Financial speculation

Between austerity and resistance

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Ireland has been hailed as an austerity success story. Kieran Allen examines the reality behind the hype and the prospects for resistance from below.

Ireland's exit from the Troika - the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Union (EU) and European Central Bank (ECB) - bailout programme on 16 December is being celebrated as proof that austerity works. The storyline from the Irish ruling class is that sovereignty has been regained. They claim that 85 percent of the "heavy lifting" has been done and only a little more sacrifice needs to be squeezed from the population. The EU elite see the exit as a much-needed propaganda point to counter the growing criticism of their doctrine of "expansionary austerity".

The crisis: over or just beginning?

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The post-election period will be dominated by the dire state of the British economy. While the political elite are desperate to make us pay for the crisis, they are also paralysed by the fear of a renewed recession precipitated by speculation against the pound. Joseph Choonara reports

The state of the economy will continue to mould British politics after the election. Economics will constrain the room for manoeuvre of the political elite, pressing them to drive through a series of attacks. It will also create the terrain on which workers will have to organise and resist. The prospects for the system are, then, of keen interest to those who wish to challenge it. After almost three years of chaos, what lies in store?

The value of money

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How do the billions wiped off the stock market relate to the rest of the capitalist system? Joseph Choonara goes back to Karl Marx to explain.

Pity money. Over recent months it has been "injected" into markets, "destroyed" in financial meltdowns and stock market collapses; it has been "devalued" and "revalued" and passed along the increasingly unfathomable webs spun by capital.

The emperors, and their clothes

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Two new books on the state of the economy expose the speculation and greed that have propped up Gordon Brown's so-called boom years

What a difference a year makes. The conventional wisdom at the beginning of last summer was that the economy was performing wonders. Graham Turner, Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson were among a small minority of economists and commentators prepared to say the emperor had no clothes. Now everyone can see that they were right.

London: capital's capital

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The City of London has become a tax haven for the super-rich, overseen by Gordon Brown with, alarmingly, no complaints from Mayor Ken Livingstone. Patrick Ward looks at the history and humbug that props up the square mile and leaves neighbouring boroughs cash-starved

The reaction from much of the press to government plans for the City of London's non-domicile super-rich might make you think they were about to hand control of the square mile to the RMT. The outrage from non-domicile fat cats was coupled with threats to leave Britain altogether and for a raft of bizarre claims that London-based capitalists were being driven out of the country.

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