The fifth of the Global Minotaur's Handmaidens: Toxic economic theory

, 22/02/2011

The last two posts examined  four important contributors to the Global Minotaur: to America’s astonishing pre-2008 capacity to attract financing from the capital surpluses of the rest of the world sufficient for the purposes of funding its expanding twin deficits. They were, in turn, (a) the mergers and acquisitions drive, (b) hedging and leverage, (c) The Wal-Mart business model […]

The Minotaur’s Handmaidens Part B: The Wal-Mart business model and Wall Street’s toxic money

, 18/02/2011

In The Minotaur’s Handmaidens Part A, my last post, I looked at two important contributors to the Global Minotaur: to America’s astonishing pre-2008 capacity to attract financing from the capital surpluses of the rest of the world sufficient for the purposes of funding its expanding twin deficits. These two contributors were, on the one hand, the […]

The Minotaur's Handmaidens Part A: Mergers and take overs, Hedging and Leverage

, 16/02/2011

The last post presented the Global Minotaur as a peculiar, yet powerful, Global Surplus Recycling Mechanism (GSRM). Now, I move on to a discussion of the various submechanisms by which the US twin deficits managed to attract financing from the capital surpluses of the rest of the world so that this strange GSRM could operate […]

The Global Minotaur as a most peculiar Global Surplus Recycling Mechanism

, 15/02/2011

Continuing with the story of the Global Minotaur, today’s post looks at it as a most peculiar Global Surplus Recycling Mechanism .(to get up to speed on what this mechanism might be all about, click here) Following the collapse of the Global Plan in 1971, by the end of the 1970s America’s twin deficits had started […]

What attracted so much capital to New York, prior to 2008? The Global Minotaur’s charms

, 13/02/2011

My last post introduced readers to the Global Minotaur, the dynamic by which America’s twin deficits became a mighty ‘beast’ that performed to crucial functions after 1971: First, they provided Japan and Europe with the requisite demand for their industrial surpluses. Secondly, to finance these deficits (US government and trade deficits), the United States managed […]

Surplus recycling, currency unions and the birth of the Global Minotaur

, 10/02/2011

In yesterday’s post, I began to tell the tale of how the USA planned and implemented a Global Plan for the world economy, placing the US administration at the heart of a global Surplus Recycling Mechanism. Today, I have two offerings: One is a brilliant paper by George Krimpas which states the case for such […]

What is a Surplus Recycling Mechanism? An idea going back to Bretton Woods

, 09/02/2011

In yesterday’s post I claimed that Mrs Merkel is right on almost everything except that she seems unaware of the fact that her own wishes will only come true if our currency union is equipped with something that I called a Surplus Recycling Mechanism (SRM). What is an SRM? And why am I saying that […]

My Merkel, right and wrong

, 08/02/2011

Mrs Merkel is right on a number of counts and unless the rest of us, Europeans, acknowledge the strength of her case, there will be no progress in sorting out the mess otherwise known as eurozone. The trick will be to grant her her dues but, also, to point out the logical conclusion of her […]

The Euro Crisis as a Crisis of European Democracy

, 03/02/2011

In a few hours, our European leaders will emerge from their meeting, with a, supposedly, comprehensive package by which to deal with the euro crisis. Personally, I am not holding my breath. It is not that such a package is hard to put together (goodness knows this blog has made a meal of the availability […]

A Panorama of the European Crisis

, 03/02/2011

As Europe awaits with bated breath tomorrow’s ‘Comprehensive Solution’ to the European crisis, my good friends and colleagues Riccardo Bellofiore and Joseph Halevi kindly offered the following thoughts on the subject.

Seismologists, Economists and the Crisis – the podcast

, 30/01/2011

The BBC Radio 4 program Broadcasting House (a Sunday morning magazine program), hosted this radio essay of mine. The text is also available here.

Seismologists, economists and the crisis

, 29/01/2011

Only yesterday, I was asked by BBC Radio 4 to produce a short comment on how seismologists differ from economists. The idea originated from a comment I made some time ago that both disciplines are terrible at making predictions but economics is, in fact, worse  (in another important regard). The piece will be broadcast on […]

The French Enigma and Germany's dithering

, 27/01/2011

In response to my post Why is Europe dithering? George Krimpas sent me the following. It may well be he is right. But what does everyone else think?

