Category Archives: Banana republic

Bill Black: Lanny Breuer’s Defense of Not Prosecuting HSBC and its Officers

Bill Black shreds not simply Lanny Breuer’s lame justification for not prosecuting HSBC officers and employees, but also by implication, Loretta Lynch’s. And the Lynch nomination reveals the deadly confines of the two party system. Elizabeth Warren made a bold speech last week in which she called for far more fundamental bank reform. She also reaffirmed her criticism of the failure to lodge criminal charges against any major bank executives. Yet as a Senator, she can’t afford to buck the Lynch nomination, since she apparently feels it would cost her too much in terms of moving the other elements of her program forward. But isn’t this arguably the most important issue?


The Continuing Depopulation of Detroit

Detroit is getting the same treatment as Latvia and Ireland, and we are already seeing similar results in Greece, with most people who have good foreign job prospects taking a hike. But while Latvia and Ireland stabilized at much lower levels of output and have started to recover from their, Detroit, like Greece, looks like a failed state. And this is perversely seen as acceptable in America.


Dubious FX Broker CWM FX Claims Sports Celebrity Scalps, but Princess Anne Remains Unmolested

The CWM FX fraud bust, a murder, Princess Anne and some groping. It’s BAU in the world of sports sponsorship.


‘National Competitiveness: A Crowbar for Corporate and Financial Interests

We’ve regularly derided the notion of “national competitiveness” as a an inevitable accompaniment to the oversold notion of “free trade”. Economists are aware of, yet choose to ignore, the Lipsey-Lancaster theorem, which says when an idealized state cannot be attained, moving closer to it may not be an improvement; it can often produce worse outcomes. You need to evaluate the “second best” options specifically and not go on faith.

But economists and policy makers treat “free trade” as an article of faith, and with that comes the idea that countries must compete to find customers overseas. There is too little consideration of the fallacy of expecting countries to be competitive and by implication, seek to be exporters. It is impossible for all countries to be net exporters. Moreover, countries are often better served to design their policies primarily for the benefit of domestic workers and markets, and to promote export-oriented programs only to the extent that they do not undermine conditions at home, or will clearly produce a net benefit.


Can Voter Choice Technology Succeed Where Arab Spring Failed?

Yves here. As much as technology offers great promise as a way to create new routes for organizing, consensus-building, and decision-making, I’m not optimistic about the prospects for democracy in societies with no democratic traditions. Nevertheless, voter choice technology does seem more promising and lower cost than US adventurism as a way to try to build democratic muscles in the Middle East.


Ilargi: Warren Buffett is Everything That’s Wrong With America

I’m sure readers can add to this antidote to the pervasive Warren Buffett hagiography in American media. For instance, Buffett lavishes praise on the executives of Wells Fargo, when Wells engages in abusive servicing (see here and here for examples). So Buffett is part of the cohort that has held bank leaders as competent and deserving of their leadership roles, which serves to hide the fact that a big chunk of industry profits rests on predatory behavior, like gotcha terms in checking accounts and credit cards.