May 02, 2013
2012 book / What if Ireland Defaults
Ch. 7. The Russian Crisis and the Crisis of Russia
Ch. 8. Iceland: The Accidental Hero
Elaine Byrne and Huginn F. Þorsteinsson
Ch. 9. Irish Public Debt: A View through the Lens of the Argentine Default
Ch. 10. Coring out the Big Apple: New York’s Fiscal Crisis
Ch. 11. When Cities Default …
Buy it direct from the publisher.
Link to Orpen Press site
Free online chapter of our book "What if Ireland defaults?"
Free online chapter of our book "What if Ireland defaults?"
Publication in TheJournal.ie
Column: Ireland has no option but to play hardball. So why aren’t we?
(click on the link above to see full article)
June 19, 2012
A Call to Action
Medium-sized EU economies (Spain and Italy) are facing an attack from the speculative bond markets. This has pushed the cost of state bonds above 4%, a rate that is unsustainable in the medium term. Acting Prime Minister Monti demanded help and President Hollande agreed. This forced Germany to consider the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) as a vehicle for direct investment into private banks –not a solution but a gesture at least— but even that is on the long finger. If such a measure were in place in Ireland in the recent past, Ireland might not have even been asked to take on the illegitimate debt in the first place
November 22, 2011
Aldo Ferrer: Speculative Attacks & Sovereign Debt, a voice of experience
I translated part of an Interview with the Octogenarian Dr. Aldo Ferrer (mini bio. below), November 2011 at the University of Buenos Aires an interviewer for the Argentine Times ("El Tiempo") asked Ambassador Ferrer whether he ever might have expected to see Europe in the state that it is in today? His reply demonstrates Ferrer's experience in the defense of his nation against the international speculative bond markets...
Ferrer's response was very revealing:
March 18, 2011
Saint Patrick in Saigon
Corporate city Vietnam, 2011: This "Patrick's" day of ritualized alcohol consumption has long since become dissociated from the mythical man who gave this day his name. Patrick was a Roman Britain who wandered dangerously close to the edge of empire being snatched from a British beach by the corporate raiders of the 5th. century, an independent consulting firm known by the charming brand: "Niall of the nine hostages."
Niall was no fisherman! His team captured slaves from the coastline of Roman Britain selling them on as forced labour to a rural Irish economy. The legend says that Patrick was sold on as a pig farming slave to an animist Celtic Chieftain on the island the Romans called "Hibernia", on or about the year of our lord 450AD.
December 09, 2010
“Scream early and scream loud”: An Argentine perspective on the Irish bailout
December 9, 2010 by Tony Phillips
Tony Phillips is an Irish researcher in the University of Buenos Aires, Faculty of Economics. He specialises in alternative development, sovereign debt issues and ecological economics.
Ireland in December 2010 shows many parallels with Argentina in December 2001. This phase of the negotiations cost Argentina dear; riots, deaths, banking collapse and frozen accounts (the notorious “Corralito”). The peso was all but destroyed (a 75% depreciation) prompting the largest sovereign default in the history of modern finance.
November 29, 2010
Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die
UPDATED: Buenos Aires, Argentina: Dec 6, 2010: Does the new 5.8% rescue fund interest rate demonstrate European solidarity with Ireland? Is the European Union abandoning the Irish people? What about the IMF, will they save Ireland? Why are voices in the media mentioning a deal when a budget has yet to be approved?
What follows is a realistic Argentine perspective on this critical phase of debt negotiation. The hindsight offered by historical comparisons with Argentina in 2002 is not 20/20 but Argentina’s experiences may provide some general guid-ance. If only one thing can be made clear it is that the IMF and the ECB are in Dublin for systemic global financial stability (of creditors). They are not there to protect the Irish taxpayer.
November 26, 2010
Bailout, Intervention and Political Collapse
Avoiding answering allegations of his own involvement, Brian Cowen, Prime Minister (Taoiseach) declared he would dissolve parliament (calling elections) but only after "passing the budget" (a statesman to the last). One has to suppose that the Taoiseach still believes that he shall be able to pass the proposed budget. Financial times commentator, John Authers, in an interview with Vincent Browne has his doubts.