That morning after feeling again (when the buy-back scheme proves ever so unattractive in the day's unforgiving light)

, 26/01/2011

The rumour of a buy back of the Greek debt began with an email sent by German daily Die Zeit. My last post explained why this idea ought to be treated with contempt. Soon after, Die Zeit  Online featured an article by Mark Schieritz that makes the same point. Here is a summary of his argument: The […]

Why the musings of a Greek debt buy-back deserve to be treated with contempt

, 24/01/2011

A recent report by German daily Die Zeit filled the newspaper columns and our television screens with rumours of a brilliant solution for the Greek debt. And when Reuters and Bloomberg beamed it around the world, false promises of a final resolution for the euro crisis began to spread like a bushfire. In this post I […]

Why is Europe dithering? Our politicians caught in a classic Buridan conundrum

, 19/01/2011

So, Europe’s leadership, under German pressure, decided to postpone any decision on how to tackle the euro crisis until the end of February, or even March. Hiding behind the ECB’s agonising and costly attempts temporarily to contain the periphery’s spreads, the eurozone has decided to do what it is best at: To dither a little […]

The calm before the storm

, 10/01/2011

I just watched a talking head on CNBC, clearly somehow connected to the European Commission, suggesting that 2011 will be a better year for the euro given the new institutions for managing the debt ‘crisis’. New institutions? Could he be referring to the European Financial Stability Facility, the EFSF and its successor ESM? I am speechless. It seems to me […]

No more domino metaphors please for the euro crisis. Mountaineering ones only from now on.

, 07/01/2011

In yesterday’s post, I argued that the chain reaction that started with Greece, moved to Dublin and now is proceeding to the Iberian peninsula, is increasing in magnitude inexorably because of the CDO-like structure of the EFSF/EFSB ‘bail outs’ of heavily indebted eurozone members. So far, we have all been thinking of this process in terms […]

Toxic eurobonds that divide versus benign eurobonds that bind

, 06/01/2011

So, a eurobond of sorts is now being issued by the EFSF (the European Financial Stability Facility), to the initial tune of a mere €5 billion, as part of the Irish banks’ bail-out. The public is, thus, justified to be puzzled by the headlines of Germany’s insistence that no eurobonds will be issued in the […]

An exchange with a retired City of London banker on economics' role in bringing about the Crisis

, 05/01/2011

A retired City of London banker, who happens to be a remarkably charming man, sent me an email commenting on my recent piece in which I criticise economics in general and Paul Samuelson in particular. Jerry (for that is his name) suggested that (despite the economists’ fixation with weird models of little significance) we economists […]

They Don't Make Them Like They Used To! Why even the best post-war analytical economist ended up a tragic figure

, 04/01/2011

Previously I have written about the Econobubble (the handmaiden of the “real” Bubble) and the toxic theories of economists who were very recently rewarded with the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.  Following those tirades, a number of colleagues (and students) put it to me that economics is not what it used to be.  That once […]

Good riddance 2010, Welcome 2011

, 31/12/2010

No year is of course responsible for what we humans get up to during its course. But then again, the very concept of a year would not exist without us. In this sense, it is not illegitimate to farewell 2010 with a sense of outrage at what it brought us. So, what did it bring? Paul […]

The Joylessness of Happiness Economics

, 28/12/2010

Or why looking for happiness is not like looking for gold That money cannot buy happiness has been known at least since the Midas story gained currency in ancient Greece. What is new is that, after the Crash of 2008, what had hitherto passed as scientific economics (and the neoliberal policies that they supported) lost […]

A thought for Xmas Day: Faustus, Scrooge and Debt in the Age of Capital

, 25/12/2010

Some idle economic thoughts for Christmas day: In late 16th century, Christopher Marlowe told the story of Dr Faustus who famously contracted, using his own blood to sign on the dotted line, to sell his body and soul twenty four years hence to Mephistopheles. [i] In exchange he demanded, and secured, a long catalogue of […]

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