Archive

Author Archive

In the middle of a pandemic, the World Bank wants slum dwellers to lose their water supply

August 13, 2020 3 comments

from  Norbert Häring

Developing countries are trying to contain the corona pandemic under the most adverse conditions. In the middle of this, the World Bank is proposing that the water supply of slum dwellers be cut off, if their landlords do not pay the water bill. It is an inhumane philosophy of development that is behind such monstrosities.

For about two decades, the World Bank’s philosophy has been “sustainable development”; “sustainable” in the sense of profitable in the long run. Wherever possible, development work should be carried out in partnership with private companies and their foundations, because only if some corporation can earn money sustainably from development policy will enough money flow in to make a lasting difference. The derivation from this is to privatize and commodify as much as possible, i.e. to make it a tradable commodity. Read more…

The World Economic Forum is planning the “Great Reset” to prevent it from happening

August 1, 2020 20 comments

from Norbert Häring

The club of the world’s richest people and the largest nature-destroying corporations wants the “Great Reset”. Instead of poverty, disease, overpopulation and destruction of nature, the mega-rich promise us a fair world in harmony with nature. Despite its obvious absurdity and the cynicism behind it, this initiative should not be ignored. There is a dark plan behind it.

According to its own description, the World Economic Forum is “THE international organisation for public-private cooperation” and has as its main objective “to improve the state of the world”. The foundation, founded in 1971 by German economist Klaus Schwab, lacks neither power nor self-confidence. For years now, almost all the world’s major heads of government have made the pilgrimage to the annual meeting in Davos to pay their respects to multinational corporations and billionaires.

The World Bank, a close collaborator of the Forum, has made it a strategy to only support development projects that the member companies of this club can earn money from. The United Nations (UN) have been made highly dependent on the money of the corporations and can do practically nothing that does not promote their interests or even runs counter to them. Even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) now acts quite unabashedly as a door-opener for multinationals when it is supposed to help a poor country in difficulty or assess its financial system.

So this powerful organization, the World Economic Forum, has been working for nearly 50 years to make the world a better place, with great success, it claims:

Read more…

Rockefeller Foundation keeps working on their autocratic Lock Step scenario

July 13, 2020 2 comments

from Norbert Häring

Ten years ago, the Rockefeller Foundation published the eerily prescient, autocratic Lock-Step-Scenario and, apparently, has been working to make it true. The most recent initiative in this regard is a cooperation of the Rockefeller-funded GAVI immunization alliance with Mastercard and a biometric ID company named TrustStamp.

Before getting to this cooperation, let me briefly remind you of a selection of the assumptions of the Lock Step scenario builders have made their choices 10 years ago:

  • A virus pandemic with high contagion and high mortality
  • Non-authoritarian response of US-government fails
  • Authoritarian Chinese approach works much better
  • Other nations emulate authoritarian, high surveillance Chinese approach
  • Endurance of more authoritarian rule after pandemic
  • Shocked populations welcoming more surveillance
  • … and authoritarian rule
  • Biometric ID gets a boost
  • A multipolar IT-world with US-dominance emerging
  • Philanthropic foundations becoming part of US external and security policy.

Read more…

Economic faculties in turmoil over an editor’s alleged racism and an article’s colonial attitude

June 29, 2020 3 comments

from Norbert Norbert Häring

A turmoil has engulfed the faculties of economics at the University of Chicago and Harvard. A German economist was first suspended on accusations of racism in Chicago, then rehabilitated. An article in Harvard’s flagship Quarterly Journal of Economics (QJE) is accused of a colonial attitude. The authors justify themselves.

The article describes how a German economist, Harald Uhlig,caused a vritable shitstorm, fuelled not least by Paul Krugman and Justin Wolfers, Even the former president of the US Federal Reserve and current chair of the American Economic Association, Janet Yellen, demanded publicly that Uhlig be relieved of his role as editor of the prestigious JPE, after Uhlig had made a number of callous remarks and provocative comparisons on his blog and on Twitter about protesters against the violent death of George Floyd and about the Black Lives Matter-Organization.

