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Our latest blogs on the economic crisis

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Steel’s collapse is the crisis of the capitalist system itself
Tata's threat to end steel making comes as a huge shock for communities throughout the UK, but for the global conglomerate the decision to terminate its loss-making operations in Britain was surely a no-brainer.


U-turn, what U-turn? Billions in cuts still to come
Gerry Gold analyses the reality behind the headlines of the autumn statement and concludes that far from ending, austerity is deepening.


Greek defiance deepens crisis of the system
Following their decisive vote to reject even more austere conditions to heap upon their current suffering, the people of Greece remain locked in combat with the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund.


Osborne’s declaration of war on the people
The cuts to government spending over the next five years will significantly exceed those made in the last five. Be warned: the austerity we’ve seen so far was only the warm-up for the main event.


Meltdown II heading for a town near you
A new report says that debt has actually grown in relation to the real economy since the 2007-8 financial crash, threatening another meltdown. It is the starkest warning yet from insiders that the global crisis has reached a critical point.


Welsh co-ops report points the way forward
Parallel announcements of job cuts across the UK underline the price of the so-called “recovery” as it affects the lives of the majority of ordinary people caught up in the global economic crisis. A timely report from the Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission sets out a new path.


New banking crisis looms as credit crunch returns
Around the world’s biggest economies, gears are being thrown into reverse as credit, liquidity, broad money, leverage – whatever name you give it – turns from the antidote to recession to the source of volatility and a potent systemic threat.


Sick global economy hit by new contagion
The list of countries hit by the wave of withdrawal of speculative investment capital lengthens by the day. Countries amounting to half the global economy are being forced to spend currency reserves, raise interest rates and consider controls over the movement of capital.


Osborne's 'recovery' built on sand
Just as the ConDem coalition is trumpeting a “return to growth” – one that is more apparent than real – their hopes for a sustained economic recovery have been shattered by the eruption of new phase of the global crisis.


Spectre of deflation haunts global economy
For the first time since 2009 the UK rate of inflation has fallen to the Bank of England’s target of 2%. For most people, whose real incomes have been falling, a slowing in the rate at which prices increase is surely a welcome relief. But alarm bells are ringing for the capitalist economy as the spectre of deflation looms large.


When a return to 'normal' spells crisis
Gamblers, speculators and investors on the world’s capital markets are watching and wondering what is going to happen now, in the wake of the US Federal Reserve’s decision to begin slowing the growth of credit.


Edgy markets make “growth” seem hollow
The eyes and ears of the world’s biggest gamblers will turn towards the US Federal Reserve announcement this evening.


Cost-of-living crisis about falling pay
Workers on low and middle incomes are experiencing the biggest decline in their living standards since reliable records began in the 19th century. For the average worker, wages have fallen by £1,300 every year since the Coalition government took office in 2010.


Osborne's budget for business at our expense
Put simply this was a ConDem budget statement for business at the expense of those who depend on public services, those who have to rely on benefits and the millions who will have to wait years longer to draw their state pension.


Detroit goes bankrupt and others are certain to follow
Detroit, the former Motor City, home of Motown music is now the largest bankrupt city in US history, brought down by debts totalling $18.5 billion. Already, 40% of the city's streetlights do not work and 78,000 abandoned buildings litter the city, whose population has dropped from its 1.8 million peak in 1950 to 700,000.


Unite against destructive trade 'partnerships'
“Localists of the world, unite!” That’s the timely call from the International Society for Ecology and Culture to join the global resistance movement against two planned trade deals that would undermine decades of achievements.


RBS is a vulture bank driven by debt
From the disaster at the Co-op Bank, driven into the hands of hedge funds by incompetent management, to the Royal Bank of Scotland, which forced small firms out of business so it could buy up their assets on the cheap, the message is clear.


This hunger is no game – it's ConDem Britain 2013
Malnutrition, hunger, debt and homelessness. That’s the price increasing numbers of ordinary people are paying for ConDem austerity as the fiction of “economic recovery” passes the majority by.


UK economy living on borrowing – and borrowed time
There’s one thing that prime minister Cameron got right during his speech to the City – the need for a “fundamental culture change”, because the UK economy is diving deeper into debt in a bid by the ConDems to engineer a mini-boom.


How coexistence with capitalism undermines co-ops
Two of the world’s biggest and best known co-operatives are struggling with the impact of the unending global recession. Both are seeking rescue deals by hedge funds and private equity groups that could lead to their destruction.


EU-US trade deal will intensify race to the bottom
Corporations like Monsanto, Nestle, Toyota and the big pharmaceuticals are amongst the world’s most powerful economic actors hard at work promoting an increasingly complex web of bilateral deals aimed at opening up trade and driving down wages and conditions.


Clock is ticking on US debt time bomb
Is America too big to fail? Or will a dysfunctional Congress, by continuing to block a deal on raising the astronomical federal debt ceiling, precipitate a default by the world's largest economy?


The trillion dollar question with no answers
If nothing changes, the US government will run out of money, somewhere between October 22 and November 1 and plunge a fragile global economy into another meltdown. With the two parties in Congress locked in deadlock, time is running out.


Weapons of financial mass destruction threaten new meltdown
On the fifth anniversary of the great global financial meltdown, set in motion by the collapse of Lehman Brothers on Wall Street, the government’s narrative about the state of the economy is at odds with those in the know.


For a world without the WTO and 'free trade agreements'
From the supermarkets that dominate food sales, through distribution systems, to agriculture and its increasing dependence on chemicals and back down the chain to gene research, the story is one of the concentration of power in fewer and fewer corporations.


