One measure of the surge in speculative activity is the sharp rise in foreign exchange (FX) dealing. In September 2004 the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) published its sixth triennial survey of foreign exchange and derivatives trading activity.

Seventy-three percent of those who were asked in a national opinion poll were in favour of increasing the top rate of income tax on incomes of greater than £100,000 from 40p in the pound to 50p.

Eurozone leaders attending the recent G7 summit of finance ministers from the richest capitalist nations let out a howl of impotent anguish. The statement issued after their meeting (7/8 February) at Boca Raton, Florida, deplored the "excessive volatility and disorderly movements" in exchange rates.

THE BOOMS of the 1980s and 1990s were both driven by frenzied international financial speculation. They have left deep problems for capitalism, and now form a massive barrier to a new, sustained economic upswing in the world economy.

DUBLIN HAS the odious task of hosting the World Economic Forum (WEF) from 19 - 20 October. The WEF, which is a representative "think tank" for the top thousand multinational corporations in the world, plans to hold a summit on "European Competitiveness".

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