Economy

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.

Trump nominates Jerome Powell as new Federal Reserve chief

By Nick Beams, 3 November 2017

Wall Street welcomed the selection of Powell, who will be the richest man to occupy the post.

US auto profits beat expectations despite softening sales

By Shannon Jones, 31 October 2017

Ford, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors all posted higher-than-expected earnings in the third quarter, boosted by savage cost-cutting facilitated by the collaboration of the unions.

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.

US Senate votes to protect financial giants from consumer lawsuits

By Patrick Martin, 26 October 2017

The measure will benefit companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax, as well as banks and credit card companies more generally.

The American oligarchy prepares a new tax windfall for the rich

By Barry Grey, 25 October 2017

Trump’s tax plan raises to a new level the plundering of society’s resources by the ruling class that has been underway for nearly four decades.

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.

Senate passes resolution setting stage for $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for the rich

By Gabriel Black, 21 October 2017

The resolution helps procedurally prepare for the passage of a dramatic cut in taxes for business and for the financial elite.

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.

Military industry stocks soar amid growing threat of war

By Gabriel Black, 19 October 2017

While basic social services are being slashed, the ruling elite is pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into more-sophisticated ways to kill people.

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.

A tax plan by and for the US oligarchy

By Fred Mazelis, 29 September 2017

The proposed elimination of the estate tax is an assertion of aristocratic privilege.

A step toward trade war:

Trump’s Commerce Department imposes huge tariff on Canada’s Bombardier

By Roger Jordan, 28 September 2017

The Trump administration is using the Bombardier-Boeing dispute to send a message to the world that it intends to press forward with its protectionist “America First” program.

The Fed’s quantitative easing: A class assessment

By Nick Beams, 25 September 2017

Bourgeois economists would like to pass off speculation as some kind of extraneous, unhealthy activity, but it is rooted in fundamental processes within the capitalist economy itself.

Markets hail “gradual” moves by Federal Reserve

By Nick Beams, 21 September 2017

As stock prices continue to soar, voices within the US financial elite are warning of the dangers of another financial meltdown.

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.

US Fed confronts dilemmas over monetary policy

By Nick Beams, 7 September 2017

Despite massive injections of money into global financial markets by the Fed and other central banks, there is no sign of the US and the global economy returning to pre-2008 crisis conditions.

US Fed confronts dilemmas over monetary policy

By Nick Beams, 7 September 2017

Despite massive injections of money into global financial markets by the Fed and other central banks, there is no sign of the US and the global economy returning to pre-2008 crisis conditions.

Trump begins campaign for huge tax cut for business and the wealthy

By Patrick Martin, 1 September 2017

There is widespread support from Democrats on proposals to reduce the corporate tax rate, the centerpiece of the Trump administration tax plan, and repatriate offshore earnings.

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.

Government report reveals scope of housing crisis in California

By Guillaume Garnier, 26 August 2017

Rents and housing prices in the most populous state in the US continue to rise, driving hundreds of thousands of workers and youth into economic 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.

Sales declines at US department stores belie claims of economic recovery

By Barry Grey, 12 August 2017

Large sections of the working population lack the wherewithal to buy more than the bare necessities, which is why the retail slump is primarily hitting stores that cater to the working class.

Dow at 22,000: A new high for parasitism

By Nick Beams, 4 August 2017

The Dow’s record-breaking close coincided with Depression-like scenes of thousands of workers in the US lining up for job applications with Amazon, a firm which epitomizes poverty wages and super-exploitation.

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 reveals gutting of health care and pensions for US workers

By Isaac Finn, 21 July 2017

Global risk management firm Willis Towers Watson revealed the impact of the corporate-government assault on workers’ retirement and medical benefits.

US House proposes over $5 trillion in cuts

By Daniel de Vries, 20 July 2017

The plan introduced Tuesday would dismantle Medicare and Medicaid while cutting corporate taxes.

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.

Legislators pass devastating austerity budget in Illinois

By Alexander Fangmann, 10 July 2017

The new budget will become law, enshrining massive across-the-board cuts of 5 percent to most state government agencies, and 10 percent to higher education.

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.

Fed stress test results unleash “party time” for US banks

By Nick Beams, 8 July 2017

As a result of the US Federal Reserve decision, the market value of American banks is estimated to have risen by $40 billion.

