World economy

Another 900,000 file for unemployment, record jobless claims continue amid mass death from pandemic

By Jacob Crosse, 22 January 2021

Despite the urgent need for additional stimulus, reports indicate that another relief bill will not be passed until March.

Yellen takes aggressive stance on China in treasury secretary confirmation hearing

By Nick Beams, 21 January 2021

Yellen’s nomination seems assured, as she enjoys support from both the Republicans and Wall Street.

World Bank exposes economic and social impact of coronavirus in South Asia

By Saman Gunadasa, 21 January 2021

South Asian governments have responded to the pandemic by pumping money into big businesses and imposing the burden on the working masses.

China’s growth rate increase fuels geo-political tensions

By Nick Beams, 20 January 2021

The 6.5 percent growth in the fourth quarter indicates that the Chinese economy is expanding at a faster rate than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fed chief pledges massive support for Wall Street will not cease

By Nick Beams, 16 January 2021

In an interview on Thursday, Powell said there was “real sensitivity” among investors about asset purchases and the Fed did not talk about an “exit” because “markets are listening.”

Warning that Wall Street bubble may burst

By Nick Beams, 14 January 2021

Concerns are starting to be voiced that the orgy of speculation, literally feeding off the death and destruction of the pandemic because of the actions of the Fed, could end in a major crash.

Global food prices rise could spark social unrest, UN warns

By Jean Shaoul, 13 January 2021

Such is the anarchy of the market and the indifference of the financial oligarchs to anything other than their own interests that governments that have been able to do so have been shoring up their food supplies, setting in motion a ferocious national competition, adding to demand and fuelling price rises.

Staggering growth of super-rich in China

By Fu Hong, 13 January 2021

Some of China’s wealthiest capitalist entrepreneurs are members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), have been delegates to the National People’s Congress, or are members of the associated People's Political Consultative Conference.

Elon Musk becomes world’s richest person as pandemic death toll breaks records

By Jessica Goldstein and Tom Hall, 11 January 2021

Perhaps more than anyone else, Musk personifies the parasitic character of the corporate-financial oligarchy which dominates society.

Janet Yellen, Biden’s treasury nominee, received millions from Wall Street

By Nick Beams, 8 January 2021

The main source was in speaking fees, particularly from Wall Street banks, including $992,000 which Yellen received from the Citi investment bank for nine appearances.

World Bank report warns of extended downturn in global growth

By Nick Beams, 7 January 2021

Even on the World Bank’s most optimistic scenario, the level of global gross domestic product in 2021 is expected to be 5.3 percent below pre-pandemic projection, equivalent to a loss of output of $4.7 trillion.

Bitcoin hits new record as Wall Street mania continues

By Nick Beams, 5 January 2021

The latest rise in bitcoin has been fuelled, at least in part, by the fact that it is becoming more integrated into the global financial system amid rampant speculation that has lifted all financial assets.

Daily deaths near 1,000 as UK Parliament spends day ratifying Brexit treaty

By Robert Stevens, 31 December 2020

In a world far removed from this death and suffering, the parties of the ruling class were engaged in a day long ratification of the Brexit treaty agreed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government with the European Union.

Tens of thousands face eviction after Chinese rental company collapses

By Lily Zhao, 31 December 2020

Danke’s failure provides an insight into the far broader housing crisis in China confronting workers and young people, and exposes the profiteering and parasitic character of layers of capitalists in China.

Germany’s DAX stock index feasts upon mass death

By Johannes Stern, 31 December 2020

Amid the pandemic, the stock market bonanza means the super-rich have further increased their already astronomical fortunes.

The class dynamic of the massive Wall Street speculation

By Nick Beams, 30 December 2020

The year is ending amid the greatest economic contraction since the Great Depression of the 1930s, but Wall Street is finishing the year at a record high.

