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Finance as Warfare: The IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
SHARMINI PERIES: The latest economic indicator showed that the Greek economy shrank by 0.4% in the last three months of 2016. This poses a real problem for Greece, because its lenders are expecting it to grow by 3.5% annually, to enable it to pay back on its bailout loan. Greece is scheduled to make a... Read More
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James Galbraith’s articles and interviews collected in his bookWelcome to the Poisoned Chalice trace his growing exasperation at the “troika” – the European Central Bank (ECB), IMF and EU bureaucracy – which refused to loosen their demand that Greece impoverish its economy to a degree worse than the Great Depression. The fight against Greece was,... Read More
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Summer reigns all over Europe, from Greece to Sweden. Vacations have emptied the offices, and filled the beaches. Flowers bloom all over, and their fragrance flows like a river. Endless festivals, performances and art compositions embellish the quaint old cities. But things are not as ever before. The old continent is sick. Living is easy,... Read More
I have maintained since the so-called Greek Debt “crisis” began back in 2010, I believe it was, that the imposition of austerity on Greece could not possibly work and that the only solution was to write down the debt to a level that Greece could service and introduce reforms that loosen the hold the oligarchs... Read More
First as Tragedy, Second as Farce, Thirdly as Vassal State
Introduction: The Greek people’s efforts to end the economic depression, recover their sovereignty and reverse the regressive socio-economic policies, which have drastically reduced living standards, have been thrice denied. First, the denial came as tragedy: When the Greek majority elected Syriza to government and their debts increased, the economy plunged further into depression and unemployment... Read More
We forget that wars in Europe were the norm before the EU
Political crises in the Middle East and North Africa since 2011 have either produced extreme violence or caused countries to dissolve into civil war. The territorial settlement that followed the defeat of the Ottomans in 1918 is collapsing, but there is no clear sign of what will replace it, other than conflicts which nobody knows... Read More
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The Iran nuclear agreement has less to do with proliferation than it does with geopolitics. The reason Obama wants to ease sanctions on Iran is because he wants to push down oil prices while creating an alternate source of natural gas for Europe. In other words, the real objective here is to hurt Russia which... Read More
All of Europe, and insouciant Americans and Canadians as well, are put on notice by Syriza’s surrender to the agents of the One Percent. The message from the collapse of Syriza is that the social welfare system throughout the West will be dismantled. The Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has agreed to the One Percent’s... Read More
Michael Hudson says unlike personal and corporate debt, there is no legal framework for writing off government debt, so there is deliberate anarchy in place – July 10, 2015 SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. Greece is in the situation they’re in,... Read More
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Where Do We Go From Here?
The major financial problem tearing economies apart over the past century has lain more with official inter-governmental debt than with private-sector debt. That is why the global economy today faces a similar breakdown to 1929-31, when it became apparent that the volume of official inter-government debts could not be paid. The Versailles Treaty had imposed... Read More
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Greece is the pearl of Mediterranean, the place generations of foreigners from Lord Byron to Graves to Fowles have fallen in love with. From philosophy to feta, from history to yoghurt, from poetry to honey they provided the example to follow. Their priests preserve the pristine faith; their fighters defeated Mussolini; their Helen is the... Read More
I doubt that there will be a Greek exit. The Greek referendum, in which the Greek government’s position easily prevailed, tells the troika (EU Commission, European Central Bank, IMF, with of course Washington as the puppet master) that the Greek people support their government’s position that the years of austerity to which Greece has been... Read More
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Greece Rejects the Troika. Where Do We Go From Here?
