Why Our Economy is Struggling

Review of Robert Reich’s 2013 Documentary “Inequality for All” – Part 1 of 4

“You can’t step twice into the same river” (Heraclitus, ancient Greek philosopher)

“Inequality for All” (available on YouTube) is an auto-biography {at one point literally :-)} of the life and career of economist Robert Reich along with Reich’s take on the rise and decline of ‘income inequality’ in the US over the past 100 years

Early on we see TV commentator, Jon Stewart quipping that the US ranks as the 64th highest country in terms of ‘economic fairness’—we’re just under Cameroon and above Uruguay, Jamaica, and Uganda. Robert Reich adds: Of all the developed countries in the world, the US has the most income inequality. Continue reading →

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Word of The Day: Ramping

Ramping—what it means for financial-crime prosecutions….


A number of financial sector frauds are now being reported in the news.

Notable is the arrest of the HSBC executive in charge of global forex cash trading, and an outstanding warrant for a former executive at that bank.

Forex is short for foreign exchange of currencies. This is the biggest of the global financial markets. Trading in the forex market averages 5.3 trillion dollars per day!

HSBC is a British bank, one of the largest investment banks in the world, headquartered in London. Prior to the Financial Crisis of 2008, HSBC was a leader in bank transfers.

This was back in the day when bank transfers weren’t as easy to do as now. HSBC acted as an intermediary, transferring a depositor’s money from one bank or credit union into its own bank and then on to another bank or credit union.

Forex is a similar operation. An intermediary bank accomplishes a transfer of one party’s currency into a different currency that is used by another country.

Usually forex transactions are a matter of exchanging smaller countries’ currency for the big five global currencies; the US dollar, EURO, Yen, British pound, or Swiss Franc.

For business transactions, forex facilitates trade between two or more parties operating in different country currencies.

International businesses; big investors called “money-market traders”; and tourists, all depend heavily on the forex market to “get to where they’re trying to go” financially or in person.

HSBC investigated the alleged fraud, a $3.5 billion purchase of sterling in 2011 for the Cairn Energy PLC, one of Europe’s leading independent oil and gas exploration and development companies, and found no breach of HSBC’s own code of conduct.

However, after the Financial Crisis of 2008 turned over a lot of financial rocks and slimy beings scurried out into the light, HSBC was alleged to have been involved in several kinds of shady dealings. Continue reading →

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Supercapitalism by Robert Reich – A Review

Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts who engineered the creation of The Consumer Protection Bureau recently gave a speech that “slams Uber and Lyft”.

The Financial Times commented that, “Warren, a liberal firebrand, accused them [Uber and Lyft] of undermining economic security.”

What gives? Shouldn’t Elizabeth Warren, US Senator, a progressive, the one who gave birth to the new US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), be on the side of lower prices for consumers?

Robert Reich’s 2007 book, Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life, suggests why the answer to this question is “no”!

The main theme of economist Reich’s book is that consumers and investors are dominating politics while workers and government are lagging way behind in political influence.

As a result, while cheaper goods are nice for shoppers, there is a price to be paid for those things. Workers wind up with increasingly low wages and government loses out because it collects less taxes from low-wage earners. Continue reading →

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