Economy

IMF remains upbeat on global economy but trade conflicts sound a jarring note

By Nick Beams, 19 April 2018

The IMF chief economist said it seemed “paradoxical” that major economies were “flirting with trade war” at a time of economic expansion.

No money for teacher pay or textbooks, but…

US CEO pay, bank profits, corporate cash set new records

By Barry Grey, 18 April 2018

A series of reports released over the past week reveal that corporate America and the financial oligarchy are wallowing in record levels of wealth.

US and Britain hit Chinese telecom company ZTE

By Nick Beams, 17 April 2018

Both countries imposed the bans amid calls for more aggressive moves by US authorities against Chinese communications and telecom firms.

Trump to consider rejoining TPP to step up pressure on China

By Nick Beams, 14 April 2018

The apparent turnaround is motivated by two immediate considerations: the need to be seen as taking action to alleviate pressure on US farmers threatened by the China tariffs, and the search for international allies against China.

World economy in danger of being “torn apart”

By Nick Beams, 13 April 2018

IMF chief Christine Lagarde said that as a result of easy financial conditions, global debt—public and private—has reached an all-time high of $164 trillion.

Trade war issues come into sharper focus

By Nick Beams, 12 April 2018

The key question is not primarily the Chinese trade surplus against which Trump rails, but Beijing’s plan to become a major source of high-tech development.

Top Trump aide lays out driving forces of trade war against China

By Nick Beams, 10 April 2018

Trump’s key trade adviser Peter Navarro declared that China’s move into high-tech development was a direct threat to US economic and military dominance.

Report details massive growth of inequality worldwide

By Eric London, 10 April 2018

The report found that if inequality grows at its present rate, the world’s billionaires will eventually “own 100 percent of the world’s wealth.”

China prepares to strike back as US trade war intensifies

By Nick Beams, 7 April 2018

At a briefing with reporters in Beijing Friday evening, Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said the US move was “extremely wrong” and China was preparing to retaliate.

JPMorgan CEO threatens rate hikes to break wages movement by US workers

By Barry Grey, 7 April 2018

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon warned of rising wages and raised the possibility of a sharp rise in interest rates to put a brake on economic growth and drive up unemployment.

Canada’s trade union-backed Liberal government clamps down on steel and aluminum imports

By Roger Jordan, 7 April 2018

Trudeau’s protectionist measures, which help enforce Trump’s trade war tariffs, include corporatist initiatives aimed at further integrating the unions with big business and the state.

Trump steps up trade war with proposal for further tariffs on Chinese goods

By Nick Beams, 6 April 2018

The White House said the new directive was in response to the Chinese decision to impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of American exports.

US-China trade war intensifies

By Nick Beams, 5 April 2018

The driving force of the US action is Washington’s attempt to prevent China from developing its capacities in high technology sectors, including communications, robotics, aircraft and pharmaceuticals.

China imposes tariffs as trade war heats up

By Nick Beams, 3 April 2018

The Chinese moves appear to have had an impact on Wall Street, where the Dow was down by more than 450 points at end of yesterday.

The looming threat of global trade war

By Nick Beams, 29 March 2018

The volatility reflects the speculative character of the share market’s rise and the fears that a global trade war could puncture this bubble.

Markets fall on trade war fears

By Nick Beams, 24 March 2018

Chinese reaction to US tariff measures has been fairly muted, so far, but government officials said they will defend their “legitimate interests.”

US threatens trade war against China

By Nick Beams, 23 March 2018

The Trump administration has drawn up a list of more than 1,000 products, and proposed investment bans, targeting 10 key Chinese industries.

US to launch trade measures against China

By Nick Beams, 22 March 2018

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said action would be taken outside the WTO, because China’s “state-dominated economy” rejects “market principles.”

European Union seeks tariff exemptions as US sets out demands

By Nick Beams, 20 March 2018

Talks in Washington with the Trump administration will determine whether the EU proceeds with threatened measures in retaliation against the US imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium.