'Recovery' based on low pay and falling living standards
Most people in Britain are struggling to make ends meet. Talk of a “recovery” is designed to deflect mounting discontent, but the everyday lived experience is proving more powerful.


Zero hours shows how capitalism works for the 1%
Job anyone? Yes? Good! Wait by the door with your cap in you hand and we’ll call you when we need you. If we call you we’ll pay you. Maybe. A bit. Not much though, times are hard. We’re all in it together.


Global capitalism's new world disorder
Yet again, in its latest world economic outlook the International Monetary Fund has been forced to cut its forecast for growth worldwide. Even as it casts around for signs of optimism in Japan and the UK, there is no hiding the profound corrosion of the global capitalist economy.


The rise and fall of Brazil's No.1 tycoon tells you a lot about the global economy
Rio’s Maracana stadium was the centre of attention on Sunday, as protestors clashed with police outside over the billions spent on preparations for the World Cup and the Olympics. Behind the very public scenes another drama is playing out.


EU-US trade deal threat to food safety
The launch of EU-US negotiations on a new trade deal should set alarm bells ringing for food producers and consumers throughout Europe. If successful the deal will sweep away environmental, health, privacy and cultural standards.


Growth addicts meet in Watford
George Osborne, the ConDem’s chancellor and Labour’s Ed Balls, who are locked in a fierce agreement about the need for more austerity to promote growth – work that one out for yourselves – are in not-so-exotic Watford this week.


Credit crisis back with a vengeance as Bankia's customers take a hit
This column doesn’t usually express much sympathy with shareholders because a share gives the right to profits derived from other people’s labour. But the plight of shareholders in the Spanish bank, Bankia, requires us to make an exception.


Crying wolf is not good enough, Martin
When one of the most respected commentators on the world economy repeatedly expresses his profound pessimism about the prospects of an effective response to the “real and present dangers of climate change”, it is surely worth some serious consideration.


Co-operative movement at the crossroads
Signs of a meltdown at the Co-operative group of companies are multiplying at an alarming rate. Following last week’s mark-down of bank debt to junk status, the malaise is hitting all of its operations including insurance, supermarkets and beyond.


The market recipe for cooking the planet
The economic logic of the capitalist system is obstructing the critical transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources.


Corporate freebooters always put shareholders first
Popular anger against tax avoiding transnational corporations like Starbucks, Amazon, and Google is rising fast as government spending cuts accelerate. Now Rupert Murdoch’s Sun is beating its drum against Npower.


Tell Goldman Sachs to get lost
The cracks in the global economy are widening at a hard-to-grasp rate. Contraction is accelerating in Europe, and growth is slowing in the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies.


Capitalism is forever blowing bubbles
Usually, this column begins on a serious note, especially when we’re talking about the global economy. Today, however, I bring you the chorus of a song that made its debut in America in 1918 and is better known as the club anthem of West Ham United.


China's 'unsustainable'' economy weighed down by debt
Hopes that the continuation of China’s long boom will drag the rest of the developed capitalist world – the so-called advanced economies – back from contraction have been further dashed.


Japan goes for broke as Fukushima takes its toll
The world is watching as tensions rise in Asia, but attention is not restricted to North Korea. About 650 miles away across the sea, Japan is struggling with the fallout from its own real nuclear hell and has taken a huge financial gamble as a result.


Junk bonds frenzy points to a new crash
After five years of austerity budgets, the headline on the latest survey from global financial information services company Markit sums it up: “Downturn deepens as business conditions deteriorate in all euro nations”.


Banks in 'collateral crunch' as debts mount
Thousands of high school students took to the streets outside parliament in Nicosia yesterday. They were protesting against the harsh consequences the people of Cyprus can expect from the deal imposed by the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.


Resistance by Cypriots deepens eurozone crisis
The deepening crisis in Cyprus, where every single MP voted against plans to steal a portion of people’s savings, has thrown eurozone leaders into turmoil. Clearly the snail pace of parliamentary processes forcing through austerity is proving too slow for Europe’s ruling elites.


Exploitation on the rise as recession deepens
Today’s forlorn protest by the TUC designed to put “pressure on chancellor George Osborne to change course” as he puts his final touches to next week’s budget will fall on deaf ears.


The age of profit has reached its limit
In the wake of the worldwide scandal of meat products boosted with horse, investigations into contaminated cakes sold by IKEA are certain to reveal more links in a contaminated global food chain. The actual cause will stay hidden, however.


Eurocrats fear 'protest against entire system'
The game is up for eurozone countries Italy and Greece and a fatal blow to the single currency may not be far behind. A deadlock of different sorts has arrived in both countries and the political systems are locked into the impasse.


US heads for 'slow motion train wreck' over debt crisis
If you thought Italy had sovereign debt issues, you should take a look at the United States. Total public debt this week stands at nearly $17,000 billion, equivalent to 75% of the value of the country’s annual output.


Italy bosses call for 'shock therapy' as recession takes its toll
The south of Europe is fast becoming engulfed in political turmoil as the economic contraction deepens. After protests against soaring electricity prices, austerity and corruption turned violent Bulgaria’s government has collapsed. "I will not participate in a government under which police are beating people," says prime minister Boiko Borisov.


Working for free nightmare is here to stay
Jubilant opponents of the ConDems’ multi-faceted so-called Work Programme are celebrating two court judgements ruling that most of the schemes were unlawful.


Bankrupt states - bankrupt system
Things aren’t going well in Europe. France is totally bankrupt, according to employment minister Michel Sapin. According to the radio interview he actually said, “there is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state”.


