On Thursday, the IMF released the broad outlines of its terms and conditions for loans and other measures for the Ukrainian economy. What those terms and conditions mean is less a rescue of the Ukrainian economy than the onset of a Greece-like economic depression for the Ukrainian populace.
Ukraine’s economy had clearly entered a recession, its third since 2008, sometime in the latter half of 2013. Some recent estimates of the likely contraction of the economy in 2014-15 have ranged from 5%-15% in GDP decline.
The ‘IMF Standby Agreement with Ukraine’ text released March 27, acknowledges the current severe economic instability of the Ukrainian economy. What it fails to acknowledge, however, is how the IMF package will further adversely impact that economy.
- Ukraine Shocks Population With Staggered 100% Heating Price Increase While Restricting Cash Use
- Ukraine faces hard road to economic recovery with Moscow pushing back
- Ukraine wins IMF lifeline as Russia faces growth slump
- IMF pledges Ukraine $18B as PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk warns nation on “brink” of bankruptcy
- IMF “Shock Treatment” for Ukraine: Collapse of the Standard of Living
- Wheat prices rise on Crimea and Ukraine worries
- Ukraine to Cut Gas Subsidy, Raising Prices 50 Percent
- China says supports international financial aid for Ukraine
- IMF approves financial aid for Ukraine (Video)
- Senate Democrats Drop I.M.F. Reforms From Ukraine Aid
- Who in Ukraine will Benefit from an IMF Bailout?: Interview with Stephen Cohen
- EU-Ukraine Trade Deal Paves the Way for Brutal Economic Austerity. IMF to Apply “The Greek Model”
- Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?: Interview with Michael Hudson and Jeffrey Sommers
- Russia’s Medvedev says Ukraine owes Russia $16 billion
- Corporate Interests Behind Ukraine Putsch
- Ukraine’s Gold Reserves Secretely Flown Out and Confiscated by the New York Federal Reserve?
- Washington’s Man Yatsenyuk Setting Ukraine Up For Ruin
- Greg Palast in 2001: IMF’s four steps to damnation
IMF boss Christine Lagarde quizzed by detectives in France over £270million corruption case involving French businessman
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde was today [Wednesday 19th] questioned by judges in Paris over a corruption scandal.
The Court of Justice of the Republic, a special tribunal qualified to judge the conduct of politicians, believe the 57-year-old may have abused her position as finance minister to help a controversial businessman.
Ms Lagarde is said to have allowed the equivalent of some £270million to be awarded to Bernard Tapie, a convicted football match-fixer and tax dodger who supported her governing UMP party.
It came on the day that the legal problems of Ms Lagarde’s former boss, ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, deepened.
- Turning the Ukrainian Crisis Into the IMF’s Gain
- IMF reforms get new life through Ukraine
- Former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson on why loans won’t help Ukraine
- Ukraine Goes Cyprus 2.0, To Tax Deposits Over 100,000 Hryvnia (To Appease IMF?)
- Ukraine, IMF “Shock Treatment” and Economic Warfare
- George Soros Predicts Ukraine Could Ruin The EU
- Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis: Interview with James Henry
- Ukraine regime unveils tough austerity plan
- Pensions in Ukraine to be halved – sequestration draft
The United States is hearing that its refusal to approve previously negotiated reforms for the International Monetary Fund could reduce the nation’s influence at the institution, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Wednesday. U.S. lawmakers have been reticent to approve the IMF quota reforms that were agreed to in 2010 and would give developing countries a bigger say at the international lender.
The reforms would not reduce Washington’s power at the IMF, where the United States is the sole country with veto power. The Obama administration hoped Congress would tack approval of the IMF quota reforms onto legislation for an aid package for crisis-stricken Ukraine, but the outlook for that happening remains uncertain.
