World Economy

Fiction and reality: The Italian Five-Star Movement’s citizen income scheme

By Marianne Arens, 22 March 2019

The “reddito di cittadinanza” (citizen income) is a vanity project of the co-governing Five-Star Movement that will not change Italy’s stark social inequality.

French public sector strikes; further protests in Algeria; union ends wage strike at South Africa’s Sibanye Gold without an agreement

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

22 March 2019

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

A tirade against China at US Senate committee hearing

By Nick Beams, 14 March 2019

The questioning of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer centred almost exclusively on the content and progress of trade talks with Beijing.

New York Times lines up with anti-China hawks

By Nick Beams, 12 March 2019

The key US demand is that China must make “structural” changes to its economy, including abandoning state subsidies to major industries.

US “retail apocalypse” expected to exceed annual high with more than 1,100 store closures announced in one day

By Trévon Austin, 9 March 2019

More than 6,300 stores are already set to close in 2019 already surpassing the total number of closures last year.

European Central Bank announces major policy reversal

By Nick Beams, 8 March 2019

The decision by the ECB came as a result of what President Marion Draghi characterised as “substantial” downward revision of growth estimates for the region.

US-China trade deal reported to be in the making

By Nick Beams, 5 March 2019

The Trump negotiators are insisting that the US retain the right to impose tariffs if it considers a deal has been abrogated and China should not impose any retaliatory measures.

Canada gives go-ahead for Huawei executive’s extradition to US

By Nick Beams, 2 March 2019

A statement from Meng’s defence lawyers objected to the Canadian decision in the face of what it called “the political nature of the US charges.”

British retail sector continues shedding thousands of jobs

By Simon Whelan, 2 March 2019

Some 19,000 high street jobs have been lost or put at risk in the two months since Christmas.

Enforcement and technology key issues in China trade deal, Lighthizer tells US Congress

By Nick Beams, 1 March 2019

The US Trade Representative made it clear the fundamental question is “structural reforms” in the Chinese economy.

Despite talk of “progress” in trade negotiations

Deep divisions remain between US and China

By Nick Beams, 26 February 2019

The key point in US demands on any agreement is that China opposes a unilateral decision on compliance by Washington, insisting it must be determined by a joint evaluation.

Trump announces delay in China tariff deadline

By Nick Beams, 25 February 2019

Trump said that if “additional progress” were made in the negotiations, he would plan a summit meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping.

Further blows to US anti-Huawei campaign

By Nick Beams, 23 February 2019

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the German government is “leaning towards letting Huawei … participate in building the nation’s high-speech internet infrastructure.”

No agreement on US-China trade with talks to continue

By Nick Beams, 16 February 2019

The next round will be virtually the last chance to reach a formal agreement before March 1, after which the US will increase tariffs—from 10 to 25 percent—on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Wealth concentration increases in US and globally

By Nick Beams, 15 February 2019

The top 1 percent in the US now owns about 40 percent of household wealth, increasing its share by at least 10 percentage points since 1989.

Worsening slump and inequality fuel social tensions in Australia

By Mike Head, 13 February 2019

Growing signs of a global downturn and a domestic slump saw Australia’s central bank suddenly reverse course on interest rates.

As China-US trade deadline nears

Global economic war intensifies

By Nick Beams, 12 February 2019

Prospects for a US-China trade deal took a blow last Thursday when US President Donald Trump ruled out a meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping before the expiration of a March 1 deadline.

US-China trade talks to resume as deadline nears

By Nick Beams, 8 February 2019

While the Trump administration put a degree of positive “spin” on last month’s discussions, little progress has been reported on the key US demands.

No deal reached at US-China trade meeting

By Nick Beams, 2 February 2019

A statement issued by the White House at the conclusion of the discussions said Trump had reiterated that the US will increase tariffs unless an outcome is reached.

The Fed’s interest rate U-turn: Some economic and political conclusions

By Nick Beams, 2 February 2019

The financial elites on Wall Street, addicted to the supply of ultra-cheap money as they appropriate the wealth produced by the labour of billions of workers, dictate economic policy.

IMF to resume Sri Lankan loan program discussions

By Saman Gunadasa, 31 January 2019

The Sri Lankan government has assured the IMF of its commitment to “strong” austerity measures.

