Tag Archives: Sarah-Jayne Clifton

When the cure is part of the disease

Have you seen that issue in your life, the claim that the cure is worse than the disease, or perhaps that the cure is not worth the disease. There are medical situations where this applies and they are usually used in cases of huge risks, but it is always in a stage where it is about optionally curing the person who got that winning lottery ticket, and the cure will hit him or her full on. It happens, yet what is the stage where the cure is the disease? I am not talking about a vaccine where we are making the body stronger by fighting a weaker version of the disease, no this is a stage where we give the person Ebola or Hantavirus to let the body cure it. The problem becomes that once you have the virus you are actually sick and the complications start from that point onward.

This is the stage we are confronted with in ‘IMF accused of ‘reckless lending’ to debt-troubled states‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/07/imf-accused-of-reckless-lending-to-debt-troubled-states). It is not merely “the Fund broke its own rules by not ensuring sustainable debt burden“, I personally believe it to be a much larger problem in all this. It is also not merely: “encouraging reckless lending by extending $93bn of loans to 18 financially troubled countries without a debt restructuring programme first“, I believe it to be a larger play to push revenue away from vulture funds to create a systemic problem for these nations to become part of the consumer feeding frenzy to banks for generations. when we see: “Debt sustainability has come into the spotlight over the past year after the IMF controversially lent a record $56bn to Argentina even though its annual debt repayments far exceeded the Fund’s own limit” the given excuse ‘The IMF said Argentina, the second biggest economy in South America, was a special case‘ the handed excuse should be casted aside and given no value at all. the supporting evidence is seen in “The crisis intensified when, on 5 December 2001, the IMF refused to release a US$1.3 billion tranche of its loan, citing the failure of the Argentine government to reach its budget deficit targets” (source: https://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/11/business/argentina-scrambles-for-imf-loans.html). When I asked about the situation about 5 years ago from these so called Australian ‘economic reporters’, none of them had any level of a clear answer for me. The case was clear 5 years ago when certain vulture funds issues got to the surface, and now 17 years later they are giving out $56 billion, whilst refusing a $1.3 billion option 17 years earlier. There is a much larger flaw in all this and there have been whispers (read: gossip) that the IMF is very much into facilitating towards the needs of Wall Street and the financial operators out there. The bottom dollar line of Wall Street needs to be met and no one cares how it is done.

the stage becomes a lot less acceptable when we consider the stage Afghanistan; Angola; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Ecuador; Egypt; Ghana; Jordan; Mauritania; Mongolia; Pakistan; São Tomé and Príncipe; Sierra Leone; Sri Lanka; Tunisia; and Ukraine, all whilst Egypt, Pakistan and Ecuador are regarded as high risk, I personally feel that the risk factors of Ukraine, Sri Lanka and Jordan are also way above normal with only Jordan being in a better long term position however, if Jordan does not address its water shortage issues, Jordan could drop into the ultra-high risk group a lot faster than anyone could state: ‘Would you like a glass of water?‘, and in all this we see a larger failing.

It becomes a more visible issue when we see the IMF spin doctors at work. We partially accept the statement: “More than half that amount is accounted for by one programme – Argentina, which has unique circumstances“, yet I am much less forgiving when I see: “We have clear guidelines about not lending into unsustainable debt situations and all programmes require approval by the IMF’s executive board“. It is my response that they publish clearly all their guidelines (and policies), but we will not ever get that. In addition, the Argentina matter after the Vultures were done with it is also a failing of the highest degree, the fact that over 17 years $1.3 billion has required $56 billion implies more than merely 4,300% more funds needed. It gives rise that over 17 years a debt increase of 23% year on year was accumulated one way or another. It is a direct optional sign of complete and utter governmental financial malfeasance. It is a failure on a scale never seen before and the fact that no one stepped in shows the larger failure by the IMF. You see, the overall lack of illumination also constitutes evidence that the players wanted this to be kept out of the lime lights.