After a black economics professor tweeted that he had been sitting in Uhlig’s classroom in 2014 when Uhlig had first made derogatory remarks about Martin Luther King and then turned to him in a sarcastic manner to ask whether he might have hurt anyone’s feelings. The next day, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago suspended Uhlig’s consulting activities and the Chicagos Flaghip Journal of Political Economy (JPE) temporarily suspended his role as editor. However, on June 22 he was reinstated, after the University had judged that he had done nothing wrong. Read more…

World Economic Forum totalitarian surveillance fantasy will soon become reality

June 24, 2020 Leave a comment

from Norbert Häring

From March 2021 people with an “I’ve got nothing to hide” attitude will be able to get around border and ticket controls at St Pancras International Station in London on their way to the Continent via the Eurostar, All they will have to do is upload a suitable portrait photo and a copy of their identity document to a government server. Then, instead of standing in a queue, they can walk down a camera-tagged “biometric corridor” without having to show a document. The passport and ticket will, however, be needed at the destination, at least until the brave new total surveillance world of the World Economic Forum has been implemented there, too.

The Known Traveller Program, which has been jointly developed by the World Economic Forum and US Homeland Security, initially provides for international air travel in which travellers collect identity data about themselves in a block chain to which only they have access. If they want to cross a border, they may announce their travel plans in advance and release their data. Cameras with facial recognition software automatically recognize them and let them pass the queues at the controls. What London now wants to implement for Eurostar traffic, follows exactly this principle (apart from the blockchain data-ownership folklore of the Known Traveller).

see also
The totalitarian dystopia of the World Economic Forum is becoming reality

Sudan to be used as guinea pig for cash abolition, universal basic income and total surveillance

June 15, 2020 6 comments

from Norbert Häring

Sudan has a transitional government that depends on the goodwill of the USA. This is an opportunity to use the country for the largest field trial to date, to put an entire population on the digital leash through cash abolition and a universal basic income.

For several years now, the World Bank, Better Than Cash Alliance and various UN organizations have been massively promoting and advertising the purely digital transmission of financial aid for the needy in poor countries. Declared goals are cost savings and prevention of corruption and theft, as well as “financial inclusion”. The latter is the real reason, but not in the harmless meaning of giving everyone the chance to get a bank account, but in the meaning of “bringing everyone into the system”, as the head of Paypal, Dan Schulman, defined it at a Financial Inclusion Forum in Washington in 2015.

The system is the one in which Paypal, Microsoft and Co. can make money with every transaction and, as Microsoft founder Bill Gates made clear at the same event, in which the US government can track, save and if necessary block every transaction.

Read more…

Taxpayers bailing out capitalists

June 11, 2020 11 comments

from Norbert Häring

In Germany and beyond, public policy in response to the Corona crisis operates with
an unspoken basic assumption: the claims of capital are sacred.
This is unfair and economically unreasonable.

German economists largely agreed on how not to deal with the corona crisis. Sending a cheque to all taxpayers, as the US government did, is considered an unsuitable anti-crisis measure. After all, the 1200 dollars were too little for 30 million who lost their jobs within a few weeks, and unnecessary for the others who were supposed to stay at home anyway and not go shopping.

Instead, the German government, to roaring support of German economist, decided to lower the value added tax for half a year, starting in July. Few of the arguments against Trumps consumption checks would not apply to this measure.

Read more…

Lock Step: How the Rockefeller Foundation wants to implement its autocratic pandemic scenario

May 28, 2020 18 comments

from Norbert Häring                                                 see followup to this post

Ten years ago, the rich and powerful Rockefeller Foundation played through and favorably described a scenario in which a pandemic would lead to autocratic forms of government with total surveillance and control of citizens. Now it has published a pandemic plan to make this scenario a reality.

According to the preamble by the President of the Foundation, it took two weeks to set up and edit this plan, implicating a large number of “experts and decision-makers from academia, business, politics and government – across industries and political ideologies” and publish it in glossy on April 21, 2020, under the title “National Covid-19 Testing Action Plan: Pragmatic steps to reopen our workplaces and our communities”.

I became aware of this plan through a German translation of an article by Dux Morales in the Italian newspaper il manifesto about it. As I read through this my breath stood still. Read more…

How to drop helicopter money correctly

May 27, 2020 5 comments

from Norbert Häring

Distributing additional money to stimulate demand is seen by economists as a recipe for boosting demand in a crisis. But you have to do it right, not like Donald Trump did it.

In response to the corona crisis, US President Donald Trump had consumption cheques with his signature worth 1200 dollars sent to all citizens. This bears a strong resemblance to an anti-crisis recipe of economists, which has been known as helicopter money since Milton Friedman coined this term. You just let money rain down, and demand will automatically pick up again.