Missouri rolls back minimum wage increase in St. Louis

By Matthew MacEgan, 8 July 2017

Missouri’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a law that reverses the city of St. Louis’s 2015 hourly minimum wage increase, lowering it from $10 back to the state’s standard of $7.70.

Sears announces the closing of 43 more stores in the US and Canada

By Anthony del Olmo, 8 July 2017

Sears Holdings’ announcement last week of the closing of 43 locations, including Sears and Kmart stores, is the latest in a wave of retail closures and layoffs.

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.

Concerns grow over Fed interest rate policy

By Nick Beams, 4 July 2017

The economic model the Fed has broken down under conditions in which parasitism has become the dominant form of profit accumulation.

International Monetary Fund revises down US growth predictions

By Nick Beams, 30 June 2017

The IMF has not only revised down its projections of US growth but said the country’s “economic model” was failing to deliver “broadly shared” income growth.

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.

US Treasury releases plan to roll back Dodd-Frank bank regulations

By Gabriel Black, 19 June 2017

Stripping away parts of Dodd-Frank will remove its minimal restrictions on Wall Street’s speculative activities.

Amazon’s monopoly swells with $13.7 billion offer to buy Whole Foods

By Evan Blake, 17 June 2017

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made $1.88 billion in a single day as the corporation’s octopus-like control expanded into a new segment of the world economy.

Despite low inflation, US Fed lifts interest rates

By Nick Beams, 15 June 2017

The overriding message was that low economic growth, falling consumption spending and the spread of part-time and casual work represent the new normal.

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.

US study shows one-third of adults suffer severe income fluctuations

By Josh Varlin, 7 June 2017

A recent Federal Reserve study found that almost a third of adults have a variable income from month to month, which makes financial planning nearly impossible.

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.

Study: The ultra-rich hide 25 percent of their wealth in tax havens

By Gabriel Black, 5 June 2017

A new report by economist Gabriel Zucman argues that global inequality is significantly worse than shown in official estimates because of rampant tax evasion by the financial elite.

GM announces more layoffs as US auto sales decline

By Shannon Jones, 3 June 2017

General Motors announced 300 job cuts at its Warren, Michigan transmission plant amid continuing signs of a slowdown in US auto sales after a seven-year boom.

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.

Wall Street engineers ouster of top Ford executives

By Jerry White, 23 May 2017

The management reshuffling at the number two US automaker, described in industry circles as a “coup,” underscores the complete domination of the banks and financial speculators.

140 APEC

23 May 2017

Trump triggers renegotiation of NAFTA

By Roger Jordan, 22 May 2017

The Trump administration is aggressively pursuing its “America first” agenda, renegotiating the agreement as economic protectionism grows around the world.

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.”

Fund managers earned billions in 2016 even as hedge funds underperformed

By Shelley Connor, 17 May 2017

The wealthiest 25 managers earned $11 billion last year while hedge funds yielded meager returns for investors.

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.

US Federal student loan interest rates set to rise in July

By Anthony del Olmo, 15 May 2017

The rise in rates is an outcome of the stock market boom following Trump’s election, and comes at a time when the plight of students continues to worsen.

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.

US auto profits soar as sales slowdown threatens more layoffs

By Shannon Jones, 11 May 2017

Higher auto profits are being accompanied by job cuts as management intensifies its assault on autoworkers.

US corporate profits up 13.9 percent on cost-cutting and low wages

By Barry Grey, 9 May 2017

At the heart of the corporate profit bonanza is an ongoing drive to cut costs by holding down wages, cutting jobs and slashing spending on new plants and equipment.

Higher education and upward mobility increasingly inaccessible to poor in the US

By Kathleen Martin, 5 May 2017

Higher education, seen as a key to social mobility in the US, is becoming increasingly unattainable to a growing section of the American working class.

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.

Democrats agree to increase military and border spending while cutting food stamps

By Barry Grey, 2 May 2017

Republicans hailed the agreement as a down payment on Trump’s demands for a $54 billion increase in the Pentagon budget to be paid for with cuts in social programs.

Poverty among Michigan children greater in 2015 than during “Great Recession”

By Debra Watson, 1 May 2017

Michigan had an official poverty rate of 22.2 percent in 2015, more than at the end of the first full year of the 2008 recession.

US economic growth slumps to slowest pace in three years

By Barry Grey, 29 April 2017

Friday’s report underscores the disconnect between the rising fortunes of the corporate oligarchy and the continuing fall in living standards for broad sections of the population.