Creditocracy: And The Case For Debt Refusal

OR Books
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It seems like pretty much everybody – homeowners, students, those who are ill and without health insurance, and, of course, credit card holders – is up to their neck in debt that can never be repaid. 77% of US households are seriously indebted and one in seven Americans has been pursued by debt collectors. The major banks are bigger and more profitable than before the 2008 crash, and legislators are all but powerless to bring them to heel.

In this forceful, eye-opening survey, Andrew Ross contends that we are in the cruel grip of a creditocracy – where the finance industry commandeers our elected governments and where the citizenry have to take out loans to meet their basic needs. The implications of mass indebtedness for any democracy are profound, and history shows that whenever a creditor class becomes as powerful as Wall Street, the result has been debt bondage for the bulk of the population.

Following in the ancient tradition of the jubilee, activists have had some success in repudiating the debts of developing countries. The time is ripe, Ross argues, for a debtors’ movement to use the same kinds of moral and legal arguments to bring relief to household debtors in the North. After examining the varieties of lending that have contributed to the crisis, Ross suggests ways of lifting the burden of illegitimate debts from our backs. Just as important, Creditocracy outlines the kind of alternative economy we need to replace a predatory debt-money system that only benefits the 1%.

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Publisher
OR Books
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Published on
Feb 20, 2014
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Pages
220
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ISBN
9781939293398
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Money & Monetary Policy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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2009 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Is job insecurity the new norm? With fewer and fewer people working in steady, long-term positions for one employer, has the dream of a secure job with full benefits and a decent salary become just that—a dream?

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Ross argues that regardless of one’s views on labor rights, globalization, and quality of life, this new precarious and “indefinite life,&” and the pitfalls and opportunities that accompany it is likely here to stay and must be addressed in a systematic way. A more equitable kind of knowledge society emerges in these pages—less skewed toward flexploitation and the speculative beneficiaries of intellectual property, and more in tune with ideals and practices that are fair, just, and renewable.

Phoenix, Arizona is one of America's fastest growing metropolitan regions. It is also its least sustainable one, sprawling over a thousand square miles, with a population of four and a half million, minimal rainfall, scorching heat, and an insatiable appetite for unrestrained growth and unrestricted property rights. In Bird on Fire, eminent social and cultural analyst Andrew Ross focuses on the prospects for sustainability in Phoenix--a city in the bull's eye of global warming--and also the obstacles that stand in the way. Most authors writing on sustainable cities look at places that have excellent public transit systems and relatively high density, such as Portland, Seattle, or New York. But Ross contends that if we can't change the game in fast-growing, low-density cities like Phoenix, the whole movement has a major problem. Drawing on interviews with 200 influential residents--from state legislators, urban planners, developers, and green business advocates to civil rights champions, energy lobbyists, solar entrepreneurs, and community activists--Ross argues that if Phoenix is ever to become sustainable, it will occur more through political and social change than through technological fixes. Ross explains how Arizona's increasingly xenophobic immigration laws, science-denying legislature, and growth-at-all-costs business ethic have perpetuated social injustice and environmental degradation. But he also highlights the positive changes happening in Phoenix, in particular the Gila River Indian Community's successful struggle to win back its water rights, potentially shifting resources away from new housing developments to producing healthy local food for the people of the Phoenix Basin. Ross argues that this victory may serve as a new model for how green democracy can work, redressing the claims of those who have been aggrieved in a way that creates long-term benefits for all. Bird on Fire offers a compelling take on one of the pressing issues of our time--finding pathways to sustainability at a time when governments are dismally failing in their responsibility to address climate change.
In 1971, President Nixon imposed national price controls and took the United States off the gold standard, an extreme measure intended to end an ongoing currency war that had destroyed faith in the U.S. dollar. Today we are engaged in a new currency war, and this time the consequences will be far worse than those that confronted Nixon.