Toys R Us announces liquidation amidst “Retail Apocalypse”

By Anthony Bertolt, 19 March 2018

The retail chain is in the process of shutting down its global operations, with the jobs of some 31,000 workers in the US alone set to be eliminated.

Senate Democrats join Republicans to gut Dodd-Frank banking regulations

By Tom Hall, 16 March 2018

The Democrats' support for the bill demonstrates that they are a party of the American financial aristocracy.

Trump vetoes takeover of Qualcomm

By Nick Beams, 15 March 2018

Trump’s intervention demonstrates that “America First” nationalism and “national security” invocations are coming to dominate his administration’s economic decisions.

Confusion over US tariff exemptions

By Nick Beams, 12 March 2018

US trade representative Robert Lighthizer could give his EU and Japanese counterparts no indication of the criteria for gaining an exemption.

US “allies” scramble for tariff exemptions

By Nick Beams, 10 March 2018

The European Union is “counting” on being exempted from the Trump tariff measures but may get short shrift.

Australian government obtains “national security” exemption from Trump’s trade war measures

By Mike Head, 10 March 2018

The government argued that retaining steel production in Australia was vital for its $200 billion military spending program.

Trump, risking trade war, signs off on steel and aluminium tariffs

By Nick Beams, 9 March 2018

Trump’s tariff announcement expresses the turn by the United States to the types of protectionist measures that characterised the 1930s Great Depression.

Trade conflict heats up

By Nick Beams, 8 March 2018

The European Union hopes to avert the Trump tariff measures but at a press conference Trump singled out the EU for attack.

Trump economic advisor Gary Cohn resigns over tariff decision

By Niles Niemuth, 7 March 2018

Among those reportedly opposed to Trump’s trade war policy are Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and retired Gen. James Mattis, the secretary of defense.

Canadian ruling elite reacts to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs

By Roger Jordan, 7 March 2018

Signaling the Canadian ruling elite’s readiness to support Washington in a trade war against China and other rivals, Ottawa is pleading for an exemption from Trump’s tariffs.

Parasitism and “tax reform”: Trump’s corporate tax cuts fuel stock buybacks, not investment

By Gabriel Black, 6 March 2018

Catalyst Capital predicts that 2018 will be the biggest stock buyback year on record, with corporations spending $1.2 trillion to push up their share values.

The historic significance of Trump’s trade war measures

By Nick Beams, 5 March 2018

Trump’s trade measures are a major step in the dismantling of the system of economic relations established by Washington itself after World War II.

EU threatens retaliation to Trump’s trade war measures

By Peter Symonds, 3 March 2018

Trump’s announcement of global tariffs on steel and aluminium has triggered international criticism, including from US allies that will be among the hardest hit.

Trump launches trade war

By Nick Beams, 2 March 2018

In imposing a global tariff hike, rather than selective measures, Trump took the toughest option presented to him by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Fed’s concern over prospect of a wages movement jolts markets

By Nick Beams, 1 March 2018

One of the key aspects of Fed chief Powell’s question-time comments was his views on the “continuing strength in the labour market.”

The growing threat of global trade war

By Nick Beams, 24 February 2018

Two major initiatives by the Trump administration over the past month have ratcheted up global tensions, bringing the threat of retaliatory actions from the European Union and China.

Another US step toward trade war

By Nick Beams, 19 February 2018

“If we ever have a conflict, we don’t want to be buying steel [from] a country we are fighting,” Trump declared, referring particularly to China.

Puerto Rican Investment Summit discusses how to profit from human tragedy

By Rafael Azul, 19 February 2018

Oblivious to the humanitarian crisis, participants discussed how to profit from the hurricane destruction and protect their speculative assets from US taxes.

Marx’s analysis of the laws of capital and the share market crisis

By Nick Beams, 17 February 2018

The largest fall in markets since the crisis of 2008 has provided a damning exposure of the entire framework of bourgeois economics and a living confirmation of the analysis of Karl Marx.

