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Will Iran Weather the Economic Storm? -- The depreciation of the rial is unlikely to change Iran's foreign-policy calculations. The conventional wisdom that the collapse of the Iranian rial will have disastrous consequences for the Islamic Republic has it wrong: On the contrary, it could be the best thing that has happened to the Iranian economy in years.
Iran is a classic case of the resource curse. OPEC founder Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso, who served as Venezuela's oil minister, called oil "the devil's excrement" for the pernicious impact petroleum revenues had on his country's economy. The same is true for Iran, which faces the challenge of becoming a country that produces goods, not merely consumes them. Unfortunately, the current Iranian government shows few indications it will meet this challenge. Rather, history suggests that Tehran will instead persist in its populist policies, including its confrontation with the international community about its nuclear program. (Foreign Policy)
£13tn hoard hidden from taxman by global elite Study estimates staggering size of offshore economy; Private banks help wealthiest to move cash into havens - A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore -- as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together -- according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.
James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.
He shows that at least £13tn -- perhaps up to £20tn -- has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, "protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy". According to Henry's research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier. (London Guardian)
Bilderberg 2010: Between the sword and the wall The Catalan police are refreshingly friendly. But if the time for action comes, whose side will they be on? - "Do you know how much this is costing?" asked Hannah. "Do you think the Spanish economy can afford all this?" Grimly, the enormous bald detective started deleting images of his comrades with his giant thumb. "Your opinion," he growled, "is right." (London Guardian)
Bilderberg 2010: Why the protesters are your very best friends The people who are being detained, searched and questioned are not playing some game. They are deadly serious, and they are worried to death - The head of the IMF (and Bilderberger), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, looks at the world and declares: "Crisis is an opportunity." He sees the precarious global economy and floats the idea for "a new global currency issued by a global central bank". (London Guardian)
Global Governance Today Jean-Claude Trichet, President, European Central Bank, New York - It was an unexpected crisis -- largely unexpected in its dimension and in its global nature -- even if it was clear that a number of academics; a number of central banks, I have to say; and also, a number of at his own institution very, very clearly -- the BIS -- had signaled that we were living in a world of general under appreciation of risks in the financial markets. And I have to say I was, myself, on record for having said that quite a time before the first turbulences erupted. But that being said, what we have observed is really something which was very big -- bigger than was expected. And with a number of features that were really also unique. - “A set of rules, institutions, informal groupings and cooperation mechanisms that we call “global governance”. (Council on Foreign Relations)
Securitization, Mortgage-Backed Securities, Collateralized Debt Obligations, and Credit Default Swaps From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Securitization is a structured finance process that distributes risk by aggregating debt instruments in a pool, then issues new securities backed by the pool. The term “Securitisation” is derived from the fact that the form of financial instruments used to obtain funds from the investors are securities. As a portfolio risk backed by amortizing cash flows – and unlike general corporate debt – the credit quality of securitized debt is non-stationary due to changes in volatility that are time- and structure-dependent. If the transaction is properly structured and the pool performs as expected, the credit risk of all tranches of structured debt improves; if improperly structured, the affected tranches will experience dramatic credit deterioration and loss. All assets can be securitized so long as they are associated with cash flow. Hence, the securities which are the outcome of Securitisation processes are termed asset-backed securities (ABS). From this perspective, Securitisation could also be defined as a financial process leading to an issue of an ABS. (Foreclosure Fraud)
The IMF and Our Increased Dependence on Faux-Experts I was in Korea last week with a collection of suit-wearing hotshots. On a panel sat Takatoshi Kato, IMF Deputy Managing Director. Before the discussion he gave us a powerpoint lecture showing the IMF projections for 2010, 2011, ..., 2014. I could not control myself and got into a state of rage. I told the audience that the next time someone from the IMF shows you projections for some dates in the future, to show us what they PROJECTED for 2008 and 2009 in 2004, 2005, ..., and 2007. They would then verify that Mr. Takatoshi and his colleagues provide a prime illustration to the "expert problem": they serve as experts while offering the scientific reliability of astrologers. Anyone relying on them is a turkey. (Huffington Post)
The Great American Bubble Machine From tech stocks to high gas prices, Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression — and they're about to do it again - But then, any attempt to construct a narrative around all the former Goldmanites in influential positions quickly becomes an absurd and pointless exercise, like trying to make a list of everything. What you need to know is the big picture: If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain — an extremely unfortunate loophole in the system of Western democratic capitalism, which never foresaw that in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy. (Rolling Stone)
The Emperor's Seven Signing Statements "[P]rovisions of this bill within sections 1110 to 1112 of title XI, and sections 1403 and 1404 of title XIV, would interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiations or discussions with international organizations and foreign governments, or by requiring consultation with the congress prior to such negotiations or discussions. I will not treat these provisions as limiting my ability to engage in foreign diplomacy or negotiations." ... vs candidate Obama, "I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law." (American Chronicle)
Obama issues signing statement on $106B war bill The Obama administration announced in the statement it would disregard provisions of the legislation that, among other things, would compel the Obama administration to pressure the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards and require the Treasury department to report to Congress on the activities of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) (The Hill)
House approves war bill with IMF funds Down to the wire Tuesday, Obama and his top aides had to intercede to hold Democrats together in the face of anti-war liberal blogs and conservative attacks on new financing for the International Monetary Fund (Politico)
Democrats agree to IMF money in U.S. war bill reached a deal to boost support to the International Monetary Fund, lawmakers' aides said on Tuesday, a victory for President Barack Obama who pledged to help the lender assist countries in the global economic crisis (Reuters)
War funding fight gets complicated a wartime spending bill could soon exceed $100 billion, adding to the risks of an already tense fight in the House over the addition of new financing for the International Monetary Fund (Politico)
The Alex Jones Show interviews Jim Tucker at Bilderberg 2009 Alex talks with intrepid Bilderberg hound and journalist Jim Tucker, who is in Greece covering the elitist confab to be held at the Astir Palace Hotel Resort in Athens. Alex also welcomes London Guardian writer Charlie Skelton to discuss being detained by police in Greece for taking a photograph outside Bilderberg's hotel. (Prison Planet)
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