This Is How The IMF Just Lost Its Last Shred Of Credibility

The IMF had no credibility in the first place but feels it needs to go full blown idiocracy, it’s now all about the electrolytes. What the IMF is essentially saying, whether stupidly, disingenuously or both, is that it is better to be a perpetual debt slave than a free man with money in their pocket and control over their own destiny.

It would be too much to ask for the IMF to offer an alternative to a debt based monetary system, ironically and factually more debt is required for this Ponzi scheme to keep growing, otherwise it will collapse anyway. What the IMF will not admit is that the debts were created out of thin air so should be cancelled under a debt moratorium/jubilee, historical reference given to ‘The Shemitah’ where debts were cancelled every 7 years.

This regretfully will not happen as debt represents control (don’t want to give the slaves any ideas of what freedom actually is) and psychopaths like to control. Courtesy of Zerohedge:

On Tuesday we brought you what will likely be the first of many calls for so-called “Helicopter money”, whose advocates suppose that the reason printing trillions in fiat currency has not yet brought about the desired effects in terms of stoking aggregate demand and promoting robust economic growth is that central banks have yet to go the nuclear route by simply mailing out free money to everyone.

Here’s an excerpt from the Bloomberg View piece:

“Money isn’t a liability in the ordinary sense. Nothing is owed and nothing ever has to be paid back.”

As ridiculous as that sounds, it’s not exactly surprising in a debt-addicted world run by Keynesian central planners and indeed, it echoes recent calls by US lawmakers for the absolution of some $1.3 trillion in student debt.

Now, it appears the insanity has spread to the highest possible levels with none other than the IMF’s deputy director of research suggesting that when governments are faced with too much debt, they should consider simply not worrying about it.

In a new research paper, the IMF’s research department says that as long as countries can fund themselves at a reasonable cost via capital markets, they should consider simply “living with high debt”:

While some countries face debt sustainability constraints that leave them little choice, others are in the more comfortable position of being able to fund themselves at reasonable—even exceptionally low—interest rates. For these countries, there is a very real question of whether to live with high debt while allowing the debt ratio to decline organically through growth, or to pay it down deliberately to reduce the burden of the debt…

Next, the Fund says that if there’s still room to borrow, paying down debt makes no sense:

If fiscal space remains ample, policies to deliberately pay down debt are normatively undesirable…

It only gets better when the suggestion is made that contrary to reality, paying down debt actually increases countries’ debt burden:

Distorting your economy to deliberately pay down the debt only adds to the burden of the debt, rather than reducing it. Continue reading

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Fossil Fuels Subsidised by $10m a Minute, says IMF

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Courtesy of Damien Carrington @ The Guardian:

Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.

The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. These include the harm caused to local populations by air pollution as well as to people across the globe affected by the floods, droughts and storms being driven by climate change.

US taxpayers subsidising world’s biggest fossil fuel companies
Nicholas Stern, an eminent climate economist at the London School of Economics, said: “This very important analysis shatters the myth that fossil fuels are cheap by showing just how huge their real costs are. There is no justification for these enormous subsidies for fossil fuels, which distort markets and damages economies, particularly in poorer countries.”

Lord Stern said that even the IMF’s vast subsidy figure was a significant underestimate: “A more complete estimate of the costs due to climate change would show the implicit subsidies for fossil fuels are much bigger even than this report suggests.”

The IMF, one of the world’s most respected financial institutions, said that ending subsidies for fossil fuels would cut global carbon emissions by 20%. That would be a giant step towards taming global warming, an issue on which the world has made little progress to date. Continue reading

Did Germany Secretly Fund Israel’s Nuclear Weapons?

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Courtesy of Rebecca Miller @ The National Interest::

The conservative German daily Die Welt, well-known for its unflinching support for Israel, recently published an article stating “with near certainty” that the Federal Republic of Germany, or West Germany, helped finance Israel’s nuclear program in the 1960s.

According to the Welt report, in 1961 West Germany agreed to loan $500 million to Israel over ten years. Although the official purpose of this funding was said to be the development of the Negev Desert— where Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor is located— it is widely suspected that the money was actually meant to finance Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

This agreement was reportedly hatched during a 1960 meeting between then-Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. Franz Josef Strauss, a former West German defense minister, previously claimed Ben Gurion and Adenauer discussed Israel’s nuclear weapons program during a meeting in Paris in 1961.

This top secret initiative was reportedly named “Aktion Geschäftsfreund,” which translates as “Operation Business Partner.” It bypassed both the Israeli cabinet and the German parliament, with the money being funneled through Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, a West German-government owned development bank.

The Welt report comes after former Israeli President Shimon Peres (who was the head of Israel’s nuclear-weapons program at the time of its inception in the 1950s) denied that funding for Israel’s nukes came from Germany earlier this month.

The Welt article dismissed this denial, however, arguing that when it comes to German-Israeli cooperation on nuclear weapons, secret-keeping is part of the game. (Indeed, the practice—or art, rather—of secret-keeping with regards to sensitive matters of defense should be expected of any regime, nuclear or otherwise.) Continue reading

EU dropped pesticide laws due to US pressure over TTIP, documents reveal

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Chief EU negotiator Ignacio Garcia-Bercero (R) and chief US negotiator Dan Mullaney hold a press conference in Washington, DC after a new round of talks on creating a transatlantic free trade zone, 19 May. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Courtesy of Arthur Neslen @ The Guardian:

EU moves to regulate hormone-damaging chemicals linked to cancer and male infertility were shelved following pressure from US trade officials over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade deal, newly released documents show.