Kimberly-Clark to lay off over 600 workers and close two plants in Wisconsin

By Christopher Davion, 13 February 2018

The announcement of the plan to close two plants in northeastern Wisconsin is part of an international restructuring which involves laying off as many as 5,500.

Censorship, witch hunts and dirty money at the New York Times

By Andre Damon, 12 February 2018

The Times has made little effort to hide the fact that its record-breaking profits have been driven in large measure by state censorship and media scandalmongering.

Democrats and Republicans pass budget to prepare US for war

By Eric London, 10 February 2018

The Democratic Party provided the necessary votes to allocate $1.4 trillion for the military.

Wild swings on Wall Street at end of turbulent week

By Nick Beams, 10 February 2018

The business channel CNBC calculated that the Dow gyrated a total of 22,000 points up and down during the week.

Moody’s downgrades Ford’s credit forecast as investors demand deep cuts

By Tom Hall, 10 February 2018

The move by the credit ratings agency reflects fears that Ford’s “Fitness Redesign” initiative could meet with uncontrollable opposition from autoworkers.

Wall Street plunges amid fear and panic

By Nick Beams, 9 February 2018

A major feature of the turmoil has been the speed of events, with stock prices plunging and oscillating dramatically.

US Senate Democrats agree to massive boost in military spending

By Josh Varlin, 8 February 2018

The bipartisan budget plan demonstrates that both big business parties agree on military escalation and further attacks on immigrants' rights.

Global markets plunge as Dow records biggest ever one-day point fall

By Nick Beams, 6 February 2018

One of the most significant features of yesterday’s decline was its speed with the Dow plunging 900 points in just 11 minutes in an avalanche of selling.

The working class and the capitalist economy

By Nick Beams, 5 February 2018

Friday’s fall on world stock markets, in response to an uptick in US wages, demonstrates the significance of Marx's labor theory of value, which explains the inner workings of the capitalist economy.

India strengthens ties with ASEAN countries

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 5 February 2018

Modi’s manoeuvres with ASEAN are part of India’s transformation into a frontline state in Washington’s strategic offensive against China.

Fear of working class upsurge triggers plunge in financial markets

By Barry Grey, 3 February 2018

The increasing market volatility takes place amidst signs of mounting working class resistance.

Signs of turbulence in stock markets

By Nick Beams, 2 February 2018

The major concern in financial markets is that a rise in bond yields could see an end to the rise in stock prices and even set off a major downturn.

Corporate giants announce partnership to cut employer health care costs

By Barry Grey, 31 January 2018

The initiative heralds a further monopolization of health care by a handful of billionaire-run corporations and a further subordination of social needs to Wall Street.

Currency conflicts deepen between US and Europe

By Nick Beams, 31 January 2018

Remarks by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the advantages of a lower dollar brought a sharp response from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

The “fractured world”: Plutocrats convene in Davos amid war and great-power conflict

By Andre Damon, 27 January 2018

The 47th annual World Economic Forum was dominated by apprehension over every aspect of global politics and economics, from the possibility of a 2008-style financial collapse to the threat of a new world war.

German Chancellor promotes militarism and great-power politics at World Economic Forum

By Johannes Stern, 26 January 2018

Merkel sought to drum up support for a European defence policy that would enable Germany and Europe to enforce their economic and geostrategic interests around the world.

Asia-Pacific trade bloc reshaped, without the US

By Mike Head, 25 January 2018

The “TPP 11” announcement points to the increasing isolation of the US, and the escalating tensions between the rival capitalist powers.

BlackRock’s Laurence Fink urges CEOs to serve a “social purpose”

By Katy Kinner, 25 January 2018

Fink, whose firm manages $6 trillion in investments, has penned a worried and hypocritical letter to the world’s CEOs urging them to exercise a “positive influence on society.”

World Economic Forum meets in Davos under shadow of crisis and war

By Bill Van Auken, 24 January 2018

The gathering of the world’s oligarchs is taking place amid the breakdown of the postwar capitalist order and the eruption of great power conflict.