Just after 7 PM Greek time on Sunday, I was told that the “No” vote (Gk. Oxi) was winning approximately 60/40. The “opinion polls” showing a dead heat evidently were wrong. Bookies across Europe are reported to be losing their shirts for betting that the financial right wing could fool most Greeks into voting against... Read More
With 90% of the votes counted, the Greek people have voted 61% to 39% against accepting the latest round of austerity that the EU is trying to impose on the Greek people for the benefit of the One Percent. What is amazing is that 39% voted for the One Percent against their own interests. This... Read More
According to history books, democracy originated in Greece. Of course, historians could be mistaken, but this is the prevailing view among Western populations with enough awareness to be interested to know. What we are witnessing today, July 2, 2015, is that after 2,500 years in the Western World only the current Greek government is interested... Read More
Like Marathon, Thermopylae, Plateau and Mycale roughly 2,500 years ago, Western freedom again depends on Greece. Today Washington and its empire of European vassal states are playing the part of the Persian Empire, and belatedly the Greeks have formed a government, Syriza, that refuses to submit to the Washington Empire. Few people understand that the... Read More
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Michael Hudson is a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He is the author of The Bubble and Beyond and Finance Capitalism and its Discontents. His most recent book is titled Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy. William K. Black, author of... Read More
Back in January upon coming into office, Syriza probably could not have won a referendum on whether to pay or not to pay. It didn’t have a full parliamentary majority, and had to rely on a nationalist party for Tsipras to become prime minister. (That party balked at cutting back Greek military spending, which was... Read More
Ayn Rand is a pariah among those who believe that government is our benefactor. There are times and conditions when government can be a benefactor of the people. But not in the Western world at the present time. As Michael Hudson and I agree, Western central banks refuse to create money to finance economy recovery.... Read More
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Many readers of the European and American press must be confused about what actually is happening in the negotiations between Greece (Alexis Tsipras and Yannis Varoufakis). The European Troika (the IMF, European Central Bank and European Council now object to the name and want to be called simply “the Institutions”) have stepped up their demands... Read More
The Greek debt is unpayable. It is simply too large to be repaid. The austerity that the EU and IMF have imposed on Greece has worsened the problem by driving down the Greek economy, thus making the burden of the debt even heavier. Despite the obvious fact that the EU’s austerity policy is a failure... Read More
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How the ‘Hard Left’ embraces the policies of the Hard Right
Introduction: Greece has been in the headlines of the world’s financial press for the past five months, as a newly elected leftist party, ‘Syriza’, which ostensibly opposes so-called ‘austerity measures’, faces off against the “Troika” (International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and European Central Bank). Early on, the Syriza leadership, headed by Alexis Tsipras, adopted... Read More
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SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Michael Hudson Report on The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The Euro is slipping against the dollar, and the European financial markets are in flux, expecting Greece to fail on its 1.6 billion Euro repayment due to the International Monetary Fund... Read More
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The European Union is not a state or a federation of states, it is something not seen before, but is assumed to grow state-like characteristics like a center of political accountability. It does not have a head of state or head of government. But political entities of any kind will at some point, when under... Read More
Varoufakis vs. the Troika
A disagreement over the terms of a deal to provide a bailout extension for Greece, has set the stage for a final clash between the Eurogroup and members of the Greek ruling party, Syriza. Although the agreement was approved on Tuesday when a list of reforms were submitted by Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to... Read More
A Valiant Effort
It’s not easy to negotiate with a gun to your head. Nevertheless, that’s the situation Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis found himself in on Friday preceding a crucial meeting with the Eurogroup. According to one report, the objective of the last-ditch confab “was to prepare a consensus text that would be the basis for the... Read More
Don't Tell Anyone in Berlin
If you haven’t been following developments in the Greek-EU standoff, you’re really missing out. This might be the best story of the year. And what makes it so riveting, is that no one thought that little Greece could face off with the powerful leaders of the EU and make them blink. But that’s exactly what’s... Read More
Although British voters have for decades wanted out of the European Union, that possibility has hitherto been expertly forestalled by a less-than-democratic left-right alliance of London-based elites. Now suddenly all bets are off. In local council elections yesterday, England’s long-suffering grass-roots voters finally rose up. They snubbed both main parties, the Conservatives and Labor, to... Read More
LONDON – This week, the European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, actually scolded Germany for producing too efficiently and exporting too much. Were the amiable Barroso not EU Commission president, he would likely be sitting under an olive tree in his native bankrupt Portugal, strumming melancholy fado songs on his guitar. What a lot of... Read More
The news overnight is that the European Union has launched an investigation into the corporate tax policies of Ireland, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The probe could have major implications for Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks, among many other virtuoso U.S. tax avoiders. As reported by the Irish Times, the named nations stand accused of... Read More
Introduction: Many billions of Euros are being extracted from Europe’s vassal-debtor nations – Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland –and transferred to the creditor banks, financial speculators and swindlers located in the City of London, Wall Street, Geneva and Frankfort. Under what has been termed ‘austerity’ programs vast tributary payments are amassed by ruling Conservative and... Read More
Cyprus in the Crosshairs
It was supposed to be a bailout. It turned out to be a death sentence. Given the checkered and unremarkable history of the Brussels bureaucrats, is anyone really surprised? Yes, an agreement was reached between Cypriot government officials and the so-called troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) in... Read More
In Need of a Platform
Italy's elections could signal the end of the euro or they could mean nothing at all. It's impossible to know just yet. But one thing is certain, Italians have "had it up to here" with austerity. Nearly 60 percent of the electorate voted for candidates who oppose the policy and who want a change of... Read More
Loans you shouldn’t pay back, violent partners, and who triumphs when Germany Banks & Greece go toe to toe. Seek truth from facts with former Chase banker Prof. Michael Hudson, Stockholm Syndrome theorist Dr. Carlos Encinas, anti-EU party boss Peter Mach, Greek Correspondent Nicolas Mottas and Financial Times Associate Editor Wolfgang Munchau.