November 19, 2010
Speaking Truthiness to the Irish Times
The Irish Times "Opinion" section has spoken. It welcomes the IMF to Ireland. Maybe the Irish Times should ask Latin America why they decided to pay back all of their debt to the IMF so as to kick their consultants out of their national Ministries of Economics, and then again, maybe not. The IMF is a fait acompli for now, I beg a moment of your time to point out a true flaw in the Times analysis.
To do that it is necessary to focus on the problem (foreign bond exposure) behind the problem (the banking crisis) behind the problem (speculative investments)?
Donal Donovan writes that a "Firm hand of the IMF will keep [Ireland] steering in right direction" His analysis is that:
"While psychologically [the Irish taxpayers] may feel put upon, the arrival of the International Monetary Fund is really not all that bad"
Is that so Mr. Donovan?
October 29, 2010
RIP Nestor Kirchner
Buenos Aires Thursday Oct 28, 2010 Thirty five thousand Argentines, mainly supporters of Nestor Kirchner's "Peronist" party, waited patiently in front of the Presidential Palace, The Pink House or "Casa Rosada". They were there to pay their respects. In the closed coffin is the body of a sixty year old man who died the day before, census day, in his home town in Patagonia. Former President Nestor Kirchner, husband of the current Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was dead. Nestor died early on Wednesday morning of a massive heart attack after he refused to scale back his political activities against the advise of his doctors. He had recently had two cardiac surgeries.
May 22, 2010
Happy 200th Argentina
This week is Bicentenary week in Buenos Aires. As I sit here sucking my Guarani tea (mate) from a straw/bombilla, I reflect on the bombastic inventiveness of history. I now have the good fortune to be present at my second such party.
April 30, 2010
From the Good Guys for the Bad Guys
An unprecedented theft from the Irish people by a small elite of less than 100 patriots with their global network of property and other speculative investments culminated in the 2009 legalization, absolution or amnesty by a complicit Fianna Fáil government. This masked illegal financial speculation behind four little capital letters: N.A.M.A. Unfortunately the "euro-crisis" means the ugly face behind this little mask is morphing; it is taking on other monstrous guises.
April 02, 2010
When value does not equal price
April 01, 2010
Direct action against Climate Change before it is too late
March 02, 2010
Central Bank Independence ... Independent from Whom?
Americas Program: Central Bank Independence ... Independent from Whom?, translated by Tony Phillips from the original "Banco Central Independiente… ¿De quien?", written by UBA professor, Andrés Musacchio
Returning for a moment to Economics and Finance from my activities in Ecology. In the end it is all the same thing really. I translated the following piece by a professor of mine on the takeover of the Argentine Central Bank by the Elected president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Funny in Argentina that seems to a bigger problem than a takeover by the IMF or the Club de Paris (go figure)
January 27, 2010
Planning a New World Climate Order: ‘Seal the Deal’ or ‘Seattle the Deal’?
This article was sent to me by the author Patrick Bond from South Africa. Patrick presents it today at the World Social forum tenth anniversary in Porto Alegre (Brazil). It is an Africa- and US-centric viewpoint of the collapse of talks in Copenhagen. Ironically, as Patrick tells us Obama's significant hatchet job to collapse the agreement will most likely cause significant harm to his own rural Kenyan people (on his father's side).
'Climate damage to Africa will include much more rapid desertification, more floods and droughts, worse water shortages, increased starvation, floods of climate refugees jamming shanty-packed megalopolises, and the spread of malarial and other diseases. Ironically, Obama’s and Zuma’s own Luo and Zulu relatives in rural Kenya and KwaZulu-Natal will be amongst the first victims of the Accord.
January 18, 2010
Copenhagen to Cochabamba
O.K. Copenhagen is over and it showed that the UNFCCC COP process is not yet capable of the incredibly urgent task that it has been tasked to do. So what? Wait for another calamity in COP-16 Mexico City December 2010? No thanks! I shall go to see what South American nations get to put on the table in Bolivia. Let's hope it isn't another waste of time ... Click on the image above to see some closing statements from Denmark and below to see what is in store in Bolivia.
