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Tag Archives: Long Read

To Loot or Not to Loot? How Public-Private Partnerships Harmed Turkey

This article first appeared in the Indian journal Economic and Political Weekly on 18 July 2022. A Murder in Konya Konya is a province in Turkey. On 6 July 2022, about an hour before I started writing this article, a murder news hit the Turkish pages of the internet: “In Konya City Hospital, a patient shot and killed a cardiologist and his secretary today.” Whether the assassin committed suicide or the private security killed him is unknown, although there are both rumours. City hospitals,...

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Lending and Profiteering – Lessons from Argentina’s Recent Debt Problems

Over 30 years ago, Kunibert Raffer (University of Vienna) was first to propose a fair and transparent arbitration process between debtors and creditors for resolving sovereign insolvency, by analogy with Chapter 9 US Bankruptcy Code that provides for an orderly resolution in cases of municipal bankruptcy. (See his paper “What’s good for the United States must be good for the World – Advocating an International Chapter 9 Insolvency”). He is a long-standing critic of the IMF in its lending...

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Rentier capitalism is profoundly risk-averse

The following article is based on my speech notes for a presentation to University College London’s Global Business School for Health on 22nd February 2022. The webinar was titled: Health Innovation through Capital and Private Equity Markets webinar. The question panellists were asked to address was this: “….whether capital and private equity markets are actually driving forward better and sustainable health innovation?” I argued that private capital and private equity markets – far from...

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Climate crisis, global debt, and the Fermi paradox – a proposal to the IMF

This article first appeared in the Indian journal Economic and Political Weekly on 13 November, 2021. Fermi Paradox In a recent article, Yıldızoğlu (2021) reminded us of the Fermi Paradox, which can be summarised as: Although the probability of the existence of other forms of life in the universe is sufficiently high, why have we not met any? Enrico Fermi, the Italian–American physicist and the creator of the world’s first nuclear reactor, was probably not the first person who asked: “but...

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Quantitative Easing: how the world got hooked on magicked-up money

Going cold turkey would finish off a dysfunctional global financial system that’s now hopelessly addicted to emergency infusions. The only solution is surgery on the system itself. This article first appeared in Prospect magazine on 16 July 2021. The world economy is a mess. The system, notionally governed by the invisible hand of the market, is no longer governed in any meaningful way: private excess puffs up bubbles that government indulgence ensures can never burst. We seem condemned to...

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The Battle of GameStop

This article originally appeared in the Indian journal Economic and Political Weekly on 13 March 2021. What the battle of GameStop has brought into light is that democracy in financial markets is just a myth: whoever controls the valves, controls the flow. The market-making and brokerage markets in the United States are heavily oligopolistic markets in which market-makers and brokers extract huge rents from the retail traders. Although the retail traders involved in the battle appear...

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Is Modern Monetary Theory suited for the EMU?

In 2020, governments all over Europe and beyond enacted unprecedented fiscal stimulus to keep their economies afloat amidst the pandemic. By the end of the year, a country like France will have engaged or guaranteed at least EUR 300 billion, the equivalent of four years of income tax receipts. Institutions of the European Union (EU) also rightly stepped up to the challenge. Of particular importance has been the response of the European Central Bank (ECB) which launched several...

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The case for an Ecological Interest Rate

Between the Anglo-American political horror shows of 2020 and the raging pandemic, something much less theatrical drifted centre stage to play a more than usually important role: interest rates. There is one obvious reason: like waiting to witness a rare celestial event there is a high likelihood that rates will do a shocking, unusual thing and go negative. But there is another important reason that hasn’t, to date, been part of mainstream economic commentary. With more focus than ever on a...

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From a troubled horizon to a better world?

The Covid-19 crisis is deepening existing fissures and adding new threats to an already scarred and anxious world. As a localized health crisis became a global pandemic, many countries put broad swathes of their economies into a policy induced coma to halt the spread of the virus and ease the burden on overstretched health systems. As a result, the global economy will experience a recession this year on a scale not experienced since the 1930s. The damage will be both lasting and severe,...

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In Memory of David Graeber – COVID 19-related debt relief

By T. Sabri Öncü & Ahmet Öncü In Memory of David Graeber (1961–2020) This article first appeared in the Indian journal, Economic and Political Weekly, on 21 November, 2020 under the title “A Consortium Proposal to the SDR Basket Countries” On 30 March 2020, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) called for a $2.5 trillion COVID-19 crisis package for developing countries.[1] The UNCTAD proposals were: (i) $1 trillion to be made available through the expanded use...

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