Monday, 18 October 2010

Economic Analysis Index

1. Northern Rocked looks at the collapse of Northern Rock, and situates it within the framework that was to lead to the Financial meltdown a year later.

2. Buy Gold & Baked Beans looks at the intervention by the Neo-Liberal State on behalf of Big Capital, by pumping liquidity into the system, and the necessity that this will ultimately lead to high rates of inflation.

3. Gold Why Its Price Is Soaring, continues the argument from the previous post, and looks at the role of Gold as the Money Commodity as set out by Marx, to explain why its price will inevitably soar – a fact borne out by the fact that having already doubled at the time the post was written in 2007, it has more than doubled again in the intervening period!

4. Prepare To Dust Off The Sliding Scale, examines the potential for inflation as set out in previous posts, and sets it in the context of the Global Boom of the time, where for the first time in more than 30 years, not a single economy was in recession, and some were growing at more than 20% p.a.

5. Joe Stiglitz. The Crisis, Stalinism and Socialism, looks at the unfolding financial crisis, and what lessons socialists should draw by comparing it with the experience in the Stalinist States.

6. The World Economy, is a first draft of a review of the world economy as defined by by Combined & Uneven Development, which is central to understanding Imperialism.

7. The Great Food Flim Flam looks at the large rise in food prices that was occurring at the time, and sets that in the context of the Global Boom and rise of new economies, and of the inflationary money printing previously referred to. It argues that it creates conditions for new economies in Africa – like Angola - to develop as large scale food producers with large new agricultural workforces, and for others to develop to meet a growing thirst for other raw materials.

8. Does Darling Think We Are Daft, is a useful reminder that even in the middle of 2008, the concern was over the rising levels of inflation I had been arguing were inevitable. It concerns an interview with the then Chancellor who was warning workers against demanding large rises to match the rising levels of inflation.

9. Tory Voodoo Economics looks at some of the wacky ideas the Tories were coming up with even then, such as introducing an escalator tax on fuel that would fall, as its price rose. It was a piece of populism to win votes at a time when inflation was rising sharply.

10. Why So Many Merchants of Doom, argued that the negative economic views being expressed in the media were a reflection of concern at rising workers militancy for higher wages to compensate for inflation, rather than any basis in the level of real economic activity.

11. The Bums On Pews Indicator further challenges the idea being conveyed at the time of economic recession.

12. More News Contradicts The Doom & Gloom

13. More Economic News

14. Severe Financial Warning. This post announced that the world financial system was imminently going to collapse, a couple of weeks before that was proved true. It spelled out how severe that collapse was going to be with a nod towards “Ghostbusters”,

'If I am right, and it plays out then we are talking a complete financial meltdown, a catastrophe of Biblical proportions, "rivers of blood, cats and dogs living together etc.".'

It set out the reasons for coming to this conclusion, and briefly described how the crisis would unfold. It continued, however, correctly to distinguish between what was a Financial Crisis at that stage, and an “Economic Crisis”, which only unfolded in Western economies as a result of that financial crisis.

15. Great News House prices Set To Fall, describes how the unfolding drop in house prices as a result of the Credit Crunch was good news for workers, despite the impression given by the media.

16. After The Big Bang The Big Bust, examines the unfolding financial crisis, and role of the State.

17. Socialism For The Rich looks at the role of particularly the US State in the unfolding crisis within the context of the Social Democratic Consensus, and the Long Wave Boom.

18. 1929 And All That, argues that the context of the Financial Meltdown that was occurring was different from the situation in 1929, and that a Great Depression, which most pundits, Left and Right, were foreseeing, was not likely.

19. Where We've Been And Where We Are Going Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, describe the economic conditions that led up to the Financial Meltdown, and how that shaped the policy responses available to Capital within the context of the analysis of the Long Wave, and of Imperialism as a global social relation based on combined and uneven development.

20. America's Timebomb looks at the film by former US Comproller General, David Walker, setting out how the coming retirement of the US Baby Boomer generation poses a huge economic problem for the US, as demands on the State rise massively, whilst a large percentage of the workforce retire. It does so, whilst criticising the Austrian/libertarian political economy that underpins its arguments.

21. Everybody's Getting 'Flated, looks at the rapid shift by the authorities from a concern about inflation to one of deflation. It argued correctly that the deflation would be in assets, not consumer prices.

