Tag Archives | Finance

Revolutionary Potential: Default En Masse

$alt BlogAn op-ed in the New York Times from June, entitled “Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans,” features a picture of a bank-note burning like a draft-card in the Vietnam days. The story begins atomized as the author, Lee Siegel, recalls taking out his first student loan along with his parents at the age of 17, to be met with ‘congratulations,’ from the banker, “as if I had just won some kind of award rather than signed away my young life.”

Soon after, the author was faced with a decision. He could give up on his dreams of being a writer to pursue a life of quiet desperation, working a shit job for shit pay to pay off his massive student debt. Or he could default. The author says, “I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.”

They decided on the latter noting that “It struck me as absurd that one could amass crippling debt as a result, not of drug addiction or reckless borrowing and spending, but of going to college.” As a result of this absurdity “having opened a new life to me beyond my modest origins, the education system was now going to call in its chits and prevent me from pursuing that new life, simply because I had the misfortune of coming from modest origins.”

As a result, Siegel notes that “The banks that made them have all gone under.… Read the rest

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“People often ask me, ‘How can you be so stupid and still proclaim yourself a communist?’” — Slavoj Žižek

Philosopher Slavoj Žižek argues that our current brand of global capitalism is quickly outgrowing democracy and that a divorce between the two is inevitable. This leads to an array of social and geopolitical concerns regarding the public commons. These problems include but are not limited to ecology, biogenetics, finance, neo-apartheid, crisis management, intellectual property rights, and personal freedom. Žižek touches on all these topics and more in this epic delivery of political and social theory.

h/t Biblioklept

Transcript:

Well people often ask me how can you be so stupid and still proclaim yourself a communist. What do you mean by this? Well, I have always to emphasize that first I am well aware that let’s call it like this – the twentieth century’s over. Which means all not only communists solution but all the big leftist projects of the twentieth century failed. Not only did Stalinist communism although there its failure is much more paradoxical.… Read the rest

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Multiple Banker Deaths Rattle Banking Industry

Canary Wharf 200810We’ve been reporting on the multiple suicides by bankers around the world for a while now, and the rash of seemingly unrelated deaths has the banking industry asking “why?” The bankers’ ubiquitous news service Bloomberg reports:

Coroners in London are preparing to investigate two apparent suicides as unexpected deaths by finance workers around the world have raised concerns about mental health and stress levels in the industry.

The inquest into the death of William Broeksmit, 58, a retired Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) risk executive found dead in his London home in January, will start tomorrow. The inquest for Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old vice president in technology operations at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) & Co., who died after falling from the firm’s 33-story London headquarters, is scheduled for late May.

The suicides were followed by others around the world, including at JPMorgan in Hong Kong, as well as Mike Dueker, the chief economist at Seattle-based Russell Investment Management Co.

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37-Year-Old JPMorgan Executive Is The Latest Leading Banker To Die Strangely Over The Past Three Weeks

jpmorgan chaseTwo weeks ago we noted that in a span of six days, a former Federal Reserve economist was found dead in an apparent suicide, a former senior manager for Deutsche Bank was discovered hanging from a noose in his home, and a JPMorgan Chase vice president seemingly jumped to death in London. The Financial Post reports that the string of sudden fatalities among masters-of-the-universe continues:

A 37-year-old JPMorgan Chase & Co executive director who died from unknown causes Feb. 3 appears to be the latest in a series of untimely deaths among finance workers and business leaders around the world in the past three weeks.

Ryan Crane, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. employee who in a 14-year career at the New York-based bank rose to executive director of a unit that trades blocks of stocks for clients, died in his Stamford, Connecticut, home. The cause of death will be determined when a toxicology report is completed in about six weeks.

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Third Prominent Banker In Six Days Found Dead Of Apparent Suicide

fed_banker In what seems like a bizarre coincidence, top officials from JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, and the Federal Reserve seemingly took their own lives last week, HousingWire notes:

Bloomberg is reporting this morning that former Federal Reserve economist Mike Dueker was found dead in an apparent suicide near Tacoma, Washington. Dueker, 50, a chief economist at Russell Investments, had been missing since Jan. 29 and was reportedly having troubles at work.

Normally HousingWire wouldn’t cover deaths in the industry, but what’s strange is that Dueker is the third prominent banker found dead since Sunday.

On Sunday, William Broeksmit, 58, former senior manager for Deutsche Bank, was found hanging in his home, also an apparent suicide. On Tuesday, Gabriel Magee, 39, vice president at JPMorgan Chase & Co’s London headquarters, apparently jumped to his death from a building in the Canary Wharf area.

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JPMorgan Chase Resisting Inquiries Into Its Relationship With Bernie Madoff

jpmorganBehind every major criminal operation is a bank propping them up. Newsweek reports:

JPMorgan Chase has for years obstructed federal bank examiners trying to ascertain what it knew about Bernard Madoff’s gigantic Ponzi scheme, an official document obtained by Newsweek shows.

JPMorgan was the principal bank Madoff used in his fraud. On the day of his arrest in December 2008, he claimed to be the world’s biggest money manager, handling $64.8 billion of other people’s money.

The Justice Department refused in September to back up Treasury inspector general staff who wanted a court order to enforce a subpoena, in effect shielding JPMorgan from law enforcement, the October 8 document shows.

The JPMorgan memos are almost certain to show that years earlier the bank had grounds to suspect Madoff was running a fraud. Despite this, JPMorgan continued doing business with Madoff almost until the moment of his arrest in December 2008.

The memos Justice is helping JPMorgan conceal might also shed light on how the Securities and Exchange Commission failed to uncover the decades-long scam, despite audits and warnings from Harry Markopolos, the Boston fraud investigator who tried in vain to get an official investigation.

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The Occult On Wall Street: The Art Of Financial Astrology

zodiac

The Telegraph claims that a surprising number of mainstream investment bankers make decisions based on astrology. Can you envision this growing into a quasi-religious cult?

Donald Bradley’s method of foreseeing changes in the market involved assigning a numerical value to the position of the planets and stars and plotting the values on a graph. The peaks and troughs of that line should, in theory, plot “turns” in the fortunes of stocks, bonds and commodities. It sounds utterly mad, but the model has been described by market watcher Peter Eliades as “eerily accurate”.

I wanted to do a statistical analysis of his method and use it if it worked,” says Crawford. Back in the library, Crawford found records of the Dow Jones going back to 1885 and a book outlining the details of planetary positions. After comparing the two, he was impressed.

So Crawford began using astrology alongside his technical analysis. Over the years, Crawford found his predictions working out so well that, in 1977, he set up business as a full-time astrological adviser.

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Bank Tellers Rely On Public Assistance, Too

If you think working for a bank is a  good idea, because a bank is a lucrative business, a business which is responsible for handing out the currency that keeps the economy running, the people working, and the masses fed, then why are bank tellers in the same boat as fast food workers and Wal-Mart employees?

VIA CBS Money Watch

Taxpayers spend $899 million annually in state and federal benefits to support bank tellers and their families, according to a new report from The Committee for Better Banks.

One-third of bank tellers receive some sort of public assistance, ranging from Medicaid to food stamps, the financial industry employee advocacy group found, citing research from the University of California-Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. In New York state, almost 40 percent of bank tellers and their family members are enrolled in public assistance programs, costing the state and federal governments $112 million in benefits.

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