When we mention the debt crisis the first images that come to mind are the marches and protests in the streets of Madrid or Athens. But the negative impact of the debt system on the lives of the people is felt all over the world. Not even the sunny and placid lands of the Caribbean are immune to the destabilizing power of that system. In this case the victim is the island of Puerto Rico, where the uncontrolled increase of the debt has placed it on the edge of bankruptcy.
During the current financial crisis, government debt levels across the advanced capitalist world have soared. In the United States, the portion of the federal debt ‘held by the public’ has more than doubled from 36 per cent of GDP in 2007 to 73 per cent in 2012. This explosive increase in the federal debt raises an important question that strikes at the heart of the future of the US political economy: who is buying this huge and growing mountain of US Treasury securities?
from Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, University of Sheffield, 1/23/14
U.S. still > China
BY all accounts the geography of global manufacturing has changed, with China in particular and developing countries in general accounting for a high share of global manufacturing production and exports.
An interview with João Pedro Stédile, Founding Member and Member of the National Board of Directors of the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST) , conducted by Raffaele Marchetti specially for wpfdc.org
Raffaele Marchetti: What are the most difficult challenges ahead MST today?
from World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilization," 12/19/13
Neoliberalism and Iran
With the announcement that Iran’s nuclear deal with the world powers will take effect Jan. 20, and reports that on Feb. 1 Iran will receive the first $550 million installment in previously blocked overseas funds totaling $4.2 billion, there appears to be optimism that Tehran is taking the slow and necessary steps to address many of the issues its economy is facing.
In January 1961, US President Dwight D Eisenhower used his farewell address to warn the nation of what he viewed as one of its greatest threats: the military-industrial complex composed of military contractors and lobbyists perpetuating war.
Is Europe’s single currency bloc stabilising? Behind the current picture of calm storm clouds are gathering, says French economist Jacques Sapir, in this recent interview with Greek newspaper Kefalaio (Capital)
Kefalaio: What is your reaction to the image of stability in the Eurozone promoted by European leaders? What are the possible ruptures (eg in the case of a US “tapering”, that is easing off of its injections of free money into the financial markets?)
As we say goodbye to 2013, the economy is still failing ordinary workers.
What is being done to make it better? Not enough.
Public spending and public investment are too low, wages for increasingly productive workers are flat or falling, and the minimum wage is inadequate.
However, there is hope for 2014.
The policies that created these trends can be reversed. There is a renewed push to raise the federal minimum wage, states are raising their own minimum wages, and more policymakers are coming to terms with the downside of economic inequality.
Kafala, or How the Wage-earners Become the Slaves of Their Company
After visiting a camp for workers, Pierre Barbancey was arrested by the Doha police for "illegal practice of journalism", before being released. In this major report, he recounts how a million foreign wage-earners, modern day slaves, are exploited in the construction of the infrastructures for the 2022 World Cup of soccer. Hundreds have already died in the process.