Draft EU criteria could have banned 31 pesticides containing endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). But these were dumped amid fears of a trade backlash stoked by an aggressive US lobby push, access to information documents obtained by Pesticides Action Network (PAN) Europe show.

On 26 June 2013, a high-level delegation from the American Chambers of Commerce (AmCham) visited EU trade officials to insist that the bloc drop its planned criteria for identifying EDCs in favour of a new impact study.

Minutes of the meeting show commission officials pleading that “although they want the TTIP to be successful, they would not like to be seen as lowering the EU standards”.

The TTIP is a trade deal being agreed by the EU and US to remove barriers to commerce and promote free trade.

Responding to the EU officials, AmCham representatives “complained about the uselessness of creating categories and thus, lists” of prohibited substances, the minutes show.

The US trade representatives insisted that a risk-based approach be taken to regulation, and “emphasised the need for an impact assessment” instead.

On 2 July 2013, officials from the US Mission to Europe visited the EU to reinforce the message. Later that day, the secretary-general of the commission, Catherine Day, sent a letter to the environment department’s director Karl Falkenberg, telling him to stand down the draft criteria.

“We suggest that as other DGs [directorate-generals] have done, you consider making a joint single impact assessment to cover all the proposals,” Day wrote. “We do not think it is necessary to prepare a commission recommendation on the criteria to identify endocrine disrupting substances.” Continue reading

TTIP: Why the EU-US Trade Deal Matters

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Courtesy of Andrew Walker @ BBC:

There’s one big issue for the new UK government that stayed below the radar during the election campaign – trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States, known as TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

The big political parties didn’t make much of it during the campaign. Both the Conservatives and Labour are broadly in favour, though the Greens are very critical. TTIP was however addressed in the manifestos. War on Want (who oppose the plans) have compiled the parties’ positions on the issue.

Outside the political arena there are some very strong opinions. Many business voices are enthusiastic, but there is also very vocal opposition.

What is TTIP and what is it for?

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or it will be if the negotiations are completed. The aim is to boost the economies of the EU and the US by removing or reducing barriers to trade and foreign investment.

President Obama said, when the talks were launched, that TTIP would promote “new growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic”. Critics reject that claim – more of that below. Continue reading

TTIP: Transatlantic Trade Deal Text Leaked to BBC

Which ever ist or ism you want to apply, it solidifies the power of a few. Courtesy of Glenn Campbell @ BBC Scotland:

A leaked draft of what the European Union wants excluded from a new trade deal with the United States has been obtained by the BBC.

The document describes itself as the EU’s “initial offer” in negotiations over the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP).

It includes the wording that UK ministers have said will protect the NHS from privatisation.

Anti-TTIP campaigners say a specific exemption for the NHS is still needed.
The 103-page document is headed “trade in services and investment: schedule of specific commitments and reservations”.

It was produced before the most recent round of TTIP negotiations in Brussels were held at the beginning of this month.

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On health, the document states: “The EU reserves the right to adopt or maintain any measure with regard to the provision of all health services which receive public funding or State support in any form”.

The wording is the same as that used in a similar free trade agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA).

The UK trade minister, Lord Livingston, said last week that this text ensured “publicly funded health services are excluded”.

The European Commission has also previously said TTIP would not affect how NHS services are provided, whether in Scotland or the rest of the UK.

But Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has called for the NHS to be specifically excluded from the deal. Continue reading

It’s Time to Cancel Unpayable Old Debts

The concept of odious or illegitimate debt is something generally not discussed by politicians, media or economists. By it’s very definition, all debt denominated in fiat is odious as it is created out of nothing and will be cancelled by the re-emergence of a sound tri-metallic monetary system backed by bills of exchange. This article is from 2012 and the issues in Greece have not and will not resolve themselves, debt is control and they will not quietly go into the night. Courtesy of Aditya Chakrabortty @ The Guardian:

In the week between Christmas and New Year, those bleary few days when the world has better things to do than catch up on news or check its Twitter account, The Guardian carried a story that bears repeating. It was about Dimitris and Christina Gasparinatos and their kids in the Greek port of Patras. For ever hard up, the parents had been pushed by the economic crisis into outright poverty; and just before Christmas Dimitris and Christina put four of their children into care.

Nor is the Gasparinatos’ case an isolated one. Greece must be the most family-centric society in western Europe, yet its media is full of reports of newborns dumped outside clinics, or infants shunted into foster homes.

Such stories almost never come up when politicians and economists debate Europe’s meltdown; implicitly, they are categorised as fall-out, for journalists and campaigners to highlight. Yet the abandoned children of Greece are not merely coincidental to those discussions about how to tackle the debt; they are integral to it.

Strip away the technicalities and you are left with two ways to think about the debt crisis. One is as a battle between the past and the future. The vast majority of Greece’s debts are historic commitments made to creditors by previous governments, sometimes in very dubious circumstances. Yet Athens has been forced to prioritise repaying these old loans over generating economic growth, or future income. One result of that policy has been to snatch away whatever chance the Gasparinatos kids might have had of decent lives.

Something similar is happening in Britain. David Cameron came to office with the primary goal of paying down debt. Less than two years later, his ministers are now obliged to go on the BBC at regular intervals to explain why more than a million young people are out of work. Study after study shows that a young adult unemployed at the outset of his or her career suffers permanent damage to their prospects, yet this government’s economic policy favours the past even though it means ruining the future.

Continue reading