 

Currency wars are one of the most destructive and feared outcomes in international economics. At best, they offer the sorry spectacle of countries' stealing growth from their trading partners. At worst, they degenerate into sequential bouts of inflation, recession, retaliation, and sometimes actual violence. Left unchecked, the next currency war could lead to a crisis worse than the panic of 2008.

Currency wars have happened before-twice in the last century alone-and they always end badly. Time and again, paper currencies have collapsed, assets have been frozen, gold has been confiscated, and capital controls have been imposed. And the next crash is overdue. Recent headlines about the debasement of the dollar, bailouts in Greece and Ireland, and Chinese currency manipulation are all indicators of the growing conflict.

As James Rickards argues in Currency Wars, this is more than just a concern for economists and investors. The United States is facing serious threats to its national security, from clandestine gold purchases by China to the hidden agendas of sovereign wealth funds. Greater than any single threat is the very real danger of the collapse of the dollar itself.

Baffling to many observers is the rank failure of economists to foresee or prevent the economic catastrophes of recent years. Not only have their theories failed to prevent calamity, they are making the currency wars worse. The U. S. Federal Reserve has engaged in the greatest gamble in the history of finance, a sustained effort to stimulate the economy by printing money on a trillion-dollar scale. Its solutions present hidden new dangers while resolving none of the current dilemmas.

While the outcome of the new currency war is not yet certain, some version of the worst-case scenario is almost inevitable if U.S. and world economic leaders fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors. Rickards untangles the web of failed paradigms, wishful thinking, and arrogance driving current public policy and points the way toward a more informed and effective course of action.




From the Hardcover edition.
This authoritative text provides a detailed insight into how construction companies manage their finances at both corporate and project level. It will guide students and practitioners through the complexities of the financial reporting of construction projects within the constraints of accepted accounting practice. The book is written for non-accountants and from a contractor’s perspective and is equally relevant to subcontractors and main contractors.

The authors examine the relationship between the external annual accounts and the internal cost-value reconciliation process. CVR is covered in depth and the authors consider issues such as interim payments, subcontract accounts, contractual claims, final accounts, cash flow management and the reporting of the physical and financial progress of contracts. 

A broad perspective of all the financial aspects of contracting is taken along with related legal issues and the authors explain how things operate in the ‘real world’. They describe good practice in financial control while at the same time being honest about some of the more questionable practices that can - and do - happen. The approach taken is unique as the financial management of construction projects is considered from the perspective of the contractor’s quantity surveyor. The book deals with the real issues that surveyors have to address when using their judgment to report turnover, profitability, cash flow, and work in progress on projects and the financial problems faced by subcontractors are frankly and pragmatically explored.

The payment and notice requirements of the Construction Act are explained in detail and relevant provisions of JCT2011, NEC3, ICC, DOM/1 and other standard contracts and subcontracts are also covered.

Financial Management in Construction Contracting addresses the wide variety of external factors that influence how construction companies operate, including government policy, banking covenants and the financial aspects of supply chain management. Cost reporting systems are described and real-life examples are used to illustrate cost reports, accrual systems and how computerised systems can be employed to provide the QS with information that can be audited.

Examples drawn from practice demonstrate how work-in-progress (WIP) is reported in contracting. Cost value reconciliation reports are featured and the book demonstrates how adjustments are made for overmeasure, undermeasure, subcontract liabilities and WIP as well as explaining the processes that contractors use when analysing external valuations.

This is the ideal core text for final year degree and post-graduate level modules on Quantity Surveying, Commercial Management, Construction Management and Project Management courses and will provide an invaluable source of reference for quantity surveyors and others who may be engaged in the financial management of construction projects.

The book’s companion website at www.wiley.com/go/rossfinancialmanagement offers invaluable resources for students and lecturers as well as for practising construction managers:

end-of-chapter exercises + outline answers PowerPoint slides for each chapter ideas for discussion topics links to useful websites  
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