US and China still miles apart as trade talks are set to begin

By Nick Beams, 29 January 2019

The US is demanding China scrap its program for future economic development by implementing so-called “structural” changes.

In broadside against China, White House levels criminal charges against Huawei

By Andre Damon, 29 January 2019

The move marks a major escalation of the United States’ economic, geopolitical and military offensive against China.

Davos overshadowed by crisis and social upheaval

By Nick Beams, 25 January 2019

The decision to hand the keynote address to the newly installed fascistic president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, demonstrated the political orientation of the global elites at Davos.

China-US rifts widen on eve of trade talks

By Nick Beams, 24 January 2019

The top-level meeting will be crucial in determining whether the US proceeds to impose a 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods when the March 1 deadline for negotiations expires.

As global elites gather at Davos

Oxfam: 26 billionaires control as much wealth as poorest half of humanity

By Nick Beams, 22 January 2019

The UK-based charity Oxfam International has reported that the wealth of the world’s billionaires grew by $900 billion last year, a rise of 12 percent, while 3.8 billion people—half the world’s population—saw their wealth decline by 11 percent.

China records lowest growth rate since 1990

By Nick Beams, 22 January 2019

National Bureau of Statistics head Ning Jizhe said the economy faced “downward pressure” and pointed to a “complicated and severe external environment” resulting from the US trade war.

Auto jobs massacre widens

Tesla, Nissan announce mass layoffs, Fiat Chrysler jobs threatened

By Marcus Day, 19 January 2019

The auto giants are seeking to terrorize an increasingly insurgent workforce into submission, as the companies confront slumping sales, a looming economic crisis and significant financial pressures.

Canada ramps up anti-China campaign as US threatens action against Huawei

By Roger Jordan, 19 January 2019

The Canadian government feels it can act so provocatively because its demonization of China is part of a broader offensive against Beijing led by US imperialism.

“Made in China 2025” at centre of US-China economic war

By Gabriel Black, 19 January 2019

The US regards the “Made in China 2025” initiative as a major threat to its own global economic and strategic domination.

Report to Davos meeting points to deepening contradictions of global capitalism

By Nick Beams, 18 January 2019

The gathering of global elites is very mindful of the mounting international class struggle, with “social anger” increasingly prevalent.

World Bank warns of “storm clouds” over global economy

By Nick Beams, 15 January 2019

The bank cut its June forecast for global growth of 3 percent this year to 2.9 percent and warned that “the risks are growing that growth could be even weaker than anticipated.”

Financial warnings point to Australia’s economic and political instability

By Mike Head, 12 January 2019

Two reports raise the spectre of a financial crisis that would blow up the pre-election claims of both the Coalition government and the Labor Party.

No deal reached in US-China trade talks

By Peter Symonds, 10 January 2019

The negotiations consisted of US officials insisting that Beijing meet a long list of demands, but offering nothing in return other than not proceeding with higher tariffs.

US and Canadian elites demand Trudeau government toughen its anti-China stance

By Roger Jordan, 9 January 2019

Although Ottawa has been a key partner in Washington’s confrontation with Beijing, ruling circles want Trudeau to go even further and ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G network.

US-China trade talks extended, amid continuing obstacles

By Peter Symonds, 9 January 2019

Washington’s aggressive stance was underscored by the provocative dispatch of a US destroyer to challenge Chinese claims in the South China Sea on day one of the trade talks.

Sri Lankan Central Bank governor calls for extended IMF program

By Saman Gunadasa, 7 January 2019

The IMF suspended the final $500 million installment of its $1.5 billion loan to Sri Lanka last November after bitter infighting erupted within Colombo’s political elite.

Growing signs of Australian economic fragility

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 January 2019

A marked slump in the property market is one expression of broader recessionary tendencies.

Wall Street rules

By Andre Damon, 5 January 2019

The Federal Reserve, responding to Thursday’s stock market selloff, declared it was “listening” to the markets and ready to scrap its plans to raise interest rates.

The global slowdown: US trade war comes home

By Andre Damon, 4 January 2019

The economic warfare pursued by the Trump administration with the support of broad sections of the US political establishment is coming home to roost in the form of a global slowdown spreading to the United States.

