By Tommy McKearney The soap opera that surrounded SYRIZA’s limp attempt to negotiate with the vicious, agenda-driven European Union, led by the financial sector, has understandably captured huge attention during the recent past. As with all the best action within that genre, viewers were kept in mock suspense while the inevitable dénouement was played out. Pundits
Taken from the National Union of Public & General Employees (Canada) While Canada’s Conservative government continues to reject the idea of a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) evidence is growing that it is a proposal that could bring big benefits. Eleven governments in the European Union are working out final details of a regional financial transactions tax,
Oxfam report on global wealth distribution, accumulation and inequality. Full report below: Having it all and wanting more
article reprinted from the LA Times – http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-robots-jobs-20150211-story.html Cheaper, better robots will replace human workers in the world’s factories at a faster pace over the next decade, pushing manufacturing labor costs down 16 percent, a report Tuesday said. The Boston Consulting Group predicts that investment in industrial robots will grow 10 percent a year in
Taken from the National Union of Public & General Employees (Canada)
While Canada’s Conservative government continues to reject the idea of a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) evidence is growing that it is a proposal that could bring big benefits.
Eleven governments in the European Union are working out final details of a regional financial transactions tax, with a January 2016 deadline for implementation. As part of this process, the German Social Democratic Party commissioned a study from the prestigious German Institute for Economic Research (known as DIW).
Advocates for a Robin Hood Tax have argued that applying a small tax to trade of stocks and derivatives would discourage short-term, speculative trading while generating significant revenue. The study released by DIW indicates that the money raised would exceed what has been previously projected.
Massive benefit to Germany
Sarah Anderson, from the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, notes (link is external)that “Germany alone can expect anywhere from 18 to nearly 45 billion euros per year from a serious regional financial transactions tax, depending on how the tax affects trading levels, according to DIW. That translates into a potential benefit of about US$48 billion in an economy one-fifth the size of the United States.”
DIW estimates are based on the European Commission’s proposed rates of 0.1 percent on stock and bond trades and 0.01 percent on derivatives.
The DIW also assumed that the 11 governments would adopt the European Commission’s anti-avoidance mechanism.
Similar benefits to other countries studied
DIW also examined three of the other participating countries and came up with revenue estimates of 14 to 36 billion euros for France, 3 to 6 billion for Italy, and 700 million to 1.5 billion for Austria.
“For these four European countries combined, the total potential revenue estimate comes to considerably more than a previous European Commission projection of up to 31 billion euros for all 11 participating governments,” said Anderson.
Opposition from banks
“These impressive revenue numbers could shrivel, of course, if the European governments cave in to pressure from the financial industry. After several years of trying to kill the initiative altogether, European financial institutions have had to accept the inevitability of a financial transaction tax. Their focus now: pushing for exemptions that would render a new financial transactions tax virtually meaningless,” explained Anderson.
“In particular, the big banks would like to exclude from the tax all trades in derivatives, the potentially highly lucrative financial instruments that played a major role in the 2008 financial crisis.”
However, DIW notes that if derivatives are exempted, “most of the potential revenue from FTT is lost.” Indeed, Germany and France would lose approximately 90 percent of the expected revenues.
This is partly due to expectations that traders would respond to the exemption by shifting into derivatives to circumvent the tax.
Still, advocates point out that the case for a Financial Transactions Tax (or Robin Hood Tax) is becoming stronger.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada’s largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good.
Oxfam report on global wealth distribution, accumulation and inequality.
Full report below:
article reprinted from the LA Times –
Cheaper, better robots will replace human workers in the world’s factories at a faster pace over the next decade, pushing manufacturing labor costs down 16 percent, a report Tuesday said.
The Boston Consulting Group predicts that investment in industrial robots will grow 10 percent a year in the world’s 25-biggest export nations through 2025, up from 2 percent to 3 percent a year now. The investment will pay off in lower costs and increased efficiency.Robots will cut labor costs by 33 percent in South Korea, 25 percent in Japan, 24 percent in Canada and 22 percent in the United States and Taiwan. Only 10 percent of jobs that can be automated have already been taken by robots. By 2025, the machines will have more than 23 percent, Boston Consulting forecasts.
Robots are getting cheaper. The cost of owning and operating a robotic spot welder, for instance, has tumbled from $182,000 in 2005 to $133,000 last year, and will drop to $103,000 by 2025, Boston Consulting says.
