Links

On the Ukraine “Bailout”

O.K., $17 billion from the IMF, once the government savages its budget. Against this, Kiev has payments of $10 billion in debt service alone due this year—that is interest, not principal. With principal, Bloomberg puts the figure at $14 billion, and an additional $10 billion is due next year. It is not clear it can cover these payments even with the IMF funds.

Do you see what is going on here? The IMF’s bailout is not marked for Ukrainian social services or any other benefit to the citizenry. All that is about to be taken away, in the neoliberal style. The bailout money goes to Kiev and back out again to the Western financial institutions holding Ukrainian debt. In effect, debt held by private-sector creditors is transferred to the IMF, which uses it to leverage Ukraine into a free-market model via its standard conditionality: No austerity, no dough.

Distortions, lies and omissions: The New York Times won’t tell you the real story behind Ukraine, Russian economic collapse by Patrick L. Smith.

Useful, terrifying context to George Soros’ recent war-drum beating.

An Economic Program to Make #BlackLivesMatter

Must read piece by Mychal Denzel Smith and Jesse Myerson in The Nation, featuring both sober historical analysis and concrete proposals to organize around (Job & Income Guarantee, Land Value Tax, and Baby Bonds):

King’s vision, needless to say, was never realized. This is why we propose that, in addition to calls for police reform, it is vital for the defeat of the racist system that the #BlackLivesMatter movement advance an economic program. We cannot undo racism in America without confronting our country’s history of economically exploiting black Americans. Demands from Ferguson Action and other groups include full employment, and this foundational item is one that can and should be fleshed out, as we hope to do here.

Before laying out our proposals, we should clarify why, historically, eliminating racism requires an economic program. America’s story is one of economic exploitation driving the creation and maintenance of racism over time. The inception of our country’s economic system condemned black people to an underclass for a practical rather than bigoted reason: the exploitation of African labor. Imported Africans were prevented by customs and language barriers from entering into contracts, and unlike the indigenous population, their lack of familiarity with the terrain prevented them from running away from their slavers. To morally justify an economy dependent on oppression, in a nation newly founded on the rights of men to freedom, it was necessary to socially construct a biological fiction called race, one that deemed some people subhuman, mere property.

We’ll Need an Economic Program to Make #BlackLivesMatter. Here Are Three Ideas.”

Diane speaks out about her family’s deportation

Throughout my childhood I watched my parents try to become legal but to no avail. They lost their money to people they believed to be attorneys, but who ultimately never helped. That meant my childhood was haunted by the fear that they would be deported. If I didn’t see anyone when I walked in the door after school, I panicked.

And then one day, my fears were realized. I came home from school to an empty house. Lights were on and dinner had been started, but my family wasn’t there. Neighbors broke the news that my parents had been taken away by immigration officers, and just like that, my stable family life was over.

Not a single person at any level of government took any note of me. No one checked to see if I had a place to live or food to eat, and at 14, I found myself basically on my own.

My parents were deported” by Diane Guerrero in the LA Times

How the U.S. Government Could End the Student Debt Crisis Today

If money should be owed for higher education at all, perhaps the federal government should owe us. After all, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution entrusts the federal government with a monopoly to create, spend, and regulate money for the “general welfare of the United States.” And in the era of modern money, there’s no good economic reason for students’ pockets to be so shallow when the government’s are so deep.

As the Nobel-winning economist Paul Samuelson once acknowledged, the “superstition” that the budget must be balanced at all times is part of an “old fashioned religion,” meant to hush people who might otherwise demand the government create more money. Young people should beware of anyone who tells them that their chief worry for the future is the government’s debt, rather than their own.

How the U.S. Government Could End the Student Debt Crisis Today” by Raúl Carillo in Yes! Magazine

Last Day to Donate to Naked Capitalism’s 2014 Fundraiser

Naked Capitalism has done more to inform my understanding of the world, and generally derail my post-college trajectory (in a good way, I think) than any other place on the internet. Loyal, near-daily reader since 2008 — which probably goes a long way to explaining where my time has gone all these years. I have no idea how Yves and Lambert pull it off day in-day out, but I am much indebted to them.

GIVE GIVE GIVE!

Skymall Futurism

For the most part, tech punditry has yet to reckon with the coming era of hard limits, which is why it can get away with extrapolating current First World consumption habits into the indefinite future. Instead of imagining a world of iPad-toting social media consultants, the purveyors of Skymall futurism should be thinking about what happens after the planet can no longer sustain their present lifestyle.

Once we reach that point, maybe the same people currently applauding the death of the book will envy the French, who have gone out of their way to preserve the sort of textual content you can read without consuming any electricity.

Ned’s latest for The Baffler

Keeping It Real: Law, Coercion, & The Frontiers of Public Finance

“If the federal government creates money out of thin air, rather than taking it from some people to give it to others, as we have so often been told, then who owns the money? Who deserves the money? If money is not truly a commodity siphoned from the public, but a tool created and distributed by the government and its agents to the public, then who can claim ownership of the money currently wasting away in federal coffers? Deeper, still – who is entitled to the money that doesn’t even exist yet? If there is no money scarcity, only real resource scarcity, then most legal and philosophical conversations about distributive justice are anachronistic and impoverished.”

Keeping It Real: Law, Coercion, & The Frontiers of Public Finance by the Modern Money Network’s Raúl Carrillo