In addition, when we look at the 17 nations, when we ignore the obvious three, we see a larger issue in Jordan. Jordan stepped up and towards the issue that there are well over 1.4 million refugees in Jordan and Jordan was not ready in any way shape or form to deal with that. In their current state the Jordan desalination plants will not be able to keep up (so far it cannot keep up) and the fact that the Jordan population grew by 14% in 2-3 years due to the refugees was never clearly illuminated and now Jordan has a larger issue, even if another desalination plant is added in the Gulf of Aqaba, the issue will not diminish and the loans towards Jordan would become unsustainable. In addition, when you consider Sri Lanka, the newspapers all gave the same quote a month ago: ‘Sri Lanka’s economy has shown a ‘fair bit of resilience’‘, they quoted that to the letter, yet who was feeding them that information? Only 14 hours ago we see: “Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals in September were down 27.2% from a year earlier“, those factors did not really change did they? When we consider a month ago, we see an economy that is getting hit hard, especially when Reuters gives us: “a sixth consecutive monthly fall“. It seems to me that Sri Lanka are betting on the required roll of the dice, when we get the clear indication that the dice are loaded and it seems that they are loaded towards the needs of the IMF/Wall Street and not in favour of Sri Lanka.

When we add the Reuters information: “Arrivals in the five months from May to September were down 44.4% to 468,737 from 843,569 a year earlier” we get a level of clear indication that the quote: ‘Sri Lanka’s economy has shown a ‘fair bit of resilience’‘ should be seen as media BS. And there is more regarding Sri Lanka, the quote less than 24 hours ago is “Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said all the money the current government has borrowed since 2016 was to repay the loans of the previous government of Mahinda Rajapaksa“, if that is true, then there are additional questions towards the IMF in regards to their spin doctors giving us: “Our decisions to lend to countries are not simply based on numerical thresholds, but on comprehensive debt sustainability analyses and policies needed to address economic imbalances and debt burdens“, which in the case of Sri Lanka shows a much larger issue, the fact that the quote on repaying from a previous government and that loan has been in place for 3 years shows a larger problem, so how much was given to them? In addition to this I wonder how much of the $56 billion is going to Elliott Advisors, so much is the IMF helping out Manhattan bad boy Paul Singer? In my view, the question becomes: ‘How much of the $56 billion goes to Hedge funds manager Paul Singer?‘ Under those conditions I reckon anyone could get their fingers on the penthouse in Sky Lofts building in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighbourhood. If it is good enough for Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), it is good enough for the Lawlordtobe (Lawrence van Rijn), and I could do with a change of scenery, especially if Google buys my 5G IP portfolio.

So if my new address becomes 145 Hudson St New York, NY 10013, I promise that I will not consider the ’13’ in my zip code to be a bad omen and at least I will not have used the IMF to gain my fortune (although I will admit that I am perfectly willing to do that too #weallneedtoeat).

When we see these two issues and we see that I have not even looked at the 12 others (three were known issues) I wonder when any reporter will give us the entire down low on these so called analyses and policies that the IMF has in place, I feel with some level of certain ty that I will find a lot more issues under the waterline than the IMF spin doctors will be able to hide. Especially when we realise the quote in the Guardian: “concerns that a general election later this month will oust incumbent president, Mauricio Macri, in favour of the populist Alberto Fernández and his running mate, the former president Cristina de Kirchner, triggered a flight of investors, a run on the currency and sent the interest rate on the country’s publicly traded debts soaring“, more important, under that change the entire case which would have been part of the $56 billion ‘donation’ that we see through “Argentina agreed to reduce its fiscal deficit to 1.3% of GDP this year, down from 2.2% previously and a balanced budget next year“, especially when we see the required drop of 0.9% deficit, I cannot remember any elected official making that part of their campaign, it tends to leave them unelected at the polls, so in all this, not only does the JDC have a point, we see that Sarah-Jayne Clifton, director of Jubilee Debt Campaign should be considered to be a lot more serious and is in my personal view entitled to massive dose of limelight from the global media, so that she can ask the questions that the IMF would have to explain in a clear and transparent way, would you like to take a bet on the chance of that actually happening?

I believe that people like Paul Singer will set that bet to an estimated 250:1 chance (of it not happening), and as he personally was able to acquire $3.5 billion, I am not putting my hopes on high here. I merely wonder if the people in Argentina have any decent level of Christmas to look forward to this year and the many years that follow.

 

 

 

 

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Intentionally not that bright?