Pandemic profiteers: Forbes adds 50 health care moguls to its list of global billionaires

By Genevieve Leigh, 29 December 2020

In a new survey released just before Christmas, Forbes magazine reported that at least 50 health care capitalists had entered the ranks of the world’s billionaires in 2020.

Brexit deal paves way for further conflicts

By Robert Stevens, 29 December 2020

Ultimately, the deal does nothing other than set the short-term parameters for the ongoing conflict between the UK and the European Union.

US Federal Reserve backstops rising corporate debt mountain

By Nick Beams, 24 December 2020

US companies have borrowed a record $2.5 trillion in the bond market this year, taking debt leverage for investment grade companies to new record highs.

Fed gives banks green light to resume share buybacks

By Nick Beams, 21 December 2020

The decision is another expression of how the financial system operates as an institutionalised mechanism for siphoning wealth to the upper strata in the midst of the worst economic recession in the past-war period.

COVID outbreak and China tensions expose Australian government bid to claim “recovery”

By Mike Head, 21 December 2020

The government’s own statistics show that more than three million workers remain dependent on poverty-line JobKeeper wage subsidies or JobSeeker dole payments, both of which are being slashed.

Defaults raise concerns on financial markets over Chinese debt

By Nick Beams, 20 December 2020

The economic slowdown due to the coronavirus has intensified the debt problems of major Chinese enterprises, which have been building since the global financial crisis of 2008.

Canada’s pandemic wage subsidy: A slush fund for wealthy shareholders and corporate executives

By Omar Ali and Roger Jordan, 19 December 2020

The companies cited in the media exposés are not the corner stores, restaurants and other small businesses touted by the government as the beneficiaries of the wage subsidy during its rollout, but large, well-known corporations with huge revenues.

Fed commitment to financial stimulus measures becomes open-ended

By Nick Beams, 18 December 2020

During his press conference on the decision, Fed chairman Jerome Powell said the new guidance on asset purchases sent a “powerful message” about the central bank’s intentions.

European Central Bank increases stimulus but markets want more

By Nick Beams, 12 December 2020

ECB President Christine Lagarde told a press conference the economic weakness resulting from the pandemic was more protracted than previously envisaged.

EU Summit: billions for the banks, nothing for workers

By Peter Schwarz, 12 December 2020

The EU summit on December 10–11 resembled a besieged fortress, held in the midst of the European Union’s deepest social and economic crisis since its foundation.

Cleveland-Cliffs and US Steel announce major acquisitions

By Jessica Goldstein, 12 December 2020

Further consolidation and restructuring is taking place in the US steel industry in response to the crisis of the global steel industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

US Federal Trade Commission sues Facebook over monopolistic acquisitions and anticompetitive practices

By By Kevin Reed, 11 December 2020

The FTC, along with 48 US attorneys general, filed an antitrust lawsuit against the social media giant Facebook on Wednesday, seeking to split off its popular Instagram and WhatsApp properties and regulate the firm’s business practices.

Sri Lankan president calls on companies to exploit pandemic for cost-cutting

By Saman Gunadasa, 11 December 2020

Rajapakse’s speech underscores the necessity for the working class to undertake a political fight on a socialist program against this big business government.

Australian law rushed through to veto agreements with China

By Mike Head, 10 December 2020

The passage of the legislation marks another escalation in the Australian ruling elite’s alignment behind the US confrontation with Beijing, despite China being Australia’s largest export market.

Brexit negotiations: Johnson in eleventh-hour discussion with von der Leyen

By Thomas Scripps, 9 December 2020

In attempting to avoid a “no deal”, both the UK and the European Union are balancing their predatory interests against volatile domestic and international situations.

European Central Bank set to provide further market boost

By Nick Beams, 9 December 2020

Stimulus measures by the ECB are a vital component of the trillions of dollars poured into financial markets by the world’s central banks that have resulted in stock prices soaring to record highs.

Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank announce new round of job cuts

By Elisabeth Zimmerman, 7 December 2020

At a time when the German DAX index approaches a historic high of over 13,000 points with shareholders swimming in money, tens of thousands of white-collar and blue-collar workers are paying the price for this orgy of enrichment with their jobs and livelihoods.

Food prices, waste rise as food insecurity affects tens of millions in the US

By Alex Findijs, 7 December 2020

Supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic have forced farmers to destroy food and prices to rise while tens of millions of people struggle to put enough food on the table.

Thirteen thousand jobs threatened at UK’s Arcadia Group

By Jean Shaoul, 7 December 2020

Twenty-five thousand jobs are threatened with the collapse of Arcadia, which operates 500 retail chain stores and Debenhams which runs 124 stores.

Canadian government’s fiscal update intensifies criminal drive to keep “economy open” as pandemic rages

By Roger Jordan, 3 December 2020

On a day which saw over 6,100 new COVID-19 infections and 98 deaths, the Trudeau government announced no new measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Who is Biden’s top economic adviser Brian Deese?

By Jerry White, 2 December 2020

The executive from the giant investment firm BlackRock played a leading role in the destruction of autoworkers’ jobs and living standards during the 2009 restructuring of GM and Chrysler.

Rent debt “bomb” points to depth of social crisis in Australia

By Mike Head, 1 December 2020

Hundreds of thousands of working-class households could face eviction as temporary COVID-19 pandemic moratoriums end.

New IRS rule will push many US small businesses to the brink

By Jessica Goldstein, 28 November 2020

A new ruling by the Treasury Department will affect millions of small businesses that received a portion of the total $717 billion in relief funds from the US Small Business Administration through the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

What the rich are thankful for

By Andre Damon, 26 November 2020

Amid mass unemployment, hunger and death, America’s financial oligarchy is celebrating a bumper year.

World economy engulfed by “debt tsunami”

By Nick Beams, 21 November 2020

While the pandemic has played a major role, even before it struck the entire financial system and the global economy were becoming increasingly dependent on debt accumulation.

India’s unprecedented economic contraction deepens mass social misery

By Kranti Kumara, 20 November 2020

So meager are the earnings of India’s workers and toilers, three-quarters of the population in rural areas would not be able to afford the cheapest possible nutritious diet even if they spent all of their earnings on food.

Zambia defaults amid growing African debt crisis, intensified by pandemic

By Gabriel Black, 19 November 2020

As hundreds of millions of African workers and peasants face economic disaster and inadequate protection against COVID-19, African nations are expected to pay almost $500 billion by 2023 to avoid default.

Twelve million to lose unemployment benefits in December

By Jacob Crosse, 19 November 2020

Seeking to blackmail workers back into dangerous workplaces, Congress continues to ignore the plight of millions of unemployed people left without aid.

A revealing report on the mid-March financial crisis

By Nick Beams, 19 November 2020

The most significant feature of the crisis was that it struck at the very foundations of the global financial system—the $20 trillion US government bond market—as Treasuries were sold off.

New China-led trade bloc sets stage for further tensions with the US

By Peter Symonds, 17 November 2020

While relatively limited in scope, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a further blow to US ambitions for economic domination of the Asia-Pacific.

Turkish finance minister resigns amid a deepening crisis

By Barış Demir, 14 November 2020

The Turkish government and economy are drifting towards a deepening crisis amid a raging COVID-19 pandemic.

ECB to step up intervention as European banks face rise in non-performing loans

By Nick Beams, 13 November 2020

ECB president Christine Lagarde told a major conference that all sectors of the economy had to have confidence that financial conditions would remain “exceptionally favourable” for as long as needed.

UK’s Brexit conflict reignited by US election crisis

By Thomas Scripps, 12 November 2020

Biden is expected to return to America’s traditional approach of pushing its interests within the European Union.

