World Economy

Bitcoin frenzy: The fever chart of a deepening crisis

By Nick Beams, 13 December 2017

The rise and rise of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin is the most egregious expression of the rampant speculation that has come to dominate the global economy.

11 December 2017

Australia: Lowest consumer spending since global financial crisis

By Nick Beams, 8 December 2017

Consumption spending is being dragged down by historically low wage growth, rising energy costs and high debt levels.

Warnings of financial crash as stock markets continue to surge

By Nick Beams, 5 December 2017

A leading British fund manager said he is losing count of the number of “red lights” that are flashing warning signs over the state of financial markets.

US initiates trade war investigation into Chinese aluminium imports

By Nick Beams, 1 December 2017

The aggressive content of the last US move is indicated by the fact that it is the first “self-initiated” trade measure by the Commerce Department in more than a quarter of a century.

Amid mounting fears of financial turmoil

Departing Fed chairwoman seeks to reassure markets while warning of debt crisis and social inequality

By Nick Beams, 30 November 2017

Amid surging stock markets and warnings of a new financial bubble, outgoing Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen made her final appearance before Congress.

Warnings of new financial bubble as bitcoin price hits $10,000

By Andre Damon, 29 November 2017

The explosive rise in the price of bitcoin, the first “cryptocurrency,” has eclipsed the run-up of any comparable asset in modern history.

Trump’s Asia visit: Growing US economic isolation to fuel military push

By Nick Beams, 13 November 2017

Trump’s tour has underscored the mounting problems US imperialism confronts globally.

Trump sets out economic war in address to Asia-Pacific summit

By Nick Beams, 11 November 2017

In his diatribe, the US president cast aside the multilateral framework put in place by the United States itself in the aftermath of World War II.

Paradise Papers shed light on how giant companies and the super-rich avoid taxation

By Gabriel Black, 10 November 2017

The latest leaks confirm that the largest companies in the world, and the ultra-wealthy that run them, use their power and wealth to park trillions of dollars offshore to avoid taxation.

Three billionaires are wealthier than half the US population

By Eric London, 10 November 2017

According to a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett now own more wealth than the poorest half of the US population, some 160 million people.

As US moves to abolish estate tax, world’s billionaires pile up another $1 trillion

By Andre Damon, 27 October 2017

As the ultra-rich grow older and wealthier, they are increasingly preoccupied with the question of “succession.”

European Central Bank to continue bond-buying program

By Nick Beams, 27 October 2017

Draghi’s supporters on the ECB governing council prevailed against a push to set a date to end its quantitative easing policy.

China faces growing debt problems, says central bank governor

By Nick Beams, 24 October 2017

The use of the term “Minsky moment” could be an indication of how serious the bank chief regards the situation.

US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to Congress: Pass tax cuts or markets will tank

By Nick Beams, 21 October 2017

Mnuchin’s Politico interview is an unwitting admission that the world’s largest economy is dominated by financial parasitism.

Thirty years since Wall Street’s “Black Monday”

By Nick Beams, 19 October 2017

Thirty years ago today, on October 19, 1987, the New York Stock Exchange experienced what remains its largest one-day fall in history.

IMF report points to financial dangers lurking beneath global growth

By Nick Beams, 14 October 2017

Central banks confront an acute contradiction: attempts to normalise monetary policy may trigger a financial crisis, but continuing the flow of easy money is creating unsustainable debt levels.

Trump threatens to jettison NAFTA, as trade disputes intensify

By Roger Jordan and Keith Jones, 13 October 2017

The collapse of NAFTA would mark a new stage in the eruption of 1930s-style “beggar they neighbor” trade conflicts.

Growth to rise but wages continue to fall, says IMF

By Nick Beams, 12 October 2017

International Monetary Fund chief economist Maurice Obstfeld welcomed the uptick in global growth but said the “recovery” was “cyclical” and “incomplete.”

Indian economy in a downward spiral

By Kranti Kumara, 11 October 2017

The Indian economy, touted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a high-growth haven, is increasingly mired in crisis.