According to the basic concept of helicopter money, it would be the central bank which puts the additional money into circulation. In the current case, however, the money does not come straight from the central bank Federal Reserve (Fed), but from the government. Theoretically, one could think that the government would have to make cuts in other budget areas so that the money would not be additional. However, this is not the case for the following reason:

Because of the Fed’s massively expanded purchases of government bonds, it is clear that the money is actually additional, because indirectly the central bank finances the payments to the citizens and the government’s high deficits that are created as a result. Read more…

The totalitarian dystopia of the World Economic Forum is becoming reality

April 17, 2020 7 comments

from Norbert Häring

In January  2018, a pilot project for the surveillance of air travelers, commissioned by the World Economic Forum, was agreed upon in Davos. At the time, I presented the Known Traveller Digital Identity (KTDI) project as a “totalitarian dystopa”. A follow-up report shows that the multinational corporations are successfully involving governments and the EU in their plans. Covid-19 is speeding up implementation tremdendously and Bill Gates inadvertently lets us know how.

Like the 2018 report called „”The Known Traveller: Unlocking the potential of digital identity for secure and seamless travel“ this more technical KTDI White Paper that goes by the title “Known Traveller Digital Identity Specifications Guidance” was published without any fanfare on the Internet  in March. These reports, prepared by the consulting firm Accenture, are meant to be read only by people in the digital surveillance and security business. For understandable reasons, these people prefer to talk about digital identity rather than digital control or surveillance.

This is how the KTDI-scheme is supposed to work: We upload information about us into a database – or authorize others to do so. First of all, this should be a proof of identity from the authorities, but also our travel history, bank data, hotel accommodations, rental car bookings, documents from universities, government offices and much more. If we want to cross a border, we give the authorities access to this database in advance, so that they can see beforehand that we are harmless. Using facial recognition and our (ideally) biometrically linked smartphone, they can recognize us at the border crossing. If we have been diligent enough in providing data, we will be allowed to walk past the queues of other travellers, receiving preferential treatment and minimal checks. However, as it says in the first KTDI-report, if there should be any doubt as to a traveller’s intentions, the border official can, on the basis of the information provided in advance, ask the respective person more in-depth questions, for example „to better understand his recent activities”. Read more…

Problems of index fund capitalism

February 9, 2020 Leave a comment

fro Norbert Häring

If the trend of the last two decades continues, index funds could control 40 percent of the voting rights in the largest corporations by 2040.The share is already up to 25 percent in the US. There a two perspectives on this. Some scholars say it threatens shareholder value, others fear it will lead to too much of it. I side with the latter. …

Law-and-economics professors Lucian Bebchuk and Scott Hirst from the Universities of Harvard and Boston make the extrapolation of the index funds share in votes in their paper “The Specter of the Giant Three”.

The concentration of shares in an ever smaller number of fund companies is a trend that has started roughly 70 years ago. In 1960 only about six percent of US shares were held by capital management companies. This share has increased tenfold to 65 percent by 2017, according to Bebchuk and Hirst.

Index funds don’t select shares, actively, but instead replicate passively the composition of a stock market index with their assets, such as the DAX or the Standard & Poor’s 500 (S & P 500). The advantage for investors is that they do not have to pay fund managers and analysts to work on stock selection. Experience has shown that the majority of actively managed funds do not outperform index funds even before fees.

The Giant Three

Read more…

Anti-Cash-Alliance suffers setback in their home-town New York

January 27, 2020 2 comments

from Norbert Häring

The Better Than Cash Alliance (Visa, Mastercard, Citibank, Bill Gates, USAID) coordinates the global war against cash from New York. Now, the city council of the headquarters of the Alliance has decided to oblige all brick and mortar stores and restaurants to accept cash. The justification of the regulation is a low blow for the alliance’s financial inclusion propaganda.

According to a USA-Today report, retail stores, restaurants, and bars will have to accept cash in the future. The new regulation gets in the way of a program of credit card company Visa, which is paying restaurants for going completely cashless.

Visa is one of the founding members of the Better Than Cash Alliance, which aims to eliminate cash worldwide. The alliance is based in New York. With generous donations, it obtained office space from the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and now misleadingly calls itself a “UN-based organization”.  Read more…

How international corporations could be taxed, and why the US is working to prevent it

January 10, 2020 5 comments

from Norbert Häring

The OECD and the EU want to change international tax principles to curb tax evasion. The United States is opposed to the plans as they would affect its internet companies and other US multinationals.