Slowdown in China’s manufacturing growth sets tone for New Year

By Nick Beams, 3 January 2019

A key Chinese economic index has indicated lower growth as talks on US-China trade tensions are set to begin.

Cuba deepens austerity in response to continued economic stagnation

By Alexander Fangmann, 3 January 2019

The Cuban government is cutting back on the consumption of energy and other goods as a result of stagnant growth, a fall in exports and the decline in oil subsidies from Venezuela.

A wild week on Wall Street

By Nick Beams, 29 December 2018

This week registered the first gain for the financial markets in three weeks, but they remain on course to record the worst December since 1931.

Wild swings on Wall Street

By Nick Beams, 27 December 2018

Even with yesterday’s jump in share prices, both the Dow and the S&P 500 are on track for their worst December since 1931, in the midst of the Great Depression.

Fed attempt at calming markets fails

Wall Street plunge continues

By Nick Beams, 22 December 2018

Both the S&P and the Dow are on track for their worst December performance since December 1931, during the Great Depression.

Malaysia files charges against Goldman Sachs over 1MDB scandal

By Peter Symonds, 22 December 2018

The 1MDB scandal was a significant factor in ousting the long-reigning UMNO government and reorienting Malaysian foreign policy away from China.

Financial market fall accelerates on global growth fears

By Nick Beams, 18 December 2018

With all indexes now in “correction” territory, having fallen more than 10 percent since their highs, Wall Street is on track to record its biggest annual decline since 2008.

China’s economic slowdown: The political issues confronting the working class

By Nick Beams, 15 December 2018

The China slowdown is part of a global process, exposing the fraudulent claim that the global economy had finally “turned the corner” after the deep recession produced by the financial crisis a decade ago.

Turmoil on Wall Street continues

By Nick Beams, 11 December 2018

Concerns over global growth are a significant factor in the ongoing slide and volatility in US markets, with signs of a downturn reflected in the fall of commodity prices.

The kidnapping of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou

By Andre Damon, 8 December 2018

Meng’s arrest and confinement—without bail and on tendentious and opaque charges potentially carrying a sentence of 60 years—amount to little more than a kidnapping.

As Dow drops another 560 points

Wall Street Journal warns of stock “stampede”

By Nick Beams, 8 December 2018

The longest bull market in history has rested on the suppression of the class struggle by the trade union bureaucracy, which is breaking apart.

At Washington’s behest

Canada arrests top Chinese executive for “sanctions busting”

By Keith Jones and Roger Jordan, 7 December 2018

The arrest and impending extradition to the US of Meng Wanzhou is a diplomatic and geopolitical provocation that has effectively blown up the US-China trade-war “truce” after less than a week.

Huawei executive Meng’s arrest sparks market turbulence

By Nick Beams, 7 December 2018

The market turbulence on Wall Street saw the Dow off by 784 points in late morning trade which meant that the market had experienced a 1,500-point slide in a day and a half.

Trade and recession fears hit Wall Street

By Nick Beams, 5 December 2018

US share markets plunged yesterday amid fears of an escalating trade war with China as well as growing signs that the US economy is entering a recession.

US and China put divergent spin on outcome of trade talks

By Nick Beams, 4 December 2018

The most important difference centres on the key demand of Washington that China make far-reaching “structural” changes to its economy in the area of high-tech development.

As G20 summit opens, US political establishment brays for trade war and military escalation

By Andre Damon, 1 December 2018

Trump’s trip to the G20 summit in Argentina has been proceeded by demands for trade war and military escalation against Russia and China.

Trump escalates tariff threats against China on eve of G20 summit

By Nick Beams, 29 November 2018

While a deal is still possible, the chances seem very remote in light of Trump’s comments and those of other members of his administration.

World Trade Organisation warns of rising protectionism ahead of G20 summit

By Nick Beams, 24 November 2018

The WTO spoke of significant economic risks if the current course continues.

Global conditions fuel Wall Street sell-off

By Nick Beams, 22 November 2018

The market has trended down since the start of October, led largely by high-tech stocks, but this week the falls broadened.