IMF upgrades global growth forecast amid warnings of “fracture points”

By Nick Beams, 24 January 2018

While attention is focused on the headline predictions of a rise in growth, there are warnings that the spurt may not last.

Oxfam: Bottom half of world’s population received none of the wealth created in 2017

By Niles Niemuth, 23 January 2018

The annual survey, which reported the largest annual increase in the number of billionaires worldwide, was released to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Indian Prime Minister Modi to tout pro-business record at World Economic Forum

By Kranti Kumara, 23 January 2018

The WEF deliberations will be bookended by speeches from Modi, a slavish servant of big business and Hindu supremacist, and the fascist-minded billionaire, US President Donald Trump.

Sri Lankan president threatens to end ruling coalition

By K. Ratnayake, 23 January 2018

Sirisena’s cabinet walkout demonstrates the government’s crisis and points to preparations for dictatorial rule.

Republicans and Democrats co-sponsor bill to dismantle Dodd-Frank bank regulations

By E.P. Milligan, 22 January 2018

The latest bill represents yet another brazen attempt to cut regulations set in place in the wake of the now decade-old financial meltdown.

US takes aim at China over trade

By Nick Beams, 22 January 2018

The Trump administration has declared it was a mistake to admit China to the World Trade Organisation in 2001.

US House passes short-term budget bill, but federal shutdown looms

By Patrick Martin, 19 January 2018

There appears to be little prospect of the Senate approving the House bill, which has no provisions dealing with the fate of young immigrants who are losing protection from deportation.

Sharp fall in bitcoin price a sign of growing financial turbulence

By Nick Beams, 19 January 2018

The speculative rise, and now the plunges, in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are indicative of broader processes in the global financial system.

“Fractures, Fears and Failures:” World’s ruling elites stare into the abyss

By Bill Van Auken, 18 January 2018

The Global Risk Report released in advance of the World Economic Forum in Davos exposes mounting anxiety in ruling circles over the threat of war and social revolution.

As US government shutdown looms, Democrats push punitive immigration deal

By Barry Grey, 18 January 2018

The latest version of the bipartisan plan proposes even more billions to militarize the US-Mexico border, including funds earmarked for Trump’s border wall with Mexico.

Democrats, Republicans resume talks on right-wing budget deal

By Patrick Martin, 16 January 2018

Only four days remain before congressional authorization to fund the government expires, threatening a partial shutdown of government agencies and a halt to federal paychecks.

Threat of trade war looming larger

By Nick Beams, 16 January 2018

A series of “anti-dumping” measures initiated by the United States could set in motion retaliatory action and lead to widening trade conflicts.

Walmart closes 63 Sam’s Club locations, lays off thousands of employees

By Trévon Austin, 13 January 2018

The closures and mass layoffs expose the media hype surrounding Walmart’s announced raising of wages.

A significant tremor in the bond markets

By Nick Beams, 13 January 2018

While the bond market has calmed since Wednesday’s sell-off, reports in the financial press indicate considerable nervousness over what the dip could signify.

Upturn in global economy will not last, says World Bank

By Nick Beams, 11 January 2018

The bank warned of “particularly worrying” longer-term risks associated with “subdued productivity and potential growth.”

December US jobs report reveals weaker than expected growth

By Trévon Austin, 6 January 2018

The modest improvement in the unemployment rate and number of jobs added over the last year are not reflective of the real situation confronting millions of workers.

Foxconn tax subsidies to build Wisconsin plant reach over $4 billion

By George Gallanis, 6 January 2018

Decades of deindustrialization have created unprecedented levels of social inequality, poverty and unemployment, which corporations like Foxconn can exploit.

The Dow at 25,000: The bonanza for the oligarchy continues

By Nick Beams, 5 January 2018

Rather than reflecting economic health, the stock market bubble is a mechanism for the perverse and malignant upward redistribution of social wealth.