It was like a scene out of Le Carré: the brilliant agent comes in from the cold and, in hours of debriefing, empties his memory of horrors committed in the name of an ideology gone rotten. But this was a far bigger catch than some used-up Cold War spy. The former apparatchik was Joseph Stiglitz, ex-chief economist of the World Bank. The new world economic order was his theory come to life.
He was in Washington for the big confab of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. But instead of chairing meetings of ministers and central bankers, he was outside the police cordons. The World Bank fired Stiglitz two years ago. He was not allowed a quiet retirement: he was excommunicated purely for expressing mild dissent from globalisation World Bank-style.
Here in Washington we conducted exclusive interviews with Stiglitz, for The Observer and Newsnight, about the inside workings of the IMF, the World Bank, and the bank’s 51% owner, the US Treasury. And here, from sources unnamable (not Stiglitz), we obtained a cache of documents marked, ‘confidential’ and ‘restricted’.
The New Tyranny: How development experts have empowered dictators and helped to trap millions and millions of people in poverty
On the morning of Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010, the villagers of Mubende District, Uganda were in church when they heard the sound of gunfire. They came out to find men torching their homes and crops. The soldiers held them off at gunpoint from rescuing their homes; one 8-year-old child was trapped and died in the fire. The soldiers then marched off the 20,000 farmers from the land that had been in their families for generations. The reason for the violence was that a forestry project financed by the World Bank wanted the land.
The only thing that distinguishes this episode from the many human rights violations that happen in the name of development is that it got unusual publicity. The New York Times ran a front-page story on it on Sept. 21, 2011. The World Bank the next day promised an investigation. What is most revealing of all about this episode is what happened next: nothing. The World Bank never investigated its own actions in financing this project. Now, just after the fourth anniversary of the Mubende tragedy, it has been forgotten by nearly everyone except its victims.
The sad neglect of the rights of the poor in Mubende follows from the ideas behind the global war on poverty. Those who work in development prefer to focus on technical solutions to the poor’s problems, such as forestry projects, clean water supplies, or nutritional supplements. Development experts advise leaders they perceive to be benevolent autocrats to implement these technical solutions. The international professionals perpetrate an illusion that poverty is purely a technical problem, distracting attention away from the real cause: the unchecked power of the state against poor people without rights. The dictators whom experts are advising are not the solution — they are the problem.
Two popular labels are being ascribed to events in Ukraine: it was either a democratic – or even social – revolution, or it was a rightwing – or even neo-Nazi – coup. In fact, both characterisations are wrong. What we have have seen is a mass rebellion, overwhelmingly supported in western and central Ukraine without majority support in the eastern and southern regions, leading to a change of political elites. But there are no prospects for democratic, radical change, at least under the new government. Why was it neither a social, nor democratic revolution? Some of the demands of the Maidan movement have been implemented. For example, the notorious Berkut regiment – the riot police who killed most of the dead protesters – was disbanded and the most odious of the former Yanukovych officials have been sacked.
However, this does not mean the start of systematic democratic change, or that the new government is in any way going to challenge the root of pervasive corruption in Ukraine: poverty and inequality. Moreover, it is likely only to aggravate these problems, putting the burden of the economic crisis on the shoulders of Ukraine’s poor, not on the rich Ukrainian oligarchs. The socioeconomic demands of the Maidan movement have been replaced with the neoliberal agenda of the new government. The cabinet, approved on Thursday, consists mainly of neoliberals and nationalists. Its official programme of action presented to parliament declares the need for “unpopular decisions” on prices and tariffs and its readiness to fulfill all the conditions of the loan from the International Monetary Fund.
