“…it’s clear that we are witnessing the biggest surge in global protest activity since the early 2010s, when a “movement of the squares” saw mass rallies in capital cities across the Arab world, followed by Occupy demonstrations in the global north.
“Historically speaking, the past decade has seen more protests than at any time since the 1960s. Despite their disparate grievances, some common threads do bind today’s rebellions together. Tracing them may help clarify the nature of our present political volatility.
“One direct impact of the crash has been a rapid diminishment of opportunity for millions of young people in rich countries – who now regard precarious work and rising inequality as the norm…
“All this has produced a generation charged with hopelessness and hope. Afflicted by what the anthropologist David Graeber calls “despair fatigue”, protesters are putting their bodies on the line because it feels as if they have no other choice – and because those who rule over them have rarely seemed more vulnerable.”
“A kind of toxic debt is embedded in much of the infrastructure that America built during the 20th century. For decades, corporate executives, as well as city, county, state, and federal officials, not to mention voters, have decided against doing the routine maintenance and deeper upgrades to ensure that electrical systems, roads, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure can function properly under a range of conditions.
“Kicking the can down the road like this is often seen as the profit-maximizing or politically expedient option. But it’s really borrowing against the future, without putting that debt on the books.”
“The slow death of the American coal industry has forced Murray Energy, the largest private coal miner in the United States, to file for bankruptcy protection Tuesday.
“Murray Energy’s bankruptcy has been telegraphed for years. It recently failed to make payments to lenders, and the company entered into a forbearance agreement that bought it time to negotiate a restructuring. But that grace period came and went…”
“US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is open to loosening bank laws meant to create buffer reserves in case of financial crisis, Bloomberg reported Tuesday afternoon.
“The laws — created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis — stifle bank liquidity, as the firms are obliged to hold a larger proportion of their free cash in emergency reserves.”
“Less attention has focused on a separate analysis the IMF has undertaken on problems that have been building up out of sight thank to investors’ willingness to take on not just greater credit and market risk but also greater liquidity risk.
“The IMF finds that large pension funds have increased allocations to alternatives – some of them leveraged, many illiquid – from just over 5% of their assets on the eve of the GFC in 2007 to just over 20% today.”
“Germany’s DIHK Chambers of Industry and Commerce on Wednesday said it expected exports to shrink next year for the first time since the global financial crisis over a decade ago as trade disputes and Brexit uncertainty hit Europe’s largest economy.
““For our economy, with its strong industrial core, this is a huge challenge,” DIHK President Eric Schweitzer said…”
“Deutsche Bank reported a net loss that missed market expectations on Wednesday as a major restructuring plan continues to weigh on the German lender.
“It reported a net loss of 832 million euros ($924 million) for the third quarter of 2019.”
“In Alternative Arrangements, a flower shop down the road, 72-year-old Anne said Brexit was “making people depressed” and that a pre-Christmas poll would drive people up the wall.
““In eight months’ time this will have taken as long as the first world war – that was on for four years and three months,” she said, clutching her shopping bags. “It’s quite frankly doing my head in.””
“At least 18 people have been killed and hundreds have been injured in an attack against protesters in Iraq.
“Masked gunmen wearing black clothing gunned down the protesters in Karbala, a Shia holy city in central Iraq, in one of the deadliest attacks since anti-government protests began this month. More than 800 people are thought to be have been injured…”
“Tens of thousands of protesters in Pakistan are marching to the capital Islamabad, calling on Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign over the weak economy and corruption claims.
“While religious groups and political rivals in the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) party organised the protests, virtually all parties have used the march to show their grievances…”
It’s only a matter of time, if things are not resolved, that we’ll start to see bigger defaults in the [shadow banking] sector,” said Saswata Guha, Fitch’s head of financial institutions in India. “There’s a risk of contagion which may flow through [NBFCs] and also banks. It’s very hard to say how this will unravel.” “
“Some say the problems in India’s financial companies, many of which lent heavily to real estate, echo the collapse of the housing bubble that contributed to the 2008 US financial crisis.”
“Economic slowdown and softening of global trade continue to hit [India]s] air cargo firms with the latest official data showing 5.3 per cent decline in freight traffic in August on a year-on-year basis.
“Many of the shippers are facing cancellation of orders and buyers are insisting for discounts. “New buyers are not coming…””
“According to a recent Reuters poll, factory activity in China is expected to have continued its decline for the sixth consecutive month in October, as the manufacturing sector still reels under the effects of the trade war.
“The Caixin Manufacturing PMI is expected to come in at 49.8 in October just like in September, and still below the 50-threshold indicating contraction.”
“A Chinese company’s bond default is causing market concern that trouble may spread to other firms in the province.
“Shandong-based steelmaker Xiwang Group Co.’s failure to repay 1 billion yuan ($142 million) of bonds last week, saw investors dump neighboring firms’ notes on contagion fears as companies in this province are well known for providing guarantees for each other’s debt.”
“China’s central government has dispatched senior state bankers and financial regulators to at least 15 of the country’s 31 provincial level governments to work as vice-governors over the past two years, as Beijing looks to shore up debt-laden local economies.
“The postings, compiled by the South China Morning Post from government announcements, come amid signs of growing financial stress across the country…”
“Australia’s worst drought in 400 years has turned meat into a luxury with lamb prices soaring by double-digits in just one year.
“The latest official Consumer Price Index figures for the September quarter showed sharp rises in products that came from the farm. Lamb prices have climbed by an annual pace of 14.3 per cent…”
“Police have fired tear gas at protesters who had taken to the streets in the capital of Bolivia over the country’s disputed election results.
“The clashes came on Tuesday as sitting President Evo Morales and opposition candidate Carlos Mesa wrestled over an audit of the results of the October 20 election…”
“Chileans took to the streets again on Tuesday, pouring by the thousands into plazas and shutting down main boulevards in a sign that government promises of reform continued to fall short.
“Police in armoured trucks watched over the gathering masses. The night before, vandals wreaked havoc nearby, looting, setting fires and sowing chaos amid a melee of sirens, protesters banging pots and heavy black smoke.”
“Hong Kong martial arts guru Bruce Lee urged followers to “empty your mind, be formless, shapeless like water.” That philosophy has driven months of anti-government unrest in Hong Kong. And it applies to protest movements elsewhere that are operating with quick-changing tactics and without clear leadership.
“…from Iraq to Chile, it feels like protests are everywhere right now.”
We may well see MMT tried. The ramifications make my head hurt but my quick take is that it could conceivably stimulate growth for a while in developed nations with “credible” currencies that are in the pull of broadly deflationary forces (Japan and the Eurozone, particularly).
But these would in effect be stealing a larger share of the ‘global economic pie’ at the expense of other nations like, for example, Argentina, Venezuela, Turkey and South Africa – nations that would really benefit from an monetary ‘shot in the arm’ but could not announce an MMT programme without their debt-service costs spiralling and their currency rapidly inflating.