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Clueless in Europe

by afew Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 06:21:04 AM EST

Yanis Varoufakis went to Vienna to address the Kreisky Forum, and he asked why European Social Democrats have (not got a clue)? (h/t Migeru)

At the Kreisky Forum: Why have Europe’s social democrats surrendered to the toxic logic of current policies? « Yanis Varoufakis

In the 1980s and 1990s, Europe’s Left (the social democrats in particular) abandoned the notion that labour, financial and real estate markets are profoundly inefficient, with inequality being a mere byproduct of that inefficiency; a byproduct which, nonetheless, feeds back into, and exacerbates, the inefficiency and instability of a capitalist society that allows itself to rely on the ‘free’ operation of these three (problematic) markets. Europe’s Left, at the time of the Rise of the Global Minotaur (i.e. from the late 1970s till 2008), increasingly forgot that

- the more financialised capitalism becomes

- the more labour is being treated like any other commodity

- the more our societies rely on house price bubbles as a source of rents and debt

the more unstable, crisis-prone and, ultimately, uncivilised capitalism becomes.

Having forgotten this and attempting to compromise with capitalism:

...when in 2008 the tsunamis of capital produced by Wall Street, the City and Frankfurt crashed and burnt, Europe’s Social Democratic side of politics did not have the mental tools, or moral values, with which to subject the collapsing system to critical scrutiny.

Which is exactly what we can observe (see "not a clue" above). Though I'm not sure that Varoufakis' description of the process is complete.


They saw the rivers of privately minted money that the financial sector was printing (while labour was squeezed and real estate prices soared) and thought they could harness some of it in order to pursue social democratic policies! Rather than (as the social democrats of the previous, Kreisky era had to do) target the profits of industry, as a source of funding social programs, social democrats thought they could tap the rivers of cash produced in the context of financialisation. Let finance free to do as it pleased and then tap into some of its proceeds to fund the welfare state. That was their game and, at the time, it seemed to them a better idea, more fathomable, than having to be constantly in conflict with industrialists, seeking to tax them in order to redistribute.
And he cites Blair and the PSOE as examples of some who may have squeezed some juice out of financial capitalism. Now, I don't disagree with this, but it seems to me it went further than just taking the easy way out. I don't think the centre-left has any leaders left who have not completely swallowed the basic ideological premise that markets are in fact efficient, and that they are the only way, TINA.

Example: an (otherwise sympathetic, at least I find) politician like Michel Rocard has spent years trying to persude the French Socialists that they must imperatively "accept the market" -- ie the market ideology. Rocard is now content to see that his efforts have not been in vain, see Hollande.

Any counter-examples to belief in markets on the part of social democrats?

Display:
Any counter-examples to belief in markets on the part of social democrats?

So-called.

Social-democratic ideas and values are now the province of the radical left: SYRIZA, FdG, IU, Die Linke...

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 06:44:43 AM EST
Though you may well find that if you call any of us social democrats, you will find us offended.
by redstar on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 07:24:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Splitter!



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 08:23:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here in France the split happened almost 100 years ago...
by redstar on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 08:56:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh well, now you've said it I don't need to hold back on it.

Social-democrat has been an insult for French Communists since the 1930s when Stalin told them to attack the social-traitors.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 09:04:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The split happened at the Congress of Tours, in 1920.

Though the phrase socio-traître probably did get popularised by Thorez et al.

by redstar on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 09:28:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The expressions "social-traitors" and "social-fascists" were part of the "class against class" strategy of the Communist International from 1928, which decreed the Communist Party as the party of the proletariat and the other (Socialist, Radical...) parties as parties of the bourgeoisie.

The terms were liberally (no, not liberally, er, widely) used by the PCF until the Comintern laid down a new strategy of creating popular fronts with the same traitors and fascists.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 10:16:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by redstar on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 10:55:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Social-Catholics, probably.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 11:05:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
if you call any of us social democrats, you will find us offended.

For what values of "us"?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 08:30:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm a member of one of the parties Mig cites. Most of the people I know in that particular party, as is true for myself, would use the term Socio-democrat as an insult, not a compliment.

I wonder what folks in Syriza think of the term social democrat.

Let's not forget what Mélanchon calls Hollande: "Hollandreaou".

Social democrats are what social democrats do, and we've a long track record to look at, pretty much throughout Europe. No need to limit to PSOE, PASOK, SDP, "New Labor," et c.

by redstar on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 08:45:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Front de Gauche is probably attracting new members who wouldn't all necessarily agree with your view of the essential nature of the social-traitors. And if Mélenchon pretends he's not or never was a social-democrat, I'd find that surprising.

Varoufakis doesn't look like he'd agree, either, with you on the long track record. He's asking what happened to make soc-dems surrender where past soc-dem leaders were more combative.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 09:01:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
have a conversation with, say, Aleka Papariga, he might get some insight.

Easy to be more "combative" when there was some pressure from the left, forcing them into that combative pose (and I do mean pose).

