Citing the Panama Papers, Elizabeth Warren proposes sweeping anti-financial-secrecy rules

The whistleblowers who brought us The Paradise Papers and The Panama Papers risked their freedom and even their lives (Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated for reporting on the stories). Years later, financial secrecy havens are still on the rise, and it's easy to think that all that blood and treasure thrown at ending money laundering and corruption was wasted. Read the rest

The retreat of "scientific selfishness," a literature review

Neoclassical economics was built on the straw-man of "homo economicus," an inherently selfish utility-maximizing actor, and since the mid-1970s, we've been building systems and institutions that take this kind of sociopathic behavior for granted. Read the rest

Mint: late-stage adversarial interoperability demonstrates what we had (and what we lost)

In 2006, Aaron Patzer founded Mint. Patzer had grown up in the city of Evansville, Indianaa place he described as "small, without much economic opportunity"but had created a successful business building websites. He kept up the business through college and grad school and invested his profits in stocks and other assets, leading to a minor obsession with personal finance that saw him devoting hours every Saturday morning to manually tracking every penny he'd spent that week, transcribing his receipts into Microsoft Money and Quicken. Read the rest

Terabytes of data leaked from an oligarch-friendly offshore bank

The Distributed Denial of Secrets Twitter account has published links to terabytes of data identified as raw data from the Cayman National Bank and Trust; Phineas Fisher (previously), the public-interest hacker(s) behind the Hacking Team breach, is credited with the leak. Read the rest

The poorest half of Americans have nothing left, so now the 1%'s growth comes from the upper middle class

The Fed's latest figures on American household wealth paint a rosy picture -- in the aggregate. US households now own a record-breaking $107T worth of assets! Read the rest

Goodbye Libra, hello Facebook Pay

A new proprietary online payment system for WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook launches today, exactly two weeks after all the payment companies dropped out of Libra. Read the rest

How the British left should seize this moment to strip finance of its political clout

In 1977, Nicholas Ridley, a Tory MP in Margaret Thatcher's government, wrote The Ridley Plan, a kind of shock doctrine manual that the Thatcher government followed in its program of mass-privatisations, attacks on trade unions, and the "stealth" privatisation of the NHS. Read the rest

Davos in the Desert is back, and banks and hedge fund managers are flocking to Mister Bone-Saw's side

"Davos in the Desert" is Saudi Arabia's charm offensive aimed at global financial elites, but its launch last year was marred by its close proximity to the gruesome murder and dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, carried out at the personal behest of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who styles himself a progressive reformer. Read the rest

Rep Katie Porter: an Elizabeth Warren protege and single mom who destroys bumbling, mediocre rich guys in Congressional hearings

In 2018, Katie Porter flipped a Republican safe seat -- it had literally never been held by a Democrat-- in California's 45th District, and since then, she has been a delightful, brilliant terror of a lawmaker, using her deep background in finance law (she's a tenured finance law prof at UC Irvine who literally wrote the textbook on consumer finance law in the wake of Dodd-Frank and Elizabeth Warren's establishment of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau). Read the rest

"The People's Money": A crisp, simple, thorough explanation of how government spending is paid for

Modern Monetary Theory is an economic paradigm that treats money as a utility that governments issue and tax in order to mobilize resources needed to provide the services that the public wants; it explains why some kinds of government spending leads to inflation while other kinds do not, and how sovereign states use different levers to control inflation, even when they're spending extraordinary sums, as in WWII. Read the rest

Mark Zuckerberg to testify before House Financial Services Committee on Facebook's 'Libra' cryptocurrency

The House Financial Services Committee has asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify on Facebook's planned Libra cryptocurrency, and he will do so on October 23. Read the rest

What happened to the 2008 bailout money?

In 2008, Congress authorized a $700b bailout of the finance sector, with almost no strings attached (notably, the bailout did not require banks that were receiving public subsidies to abstain from foreclosures or penalties for the members of the public who had just bailed the banks out). Read the rest

"I just love to solve problems": how people who work at predatory lenders avoid thinking about the pain they inflict

Elena Botella worked at Capital One -- one of the US's leading issuers of subprime credit-cards -- for three years; in a fascinating first-person account, she describes how Capital One's youthful, smart, principled and caring staff created a culture in which the lives they were ruining were replaced by obfuscating jargon and interesting mathematics puzzles. Read the rest

Thomas Cook travel collapsed and stranded 150,000 passengers, but still had millions for the execs who tanked it

Thomas Cook is one of the oldest travel agencies in the world, operating their own flights, ships, hotels, etc, whose founders effectively invented modern tourism (listen to this excellent Stuff You Missed in History Class episode for the fascinating and fraught tale of how that happened) but a consolidation in the travel industry combined with private equity chicanery that loaded the company up with $2.1b in debt in order to pay out investors drove the company to its knees, and, last week, it finally died. Read the rest

Trial begins for the "cum/ex" bankers accused of stealing €447m and trying for €60b

You know that late-stage capitalism is upon us when a financial scandal targeting €60 billion in fraud against public treasuries is lost in the noise of other scandals. Read the rest

A deep dive into Elizabeth Warren's plan to tame private equity

Yesterday, I published a brief analysis of Elizabeth Warren's plan to close the loopholes that allows private equity to defraud investors, creditors and workers to make billions while destroying the real economy. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's banking proposals are designed to demolish the private equity sector and force finance to serve the people

Elizabeth Warren's bid for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination has been dominated by a series of bold, detailed policy proposals that are designed to enact deep, structural changes in American law and policy to reverse 40 years of post-Reagan corruption and wealth accumulation by the richest 1%. Read the rest

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