22. Climbing A Wall Of Worry, argued that the changing sentiment on the US Stock Market was an indication that the State intervention had worked, and that the worst of the economic downturn would shortly be over.

23. Imperialism, Globalisation And The Value of Labour Power, looks at the problems of the Big 3 US auto makers, as a symbol of the problems for western workers competing in a global economy, imperialism, where the Value of Labour Power is now determined not nationally but globally.

24. And the kitchen Sink looks at the decision of the Fed at the end of 2008 to increase Money Printing to stave off deflation, and the consequences for other Central Banks, and currencies.

25. Green Shoots, argued that the media were wrong to ridicule the statement that there were signs of economic improvement made by Government spokespeople.

26. Mickles and Muckles looks at greed and corruption in the light of the financial crisis, but argues that it is largely a diversion from the real problem, and the real solution.

27. A Crisis Out Of All Disproprtion, argues that the financial crisis had uncovered the reality of huge disproprtions and misallocation of Capital both globally, within each economic bloc, and between sectors. That disproprtion always had the potential to lead to a crisis, and would need to be addressed. The crisis simply accelerated the process.

28. European Recovery looks at conflicting economic data, and analyses the strategies being taken by Capital. It also contains the video of Rick Santelli's rant, from which the Tea Partiers took their name.

29. More Conflicting Data

30. Understanding The Conjuncture, attempts to set the crisis and workers response in the context of the Long Wave theories of Kondratiev and Trotsky.

31. More Figures To Shake Sticks At

32. The truth About The economy And Economy About The Truth, looks at latest economic data of the time, and questions some of the orthodoxy.

33. Paying For The Crisis, argues that every Government for millennia has dealt with how to pay for overborrowing by inflation, by depreciating the currency. This time would be no different.

34. The recession Is Over, correctly forecast that the global recession was in its last quarter.

35. North American Auto Industry, looks at the crisis, and what it means for western workers.

36. European car Industry looks at the consequences of the crisis, and the response of the Trades Union leaders.

37. Now Its Official provided NIESR and OECD data confirming that the recession was over.

38. Building On Confidence set out how the recovery could gather pace, and how new areas of production provided the potential for a much stronger upturn than many believed.

39. Running To Standstill, looks at a number of pieces of economic data, and how Capital and labour were responding to the crisis.

40. Whoa examined surprisingly strong data out of the UK, and the potential political consequences.

41. Why The Recession Is Over, explained the role of the Long Wave Boom in creating the conditions under which the global economy emerged quickly from the crisis.

42. Recovery Still On Track

43. Oh Ye Of Too Much Faith, argued that the reason many on the Left and Right had failed to understand that the crisis was not the end of the world, and failed to recognise the signs it was ending, was because both groups have a catastrophist vision in which their political aims will be achieved through such a disaster. Their desire for such a shortcut prevents them from objective analysis.

44. Aftershock is a response to the Newsnight Programme asking what the consequences had been one year on from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and the Crash. It concludes not much.

45. Debt & Destruction, argues why massive cuts are not in the interests of Big Capital or its State.

46. Gold Continues To Point The Way noted that Gold had risen above $1,000 – still 30% below today's level. It was an indication that Government's were still printing money, and creating inflation to deal with their debt.

47. Gold4Cash, looked at the meaning of the increasing number of places offering to buy your gold for cash, in the context of the continuing rise of Gold, then over $1100 an ounce.

48. Beware Of Greeks In Need Of Gifts, Greece had gone bust!

49. Britain Is Not Greece, showed that the argument that Britain might suffer a similar fate to Greece was false.

50. Who Will Bail Out The Workers

51. Gold Glisters, Paper Binned examined the continuing rise in Gold, and competitive trashing of currencies.

52. The Return Of Illiterate Economics part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4, looks at why the Liberal-Tory policies were not in the interests of Big Capital, and threatened an unnecessary economic crisis.

53. Feeling The pain, explains why the problems of Greece are emblematic of the problems of the West.

54. Roubini, Withdrawing Stimulus Would Be very Dangerous

55. Whither The Eurozone

56. Fantasy Budget, argued that Osborne's Budget had an air of unreality about it.

57. Progressive Budget, challenges the Tories claims.

58. How To Pay For The Deficit shows how the deficit could be cleared by a tax in kind on Capital.

59. All On Our Bikes together, looks at the Tories proposals for increasing labour mobility in housing.

60. More fantasy Politics looks again at the Tories proposals on the economy.

61. RBS Warns OF Monster Money Printing

62. Gold To Go Parabolic

63. Heading For A Crash, sets out why the Liberal-Tories policies could lead to a serious crash.

64. Testing And Stressful Times For Banks, looks at the Bank stress tests, and what they mean.

65. Amartya Sen Slams European Austerity

66. Why Spare Capacity Will Not Constrain Inflation, explains that the source of inflation is the massive printing of money, which facilitates higher prices being paid for imported goods, whose costs are rising, and the secondary price increases arising from it. Lower economic activity in the UK will simply lead to stagflation.

67. RPI, CPI and Unemployment, looks at the continuing rise in inflation.

68. National savings Axes Inflation protected certificates, explains that contrary to Government warnings, too many people wanted to lend to the government!

69. Wages and House prices, warned that house prices were about to start falling.

70. How robust Is the recovery argued that the apparent strength in the economy was backward looking, and a result of the policies of the previous Government.

71. We Dive at Dawn, confirmed that house prices were falling sharply.

72. Is The US Heading For Deflation, argued that the US was different to the UK.

73. I Truly believe We Are All Toast, Marc Faber the investment guru becomes more pessimistic.

74. America's New Poor, the human costs of the US crisis.

75. Double Dip, looks at the effects already of the Liberal-Tory policies.

76. House price Crash Begins.

77. Huge Dive In House Prices.

78. Beware The Omens, on the importance of the Hindenberg and other omens in the markets.

79. Roubini becomes even More Gloomy.

80. Bifurcations Continue, looks at sharpening contradictions.

81. Tensions Increase, as economies seek competitive devaluation.

82. Victims Of Their Own Incompetence Part 1, 2, 3, argues that the Tories have engaged in a months long period of media manipulation. They played up the seriousness of the deficit for ideological purposes, to justify an ideological attack on the idea of the State, and on the Public Sector. The actual Cuts on the State itself were less than had been threatened, and are diffused and back ended to reduce immediate economic effects. The main burden as predicted falls on Welfare Benefits, which again are open to manipulation. But, the Tories have already damaged the economy by their months of dire warnings, which have affected the sentiments and intentions of consumers and businesses. Economic activity as significantly turned down, and now the Cuts, along with the tax rises will tip the economy into recession.

83. Economic Theory & The Cuts Part 1, 2, 3, and 4, looks at the economic theory behind the idea of "crowding out" used by the Tories as part of their argument for the need to Cut Government borrowing, and also looks at what Keynes' theory tells us about the likely consequence on economic activity of the Cuts.

84. Why QEII Is Sunk, argues that the second round of Quantatitive Easing by the Federal Reserve could not act to stimulate the US economy, if the Republican controlled states reversed the fiscal stimulus, and if Republicans in the Congress, under the whip of the Tea Party, constrained Obama's attempts at further fiscal stimulus.

85. Is Ireland About To Go Bust, looks at the way Ireland was following the path of Greece, as the bail-out of its Banks by the State, had left its soverign debt in an unsustainable position.

86. Will The Euro Break Up examines the extent to which Ireland was just the latest in a series of dominoes within Europe, all suffering the same problem of unsustainable sovereign debt, whose basic cause is the uncompetitive nature of their economies.  Although, they are merely a representation of that fact in respect of the developed economies as a whole, comapred to the new dynamic economies of China, and other parts of Asia, these economies are a more pronounced version of that, and lack the internal resources to bring about the necessary Capital restructuring that could make them competitive.  It examines, not just the centrifugal forces pulling the separate economies apart, in the absence of a strong centralised EU State, but also looks at the representation of those forces within the existing nation states, e.g. the demands for independence in Catalunya.  Such forces have serious consequences.

