The top 1% of Americans now take home, on average, more than 40 times the incomes of the bottom 90%. And if you head for the top 0.1%, those figures only radically worsen. That tiny crew takes home more than 198 times the income of the bottom 90% percent. They also possess as much wealth as the nation’s bottom 90%.Read More
Part of the reason the United States continues to maintain such a heavy military presence in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Yemen, Syria, and so on is that U.S. bases in these countries serve as launching pads for invasion against the next oil-bearing country that tries to defy the global financial order. Where oil is buried, in a way, the U.S. must go in order to ensure the petrodollar system is preserved.Read More
“The biggest consequence of central bank and government policy following the financial crisis of ten years ago was that the already rich and powerful became even wealthier and more powerful. As state-sponsored inequality boomed, significant portions of the global population finally realized the whole thing is a rigged sham, and populist movements swept the globe.
All of this political energy is a direct consequence of central bank policy, entrenched oligarchy and government corruption. We’re now at the point where significant percentages of the population in countries around the world want to metaphorically burn the whole thing down. Once the economic cycle kicks in and joins the political cycle already underway, then you’ll see the real fireworks.”
This “U.S. coup manual,” recently highlighted by WikiLeaks, serves as a reminder that the so-called “independence” of such financial institutions as The World Bank and IMF is an illusion and that they are among the many “financial weapons” regularly used by the U.S. government to bend countries to its will.Read More
Ever since Amazon came to dominate internet retailing; there has been a mantra that profits are irrelevant (in the short to medium term) if you can rapidly gain market share. In certain sectors with massive addressable markets, this may be true, but how many billion-dollar dog-walking apps does the world need? How many supposedly ‘disruptive’ industries are simply taking a current industry, adding a bit of marketing flair, maybe an app to the front end and then massively subsidizing users to gain market share, generating explosive revenue growth along the way. If you give a product away for dramatically less than your cost, of course people will migrate to your product.Read More
Glass-Steagall Act, signed into law as the U.S.A. Banking Act of 1933, the legislation had been crucial to safeguarding the financial industry in the wake of the Great Depression. But with its repeal in 1999, the barriers separating commercial and investment banking collapsed, creating the preconditions for an economic crisis from whose shadow we have yet to emerge. Carmen Segarra, a Wall Street whistleblower in her book “Noncompliant: A Lone Whistleblower Exposes the Giants of Wall Street” described the deep corruption in our banking and financial system and how the powerful rewards bad behaviours.Read More
In what appears to be the latest in a string of financial crimes and scandals that have generated some $18 billion in fines since the financial crisis, prosecutors are investigating whether two employees in the bank’s wealth management division helped clients set up accounts in offshore tax havens, including the British Virgin Islands, and possibly allowed criminals to move money through these shelters, some of which may have flowed through accounts at the bank (other employees may also have been involved, prosecutors said).
According to the Financial Times the illicit transactions that two DB wealth management employees neglected to flag in 2016 alone stood at €311 million ($353 million), but people familiar with the case is almost certainly much larger, given that the suspicious activity continued for five years.
From the LIBOR-rigging scandal to the offshore secrets of the Panama Papersand ‘dark money’ in the Brexit vote, it is everywhere. In my recent work with anti-corruption group Global Witness, I saw first-hand how ordinary people in some of the world’s poorest countries suffer the consequences of corruption and financial crime. We exposed suspicious mining and oil deals in Central Africa, in which over a billion dollars of desperately-needed public finances were lost offshore. The story is about the West as much as Africa. The deals were routed through a dizzying web of offshore shell companies in the British Virgin Islands, often linked to listed companies in London, Toronto and elsewhere.
For Strange, money laundering, tax evasion and public embezzlement were a result of the collapse in the 1970s of the post-war financial order.
Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft have bought more than 500 companies in the past decade. These giants are looking for the younger fast growers.
Today firms find it is more profitable to restrict production than to invest in growing. Think of airlines that don’t want more capacity, beer companies that don’t expand plants, and cable companies that don’t upgrade infrastructure.
Instead, firms take their high profits and plow them into share buybacks. The money goes to wealthy shareholders who spend less relative to their income than poor people. And so low investment and low consumption are tied together.
“The Wealth of Nations” and the Declaration of Independence were bold statements against the abuses of monopoly power. Americans wanted entrepreneurial freedom to build businesses in a free market.
Today, we need a new revolution to cast off monopolies and restore free trade.
Many indigenous Papuans ask “Why are we so poor when our country is so rich?”
BP is profiting from a giant gas field in West Papua while the indigenous population face ‘slow motion genocide’ under Indonesian military occupation, an undercover investigation by New Matilda can reveal. The oil giant is collaborating with the army and police who are implicated in the killing and torturing of pro-independence activists as part of an escalating militarisation to secure West Papua’s gas reserves.
After fifteen years in West Papua, BP is endangering human rights and failing to deliver ‘a material improvement in fundamental living conditions’ of some of the world’s poorest people.
“BP are siphoning off West Papuan resources to Indonesia blind to the brutal repression going on around them, The Indonesian Government are desperate to hide what is happening from the rest of the world”, said Lord Harries.
We are going to see whether Goldman Sachs, the world’s most politically-connected investment bank – the former employer of dozens of senior civil servants, from US treasury secretaries to the governors of the Bank of England and the European Central Bank can evade this financial fraud allegation once again.
The answer will tell whether there has been reform in the banking and financial industry since a decade of financial crash, which I doubt very much. Meanwhile its stock is plunging, drastically underperforming compared to the market.
We are risking another bubble and if 70 years of historical relationships are anything to go by, the S&P 500’s annual return over the next 10 years may be about zero. “In hindsight, the fix was simple: abandon the belief in any limit to the stupidity of Wall Street.”
“Over the completion of the current market cycle, I fully expect the S&P 500 to lose close to two-thirds of its value from the recent peak.”
Amazon’s HQ2 spectacle, featuring civic leaders across the country happily debasing themselves—personally, politically, and economically— in a futile quest to attract the beneficence of Jeff Bezos, is just the most extreme example of a corporate con job that goes on all the time. Big companies can force cities and states to compete in a zero-sum game of offering them tax breaks and other incentives in order to locate or relocate facilities.
All of this is nothing but a transfer of wealth from public to private coffers. To companies, this is just free money. Billions of dollars from heaven.
By banning this insulting robbery of the public till outright, business will continue building, and investing, and locating, and relocating. They do all those things in order to make more money. Companies create jobs because they need work done in order to make money. They are not charitable activities. They do not need a bribe. They are playing on the desperation of desperate places in order to rip us all off. That should not be legal.
In Indonesia, the rulers are covering-up the true horrors of the Indonesian reality. Why?
Because they don’t give a damn about the poor. They couldn’t care less about the great majority that actually lives in destitution. They don’t need ‘help’, because the people do not matter. What matters is the profits of the few who are form the ‘elites’, as well as servitude and prostitution to the Western rulers. After all, it was the West that triggered the 1965 coup in which between 1-3 million intellectuals, ‘atheists’, Communists and unionists lost their lives. And so, the Indonesian treasonous business ‘heads’, the military generals, religious leaders as well as the servile scholars and media ‘stars’ are merrily prostituting themselves, eternally grateful to Washington, London and Riyadh, for saving them from the just and egalitarian society, which the great father of the nation Soekarno and the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) were aiming at.
The Elites get away with everything. No one dares to challenge them. And they get rewarded by the West – as long as they rob the country and its people of everything, and deliver huge part of the loot to the gates of Washington, Canberra, Paris and London.