On Monday the World Bank made it official that Paul Romer will be the new chief economist. This nomination can be seen as a big step back toward the infamous Washington Consensus, which World Bank and IMF seemed to have left behind. This is true, even though Paul Romer has learned quite well to hide the market fundamentalist and anti-democratic nature of his pet idea - charter cities - behind a veil of compassionate wording.
The Research Network Macroeconomics and Macroeconomic Policies (FMM) celebrates their 20th Anniversary Conference this year, and this year’s conference is from Oct 20-22 in Berlin. The title is: "Towards Pluralism in Macroeconomics?" Arbeitskreis Politische Ökonomie, in cooperation with the German chapter of the World Economics Association, want to celebrate this by proposing a panel about "Rethinking Europe", concentrating on the dimension of macroeconomic policies and interdisciplinary approaches.
By John Komlos.* The media is inundated with pundits analyzing the unexpected rise of demagoguery. I would like to add my own: the establishment’s utter loss of credibility. It has been fooling most of the people for more than a generation and Abraham Lincoln’s warning, “you cannot fool all of the people all of the time” has now come back to haunt them with a vengeance.**
For years, former treasury secretary and Harvard-professor Larry Summers has been the most prominent voice in favor of getting rid of cash. For years, he has ignored all ethics rules of professional organizations, which demand of professional academics to disclose any information about potential conflicts of interest whenever they publish their findings or take a stand in public discussion. Now, finally he came clean.
A central bank governor in Athens conspires with the President of the Republic to sabotage the negotiation strategy of his government to weaken it in its negotiations with the European Central Bank. After the government has capitulated, this governor, who is a close friend of the new finance minister and boss of the finance ministers wife, and the President of the Republic travel together to the ECB to collect their praise and rewards. This is not an invention, this is now documented.
At a symposium of the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament on "The ECB - Europe's unelected government" (video from min. 22), I gave a presentation on the nature and motives of central banks in general and the European Central Bank in particular, characterizing it as an integral part of the banking community. Harald Schumann (from min. 47) presented a lot of juicy detail about highly questionable machinations of the ECB during the bank-"rescues" in Greece and Cyprus. The text of my intervention is below.
Randall Wray is probably the best known representative of a branch of economic thinking called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). On Naked Captilism I read his polemic called "Debt-free money and banana republics". I am more than a bit disappointed. From somebody like Randall Wray, who specializes on debt, I would have expected a more careful treatment of the relation of money and debt, especially if he wants to be vitriolic and call those cranks, who argue for “debt-free money”. Randall does not seem to know, what debt is.
Dear Mr. Haering, I came across your blog post, “The microcredit mafia lowers its socially responsible mask,” and am compelled to respond to your assertions. I believe we share the same concern for client interests. FINCA also values an open discussion on how best to deliver critical financial services to people across the world, wherever they may live.
Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank have received the Nobel Peace Prize on the promise of conquering poverty by giving poor people in poor countries access to debt. A whole industry of lending to the poor has developed from this. It is making its leading figures quite rich and is pushing many customers into misery and debt slavery. A recent tax-filing of the large microcredit-“charity” FINCA and an internal report tell us a lot about this business.
Where will be an important conference from 26.-28. November in Berlin on the need to reform economics education and on ways to do this. The meeting will be held partly in English, partly in German at the Berlin School of Economics and Law (HWR)
The Group of Thirty, a mixed group of international commercial bankers and central bankers, has just released a report on central banking. The report is again presented as if it was representing the opinion of the group as a whole, including Mario Draghi. This proves that the new guidelines for communication of the members of the Executive Board of the ECB are nothing but window dressing.