Today the global capitalist economy faces its greatest crisis in 80 years. First there was the credit crunch beginning in August 2007, when governments around the world stepped in to bail out the banks. Then, in September 2008, there was the collapse of Lehman Brothers, precipitating the greatest financial crash since 1929.
Economy & Finance
Issue 40 - November-December 2012
Issue 39 - May-July 2012
For a second time, Greek working people on June 17 voted against the austerity measures imposed on them by the Greek bankers, the International Monetary Fund and the European capitalist establishment.While the corporate media presented the election result as a “victory for the euro”, that is, for the pro-austerity parties, a clear majority of voters, 53%, voted for candidates oppos
A fascinating article appeared in Rolling Stone magazine in March. Titled “Bank of America: Too Crooked to Fail”, Matt Taibbi’s article cuts through the mystification of official economics and explains a major factor in the 2008 financial crisis. That central cause was fraud, corruption, theft: in short, crime.
Issue 38 - February-April 2012
The December 8-9 European Union summit meeting did little to end the continuing eurozone debt crisis.
Immediately after the outbreak of the financial-economic crisis in 2008, there was a flurry of speculation in the media (and even in the ALP) that governments (that is, the ruling class) were going to junk neoliberalism and revert to some form of the Keynesian economics that was fairly standard from the end of World War II until the early 1970s.
Issue 37 - December-January 2012
After 11 hours of talks in Brussels throughout the night of October 27, the 17 leaders of the states that share the euro as their currency announced a package of measures they hoped would be regarded by international financial markets as a “comprehensive” solution to the eurozone debt crisis.
Issue 36 - October-November 2011
On September 29 the European Financial Stability Facility cleared a major hurdle when German MPs voted to ratify an increase in its size and scope, including enabling it to buy government bonds from eurozone nations facing bankruptcy. The expansion of the bailout fund from 440 billion to 780 billion euros almost doubles Germany’s contribution – to €211 billion.
Issue 35 - September 2011
In the lead-up to the introduction of the carbon tax legislation into federal parliament, the federal opposition and other opponents of the tax have intensified their campaign against it.
Warren Buffett, listed by Forbes magazine as the world’s third wealthiest person, created a minor stir in early August by writing an op-ed piece in the New York Times calling for himself and other US millionaires and billionaires to be taxed at a higher rate.
Issue 34 - August 2011
San Francisco – The US mass media are awash with the Congressional wrangle over the “debt crisis”. The Republican Party in the House of Representatives is threatening to refuse to raise the ceiling on how much the government can borrow. The deadline for raising the ceiling is August 2.
Direct Action on May 9 after Morales had spoken to a workplace meeting of Brisbane bus drivers organised by the Rail, Tram, Bus Union and the Australia Cuba Friendship Society.][ezequiel>
A spectre is haunting Europe: the spectre of bankruptcy. At the centre of the European debt crisis is Greece, whose government and investors owe US$130 billion to European banks. Ireland, Portugal and Spain have public and private loans of US$463 billion, US$194 billion and US$642 billion respectively to European banks.
Issue 32 - May 2011
For the past 80 years, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) has led the country to historic victories that showed not only Vietnam’s spirit of national unity and self-determination but also the CPV’s political strength, its ability to mobilise the people and its ongoing commitment to building socialism.
“Europe's debt crisis returned to haunt markets Monday as investors fretted over a possible Greek default”, Associated Press reported April 23.
Issue 30 - March 2011
It was almost unheard of. Last month, a Fairfax business writer hinted that capitalism – at least, the Australian capitalism that we all know and love – might be not quite perfect. Something, Stuart Washington wrote on February 7, is “broken” in Australia’s “pricing system”, and “I believe failures in pricing are posing grave dangers to what we know as capitalism”.
The fortunes of Western Australia’s billionaires have surged, unabated by the global economic crisis. Gina Rinehart is the first woman to top Forbes Asia’s list of the wealthiest Australians, with an estimated fortune of $9 billion. Her wealth grew by $7 billion in one year. Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest came in at No 2 as his wealth surged 68%, thanks to soaring iron ore prices.
The 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) concluded on January 19. Over eight days, the congress reviewed its past decisions and performance and set the course to lead the people in building Vietnam into an industrialised nation.
Issue 29 - February 2011
[These are extracts from the international situation and international work report presented to the Revolutionary Socialist Party Congress, December 18-20, 2010.]
On January 27, the lower house of the Irish Parliament approved by a vote of 81 to 76 legislation imposing savage austerity measures on working people.
Issue 28 - November-December 2010
Official interest rates in the United States have been held almost to zero for nearly two years. In mainstream economic theory, low interest is a “stimulus” measure. The idea is that businesses are more willing to borrow and expand their operations when interest rates are low.
[This is an abridged and edited version of a talk to the International Conference on Diego Garcia organised by the Mauritian socialist group Lalit October 30-November 2. See the report on the conference].
Issue 26 - September 2010
Fears that the US economy is sliding into a new recession or into a period of protracted near stagnation have been heightened by new data released at the end of August. Real US gross domestic product (GDP) increased at a sluggish annualised 1.6% rate in the April-June quarter of 2010 after increasing by 3.7% in the first quarter, the US Commerce Department announced on August 27.
Issue 25 - August 2010
On June 24, Julia Gillard was sworn in as Australia’s first woman prime minister after the right-wing faction withdrew its support for Kevin Rudd. Rudd’s support had evaporated so quickly that he didn’t even contest the leadership ballot. This made Rudd one of the shortest serving prime ministers, the shortest being Frank Forde who held the office for eight days in 1945.
Like in the rest of the world, workers in Australia have suffered almost three decades of what has been described here as “economic rationalism” and in the rest of the world as “neoliberal reforms”. These “reforms” have entailed massive privatisation of government-owned business and utilities such as banks, airlines, power stations, urban public transport, etc.
“The ultimate reason for all real crises”, Karl Marx argued in Capital, his seminal work on the laws of motion of the capitalist system, “always remains the poverty and restricted consumption of the masses as opposed to the drive of capitalist production to develop the productive forces as though only the absolute consuming power of society constituted their outer limit”.