economy

Bolivia's Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera, a veteran left activist and Marxist academic, spoke at the December 13-15 congress of the Party of the European Left (PEL).

The PEL unites left groups from across Europe and is running Alexis Tsipras for president of the European Commission. Tsipras is president of the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which nearly won elections last year on an anti-austerity, pro-people platform.

Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia, gets its powers from the Reserve Bank Act (1959). Its two primary functions are to ensure the stability of the currency and the provision of full employment.

Besides managing Australia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves, it supposedly meets these objectives by setting the cash rate to meet an agreed medium term inflation rate, which is now set at a target band of 2% to 3%.

A new opinion poll shows left-wing opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party ahead of the ruling conservative New Democracy by 1.5%, Ekathimerini.com said on February 12.

The survey showed SYRIZA leading with 30% support. A poll published in January put SYRIZA at 31.5% and New Democracy at 28%.

The period allowed for businesses to adjust their prices to the government's new “fair prices” law ended on February 10. The government has a wave of inspections planned to ensure the measure is applied.

The Law for the Control of Fair Costs, Prices and Profits aims to stop price speculation, product hoarding and other activities that are destabilising the Venezuelan economy and contributing to its ongoing economic problems.

Further, a maximum profit margin of 30% has been established across the economy to stop companies over-charging.

In his State of the Union address on January 28, United States President Barack Obama highlighted growing inequality in the US. He also pledged to take steps to cut greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

So what has the Obama administration done recently on both counts?

The next time you see another arrogant Liberal or National Party politician repeat Joe Hockey’s mantra “the age of entitlement is over, and the age of personal responsibility has begun,” think of billionaire Gina Rinehart.

Rinehart, the richest person in Australia, inherited her fortune from her mining mogul father Lang Hancock, who once proposed that nuclear bombs be used get iron ore out of the ground in Western Australia.

Representatives from 225 communes met over January 31 to February 1 in Barinas in western Venezuela to discuss strengthening the communal economy.

Communes are made up of elected representatives from the communal councils, grassroots bodies that bring together local neighbourhoods.

The conference was called and organised by the Bolivar and Zamora Revolutionary Current (CRBZ). The CRBZ is a current in the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

I wonder how useless you have to be as a banker before they don’t give you a bonus.

If you turned up for work drunk on Special Brew and Dubonnet, and wet yourself over the computers causing the FTSE to short circuit, bankrupting Brazil and forcing the defence ministry to pawn its tanks at a Cash Converters in Southend, maybe they’d say: “You get just half a million this year, until you wipe yourself down with a sponge.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he would take “the most radical measures to protect our people's economy” as a deadline for businesses to adhere to new price controls approaches.

“We will expropriate whatever needs to be expropriated,” Maduro said during a February 4 speech in Caracas amid commemorations of the 22nd anniversary of a 1992 failed military rebellion.

The coup was led by Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chavez. Although he was jailed for the insurrection, Chavez became a popular figure with the poor majority. He won the 1998 presidential elections by a landslide.

Many people gasped when they read that an Oxfam study found that the richest 85 people in the world own the same wealth as the poorest half of the global population.

It is shocking and unconscionable. It is grossly unfair and unjust. But it is much more than this. This unimaginable concentration of wealth condemns the liveability of the planet and makes permanent war inescapable – for how else but through ruthless violence can this wealth and power of the privileged few be maintained?

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