That pressure was, at least for a time, lifted in the 1980's. But, to the extent that Social Democratic parties have always been factions of the elite in the countries they operate in, represnting the "leftmost" of policy prescriptions acceptable to that elite, that they would shift more towards their natural interests in the absence of that pressure was entirely predictable. Lift the threat from even more potentially progressive constituencies, and the so-called "overton window" shifts back to the more hard-line elements of capital and rent-seeking.

Also unsurprisingly, the same period sets the stage for an insceasing wealth capture towards capital and away from labor, a phenomenon which is accelating today at a dizzying speed.

And yes, some former social democrats (though Mélenchon was pretty much always on the left of the PS)have drawn the unmistable conclusion that battle lines need to be re-drawn, and that their former party is on the wrong side of that battle (Lafontaine, Mélenchon).

by redstar on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 09:24:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
battle lines need to be re-drawn

I can agree with that, but in itself it admits that the lines have not always been drawn in unchanging fashion, with only the Communists everlastingly on the right side.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 10:24:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And yes, some former social democrats (though Mélenchon was pretty much always on the left of the PS)have drawn the unmistable conclusion that battle lines need to be re-drawn, and that their former party is on the wrong side of that battle (Lafontaine, Mélenchon).

But not only that: communist parties have split repeatedly. In the 1970s there was the Eurocommunism current, and in the 1990s most communist parties split into a communist and a social-democrat-leaning branch. SYRIZA itself is a centrist offshoot of the hardline KKE in Greece, for instance.

As the Social Democratic parties have increasingly occupied the Social Liberal space (competing with existing left-liberal parties in those countries that had them), so the Communist parties have incresingly occupied the vacant social-democratic policy space.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 10:34:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
always has at least three or four communist parties at any given time, two of which have regularly outscored the PCF in elections (using as definition of communist, those who claim ideological descent from Lenin and the Bolsheviks, whether they descend via Trotsky or via Stalin).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 10:40:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point being that Lafontaine and Mélenchon were Socialists or Social Democrats, and they would not argue that they have become communists. They would way that the SPS and PS shifted right under their feet.

Die Linke therefore has a strong strand of classical social democracy.

Other examples:

  • the Danish Liberal party is called Venstre (left) because 150 years ago it was on the left.
  • the Portuguese Partido Social Democrata is "centre-right" and a member of the European People's Party.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 11:09:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it's funny how we used to think capitalistic democracy would move into the vacuum caused by the economic and social unviability and collapse of the communist states, both for their repression of liberty of speech or action, and their lack of appeal to their citizens when offered the trappings of 'freedom' as alternative.

now we see capitalism swallowed by communism and regurgitated without the religious and aristocratic baggage as an even stronger, more viable version of capitalism than that which we groan under now, there everyone is encouraged to market their way to prosperity using the tools of capitalism, without the strain of a potemkin democracy to maintain, lumpily inefficient in its incessant popularity contests and short job tenures, rotating door perks and corpo-mediated cults of personality.

the policies suck, politics reducing itself thus to the mere choosing of telegenic faces and persuasive spielmeisters who can channel public desire for change into the long grass while effusively gushing about how it's coming pretty soon, just a few more years away if the new clown du saison is selected.

trying to imagine boris johnson climbing the ranks of the chinese politburo!

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 09:37:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A big part of Die Linke are old Social Democrats who didn't move left a bit (including Red Oscar), other parts came from diverse radical-left groups and definitely moderated views (including those who got power in state governments). Front de gauche is similar, so is SYRIZA, it's just that the center-left party right of the Communists used to call itself "Socialist" in those countries.

The crux is that it wasn't just the PES parties that moved right relative to their original positions, so did most of the GUE/NGL parties.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 02:09:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The point is that the Serious People consider any social-democratic ideas as toxic as communist ideas, so anyone uttering such ideas is instantly treated as extreme-left.

Some abandon the ideas to try to be accepted by Serious People (that's the Third Way writ large), and so keep their ideas and go to parties of the extreme left to express them a bit more loudly.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 09:24:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I enjoy the new catchword "very serious people," and I think it is worthwhile unpacking, in power terms, what is really meant by the term.
by redstar on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 09:42:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We can call them VSOP - Very Serious Old People.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 11:34:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's another years-old Atriosism.  Similar to, but more popular than, the Friedman Unit.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 03:43:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well - Social Democracy is practically Socialism.

Or at least, it can pretend to be for long enough to make cash for the rentiers.

In case it isn't obvious yet, I don't see the issue as one of impoverished ideology, but of cynical manipulation and outright corruption.

I have no idea what Blair was - I have moments where I'm not entirely convinced he's human.

But he's certainly not a socialist in the mode of Bevan, Cripps, and the rest - who have mostly been erased from the public consciousness in the UK as an inconvenient distraction on the long march back to Anglo feudalism.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 09:49:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Blair's a bit of an easy cop for your thesis. How do you fit in someone like Hollande, visibly neither a cynical manipulator nor corrupt? The old boy I mentioned in the diary, Michel Rocard, can't, again, be suspected of either of these and is an intelligent and affable commentator -- who unfortunately believes a load of neoliberal crap and has influenced the French centre-left in this (third) way.