On average, why do you not give your $2 (or £1) to the junk sitting at the entrance to the underground? Why are you hesitant to give the same to the drunk half passed out on the street? This is not a question of morale, or on the idea that you might have a ‘Samaritan’ bone in your body. This is purely human nature, we all do ‘good’ things at times, we give to the red cross, the Salvo’s, yet when we know that the money will go into health endangering acts, like money so the junk can buy more drugs, how do we feel then?

I tend to not give any!

I do my share, the daffodil, the heart foundation, starlight, legacy; the list goes on for a while. I do not give a boatload, but I definitely spend dollars on good causes. These causes make sense and I feel that there is a moral obligation to do things for those less fortunate than me. Yet, knowing a junk will buy more drugs stops me from giving, and yes there are no exceptions. I do not think my way of thinking is out there, many follow my lead. So why do I read ‘Poor nations ‘pushed into new debt crisis’‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/oct/10/poor-nations-debt-crisis-developing-countries), how moronic (read: overly simplified silly) is the act of giving loans to a group that cannot control a budget? When we see “Jubilee Debt Campaign says as many as two-thirds of 43 developing countries it analysed are at risk over next decade” as well as “Coinciding with the World Bank’s annual meeting in Washington, the anti-poverty campaigners accuse the international lender and other public bodies of “leading the lending boom” to poor countries without checking how repaying debts will divert resources from cutting poverty“. I would change that in how can we make international lender accountable for their own bad choices?

Not unlike Wonga ruling (at http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/oct/03/payday-lenders-repay-loans-wonga), these nations should get those loans expunged and the international lenders will just lose their money. They will of course disagree, but the entire loan issue is getting massively out of hand and those enabling them get paid no matter what. This needs to stop.

Sarah-Jayne Clifton, director of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, makes a good case, yet overall she is not willing to far enough on one side and is treading where she should not on the other side. Let me explain this. At the end, the quote is “As such, the campaigners are urging the UK government to push for policies that support developing countries in increasing their tax revenues by clamping down on tax avoidance and evasion“.

No, no, no, no, no! That is not a good idea!

Pushing for policies tends to be a slippery slope (even though the approach is not that bad), in addition, the issue with developing countries and their tax push is only one side, which is the wrong side. These developing countries need to take a hard look on what they are spending these loans on and WHO they are enabling in the first place.

Let’s take a look at a few quotes from the past years and see how they fit in: “Ana Olivera took office on Friday promising to streamline the overweight administration of Uruguay’s capital“. Seems like a good approach. It must sting the Americans to no end that the elected official is a communist. OK, Ana Olivera is only mayor of Montevideo, but that village contains well over 50% of the population of that entire nation, which gives the mayor loads of political power. Uruguay is sometimes called the Netherlands of Latin America, because of its social approach, yet Uruguay is almost 5 times the size of the Netherlands and a mere ferry ride away from Buenos Aires (in case you want to have some cosmopolitan fun). There is method to my madness and here it comes. When we see the news in the International Business Times (at http://www.ibtimes.com/uruguays-economy-will-struggle-unemployment-inflation-it-will-grow-4-percent-2014-1540214), an article from last January where we see that some nations can get a decent grip on their debts, although inflation remains a worry for now. Bloomberg had some additional issues (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-19/uruguay-s-growth-pushing-inflation-above-target-bergara-says.html), “Uruguay, a nation of 3.3 million people wedged between South America’s two largest economies, has since become less dependent on trade with Argentina“, it gives rise to worry about inflation, yet it seems that they are staying on top of it for now.

This links back to the other ‘poor’ nations. These players seem to be given an unofficial charter of bad financial management. If it were just one or two issues, no! When we see the report that two thirds is in the high risk zone of getting a new debt crises, even though most of them got their debts written off, we can clearly see the proverbial pattern of junkies. This of course makes for the analogy that it turns the international lender as a debt dealer at best and as a debt pusher at worst. So, here we see my part of disagreeing with Sarah-Jayne Clifton. We need to put into place clear policies on how loans are to be allowed in the first place. How these nations are currently held to account (and accountable)! If we see a structural failing, then we have a duty to deal with that weakness and deal with the implied ‘pain’ from such irresponsible actions. Yet, governments and ‘overseers’ of these lending institutions seem not to be willing to do just that, we can assume we know the reason, but that is just listening to gossip ;-).