- Ukraine Seeking $15 Billion Rescue From IMF
- Kiev government gives oligarchs top jobs
- Lew Says Ukraine’s Leaders Ready to Tackle ‘Market Reforms’
- Lew and Aso Agree Ukraine Must Rely on IMF Aid
- IMF mission to start work in Ukraine on Tuesday
- Ukraine hopes for aid soon, PM says will meet IMF reform conditions
- George Soros: Sustaining Ukraine’s breakthrough, EU expertise and markets are essential
- The Mansions of Euromaidan leaders
- This Isn’t A Revolution – It’s Regime Change
Ukraine’s interim prime minister, Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk, may prove to be arsenic to the beleaguered nation. “Recall the phone exchange between the Ukraine ambassador and Victoria Nuland (Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs) that got leaked out, where she basically said ‘we want Yats in there.’ They like him because he’s pro Western,” says Vladimir Signorelli, president of boutique investment research firm Bretton Woods Research LLC in New Jersey. “Yatsenyuk is the the kind of technocrat you want if you want austerity, with the veneer of professionalism,” Signorelli said. “He’s the type of guy who can hobnob with the European elite. A Mario Monti type: unelected and willing to do the IMFs bidding,” he said.
[...] Despite these ominous signs, Ukraine Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt hailed the current crisis as “a day for the history books.” Most of the mainstream media have leaned decisively in the anti-Yanukovych camp. Ukraine’s new 450-seat parliament approved the appointment of the former Central Banker Yatsenyuk on Thursday by a vote of 371 to 1. Oddly enough, earlier this month, the pro-Western Yats trailed behind popular opposition leaders such as former heavyweight boxer Viltali Klitschko and the leader of the nationalist, Svoboda Party, Oleh Tyahnybok. But Yats had friends in high places and while he does not have strong support of the electorate, and would have no chance of winning an election, he is pro-IMF austerity and apparently the bulk of parliament is as well.
“Yatsenyuk was saying that what the Greeks did to themselves we are going to do ourselves,” said Signorelli. “He wants to follow the Greek economic model. Who the hell wants to follow that?” Also today, Yatsenyuk promised to implement “very unpopular measures” to stabilize the country’s finances. The government said it needs $35 billion to support the country over the next two years. His language in a news report broadcast by Bloomberg today indicates he is heading toward a potentially destabilizing austerity campaign
- The not-so-revolutionary new Ukraine government
- Naming of Officials in Ukraine Reflects Homage to Power of the Street
- Ukraine asks IMF for help on new financial aid program
- US’s Lew, IMF’s Lagarde Agree Ukraine Needs IMF, Bilateral Help
- Europeans question Brussels’ plan to bail out Ukraine (Video)
- Expert discusses Ukraine’s financial woes (Video)
- US experts in Ukraine to help tackle economic crisis
- Biden at center of US diplomacy with Ukraine
- Mikhail Gorbachev: Bulldoze EU & US aides from Ukraine and let the people decide
- Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call: ‘I think Yats is the guy…’
- Greg Palast: IMF’s four steps to damnation
- Symonenko: Interest on IMF loans paid from pensions of ordinary Ukrainians
- Ukraine: An unstable economy, but with great resources
Historically the nation’s largest trading partner by far, Russia has been Ukraine’s go-to financier in times of trouble, a role that has often been criticized by Western nations as giving them undue influence over Ukraine’s internal affairs. Having just gone through an apparent regime change, which sent long-time Russian ally President Yanukovych into hiding, the United States and Britain are hoping to establish ties with the “new Ukraine” and, unsurprisingly, they’re going the exact same route Russia has.
US and British officials were quick to promise financial aid to “cushion the impact of reforms” by the new government, with Britain’s Chancellor George Osborne saying he was “ready with a checkbook” to rebuild Ukraine. Bizarrely, US officials interspersed their promises for aid with warnings to Russia not to “intervene militarily,” even though there has been no indication anyone had even raised that as a possibility.
- Ukraine leadership vows to steer toward EU
- EU aims to woo new leadership with aid deal
- Osborne says ready to open cheque book for Ukraine through IMF, EU
- Eric Draitser: Ukraine’s Sickness …and Europe’s Cure
- Volatile Ukraine teeters on brink of bankruptcy
- Ukraine Seeks $35 Billion as Yanukovych Arrest Warrant Is Issued
- U.S. wants Ukraine to remain unified, cautions Russia
- John McCain: Putin should be ‘nervous’
- Susan Rice Warns Russia Against Interference
- Russia Feels Double-Crossed over Ukraine – But What Will Putin Do?
