Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.
Display:
Imports would also had to be cut, and the competitivness of export companies increased, as we have discussed in other places. A great idea is to avoid massive wage inflation that is completely disconnected to productivity increases... Furthermore, nothing requires that foreign balance deficits must be balanced through the issuance of debt, private or public. It can just as well be financed by foreign entities aquiring equity in domestic companies.

Speculative real estate bubbles can be reined in with regulation, if you lack the ability to raise rates (not that I'm going to focus much on this, as it wouldn't surprise me if we'll find that Sweden has failed at this very thing).

And yes, I place a very large part of the blame on "responible" German labour unions for accepting the wage suppression.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 12:55:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Imports would also had to be cut, and the competitivness of export companies increased, as we have discussed in other places.

Well, yes.

But it is not immediately obvious how this has any simple, mechanical relation to the sovereign balance.

A great idea is to avoid massive wage inflation that is completely disconnected to productivity increases...

Has this actually happened? Do we have time series for Greek wages and productivity around here somewhere, or are we talking out of our posteriors here?

Furthermore, nothing requires that foreign balance deficits must be balanced through the issuance of debt, private or public. It can just as well be financed by foreign entities aquiring equity in domestic companies.

Ah, the foreign direct investment pony. I was wondering when that one would show up.

Thing is, when all traditional avenues of (neo-)mercantilist policy have been choked off, Greece is left with precious few policy options to encourage FDI. And most of them are bad for both the Union and, in the medium term, for Greece.

Speculative real estate bubbles can be reined in with regulation,

Yes.

But, again, it is not immediately apparent how this will repair the foreign balance.

Certainly, you can repair the foreign balance by gutting demand so far that your economy stops importing food and fuel. Please refer to Suharto's Indonesia for the results of that and get back to me if you still think that's a good idea.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 05:27:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has this actually happened?

Chance would be a fine thing.

This is the usual brain rot excuse - what if wages outstrip productivity?

Well - what if they do? Profits and dividends can always be cut to keep prices level. It's not as if leaving profits and dividends to accumulate is actually going to drive investment.

But apparently this realisation is unpossible. Spending on wages must always be cut first, and must be cut more and more severely, until - er - only millionaires have anything left to spend.

At this point austerity can be applied, the state can be bought, and the cycle can repeat elsewhere.

It's specious nonsense. We know that wages and productivity have been disconnected since the 70s - which is, incidentally, when this idea first became something that "everyone knows" i.e. that paying people too much was the primary cause of the inflationary shocks that were actually caused by energy price increases and by Nixon's default on US obligations.

And for the proponents - in what sense is what's happening to Greece now significantly better economically than what happened to Weimar Germany?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 05:38:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in what sense is what's happening to Greece now significantly better economically than what happened to Weimar Germany?

It's not, of course.  

During the middle years of the Weimar Republic Germany experienced a burst of "prosperity" based on capital inflows (debt accumulation.)  This inflow was used for current account purposes instead of being deployed as long term capital to increase productive capacity  -- & is this beginning to sound familiar?  

:-)

It's the same old story: the inability to cognize the fundamental difference between "wealth" and "accumulating stuff."

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 12:02:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A great idea is to avoid massive wage inflation that is completely disconnected to productivity increases...

No, this has not actually happened... I've quoted Erik Jones many times, here's one more:

Let's start with some data - all of which is taken from the Annual Macroeconomic Database of the European Commission and is freely available on-line.  The most damning data against Greece is the movement in real compensation per employee.  If we set the year 2000 equal to 100, then by 2009 Greece was at 122 while Germany was at 102.  This would suggest that Greek real wages have risen by 20 percent more than Germany - and they have - but that tells us very little about competitiveness.

What matters in terms of a head-to-head competition is how Greece and Germany compare in the cost of labor per unit of output and not the real compensation of employees.  Moreover, we should look at their performance across the European marketplace as a whole.  By that measure, if we set the year 2000 equal to 100, then by 2009 Greece was at 98 while Germany was at 95.  Germany is still doing better than Greece, but only by a little and both have improved against the rest of Europe.

In fact Greek (inflation adjusted) wages lagged behind productivity increases all through this whole bubble period. And mind that the wages themselves were increasingly unequal... Inflation in Greece was profit driven.

As for productivity increases, check at this EUKLEMS report, p. 14

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 06:37:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If this is so, that compensation per labour outout is more or less the same in Greece and Germany, how can it be that Greek companies can't compete?

Seems to me Greek politicians should ask themselves what they should change in their country to attract and keep succesful companies in their nation.

Why should I choose Greece over say Bulgaria, Poland or India when I choose where to site a new factory manufacturing say, advanced cables, or machinery?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 10:16:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why was Brodosplit closed as a condition of EU accession for Croatia?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 10:19:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't really recall. But it had something to do with subsidies.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 10:27:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I don't thuink Brodsplit has actually been closed, either.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 10:27:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not going to be producing many civilian boats any more.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 10:29:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's built three this year already. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brodosplit

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 10:39:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any new contracts for future production?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 10:50:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've got no idea. I usually only read the annual reports of companies I consider investing in, for myself or the foundations.

But, yes: http://www.brodosplit.hr/eng/PRESSCENTER/Newsrelease/tabid/3061/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/96 7/Building-of-bulk-carriers-is-contracted.aspx

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 11:14:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You seemed to have an opinion about the quality of the output, though.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 10:30:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The ships are of excellent quality, just like the oil tankers we used to build in Sweden were. But you know what? They couldn't compete. They were too expensive. So we had to close the shipyards, as we didn't feel like dumping unlimited amounts of taxpayer money into loss-making companies for ever and ever.

We could still build excellent ships in Sweden. But no one would buy them for the prices we would require to cover our costs. That's just the way of the world.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 10:35:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We could still build excellent ships in Sweden. But no one would buy them for the prices we would require to cover our costs.

And now...

... you can't.

But I'm sure the strong krona was worth it. For the lawyers.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 10:48:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That industry didn't collapse as a result of the strong krona, it collapsed due to too high salaries 30 years ago.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 11:15:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does Sweden still build its own military or coast guard ships?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 11:31:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only submarines (for the Navy), small patrol boats (circa 25 metres, for the Navy and Coast Guard) and small amphibious assault craft (15-25 metres, for the Swedish Marines).

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 12:37:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The point being, in the EU you're allowed to have industrial subsidies as long as you use the military for cover. Just like the US and its crassly Keynesian Military Industrial Complex.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 06:13:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Jones, it's a capital account problem

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 11:34:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Imports would also had to be cut, and the competitivness of export companies increased, as we have discussed in other places.

But the government of an EU member state is not allowed to do anything in these areas. All it is allowed to do is deregulate.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 10:23:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It sure is allowed to do things! Improving infrastructure, fighting corruption, cutting red tape, changing taxes and so on and so on. The only thing which is disallowed is subsidies.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 10:32:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display: