The liquidity crisis and drowning naked

Tako se je začelo:

“Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng last week set out an unfunded £45 billion tax giveaway, on top of an energy bill rescue plan costing over £100 billion across two years, with no details on how to balance the books. The plan sparked a run on the pound and sent market interest rates soaring.

Cuts to benefits, infrastructure projects and departmental spending totaling up to £47 billion ($52 billion) will be needed to bring the national debt under control, comparable to the austerity Osborne imposed during the financial crisis, the Resolution Foundation said. Bloomberg Economics projected the cuts may even need to exceed Osborne’s since borrowing costs have rocketed following the backlash against Truss’s package of tax cuts.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-29/truss-may-need-to-match-brutal-2010-uk-cuts-to-win-market-faith?cmpid=socialflow-twitter-business&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_content=business

Michael Roberts Blog

“If there was no intervention today, gilt yields could have gone up to 7-8 per cent from 4.5 per cent this morning and in that situation around 90 per cent of UK pension funds would have run out of collateral… They would have been wiped out.”  So says a UK bond trader yesterday. 

A liquidity crisis erupted in British bond markets after the announcement by the new right-wing Conservative government that it would spend up to £60bn to maintain and energy price cap for householders for up to two years, subsidise business energy costs AND also cut corporate and income taxes.  The total hit from this largesse (mainly to the rich) to the UK public debt level over the next few years has been estimated at over £400bn or nearly 20% of GDP.  With UK public debt already at 100% of GDP, that sounded the death knell for the UK…

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Ameriška bratska pomoč Evropi: Miniranje plinovodov do Rusije

Tale izjava ameriškega predsednika Bidna je iz dne 7. februarja letos, slabe 3 tedne pred ruskim napadom na Ukrajino.

No, slabih 9 mesecev kasneje se je to tudi zgodilo – Američani ali “neznani storilci” so našli način, da “naredijo konec Severnemu toku 2“. V ponedeljek so “neznanci” v mednarodnih vodah med Švedsko, Dansko in Poljsko z eksplozivom (švedski preiskovalci pravijo, da moč detonacije ene cevi ustreza okrog 700 kg TNT) razstrelili dve cevi Severnega toka 1 (ST1) in eno cev Severnega toka 2 (ST2). Po informacijah Reutersa je ena cev ST2 ostala nepoškodovana.

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Setting the story straight about Mencinger and privatization

David Ellerman

The late Joze Mencinger was the dominate voice in the privatization debates of the early 1990s arguing for pragmatism and gradualism as opposed to the shock therapy approach. Yet other smears are sometimes associated with his name, so now that he is no longer with us, I would like to set the record straight. The shock therapy approach advocated by the World Bank and other major western development advisory institutions (“The Washington Consensus”) was implemented in its purest form in Russia with devastating results for most of the population and with the creation of a domineering class of oligarchs and tycoons. We feel the repercussions today in the Russia’s Putin-fueled resentment against the West.

But there were opposing voices such as the World Bank’s Chief Economist, Joseph Stiglitz, who suggested that the shock therapy approach was a major error (“Whither Reform”, 1999 [Full disclosure: I was Stiglitz’s speechwriter]). The shock therapy approach did not fully prevail in Slovenia in spite of the intervention and advocacy by Jeffrey Sachs in 1991 in opposition to the Mencinger (or Korze-Mencinger-Simoneti) draft law on internal privatization. I was the American consultant to the Mencinger team concerning the US model of employee ownership, the Employee Stock Ownership Plan or ESOP. The Sachs approach tried to detach workers from ownership claims in their own enterprise in favor of certificates tradeable for shares in investment funds or the stock market.

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Testiranje nuklearnih živcev po “sramotnih” referendumih na zasedenih ozemljih

Strinjam se s ključno poanto tega in povezanih člankov v Bloombergu: ruska de iure aneksacija zasedenih ozemelj v Ukrajini bo na preizkušnjo postavila zahodne “zaveznice” Ukrajine. Bodo “zaveznice” Ukrajini res dale sodobna letala in rakete dolgega dometa, kot zahteva Zelenski, ali pa se bodo v strahu pred morebitno nuklearno eskalacijo raje malce pomaknile nazaj in Ukrajini ob deklarativni politični podpori še naprej pošiljale “le” konvencionalno staro orožje iz skladišč?

Tole je zadnja mapa zasedenih ozemelj, ki plastično pokaže dejanske ruske cilje v Ukrajini (zasedba večinsko proruskih regij na ozemlju nekdanje Novorusije in kopenska povezava Rusije s Krimom) (vir je naveden na sliki):

Ukraine occupoied 22092022

President Vladimir Putin is moving to turn the narrative of his war in Ukraine on its head as sham referendums end today in four regions occupied by Russia.

The results are a foregone conclusion. They’ll pave the way for Putin to annex the areas as soon as this week and recast the invasion as a war in defense of territory he defines as Russian.

The implication is they’ll be covered by Russia’s nuclear umbrella, underlining Putin’s threat that he’s willing to use all available weapons to achieve his goals.

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Bogati postajajo vedno bolj bogati, revni pa primerjalno vse revnejši: Kje so realne poti za zmanjševanje neenakosti?

Bine Kordež

Dohodkovna in premoženjska neenakost prebivalstva je vsekakor ena izmed najbolj izpostavljenih slabih strani sodobnega sveta. Verjetno ni teksta o tej tematiki, ki ne bi izpostavljal negativne plati povečevanja neenakosti, kot tudi ne bomo našli ene izjave, ki bi takšno  stanje zagovarjala. A ne glede na prevladujoče mnenje, se razmere na tem področju celo zaostrujejo. Povečuje se delež revnega prebivalstva, na drugi strani pa kopiči bogastvo ozkega kroga ljudi. Je razlog res samo v povezavi premožne elite s politiko, ki kljub demokratičnim procesom tega trenda ne uspe (noče) zaustaviti, ali pa so v ozadju tudi kakšni drugi razlogi, ki v obstoječem družbeno-ekonomskem sistemu vodijo v smer vse večje koncentracije dohodkov in premoženja?

Če torej želimo stopiti korak naprej od samo vsesplošnega zavračanja in zgražanja nad takšnim stanjem, je smiselno nekoliko podrobneje pogledati razloge, ki vodijo v vse večje  razslojevanje. Ukrepe za zaustavitev ali vsaj omilitev teh negativnih procesov je smiselno usmeriti predvsem tja, kjer so spremembe možne. V nadaljevanju analiziram posamezne segmente povečevanja neenakosti, in to na primeru Slovenije, kar so nam domače razmere pač bližje in bolj razumljive. Pri tem je vseeno potrebno poudariti, da imamo v Sloveniji skoraj najnižjo stopnjo dohodkovne neenakosti med vsemi državami na svetu, da uradni statistični podatki tudi ne kažejo, da se ta denimo zadnjih dvajset let poslabšuje. Drži pa tudi, da se je glede na razmere v nekdanji državi povečala ter da se tudi pri nas krepi delež premoženja v rokah ožjega kroga ljudi. Srečujemo se torej s podobnimi trendi kot v svetu. Trendi so pri nas sicer manj izraziti, a za iskanje razlogov povečevanja neenakosti lahko pogledamo tudi razmere in gibanja v Sloveniji.

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Daniel Yergin: The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations

Moje branje zadnjih dni – “The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations“. Kdor hoče razumeti velik del vzrokov sodobnega globalnega spopada, mora prebrati to knjigo Daniela Yergina, Pullitzerjevega nagrajenca za knjigo The Prize” (2009). Eden izmed ključnih razlogov in poligonov za spopad je energija, druga dva sta trgovinska globalizacija in vojna za globalno valutno dominacijo. Da še vas zakurim, je spodaj nekaj kratkih recenzij iz Amazona.

A new type of Cold War is emerging between China and the West. . The global order is being simultaneously shaken by climate change and the shale revolution in oil and gas – and now by the coronavirus. Controversial fracking technology has given America unprecedented leverage as the world’s leading energy powerhouse, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia, upending the chessboard of global politics and changing the psychology of the global economy. Despite being weighed down by sanctions, Russia is pivoting east toward China as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping unite to challenge America and lay claim to almost all of the South China Sea, one of the world’s most critical trade routes. Elsewhere, the map of the Middle East created after World War I is being attacked by ISIS and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as the region struggles to come to grips with the recent oil price collapse caused by the rise of shale. Oil producers, from the Middle East and Moscow to corporate boardrooms around the world, now fear that peak demand for oil is coming as renewable energy vies with fossil fuels.

The New Map tells a sweeping story about how the role of energy in climate change is shaping geopolitical discussions, challenging our industries and our lifestyles, and accelerating a second energy revolution – the quest for renewables. It also brings realism to the debates over the energy transition.

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Energija je življenje, pomanjkanje energije je smrt – zato sodobne vojne (za energijo)

Izjemno dober povzetek narative glede pomena energije. Prvič, pojasni mnogim neznane ali slabo poznane razloge za vojne v zadnjem stoletju (od japonskega napada na Pearl Harbour, Hitlerjevega napada na Rusijo, s strani ZDA povzročenih arabskih revolucij v 1970-ih ter ameriško sponzorirane “arabske pomladi” pred desetletjem in pol, ameriški napad na Irak, vojno v Siriji in sedanjo vojno v Ukrajini). In drugič, pokaže, kako “energy know-nothings“, oblečenih v zelene stranke in nevladne organizacije, s tem ko vsiljujejo prezgodnjo dekarbonizacijo brez jedrske energije zavedno ali nezavedno delajo proti strateškim interesom lastne države in v korist tujih držav.

 

1/ On July 26, 1941, President Roosevelt seized all Japanese assets in the US and imposed a strict oil embargo on the country. Britain and the Dutch East Indies – the colonial predecessor to modern-day Indonesia and a major oil supplier to Japan – quickly followed suit.

2/ Virtually overnight, Japan lost three-quarters of its trade and nearly 90% of its oil imports. Faced with few options beyond a humiliating surrender to hostile foreign powers, Japan made the fateful decision to go to war with the US.

3/ The attack on Pearl Harbor a little more than four months later was driven by Japan’s ultimate need to occupy, defend, and exploit the energy bounty of the Dutch East Indies, which they proceeded to do a month after severely weakening the US forces in the Pacific.

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Kdo bo volil za skrajno desne stranke v Italiji

Italijanski (verjetni) obrat v skrajno desno je za ljudi izven Italije dokaj strašljiv. Ključni vprašanji sta, zakaj in za katere volilce so Melonijevi Bratje Italije tako privlačni.

Adam Tooze je naredil dobro quick & dirty analizo strukture volilcev, ki naj bi to nedeljo volili za (bolj ali manj) skrajno desne stranke v Italiji. Kratek povzetek: Sredinska socialna stranka PD ima volilce v zgornjem srednjem razredu – med slojem izobraženih, z višjimi dohodki in ateisti. Kar podpira Pikettyjevo tezo, da je soacialdemokracija zapustila delavce in postala stranka dobro situiranih liberalnih izobražencev. Salvinijeva Lega je prevzela nekdanje volilce socialdemokracije – mlade, delavski razred ter nižje izobražene in aktivne vernike. Druge volilce levice (liberalnejše mlade in z nižjimi dohodki) je prevzela stranka 5 zvezdic. V nasprotju s tem pa Bratje Italije, ki jo vodi Melonijeva, ki odkrito koketira s fašizmom in za katero ankete kažejo največji delež glasov na volitvah, enakomerno pobira glasove po dimenzijah starosti in izobrazbe ter dohodkov. Prav tako jo “odlikuje”, da enakomerno privlači vse segmente na desni strani od zmernih desničarjev do identitarijancev in avtoritarijancev. Če jo kaj loči od drugih, je to, da najbolj privlači tradicionalne volilce. Njeni dve najbolj privlačni lastnosti sta očitno evroskepticizem in tradicionalne družinske (anti-LGBT) vrednote. Oboje je tipično italijansko v zadnjem desetletju in pol, ker očitno reflektira stvari, ki Italijane najbolj motijo.

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Italy: lurching to the right

Nič dobrega se ne obeta. Ne v Italiji in ne širše. Čeorav so razlogi za politično nezadovoljstvo pravi, pa – kot običajno – to nezadovoljstvo izkoristijo populisti najslabše sorte.

Nočem biti črnogled, toda če se bo ta energetska kriza čez zimo poglobila, če bodo ljudje letos pozimi na hladnem in v temi ali izgubili službe, nas čaka politični vihar v celotni EU. Ki bo naplavil populiste.

Michael Roberts Blog

Italy goes to the polls this Sunday 27 September. This is a snap election forced on Italy’s president because the ‘technocratic’ government under former ECB chief Mario Draghi fell after he lost majority support in parliament. That support was lost, partly because Draghi vigorously backed NATO support for Ukraine against the Russian invasion – something that both the leading right-wing parties and the leftist Five Star were less keen on – and partly because the Draghi government was determined to keep to the fiscal strictures of the EU Commission in return for the huge EU regeneration package that Italy would receive to revive the economy after the COVID slump.

If the polls are correct, Italy will emerge from its general election on Sunday with a new far-right government led by arch-conservative Giorgia Meloni, president of the Brothers of Italy, a party that has rocketed to prominence from nowhere since the…

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