trade and industry

China Floats, America SinksYuan Kicks Dollar Butt by Rejecting "Free Market"

In case you haven't the least idea what the heck it means for China to “float” its currency, let me put it in the language we economists use: China's float don't mean squat.
Yet our President, a guy whose marks in Economics 101 are too embarrassing to publish here, ran out to hail the fact that buying Chinese money will now cost more dollars.

Adventure Capitalism – The Hidden 2001 Plan to Carve-up Iraq

Why were Iraqi elections delayed? Why was Jay Garner fired? Why are our troops still there? Investigative reporter Greg Palast uncovers new documents that answer these questions and more about the Bush administration's grand designs on Iraq. Like everything else issued during this administration, the plan to overhaul the Iraqi economy has corporate lobbyist fingerprints all over it.

The WTO's Hidden Agenda

By Greg Palast
LONDON — Three confidential documents from inside the World Trade Organization Secretariat and a group of captains of London finance, who call themselves the “British Invisibles,” reveal the extraordinary secret entanglement of industry with government in designing European and American proposals for radical pro-business changes in WTO rules.

The Fast Track Trade Jihad

Inside Corporate America
After the attack on the World Trade Center, some enterprising hucksters here in New York tried to sell little bags of ashes to victims families, supposedly of their missing kin.
The stomach-churning commercialization of mass murder didn't bottom out there. Barely had the towers hit the ground when U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick proclaimed the way to defeat Osama bin Laden was to grant George W. Bush extraordinary ‘fast-track' trade treaty negotiating authority. Ambassador bin Zoellick, speaking from what looked like a cave on Capitol Hill, surrounded by unidentified Republicans, said Americans had to choose: stand up for free trade or for terrorism.

Two Symbols of American Capitalist Hegemony

Inside Corporate America
There's two people you ought to know: Greg O'Neill and Clinton Davis. They are exceptionally important because, according to Rana Kabbani, writing in my British sister paper The Guardian, they are “two symbols of American hegemony.” Technically, she was referring to the two towers of the World Trade Center. But it was not American hegemony which fell 50 floors into horrid, crushing oblivion. Nor was it just some architectural artifact which was instructed with the “painful lesson” about US foreign policy described by Kabbani with unapologetic glee.

Who Shot Argentina?The Finger Prints On the Smoking Gun Read 'I.M.F.’

And news this week in South America is that Argentina died, or at least its economy. One in six workers were unemployed even before the beginning of this grim austral winter. Millions more have lost work as industrial production, already down 25% for the year, fell into a coma induced by interest rates which, by one measure, have jumped to over 90% on dollar-denominated borrowings.

To Russia With Love and $15 Billion

Here's a hot idea: Why don't we send 10,000 tons of high level uranium waste to Russia? You'd rather not? Not until you buy your lead suit?
OK then, how about we send 10,000 tons of radioactive garbage to Russia and throw in $15 billion for Vladimir Putin. For the cash, Putin must solemnly promise to store the potential bomb-making material safely and not let any of it slip into the hands of the Iranians or the IRA.

Reporter in Hot Water

Mmmmm. Ahhhhh.
In a hot tub somewhere just outside New York on a humid summer night, your correspondent sinks down into the bubbles in the mood for a True Life detective story.
Here's a good one: Four men on a boat, a cruise ship to Bermuda, July 1994. Back on shore they fell ill, one with a fever so fierce his brain was damaged. One died.

Why The Lights Went Out All Over California

America Preached The Wonders of Free Markets to The Rest of The World
But Exempted Itself — Until Last Year

Sunday July 1, 2001
The Observer
Napoleon called England a nation of shopkeepers, but the Little Corporal never tried to purchase dietary staples (organic milk, Red Bull) from a Tesco Express. I tackled the manager as to why they were out of stock AGAIN. ‘It's Friday,' he said, as if that were an unforeseen occurrence, like a rogue tidal wave that had engulfed Upper Street and prevented deliveries. I began to explain that ‘Friday' is what accountants call a ‘recurring event' and HAVEN'T YOU BRITONS EVER HEARD OF COMPUTERS YOU KNOW THOSE THINGS THAT LOOK LIKE TELEVISIONS WITH TYPEWRITERS ATTACHED… but, by then, everyone was looking around at that despised figure, the Complaining American.

Welcome To My Hall Of Infamy

At absolutely no one's request, we hereby announce the winners of Inside corporate America's first annual Golden Vulture Awards:
The Call-My-Lawyer Award to… Sony Corporation.
Only last month, Sony and other media giants won a court injunction in the US against Napster, the website that lets you record music CDs off the internet.

States Deregulate Energy at Their Peril – from The New York Times

While reporters ogled celebrities at Barbra Streisand's bungalow during the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles, there was a real display of populism 100 miles to the south in San Diego. There politicians have enrolled two million citizens in a scary economic experiment. This year, San Diego became the first city in California to experience the end of state regulation of electricity prices.

Africans Find U.S. put Catch-22 in Deal for Cheap AIDS Drugs

For The Observer/Guardian UK
It would give me great pleasure to report, as did the New York Times earlier this month, that Bill Clinton has saved Africa. That big-hearted lug will lend African nations a billion dollars a year for AIDS drugs which — more joy! — the pharmaceutical companies have agreed to just give away at 75 percent off list price.

Of Blackbeard and Bill Gates Rip-off Software and CDs, Price-Rigged Pig Feed, Human Rights Abusers – a US Network is now on to them all

For The Observer/Guardian UK
You want to be a billionaire? Answer this one: What do Blackbeard, the Butcher of Croatia and Bill Gates have in common?
While the money clock ticks away, let me tell you about my weekend. I spent it at the Sheraton Hotel in Brussels, watching the guests shuttle between rooms. It looked a little like love, but maybe it meant nothing more to them than a couple nights of fun. There was Steve Ballmer, new CEO of Microsoft, and a thousand of his closest commercial and government friends, meeting under the guise of the ‘European Business Summit'.

Millions May be Eligible for Microsoft Refund Anti-Cartel Lawyers who Joined Forces to Fight Price Fixing Worldwide will File Suit on Behalf of non-US Windows Customers

and Clare Dyer for The Guardian UK
Millions of Britons could be in line for a refund if it is proved that they paid inflated prices for Microsoft's all-pervasive software, ready installed in most computers on sale.
Next Monday 16 leading US law firms will file the billion pound suit on behalf of hundreds of millions of people who bought Microsoft Windows and programs outside the US.