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.
The war on cash that is currently being waged in India and other developing countries is the culmination of a "financial inclusion”-campaign originating in the US in the 1990s. The purported goal and the US institutions pushing the agenda are the same as in two earlier financial-inclusion-drives, which have been thoroughly discredited: the subprime mortgage banking frenzy in the US and the microcredit-hype around Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank.
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.
With big fanfare, Deutsche Bundesbank announced on February 9 that ahead of plan they had repatriated 300 tons of gold from New York. This put a positive spin on a rather disturbing fact: 1236 tons of gold that is supposed to be part of Germany’s currency reserve will continue to be kept outside of German control in New York - indefinitely.
Microsoft’s Bill Gates is one of the richest and most influential people on earth. He announced in 2015 that his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was aiming at achieving full digitalization of the payment systems of India and other populous developing countries by 2018. This “financial inclusion” program for India dates back to well before Narendra Modi came to power. It was elevated to official US policy by Executive Order in 2012, because the President saw vital US security interests are at stake.
Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the omnipresent US-consulting company, and Google, the global data miner, issued a joint report in July 2016 on the “$500 bn Pot of Gold”, which is the Indian digital payment market. Even though the authors deny it, the report gives much reason to suspect that the authors knew that something radical was imminent from the Indian government. The report is remarkably honest about the aims of the whole exercise.