The US has stepped up its fight against taxes on digital corporations. Shortly after President Donald Trump’s threat of special tariffs on French goods, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked all countries in early December to abandon similar plans for taxes that would hit US internet corporations in particular. In a letter to the industrialized country organization OECD, Mnuchin stated that an agreement should instead be reached at the OECD level. At the same time, however, he warned of changes to the taxation right, which this same OECD has been planning to introduce. These could damage established pillars of the international tax system, he wrote.

The US is thus questioning the OECD’s plan to curb rampant tax avoidance by international corporations and also low-tax competition by national governments. To this end, the OECD wants to change long established principles of international taxation rights, if possible by 2020. Read more…

What the German government must do now to turn around an unsustainable economy

August 18, 2019 13 comments

from Norbert Häring

Germany’s economic output contracted in the second quarter and most indications point to a worsening in the third quarter, which is just halfway through. The culprit is only superficially Donald Trump with his trade wars. The German economy has been on an unsustainable path in several respects. Now the government is called upon to act courageously and intelligently to ensure that a deep restructuring crisis is avoided.

The German success model was not sustainable because it ignored the limits of the rest of the world’s ability to borrow money to pay for German exports and because it omits the fact that we are already very close to the limits of the ecological resilience of our planet.

As far as economic limits are concerned: In the long run it is not feasible that, in addition to China’s massive economic expansion through exports, rich Germany also tries to increase its prosperity through exports and frugality, resulting every year in a huge trade surplus. The counterpart to the export successes of these two nations is that the rest of the world is building up ever higher foreign debt. The longer this continues, the more countries will reach their debt limits and will no longer want or be able to participate in this game. If Trump hadn’t stood his ground, sooner or later others would have. Or simply more and more nations – including EU countries – would have descended into crises and would no longer have been able to buy German exports. Read more…

European Court of Justice to decide if public institutions have a right to refuse cash

March 30, 2019 2 comments

from Norbert Häring

On 27 March, the highest administrative court in Germany, the Bundesverwaltungsgericht, has referred my case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg. I have insisted to pay my legally required contributions to public radio and TV with the legal tender, euro cash. This is not possible according to their regulations. The Bundesverwaltungsgericht has ruled that there is indeed a requirement for all public institutions to accept cash based on §14 of the Bundesbank Act, which makes euro-banknotes legal tender. However, they will ask the ECJ to clarify, if this law is in agreement with higher ranking European law.

§14 Paragraph 1 Sentence 2 of the Bundesbank Act says:

“Banknotes denominated in euro shall be the sole unrestricted legal tender.”

Article 128 Paragraph 1 Sentence 3 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) reads:

“The banknotes issued by the European Central Bank and the national central banks shall be the only such notes to have the status of legal tender within the Union.”

Read more…

How monetary union is sacrificed on the altar of competitiveness

January 25, 2019 4 comments

from Norbert Häring

European Economic & Monetary Union (EMU) is in permanent crisis. The economic strengths of the participating nations are drifting apart instead of converging. This creates great frustration among the governments of countries being left behind and fierce disputes between them and Brussels and governments of core countries.

The currency union was based on the premise that the economic structures and levels of prosperity among the members of the union would converge. The poorer countries would catch up. That didn’t happen. On the contrary. Philipp Heimberger from the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW) warned in his analysis of October 2018:

“The most significant long-term risk of disintegration for the euro area is the existing polarisation in the production structures of ‘core’ countries and southern ‘periphery’ countries.”

While the German economy grew by 27 percent and the Austrian by as much as 33 percent between the beginning of monetary union in 1999 and 2017, Italy’s grew by a modest six percent and Portugal’s by 12 percent.  In Greece, gross domestic product in 2017, adjusted for inflation, was at the same level as 19 years earlier. While the share of German industry in value-added remained almost stable at a high level, it fell sharply in the periphery countries.  Read more…

A leading economist who took Uber’s money and delivered favorable results sees his reputation tarnished

November 15, 2018 3 comments

from Norbert Häring

A year ago, I described how the controversial and well-financed ride-hauling platform Uber pays economists with data and money to do Uber-related research. This research invariably leads to favourable results, which can be used to fend off criticism and regulation. One such study has now been ripped apart in the Industrial & Labor Relations Review (ILR), a top journal in labor-economics.

Two fearless economists, Janine Berg, senior-economist at the International Labor Organisation (ILO), and doctoral candidate Hannah Johnston submitted an extremely critical comment on a paper by Uber’s chief economist Jonathan Hall and Princeton economist Alan Krueger, which portrayed Uber as a good company to work for and its “driver-partners” as very satisfied and earning good money. The comment recently appeared in ILR, the same journal in which the Hall-Krueger paper had appeared. Notably, there is no reply by Krueger.