City of London Corporation reneges on its social housing pledge

By Charles Hixson, 21 November 2018

Only 900 units, less than a quarter of the City’s council home building project, are set to be completed by 2025.

US-China trade conflict leads to Wall Street sell-off

By Nick Beams, 20 November 2018

The sell-off was led by hi-tech stocks which are sensitive to heightened trade war tensions that impact on their global supply chains and could lessen demand for their products.

Trump manoeuvres ahead of US-China trade talks

By Nick Beams, 17 November 2018

The central demand of the Trump administration is that Beijing scrap its “Made in China” program and adopt a subservient economic position in relation to the US.

IBM’s purchase of Red Hat highlights growing power of technology giants

By Mike Ingram, 10 November 2018

With its purchase of the open source enterprise Linux company Red Hat, IBM hopes to compete with rival tech giants, Amazon, Microsoft and Google, particularly in the area of military cloud contracts

Chinese president denounces “law of the jungle” on trade

By Nick Beams, 6 November 2018

The Chinese president’s speech was an attempt to secure allies in the deepening trade war with the US.

Trump manoeuvres in lead-up to talks with Chinese President Xi

By Nick Beams, 3 November 2018

The aim is either to extract major concessions from China or, failing that, create the best conditions for pressing ahead with trade war measures.

Falling growth rate sparks concern in China’s ruling circles

By Nick Beams, 2 November 2018

A Politburo statement reflected the growing anxiety in Beijing over the economy and the impact of US trade war measures.

A major escalation in the US economic war against China

By Nick Beams, 1 November 2018

The US Commerce Department has imposed restrictions on dealings with a major Chinese high-tech firm, Fujian Jinhua, citing “national security interests.”

Watch: Two Hundred Years Since the Birth of Karl Marx

By Nick Beams, 31 October 2018

This lecture was delivered by Nick Beams, a member of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site, at several Australian universities during September and October 2018.

Wall Street falls as US-China trade tensions rise

By Nick Beams, 30 October 2018

Bloomberg reported that the US is planning to introduce new tariffs covering all Chinese imports if talks fail between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Former Fed chair warns of new financial crisis

By Nick Beams, 26 October 2018

In remarks unprecedented for a former central banker, Janet Yellen told the Financial Times that the lessons of the financial crash of 2008 were being forgotten.

Fall in hi-tech shares wipes out Wall Street’s 2018 gains

By Nick Beams, 25 October 2018

The tech-heavy NASDAQ index has dropped by its biggest amount in seven years, having fallen by 12 percent since its peak in August.

Sharp decline in numbers in latest China Rich List

By Robert Campion, 23 October 2018

The fall reflects the impact of a slowing Chinese economy, the impact of the US trade war measures and sharp falls in China’s share markets this year.

China growth slows to lowest level since financial crisis

By Nick Beams, 22 October 2018

While the trade war launched by the US has yet to make a significant impact on growth, the official Chinese statement referred to what is called the “severe international situation.”

Record high income in 2017 for top one percent of wage earners in US

By Gabriel Black, 20 October 2018

In 2017, the top one percent of US wage earners received their highest paychecks ever, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute.

European Union and Rome fight over Italian budget

By Marianne Arens, 20 October 2018

In the conflict over the Italian budget, the EU Commission takes the side of the banks, stock exchanges and credit agencies, while the government pursues a course of militarism and attacks on immigrants and workers.

India seizes “shadow bank” to avert potential “catastrophic” impact on financial system

By Kranti Kumara, 20 October 2018

Financial observers have said the collapse of IL&FS could have been India’s “Lehman Brothers moment”—a reference to the September 2008 bankruptcy that triggered the global financial meltdown.

Wall Street volatile as global economy becomes “fragile”

By Nick Beams, 19 October 2018

Market instability is being fuelled by the worsening global economic outlook and escalating trade tensions between the US, China and other countries.

As Pakistan seeks IMF bailout, US intensifies pressure on Islamabad

By Sampath Perera, 16 October 2018

Washington has served notice that it intends to leverage Pakistan’s current account crisis to disrupt Islamabad’s economic and strategic partnership with China

Another financial earthquake in the making

By Nick Beams, 15 October 2018

Two reports prepared by the IMF for its semiannual meeting pointed to the mounting problems of the global economy and financial system.