The real cause of growing global inequality
At a global level, the top 1% (60 million people), and particularly the even more select few in the top 0.01% (600,000 individuals – there are around 1,200 billionaires in the world), the last 30 years has been an incredible feeding frenzy.


Davos elites warn of "perfect global storm" threat
Listening to the ConDems lecturing the low-waged and unemployed about “fairness” as they cut their state benefits when measured against inflation, reinforces the view of a government at war with ordinary people while protecting the rich and powerful.


'Fiscal cliff' deal robs US workers
Given that the last-minute deal in Congress was designed to avert the US economy falling over a self-imposed “fiscal cliff”, the best way to picture the outcome is to imagine a cartoon of the two main parties locked together as they cross the precipice.


FT turns to Lenin in desperation
Mark Carney isn’t due to move from being governor of the Bank of Canada to governor of the Bank of England until next July. But the intensity of the global economic crisis is so severe that policy makers can’t wait that long.


Revealed: the harsh truth behind jobs figures
Governments on both sides of the Atlantic have good news on jobs. Apparently. The real story is of people giving up the search for work and young people, in particular, facing a life on the dole.


Osborne to up the war on the people
Today’s autumn statement from chancellor George Osborne will extend the predicted period of the recession and pile more pressure on the 99% of the people in Britain who are struggling to meet rising bills as real incomes fall.


Welfare to profits as contractors cash in
That the results of the government’s welfare-to-work scheme have turned out to be worse than if it hadn’t existed at all is certain to be a disappointment for the ConDems, but for the rest of us it shouldn’t be a surprise.


'Zombie capitalism' more dead than alive
You don’t have to listen too closely to hear the sound of factory gates slamming for the last time, and shutters rolling down over retail outlets. Consumer electrical chain Comet is just one amongst the many household names facing up to the consequences of the accelerating global contraction.


Historic strike against austerity must become turning point
The historic, co-ordinated pan-Europe strikes and marches taking place today are the clearest indication yet that the struggles against the governments that have imposed austerity policies are coming to a head.


A symbol of hope's limitations
Poorer workers, Latinos, Afro-Americans, young urban professionals and women put their trust in Barack Obama. And this morning they are celebrating. But despite their vote of defiance against the rich, right-wing, racist Republicans the euphoria will melt away.


US faces a perfect storm on all fronts
After the devastation delivered by a perfect storm, the prospect of the United States falling off a “fiscal cliff” within two months is not one that America’s ruling political and corporate elites are looking forward to with any relish.


End of mining boom hits Australia hard
Way back in May – a whole five months ago – the Honourable Wayne Swan MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia was full of confidence.


Leaving cloud cuckoo land
The International Monetary Fund is amongst the most influential institutions on the planet. It has a membership of 188 countries and employs 2,400 staff. Half of them are economists. If anyone should know about the state of the global economy and its likely trajectory, you might think it was the IMF.


Global economy heading 'down for the count'
Stark warnings from the International Monetary Fund about the risk of financial collapse in Europe have coincided with indicators from the Brookings Institution and the Financial Times showing that the global economy is “on the ropes”.


The end-of-growth 'heresy' raises its head
Has the truth about the nature of the deepening global slump finally begun to make its mark in the brains of the system’s chief analysts and cheerleaders? We ask because some are beginning to question whether a “return to growth” is possible, let alone likely.


Point of no return in Europe
Impasse. Tipping point. Crisis. Boiling point. Point of no return. Explosion. What words can convey the profundity of the present moment of transition?


Walmart workers and teachers turn up the heat
After eight days of solid strike action against a regressive restructuring of the education system in the third largest school district in the US, teachers in Chicago are going back to school having won a stand-off compromise that solves nothing.


Workers hit back as tipping points breached
The impact of the social crisis on individuals in numbers of suicides, prescriptions for anti-depressants and the increasing numbers of people treated for stress at hospitals in England is steadily growing.


Wages plummet in global race to the bottom
Despite massive state intervention, including two interest rate reductions and huge injections of credit, the Chinese economy has been unable to withstand the consequences of global overcapacity.


Unsold goods pile up as crash takes its toll
In the wake of the Olympics, countless millions of pairs of trainers lie unsold in warehouses. Thousands of Chinese companies from property developers to car manufacturers sit atop mountains of products surplus to a hoped-for demand that never materialised.


Osborne caught in glare of global recession
For the global economy, the only way is down. Britain shows where things are heading. A deepening recession intensified by austerity has created a spiral of decline in public finances. More brutal assaults on living standards are sure to follow.


Worsening economy behind coalition crisis
All the indications are that the British and European economies have now been drawn into the deepening contraction of global capitalism.


Food as a commodity sends a message
As two-thirds of the United States suffers from the largest drought to hit the country in 50 years, food crop prices rocket and speculation is rising on the financial markets.


'Our cuts will be with a guillotine'
As official figures revealed that Britain is deep into its second recession in four years, with contraction running at a rate not seen for half a century, the European dimension of the global crisis is set to get a whole lot worse.


Interest rates at minus as 'perfect storm' looms
When you borrow money you pay interest to the lender. The rate you pay is the cost of borrowing and lenders derive their profits from it. At least, that’s the way it is supposed to work.


Spain's economy heads for the buffers
Watching the minute-by-minute account of this morning’s speech by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy felt like looking over the shoulder of the driver of the locomotive with his hand hard down on the accelerator as the train heads for the buffers.


Barclays shows how they are all in it together
Yes, they are all in it together: Barclays, the Bank of England, the Financial Services Authority, Tories and especially the previous Labour governments.