However, as I go for the expression of being artistic, there is this story about being black and that story is played by a pot and a kettle. How can we push for responsible, budgeted governing when the big players involved seem to be unable to do just that (USA, United Kingdom and Australia, but to name a few). Is it truly conspiracy theory inclined to claim that governments are over enabling banks and financial institutions? I am very willing to accept that I am wrong here, but the numbers all speak into my favour (towards my train of thought), so what is the link?

Consider the impact of Neoliberalism. Consider how the term changed usage and to a certain effect the value and application from the 1930’s, the 1980’s and it seems that the concept is changing again. In the 30’s it came from a desire to avoid repetitive economic failures that were visible up to the early 1930s, this resulted in the gesture of blame towards economic policy of ‘classical’ liberalism. Then later on it had shifted in meaning from a moderate form of liberalism to the radical and privately held transactions between parties, set in a ‘free’ (read: unaccountable) environment, free from intrusive government restrictions, tariffs, and subsidised capitalist set of ideas. Is it not interesting how this version as we see it now, is all about what it was with added non taxability and non-accountability? It is a new form of Neoliberalism with a twist that is all about enabling the wealth driven and the wealth begotten, yet in that view neo liberalism is not just a ‘new’ kind of liberalism, it is not just based on ‘old’ values of civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and free trade. It is enabling non-accountability, non-taxation and even non-prosecutable to a certain extent. So the freedom they have been given are evolving into a total form of freedom where they obscure, device and decide, whilst the people get saddled with the bill of their appointed exploitation.

How is that liberal in any way, shape or form?

There is none more part we can look at. It comes from the paper ‘Neoliberalism and the Global Financial Crisis’ by Sharon Beder (at http://www.uow.edu.au/~sharonb/GFC.html).

The paper has a very fitting part where the topic headline reads ‘Financial Market Coercion‘ and we see “Whilst the IMF and the World Bank enforced the Washington Consensus on poorer countries in desperate need of capital, other more affluent countries were forced into adopting the same formula by the world’s financial markets. Their vulnerability to these markets was facilitated by financial deregulation“. This is what we see in action. Additional we see: “Financial deregulation was demanded by business interests, particularly large financial firms and transnational corporations that wanted to be free to move their money around. The economic argument for financial deregulation, supplied by free market think tanks and economic advisors, was that the free and unregulated movement of capital is more efficient, because capital can move to where it gets the best returns (Helleiner 1996, 194, Bell 1997, 103-4).

Yet in that part, it does not state the one issue that is massively in play for governments on a global level. This is read in the part “free and unregulated movement of capital is more efficient, because capital can move to where it gets the best returns“, but what is does not state, which it should “free and unregulated movement of capital is more efficient, because capital can move to where it gets the best returns, absolvent of taxation and financial duties“. Now we get back to these ‘poor’ nations. Yes, they are getting pushed into new debt crises, as the facilitating business branches are all about getting money out and not paying for taxation which was enabled by neoliberalism (their altered version of) as I see it.

Is it not an interesting part that we now see the scary view that a Uruguayan communist shows more social responsibility then the ‘free west’ has shown in the last decade?

As I stated it before, when you make banks and big business the facilitator for the future, you will see that their only future you end up with is their own selfish needs. This is why the push for policies by Sarah-Jayne Clifton worried me; she might end up giving the keys to that group of people that should never have access to the keys in the first place, not if a nation wants to do anything for its people. Is there a better solution? It seems that either we go the Uruguayan way and deal with inflation dangers, yet the other way is equally drenched in risks and dangers. The first order is to set up the right policies that keep large corporations tax accountable. They might ‘threaten’ to walk away and to go to Paris or something like that, yet a nation has a multi-million consumers market. If a firm cannot do business, in the end, they stop from being a business and someone else steps in. We need to stop the greed that these investors represent. I am however at a loss to give a clear answer of what will actually work. There are too many variables and not enough people ready to stand up for that what must be decided upon, so we stay in an impasse, a status quo that had stopped being just that years ago, we just do not see clearly how much we lose every day, so we continue the status quo as is.

 

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