Tag: Finance

Anything but disruptive: blockchain, capital and a case of fourth industrial age enclosure – Part II

Under the aegis of a feverish entrepreneurial spiritualism and redoubled post-crisis capitalism of the fourth industrial age, the radical transparency and openness once promised by blockchain is in retreat.  We are witnessing blockchain-as-enclosure; enclosure through the proliferation of private permissioned ledgers, which are indicative of capitalism’s generalized tendency towards the imposition of property definitions on…

Financial Indebtedness as a Political Strategy


Money in law is a form of debt Lawyers are not much concerned about, and economists have never really known, what money actually is. In microeconomics the issue of money does not appear at all: indeed, mainstream microeconomics has eliminated money entirely from the supply-demand market model, with the argument that money is just a…

The Greek Debt ‘Confidence Trick’


Greece’s best long term economic and budgetary policy lies in adopting the IPSAS accounting standard to kick start Greek job growth and rebuild its economic infrastructure.  As William Shakespeare said in Much Ado About Nothing, “Let every eye negotiate for itself And trust no agent.” As so it seems appropriate to cast our ‘eye’ upon…

Five Theses on Financialisation


Financialisation constitutes an impersonal system. Its aim is not to destroy the communities and ecosystems of the world, but rather to increase their dependency on finance. 1 The dual nature of contemporary capitalism resides in the separation of  ‘politics’ and ‘economics’ on one side, and ‘finance’ and ‘production’ on the other. However, in financialisation ‘politics’…

Regulatory exceptionalism: the EU short selling ban


Is it really the case that the European Securities Market Authority and its reg­u­latory brethren are the market-facing vanguard of Europe’s auto-colonisation through financial stabilisation?  A much remarked upon feature of the Global Financial Crisis (‘GFC’) has been the recourse of governments to permanent states of exception, purportedly justified by the need to protect financial…

Critical Finance Law


Key Concept: An outline of a critical approach to conceiving and teaching finance law.Finance and teleology Critical finance law is the study of one of the most significant teloi of the modern era: the settlement of debt. Why is the settlement of debt a telos? Well it is perhaps no surprise that just as the…

What follows farce?


At this week’s UK Treasury Select Committee hearing on the Budget of 2012, attendees were invited to draw parallels between George Osborne’s view of economics and the military stratagems of Field Marshall Haig. It seems that the British Chancellor of the Exchequer has followed Haig in believing that the best way to confound one’s enemies…

The Muppet Show


Greg Smith’s resignation letter in the New York Times yesterday, announcing a bridge-burning departure from his position as Executive Director of Goldman Sachs’ Equity Derivatives Division (Europe, Asia, Africa) certainly brought Wall St. to a relative halt. GS cancelled conference calls and the Goldman Flacks (PR goons) were rounded up to pour scorn on Mr. Smiths allegations as “unrecognisable”.

The importance of the letter was not so much it’s revelation of a eat-what-you-kill culture in which clients are the main course, not even the contention that somehow GS had changed culture – it hadn’t any more than any other investment bank since the Big Bang. The letter was important because it effectively took GS clients’ faces and slammed them against the restaurant window, through which they could now see their GS contact engaged in anthropophagia between raucous tales of how the current dish had of its own volition signed up to sit on the plate […]

The Abaclat legacy: Investment Arbitration as an Obstacle to Greek Recovery


The agreement reached between the Eurogroup and the Greek government in the night between last February 20th and 21st has been considered by the former as ‘a comprehensive blueprint for putting the public finances and the economy of Greece on a sustainable footing and hence for safeguarding financial stability in Greece and in the Euro area as a whole’.

Unfortunately, the recent Abaclat award (2011), that affirmed the jurisdiction of an ad hoc panel of the World Bank’s arbitration arm the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”) over a claim filed by over 160,000 Italian bondholders against Argentina for breach of the Italy-Argentina Bilateral Investment Treaty (“BIT”), might represent an obstacle toward the achievement of the goals of the Greek restructuring. The effect of Abaclat amounted to a declaration that the effective protection of the investment represents the sole term of reference of investment arbitration, independently from the legitimate interest of the state, and that this effectively permitted re-interpretation (if not simply overrode) Argentinian law, the relevant BIT, the terms and conditions of the bonds in question, and even (with respect to “mass claims”) the procedural rules of ICSID itself.

City Rogues


Vince Cable in yesterday’s Guardian accepted that the City is a ‘source of systemic instability, unfettered greed and industrial scale tax dodging’ but blamed the problem on a small number of rogue institutions. The task it seems is to find the “few rotten apples” that somehow manage to bring an entire system into disrepute. The…

The Irish Crisis: We, the People, are too big to fail


The Ballyhea Bondholder Bailout Protest, now in its 40th week and joined with Charleville (their 25th week) is about one issue, and one issue only – the transference of private debt to the public purse. In one word, and very pure, very simple, it’s wrong. History On a fateful weekend in September 2008 Taoiseach Brian…

The Irish Crisis: The Dynamics of Complicity


A year after all of the head-shaking and nay-saying assurances that ‘negotiations’ with the IMF and EU were mere ‘fiction’, the sense of betrayal that Irish people experienced about the then Government’s denial that the Irish nation was about to lose its economic sovereignty is still palpable. This psychological process of denial – the refusal…

Good Morning AA+merica


Some quick thoughts on Standard & Poors’ downgrading of the U.S.’s credit rating from the previously bullet-proof AAA to AA+. We can moan about S&P’s miscalculation that led to a US$2tn error, and rigtly note with Paul Krugman that S&P may well be the least qualified assessor of financial health after the sub-prime debacle, but…



The inevitability with which global markets would fall off their to-date unrealistic levels did nothing to mollify the depth and panic of the spasms. It has become a truism that nothing in the structure of international finance has changed, save that the losses of private banks had been socialised, leading to the great weight of…