European Sovereign Debt Crisis - How Did This Happen?

piigsWith Spain now getting a bail out all to pump up their insolvent banks, one might wonder how did we get here in the first place?

We actually are on the precipice, with a key critical Geek vote on whether or not they will default on their international bail out. Sitting on the edge of a cliff, a review of the European sovereign debt crisis and how we got here is at hand.

What the hell happened is complicated. Greece is not the same as Ireland, nor is Spain the same as Greece. Ireland's sovereign debt crisis was the direct result of their financial crisis. Greece, on the other hand, had long standing structural problems with their economy. Nor are their economies the same although treating them as such originally was part of the problem.

The St. Louis Federal Reserve Research Director Christopher Waller gave a presentation on the the European Debt Crisis. The entire May 8th, 2012 lecture is below. The focus is on debt to GDP ratios, the European Union and interest rates for sovereign bonds. We learn about the European Union's major financial structural problems versus how exactly the debt happened. There are plenty of specifics and this lecture is concise, accurate in it's scope. If you don't understand European Sovereign Debt fundamentals, watch this lecture in full and you will.

China Gears Up to Repress Their People

China really doesn't like the Populist uprisings in the Middle East. Today a state run newspaper blasted the protests:

A Chinese Communist Party-run newspaper on Saturday attacked anti-government protest movements in the Middle East and dismissed the possibility of something similar happening in China.

Such movements have brought nothing but chaos and misery to their countries' citizens and are engineered by a small number of people using the Internet to organize illegal meetings, the Beijing Daily, published by the city's party committee, said in a front-page editorial.

"The vast majority of the people are strongly dissatisfied (with the protests), so the performance by the minority becomes a self-delusional ruckus," the newspaper said.

The editorial appeared amid anonymous calls posted on the Internet for Middle East-inspired protests in dozens of Chinese cities the past two Sunday afternoons.

While drawing few outright demonstrators, the appeals have deeply unnerved authorities constantly on guard for any sign of challenges to Communist rule. Police and security agents shooed away onlookers and assaulted and detained journalists who turned up at the designated protest sites in Beijing and Shanghai.

Gaddafi Regime Collapses - People Hold Line Despite Brutal Attacks

By Michael Collins
The outlook for Libya’s economy remains favorable.
International Monetary Fund, February 15, 2011

Libya is a nepotistic cult focused on Muammar al-Gaddafi, his family, and friends. The erratic and eccentric leader, known as the Guide of the Revolution, has ruled since he helped lead a military coup against King Idris in 1969. He developed his own style of Arab revolution outlined in The Green Book. Of interest, the title of the first section is, The Solution of the Problem of Democracy: 'The Authority of the People'. (Click here for updates on Google Maps)

Gaddafi has felt the heat of that authority since February 17 when large protests began all over Libya.. Despite a ruthless security apparatus, Libyans had simply had enough. Reports now have the anti regime forces in control of the nation's second largest city, Benghazi.

Update 2/23, 2:35 pm EDT - IMF Changes Stand on Dictators

Egyptians Revolt - Rubin's Folly and Labor Arbitrage

By Numerian

The forces of globalization are increasingly and in surprising places and ways under attack. Globalization did not happen by accident; it was the result of policies put in place by people with a particular agenda.

Matt Stoller, a former policy advisor to Rep. Alan Grayson, has posted this morning his insights into the Egyptian Revolution – insights that are quite different from the usual take on these events. They can be found here at the Naked Capitalism blog managed by Yves Smith.

Stoller dismisses the fanciful praise of social networks as a driving force behind the revolution – a story the mainstream media are plugging rigorously. He focuses instead on the participation of young men and women who labor anonymously in the new cheap-labor factory mills set up in Egypt under the direction of Gamal Mubarak, the president’s son and anointed successor. These are the workers who organized the first protests – who responded at great risk to the call for demonstrations, who continued to occupy Tahrir Square despite the provocations from the government, and whose focus on civil liberties was motivated by the repressive police tactics used by the government to enforce the discipline demanded by the mostly-foreign corporations that run the labor mills.

Forces Behind the Egyptian Revolution

By Michael Collins


(Washington, DC) Two critical forces behind the Egyptian Revolution are missing from the front pages, or any pages, of the corporate media. They are the critical role of Egypt's union movement and the universal desire of all people to live in peace, freedom and dignity. Rarely mentioned are the grievances of Egypt's workers and their struggle to unionize. As a result, we've missed the connection between the struggle to unionize and the right to assemble.

The Egyptian people were poised for a mass celebration following what was supposed to be a farewell speech by former President Hosni Mubarak. For seventeen days, Egyptians massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square. There were protests in Alexandria, Port Suez, and other cities. The G-20 sates have been tentative in their support for the full set of demands by protesters and the broader Egyptian public. For example, President Barack Obama said Mubarak needed a, "credible, concrete and unequivocal path to democracy." What does a "path to democracy" look like? How long does it take to walk the path? Egypt's military leaders may have acted already.

Plus an extended comment on Iran's demonstrations

Egypt and the False Dilemma - Decline and Fall (Maybe) Jan 31

By Michael Collins

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Image: Cairo, January 2011

The people of Egypt have had enough of a failed dictatorship masquerading as a democracy. As events unfold, we're seeing a cautionary message entering the corporate media coverage of this event. Having never exposed the dire conditions that prompted the massive protests and demands for change, we're now told that this could negatively impact oil supplies, the stock market, and anti-terror efforts. No foundation for the claims was provided but they're repeated regularly on CNN, the NBC's, Fox, and the print media.

Thus, a false dilemma is created for the public: support the right of people to determine their own fate or protect your safety and the current standard of living, as it were.