Economics

Marxist economists analyse the crisis

Financial crisis

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Costas Lapavitsas/Leo Panitch/Fred Moseley/Michel Husson/Andrew Kliman/David Laibman/Simon Mohun/Trevor Evans/Robert Brenner/more
Andrew Kliman and David Laibman are new contributors, and Michel Husson, Fred Moseley, Leo Panitch, and Costas Lapavitsas present second thoughts, in a symposium also including Simon Mohun, Trevor Evans, Robert Brenner, and Dick Bryan.

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Fair trade, free trade, and socialism

Author: 

Paul Hampton

Trade is a vital part of the neoliberal economic, political and ideological regime that now dominates the world economy and most national states.

In this pamphlet we try to grasp the essential features of the world economy, especially relating to trade issues.

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Another Brest-Litovsk?

Author: 

Colin Foster

No small country, and in fact no country at all, can simply defy and ignore the pressures of the capitalist world market, not unless it wants to reduce itself to a pauperised, shut-off condition.

It would be wrong and demagogic to denounce the Greek government just for trying to do a deal with the eurozone leaders, the European Central Bank, and the IMF. It is even more demagogic to say that it could have an easy way out of the difficulties just by quitting the European Union.

It would be wrong and demagogic to denounce the Greek government just for trying to do a deal with the eurozone leaders, the European Central Bank, and the IMF. It is even more demagogic to say that it could have an easy way out of the difficulties just by quitting the European Union.

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Greece: five questions that demand an answer

Author: 

Costas Lapavitsas

The Eurogroup agreement has not been concluded, in part because we do not yet know what “reforms” will be proposed by the Greek government today (Monday 23 February) and which ones of those will eventually be accepted.

However, those of us that have been elected based on the programme of Syriza, and see the announcements made at Thessaloniki [i.e. the “Thessaloniki Programme”] as pledges that we have promised to the Greek people, we have deep concerns. It is our duty to write them down.

The general programme of the agreement is as follows:

Costas Lapavitsas, socialist economist and Syriza MP, analyses the deal between Greece and the EU.

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Confiscate the banks!

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Editorial

A thousand, a million, a billion, a trillion? Paradoxically, one of the ways the HSBC bank can hope to ride out the current storm is that the numbers are so far beyond experience for most of us that we glaze over.

HSBC is under fire because of documents which have filtered through to the Guardian which show that a Swiss subsidiary facilitated, helped, and even prompted tax avoidance and money-laundering.

The financial assets of the banks greatly exceed those totals. Banks hold around £20 trillion in financial assets — enough to buy up all the country’s physical assets three times over — or the equivalent of about £800,000 for each household in the UK.

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HSBC scandal: expropriate the banks!

Author: 

Martin Thomas

The banks and the other institutions of high finance should be taken over and run as public utilities, not profiteers. The top bankers should be sacked and replaced by accountable officials on ordinary wages.

The new scandal about HSBC which blew on 9 February confirms that conclusion.

At first sight, the bankers got off easily from the crisis in 2008. Their get-rich-quick gambits sent the whole economy into slump; but the British government laid out £1100 billion in cash, loans, and guarantees to stop Britain’s big banks going bust, and other governments did similar.

The ground is shifting under the feet of Giant Finance. Widespread resentment and discredit continues to spill over into one scandal after another.

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Euro-solidarity can stop euro-cuts

Author: 

Editorial

On hearing the first declarations from the ministers in Greece’s new Syriza-led government, elected on 25 January, the invisible hand of the markets reacted. The stock market lost 8%. The interest rate on Greek bonds went up.

Some EU and IMF leaders sent harder messages about the need for compliance — Angela Merkel, Christine Lagarde — and some tried to be more conciliatory (Barack Obama, Francois Hollande, Matteo Renzi).

If the leadership of Syriza wants to stay true to its pro-working-class commitments, the only realistic and effective response is European and international working-class solidarity.

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Euro-QE: a conservative sop

Author: 

Colin Foster

The European Central Bank’s Quantitative Easing (QE) plan, announced on 22 January 2015, was a bit more energetic than expected.

The good thing about it is that it confirms that EU leaders know their current plans aren’t working, and therefore are more susceptible into being pushed for change. Whether QE as such will help working-class people across Europe is another matter.

Even in terms of bourgeois economic-management gambits, QE is a conservative option. More radical monetarists propose that the central bank, instead of pumping cash into banks, should instead create new cash to give an equal handout to every resident.

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Give them all €10,000!

Author: 

Rhodri Evans

The economists John Muellbauer and Willem Buiter have proposed that the European Central Bank fixes the euro-depression by handing out €500 to each citizen or resident of the eurozone.

Wolfgang Munchau, in the Financial Times (12 January), argues that a handout of €10,000 per person would be more realistic.

It won't happen, but these are all conservative, mainstream economists, trying to think outside the box.

The economists John Muellbauer and Willem Buiter have proposed that the European Central Bank fixes the euro-depression by handing out €500 to each citizen or resident of the eurozone.

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Finance and the “other exploitation”

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Review of Costas Lapavitsas' Profiting without producing, Verso 2013

Capitalist exploitation is not just by the boss extracting from the worker, in return for a meagre more-or-less “living wage”, an expansible value-added which may be something like three times what’s paid out in wages.

It also comes from making working-class households pay interest on debts which they run up, often on disadvantageous terms, because of their relative poverty and relative lack of power in the markets.

A review of Profiting without producing by Costas Lapavitsas (Verso 2013).

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