Infinity and beyond is Bank's view of crisis
Who’d be an economics forecaster at a time of chaos and crisis? Only six weeks ago, Bank of England experts thought they had the situation covered. Now they’ve ripped up those forecasts and are starting again.


Global economy 'off the rails'
No one any longer thinks that piling on the pressure through austerity, grinding millions into the dust, can possibly make any difference to the debt crisis. But despite increasingly strident calls, “pushing for growth” is a non-starter.


New financial meltdown under way
The potential for a second, more catastrophic breakdown of the global financial system is the reality behind emergency support for the banks announced by the chancellor George Osborne and the governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King.


State is the enforcer of austerity
Q. Why did the 100 billion euro loan to bailout Spanish banks recycled from the 27 members of the European Union via the European Financial Stability Mechanism go to the government rather than, as some wanted, direct to the banks where it is needed? A. Because the people who run the EFSM act as ciphers for the needs of the global capitalist system. And they have to ensure that states – governments, civil administrations, legal system, armed forces including police – extract the repayments on the loans from their populations.


Warnings of new economic collapse mount
With Spain no longer able to borrow on the money markets, German banks downgraded and key indicators pointing towards a massive international downturn, the global economy is heading towards a new meltdown.


Signals at red as wrecking crew take over
Trying to find an image that conveys the gravity of the global economic crisis is proving a real challenge. Since its far from being a natural disaster, like the earthquakes currently shaking Nothern Italy, transport analogies might help.


“Double meltdown” warning for Europe
Today the leaders of the 27 countries that make up the European Union meet in Brussels. Their desperate aim is to keep the debt crisis in Europe from spiralling out of control and ‘promote jobs and growth’.


Facebook riches show how obscene the system is
As people wander the towns and cities of Greece and Spain today looking for work, food and simply the means of survival, in California a company that makes no profits at all will sell its shares for over $100 billion.


Historic showdown builds in Europe
Two of surely the most delusional people on the planet strolled down the red carpet in Berlin this week, talking about growth and keeping Greece among the eurozone countries. No chance on the first, and close to zero on the second.


'Going for growth' will bring new attacks
If Europe’s voters think “austerity” is bad for their health, it’s nothing compared to what some of the advocates of “growth” have in mind as the next stage of the crisis unfolds.


Global economy heading from contraction to destruction
It’s no wonder that prime minister Cameron now sees no prospect of a “recovery” in the foreseeable future. He’s just stating the obvious.


Economic crisis meets disillusioned voters
Coalition Chancellor Osborne says that economic “recovery” is taking longer than expected, but this is a deliberate deception because all the indications are that recession in the UK is part of an international trend.


Spectre of Great Depression looms over Spain
A new phase of the financial and economic crisis threatens to drag Spain and other so-called “peripheral” countries in the eurozone into a 1930s-style depression and trigger a renewed global crash.


ConDems tool up for confrontation
Yesterday community shops throughout the UK received a message asking “how community shops have collaborated with each other and other local business to ensure the continuity of supply of products and services when normal routes to market are broken”.


A panic Budget as economy worsens
Figures published by the Office for Budget Responsibility on the morning of the Budget statement, and the Office for National Statistics today tell us more about the state of the economy than George Osborne did.


NHS vote marks end of parliamentary road
While last night’s vote to approve the health bill marks the end of the parliamentary road – in more ways than one – the future of the NHS is far from being a done deal.


How the 'plutonomists' bought governments
Citigroup is something special. With the largest financial services network in the world, it is a banking and finance behemoth, effectively the defining organisation of the global economy.


A default by any other name
When is a default not a default? When the Greek government and the European Central Bank pretend otherwise. In the real world, the truth is quite different.


Greek parliament imposes debt diktat
As Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos knows only too well, the measures being imposed on all but the super rich in Greece are raising the spectre of massive social division.


Down with the 21st century Troika!
Whoever coined the term ‘Troika’ for the combined staff of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission has a grim sense of recent history.


Greeks sold into debt slavery
“It's no exaggeration to say that today is a historic day for the Greek economy,” said Lucas Papademos, banker and unelected prime minister of Greece. Yes indeed. February 21 was the day he signed his country’s people into debt slavery for the foreseeable future.


The fate of Greece a warning to all of us
Greece has “reached the limits of the social and economic system”, according to its public order minister Christos Papoutsis, and its “people cannot take any more”. It’s a message that will reverberate around the whole of Europe this year.


Beware the light at the end of the tunnel
Some optimists are saying that things are beginning to look up because of a fall in unemployment, particularly in the US but also to some small extent in the UK. Yesterday, those closer to the action put things in perspective.


They were all in it together, not just Goodwin
At last! Something we can agree on with Labour’s former chancellor, Alistair Darling. Fred Goodwin (formerly Sir) should not be singled out by the establishment.


UK heads for recession as '1930s moment' nears
Greek debt is but one black hole among many in the eurozone crisis which threatens to tip the world into a ‘1930’s moment’ according to IMF managing director Christine Lagarde. But the problems facing global capitalism are far deeper.


'Clueless' as global crisis worsens
The World Bank is warning of a global downturn worse than that of 2008/09 which saw trade drop by 90% at it lowest point and production following suit. In a sharp about-face from the optimism of its June 2011 report, the Bank now says “the world economy has entered a dangerous period”.


The spectre of Marx haunts the debate
Contributors to the debate about capitalism increasingly find themselves obliged to consult Marx, the primary authority on the system, and to try and refute his arguments for its replacement.


Hungary crisis driven on by new credit crunch
A chain under stress usually breaks at its weakest link. For the global financial system, the pressure point could well prove to be Hungary.