Outgoing German finance minister warns of financial bubbles

By Nick Beams, 10 October 2017

Schäuble said he had “no idea when the next crisis will happen” but economists all over the world were concerned about the rise of liquidity and debt.

Australian economy “going into a hole”

By Nick Beams, 7 October 2017

The record run of the Australian economy, 26 years without a recession, has “flattered to deceive,” as major economic problems come to the surface.

Bailed out in 2008 crash, AIG now out of government oversight

By Nick Beams, 2 October 2017

Ending the “too big to fail” designation for the giant insurance group has been described as the most significant step in the Trump administration’s push for financial deregulation.

Bank for International Settlements voices concern over finance markets

By Nick Beams, 19 September 2017

The BIS has warned that the slow pace in normalising central bank interest rates and ending quantitative easing is setting up financial markets for a shock when interest rates do rise.

The 150th anniversary of the publication of Capital

By Nick Beams, 18 September 2017

September 14 was the 150th anniversary of the publication of the first volume of Capital by Karl Marx. It marked a turning point in mankind’s intellectual and historical development.

Growing warnings of a stock market bubble

By Nick Beams, 15 September 2017

US markets are in their second-longest bull run in history, indicating a growing divergence between financial markets and the underlying real economy.

ECB makes first move to wind back quantitative easing

By Nick Beams, 9 September 2017

The class agenda of the ECB emerged when president Mario Draghi called for the further elimination of job protection as he backed reforms by the Macron presidency in France.

After the financial crisis: How the ultra-wealthy have prospered

By Nick Beams, 31 August 2017

The word “recovery” is frequently used to describe the state of the world economy, but what it really reveals is the position of the ultra-wealthy.

Central bankers at Jackson Hole conference: What was not said and why

By Nick Beams, 28 August 2017

In their speeches, neither Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen nor European Central Bank head Mario Draghi even mentioned the massive asset purchases carried out over the past eight years.

Amid warnings of a new financial crash, Fed Chairwoman promotes illusions at Jackson Hole conference

By Nick Beams, 26 August 2017

Yellen extolled the achievements of the Federal Reserve in putting in place measures to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 financial crisis.

Behind the political warfare in the US: Rising fears of financial collapse, social unrest

By Nick Beams, 22 August 2017

There are growing concerns in US and global financial circles that the rise in the US stock market that accelerated with the election of Donald Trump is heading for a major downturn.

US takes major step toward trade war with China

By Nick Beams, 21 August 2017

Stephen Bannon has been forced out as Trump’s chief strategist, but his agenda of economic warfare against China has been taken up by the administration.

IMF sharpens its warning on “dangerous” Chinese debt growth

By Nick Beams, 18 August 2017

According to the IMF, the increased Chinese debt, resulting from government efforts to stimulate the economy, could lead to a financial crisis.

European contaminated eggs scandal broadens

By Anna Rombach, 16 August 2017

Eggs contaminated with the toxic insecticide Fipronil have now been found in many European countries and in Hong Kong.

Amazon CEO Bezos makes $1.4 billion Thursday morning, briefly becoming world’s richest person

By Evan Blake, 28 July 2017

Bezos’s ascension to the heights of society rests on the exploitation of Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of workers worldwide.

IMF global outlook downgrades US growth prospects

By Nick Beams, 25 July 2017

A decade after the global financial crisis, growth rates remain well below the levels of 2008, with no sign of a return to the previous levels in the future.

US-China trade talks conclude in acrimony

By Nick Beams, 22 July 2017

A former White House advisor said the meeting had “all the signs—no joint statement, or press conference, no outcomes—of serious and sustained tensions rapidly emerging due to deep differences.”

Trump administration to pursue protectionist agenda in NAFTA renegotiation

By Roger Jordan, 21 July 2017

Washington intends to use the talks to extract concessions from corporate America’s Canadian and Mexican rivals and to forge a US-led trade bloc to confront its global rivals.

ECB offers reassurance to anxious financial markets

By Nick Beams, 21 July 2017

ECB president Mario Draghi said there were indications of economic growth but this was yet to translate into underlying inflation dynamics.