87. A Momentous Change, argues that a political crisis was developing within Europe.  The consequence of that crisis could be that the necessary decisions are not taken, which prevent a new Financial Crisis arising, which would cause a massive economic crisis, not just in Europe, but spreading across the globe.  Although, China would be affected by this crisis, it would be a big winner from it, because it would speed up its rise to becoming the dominant global economic, and  therefore, political and military power.  It would cause something akin to a 1930's style Depression in Europe, with massive reductions in asset values, and living standards.  This would be the means by which the contradictions built up in the world economy were resolved violently.  However, it would be a depression within the context of continuing Longf Wave Boom, due to continue until around 2025.  It would be a Depression lasting around 40 months, and would create the conditions for a massive development of productive forces.  Such a Depression was not inevitable.  It required, however, a resolution of the Political Crisis, the abandonment of austerity policies, the creation of an EU State, and a concerted programme of fiscal stimulation, through investment and capital restructuring throughout Europe.

88. Another Domino Falls, looks at the consequences of the Irish bail-out, and the consequences of the austerity policies.  It argues they are counter to the interests of Big Capital.

89. Implications Of Financial Crisis Spread, looks at the effects on US Banks, and the growing return of a Credit Crunch.

90.  More Dominoes Get Lined Up examines how quickly Portugal had followed ireland in being lined up for a bail-out by the markets.  It returns to the question of the role of the political crisis in Europe.

91. Cuts, Inflation And Interest rates, examines the truth behind the figures of the Liberal-Tory Cuts, the consequences of inflation, and the truth about their claims about low interest rates.

92. Capitalism And The Importance Of Lying argues that the Wikileaks affair had shown that lying plays a central role within the functioning of Capitalism.  It is functional within diplomacy, but it is also central in the presentation of economic data.

93. The Small Business Myth explodes the argument frequently put forward by bourgeois apologists that it is small business, which is the backbone of Capitalist economies.

94. Misery Index Set To Soar argues that the conditions had been put in palce for both Inflation and Unemployment to rise sharply.

95. Answering Cleggy's Questions argues that the answer to Nick Clegg's questions about who was responsible for easy credit, and lax regulation is that it is overwhelmingly the Tories going back as far as Reggie Maudling in 1960.

96.  Tory Stagflation Returns argues that the return to no growth and high inflation in the economy was foreseeable.  It points to the previous analysis I'd made showing why.

97. Why Paul Mason Is Wrong, argues that Paul is wrong to believe that the options for Capital are so restricted.  Capital does have options for resolving the crisis, but it depends upon it forcing the hands of right-wing populist politicians, and an open struggle against those reactionary sections of small Capital that stand in the way of the necessary political developments.

98. Economy Sinking Into The Mire examines the fact that 2010 Q4 GDP was worse than originally estimated.  It argues the Liberal-Tory economic policies cannot work, and even a reversal would now be difficult.

99. A Marshall Plan For MENA, looks at the significance of economic development in the Middle East, for the spread of bourgeois democracy, and looks at why the EU has an interest in ensuring the area is developed as part of a wider mediterranean economic zone.

100. Enterprise Zones examines the significance of EZ's within the Liberal-Tory strategy, and looks at how they did not work in the 1980's.

101. What Happens When The Debt Crisis Really Does Hit  argues that the real problem lies not with Public debt, but with the massive amount of private debt.

Against Catastrophism, argues against the tendency on the left to phrase everything in terms of some imminent catastrophic crisis of Capitalism, which tends to fail to recognise that Capitalism is a system built on, and driven forward by crisis.

103. The Big Pensions Lie, exposes the myths behind the Liberal-Tory and Labour claims in relation to Pensions.

104. Too Late for Plan B argues that the kinds of tinkering being put forward by Labour as an alternative to the Tories austerity measures are now inadequate to reverse the damaage that has been done by Government policies.  Only dramatic solutions across Europe based on a significant stimulus geared around a restructuring of Capital can avoid a serious recession or Depression.

105. Austerity Has Failed examines the damage that the austerity measures pursued by the Liberal-Tories, the Tea Party/Republicans, and other right-wing populists have wrought to the global economy.

106. Greek Fudge analyses the reality that the July bail-out amounted to a default by Greece, and examines what the further consequences are.

107. Debt Crisis examines the political crisis in both the US and EU, and its consequences for the developing crises over debt in both areas.

108. Credit Crunch 2?, asks if recent data indicate that a new Credit Crunch was underway.

109. What The Markets Are Telling Us looks at what movements in the Capital Markets were telling us about what Big Capital really thinks about the austerity measures.

