Inflation, socialism’ for corporations & austerity for workers

The author of Adults in the Room: My Battle With the European and American Deep Establishment and currently an economics professor at the University of Athens, Varoufakis continued his long-running critique of austerity in a Project Syndicate op-ed published over the weekend, and added a new argument about the inflation that has shocked the world in 2022.
Central banks have given corporations a type of “lavish socialism” since the 2008 financial crisis, Varoufakis wrote, while workers have been stuck with “harsh austerity,” and the highest inflation in 40 years is just the latest twist.
A half-century–long power play
The economist’s argument is based on the idea that corporations have led a “half-century–long power play” to boost their stock prices, creating unsustainable business models and fragile global supply chains along the way. But it’s all gone wrong in recent years, and workers have been left to clean up the mess.
Before the great crisis of 2008, he said, U.S. corporations used “pyramids of private money” from cheap and plentiful imports and consistent foreign investment to create a

— source | Yanis Varoufakis | 18/09/2022

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GST on Dairy Products a ‘Death Warrant’ for Small Farmers

Coming down heavily on introducing the Good and Services Taxes (GST) on dairy products, the farmers’ organisations on Saturday said that it would prove to be a “death knell” for small dairies and farmers who have been barely managing the rising input costs.

Ashok Dhawale, President, All India Kisan Sabha said that recommendations of the 47th meet of the council to impose 5% GST on dairy products and increasing the tax rate from 12% to 18% on dairy machinery including the milking machines will affect over 9 crore households engaged in milk production. He said that the BJP is seeking centralisation of political authority and capital and the move remains in this direction.

Talking to NewsClick, the veteran farmers’ leader said, “India is the world’s largest milk producer, and the sector is characterised by the concentration of petty producers with 75% of the rural households owning 2-4 cows. Women and peasants from the lowest social strata are highly dependent on the dairy sector. The fact that the livestock sector contributes about one-fourth output of the agricultural sector shows the economic significance of the sector for the 9 crore farming households. However, the recent changes in

— source | Ravi Kaushal | 03 Jul 2022

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Military-Industrial Complex Clinches Nearly 450,000% Return on Investment

After Industry Gives $10 Million to Congressional Defense Committee Members, DOD Receives Potential $45 Billion Spending Increase. If the FY23 Pentagon budget ultimately enacted indeed reaches the amount approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee – an outcome that is likely given the trajectory of the budget in previous years – the defense contractors will have clinched a return on its $10 million investment of nearly 450,000%.

The military-industrial complex maintains a potent political influence machine that extends far beyond campaign spending, and there’s no reason to doubt that the supporters of more Pentagon spending believe in what they are doing. But nor should anyone doubt that military-industrial complex campaign contributions both reward and encourage Congress to shovel money at the Pentagon – even as so many human needs and non-military security interests (like addressing pandemics or climate chaos) remain desperately underfunded.

— source | Savannah Wooten, Rick Claypool | Jul 7, 2022

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Exposure to ‘forever chemicals’ costs US billions in health costs

Daily exposure to a class of chemicals used in the production of many household items may lead to cancer, thyroid disease, and childhood obesity, a new study shows. The resulting economic burden is estimated to cost Americans a minimum of $5.5 billion and as much as $63 billion over the lifetime of the current population.

The new work revolves around per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of over 4,700 humanmade chemicals that experts have detected for decades in the blood of millions of people. The chemicals are used, for example, in the production of water- and oil-resistant clothing, electronics, and nonstick cookware, and people are thought to ingest them as food comes into contact with packaging. The substances are believed to disrupt the function of hormones, signaling compounds that influence many bodily processes.

Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the new study in roughly 5,000 Americans identified 13 medical conditions that may result from PFAS exposure, such as infertility, diabetes, and endometriosis, a painful disorder of the uterus. Together, the diseases generate medical bills and reduce worker productivity across a lifetime to create the costs measured by the study, say the study authors.

— source NYU Langone Health / NYU Grossman School of Medicine | Jul 26, 2022

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A Monetary Reset Where the Rich Don’t Own Everything

We have a serious debt problem, but solutions such as the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset” are not the future we want. It’s time to think outside the box for some new solutions.

In ancient Mesopotamia, it was called a Jubilee. When debts at interest grew too high to be repaid, the slate was wiped clean. Debts were forgiven, the debtors’ prisons were opened, and the serfs returned to work their plots of land. This could be done because the king was the representative of the gods who were said to own the land, and thus was the creditor to whom the debts were owed. The same policy was advocated in the Book of Leviticus, though it is unclear to what extent this biblical Jubilee was implemented.

That sort of across-the-board debt forgiveness can’t be done today because most of the creditors are private lenders. Banks, landlords and pension fund investors would go bankrupt if their contractual rights to repayment were simply wiped out. But we do have a serious debt problem, and it is largely structural. Governments have delegated the power to create money to private banks, which create most of the circulating money supply as debt at interest. They create the principal but not the interest, so more money must be repaid than was created in the original loan. Debt thus grows faster than the money supply, as seen in the chart from below. Debt grows until it cannot be

— source | Ellen Brown | May 5, 2022

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Inflation as a Political Power Play Gone Wrong

The blame game over surging prices is on. Was it too much central-bank money being pumped out for too long that caused inflation to take off? Was it China, where most physical production had moved before the pandemic locked down the country and disrupted global supply chains? Was it Russia, whose invasion of Ukraine took a large chunk out of the global supply of gas, oil, grains, and fertilizers? Was it some surreptitious shift from pre-pandemic austerity to unrestricted fiscal largesse?
The answer is one that test-takers never encounter: All of the above and none of the above.
Pivotal economic crises frequently evoke multiple explanations that are all correct while missing the point. When Wall Street collapsed in 2008, triggering the global Great Recession, various explanations were offered: regulatory capture by financiers who had replaced industrialists in the capitalist pecking order; a cultural proclivity toward risky finance; failure by politicians and economists to distinguish between a new paradigm and a massive bubble; and other theories, too. All were valid, but none went to the heart of the matter.
The same thing is true today. The “we told you so” monetarists, who have been predicting high inflation ever since central banks massively expanded their balance sheets in 2008,

— source | Yanis Varoufakis | 30/07/2022

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Exxon makes USD $2,245.62 every second

The amounts are obscene. They are mind-boggling. This is profit-making like you have never seen it before. It is also profiteering from war and price gouging at our expense. Big Oil is making billions of the misery of millions.

On Friday, oil giants Exxon and Chevron reported record second quarter profits, a day after Shell’s results.

First, let’s look at Exxon. The company made USD 17.9 billion in net profit in the 2nd quarter of 2022.

We should call it out for what it is. This is blood money. This is crude capitalism at its worse.

Put another way, the company made a staggering USD $2,245.62 every second of every day of the 92-day long quarter as gas prices rocketed on the back of war in Ukraine. This was a

— source | Andy Rowell | Aug 1, 2022

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