While I cannot be specific about the history of this comment, for fear of legal complications, I judge it as almost a miracle that it made it into the journal, despite strong adverse winds. The elephant in the room could not be mentioned in that article, though: the strong conflict of interest that arises if an Uber-employee and a prominent economist on an Uber consultancy-contract use confidential Uber-data to research an issue in which Uber has an elementary business interest. This omission is not surprising: at the time of my critical report, the editor in chief of ILR had also declined to talk about this issue, insisting on keeping the discussion to the substantive arguments.  Read more…

Demonetisation in India was a great success – for the Better Than Cash Alliance

November 10, 2018 3 comments

from Norbert Häring

Two years ago, on 8 November 2016 at 8 pm, prime minister Narendra Modi declared most cash in India demonetised, starting a period of several months of severe cash shortage, which imposed a lot of hardship and suffering on the people. The National Herald India invited me to write a guest-comment on the occasion.

I have been invited to write a comment on the ‘failure’ of the Demonetisation exercise of Prime Minister Modi. True, it was an obvious failure if you judge it by its declared objective of fighting corruption, terrorism funding and tax dodging. Almost all the demonetised banknotes were deposited in banks and thus re-inserted into the legal economy. It was a failure also if judged by the secondary goal of promoting financial inclusion. Rather than helping the poor by giving them access to modern means of savings and payment options, demonetisation disproportionately hurt the poor, as they were robbed of the free means of payment that they used to have at their disposal: cash and which was working well for them. Those well integrated into a social web of support found ways to cope. Those at the margin of society, like migrant workers, suffered tremendously from being temporarily excluded from participation in the monetary economy.

It would be unthinkable for a US-government to take most of the cash out of circulation at four hours’ notice. If it is done in India to Indian people, however, it is alright!  Read more…

Brave New Money: The trend toward a digital world currency – part 2

August 28, 2018 3 comments

from Norbert Häring                                                                                              part 1

The winner takes all is a basic rule of the digital economy. Whoever is ahead has a large advantage, just from being ahead, and has a good chance to end up as a quasi-monopolist. This has two main reasons, called network effects and economies of scale. Network effects make digital services more attractive, if more people use them. This is true for social media or trading platforms as well as for computer programs like Word or Windows. Economies of scale arise, because once a digital service or a programme has been developed, it often costs next to nothing to provide it to more customers. Thus, the leader, who has the most customers, can offer the most attractive digital services at the lowest cost. This is the reason why Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook have risen to the top of the league of the most valuable American companies within only a few years. Together with their Chinese look-alikes Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent hold the global top-spots. They all have a near-monopoly in their industry and can command very high profit margins.

The winner takes all applies also to money in a digitalized and globalized environment. Digital money can be produced at near-zero cost, and its utility increases with the number of users. What is in the way for one currency to gain a near-monopoly is only the desire of national governments to have their own currency and their power to enforce its usage at home. This power of national governments, however, might wane in an era of globalized digital commerce.   Read more…

Brave new money: PayPal, WeChat, Amazon Go – A totalitarian world currency in the making – Part I

August 23, 2018 9 comments

from Norbert Häring

My book in German with the translated title: “Brave New Money: PayPal, WeChat, Amazon Go – A Totalitarian World Currency in the Making” has just been published by Campus. I have tanslated the “Introduction and Overview” and part of Chapter 1. I will publish this translation in two parts over the next few days. This is part 1.

The future of payments has arrived in early 2018, when the first Amazon Go store opened its gates for the general public in Seattle. If you shop there, you will not have to queue at the cash register. There is none, thanks to – as Amazon calls it – the most modern shopping technology. You just download an app and sign on before entering the store. Then you freely take everything you want from the shelves and put it into your shopping bag – or put it back on the shelf, if you change your mind. When you are satisfied with what you’ve got, just leave the store, unencumbered by cashiers or shop detectives. Amazon’s surveillance apparatus has followed you around the store and registered your every move. Shortly after you have left the store, you will get a bill on your smartphone and the money will be taken from your account.

Shopping cannot be any easier than this. The activity of paying is eliminated in this consumerist utopia that is just becoming reality. Without your involvement, you will be rid of your money. You don’t even have to take out a card, give a signature or swipe your smartphone. The seller and the person who manages your money are merging. This is there we are headed, not just in Amazon Go stores. In the future of payments, all convenience will be on our side, all the power will be with the other side.  Read more…