January 13, 2010
Copenhagen: "About the What Kind of People We Want to Be"
Five days ago I returned to South America to gather my thoughts. Back from Denmark, people ask what I had seen in Copenhagen. Most of those asking were short on hope and long on fear, there were still a few idiots that think equate global warming with Santa Claus, but there was a third group who were quite happy. Climate change to this third group was an obvious irritation.
I still feel hope that a radical solution to our energy problems is possible, so can typically cheer up the first group, I'm not religious so I ignore denialists, but I found the third group most perplexing. After four days reading 444 mails awaiting me in Buenos Aires, I discovered this small jewel of an article from George Monbiot. His analysis uses the psychology of the "Universal Ape". Here is what he had to say about mankind, especially we men!
December 16, 2009
When all is said and done in Carbon-hagen
Wednesday December 16th, “Reclaim Power” day in Copenhagen, inside the Africans are shouting at the Ethiopians and outside the Climate Justice advocates are shouting at the COP who they accuse of being co-opted by corporate lobbyists. To a lobbyist climate change is an oportunity. Should the worst come to the worst they can take the last high speed yacht out of Houston to their favorite Caribbean Island and batten down the hatches in hurricane season.
Reclaim Power Video
December 13, 2009
It happened before in Denmark, a Viking story
Saturday I visited The National Museum (NATIONALMUSEET) in Copenhagen. I was walking back from the 100,000 person march against climate change billed as “Planet first. People first”. It was a few degrees below zero and I had been out for two hours. Inside I began to thaw. I decided to ask about the Vikings. Rather than sound too touristy, I inquired about the 900’s to the 1100’s and was directed to the Vikings section by a very pleasant blonde attendant.
The Vikings founded my city, Dublin. They constructed a quay from a field very close to the Coombe hospital where I was born. The Coombe and the Liberties are new names for the first settlement of Dublin. The Vikings, like the hospital, have “ceased to be”, their remains flattened below the offices that manage the new City of Dublin. Modernism is not the friend of history.
December 11, 2009
Age of stupid Show
December 08, 2009
Naomi Klein opens Kilmaforum09 in Copenhagen, the People’s Climate summit
Naomi Klein was in fine form as she opened the Klimaforum09 counter-conference in Copenhagen Monday night 7/12. She gave a keynote opening speech to open the summit of ecological NGO’s that bills itself as The People’s Climate Summit. The Canadian author is perhaps best known for her books No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, the latter book based in no small part on her experiences living in Argentina during the crisis of 2001-2002. She shared the stage with Nnimmo Bassey from Nigeria, Chair of Friends Of the Earth International, and Henry Saragih from Indonesia general coordinator for La Via Campesina. Ms. Klein told us that she is “not an expert on climate change” however she added with gross understatement that she “knows a little bit about global corporations”.
Referring to the climate, Ms. Klein explained that everyone at Kilmaforum09 was there “fighting to protect something that is too important to be left to the market”. By the market Ms. Klein was referring to plans to expand the global market in carbon credits to enable those countries who can afford to do so to continue to pollute in greenhouse gasses.
Referring to US plans to extend the global trade in carbon credits Ms. Klein rejected the idea of exporting restrictions from the developed world to the developing world by buying up carbon credits. This puts Ms. Klein firmly in the camp of the eminent NASA climate scientist James Hansen, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the first scientist to warn the US Congress about global warming. Hansen has been quoted recently saying that no deal in Copenhagen is better than a bad deal that will not work.
But Ms. Klein was not saying that there would be no deal in Copenhagen, quite the contrary. “[US President] Obama would not be coming if he did not think that there was going to be a deal” she told the audience. “These meetings have their own momentum”, Ms. Klein added, as she believes that negotiators from the developed world would strong-arm even the African block into agreement. The Africans walked out of the last meeting on Climate Change in Barcelona because they thought that developed countries were not putting a reasonable offer on the table. The African continent is experiencing serious problems due to Climate change including expansion of deserts like the Sahara. Ms. Klein felt that even Africa would be coerced into signing on to a bad deal by tough negotiating tactics.