- Russia steps up Ukraine rhetoric
- Russian Foreign Ministry calls for preventing deterioration of situation in Ukraine
- Thousands Call for Secession from Ukraine in Crimea
- Tensions at rise in pro-Russia Ukraine (Video)
- Dmitry Rogozin: If Ukrainian protests are peaceful, Catherine Ashton is a ballerina
- RT: US supports Ukraine turmoil though media blame Putin for chaos (Video)
- Protesters turn to mourning in Kiev (Video)
Tunisia’s central bank expressed “optimism” Thursday after the IMF released a delayed $506 million loan to support the fragile economy following major steps this week to end months of political turmoil.
The loan, part of a two-year, $1.76 billion (1.3 billion euro) package agreed last year, was approved by the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday after the new caretaker government of technocrat Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa was sworn in.
The second tranche had been held up by the political instability that gripped Tunisia after the killing of two prominent opposition MPs last year, and also follows parliament’s adoption of a long-delayed new constitution on Sunday.
Much of the Western world will require defaults, a savings tax and higher inflation to clear the way for recovery as debt levels reach a 200-year high, according to a new report by the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF working paper said debt burdens in developed nations have become extreme by any historical measure and will require a wave of haircuts, either negotiated 1930s-style write-offs or the standard mix of measures used by the IMF in its “toolkit” for emerging market blow-ups.
“The size of the problem suggests that restructurings will be needed, for example, in the periphery of Europe, far beyond anything discussed in public to this point,” said the paper, by Harvard professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.
The paper said policy elites in the West are still clinging to the illusion that rich countries are different from poorer regions and can therefore chip away at their debts with a blend of austerity cuts, growth, and tinkering (“forbearance”).
The presumption is that advanced economies “do not resort to such gimmicks” such as debt restructuring and repression, which would “give up hard-earned credibility” and throw the economy into a “vicious circle”.
But the paper says this mantra borders on “collective amnesia” of European and US history, and is built on “overly optimistic” assumptions that risk doing far more damage to credibility in the end. It is causing the crisis to drag on, blocking a lasting solution. “This denial has led to policies that in some cases risk exacerbating the final costs,” it said.
The IMF just dropped another bombshell.
After it recently suggested a “one-off capital levy” – a one-time tax on private wealth as an exceptional measure to restore debt sustainability across insolvent countries – it has now called for “revenue-maximizing top income tax rates”.
The IMF’s team of monkeys has been working around the clock on this one, figuring that developed nations can increase their overall tax revenue by increasing tax rates.
They’ve singled out the US, suggesting that the US government could maximize its tax revenue by increasing tax brackets to as high as 71%.
Coming from one of the grand wizards of the global financial system, this might be the clearest sign yet that the whole house of cards is dangerously close to being swept away.
Think about it– solvent governments with healthy economies don’t go looking to steal 71% of people’s wealth. They’re raising this point because these governments are desperate. And flat broke.
The ratio of public debt to GDP across advanced economies will reach a historic peak of 110% next year, compared to 75% in 2007.
That’s a staggering increase. Most of the ‘wealithest’ nations in the West now have to borrow money just to pay interest on the money they’ve already borrowed.
What they recommend is shocking to some, and ringing alarm bells around the finance world.
Sovereign nations are facing shortages of tax revenues, and public finance is in shambles. Multi-national corporations have offshored their assets to avoid paying taxes. The IMF report addresses ideas of how to tax the dodgers that are hurting public finance.
President Barack Obama has ordered the National Security Agency to stop eavesdropping on the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as part of a review of intelligence gathering activities, according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter.
The order is the latest move by the White House to demonstrate that it is willing to curb at least some surveillance in the wake of leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden of programs that collect huge quantities of data on U.S. allies and adversaries, and American citizens.
