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On the blogs

Debt Is Money We Owe To Ourselves -- Paul Krugman gets debt right, and uses the example of the UK discussed here before. And yes he is right: "the problems with public debt are also mainly about possible instability rather than 'borrowing from our children'." I would add particularly when it's in foreign currency, like in Greece.

Talking about Yanis on the BBC -- Steve Keen on Yanis Varoufakis and the Greek crisis.

Beyond the headlines -- David Ruccio on why the 257,000 new jobs in January announced yesterday by the BLS are not as good as you might think. Similar to the discussion by Dean Baker here and myself here on the recent GDP news.

Bracing for another storm in emerging markets -- Kevin Gallagher thinks the Chinese slowdown will bring commodity prices down, and coupled with higher interest rates in the US spells doom for developing countries. I'm less sanguine about that scenario. But we'll see soon enough.


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There will be a lot of postmortems for the European Union (EU) after Brexit. Many will suggest that this was a victory against the neoliberal policies of the European Union. See, for example, the first three paragraphs of Paul Mason's column here. And it is true, large contingents of working class people, that have suffered with 'free-market' economics, voted for leaving the union. The union, rightly or wrongly, has been seen as undemocratic and responsible for the economics woes of Europe.

The problem is that while it is true that the EU leaders have been part of the problem and have pursued the neoliberal policies within the framework of the union, sometimes with treaties like the Fiscal Compact, it is far from clear that Brexit and the possible demise of the union, if the fever spreads to France, Germany and other countries with their populations demanding their own referenda, will lead to the abandonment of neoliberal policies. Aust…

A brief note on Venezuela and the turn to the right in Latin America

So besides the coup in Brazil (which was all but confirmed by the last revelations, if you had any doubts), and the electoral victory of Macri in Argentina, the crisis in Venezuela is reaching a critical level, and it would not be surprising if the Maduro administration is recalled, even though right now the referendum is not scheduled yet.

The economy in Venezuela has collapsed (GDP has fallen by about 14% or so in the last two years), inflation has accelerated (to three digit levels; 450% or so according to the IMF), there are shortages of essential goods, recurrent energy blackouts, and all of these aggravated by persistent violence. Contrary to what the press suggests, these events are not new or specific to left of center governments. Similar events occurred in the late 1980s, in the infamous Caracazo, when the fall in oil prices caused an external crisis, inflation, and food shortages, which eventually, after the announcement of a neoliberal economic package that included the i…