The oligarchy versus society

By Barry Grey, 28 December 2017

It is impossible to seriously address a single major social issue without breaking the political and economic stranglehold of the financial oligarchy over society.

The contradictions of the bitcoin-blockchain frenzy

By Nick Beams, 23 December 2017

In seeking to grasp the significance of the present frenzy, it is worth recalling the analysis made by Marx of previous financial bubbles, in particular those associated with the expansion of the credit system, which began in the mid-nineteenth century.

Over token Democratic opposition

US Congress passes tax windfall for corporations and the rich

By Barry Grey, 21 December 2017

The Democrats support tax cuts for corporations and did nothing to seriously oppose this naked piece of class legislation.

Bitcoin speculation continues to surge

By Nick Beams, 21 December 2017

The appetites of financial speculators continue to be whetted by reports of huge gains made by hedge funds that specialise in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Disney to purchase 21st Century Fox for $66.1 billion, creating new mega-conglomerate

By Gabriel Black, 20 December 2017

The merger is expected to lead to as many as 10,000 layoffs.

Trade conflicts deepen at WTO meeting

By Nick Beams, 18 December 2017

In a move directed against China, the US, Japan and the European Union agreed to take joint action on “severe excess capacity” in steel and other commodities.

Outgoing Fed chair Yellen brushes off financial warning signs

By Nick Beams, 14 December 2017

While she dismissed the impact of bitcoin on the financial system, Yellen was reminded by one questioner that her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, had said in 2007 that the sub-prime bubble would have no broader effects.

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.

Amid “full employment,” no recovery in US wages

By Jerry White, 11 December 2017

The jobs report provides further evidence that the much vaunted economic “recovery” in the US has overwhelmingly benefited Wall Street at the expense of the working class.

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.

Senate races to pass Trump tax cut for corporate America

By Barry Grey, 1 December 2017

A measure that will further restructure American society to benefit the ruling oligarchy at the expense of the mass of the population is being rushed through Congress without so much as a public hearing.

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.

US Senate committee passes tax windfall for the rich

By Barry Grey, 29 November 2017

Congress, backed by the Trump White House, is hurtling toward the implementation of the most brazen and far-reaching corporate raid on the federal Treasury in US history.

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.

Right-wing billionaire Koch Brothers acquire major stake in Time Magazine

By Genevieve Leigh, 28 November 2017

As the Trump administration strips media regulation and antitrust laws, media conglomerates are planning even further consolidation.

Democrats posture as opponents of Wall Street in CFPB dispute

By Patrick Martin, 28 November 2017

The conflict between Trump and the Democrats over control of the Consumer Financial Protection Board is being conducted with utter cynicism on both sides.

Trump, Congress move to finalize tax cuts for big business

By Patrick Martin, 27 November 2017

A meeting of leading Republicans and Democrats Tuesday begins the last-minute deals to provide $1.5 trillion for the wealthy at the expense of working people.

Trump’s Justice Department sues to prevent Time Warner-AT&T merger

By Gabriel Black, 27 November 2017

The deal would result in the largest vertically integrated content and distribution company in the world.

Jeff Bezos’ $100 billion: The case for expropriation

By Eric London, 27 November 2017

The wealth of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, together with the trillions of dollars hoarded by his fellow billionaires, could be used to wipe out poverty, disease, and social misery.

The government attack on US college students

By Patrick Martin, 20 November 2017

The tax bill passed by the House of Representatives Thursday targets college and graduate students for savage economic attack to fund a bonanza for the super-rich.

The US tax bill: A massive handout to the financial elite

By Andre Damon, 18 November 2017

The tax bill passed by the US House of Representatives Thursday marks a new milestone in the transformation of the United States into an oligarchy.

Senate Republicans include repeal of Obamacare mandate in tax cut for the rich

By Barry Grey, 16 November 2017

The attack on access to health care for ordinary Americans is an example of the tax scheme’s fleecing of working people to pay for the tax windfall for the rich.