This IS Shock Doctrine

“We now believe that the Spanish economy’s shift away from credit-fuelled economic growth is likely to result in a more protracted period of sluggish activity than we previously assumed,” Standard & Poor’scredit analyst Marko Mrsnik said.

The credit ratings corporations are attacking a country for ideological reasons, Spain (and note a left wing-ish government) wants to run its economy in ways that interfere with the financier’s business, thus they pretend in some scientific objective empirical fashion the nation is downgraded, it is smoke and mirrors. This is a political campaign by global corporate capital to reorder our failing democracies into helpless profit centres for their predation.

What a disaster for the people of Greece.
And what a triumph for Standards and Poors.

Because let’s be clear – Greece will carry on. Its people will survive. With support from Europe democracy will prevail in a country that has seen dictatorship far too recently.

And this then is a crisis created, in the main, by bankers – who put in place too many of the strictures inherent in the Euro; by libertarians who promote the hatred of the states and the poor regard for regulation that has denied the Greek government so much of the tax revenue it is owned and by financial institutions who (as Goldman Sachs seem to demonstrate, time and again) just love just situations to make short term profit at cost to ordinary people.

The UK will likewise be managed, the IFS cuts campaign began yesterday, again posing as some objective scientific empirical truth, it is nothing of the sort-

there’s no such thing as independence. The IFS is financed to promote conventional economic thinking on the UK economy. That’s a particular, and extremely normative view of our reality appropriately called neoliberal economics that prescribes certain outcomes irrespective of circumstance. So, for example, neoliberal economics assumes government is bad and the private sector is good, so it prescribes cuts. And neoliberal economics assumes tax is harmful to private income maximisation – which is a very narrow definition of well being – and as a result automatically rules out the use of tax increases as a mechanism for rebalancing the government’s finances.

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Yeah, But They Really Needed That Billion

In 2009, the worst economic year for working people since the Great Depression, the top 25 hedge fund managers walked off with an average of $1 billion each. With the money those 25 people “earned,” we could have hired 658,000 entry level teachers. (They make about $38,000 a year, including benefits.) Those educators could have brought along over 13 million young people, assuming a class size of 20.

MORE

Simples

The 38 largest financial institutions on Wall Street will pay out a total of $145.85 billion in compensation for 2009, an 18 percent increase over 2008 and “slightly more than in the record year of 2007,” theWall Street Journal reports.

The UN launched an emergency appeal for $550m (£338m) yesterday amid an outpouring of worldwide generosity towards victims of the Haiti earthquake.

If the obscenely wealthy will not voluntarily fund relief needs then I believe it is morally imperative and justifiable to take it from them by force.

PS. And it would count as self defence for us and Haiti as the avatars of Capital are already unsheathing their Shock Doctrine.

Spot The Class War

Iceland!

The people of Iceland have not finished with their outrage at what they were suckered into, they are absolutely right to refuse to impoverish themselves in order to honour criminal banks’ debts. Of course the threats are coming thick and fast and expect the media to be full of negative stories of Icleandic evil but what they are doing is actually good for all of us, the free insurance we provide for banks, (keep your profits while we pay your losses) is nothing but theft. The full weight of global capital will be brought to bear on Iceland, if one country gets uppity and gets away with it the whole system might not seem so assured of its hegemony. It will not be easy and great economic violence will be done to Iceland if they hold firm and yes UK creditors will suffer (but all could be saved if instead of bailouts we had investment in the public commons) but if we let them be attacked it simply means our supine, submissive status to our own financial institutions will become even more entrenched, we may as well just open up a vein and offer them their fill. Michael Hudson has covered this over the last year, much better reading than the UK media manage, their unexamined nationalism and deference to orthodox neoliberal religion does not make for good journalism-

The Real Issue is Iceland’s Economic Independence Will Iceland be Handed Over to a New Gang of Kleptocrats?

Make Iceland Pay for Incompetent British Bank Deregulation! Gordon Brown Spills the Beans on the IMF

The Specter of Debt Revolt Is Haunting Europe Why Iceland and Latvia Won’t (and Can’t) Pay for the Kleptocrats’ Ripoffs

Banks Get Free Insurance

Richard Murphy:- I have been arguing since 2007 that UK banks should pay 10% more in tax than other companies. I argued at that time that this was the fee they owed for the state taking the risk of guaranteeing the deposits on which all banks (without exception) depend. That guarantee is still in place. It is why we, the ordinary people of the UK, bear the risk of banking now, for which we need to be compensated by way of additional tax payment.

Bhopal

BHOPAL, India (AFP) – Survivors of the Bhopal gas leak in India on Thursday marked 25 years since the world’s worst industrial accident with rallies demanding those to blame for thousands of deaths finally face justice. Residents and activists capped a week of commemorations with a march to the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, where on December 3, 1984 a cloud of methyl isocyanate killed up to 10,000 people in three days.

Studies released earlier this week showed the shanty towns surrounding the site were still laced with lethal chemicals that are polluting groundwater and soil, causing birth defects and a range of chronic illnesses. “The survivors of the tragedy, through these protests, are venting their ire against the state government for its inaction in clearing the toxic waste,” said Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group of Information and Action.

Research by the Indian Council for Medical Research showed 25,000 people had died from the consequences of exposure since 1984. After those studies concluded, government statistics said 100,000 people were chronically sick, with more than 30,000 people living in areas around the factory where water was contaminated.

Criminal cases against former Union Carbide executives are pending in various Indian and US courts which hold them and Dow liable for the catastrophe. Amnesty International called on Dow to “cooperate fully in the ongoing legal proceedings in order to ensure that those responsible are held accountable”.

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