Global meltdown closer as risks pile up
Action taken by governments of the rich capitalist countries to reduce their deficits has produced a dangerous accumulation of risks for the world economy, warns the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.


Thinking the unthinkable
The name Terry Smith probably doesn’t mean anything to you, despite the fact that he is one of the biggest fans of David Cameron’s decision to walk away from a new European Union treaty designed to control member states’ budgets.


Capitalism has no moral dilemma
An Occupy London delegation – not everyone at St Paul’s is happy with this – is due to debate prospects for an “ethical capitalism” tonight with city fund managers, religious leaders, former bankers, and tax reformers.


Headless chickens rule EU roost
A French president playing second fiddle to a German chancellor announcing a “fiscal union” to keep eurozone spending under control was patently an uncomfortable moment for Nicolas Sarkozy. His misery was written all over his face.


Osborne declares class war
On the eve of today’s historic strike by public sector workers in defence of hard-won pensions, the unelected coalition ConDem government yesterday delivered a new, more vicious, sustained assault on living standards.


An economic system beyond reform
Some 170 economists have issued a statement in support of the occupation movement in the United States and put forward policies which they say will “liberate the economy from the short-term greed of the rich and powerful one percent”.


London banks in doomsday planning
Reports that London-based global banks are playing “war games” to work out what to do if a country quits the eurozone or the currency collapses, is a stark indication that the financial crisis is out of control. Survival is the only item on the agenda as meltdown looms.


Spain's voters disenfranchised by markets
There can be only one winner in Sunday’s general election in Spain. And it won’t be the voters, many of whom are so disillusioned with the country’s political system that they seem set to stay at home in droves.


Goldman Sachs adds Italy and Greece to its portfolio
When trader Alessio Rastani told the BBC that "governments don't rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world", jaws dropped in the news room at his brazen candour. Seven weeks later, Rastani is looking more right than ever.


Greece is stuffed by the Merkozy
If the political meltdown in Greece tells us anything, it is that the eurozone crisis has gathered an unstoppable momentum and the ruling elites can’t do anything about it.


Democracy bad news – for financial markets
The argument about whether democracy is good for capitalism was settled yesterday – by the financial markets. Any notion that people should have a choice about whether they should shoulder the burden of the global crisis was put to rest.


EU leaders delude themselves
Driven to the brink of mental breakdown by the rapidly deepening crisis, European leaders last night agreed on an attempt at self-delusional trickery.


Hedge fund raises spectre of 1933 as 'mobs' gather at bankers' doors
The irresistible force of the global economic and financial crisis is outstripping attempts by Europe’s governments to agree on a plans for tackling the continent’s debt mountain.


Rating agencies tighten the screw
Moody’s has joined other credit rating agencies in downgrading its assessments for France and Spain when it comes to repaying loans. What logic is unfolding here?


End the rule of the 1% as economy implodes
The force of the global economic implosion, which has seen unemployment skyrocket to a 17-year high in the UK, overwhelmed its first eurozone government last night. It is unlikely to be the last.


Capitalism – guilty as charged!
It is rare enough for anyone on the voice-of-the-establishment BBC to even mention the ‘C’ word let alone devote a whole programme to it. Even rarer then for it to broadcast a two-parter entitled “Capitalism on Trial”.


Making a killing at our expense
As the European Union struggles to hold together, riven with differences over impending bail-outs to save the euro (while ejecting Greece), others are moving in for the kill.


Delusional IMF in the dark
Confusion and disarray is apparent in every national and global capitalist institution – and nowhere more so than in the corridors of the International Monetary Fund. Despite access to confidential data, they don’t really have a clue as to what’s going on.


Panic as new meltdown looms
On the eve of the third anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers – the investment bank which became the icon of the crash of 2007/8 – the world’s financial markets are once again in a febrile state little short of panic.


Laughing all the way to the bank
It’s hard to know what is more irrelevant – the report of the Independent Commission on Banking or Ed Miliband’s call for a code of conduct which will allow bankers to be struck off in the same way as doctors.


'Go time' has arrived
The sudden appearance of the global contraction over the summer is inducing a state of chaos amongst the governments of the world’s major economies.


'Grow or die' measure heads south
The purchasing managers indexes are key “grow-or-die” measures of the health of the capitalist economy. They show that it is in serious trouble.


The real looters
The coalition government has placed an emergency army battalion on standby and is considering authorising the use of water cannon and tear gas to quell disorder and looting around the country.


It's the system, stupid
A sketchy deal on spending cuts which allow the US debt ceiling to be raised is no more than an acknowledgement that law-makers in even the world’s largest national economy can make little if any impact on the deepening crisis.


Time runs out for Obama and the constitution
The irresistible march of economic and financial events undermines legal and constitutional structures, weakens bureaucratic constraints, exposes weak and divided political leadership and transforms long-established relations between people and states.


Greece is the first domino to fall
The global debt crisis has claimed its first sovereign state victim in the shape of Greece, which has effectively defaulted on its international loans. It won’t be the only country to suffer this fate or its population the last to feel its social impact.


System overload brings meltdown closer
Screaming headlines and scary language convey the immediacy of a renewed economic collapse as financial markets demand political solutions to a runaway debt crisis on both sides of the Atlantic.


Second wave of the crisis reaches land
In pursuing what the prevailing law defines as their perfectly legitimate individual interests, investors are collectively destroying the universe within which they – and we all – live. As agents of the capitalist way of doing things they have no alternative.


Crisis is all pain and no gain for workers
The crisis in Greece, which comes to a head today with the vote in parliament to impose further massive cuts, also marks four years since the mother of all financial bubbles burst.