Ms. Klein closed her speech referring to the tactics of social groups outside of the official United Nations (UNFCCC) government negotiations in the Bella Center. Referring to tactics that were used ten years ago in Seattle at the WTO conference in 1999, Ms. Klein said “Rage has a place here and we shouldn’t forget it!”
Social movements, she said, “had a coming out in Seattle” and they would have “A Coming of Age in Copenhagen.” Referring to the tradition in social movements of disobedience she referred to the alternative saying "Life may be terminated because of too many acts of obedience."
Callout from Copenhagen
Hello from Denmark,
Decided to come freeze my little tush off in Copenhagen for eleven days for global warming (COP-15, look it up). Sounds like fun? Well, sort of!
Anyway I'm writing articles for a few people here and I thought that you might like to see what I'm writing. If not just delete the next few emails from tones and it will go quiet in a few days again when I go home to visit family in Ireland.
The first piece is one on the opening speech I attended last night by Naomi Klein, that one is worth reading anyway ...
Here's hoping I don't get arrested!
September 07, 2009
A Change of Tune in September 2009?
July 04, 2009
The penny drops, the real reason for the "crisis"
Saturday morning, Buenos Aires: while the city sleeps off a hangover dreaming of a delicious breakfast or nightmare public hospitals full of A H1N1 patients, I read the Financial Times.
I do it so you don't have to!
So I come across this short, and, dare I say it, boring piece by Ms. Henny Sender. Henny is a dead-pan, middle aged, US east-coast financial commentator who spends a lot of time with Private Capital. She says it like it is.
So what is Private Capital? Remember "Mergers and Acquisitions" in the 1980's? Same thing! They got a bad name for unemployment in the UK so they changed their name. Private Capital buy and sell companies. Henny's article is about them buying and selling banks. Sounds boring? Stick with me! I promise to get right to the point.
June 02, 2009
The Southern Bank / Banco del Sur (One more step)
Part one of a two part series Im writing about financial architectures for Latin America and the Caribbean. I intend to make this the basis for my thesis in the UBA in Regionalism/MERCOSUR. Part one is the simple piece part two is more for people who like economics. I hope you like it.
May 30, 2009
Copenhagen is the new Kyoto. Later this year in Copenhagen the political and economic agents of the planet will decide for you and your progeny what shall be done to prevent a violent change in the planet's weather systems from spiralling out of control. Yes the same people who brought you various world wars, nuclear weapons and genetically engineered food are now to be placidly trusted to save the planet. I think not! This one is too critical to just leave to the policymakers, this is literally the air that we breathe. Time to get personal, what do you think? Check out this excellent guide and pass it on ...
April 26, 2009
G-20 Reloaded & moving to the gold camp
This crisis is big, very big. Previous efforts have failed. Trillions of good dollars have been thrown after bad. The G-20 leaders announced in their communiqué that the "crisis […] has deepened since we last met." The communiqué describes their plans as "the largest fiscal and monetary stimulus and the most comprehensive support program for the financial sector in modern times." They "pledged to do whatever is necessary." They were "undertaking an unprecedented and concerted fiscal expansion […] that will, by the end of next year, amount to $5 trillion, raise output by 4%, and accelerate the transition to a green economy."
Lofty expectations indeed!
April 21, 2009
What the bees are telling us
The goodly folk at the New Economics Foundation at 3 Jonathan Street, London, have come out with a short book (20 pages or so) about supermarkets, food, oil, agriculture and especially apiculture (Beekeeping). It is a light read which encompasses much about why we need to change our consumption habits and is available for four pounds sterling or you can download it for free if you are poor like me. It is much recommended especially for those of you who live near the UK.
Posted by Tony Phillips at 04:12 PM
April 14, 2009
A handful of people who are involved in the Camp for Climate Action process in the UK have made a short newspaper which summarises discourse leading up to the UN Climate Talks in Copenhagen at the end of the year.