The NSA’s surveillance of the Washington-based IMF and World Bank has not previously been disclosed. Details of such spy programs are usually highly classified.
As the International Monetary Fund shares initial proposals for Grenada’s debt restructuring during the Washington DC meetings this week, the Caribbean island could gain a reputation for more than nutmeg, calypso, beaches and the 2012 gold medal sprinter Kirani James.
Because Grenada is listening to the nation’s religious leaders, it may become famous for a debt resolution deal that includes the participation of its citizens, protects the most vulnerable from austerity programmes and keeps current employment on the island intact.
Part of what could make possible protecting jobs and the island’s social safety net is curbing corporate and professional tax avoidance in Grenada.
The most interesting part of what propelled this debt deal is that the churches of this tiny island have staked a place at the negotiating table. On this island nation of 100,000 people, where most people on the street are debating any debt deal, religious institutions have taught or served a significant portion of the island’s government leaders.
As in so many parts of the world, often religious groups are the primary social service providers and in the case of Grenada they’ve earned the people’s respect.
The global economy is experiencing “transitions on an epic scale”, the International Monetary Fund managing director said on Thursday, warning that turbulence in emerging markets could knock 0.5 to 1 percentage point off their growth.
Christine Lagarde’s remarks show the damage done to emerging markets by a recent round of “taper talk”, over the possibility of the US Federal Reserve slowing the pace of its asset purchases and their vulnerability to future changes in the pattern of global capital flows.
“The immediate priority is to ride out the turbulence as smoothly as possible,” said Ms Lagarde. “Currencies should be allowed to depreciate. Liquidity provision can help deal with dysfunctional market behaviour. Looser monetary policy can also help.”
The International Monetary Fund warned Tuesday that South Africa is trailing other emerging markets and must quickly implement reforms if it wants to avoid crisis.
The IMF, in an annual report on Africa’s largest economy, pointed to painfully high unemployment and a plethora of other economic troubles staking the country.
[...] Unemployment is officially at 25 percent, but is closer to 35 percent including those who have given up looking for work. Around 50 percent of all young people are without a job.
While South Africa has made “important strides” to correct disparities caused by decades of apartheid rule, the Washington-based institution said systemic problems have “come to the fore” in recent years.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban launched another broadside against foreign investors and media on September 9, warning that the era of “colonisation” is over. The heightened rhetoric ahead of the elections next year will only raise worries amongst investors.
Orban and his ruling Fidesz party have been campaigning for some weeks now as they push to try to recapture the constitutional majority currently enjoyed at elections to be held in the spring at the latest. Opening the autumn session of parliament, the PM both boasted of his government’s economic prowess, reiterated promises to cut energy bills, and continued the pressure on the banks to take more losses from their foreign-currency loans.
“Hungary is an independent, sovereign country,” Orban proclaimed as he set out the agenda for the parliamentary session. “The era of colonisation is over. Utility price cuts, the elimination of the foreign currency loan regime and rescuing families and their homes are national causes for us.”
The resumed attack on the banks is the most immediate issue affecting investor confidence. As bne has reported, Fidesz effectively launched its election campaign in a sudden move in July, as it reopened an issue it had previously said was not in its plans. However, forcing the banks to shoulder more big losses from the hundreds of thousands of mortgage loans made in Swiss franc and euro should offer a clear populist boost at the polls.
Previously full of rhetoric concerning “negotiations” with the banks, the government upped the ante in early September. Following up ultimatums issued by officials, Orban told the lower house: “The banks abused their own position and [exploited] the people’s naivete. They were propagating [forex-based] loans while they were aware of the potential risks. They knew exactly what would happen if exchange rates went haywire, they [played down] the risks to customers in advance, [and] they made a deal that meant a huge profit only for them.”