Study finds financial parasitism contributes to the high cost of drugs

By Nick Beams, 18 July 2017

According to the authors of a recent study, the reason for the high cost of drugs in the US is the prevalence of a “social disease” called “maximising shareholder value.”

030 G20 crackdown

15 July 2017

Transatlantic tensions dominate G20 summit

By Nick Beams, 10 July 2017

Despite cobbling together a unanimous resolution, the G20 summit was, by any measure, the most fractious meeting of major political leaders in the post-war period.

Global financial parasitism and the political strategy of the working class

By Nick Beams, 10 July 2017

The statement “Palace coup or class struggle: The political crisis in Washington and the strategy of the working class,” issued by the SEP (US), is grounded on the “life situation” facing the working class, resulting from the rise of financial parasitism and its domination over every aspect of economic and social life.

The oligarchs assemble in Hamburg

By Alex Lantier, 8 July 2017

Ringed by tens of thousands of heavily-armed police, the representatives of the global financial oligarchy gathered in Hamburg to hurl recriminations at one another.

Trump speech in Poland fans conflict with Germany, Russia

By Patrick Martin, 7 July 2017

The US president associated himself fully with the ultra-right policies pursued by the nationalistic PiS government in Warsaw.

Trade conflicts hang over G20 summit

By Nick Beams, 7 July 2017

The steel issue is only the sharpest expression of a wider conflict that goes to the very nature of trade relations among the major powers.

Bitter conflicts dominate G20 summit in Germany

By Bill Van Auken, 7 July 2017

The G20 summit convenes today in Hamburg, Germany in an atmosphere of global crisis and multisided conflicts that point to the emergence of a new prewar period.

Xi’s visit to Berlin highlights growing US-EU conflicts before G20 summit

By Alex Lantier, 6 July 2017

As Trump arrived in Poland, Xi’s state visit in Berlin highlighted growing US-EU tensions over Asia.

Bank for International Settlements warns on low interest rate regime

By Nick Beams, 27 June 2017

While noting an upturn in the global economy, the BIS said sentiment had swung more than facts and a series of “tensions” and “paradoxes” remained.

Chinese authorities launch probe into financial system fearing “Lehman moment”

By Nick Beams, 24 June 2017

The Beijing government is concerned about purchases of overseas assets using financial mechanisms outside their control.

030 Shanghai cooperation organisation summit

10 June 2017

European Central Bank still failing to meet inflation objective

By Nick Beams, 10 June 2017

Structural changes in the European economy mean low wages along with part-time and casual employment are becoming the “new normal.”

Australian economy barely avoids contraction

By Mike Head, 8 June 2017

Without spending by deeply-indebted households, the country would officially be in recession.

Uncertainty grows over US Fed’s interest rate moves

By Nick Beams, 6 June 2017

Far-reaching structural changes in the economy, above all the rise of low-paid part-time labour, have undermined the assumptions on which the Fed’s policies have been based.

Huge job losses loom in India’s IT sector

By Joy Bose and Kranti Kumara, 3 June 2017

According to industry reports, India’s IT sector could eliminate 600,000 jobs over the next three years.

050 Amazon stock

31 May 2017

The rift between Germany and America: A “watershed” moment

By Nick Beams, 29 May 2017

While there have been divergences at previous G7 meetings, this year the participants were unable to paper over their differences in the final communiqué.

Transatlantic tensions dominate G7 summit

By Peter Schwarz, 27 May 2017

Nearly a decade after the 2008 financial crisis, the conflicting interests among the imperialist powers have reached a point at which they can no longer be reconciled through talks and diplomacy.

Moody’s downgrades China’s debt rating

By Nick Beams, 26 May 2017

The sharp reaction of the Chinese finance ministry to the Moody’s downgrade decision signifies that that economic and political contradictions facing the Xi Jinping regime are increasing.

140 APEC

23 May 2017

Trade splits emerge at APEC meeting

By Nick Beams, 22 May 2017

Held over the weekend, the meeting of trade ministers from the 21 members of APEC abandoned any commitment to resist protectionism.