Young people hit hard by UK jobs massacre

By Margot Miller, 11 November 2020

More than one in 10 people aged 16-25 have lost their jobs, and just under six in 10 have seen their earnings fall since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Wall Street and global stocks boosted by news of COVID-19 vaccine

By Nick Beams, 11 November 2020

The surge in the equity markets does not indicate any underlying strength in the economy but is more an expression of the highly speculative character of shifts by Wall Street investors.

Possible COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough makes measures to stop virus spread now more urgent

By Andre Damon, 10 November 2020

The announcement of progress on a COVID-19 vaccine makes all the more necessary urgent measures to stop the spread of the virus until the vaccine is widely available.

US jobless rates falls but long-term unemployment up sharply as millions remain out of work

By Shannon Jones, 7 November 2020

More than seven months since the start of the pandemic only about one half the 22 million jobs lost earlier in the year have been recovered as the upsurge of new COVID-19 cases is likely to hammer service and retail jobs.

Chinese government blocks Jack Ma’s major IPO

By Nick Beams, 5 November 2020

The decision to block the listing of Ma’s fintech company Ant, which would have been the biggest initial public offering in history, was clearly taken at the highest levels in Beijing

Australian billionaires celebrate skyrocketing wealth while pandemic forces workers into poverty

By Max Boddy, 5 November 2020

The combined fortunes of Australia’s richest 200 individual and families increased by a staggering $82 billion during the past year.

The fraud of IMF-World Bank “debt relief” for poor countries

By Nick Beams, 4 November 2020

Even where money is provided by the IMF, in many cases it is used not to finance health and other necessary measures, but to pay off private-sector lenders.

European Central Bank set to expand bond-buying program

By Nick Beams, 31 October 2020

ECB president Christine Lagarde has said the euro zone recovery is “losing momentum” amid a resurge of COVID-19 infections.

Large bonuses awarded to executives of bailed-out US companies

By Kevin Martinez, 31 October 2020

Major companies such as Hertz and JCPenney paid their executives millions in bonuses before filing for bankruptcy and cutting thousands of jobs during the pandemic.

Mass layoffs in the US as states face unprecedented budget crisis

By Shannon Jones, 31 October 2020

Walt Disney, Raytheon and Boeing were among the major corporations announcing huge job cuts this week as the total projected budget shortfall facing state governments has reached $434 billion.

As US smashes records for new coronavirus infections, Ford and Fiat Chrysler report blowout profits

By Shannon Jones, 30 October 2020

North American automakers built 4.1 million vehicles in the third quarter, the same number as last year.

Significant fall on Wall Street amid rising COVID-19 infections

By Nick Beams, 29 October 2020

The market sell-off has not been confined to Wall Street as Europe’s Stoxx 600 index closed down 3 percent, losing 6 per cent since the end of last week, and now at its lowest level since May.

WSWS coverage of political economy is scientific and therefore partisan

By Nick Beams, 29 October 2020

The WSWS approaches the myriad questions that arise from an analysis of what is called the “economy” on the basis of the historical materialist method elaborated by Karl Marx.

Modern Monetary Theory and the crisis of capitalism: Part two

The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People's Economy by Stephanie Kelton

By Nick Beams, 26 October 2020

Modern Monetary Theory is the latest in a long line of attempts by “left” theorists to maintain that capitalism can be made to work for society if only outmoded thinking about the monetary system is abandoned.

Modern Monetary Theory and the crisis of capitalism: Part one

The Deficit Myth by Stephanie Kelton

By Nick Beams, 24 October 2020

Modern Monetary Theory is the latest in a long line of attempts by “left” theorists to maintain that capitalism can be made to work for society if only outmoded thinking about the monetary system is abandoned.

Catastrophic job losses continue in the US as nearly 800,000 new unemployment claims reported

By Jacob Crosse, 23 October 2020

Over 65 million claims have been filed since mid-March as state and federal assistance expires for millions.