Repeating a chilling new demand that the banks should be ready to absorb the bulk of the losses in phasing out such forex loans, the PM added: “It is a moral obligation of the banks to modify the [loan/mortgage] contracts. We are calling on the banks to bear most of the losses stemming from the exchange rate changes themselves. If they do not comply voluntarily by November 1, the government will take steps [to do so].”
As we repeatedly focus on wealth inequality in the United States (i.e.; just four hundred persons in the US have as much in assets and income as the bottom 50% of Americans), a video points out the even more extreme global wealth disparity.
There are many reasons for this. Take for example institutional sources that contribute to this trend. The World Bank, for interest, oversees “loans” to developing nations. But by creating long-term indebtedness, these struggling counties end up owing at least $600 billion dollars in interest on loans whose principals have, in essence, already been paid off in actual dollars.
These usorious interest rates end up in the hands of the bankers and the shareholders of the financial institutions that are inter-related with the World Bank through the nations that govern it, particularly the United States which calls the shots. Criticisms of the World Bank focus on how it creates financial conditions that result in debt dependency of the nations that borrow from it, therfore negatively impacting the economic prospects of the vast majority of its residents.
Trade agreements and global corporate exploitation of international monetary regulations provide resources and cheap labor to developed nations, while leaving poorer countries depleted. Is it possible that rich countries have increased the wealth gap from being 35 times greater during European colonialization to 80 times greater today? The video Global Wealth Equality contends that is the case.
EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding called on Tuesday for the “troika” of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be dissolved.
“The time of the troika is over,” Reding said in a text of the main messages she gave at a citizens’ dialogue in Heidelberg in south-western Germany.
“Getting the IMF on board in recent years was an emergency solution. In future, we Europeans have to be able to resolve our problems on our own,” Reding, who is also vice-president of the European Commission, added.
The troika negotiates with countries in crisis, such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland, on austerity and reform measures they have to undertake in return for bailouts. It also supervises the implementation of such steps.
Reding said European institutions could manage this without the IMF.
- Egypt military’s economic empire (Al Jazeera)
- Morsi’s plan to keep the Egyptian army sweet (Chatham House)
- The Army and the Economy in Egypt (Jadaliyya)
- The Economic Vision of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Millionaires (Business Week)
- Egypt’s army in control of vast business empire (BBC)
- US billions prop up military that toppled Egypt’s elected president (NBC)
- New Egypt PM Hazem El Beblawi has strong economic history (Reuters)
- Liberal economist Hazem El-Beblawi appointed new Egyptian PM (Ahram)
- Profile: Interim Egypt Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi (BBC)
- Egypt’s interim PM: liberal economist Hazem al-Beblawi (France 24)
- Egypt Premier Known as Free-Market Champion (Wall Street Journal)
Eurozone finance ministers agreed Monday [July 8th] to unlock billions of euros in fresh aid for Greece on condition it press ahead with urgently needed reforms.
The Eurogroup ministers, holding their last meeting before the summer break which was also attended by IMF chief Christine Lagarde, agreed to pay out 6.8 billion euros in fresh aid to Athens.
However, the funds would not be handed over in one lump sum, but in different instalments subject to certain conditions being met.
The International Monetary Fund in Washington on Tuesday said economic growth prospects for 2013 had weakened since April.
In the group’s World Economic Outlook report, the IMF said global economic growth in 2013 would be slightly above 3 percent, dropping its growth predictions due to “weaker domestic demand and slower growth in several key emerging market economies.”
The IMF said risks to growth had increased since April, when it published its last World Economic Outlook report.
by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
“[US Defense Secretary] Hagel and [US Chief of Staff General] Dempsey were walking a fine line … expressing concern whileattempting to avoid the impression that the U.S. was manipulating events behind the scenes.” (Military.com, July 3, 2013)
The protest movement is directed against the US and its proxy Muslim Brotherhood regime.
The Muslim Brotherhood had been spearheaded into the government with the support of Washington as a “replacement” rather than an “alternative” to Hosni Mubarak, who had faithfully obeyed the orders of the Washington Consensus from the outset of his presidency.
