April 26, 2009

G-20 Reloaded & moving to the gold camp

G-20 Reloaded, by Tony Phillips

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!

Posted by Tony Phillips at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Click for copy if you are interested

Posted by Tony Phillips at 04:12 PM

April 14, 2009

Climate Camping

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.

Click for copy of climate camping newspaper

    Among other things, the newspaper looks at:
  1. problems with the cop process
  2. why carbon trading is really bad
  3. why there will probably be a bad result from the process as why people should be prepared for that and use it as a launch pad for more climate justice focussed activities
  4. why people should go and be involved in the networking opportunities for global climate justice movement, but also why people might also want to stat at home and do stuff
  5. examples of more effective means of addressing climate change outside of the cop process
  6. examples of other instances of protests and manifestations during previous cops
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).


Madam, — As a non-resident Irish citizen living in Argentina it is rare that I voice an opinion on the Irish economy. While economic policy affects my family in Dublin directly, it has little effect on me personally. However, as an economist specialising in international finance, I would like to point out that Brian Lenihan’s plans to place the public sector in massive international debt to rescue speculative investments at home has a precedent here in Argentina.

It also has its effects, and these go on for decades. I have published studies on the nationalisation of private debt in 1982 and 1983 toward the end of the Argentine dictatorship. The junta used taxpayer money to pay off private debts owed by resident national and multinational corporations.

While the amounts, by any measure, were nowhere near as large as those proposed by Mr Lenihan, the measure was resisted.

Unfortunately, dictatorial control over the population kept its critics silent. The debt was taken on by the state and the Argentine people are still paying the cost in interest on debt payments. None of the benefits accrued by the corporations and their shareholders have ever been paid back.

No economic theory can commit a population of just over four million people to possible public debt obligations of over $100 billion (plus interest) especially as the world economy plunges into depression.

Like my family, many of your readers have a vote in Ireland. Unlike the Argentine population their voices can be heard and they can instruct the Irish Government to reject this plan now, before it is too late. It is not my place to suggest an alternate plan; this is a difficult nut to crack. But to submit the Irish people to decades of repayments is simply not feasible. Irish economists need to return to the drawing board, even if it means that their acquaintances in the building sector might feel the pinch. – Yours, etc,


Masters Programme in Economics,
Buenos Aires University,

Posted by Tony Phillips at 08:59 PM | Comments (3)