Posted by Tony Phillips at 03:11 PM
April 10, 2009
Letter to the Irish Times
Click on the Irish times logo below to see the original
(or buy the newspaper).
January 29, 2009
Back into Paraguay
Just a short note to tell you all that I shall be heading to Paraguay (the belly-button of the World). This time rather than going to Asunción (solely) for beer, politics and morochas; this time I shall be making a film on the Irish whore-queen of Paraguay Ms. Eliza Lynch. Ms. Lynch lived the first 10 years of her life in Ireland and many more in the dark kingdom of Paraguay surviving a war there that killed every male in Paraguay over the age of 13. If you have any contacts in Paraguay (especially historians) I would love to talk with them.
Wish me luck!
Posted by Tony Phillips at 09:48 PM
January 24, 2009
Shoot the Irish Bankers
A story The case for and against nationalising the banks from the Irish Times on January 24th, notes that it may be inevitable that the Irish government will nationalize the islands largest banks (Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank). For those of you interested in share prices they make the US S&P 500 Volatility Index (the VIX Index) seem stable, for example, the AIB share price went up 35% on Friday 23rd. January. Imagine your house did that. How stable would that make the housing market?
The same article also briefly notes that both the Irish and British states may be rated for their national debt in similar risk categories as those of the certain third world countries (and Im writing this from Argentina), noting (as an aside) that Great Britain may itself default, something that hasnt happened since the Middle Ages.
You think this credit derivatives problem is over? Read the fine print. I shall be coming out with a sequel called Plan "B"!.
Sorry folks but this has just begun (baton down the hatches because the stakes are getting higher and the ideas more interesting than will ever be printed in the Irish Times).
For those of you who like their news in video form; this interview with Nobel Prize winning economist Joey Stiglitz is most revealing.
If you like your video news whacky and maybe slighly less conventional then maybe take a look at TheModernMystic, a english chap living in Spain who could be as right as most economists. Here is his take on The Irish Problem .
December 31, 2008
Privatising Profits, Socialising Losses
December 13, 2008
UBA and the Depression
Two things of merit happened today. After three years I had my last class in the University of Buenos Aires where I hope to qualify with my thesis etc. as a Masters in Economics. The photo shows a few of us students in the Argentine province of Entre Rios on the Paraná river celebrating the end of one of the courses.
The second thing is that I have had my first financial analysis piece published by the Americas program. It dissect the Global Financial crisis and names a few names of those responsible. Hold onto your hats and click on the link below to read the story in English... Privatising Profits, Socialising Losses
October 24, 2008
(for an easier to read version see:
Densidad Regional /
Throwing Spaghetti to the Wall )
Monday October 13th the G7 finance ministers returned to their governments from the International Monetary Fund and Finance Committee (IMFC) meeting and photo-op at the US Treasury. The World's dailies all led with the same story of substantial gains on World stock markets, helping foment the hope that the "coordinated bailout" had worked. Could this eliminate the horrifying specter of 1930's-style economic depression by preventing financial collapse? Had confidence returned to refresh what John Maynard Keynes' called The Animal Spirits of capitalism?
September 01, 2008
Documentary: Judge Guzman's Investigations
June 19, 2008
Vulture Funds, The World Bank courts and Argentina Financial Collapse
Some multinational companies take over our natural resources, privatize basic services, fail to pay taxes and then, when they have no arguments in their defense, they go to the so-called ICSID. And then, in that World Bank tribunal, no country wins against the multinationals. So why do we need an ICSID where only the multinational companies can win?"
President Evo Morales of Bolivia.
December 21, 2007
Centre For Internation Policy
In the recent Bali consensus the U.S. government agreed to overall cutbacks and China, formerly exempt as a developing country, agreed to voluntary cut-backs. But how will Latin America affect climate change and be affected by it? Take a look at the major contributors in the region and the effects it is already feeling.
Tony Phillips is a researcher and journalist on trade and multinational finance with an emphasis on dictatorships and the WTO, and a translator and analyst for the Americas Policy Program at www.americaspolicy.org.
See full article online.