From Greece to Spain
The Greek electorate has changed captains on the Titanic, but the ship is still sinking. So what difference did the elections make?


 None. Unemployment is still rising, the deficits continue to widen, and the economy is in tatters. Everything is fundamentally the same as before, with one exception, the victor (New Democracy's Antonis Samaras) remains... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Regard the Greek political landscape and how dramatically it has changed from last November. On November 2, 2011, Greek prime minister George Papandreou flew to Cannes before a G20 meeting and received one of the most humiliating rebuffs in European history since Pope Gregory VII left Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV shivering in the snow.... Read More
The eurozone may be in turmoil but the investing maestro says the currency will survive. As someone who exchanged some Japanese yen for the euro recently, I have been watching the latter’s gyrations with more than usual interest. My purpose was not to speculate but to finance a real estate transaction, but it is still... Read More
A Synchronized Global Slowdown
Growing troubles in the eurozone, a slowdown in China and a jobs report that was weaker than the most-pessimistic forecast, sent stocks plunging on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 275 points on the day while the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ followed the DJIA into the red. All the gains of 2012 have... Read More
Unraveling the Welfare Safety Net
Yields on 10-year Treasuries plunged to a record-low 1.56 percent on Thursday morning as panicky investors stormed out of European financial assets into German and U.S. government bonds. Deteriorating credit conditions, a flurry of ratings downgrades, and bank runs in Spain and Greece have triggered a flight-to-safety which has pushed the benchmark 10-year below its... Read More
ASTANA, Kazakhstan. “If it bleeds, it leads” says an old media industry maxim. So where the future of the world currency system is concerned, all eyes these days are on the badly battered euro. Almost all, anyway. One observer who has been trying to see beyond the current euro crisis is the Nobel Prize-winning economist... Read More
The last time Greece faced a crisis of this magnitude was in 490 BC when the armies and fleets of the Persian Empire were converging on Athens. The great Athenian leader Themistocles rallied his countrymen and defeated the Persians. Alas, this time Greece has no Themistocles to save the embattled nation. Unlike the incompetent Persian... Read More
Left to Fend for Itself
The endgame for Greece is now in sight. Attempts to form a unity government have failed and public opposition to austerity is growing. The uncertain political situation has triggered a bank run which drained nearly $900 million in deposits from Greek banks on Monday alone. Panicky Greeks are moving their money out of the country... Read More
Transcript Headlines around the world greeted the election results in Greece and France as a rejection of austerity programs by the electors of those countries. Well, what can Americans learn from the results of these elections and from the crisis in the eurozone? Now joining us to talk about all of this is Michael Hudson.... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Watch Europe tip left and right as voters rise in fury against the austerity menu that’s been bringing them to utter ruin. In Holland, the right-wing Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders brought down the governing coalition on Monday bellowing his defiance for the "Diktats from Brussels", and asserting that "We must be master of our... Read More
EuroSpeak for "Starve the Beast"
The eurozone is slipping into a recession that could have been avoided. Had policymakers provided fiscal support for stricken countries in the South and guarantees on their government bonds, (as the USG does for US Treasuries) then their economies could have continued to grow while the necessary reforms were put in place. But the Troika... Read More
Committing Financial Suicide to Appease Big Finance
Money might "make the world go 'round", but it's not going to stop the eurozone from breaking apart. That's the lesson investors learned on Tuesday when global stock markets plunged on news that yields on Spanish and Italian debt had again entered the red zone. Stocks rebounded on Wednesday, but to little effect, after all,... Read More
Smoke-and-Mirrors
ECB president Mario Draghi's new lending facility--the Long-Term Refinancing Operation--has helped to pull the financial system back from the brink of another Lehman-type catastrophe, but it doesn't address the fundamental problems that created the crisis. (Account imbalances, capital flows) What the LTRO does is allow EU banks to exchange dodgy collateral for "limitless" 3-year loans... Read More
What will their future be – and what is the government’s proper financial role?
The inherently symbiotic relationship between banks and governments recently has been reversed. In medieval times, wealthy bankers lent to kings and princes as their major customers. But now it is the banks that are needy, relying on governments for funding – capped by the post-2008 bailouts to save them from going bankrupt from their bad... Read More
The Growing Crisis
While EU policymakers make arrangements for their 14th summit in the last two years, Europe's flagging economy continues to slip deeper into recession. On Monday, the Eurozone's Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) reported that production and new orders had declined for a 5th straight month. According to a survey of economists by Reuters, "The euro... Read More
The Coming Credit Crunch
For the second time in three years, the banking system has collapsed, which means that the banks are no longer able to fund themselves through the normal means, the wholesale markets. This same thing happened in July 2007 when two Bear Stearns hedge funds defaulted and trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities--which US banks had... Read More
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