And the new machines can do more things. Old robots could only operate in predictable environments. The newer ones use improved sensors to react to the unexpected.In a separate report, RBC Global Asset Management notes that robots can be reprogrammed far faster and more efficiently than humans can be retrained when products are updated or replaced — a crucial advantage at a time when smartphones and other products quickly fade into obsolescence.
“As labor costs rise around the world, it is becoming increasingly critical that manufacturers rapidly take steps to improve their output per worker to stay competitive,” said Harold Sirkin, a senior partner at Boston Consulting and co-author of the report. “Companies are finding that advances in robotics and other manufacturing technologies offer some of the best opportunities to sharply improve productivity.”
Boston Consulting studied 21 industries in 25 countries last year, interviewing experts and clients and consulting government and industry reports.
The rise of robots won’t be limited to developed countries with their aging, high-cost workforces. Even low-wage China will use robots to slash labor costs by 18 percent, Boston consulting predicts.Increasing automation is likely to change the way companies evaluate where to open and expand factories. Boston Consulting expects that manufacturers will “no longer simply chase cheap labor.” Factories will employ fewer people, and those that remain are more likely to be highly skilled. That could lure more manufacturers back to the United States from lower-wage emerging market countries.
This Chapter 2 of an IMF economic report.
The chapter describes the growth and risks of and regulatory responses to shadow banking—financial intermediaries or activities involved in credit intermediation outside the regular banking system, and therefore lacking a formal safety net.
The largest shadow banking systems are found in advanced economies, where more narrowly defined shadow banking measures indicate stagnation, while broader measures (which include investment funds) generally show continued growth since the global financial crisis. In emerging market economies, the growth of shadow banking has been strong, outpacing that of the traditional banking system.
Budget 2014 introduced significant cuts to Jobseeker’s Allowance (which is means tested) for young workers. The payment to new entrants aged 22-24 is reduced from €144 to €100 per week, and for those aged 25 the payment is reduced from €188 to €144 per week. The stated aim is to “ensure that young people are better off in education, employment or training than claiming”, and the Government hopes to save €32 million from the measure.
Full report by NERI Neri research
Below is just a number of highlight figures from the State’s end of year figures. Always keep in mind these are highly political accounts and do not necessarily reflect the economic reality for working people.
The live register for end of year was 10.6% standardised unemployment rate, the average for last year was 11.3 (this does not take account of those fallen off the register, never signed on or who are underemployed)
81,900 people emigrated between April 2013 and April 2014
By the end of Q3 the deficit was 4% GDP and the gross government debt was 114.8% GDP
Exports were down 4% from the same time in 2013 largely as a result in a decrease in Pharma exports
Imports increased by 2% from the same time in 2013
€7.4 billion was spent on debt servicing
52% of Government bonds are now held by non-residents
Definitely worth reading this analysis of contemporary capitalism, class and the State by Costas Lapavitsas.
Costas Lapavitsas is a leading Professor of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and also sits on the National Advisory Panel of Class.
The structural problems within the UK and other mature economies were brought to the surface during and after the crisis of 2007-9. This paper argues that these problems are inherent to contemporary mature capitalism and have to do, primarily, with financialisation. The exceptional rise of finance in terms of size and penetration across society, the economy and the policy process, is apparent to all. The rise of finance is a sign of a fundamental transformation of mature capitalism within commercial and industrial enterprises, but also banks and perhaps most strikingly, within households.
The period of financialisation, lasting from the 1970s to the present day, has also wrought profound changes to the social structure of contemporary capitalism. It has been a period of extraordinary income inequality, wiping out all of the gains that came in the period following the Second World War. This paper notes that the ability of the rich to extract enormous incomes has been associated with the financial system. Inequality is a characteristic feature of financialisation.
Financialisation has been marked by the ideology of neoliberalism, promoted by universities, think-tanks and a variety of other institutions. Neoliberal ideology ostensibly treats state intervention in the economy with extreme suspicion, but the reality has been very different. The financialisation of mature economies would have been inconceivable without the facilitating and enabling role of the state.
Intervention by the state has taken several forms, including handing a dominant role to central banks to offer vital support to the financial system by providing liquidity and through their ability to influence interest rates. The state has also offered guarantees to bank deposits, boosted the capital of banks out of tax income and implicitly guaranteed bank survival through the ‘too big to fail doctrine’. Finally, the state has fostered financialisation by altering the regulatory framework of finance. The critically important role of the state was demonstrated at the point of the 2007-9 crisis as the state rescued banks and prevented the collapse of the financial system.