While the Armed Forces have cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood, the Coup d’Etat is ultimately intended to manipulate the protest movement and prevent the accession of a “real people’s government”. The overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian Armed forces was not carried out against US interests, it was instigated to ensure “continuity” on behalf of Washington.
“Demonstrators carried hand-made posters denouncing Obama and his pro-Muslim Brotherhood Cairo Ambassador, Anne Patterson.” (F. William Engdahl, Global Research, July 4, 2013).
by Nafeez Ahmed
Last night’s ousting of President Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian army comes as no surprise. Despite being Egypt‘s first freely elected leader, his attempts to override democratic checks and balances while grabbing unilateral executive power fuelled widespread simmering grievances. Although Adli Mansour, the new interim leader sworn in today by the army, promises to pave the way for new democratic elections, the fundamental drivers of Egyptian rage remain overlooked.
Morsi’s key problem was that he had spent most of his energies on consolidating the reach of his party, the Muslim Brotherhood, rather than dealing with Egypt’s entrenched social, economic and political problems. Indeed, Egyptian unrest is the consequence of a fatal cocktail of structural failures rooted in an unsustainable global model of industrial civilisation – addicted to fossil fuels, wedded fanatically to casino capitalism, and convinced, ostrich-like, that somehow technology alone will save us.
Egypt should refuse a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund rather than submit to terms that would further impoverish the poor and could spark a revolution of the hungry, leftist leader Hamdeen Sabahi said on Monday.
Sabahi, 58, who came third in a presidential election last year after the 2011 uprising that toppled autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, told Reuters that neither the global lender nor Egypt’s Islamist-led government had told the public the truth about austerity conditions attached to the proposed loan.
The firebrand leader of the Popular Current movement met an IMF team that visited Cairo this month for talks which ended without an agreement partly due to a lack of political consensus to support the accompanying economic reform program.
Asked whether he would agree to the IMF’s conditions, Sabahi said: “No. I would not agree to them.”
by Tyler Durden
From time to time it is necessary to quietly sit down and assess where we are going. This is a significantly different undertaking than listening to those who try to tell us where we are going. Government and the Pastors of Propaganda are always whispering into our ears either offering Heaven or the retribution of Divine Providence so the removal of either from a deliberate consideration is a necessary part of the examination of reality.
I bring a measure of experience to this task. Things that are not counted, liabilities that are excluded from national budgets or their debts, do not mean that they do not have to be paid. This, in fact, is Europe’s greatest problem. They have played “extend and pretend.” They have played “lie and deny.” They have resorted to every trick imaginable when compiling data such as the debt to GDP ratios of the countries and yet; chicanery does not erase the debts.
The financial projections of the IMF, the EU and the ECB are never accurate or even close to accurate because they use garbage for their data. It is therefore “garbage in” and “garbage out” as they all make a mockery of themselves. The vast amount of investors continue to believe them as evidenced by the markets but certain events are now about to take place.
Greece reported out a -14.2% decline in just one month this morning for retail sales. Greek collapse III is almost at hand as their two major privatizations have failed and as their economy continues to worsen. Soon the Greeks will call for more money but the end of this road is in sight as I do not believe the nations in Europe are willing to roll over again. The IMF is also up against the wall and they have asked, I understand, for Europe to forgive part of the Greek debt which has fallen, so far, on deaf ears.
The Cyprus solution is a failure. It is as clear and as simple as that. Cyprus will have $10.17 left in their banks by the end of the year. They will soon be back asking for more money and we will have another IMF problem and a Euro fiasco as the amount of money they have been given to date is akin to a flyswatter trying to smack down an F-14. A ridiculous incident in both cases.
