Author Archives: William Black

Krugman Is Half Right

By William K. Black
Quito: May 16, 2015

Paul Krugman has a nice column entitled “Fraternity of Failure” dated May 15, 2015.

In Bushworld, in other words, playing a central role in catastrophic policy failure doesn’t disqualify you from future influence. If anything, a record of being disastrously wrong on national security issues seems to be a required credential.

But refusal to learn from experience, combined with a version of political correctness in which you’re only acceptable if you have been wrong about crucial issues, is pervasive in the modern Republican Party.

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New Labour’s Economic Illiteracy Exacts a Terrible Price: “I’m afraid there is no money.”

By William K. Black
Quito: May 17, 2015

One of the great ironies is that just as neo-liberal economics and “modern finance” were falsifying each of their core claims Tony Blair led New Labour to embrace both dogmas. The result was a double economic catastrophe and it also led to the defeat of New Labour at the polls. I have already explained how Blair’s and Gordon Brown’s embrace of the most criminal and corrupt elements of the City of London (and their dogmas) and their resultant unholy war on financial regulation caused the UK financial crises and the UK’s Great Recession.

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The FSA’s Defense Against Blair’s Attack on it Shows Why the FSA Failed

By William K. Black
Quito: May 16, 2015

In my immediately prior article I discussed in detail Prime Minister Tony Blair’s May 26, 2005 speech calling on the UK to “win” the regulatory race to the bottom. In particular, Blair singled out the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for blistering criticism.

But something is seriously awry when … the Financial Services Authority that was established to provide clear guidelines and rules for the financial services sector and to protect the consumer against the fraudulent, is seen as hugely inhibiting of efficient business by perfectly respectable companies that have never defrauded anyone….”

Blair’s attack on the FSA bewildered and angered its Chairman, Callum McCarthy, who was busily eviscerating UK financial regulation in accordance with Blair’s earlier declarations of war on effective regulation. By 2005, the FSA was spineless and a cheerleader for the corrupt City of London – which McCarthy, in a pratfall of unintended humor, described as a “clean” center of international finance. Blair did not warn the FSA leadership in advance that he was going to excoriate them “as hugely inhibiting of efficient business.” The good thing, for those of us seeking to document the causes of the financial crises is that Blair’s rant provoked a written response from the FSA’s leader on May 31, 2005. The response proves that the FSA was a Potemkin regulator in the run up to the UK crises, that Blair knew that he and his government had destroyed effective financial regulation – and that his response to that knowledge was to order that any remnants of even modestly effective financial regulation be trampled into the City’s dust.

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New Labour Leaders Want to Go Back to Blair’s Policies that Blew Up the UK

By William K. Black
Quito: May 13, 2015

Given the media effort and the push by the Red Tories to lionize former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair I thought it was a good idea to explain just how destructive his war on financial regulation, supervision, enforcement, and prosecutions was. Blair most famously made public his war on regulation and his embrace of “winning” the regulatory race to the bottom in his May 26, 2005 speech on “Risk and the State.” In a classic example of “be careful what you ask for; for you may receive it,” he called on his Nation to embrace greater risk. He claimed that the public’s excessive aversion to risk produced a regulatory nightmare: “The result is a plethora of rules, guidelines, responses to ‘scandals’ of one nature or another that ends up having utterly perverse consequences.” Blair endorsed the Chicago School (and Tory) analysis of the folly of regulation – claiming that it characteristically produces “utterly perverse consequences.”

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The Curious Case of the English “Envenom” Meme about the Scots

By William K. Black
May 11, 2015

My intended series about the UK election is expanding because the material is just too good and too important. My “Kilkenomics” colleague Liam Halligan who is the lead economics writer for the Telegraph wrote a column dated May 10, 2015 about the election that sparked this column. The tag line for his column is: “Nigel Farage has opened a Pandora’s box that cannot now be closed.” Farage was the former (and likely future) leader of UKIP, the ultra-right party enraged by immigrants, particularly people of color.

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The New York Times’ Secret Rule Forbidding Its EU Writers from Reading Krugman

By William K. Black
Quito: May 10, 2015

I don’t know when the New York Times adopted the (obviously secret) rule that forbids its news staff that writes about the EU from reading Paul Krugman’s columns in that obscure newspaper named the New York Times. I can say that compliance with the rule appears to be nearly 100 percent. It is, of course, a mystery why the NYT would give Krugman, a Nobel Laureate in Economics; the most prominent position in the world to explain economics and then require its news staff covering Europe to ignore virtually everything he explains.

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The Economist’s Racist Headline Must be Retracted Immediately

By William K. Black
Quito: May 10, 2015

It took exactly one day for the Tory election victory in the UK to produce the confidence among the Conservatives only remaining media organ with even a semblance of journalistic professionalism to reveal its true racism against the Scots. The Economist felt empowered to headline its article about the other electoral triumph, by the Scots, as “Ajockalypse now.” Wow, that is such a clever title. One can only imagine the back-slapping among the staff in the magazine’s halls at the ability to go full-racist given the election results. (The English have historically treated the Celts as separate “races.”)

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Prime Minister Cameron’s “Southern Strategy” Wins (and Loses)

By William K. Black
Quito: May 8, 2015

Paul Krugman has a good column today entitled “Triumph of the Unthinking” about the Tory electoral triumph in the UK. Krugman makes three central points. First, the Tories and the UK media have created a myth about austerity that is utterly false – and poison to Labour while falsely flattering to the Conservatives. Second, rather than fight the myth by explaining why austerity in response to the Great Recession was an insane policy that gratuitously forced the UK back into a severe recession, Labour has embraced austerity. Krugman opines that Labour felt that public support for austerity was so strong that the party’s leadership felt it was impossible to do the right thing.

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Three Proofs That UK Elections Even Weirder Than Here

By William K. Black
Quito: May 6, 2015

UK elections are ultra-quick, so tomorrow is Election Day. As the electorate prepares to go to the polls three acts of insanity have struck. The first answers the question: what do British bankers do when their ethical standards fall so low that they are unfit to serve as bankers even in the corrupt culture of banking that dominates the City? They run for Parliament as candidates for the racist UKIP. UKIP, of course, objects to the characterization, so let’s have Robert Blay explain the concept in his own words (but with the obscenities slightly masked). Blay was a Tory (Conservative Party) before joining UKIP. The context is that he is running for a seat against a Tory hotshot named Ranil Jayawardena. The Mirror describes Blay’s rage at Jayawardena, his former Tory colleague.

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GOP Opposition to Lynch

Here is an excerpt from my most recent opinion piece at Al Jazeera.

Yesterday Loretta Lynch was sworn in as the nation’s 83rd attorney general. On April 23, the Senate voted to confirm her nomination after obstructing it for almost half a year. While their reasons were baseless and self-defeating, Republican leaders did not avail themselves of an excellent reason to reject her candidacy. That they ignored it speaks to our corrupt politics.

Shortly before confirmation, The New York Times ran with prominent placement an article titled “Republicans in quandary over vote on Loretta Lynch.” What was the dilemma GOP leaders faced?

Read the complete post here