Ride-hailing platform operator Uber is often accused of undermining labour market regulations and of overpricing at times of peak demand by “surge pricing”. Uber defends itself against such accusations not only by using high-profile lobbyists, but also with the help of top-notch economists, who cooperate in exchange for exclusive data and lucrative consultancy assignments. Even reputable journals publish such sponsored analysis as if it were scholarly research.
How does Germany’s Monopolies Commission combat market concentration? By making sure that no good data is available
How many companies have merged into corporate groups in Germany? We don’t know. The official figures are completely unconvincing. We have a Monopolies Commission which, together with the German Federal Statistical Office, has the legal mandate to monitor market concentration. Germany’s parliament wanted to ensure that the necessary information about the possible emergence of problematic market power is available, only to discover this no longer fits in with the neoliberal ideology inspired by the Chicago School, which has apparently become the ruling ideology at Germany’s Monopolies Commission.
The ECB has answered questions posed by the European Ombudsman to president Mario Draghi regarding his membership and his participation in closed-door meetings of the Group of Thirty (G30), a Group in which the world’s most central bankers and commercial bankers comingle. The 17-page reply manages to evade several questions, is quite selective in the information given and even contains some false statements.
Mathew D. Rose – Investigative Journalist specialised in Organised Political Crime, Ruediger Rossig – Investigative Journalist, Balkan Expert, Nick Shaxson – Investigative Journalist and Author of “Treasure Islands” and David Shirreff – Former finance and business journalist at The Economist and Author of “Break up the Banks!”, Playwright are the editors of the new progressive weblog Brave New Europe, featuring texts from dozends of well-know authors.
Legal scholar Jane Kelsey from New Zealand has assembled an extremely well-informed report about the negotiations for the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). You learn about the main corporate sponsors of these negotiations, organized in "Team TiSA", which have privileged access to official negotiators. Kelsey also exposes, how the TiSA sponsors took many of their extreme proposals for the prevention of regulation of finance and data abuse from rejected earlier attempts at agreements and how they continue to plug them into any trade agreement that comes along. This report is thus required reading for anybody who deals with trade agreements or data privacy issues.
Emily O‘Reilly is the EU Ombudsman, an arbiter for the public’s complaints about EU-institutions. She has earned a reputation for being tough. She wants written answers from Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, the EU's monetary and banking surveillance institution. He has to explain how he makes sure that he does not divulge insider information or runs into conflicts of interest as a participant of secret talks with bankers in the so-called Group of Thirty (G30). O’Reilly’s questions, published on her website, make it plain that she will not easily be convinced.
In the April-edition of their monthly report, the Bundesbank has belatedly joined the Bank of England in explicitly stating that the treatment of banks and money creation in most textbooks is wrong: banks are not intermediaries; they create money ex-nihilo. This helps the Bundesbank to reject criticism that central banks are currently “printing” too much money. At the same time, the Bundesbank rejects the proposal of 100%-money, i.e. bank deposits fully backed by central bank money.
Will California’s minimum wage put “non-elite restaurants“ out of business, as “Harvard-Shock-Study” suggests?
Recently, California’s legislature decided that by 2022 the state’s minimum wage will rise to $15 from currently $10. A number of cities, including San Francisco, have already started hiking their own minimum wage. Thus, a Harvard-linked study of the effects of these regional minimum wage hikes on restaurant closures met with great media interest in California and beyond. The popular anarcho-finance website Zero Hedge titled “Harvard Shock Study”. Breitbart found its own anti-elite twist with the headline “Harvard Research: Minimum Wage Hikes Put Non-Elite Restaurants Out of Business”. We take a closer look at the findings of the study.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington has published a Working Paper on “de-cashing”. It gives advice to governments who want to abolish cash against the will of their citizenry. Move slowly, starting with seemingly harmless measures, is part of that advice.
As an esteemed member of the European public, you might be unaware that the EU-Commission is keen on knowing your opinion on possible restrictions on cash payments. Now you know. You should certainly let the EU know about your opinion, so they don't make their decision based only on the input of those who make money on digital payments or want your data. You can answer the questionnaire in English or any other official EU-language. There is an opportunity to upload a document, in which you lay out your position on cash restrictions.
To “prepare the next generation of world leaders”, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will hold its 2017 MIT India Conference, this time on “Digital India”. Members of the Indian government and CEOs are travelling to Cambridge to report on the “success” of the US inspired crackdown on the use of cash. As usual, the plight of the cash-using poor and the data-security and privacy nightmare resulting from mandatory biometric identification are unlikely to be discussed.