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Arabica Robusta

Arabica Robusta's Public Library

  • He adds that the very rich are not usually hurt by inflation – their wealth increases anyway – but the poor suffer worst of all with a rising cost of living. A progressive tax on wealth is the only sane solution.
  • One of the most penetrating of these is what he has to say about the rise of managers, or "super-managers", who do not produce wealth but who derive a salary from it. This, he argues, is effectively a form of theft – but this is not the worst crime of the super-managers. Most damaging is the way that they have set themselves in competition with the billionaires whose wealth, accelerating beyond the economy, is always going to be out of reach.
  • Piketty effectively rips apart one of the great lies of the 21st century – that super-managers deserve their money because, like footballers, they have specialised skills which belong to an almost superhuman elite.

    "One of the great divisive forces at work today," he says, "is what I call meritocratic extremism. This is the conflict between billionaires, whose income comes from property and assets, such as a Saudi prince, and super-managers. Neither of these categories makes or produces anything but their wealth, which is really a super-wealth that has broken away from the everyday reality of the market, which determines how most ordinary people live.

  • The World Bank promised and advised that to build a Public-Private Partnership hospital in the capital would cost no more than the old public hospital it replaced.
  • It now costs Lesotho's govenrment $67 million per year, or at least three times the cost of the old public hospital. The hospital is reported by the IFC to be delivering better outcomes in some areas. But the biggest concern is that as costs escalate for the PPP hospital in the capital, fewer and fewer resources will be available to tackle serious and increasing health problems in rural areas where three quarters of the population live.
  • And despite a significant body of evidence highlighting the high risks and costs associated with health PPPs in rich and poor countries alike, similar IFC-supported health PPPs are now well advanced in Nigeria, and in the pipeline in Benin.

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  • Mutiu Sunmonu, Managing Director of SPDC, said the divestment of his company’s assets was a deliberate measure to encourage indigenous participation in the upstream oil and gas industry.

     

    His words: “We want to create a new set of indigenous players in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry within the next 10 to 20 years from now, while the IOCs concentrate on more difficult issues and also allow us focus on material oil and gas fields.”

     

    The divestments are seen by some industry watchers as representing the single largest opportunity for Nigerian operators with the requisite expertise and capital to emerge as major upstream players.

  • Akabogu added: “Local content in the oil industry is supposed to be a long term thing; it is supposed to be implemented in a gradual manner because the enabling environment is not there. The ideal thing would have been to retain the IOCs by addressing the issues that necessitated their divestment.” He said the IOCs were merely shifting their risks to the local operators who would now deal with issues of oil bunkering and theft.
  • To renowned environmental expert and coordinator of Oil Watch International, Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, the development is hardly surprising. According to him, divestment is a business strategy by the IOCs to cut losses and maximize profits. “You will notice that they are divesting mostly from onshore and swamp fields that intersect with communities that they have massively polluted and abused. Their aged facilities in those locations will certainly bring on more resource ownership and social conflicts. So, if local companies are happy to step in and take the flak that means ‘good’ business for the IOCs,” he observed

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in list: economic crisis

  • austerity dogma trumps – simultaneously – good economics, good domestic politics in the U.S. and the Ukraine, and U.S. national security.  That’s how insanely powerful the failed dogma of austerity has become.  The CEOs who run the banks that loan money to the Ukraine are more powerful than the Pentagon and our State Department.

  • Three main themes of his victory speech - a) a new national unity under his leadership, b) delegitimizing his opposition, c) the conflict with Syria - displayed Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ability to refine and redefine goals for Turkey’s future.
  • a brand of tolerance that approves and welcomes diversity as long as prior loyalty to the supremacy of the state is firmly established.  His call for unity is one that avoids political disagreements, branding them as attacks on the national interest as defined by himself.
  • Erdogan’s success as a widely supported majoritarian leader at least spells the end of the CHP-MHP-Gulen style and method of opposition, overwhelmingly based on the periodic release of the ‘taped’ private conversations of the Prime Minister, members of his family and cabinet exposing wide and deep channels of corruption and money laundering. To be fair, Erdogan’s electoral success reveals the ineptitude of his main opposition which seems to be a dubious coalition between left-nationalist, right-nationalist and the Gulen movement.

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in list: economic crisis

  • The IMF claims to have limited its conditions to critical reforms agreed by recipient governments. However, the worrying findings of this research suggest that the IMF is going backwards – increasing the number of structural conditions that mandate policy changes per loan, and remaining heavily engaged in highly sensitive and political policy areas.
  • The biggest IMF facilities in terms of loan totals have the heaviest conditionality. This rise is driven by exceptionally high numbers of conditions in Cyprus, Greece and Jamaica, which together accounted for 87% of the total value of loans, with an average of 35 structural conditions per programme.
  • Almost all the countries were repeat borrowers from the IMF, suggesting that the IMF is propping up governments with unsustainable debt levels, not lending for temporary balance of payments problems – its true mandate.

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  • Venezuelans are proud of our democracy. We have built a participatory democratic movement from the grass roots that has ensured that both power and resources are equitably distributed among our people.
  • We have created flagship universal health care and education programs, free to our citizens nationwide. We have achieved these feats in large part by using revenue from Venezuelan oil.
  • Popular participation in politics in Venezuela has increased dramatically over the past decade. As a former union organizer, I believe profoundly in the right to association and in the civic duty to ensure that justice prevails by voicing legitimate concerns through peaceful assembly and protest.

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  • The authentic Russian socialist revolution produced a state socialism which was the only possible first step toward socialism; after Stalin that state socialism moved towards becoming state capitalism (explaining the difference between the two concepts is important but not the subject of this short paper).  As of 1991 state capitalism was dismantled and replaced by "normal" capitalism based on private property, which, as in all countries of contemporary capitalism, is basically the property of financial monopolies, owned by the oligarchy (similar to, not different from, the oligarchies running capitalism in the Triad), many coming out of the former nomenklatura, and some newcomers.
  • Neo-liberalism can produce for Russia only a tragic economic and social regression, a pattern of "lumpen development" and a growing subordinate status in the global imperialist order.  Russia would provide to the Triad oil, gas, and some other natural resources; its industries would be reduced to the status of sub-contracting for the benefit of Western financial monopolies.

     

    In such a position, which is not very far from that of Russia today in the global system, attempts to act independently in the international area will remain extremely fragile, threatened by "sanctions" which will strengthen the disastrous alignment of the ruling economic oligarchy to the demands of dominant monopolies of the Triad.  The current outflow of "Russian capital" associated with the Ukraine crisis illustrates the danger.  Re-establishing state control over the movements of capital is the only effective response to that danger.

in list: economic crisis

  • The one big institutional difference this time around seems to be the role of the central banks, with the Federal Reserve of the United States playing a leading if not domineering role on the world stage. But ever since the inception of central banks (back in 1694 in the British case), their role has been to protect and bail out the bankers and not to take care of the well-being of the people.
  • But if everyone tries to live off rents and nobody invests in making anything, then plainly capitalism is headed towards a crisis of an entirely different sort.
  • What remains of the radical left now operates largely outside of any institutional or organised oppositional channels, in the hope that small-scale actions and local activism can ultimately add up to some kind of satisfactory macro alternative. This left, which strangely echoes a libertarian and even neoliberal ethic of anti-statism, is nurtured intellectually by thinkers such as Michel Foucault and all those who have reassembled postmodern fragmentations under the banner of a largely incomprehensible post-structuralism that favours identity politics and eschews class analysis.

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