110. Credit Crunch 2?  No Credit Credit Crunch 2! answers the earlier question in the affirmative.

111. The Economy Of Analysis, looks at the reality of the global economy, and challenges the view of much of the Left, of a "Crisis Of Capitalism".

112. House Price Crash examines the wealth of data from the OECD and elsewhere showing that UK House prices are at least 40% over priced.  It provides reasons for why this has continued despite every reason for it to have fallen, and argues that the factors, which explain it, are fragile, and look like reversing.  It argues, that in such a Black Swan event, a fall of 80%, is easily conceivable.

113. Camerons Credit Runs Out, looks at the data behind the tightening credit crunch, in the context of rumours of the UK's Triple A Credit Rating being under threat.

114. The Demise Of Britain argues that Britain outside the Eurozone under the current conditions, and the drive towards an EU State based upon it, mean that Britain will be rapidly marginalised, and relegated to the ranks of a 3rd or 4th rate power.

115. Why Higher Bond Yields Don't Matter argues that with UK Bond Yields at the lowest levels in 300 years, with Financial Repression and with a situation of econommic uncertainty, the conditions exist for the UK and other Governments to borrow large amounts of money, both to restructure the debt way into the future, and to provide the resources to modernise their economies so as to both remove current uncertainties by creating employment, whilst also improving their inbternational competitiveness. Such Keynesian solutions are not socialist, and Marxists do not advocate them - instead we advocate workers ownership and control of the means of production in order that economic activity can be increasingly organised to meet humanneeds not profits - but we are not Politically Indifferent - to use Marx's term - as to what solutions Capitalism chooses either. Such solutions offer workers better prospects than does the alternative of austerity.

116. There Will Be A Single Europe, One Way Or Another argues that the reason for establishing the EU lies within the realm of economic forces that drive towards centralisation.  The same forces that created nation states, and that created the United States, are pushing forward to ever larger economic blocs.  There cannot be a real single market without a single currency, and neither without a single fiscal regime.  That requires a political union.  Without that European economies will become increasingly uncompetitive in a global economy of giants.  German economic power would be unstoppable if the EU broke apart.  There would essentially be a European union under the control of Germany, without even the limited democracy that currently exists.

117. Global Politics And Economics Intertwined shows how economic policies across the globe are determined by politics, just as political reality is constrained by economics.

118. Euro String Refuses To be Pushed Forward argues that the attempt to stimulate growth in the EU by relying on monetary policy, whilst at the same time imposing austerity is failing for the reasons Keynes described, that without adequate aggregate demand, money easing is like pushing on a string.

119. UK Economy Crashes examines the further crash of the UK economy in the middle of 2012 in the context of the three year cycle that caused a slow down between the end of 2011 and middle of 2013.

120. A Spectre Is Haunting Europe argues that the problem of debt, particularly private debt, has not been dealt with across Europe.  It has been massaged with money printing, but that only defers the problem, and makes the denouement worse when it comes.

121. QE, LTRO, QEII, OMT, QEIII Spells Desperation argues that the money drugs are not working any more.  QE dealt with the credit crunch, but they have not done anything to stimulate economies where there has not been also fiscal stimulus.  Money printing simply pushes up inflation - asset price inflation or general inflation depending on the conditions.

122. What The Gold Price Is Telling Us argues that the fall in the price of gold despite continued money printing, is further evidence that the policy had hit the buffers.

123. The Crisis Is Reaching A Turning Point argues that the bifurcations in the global, European and national economies are becoming heightened as a consequence of money printing.  Growth as the three year cycle turns will help push up interest rates.  Zombie companies, mortgages and banks will go bust.

124. The Zombies Are Coming analyses the extent to which the UK economy has been zombified.  10% of companies are zombies that survive only on the basis of low interest rates, low wages and government subsidies via the welfare system.  A bubble in the property market remains inflated for similar reasons, and the zombie banks are bankrupt, but only survive because of huge amounts of fictitious capital in the form of zombie loans and mortgages on their balance sheets.

125. Moneyweek and The Minimum Wage looks at the call from the business magazine for a big increase in the Minimum Wage.  It argues that they are right to see the role of welfarism as subsidising low paying employers.