A dictatorship of capital in the home of democracy
The global “psychological operation”, aka psyops, that helped to secure last night’s vote of confidence in the Greek parliament for the hastily reorganised Pasok cabinet is a clear expression in its historical birthplace of the negation of democracy.


Greece edges closer to the brink
Greece is closer than ever before to social breakdown as the Pasok “socialist” government struggles to force through yet more austerity measures demanded by lenders, including the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.


Eat or heat - the choice facing millions
As energy and food prices soar, jobs and services disappear and incomes are cut it amounts to the worst assault on living standards in living memory.


Obama's spending cuts target the poor
While President Obama is enjoying his European tour, which is essentially a PR trip to boost his chances of re-election next year, his administration is preparing to bear down hard on the most vulnerable in a bid to cut the country’s soaring national debt.


Brown's short-term memory
So Gordon Brown is warning that the “world needs to act in concert” to avoid a re-run of the 2008 collapse of the financial system that, you may recall, happened on his watch.


IMF turmoil adds to sense of crisis
At another time, the fate of the head of the International Monetary Fund would not have mattered too much. But photos of Dominque Strauss-Kahn being led away in handcuffs by New York police have unsettled global markets.


The great contraction
Signs of a great contraction of the global economy are appearing throughout the world, pushing aside any lingering notions of the return to growth that capitalism requires.


One corporation's power over life and death
Until now the largest and wealthiest commodities trader in the world, notorious for tax avoidance, has managed its murky business in the shadows. But it needs capital to fuel its growth, hence its launch on the London stock market today.


The real price of cost cutting
A scientific report on last year’s ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in Iceland shows that air traffic controllers were right to close European airspace despite loud protests from airline leaders.


Bond markets have the United States in their sights
Assessing the significance of credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s historic decision to downgrade the debt outlook for the USA is complex. But significant it definitely is.


An epitaph for Bretton Woods
More than 300 economists, policymakers and academics, and a smattering of the politicians who presided over the events leading to the great crash of 2007-8, met up over the weekend at an historic location.


Portugal: another triumph for the bond dealers
As Portugal declares state bankruptcy, after its Socialist Party government failed to get an austerity package through parliament, it’s another triumph for the dictatorship of the money markets and bond dealers.


It's deeper than tax avoidance
Supporters of UK Uncut, a relative newcomer to the world of protest, in common with millions of others, are justifiably angry about the savagery of the Coalition’s cuts programme. They say the cuts aren’t necessary and that the government is implementing them out of ideological spite.


Cracks deepen as 'recovery' proves a myth
New figures from the Office for National Statistics confirm what most people know only too well: living standards are falling sharply as a result of the recession. And the Con-Dem Coalition’s budget measures will ensure that things get a whole lot worse.


March for a real alternative
Figures published on the eve of the Budget shed more light on an unrelenting global crisis that pays little or no attention to chancellor Osborne, or to his shadow-boxing 'critics' at the Trades Union Congress.


Profits loom larger than cost of human misery
Analysts are at work trying to minimise the damage to the profitability of the capitalist system from the disaster in Japan. Never mind the towns and villages cut off from all contact without access to food or medical supplies or facing radiation poisoning – the bottom line is the priority.


Supermarkets cash in as food prices soar
Food price inflation is running at a faster rate in Britain than in the rest of Europe – and supermarkets, which control around three quarters of grocery sales, are accused of driving prices up faster than is justified by rising costs, to protect their profits.


King's speech wins Oscar for half-truths
As everyone who buys their own food and fuel knows, price rises are accelerating. Even in the unlikely event that the revolutionary uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa don’t push oil prices even higher, inflation in the UK is shooting past 4% and heading towards double that by the middle of the year.


'Devil's excrement' has its revenge
The revolutionary upsurge in North Africa and the Middle East is having a direct impact on the global crisis of capitalism.


Obama's stimulus plans deepen debt crisis
As the political front man for the world’s most powerful capitalist nation, you might expect President Barack Obama to have some degree of control, or at least influence, over the future direction of both US and global economy.


Slavery behind the food on your table
In the two years since the global crisis erupted, conditions in Spain for migrant workers from Morocco, West Africa and Eastern Europe that were already appalling have deteriorated further.


Dogma gives Marx a bad name
The merit of veteran Financial Times writer and noted economist Samuel Brittan is that he is not a dogmatist. He may not have all the answers when it comes to today’s crisis. But Brittan believes that summoning the writings or reputations of dead economists to back a policy is hopelessly wrong.


Uprisings deepen capitalism's crisis
Attempts to solve the global debt crisis have sent food prices soaring, driving impoverished masses onto the streets throughout the Middle East. Now a wave of political revolutions dashes remaining but false hopes of economic “recovery”.


Workers must sacrifice so capitalists can profit
The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King has assured us that unemployment will rise and the value of wages will fall as inflation lets rip, leading to the most dramatic assault on living standards since the 1920s.


What a balls up!
The degree to which Ed Balls, as a key Treasury minister in the last New Labour government, is responsible for the government’s massive budget deficit is subject to argument. But what is not in dispute is Balls’ undying support for the unbridled, unregulated expansion of the financial sector which went down in flames in 2008.


Get ready for another banking crash
The Bank of England’s Paul Tucker pulled no punches on the BBC last night. “When banks take the upside and taxpayers take the downside, something has gone wrong with the very heart of capitalism”, he said.


Bank bonuses the symptom not the cause
The sight and sound of Barclays CEO Bob Diamond running rings around a committee of Westminster MPs should bring an end to the ideas that bankers’ bonuses can be controlled, that the financial sector can be regulated, or that the worst excesses of capitalism can be reined in.