Productivity figures and job cuts expose Trump’s growth fraud

By Nick Beams, 19 May 2017

US productivity growth is running at around one third its level before the global financial crisis of 2008.

Ford to cut as many as 20,000 jobs worldwide

By Jerry White, 17 May 2017

The job cuts explode the myth propagated by the Trump administration and the news media about the US economy reaching “full employment.”

China hosts international launch of One Belt, One Road initiative

By Nick Beams, 16 May 2017

In launching the initiative, Chinese president Xi Jinping emphasised the need for “win-win co-operation,” but there are significant tensions surrounding the project.

Apple valuation surges to over $800 billion

By Nick Beams, 12 May 2017

Apple’s market valuation and cash holdings illustrate a major shift in the mode of profit accumulation and how share values increasingly result from financial manipulation.

Apple’s $257 billion cash hoard and parasitic accumulation

By Nick Beams, 5 May 2017

There is conjecture about what Apple intends to do with its cash pile, but one thing is certain: it will be used for forms of speculation and financial manipulation.

May Day 2017

The rise of economic nationalism and protectionism

By Nick Beams, 2 May 2017

The historic crisis of the global capitalist system is now producing the very conditions that led to the economic conflicts of the 1930s and the eruption of war in 1939.

Trump steps up trade war over NAFTA

By Nick Beams, 28 April 2017

The Trump administration has signalled that it will take an aggressive economic nationalist stance in negotiations on NAFTA after making moves to withdraw altogether.

Rail companies Bombardier and Siemens plan merger

By Gustav Kemper, 25 April 2017

Since the beginning of 2017, the two rail companies have been engaged in secret merger negotiations behind the backs of their employees.

IMF meeting signals descent into global trade war

By Nick Beams, 24 April 2017

Pledges to “resist protectionism,” long included in statements issued by the world’s major global economic institutions, are now regarded as too controversial.

Latest economic data dampen US growth prospects

By Nick Beams, 22 April 2017

The stock market has lifted but consumer spending is falling and industrial production is flat.

Small uptick in growth but major downside risks remain, says IMF

By Nick Beams, 20 April 2017

The IMF reports make clear that none of the underlying problems that have beset the world economy since the eruption of the global financial crisis in 2008 has been resolved.

Trade spat precedes IMF meeting

By Nick Beams, 18 April 2017

While forecasting a “cyclical recovery”, IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde has said a “sword of protectionism” hangs over the world economy.

The domination of finance capital: Who rules the world?

By Nick Beams, 15 April 2017

There is no meaningful distinction between industrial and finance capital because, in the end, all capital is finance capital, an important study has found.

BBC documentary exposes Bank of England’s role at centre of Libor-fixing scandal

By Jean Shaoul, 13 April 2017

The Libor scandal revealed not only the criminality of the global financial system centred in London, but the massive web of corruption and complicity involving governments and financial regulators the world over.

IMF documents labour’s declining share of global income

By Nick Beams, 12 April 2017

The IMF analysis of labour’s share of income is consistent with the essential logic of capital as revealed by Marx.

China offers plan to ease trade tensions with US

By Nick Beams, 11 April 2017

Trump officials struck a conciliatory tone following discussions on trade with Chinese president Xi Jinping, but Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he expected “tangible results.”

Trump steps up trade war agenda

By Nick Beams, 1 April 2017

US President Donald Trump signed two protectionist executive orders Friday, signalling a return to the kind of measures that proved so disastrous in the 1930s.

Market turbulence fuels warnings on health of global economy

By Nick Beams, 30 March 2017

Two major international economic organisations, the IMF and the OECD, have voiced concerns about the impact of the US protectionist trade agenda on the stability of the world economy.

G20 conflict over protectionism: From post-war to pre-war capitalism

By Nick Beams, 24 March 2017

The post-World War II economic and trading order, constructed in the main by the US, was the product of a push to prevent the kind of protectionist and trade war measures that led to the Second World War.

Concerns over Trump crisis roil financial markets

By Barry Grey, 23 March 2017

Whatever the short-term trend on the financial markets, Tuesday’s downturn reflected the underlying unsustainability of the massively inflated stock valuations.

