Category Archives: Finance

Do robotic insurance agents get commissions?


Or are banksters [for insurance is, after all, banking on your own mortality] putting the premium on profit in an aging Japan?

From the Yomiuri Shimbun:

A major life insurance company will deploy humanoid robots nationwide this autumn, using them to wait on customers at its offices and sending them out on sales calls.

Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. has announced plans to deploy 100 Pepper robots, made by SoftBank Group Corp., at its 80 branches in October. Pepper will explain insurance products and services, and accompany sales people on their rounds.

This will give Meiji Yasuda the highest number of humanoid robots deployed in the financial industry.

Pepper will explain comparatively simple, reasonably priced insurance products in customer service areas at branch offices. The robots also will attend to visitors at insurance seminars held by the company, and accompany Meiji Yasuda salespeople on visits to other companies to promote insurance products.

How long before we start to see robotic peddlers on our own doorsteps?

And what does such a development imply?

What other sales jobs can be filled without having to do with those messy humans? No unions, no health insurance, no retirement benefits, and programmed to do exactly what you want them to do.

Kinda like the Trump Republican base.

Monsanto says Bayer takeover bid still too low


The multinational giants continue to haggle over the urge to merge.

From Reuters:

U.S. seed company Monsanto Co turned down a sweetened $64 billion acquisition offer from Bayer AG  but said it was open to further talks with the German healthcare and chemicals group as well as other parties.

The widely expected rejection puts pressure on Bayer to sweeten its offer once again, at least enough to get access to Monsanto’s books. The two companies have been in negotiations about a potential confidentiality agreement, Reuters reported on Monday.

Monsanto said on Tuesday its board unanimously viewed Bayer’s latest bid as “financially inadequate and insufficient to ensure deal certainty.”

“Monsanto remains open to continued and constructive conversations with Bayer and other parties to assess whether a transaction that the board believes is in the best interest of Monsanto share owners can be realized,” the company said.

Resisting the Greek capitulation to the banksters


Greek’s have seen austerity at its worst, inflicted by the joint powers of the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

The austerians are acting in the interest of the banks of Germany and France, lending institutions that bankrolled arms deals that profited the military/industrial complexes of the lender nations.

While Greek official corruption was clearly involved in some of the deals, the bribe payments came from German companies eager for profits from the sale of weapon systems, warships, and other materiel necessary for the new Cold War.

A succession of Greek governments signed off on massive cuts in public salaries and pensions, restrictions on the national public health system, and the sell-off of ports, railroads, islands, and other public assets.

Finally, the Greek people said “Enough!,” and in and in January 2015, they voted in a new government headed by a previously marginal party, a coalition of the Left named Syriza [previously], swept to power on a platform calling for an end of the payments.

With party leader Alexis Tsipras becoming chancellor, Syriza seemed on track to mount the first real resistance to the ave of austerity programs imposed on nations of Ireland and Southern Europe in the wake of the crash caused by the institutional corruption of Wall Street and the City of London.

Seven months after taking power, Syriza called a referendum on the issue of whether or not Greece should accept the latest austerity mandates from the Troika. When the votes were tallied, 61 percent of the Greek electorate declared no to further austerity.

Two months later the leaders of the anti-austerity movement were gone, and Tsipras was ready to surrender once again.

In this interview with The Real News Network, one of those leaders talks about those critical events, and the launch of a new party to continue the resistance to the money lord of the North:

Odious Debt and the Betrayal of the Popular Will in Greece

From the transcript:

DIMITRI LASCARIS, TRNN: This is Dimitri Lascaris reporting from Lesbos, Greece, for The Real News.

This week, The Real News is in Lesbos to cover the Crossing Borders Conference on the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean.

This afternoon we’re joined by Zoe Konstantopoulou. Zoe Konstantopoulou is the former speaker of the Greek Parliament. She was elected to that position in February of last year with a record number of votes from her fellow MPs, including, surprisingly, the support of the right-wing New Democracy Party. But her tenure as speaker of the Greek Parliament was short-lived. Her position was vacated in October of last year after the SYRIZA government decided to implement an austerity program that was even more severe than [the one that] over 60 percent of the population of Greece had rejected in a referendum in July of last year.

>snip<

LASCARIS: Now, last year, after the referendum in which over 60 percent of the Greek population effectively voted to reject an austerity program that was even less severe than what was ultimately implemented, the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, called a snap election and there was a rebellion of the left wing of the SYRIZA party, and they formed another party called Popular Unity, which I understand you supported in the election that was held in September.

KONSTANTOPOULOU: I cooperated as an independent candidate with Popular Unity.

There’s more, after the jump. . . Continue reading

Charts of the day III: Til debt us do part. . .


Two compelling offerings from the Los Angeles Times article warning of growing indications another crash lurks just ahead:

Debts global. . .

BLOG Debt 1

And domestic. . .

And note especially that right hand column while also remembering that corporate cash on hand has reached record levels:

BLOG Debt 2

Chart of the day II: Eurozone, U.S. bad bank loans


From a just-issued report from the International Monetary Fund, a stunning comparison of bad bank loans and write-off ratios in the U.S. and the 19-nation common currency Eurozone:

Euro Area Policies: 2016 Article IV Consultation--Press Release;

America’s fiscal priorities: Prisons over schools


Probably the ominous story we’ve read today, and an augury for a rapidly polarizing nation, comes from teleSUR English:

Funding for prisons greatly outpaced funding for education, according to a report released Thursday.

U.S. state and local spending on prisons and jails grew at three times the rate of spending on schools over the last 33 years as the number of people behind bars ballooned under a spate of harsh sentencing laws, a government report released Thursday said.

U.S. Secretary of Education John King said the report’s stark numbers should make state and local governments reevaluate their spending priorities and channel more money toward education.

Between 1979 and 2012, state and local government expenditure grew by 107 percent to US$534 billion from US$258 billion for elementary and secondary education, while corrections spending rose by 324 percent to US$71 billion from US$17 billion, the U.S. Department of Education report found.

In that same period, the population of state and local corrections facilities surged more than fourfold to nearly 2.1 million from around 467,000, more than seven times the growth rate of the U.S. population overall. The prison population shot up following the widespread adoption of mandatory minimum sentence laws in the 1990s.

Seven states—Idaho, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia—each exceeded the average rate, increasing their corrections spending five times as fast as they did their pre-kindergarten to grade 12 education spending.

In just two states—New Hampshire and Massachusetts—growth in corrections expenditure did not surpass P-12 expenditures, even after accounting for changes in population. The report did not analyze different state policies that could explain these exceptions, King said on a conference call.

Adam Zyglis: Trade agreement


From the editorial cartoonist of the Buffalo News:

July 6, 2016

July 6, 2016

And if you want to know why American workers are angry at the Obama administration for pursuing the noxious trade pact, let Sen. Elizabeth Warren explain, via CREDO Action:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on why we need to stop the TPP

Program notes:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren exposes a dangerous and undemocratic provision of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) called “Investor State Dispute Settlement” or ISDS. Sen. Warren lays out in compelling detail how ISDS allows corporations to bypass traditional courts in favor of unaccountable, industry-friendly “arbitration panels.”

Join the fight to stop the TPP: http://credo.cm/tpp