Goldman Sachs fined $2.9 billion over role in 1MDB corruption case

By Nick Beams, 23 October 2020

The case involved the embezzlement of billions of dollars from the 1MDB fund, including by two Goldman bankers.

Europe on course for double-dip recession

By Nick Beams, 21 October 2020

The IMF’s forecast for a global recovery in 2021 is looking increasingly shaky in the face of a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Johnson calls off Brexit negotiations following EU summit deadlock

By Thomas Scripps, 17 October 2020

Brexit is a nodal point of interlocking domestic crises confronted by the UK, the EU states, and the United States, and of rising geopolitical tensions between them all.

Nearly 900,000 new jobless claims in US as benefit cutoffs lead to spike in poverty

By Shannon Jones, 16 October 2020

New unemployment claims reached 898,000 last week as researchers report that the cutoff of federal supplemental unemployment benefits has fueled a surge in poverty.

IMF reports on global economy: Political conclusions

By Nick Beams, 16 October 2020

The IMF has forecast that the cumulative loss of global output compared to the pre-pandemic path will to grow from $11 trillion in 2020–21 to $28 trillion in the period 2020–2025.

Hefty profits for top US banks as millions face social disaster

By Shannon Jones, 14 October 2020

As long-term unemployment rises, major Wall Street Banks JP Morgan and Citigroup have reported booming third quarter profits.

Michigan Supreme Court overturns governor’s executive orders on COVID-19 pandemic

Benefits for hundreds of thousands of jobless workers in jeopardy

By James Brookfield, 14 October 2020

The rulings coincide with the demands of the ruling elite that workers return to work under dangerous conditions so that profitability can be restored.

IMF report points to ongoing plunge in world economy

By Nick Beams, 14 October 2020

The IMF said the “scarring” effects of the pandemic would compound forces that dragged down productivity growth across many economies in the years leading up to it.

Richest 50 Americans now have as much wealth as bottom 165 million

By Gabriel Black, 10 October 2020

Data from the Federal Reserve demonstrates that the pandemic has accelerated trends toward social inequality in the United States.

Australian budget based on shaky foundations

By Nick Beams, 10 October 2020

One of the key assumptions of the Australian budget is that an effective COVID-19 vaccine will be developed and available to the population by the end of 2021.

Fed officials warn of “recessionary dynamic” setting in

By Nick Beams, 9 October 2020

The overriding concern of the Fed is that unless more stimulus is provided the measures it has taken to bailout Wall Street, amounting to trillions of dollars, will not be sufficient.

IMF issues debt warning

By Nick Beams, 5 October 2020

More than half of low-income countries and several emerging market economies face the high risk of a crisis amid “alarming” increases in debt levels.

Drop in September job growth shows slowdown in US recovery

By Kevin Reed, 3 October 2020

The September employment report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the economic recovery—largely based on the CARES Act infusion of government money into Wall Street and corporate America—is stalling, as millions of workers remain unemployed and a new round of corporate layoffs is being carried out.

Australian budget to slash taxes for the rich while hitting workers

By Mike Head, 3 October 2020

While mounting a further assault on working-class conditions, this is a crisis budget like no other in living memory.

The pandemic Depression: Bailed-out US airlines slash tens of thousands of jobs

By Genevieve Leigh, 2 October 2020

Millions of workers are being forced to choose between putting themselves at risk of catching the deadly virus and putting food on the table for their families.

Cleveland-Cliffs announces takeover of ArcelorMittal’s US operations

By Jessica Goldstein, 2 October 2020

The announced deal will position Cleveland-Cliffs as the top producer of flat-rolled steel and iron ore pellet in North America and intensify the restructuring of the global steel industry.

Bailed-out US airlines escalate attack on jobs

By Jacob Crosse, 1 October 2020

After receiving billions in grants, no-interest loans and Fed bond purchases through the bipartisan CARES Act, major US airlines and aerospace companies are moving forward with tens of thousands of layoffs.