126. The Bust Without A Boom argues that money printing has failed to boost the economy.  It has propped up asset price bubbles that will burst without there having been any economic boom.

127. Expropriated lloks at the background and consequences of the collapse in Cyprus and the confiscation of bank deposits and workers pension funds.

128.  Housing Policy Is Damaging and Dangerous argues that government policy on housing is damaging the real economy, and is dangerous because of the increasing debt it is creating.

129. After Cyprus Who's Next? sets out all of the other European economies that are even more exposed to a banking collapse than Cyprus, and whose larger economies mean that when it happens it will pose a massive problem for the global financial system.

130.  The Long Wave Summer has Begun argues that the period of very rapid growth of the Long Wave Spring has ended.  Strong growth will continue until around 2025, but under different conditions.  The demand for labour-power and materials will now push up cost prices.  Innovation of products slows down.  The rate of profit tends to fall, and interest rates rise.

131. The Great Property Market Conspiracy examines the facts about EU bank exposure to property debt, and the way they are once again using derivatives on an astronomical scale to hide their debts.  Another crash in property prices will collapse large numbers of banks, not just in Europe but globally.  That is why so much effort is being put in to prevent it.

132. Interest Rates describes the theory of why money printing cannot reduce interest rates, and why it leads to inflation.

133. Ben Bernanke's Big Blunder argues that Bernanke has mistaken a period of Long Wave Boom for one of downturn like that of the 1930's, and adopted the wrong policy stance in relation to money policy.  But, then the real reason for that policy is not to save the economy, but to save the banks.

134. George Osborne Is The Debtonator argues that Osborne has placed all of his hope on blowing up a property bubble and increased levels of debt.

135. Storm Clouds Gathering looks at the facts about profits, interest rates and other factors that presage a crisis.

136. The Rates Of Profit, Interest and Inflation looks at the prospects for the above as the Long Wave Summer begins.

137. Another 2008 Is Inevitable looks at the bifurcations within the global economy, and the extent to which debt and fictitious capital has been inflated further since 2008, making another worse, such crisis inevitable.

138. Oil Price. Good For The Economy, Terrible For Financial Markets examines the fall in primary product prices in the context of the shift from the Spring to Summer phase of the long wave cycle.

139. US Retail Sales and False Profits examines the way bourgeois economic theory determines the way economic data is viewed.  Here a fall in sales income is equated with a reduction in demand, rather than it stemming from lower prices reflecting reduced costs and overproduction.  The view of profit as simply a percentage uplift over costs, leads to the view that falling prices means falling profit volumes, which leads to a drop in share prices, rather than profits are a phenomenal form of surplus value, which tends to rise as other costs fall, because the value of labour-power falls, causing the rate of surplus value to rise.  The consequence is also then a rise in the rate of profit.

140. Greece Doesn't Need Money, It Needs Capital  argues that Greece could keep the Euro, and simply do its own QE, by the Greek Central Bank creating electronic Euro deposits in the account of the Government in exchange for Greek sovereign bonds.  It can create as much money as it wants by such means.  What it cannot create this way, but what it needs is capital.

141. Could QE Be Causing Deflation? argues that QE by putting a floor under property and financial asset markets, and thereby creating speculative bubbles, has produced a perception that prices in these markets can only move in one direction, and thereby ensures that any additional liquidity is always diverted into them.  It means that consequently falling rates of interest (dividend yields and bond yields) as well as rates of rent, do not lead to speculators diverting money-capital into productive investment, because the falling yields are far more than compensated by apparent rises in wealth, and capital gains resulting from the rise in property and financial asset prices.  In fact, far from that being the case, the underpinning of these speculative bubbles by money printing has made them seem so permanent, that even financial resources that might have been used in the real economy, promoting growth, has been diverted into this speculation instead.

That means that liquidity is drained, at least relatively, from the real economy, so that the exchange value of commodities, whether for productive or unproductive consumption, fall or rise only very slowly relative to money tokens.  That in itself acts as a deterrent against any significant rise in productive-investment, and a further diversion of available money-capital into financial speculation, creating a vicious circle.

142. Liberal-Tory Lies - The deficit and Labour Profligacy shows that the last Labour Government ran an average deficit to GDP ratio of only half the average under Thatcher and Major, and less than that currently being run the Coalition.