

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Economy, European Union

 

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‘Socialism for the rich’: the evils of bad economics

In most rich countries, inequality is rising, and has been rising for some
time. Many people believe this is a problem, but, equally, many think
there’s not much we can do about it. After all, the argument goes,
globalisation and new technology have created an economy in which those
with highly valued skills or talents can earn huge rewards. Inequality
inevitably rises. Attempting to reduce inequality via redistributive
taxation is likely to fail because the global elite can easily hide
their money in tax havens. Insofar as increased taxation does hit the
rich, it will deter wealth creation, so we all end up poorer.

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2019/jun/06/socialism-for-the-rich-the-evils-of-bad-economics

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2019 in Economy

 

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Exclusive: Gold worth billions smuggled out of Africa

Billions of dollars’ worth of gold is being smuggled out of Africa every year through the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East – a gateway to markets in Europe, the United States and beyond – a Reuters analysis has found.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-gold-africa-smuggling-exclusive/exclusive-gold-worth-billions-smuggled-out-of-africa-idUSKCN1S00IT

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2019 in Reportages

 

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The Roots of Our Discontent

Every spring, the convenes some of the world’s leading economists to discuss the issues of the day in open dialogue with one another and the public. In the following interview, the festival’s director, Italian economist Tito Boeri of Bocconi University, and Raghuram G. Rajan, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and currently Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, discuss a wide range of topics relating to this year’s theme: “Globalization, Nationalism, and Representation.”

Decentralized Despair

Tito Boeri: Countries around the world are experiencing a crisis of political representation and a revival of nationalism. Finding remedies to counter the darker impulses of populism is proving difficult. Though the policies being adopted by some populist governments are clearly mistaken, it is not obvious what can be done to address the underlying issues that populists have seized upon.

In medical terms, we have a rather good diagnosis, a debatable prognosis, and no well-defined treatment. The underlying causes include economic shocks – the information and communications technology (ICT) revolution, globalization, financial and refugee crises – as well as cultural factors, some of them related to the loss of ideological anchors following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Analyses of recent European voter behavior by economists Barbara Petrongolo and Josef Zweimüller suggest that the populists have built up majority support in the small towns, villages, and municipalities where many “permanent losers” of the ICT revolution and globalization are concentrated. In the United States, similarly situated voters have supported President Donald Trump in droves.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/onpoint/the-roots-of-our-discontent-by-raghuram-rajan-2019-06?barrier=accesspaylog

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2019 in Economy

 

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Facebook’s plan to break the global financial system

What should we make of Facebook’s sudden foray into the world of digital money? Just as regulators were beginning to wake up from their self-induced coma to discover that Facebook has grown too fast and too big for its own good, the company has decided to redouble its unbending commitment to “moving fast and breaking things”. The good old days when Facebook was merely breaking privacy and elections are now gone – and we’ll surely miss them. But how could they compete with the chance of breaking – once and for all – the global financial system?

To that end, Facebook has announced Libra, a currency, an infrastructure, a network – an ambiguous digital entity capacious enough to be everything for everybody, and with the noble cover of a .org domain to boot. It’s the ultimate Schrodinger’s cat of the digital economy: a blockchain/non-blockchain, it will serve as money/non-money to save/bury Facebook/all of us.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/21/facebooks-plan-to-break-the-global-financial-system

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Blame US Trade Policy for Sky-High Drug Prices

Sharp price increases for essential and life-saving medicines have generated a political backlash against the pharmaceutical industry in the United States. In February, the US Senate Committee on Finance scolded industry representatives for pursuing policies that are “morally repugnant.” Since then, 44 US state governments have filed a lawsuit against Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals and 19 other companies, alleging conspiracy to stifle competition for generic drugs and illegal profiteering from over 100 different medicines.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/drug-prices-united-states-patent-law-by-jayati-ghosh-2019-06

 
 

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After Neoliberalism

What kind of economic system is most conducive to human wellbeing? That question has come to define the current era, because, after 40 years of neoliberalism in the United States and other advanced economies, we know what doesn’t work.

The neoliberal experiment – lower taxes on the rich, deregulation of labor and product markets, financialization, and globalization – has been a spectacular failure. Growth is lower than it was in the quarter-century after World War II, and most of it has accrued to the very top of the income scale. After decades of stagnant or even falling incomes for those below them, neoliberalism must be pronounced dead and buried.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/after-neoliberalism-progressive-capitalism-by-joseph-e-stiglitz-2019-05

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2019 in North America

 

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