Forum Post: Financial Totalitarianism: The Economic, Political, Social and Cultural Rule of Speculative Capital
Posted 10 months ago on June 12, 2013, 4:08 p.m. EST by LeoYo
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Financial Totalitarianism: The Economic, Political, Social and Cultural Rule of Speculative Capital
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 09:57 By Max Haiven, Truthout | News Analysis
At the end of May, it was revealed that a new bill for the regulation of the banking and financial sector was, for all intents and purposes, drafted by Citigroup. This is only the latest in a long list of what can only be called legalized corruption at the highest levels of American power, which has ultimately led to no meaningful policy or legal change in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Avid readers of intrepid Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi and others cannot help but be sickened and struck by the impunity and hubris of America's financial elites, even as astute students of history will point out the previous moments when the power and influence of financiers has overshadowed economics and politics.
The Trade Deal Scam
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 09:19 By Dean Baker, Truthout | News Analysis
As part of its overall economic strategy the Obama administration is rushing full speed ahead with two major trade deals. On the one hand it has the Trans-Pacific Partnership which includes Japan and Australia and several other countries in East Asia and Latin America. On the other side there is an effort to craft a U.S.-EU trade agreement.
There are two key facts people should know about these proposed trade deals. First, they are mostly not about trade. Second they are not intended to boost the economy in a way that will help most of us. In fact, it is reasonable to say that these deals will likely be bad news for most people in the United States. Most of the people living in our partner countries are likely to be losers too.
Banks Profiting From Overdraft Coverage Plans, Federal Agency Says
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 09:44 By Lindsay Wise, McClatchy Newspapers | Report
Washington, DC — Overdraft protection often is a better deal for banks than for consumers, a new study by a federal watchdog agency reveals.
The report, to be released Tuesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, found that consumers who sign up for banks’ optional overdraft coverage on debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals pay higher fees and are more likely to end up with involuntary account closures than those who decline.
Banks profit from consumers’ misfortune.
Fees for overdraft and non-sufficient funds accounted for more than 60 percent of banks’ total revenue from consumers’ checking accounts in 2011, according to the report.
Banks Seen as Aid in Fraud Against Older Consumers
By JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG | New York Times
The pitch arrived, as so many do, with a friendly cold call.
Bruno Koch, 83, told the telemarketer on the line that, yes, of course he would like to update his health insurance card. Then Mr. Koch, of Newport News, Va., slipped up: he divulged his bank account information.
What happened next is all too familiar. Money was withdrawn from Mr. Koch’s account for something that he now says he never authorized. The new health insurance card never arrived.
What is less familiar — and what federal authorities say occurs with alarming frequency — is that a reputable bank played a crucial role in parting Mr. Koch from his money. The bank was the 140-year-old Zions Bank of Salt Lake City. Despite spotting suspicious activity, Zions served as a gateway between dubious Internet merchants and their marks — and made money for itself in the process, according to newly unsealed court documents reviewed by The New York Times.
Israel has More Poverty than Any Developed Country
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 13:49 By Shir Hever, The Real News Network | Video Report
Shir Hever, TRNN Producer: The image which the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes of Israel is an image of a prosperous economy, a powerhouse of innovation.
As part of the efforts to present Israel as a success story, Israel applied for membership in the OECD, the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation, and received it.
The organization publishes statistics about the member states and promotes certain kinds of reforms, usually associated with neoliberal values. OECD statistics have undermined the goal of Israel's reason to join the OECD. These statistics show that Israel suffers from extreme level of inequality, its education system is among the worst in the OECD, and its poverty is the highest compared to all OECD countries.
It should be noted that the OECD decided not to include statistics about the occupied Palestinian territory and the occupied Syrian Golan, because the member states of the OECD don't recognize these areas as part of Israel. But because the OECD relies on Israeli published statistics, the actual data published by the OECD reflects a segregated picture. While colonists from the occupied territories are included in the reports, the 4 million Palestinians who are also part of the Israeli economy are ignored by the OECD.
Israel's overall tax income as a proportion of its GDP is higher than that of Chile, Mexico, and Turkey, for example, and is even higher than the weighted average of all OECD countries, but Israel's poverty rate is the highest compared to all of these countries.