Entries Tagged 'Banks' ↓

Goldman’s Greek and Malaysian Deals

If you haven’t read Robert Reich’s explanation in the July issue of The Nation of how Goldman Sachs engineered Greece’s downfall you really ought to take a look. And please note this isn’t the only country in the world in which Goldman Sachs has become a persona non grata.

Reich’s allegations regarding Greece

Goldman Sachs came to the rescue, arranging a secret loan of 2.8 billion euros for Greece, disguised as an off-the-books “cross-currency swap”—a complicated transaction in which Greece’s foreign-currency debt was converted into a domestic-currency obligation using a fictitious market exchange rate.

As a result, about 2 percent of Greece’s debt magically disappeared from its national accounts.

The consequences were severe:

By 2005, Greece owed almost double what it had put into the deal, pushing its off-the-books debt from 2.8 billion euros to 5.1 billion.

Continue reading →

Bookmark and Share

Evil Back Upon Itself Recoils

The eurozone is playing a dangerous game with Greece. Officials are treating the Greek crisis of payments as a liquidity problem. And that’s true as far as it goes. But Milton’s famous line from Paradise Lost in the title of this post may still be true for Europe

Greece nearly couldn’t pay its debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week. Greece was able to pay the IMF only by withdrawing its own emergency funds left on deposit at the IMF. Obviously the IMF gained nothing from having Greeks withdraw money they had deposited in the IMF in order to pay the IMF.

Nevertheless, eurozone officials and financial reporters keep referring to Greece’s problem as a payment-on-time problem. That kind of problem is indeed what set off the toppling of the US financial system at the start of the Financial Crisis of 2007.

But it isn’t the same with a sovereign nation like Greece. Continue reading →

Bookmark and Share

What’s Really Wrong with Speculation?

The word “speculator” has often been conflated with “entrepreneur,” and both of them tarred with the brush of “con men”.

However, there is a good connotation for entrepreneurs. They are viewed as risk-takes who create new products and businesses. Speculators are seen as risk-takers solely out to make money. But is speculation really a bad thing?

How do economists view speculators? Here’s how one economist sees them. Continue reading →

Bookmark and Share