Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The "economics" of force and fraud

As someone who has been preaching that the most useful way to understand modern economies is to examine the difference between Producers and Predators, it is always good to see that someone else has come to largely the same conclusion through by a different path.  In this case, the man's name is Mike Norman who runs an interesting blog that occasionally sends me readers.  Here he describes Predator finance capitalism in a way that could have come straight out of Elegant Technology yet his blog does not exist to promote an engineering / Producer alternative.  In fact he markets lessons in Forex Trading.

The pattern is clear. It's a simple model, but the predator finance capitalist model is devastatingly effective.

Mike Norman March 6, 2014

The pattern is clear. America's predator finance capitalists, who are clearly in control, run roughshod over the global economy with nothing stopping them.

Their model is simple: First, lever nations up with debt by using schemes that involve massive control fraud, then force them to the brink of bankruptcy and then offer to "save" them with "bailouts" via central banks or the IMF or World Bank, in exchange for brutal austerity. This destroys labor bargaining power and income, it also necessitates asset liquidations at fire sale prices.

That's when the predators swoop in to buy up these assets at pennies on the dollar and begin imposing fees for the use of the very same assets that once belonged to the people, which by the way, were paid for many times over as a result of taxes collected. In effect the new owners, the finance capitalists, impose a new tax for an asset that we the people once owned free and clear.

Now for the loans. Of course the loans are such that they can never be paid off because their terms are so onerous. This ensures that the austerity never stops because the threat of bankruptcy is always there. Only when the body of the victims have been sucked dry of every possible remaining asset do the predators discard the wretched carcass, but before they do, they take whatever is left of the pensions of the public workers. Then they look for a new victim and repeat, all the time aided by the law enforcement and military apparatus of the United States, which is unchallengeable.

I may have left some things out, like a corrupted academe (economics profession, certain universities i.e. Harvard, Stanford, U. of Chi.), which enables these frauds and thefts thanks to bogus research (Reinhart & Rogoff stuff), a cowardly and unsrupulous media that will do or say anything for ad dollars and a dumbed down citizenry.

But you get the picture. more
And here we see some of the casualties of Predatory capitalism trying to sue their tormentors.  In this case, the villian is none other than Mitt Romney's Bain Capital,  Mitt's dad was an automobile executive and actually had a few Producer Class characteristics.  Not enough of them, however, because the company he ran, American Motors, is no more and I know absolutely no one who mourned its passage.  It's a lot harder to be a Producer so Mitt decided to be a thief.  Not surprisingly, he has made a lot more money than his dad.  Also not surprisingly, he has a lot more enemies—thieves tend to be hated, after all.

Axed French workers take on US giant Bain Capital

Text by Thomas HUBERT  2014-03-04

Around 20 French former employees of the luggage manufacturer Samsonite are travelling to the US to defend their case against Bain Capital, a former owner of their company, in what French media have labelled "a struggle between David and Goliath".

The trial pitting Samsonite’s laid-off workers against the private equity fund founded by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is due before a federal court in Boston on Wednesday March 5, 2014.

“For seven years, we have said that we would not give up our fight until the last person responsible for destroying our jobs was prosecuted,” Brigitte Petit, a former employee of the Samsonite factory in the French northern town of Hénin-Beaumont, told FRANCE 24 on Tuesday.

Bain Capital Private Equity acquired the troubled luggage manufacturer in 2003. Two years later, the firm sold its only French factory for one euro to EnergyPlast, which pledged to use the factory to produce solar panels. In 2007, the new owners filed for bankruptcy. The 205 staff members' redundancy packages had to be paid with taxpayers' money.

French courts have since convicted the management of EnergyPlast of organising their fraudulent bankruptcy. In 2012, a Paris appeals court sent three French managers to prison and sentenced them to paying back 2.5 million euros they had illegally siphoned off from the company.

Yet the dismissed workers failed to secure a wider case against Bain Capital in France and took their grievances to the courts of the Boston-based fund’s home jurisdiction.

Filmmaker Hélène Desplanques made a documentary about the case in 2012, "Liquidation totale".

“Abusive” redundancies

“From the very beginning, the shareholders plotted those abusive dismissals,” said Brigitte Petit, who now chairs AC Samsonite, a group defending the laid-off workers. “They came in for three years to make a profit without any consideration for people’s jobs,” she added from the transit area of Dublin airport.

In addition to grants from local authorities, AC Samsonite has raised 16,000 euros from the public through “Christmas market sales” and private donations to fund its representatives’ trip to Boston. Petit said her former colleagues could not have paid for it themselves: “Very few have found permanent jobs, most are part-timers. There aren’t that many factories left in our region.”

The employees’ lawyer, Fiodor Rilov, told "Le Monde" newspaper that “Bain Capital orchestrated a manipulation to get rid of the Hénin-Beaumont factory by precipitating its bankruptcy”. By selling off its French subsidiary for one euro, the complainants argue that the shareholder made undue savings on redundancy packages and other disposal costs. Rilov says this helped Bain make a $1.7 billion profit on its holding in Samsonite when it sold on the company in 2007.

Although Bain Capital has not answered questions from FRANCE 24 or other media on the case, its website states that “Bain Capital’s investment paid down all term debt, leaving [Samsonite] with significantly less leverage, limited financial covenants and a patient capital structure under which to implement change.”

“Under Bain Capital’s ownership, the company grew revenue strongly and increased profitability,” the website adds. more
The real downside to everyone trying to get rich being a Predator is that eventually, there are not enough Producers left to keep the trade balance from getting seriously out of whack.  And sure enough, since open warfare was declared on the Producing Classes in the 1970s here in USA, the merchandise trade deficit has been freaky, scary bad.  The geniuses in the economics profession have responded by studiously ignoring it.  They think the budget deficit is MUCH more serious.  They are wrong!

Enormous, Humongous Trade Deficit Hits Manufacturing Jobs Hard

by Dave Johnson | March 8, 2014

The January trade deficit report is out, along with the February jobs report. The trade deficit is up, and as a result manufacturing jobs aren’t doing all that well. That’s because a trade deficit means that jobs move out of the country. People should be afraid of the trade deficit, not the budget deficit.

Trade Deficit

The U.S. international goods and services trade deficit was $39.1 billion in January, up from $39.0 billion in December. Imagine if companies that make and do things in the U.S.had received an additional $39.1 billion in orders in January. Imagine the new hires at factories and businesses and their suppliers, and then at stores and businesses where those new hires are located, and their suppliers, etc. That is what balanced trade would have meant.

Our goods trade deficit with China alone rose to $27.8 billion in January, up from $24.5 billion in December. China manipulates its currency to lower the world price of things made there. A recent report on the effect of currency manipulation estimated that acting to end currency manipulation would add 5.8 million jobs inside the U.S..

Manufacturing Jobs

The U.S. manufacturing sector added 6,000 jobs in February. But December and January’s manufacturing jobs numbers were revised downward. So President Obama’s goal of adding 1 million manufacturing jobs during his second term is falling far short; the U.S. economy has only added 100,000 manufacturing jobs since President Obama started his second term.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing’s AAMeter is keeping track of President Obama’s goal of adding 1 million new manufacturing jobs. It says the current Jobs Number is + 100,000, so 28,125 manufacturing jobs must be added each month to reach that goal. January was +6,000.

Action Needed

Our government does not take action to end currency manipulation, balance trade, or initiate other steps that would bring millions of jobs and thousands of factories back to the U.S. Ask your elected officials why not. Ask candidates for office what they would do to fix this trade deficit. more

No comments:

Post a Comment