JPMorgan pays $920 million settlement over illegal trades

By Nick Beams, 1 October 2020

The bank’s traders illegally manipulated metal and Treasury futures market in thousands of trades in a practice known as spoofing.

US hits leading Chinese chip maker

By Nick Beams, 28 September 2020

The latest decision instigated by the Pentagon is aimed at crippling China’s ability to make high-tech advances.

White House nears antitrust lawsuit against Google while advancing new censorship rules for social media

By Kevin Reed, 26 September 2020

Any antitrust action against Google by the US government, whether focused on the search or advertising aspects of the tech firm’s business, has nothing to do with stopping anti-competitive practices or protecting the rights of consumers.

Australian government boosts bank profits as social misery deepens

By Mike Head, 26 September 2020

The lending law changes would see a return to the predatory policies that saw the impoverishment of thousands of households, small businesses and family farmers.

Former Australian PM Paul Keating lashes central bank

By Nick Beams, 26 September 2020

Keating’s overriding concern is the explosive social and political consequences of rising unemployment resulting from the deepening crisis of the capitalist economy.

Social distress mounts in the US as new weekly jobless claims rise to 870,000

By Shannon Jones, 25 September 2020

The number of active unemployment claims, 24.1 million in total, far surpasses anything seen during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

Study finds 90 percent of Americans would make 67 percent more without last four decades of increasing income inequality

By Gabriel Black, 25 September 2020

The study from the RAND Corporation provides new data on the incredible shift of income from the bottom 90 percent of the population to the top 10 percent.

Fed officials push for new corporate stimulus package

By Nick Beams, 25 September 2020

Fed chair Jerome Powell said that while there had been some recovery, employment and overall activity remained well below pre-pandemic levels, and the future was “highly uncertain.”

Huge tax cuts for the wealthy trigger nervousness in Australian ruling elite

By Mike Head, 24 September 2020

The October 6 budget will give a dual-income household on $400,000 an annual tax cut of $23,280, while millions of people will have their JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments slashed.

Global banking system a network of criminality

By Nick Beams, 23 September 2020

The notification of suspicious activity that banks are required to file with the US government is not a means of preventing crime, but of facilitating it.

Report documents criminality and corruption at heart of global banking system

By Barry Grey, 22 September 2020

The report documents the role that major banks knowingly play in laundering trillions of dollars in dirty money from terrorist organizations, drug cartels and assorted international financial criminals.

Wall Street demands still more Fed money

By Nick Beams, 19 September 2020

The US Federal Reserve’s decision to keep interest rates at virtually zero, for as far as the eye can see, has been deemed insufficient.

Australia: Ovato printing company demands more cuts to jobs and conditions

By Noel Holt, 19 September 2020

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has “bent over backwards” to assist Ovato restructure its operations.

Historic US job losses continue with another 860,000 unemployment claims

By Jacob Crosse, 18 September 2020

Over 61 million unemployment claims have been filed in the last 6 months, with the pandemic plunging the country into a protracted economic crisis not seen since the Great Depression.

US Democrats warn UK Tories no trade deal if Good Friday Agreement threatened by hard Brexit

By Robert Stevens, 18 September 2020

Whatever the parliamentary arithmetic, Johnson is carrying out measures that can only deepen geopolitical fault lines.

Fed toes the line on Wall Street’s demands

By Nick Beams, 17 September 2020

The most commonly used phrase by Fed chair Jerome Powell at his press conference was “very strong forward guidance” in a message to Wall Street that the central bank was giving the commitments it has demanded.

Trump’s China tariffs ruled illegal by World Trade Organisation

By Nick Beams, 17 September 2020

The WTO decision will not see any relaxation of the US trade war against China but rather its intensification.

As Congress rejects renewal of unemployment benefits

US jobless claims top 884,000 for second week in a row

By Jacob Crosse, 12 September 2020

With no congressional relief in sight, millions of workers are seeing meager unemployment benefits expire while layoffs continue to mount.