Attack on living standards intensifies
Share and commodity prices are soaring as speculators endorse the global assault on living standards by corporations and governments.


German corporations demand survival of the fittest
The Eurozone is cracking apart as German-based industrial corporations demand the end of support for poorer, peripheral debt-laden countries so that wages can be forced down. In the back rooms of the financial powerhouses the talk is of leaving Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Belgium to collapse, throwing millions into permanent unemployment.


Irish budget won't stop the rot
The Irish Parliament’s vote to implement a further, more savage €6 billion programme of spending cuts and tax increases has done nothing to stop the worsening debt crisis transforming the political landscape throughout Europe and beyond.


The contagion of revolt
Protests by students and teachers throughout Europe are mounting as governments try to offset savage reductions in education budgets with increased fees in the losing race to prevent state bankruptcy.


The 'nether world' of capitalism
The propaganda that accompanies the cutting, slashing and burning of government spending is all about “securing the fragile recovery”. It is used in every country from Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Spain, to the US and Britain – to justify what in effect adds up to crashing the economy.


Ireland and Britain in the same boat
You would be wrong if you thought that Ireland’s banking and budget crisis that has all but overwhelmed the country’s government, couldn’t repeat itself in Britain. In fact, the two countries’ fates are inextricably linked.


Royal wedding cannot hide suffering in Wales
It can’t be a coincidence that the announcement of the engagement of Prince William – “Baby Wales” as his mother called him - to Kate Middleton, after a ten-year relationship, is made on the day before the Wales Assembly Government reveals its budget cuts.


Sinister attack on unemployed
Hundreds of thousands of workers in Washington State, among the eight million who have lost their jobs in the US since the recession, are now receiving letters warning them that their unemployment benefits could run out much earlier than they expected.


Corporate tax scams you may have missed
Protests outside Vodafone shops at the weekend amid claims that the mobile phone company had been let off most of a £6 billion tax bill, highlight the fact that the major corporations ultimately call the shots at the expense of the ordinary taxpayer.


Race to the bottom
Ireland’s already severe economic troubles just got a whole lot worse.


Time to end the profit system
The Lib-Con Coalition government’s Spending Review is an attempt to rescue an already bankrupt economy. With £81bn cuts in public spending, it is the biggest and most sustained assault on the public sector since the creation of the welfare state sixty years ago.


Missing the point about 'growth'
The consequences of the sudden eruption of global crisis in 2007-8 took many by surprise. Amongst those struggling to incorporate these dramatic changes into their overly fatalistic views are the growing number of people concerned about the depletion of resources and changes in climate.


International currency war under way
The Bank of Japan’s decision yesterday to further reduce its close to zero interest rate looks suspiciously like one of the opening shots in an exchange rate war that will intensify the problems besieging the already weakened major economies.


Crank up the printing machine
Adam Posen, an expert advisor to the US Congress and an influential member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, is urging governments on both sides of the Atlantic to print more money to rescue the economy from impending disaster.


Markets bleeding Ireland dry
“International investors”, better known as the hedge funds and other financiers who gamble and speculate with other people’s money, are queuing up to turn the screws hard on the beleaguered Irish government.


Too big to regulate
Two years after the global financial system imploded, the world’s central banks and regulators have agreed a set of measures intended to prevent a repeat performance. There are, however, more than just a few flies in the ointment.


A price to pay for China's leap forward
The continued expansion of China’s economy has enabled it to become the world’s second largest generator of new value, overtaking Japan. If current trends continue it would overtake the United States by 2020. But the strains – social and political – are taking their toll.


US economy on the brink
The self-created mirage of recovery that helped sustain the tattered remnants of the American Dream evaporated yesterday as reality came calling.


The crisis and spending cuts: cause and effect
The Lib Dem-Tory government stands accused of making cuts in public spending that are purely “ideologically driven”, that are “unnecessary” and being carried through just to please their rich City friends.


The American dream is a nightmare of foreclosures
Las Vegas – known best for its gambling haunts – now has a new reputation. It’s America’s No.1 city for foreclosures, with more people losing their homes here than elsewhere in the country.


Banks star in the 'Great Escape'
When President Obama informed the White House press corps yesterday that he would shortly sign into law a package of measures that would ensure that the financial collapse of 2008 could not happen again, he was promising something he could not possibly deliver.


Plans to bail-out BP
Contingency plans for a possible collapse of BP are reportedly being drawn up in Whitehall as the oil corporation’s crisis continues in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe. If the Coalition had to take the company over, it would blow the governments budget-reduction plans apart.


Rail union calls for 'co-ordinated strikes' against Coalition
The imposition of austerity budgets to reduce budget deficits – adopted across Europe by governments of all persuasions – is suddenly looking too dangerous to investors in the global markets.


Toronto's failure a turning point
The failure of the G20 summit in Toronto to find a common approach to tackling the global economic and financial crisis had an air of inevitability about it. After all, capitalism is not exactly a rational system where sensible men and women come together to sort out an international crisis.


Vuvuzela politics won't beat the banks
On the eve of the G20 meeting in Toronto this weekend, which will see further attempts to bring about a recovery from global economic and financial crisis, differences have emerged between the US and Europe. Representatives of the world's 20 richest nations will be arguing over how to "manage their divergence".


Europe in the eye of the storm
With Europe firmly at the epicentre of a new stage of the global financial crisis, the heads of government meeting in Brussels today is hoping for the best but undoubtedly preparing for the worst. As events spiral out of control, there are warnings of dire political consequences from predicted social unrest as governments slash and burn spending on public services and jobs.