The biggest problem though is going to be France. They have a stated debt to GDP ratio of 90.2%. This is another mockery of the data though as the real number, liabilities included, is somewhere around double this number or just below 200%. They also have an economy that, according to “Trading Economics,” is expected to decline in the next quarter by -0.5% while their sovereign debt increases to $366.9 billion which is an increase of 9.5%. This is while their government spending rises 9.9% for the same time period. This, then not only puts them in violation of the EU’s current mandates, which is a secondary consideration, but puts them clearly on the road to insolvency.
France has run out of road.
The real issue here is a question of politics. In France being rich is defiled. That is fine and dandy except this attitude leads to an inescapable end which is with a 75% tax rate, massive amounts of workers in the government, social programs that keep increasing, and no reason to be successful and thereby support the government; those with money are fleeing the country. The drain is enormous.
Consequently sovereign revenues cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, support the imbedded costs of the country which must either be drastically cut, think massive protests or where France shows up at the door of the EU asking for help, which would be a disaster for the European Union. I believe the country is at this crossroads now as their fiscal policy, regardless of politics, is just not sustainable.
Now the investors of the world are in another reality altogether. They do not want to hear anything about these sorts of things. They are in the state of, “ignore and deplore.”
You can live there for a while. Government induced fantasies have occupied the center stage before and for some time. Our current denial of reality is fueled by all of the money that the central banks have pumped into the world but that will be diminishing as the Fed and others examine the longer term consequences of their actions. There are always consequences.
What has been put off will arrive. It was always just a matter of time.
Time is running short.
by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
More than a million people across Brazil have joined one of the largest protest movements in the country’s history. Ironically, the social uprising is directed against the economic policies of a self-proclaimed “socialist” alternative to neoliberalism led by the Worker’s Party government of president Dilma Rousseff.
The IMF’s “strong economic medicine” including austerity measures, the privatization of social programs have been implemented under the “progressive” and “populist” banner of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), in consultation with Brazil’s powerful economic elites and in close liaison with the World Bank, the IMF and Wall Street.
While the PT government presents itself as “an alternative” to neoliberalism, committed to poverty alleviation and the redistribution of wealth, its monetary and fiscal policy is in the hands of its Wall Street creditors.
Ironically, the PT government of Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor Luis Ignacio da Silva has been commended by the IMF for:
“a remarkable social transformation in Brazil underpinned by macroeconomic stability and rising living standards”.
The underlying social realities are otherwise. The World Bank’s “statistics” on poverty are grossly manipulated. Only 11 percent of the population, according to the World Bank are beneath the poverty line. 2.2 percent of the population are living in extreme poverty.
The standard of living in Brazil has collapsed since the accession of the Workers Party in 2003. Millions of people have been marginalized and impoverished including a significant part of the urban middle class.
While the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) presents a “progressive” people’s oriented image, officially opposed to “corporate globalization”, the macro-economic agenda has been reinforced. The PT government has consistently manipulated its grassroots, with a view to imposing what the “Washington Consensus” describes as “a strong policy framework”.
The multibillion dollar profit driven infrastructural investments pertaining to The World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, wrought by corporate corruption, have contributed to a significant increase in Brazil’s external debt, which in turn has reinforced the control of economic policy by its Wall Street creditors.
The protest movement is in large part made up of people who voted for the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT).
The PT government’s grassroots support has been broken. The base of the Workers Party has gone against the government.
by Tyler Durden
As we warned earlier in the week, Greece is notably missing its Troika goals and the issue just became a lot more critical. As The FT reports, the IMF is preparing to suspend aid payments to Greece over what it claims is a EUR 3-4 billion shortfall that has opened up. Between healthcare budget shortfalls, central banks refusing to roll-over Greek bonds, and amid signs that even the scaled-back privatization plans that Athens had agreed to being behind schedule, the IMF - following its own admissions of mistakes in the Greek bailout, has warned EU officials the shortfall will require it to stop aid payments by the end of July. The equity market is already reacting (as is EURJPY – EUR weakness against the big carry pair) to this re-awakening of EU event risk (and the awkward timing with Merkel’s election so close) – with the Fed’s comfort blanket somewhat removed.