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Hedge funds

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From: The Socialist issue 830, 22 October 2014: Priced out? Strike Back!

Search site for keywords: Hedge funds - Market

Hedge fund owners will never blush

Robin Clapp

All over Britain the clamour for a living wage rise is growing. Queues form at our Socialist Party stalls when we demand 10 an hour now.

Across the Atlantic, heroic fast-food workers are combating multinationals in order to obtain a living wage. The inspiring example of Seattle, where our Socialist Alternative councillor Kshama Sawant has led a victorious battle to win $15 an hour for tens of thousands of workers, has become the template for new struggles US-wide.

But for some, the issue is less pressing. Last year a senior executive employed by Elliott Management Hedge Fund pocketed an annual salary of 38,119,707- that's 1,337 times the average UK salary. It breaks down to 733,071 a week, or 20,944 an hour assuming he or she puts in an average 35-hour week.

Hedge Funds are private investment funds operating with a pool of largely unregulated capital. They use a sophisticated range of strategies to maximise returns, often borrowing large sums to invest in 'derivatives' which are products that can be invested in without having to own. These allow the Hedge Fund leeches to take bets on anything from the future direction of currencies and markets to the weather.

Elliott Management was in the headlines recently for refusing to come to a deal with Argentina when its bond market toppled. Most other bondholders agreed to restructure the Argentine debts they held, but Elliott successfully took the country to court, resulting in an Argentine default a few months ago.

Never mind that this consigned millions of Argentinians to further poverty - the sanctity of business must be upheld and compliant US courts are there to do just that!

Hedge Funds have been called vultures. Even arch-capitalist Warren Buffet has called the derivative market a breeding ground for 'financial weapons of mass destruction.'

But Hedge Fund owners never blush. Not for them any idea that we're all in this together. They hold politicians in their hands, laugh at the rest of us and believe they are gods of the planet.

So when you hear Tory health minister Jeremy Hunt say the NHS can't afford a 1% pay rise for all staff, or when you are engaging with a low-paid worker on a stall, remember that Elliott Executive as a symbol of what kind of world we live in and why we need to change it.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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