Ecuador first major country to default on its debt obligations

From the Economist Intelligence Unit: Posted on Debtonation December 16th

Ecuador’s government will withhold an interest payment on its foreign bonds due on December 15th, making it the first major country to default on its debt obligations since the current global financial crisis began-indeed the first sovereign to do so since Argentina’s huge default

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The Chicago Tribune threatened: Man United next?

Ann Pettifor: 16th December, 2008, 15.00PM

I notice that the magnificent Chicago Tribune and its 14,600 employees are threatened with insolvency by its owner Sam Zell.  Zell borrowed huge sums with which to seize the Tribune as recently as December, 2007. In other words, he raised most of the asking price not by

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Madoff and Ponzi Finance

16th December, 2008

The unravelling of the Bernard Madoff Hedge Fund –  a Ponzi scheme, it seems, modelled on the scam of Charles Ponzi (pictured) – was described by Nicola Horlick of Bramdean Alternative Investment Fund as ‘the biggest financial fraud in the history of markets’. This reminds me of the witty comment of

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Green New Deal in the news

15th December, 2008

Last week there were several media pieces that mentioned the Green New Deal, including The Times, The Observer, and The Independent on Sunday.

Also, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has followed his colleagues at UNEP in calling for a Green New Deal.

You can also read nef’s Green New Deal

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Chicken licken is back

8th December, 2008

My piece in today’s Guardian, The Credit Crisis Myth, was resoundingly rubbished in many of the comments. Reminds me of when my book, The Coming First World Debt Crisis came out in 2006… Then it was: Chicken Licken – The sky is falling!

Read the article (and

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Has media reporting deepened the present crisis?

8th December, 2008

Are some journalists guilty of “careless headlines or injudicious reporting” which risk becoming self-fulfilling prophecies of a very serious nature? Peter Wilby discusses reporting on the current crisis in his piece today for the Guardian. In it he also refers to my 2003 New Statesman article warning of the coming debt

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Bank of America denies credit – Workers occupy Chicago factory

8th December 2008

Members of Local 1110 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America are occupying the Republic Windows and Doors factory this weekend – something rarely seen here since the 1930’s. Obama sided with the workers, saying ” I think they’re absolutely right and understand what’s happening to them

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High, real rates of interest

7th December, 2008

On friday 5th December the Financial Times finally acknowledged that ‘real borrowing costs remain high‘. For those readers that may have missed it let me recap: UK interest rates are now at 2%. The three-month Libor rate (the London inter-bank offer rate – fixed by a committee of the British Bankers Association) has come down from 6% to just under 4%.  Mortgage rates for new borrowing are just under 6%. The cost of borrowing for companies (loans and overdrafts) is at 7%. The yield on UK corporate bonds (BBB) are just under 12%.  Lets hear no more about low rates of interest.

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The tears of the unemployed, of auto CEOs and bankers

6th December 2008

The tears of millions of Americans stripped of livelihoods and healthcare remain hidden from view, unlike the tearful special pleading of the unscrupulous leaders of the finance sector, and this week, of the auto industry CEO’s. The latest unemployment numbers to emerge from the Dept. of Labor imply immense pain and anguish; and emotional, mental, familial and even social breakdown.  For those of us in other G8 countries cushioned by a public health service that is still, mercifully, largely free, it is hard to imagine how Americans cope with the shock of losing a job, and also their health care. As we await Barack Obama’s inaugural speech, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1933 speech becomes more and more striking for its relevance. I have used it often, but do so again, unashamedly.

But first, a brief whinge: on successive visits to the US, I have struggled to get biographies and speeches by FDR. I hope that is changing. US citizens should be proud of the fact that a time of grave global financial crisis, when Europe moved to the right, towards fascism, the United States, under Roosevelt’s leadership, moved in a progressive direction.

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The financial bailouts dwarf other global crisis spending by 40x

6th December 2008

From the Institute for Policy Studies – a new report released November 24th details the ratios of financial bailout spending to spending on development aid and climate crises.

The key finding published in the report is that the $4.1trillion that the United States and European governments have committed to rescue financial

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