Britain - a failed state
A system that produces a government intent on forcing people to cut their own throats is a failed state and we ought to find a democratic replacement for it as soon as possible.


The case for seizing BP
The crashing sound that is the price of BP shares falling through the floor highlights not only the environmental consequences of deep water drilling for oil but also the fatal dependency on stock markets when it comes to workers’ pensions.


On a knife edge
Share markets around the world suffered another roller-coaster day yesterday as nervous traders decided it was a good time to sell. Everything points to the most dangerous moment for global capitalism since the autumn 2008 meltdown.


How to end 'dictatorship of the market'
Protests and strikes are mounting throughout Europe as governments begin to carry out the austerity measures required to attract the investment funds needed to postpone state bankruptcy.


Coalition will provoke extra-parliamentary struggles
The collapse of the Tories and Liberal Democrats into each other’s arms to form the first coalition government in modern times does not so much signify a “new politics”, but the suspension of old-style politics in the face of a calamitous financial crisis.


Greek workers light the fuse
The general strike that got under way in Greece today, bringing the country to a standstill, is a foretaste of the struggles to come throughout the capitalist world as the global financial crisis moves from the banking system to debt-ridden sovereign states.


An 'offer' we can and should refuse
When Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, let slip that whoever wins the election would subsequently be out of power for 30 years, he was speaking with inside knowledge. King knows better than anyone the real state of the country’s finances – and it doesn’t make bedtime reading.


Greek crisis triggers debt tsunami
A debt tsunami is now sweeping across Europe to Portugal, Spain and Italy and onwards to the shores of the United Kingdom, before crossing the Atlantic to the United States of America, triggered by the financial earthquake that hit Greece yesterday.


Ash cloud shows the folly of capitalism
There is some faint irony that natural causes emptied skies over Europe for a week, triggering anguish in business circles over the likely impact of longer-term airspace closures on economic growth.


Cameron's great con trick
Conservative leader David Cameron launched his party’s election manifesto with a head-turning invitation to working people in their communities to take on the power to change the system. But don’t be deceived. This is just part of the Tories’ approach to paying off the towering debt that’s threatening to sink the British state.


Uncertainty grips the markets
The value of the pound fell in response to the official launch of the election campaign as foreign exchange markets reacted to the distinct possibility that it could produce weeks of wrangling over which leader or leaders and which party or parties are left in charge of the British economy.


Something's got to give
Economic storms continue to batter countries throughout Europe as their governments struggle vainly to keep their heads above the tsunami of debt.


Darling's budget deception
You have to hand it to Alistair Darling. Britain is in the midst of a major financial and economic crisis and all the major parties are planning unprecedented cuts in public spending after the upcoming general election. Except you wouldn’t know that from listening to the chancellor of the exchequer drone on yesterday.


Brown nails his colours to the hedge funds
New Labour’s Gordon Brown has spent his entire period in high office, first as chancellor, and more recently as prime minister, ensuring that the interests of the global financial sector are inextricably enmeshed with the British economy.


In thrall to the markets
Governments across the world are engaged in a beauty contest judged by the ratings agencies which pronounce on their credit-worthiness, and the hedge funds which decide whether a country’s debt – its bond issues - are worth buying.


The fault lies within the system itself
The recall of fault-ridden products, which is spreading throughout industrial manufacturing, tells us much about the acute contradictions that permeate the global corporations within the capitalist drive to maximise profits.


Resistance grows as crisis deepens
Suddenly, as if from nowhere, a wave of opposition is engulfing Europe. Workers are joining a wave of action which threatens to bring the continent to a standstill as they try to resist being made to bear the costs of the deepening global crisis.


Bankers plan to bankrupt Greece
European governments have joined forces with the likes of Goldman Sachs and a large collection of globalised banks. They are ganging up to bully the Greek government into upping the assault on the country’s working people.


Greek debt crisis: a warning from history
Greece has moved centre stage as the global debt contagion engulfs Europe. But Italy, Portugal and Spain are not far behind, whilst France and even Germany, whose banks have many billions invested in the other countries, are waiting in the wings. No wonder EU leaders are holding a crisis meeting tomorrow.


Debt contagion spreads
In the aftermath of Davos, the annual skiing trip for the bankers, businessmen and tame governments of the global economy, one key theme runs through the post-mortems in the wake of the economic and financial crash: the free market requirements of corporations are in open conflict with the political constraints of a world of capitalist nation-states.


Britain's debt is 'nitroglycerine'
As they gather in Davos with the leaders of the global capitalist economy for the annual World Economic Forum, Britain’s New Labour government is struggling to find some crumbs of comfort in the 0.1% “return to growth” for the last quarter of 2009. The figure is worse than the most pessimistic of predictions and knocks a huge hole in Chancellor Alistair Darling’s fanciful budget.


'Business is business'
In the days preceding the deal that saw Cadbury sold to Kraft yesterday, the leaders of the Unite trade union wrote to shareholders asking them to consider the wider “public interest” and prevent British jobs being transferred to production facilities in the United States. But major shareholders naturally had other considerations and Unite’s appeal fell on deaf ears.


Business as usual for bankers
Despite the mind-blowing size of bank bail-outs, governments on both sides of the Atlantic are struggling to have even a modest impact on the behaviour of those held responsible for the collapse of the global financial system. It is quite a demonstration of capitalist power relationships, with politics coming a distant second.


Can't pay, won't pay!
Who was consulted when Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling decided to put the rescue of the global capitalist system ahead of every other priority? Was there a rash of Blair-style focus groups? Were any opinion polls commissioned? Not that we know of.