Wall Street fall continues in day of swings

By Nick Beams, 12 October 2018

All major US indexes are now below their 200-day moving average, which is regarded as a key indicator of the market’s direction.

Major fall on Wall Street as interest rates rise

By Nick Beams, 11 October 2018

The main factor behind the fall appears to be the spike in yields on US Treasury bonds, which have risen sharply in recent days to above 3 percent.

IMF revises down global growth projection

By Nick Beams, 11 October 2018

The world outlook report warns that trade tensions have shifted the “balance of risks” to the downside.

Key provision of USMCA trade deal aimed at China

By Nick Beams, 9 October 2018

A clause in the US trade deal with Canada and Mexico is aimed at nothing less than a “reset” of global trade relationships.

Australian banks downgraded as concerns mount over falling property prices

By Mike Head, 5 October 2018

The loss of “unquestionably strong” status is another indicator of a potential property and financial crash, with devastating consequences.

After North America trade deal, Trump to escalate trade war against China

By Nick Beams, 3 October 2018

In a manner recalling a Mafia don, Trump made clear that the threat of auto tariffs was central in securing the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Ten years since the 2008 bank bailout

By Andre Damon, 3 October 2018

The creation of the Troubled Asset Relief Program on October 3, 2008, was the initial step in a massive redistribution of wealth and restructuring of class relations in the United States and internationally.

IMF chief warns of rising risks facing global economy

By Nick Beams, 2 October 2018

The IMF is set to downgrade its forecast for global growth amid rising trade tensions.

Trump threatens “strategic allies” with auto tariffs

By Nick Beams, 29 September 2018

After being used against the European Union, the threat of auto tariffs on “national security” grounds was brought out against Japan and Canada this week.

After a decade of falling pay, US Federal Reserve acts to stop “wage inflation”

By Jerry White, 28 September 2018

The central bank executives understand that investors tend to make far more money when the sword of mass unemployment hangs over workers’ heads.

Federal Reserve lifts interest rates and indicates further hikes

By Nick Beams, 27 September 2018

For the first time since the Fed began its low-interest rate regime after the financial crisis of 2008, its base rate is above the level of inflation, indicating that wages are a key target.

US-China trade war intensifies

By Nick Beams, 26 September 2018

The escalation of the conflict and the growing recognition that it is not a temporary spat, which can be solved through negotiations, has led to concerns in sections of the financial media.

“History never teaches anyone anything”

Russian neo-Stalinist defends Partido Obrero’s “refounding” of Fourth International

By Bill Van Auken, 24 September 2018

Said Gafurov, a former advisor to Vladimir Putin, defends the PO's policy on the basis that the struggle of Trotskyism against Stalinism has lost all political significance.

Adam Tooze’s Crashed: The limitations of a Left-liberal historian

By Nick Beams, 22 September 2018

The historian Adam Tooze has published a detailed account of the origins and development of the global financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath.

The militarist component of Trump’s trade war

By Nick Beams, 20 September 2018

While China is at present the prime target, the Trump administration sees the US as being involved in an economic war against the rest of the world.

China retaliates against US trade war measures

By Peter Symonds, 19 September 2018

The escalating trade war is heightening economic instability and fueling geo-political tensions, not only between the US and China, but internationally.

The implications of US-China trade war

By Nick Beams, 18 September 2018

The world’s two largest economies have entered a rapidly-escalating trade war with vast global consequences.

China’s $60 billion in aid and loans to Africa in context

By Gabriel Black, 18 September 2018

While China’s role in Africa has grown significantly in the past two decades, the United States and its allies remain the principal issuers of debt.

Ten years after Lehman: New financial crises in the making

By Nick Beams, 17 September 2018

Commentaries on the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse voice fears of another meltdown.

US set to escalate trade war against China

By Nick Beams, 10 September 2018

Trump’s threat of further tariffs means that Chinese exports into the US would be subject to increased tariffs if China carries through on its threat of retaliatory measures.

A record $31.5 trillion hoarded by corporate oligarchs

By Eric London, 8 September 2018

The Wealth X report points to the immense revolutionary potential in the present situation. The resources for the transformation of the planet on an egalitarian basis already exist.