US blocks statement opposing protectionism in G20 communiqué

By Nick Beams, 20 March 2017

While attempts were made by G20 finance ministers to downplay the significance of the breach with the US, the decision to drop resistance to protectionism is a significant step towards a global trade war.

Trade talks in Chile on continuing TPP without the US

By James Cogan, 18 March 2017

Despite concerns expressed about protectionism, the most obvious feature of the Chile summit was the manner in which various states pursued their own national trade agendas.

European Central Bank maintains a balancing act

By Nick Beams, 10 March 2017

The ECB retained its negative base interest rate, placing it on a divergent path from the US Federal Reserve.

Trump administration document lays out trade war agenda

By Nick Beams, 7 March 2017

The Trump administration has issued a document making clear that it is taking aim at the World Trade Organisation and agreements that have governed international trade in the post-World War II period.

China lowers economic growth target

By Nick Beams, 6 March 2017

The Chinese government has cut its target in an attempt to address growing problems in the country’s financial system.

The Snap IPO: Trump agenda fuels an orgy of speculation

By Nick Beams, 3 March 2017

The massive rise in Snap Inc. stock took place amidst a surge in US markets, which has seen $3 trillion added to share values since the election of Trump.

Trump steps up trade war agenda

By Nick Beams, 28 February 2017

The objective logic of Trump’s agenda of economic war, based on “America First” leads inexorably to military conflict.

Trade growth slows to lowest level since global financial crisis

By Nick Beams, 23 February 2017

A World Bank report found that growing political uncertainty was a significant factor in the further decline in world trade growth in 2016.

Sri Lankan elite discusses “frightening economic situation”

By Saman Gunadasa, 22 February 2017

The country has been severely hit by the continuing global downturn and a prolonged drought that has destroyed key crops and driven up the prices of staple foods.

Trump’s “America First” policies and the global eruption of economic nationalism

By Nick Beams, 21 February 2017

Speaking on behalf of European capital, the London-based Financial Times has described the trade policies of the Trump administration as a “clear and present danger” to the global trading and monetary system.

Trump scraps TPP and outlines trade war agenda

By Mike Head, 23 January 2017

Ending the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not a retreat into US isolationism but a ramping up of the offensive, commenced under Obama, to reassert American hegemony in Asia.

Davos annual summit: A social order confronting a growing crisis

By Nick Beams, 21 January 2017

The atmosphere at the World Economic Forum was a mixture of bewilderment over the disintegration of the present global order, coupled with fears as to where it might be leading.

India’s demonetisation scheme causing mass hardship

By Kranti Kumara, 18 January 2017

Demonitisation has forced farmers to sell to wholesalers at fire-sale prices, depressed consumer demand, and led cash-short employers to lay off workers en masse.

Oxfam issues report on eve of Davos conference

Eight billionaires control as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population

By Nick Beams, 17 January 2017

The report, released as the world’s billionaires converge on Davos, Switzerland, reveals that global inequality is even more pronounced than previously recognized.

Report to Davos summit: Rising inequality threatens “market capitalism”

By Nick Beams, 14 January 2017

The central theme of the World Economic Forum report for this year’s annual gathering of the global elites is that the very legitimacy of “market capitalism” is being called into question.

Economic nationalism and the breakdown of the post-war order

By Nick Beams, 11 January 2017

The United States was the guarantor of the post-war economic order based on the lowering of tariffs and trade barriers under the rubric of “free trade,” but Trump’s “America First” agenda signals the collapse of that order.

World’s richest increased their wealth by $237 billion in 2016

By Nick Beams, 29 December 2016

US billionaires alone have increased their wealth by $77 billion due to the rise in the stock market since the election of Trump less than two months ago.

No “Peace on Earth” in 2016

By Andre Damon, 24 December 2016

The vast scale of global violence this past year will be eclipsed only by what next year threatens to bring.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde let off scot-free after negligence conviction

By Alex Lantier, 20 December 2016

As French finance minister in 2008, Lagarde failed to do due diligence to oppose calls for a €400 million state payoff to corporate raider Bernard Tapie.