Though cynicism, corruption, power-ego mechanics, may play their part, I can see no complete picture without ideological capture.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 02:31:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rocard is part of a trend of Serious People on the left who have been trending right for quite a while, like Peyrelevade (now explicitly with Bayrou), Attali (third wayist all the way) or Pascal Lamy.

Interestingly, Chirac has been trending left for just as long...

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 04:14:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rocard's been trending right for as long as I can remember. Mitterand, who was no flaming leftie, did his best to keep him out in the cold, and not just for career reasons.

But his record's relatively clean and his manner less constipated than ex-bankers like Peyrelevade and Attali, or Mister WTO Pascal Lamy. They all, Rocard included, belong well on the centre-right, though.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 04:49:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A lot of "leftists" of my generation who I have encountered in the Greens/EELV started out in the PSU, a respectable (=unserious) party of the left, which was Rocard's power base in the 1970s (Pierre Mendes France left the party because it was too leftist for him by 1968, certainly to the left of the PCF).

Rocard has indeed come a long way since then.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 05:41:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just like Barroso, who started out as a Trotskyist student leader and is now collecting the Nobel Peace Prize for the European People Party.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 05:46:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He shows there is hope for ex-Trotskyites - if they move in the right direction.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 07:35:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ex-maoist, I think :-)

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 11:48:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Blair's not as easy a cop as you think. Not only was he Socialism 2.0 Lite Silver Edition with the Bush/Reagan Plug-In, he also stuffed his cabinet with - er - Catholic loons.

That takes some explaining, doesn't it? How exactly did someone who was leader of a supposedly socialist party suddenly develop the religious feelings that made it possible for him to say that he was perfectly happy with the Iraq war because he'd spent all night praying about it and he was sure god agreed with him?

Now we have Clegg who was absolutely committed to certain important political positions, like no tuition fees - except that it turns it out he really wasn't.

Do you really think he suddenly had a neoconservative epiphany after the coalition negotiations?

I have no opinion on Hollande because I don't know enough about his background. But I would suggest that it's very, very strange that no matter who gets chosen by Western electorates [1], and no matter what their professed public beliefs are, their main interest in office seems to be preserving and enhancing the wealth of 'investors.'

[1] Except those in Iceland, apparently - possibly because it's small enough and isolated enough not have the usual viral infection.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 06:00:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
[1] Except those in Iceland, apparently - possibly because it's small enough and isolated enough not have the usual viral infection.

Definitely because it is small enough. One meets personally. The people you are about to screw aren't just an anonymous mass of voters. They are the parents of the other kids in your kids' school. Or the ones who use the football place with you. Or the ones you sing with in the choir or whatever you do on that little island. You can't ignore them as human beings.

by Katrin on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 06:38:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, when a small coterie of politicians and conmen ruin the community, everyone knows who they are. It's much easier to organize a lynching party if your entire nation consists mostly of one small city.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 07:25:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, even the Iceland exemption seems to melt away. The next elections are in 2013, and the latest poll I could find shows the Independence Party (the creator of the crisis) at 37% all on itself, its former coalition partner the Progressive Party gets 14.2%, while the governing Social Democratic Alliance is at 19.4% and the Left-Green Movement at 12.4% (for a combined 31.8% for the government parties).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 04:37:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found the up to date poll, figures are similar:

  • B: Progressive Party
  • D: Independence Party
  • S: Social Democratic Alliance
  • V: Left-Green Movement
  • Björt framtíð: Bright Future, the all-Iceland successor to the left-of-centre populist Best Party that gave capital Reykjavík its comedian major, bolstered by a politician who was previously in both B and S
  • Dögun: Dawn, a newly formed umbrella group for splinter parties, including the one of WikiLeaks supporter Birgitta Jónsdóttir
  • Hægri Gænir: Right-Greens, who combine nationalism and pro-business views with conservationism
  • Samstaða: Solidarity, a breakaway from V
  • S+V: obivously the sum for the support of the government coalition parties
  • Rikisstj.: government job approval

Iceland has six multi-member constituencies electing nine MPs each, and there are compensation seats for proportionality for parties above a 5% limit, so the mostly left-of-centre splinter parties don't change the right-wing's comfortable majority. But at least there has been a slight improvement in favour of the government parties since the spring.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 10:02:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well, who defines 'third way', and where has it worked? clinton? obama?

it seems like business as usual, with a kinder, gentler flavour.

was gordon brown '3rd way'?

i guess the key question for me is "could the third way work if laws were better written so people couldn't get away with mega heists and say 'it was legal'?"

do any of the left of centre power brokers have any ideas about how to get growth going again?

syriza would break away and redo the drachma.

could greece do what iceland did?

right now voting centre right or left seems like an option of bashing your right leg or your left, they both hurt, and the only reason to do one at a time is to give a rest to the one not getting beaten on, till its new turn.

the only difference is when centre right is in power they spend less energy masking their rapacious disdain for the population.

if capitalism can only work when it's muzzled and bridled by laws, then capitalism could survive, were there an electorate knowledgeable enough to police the finance industry.

that would truly be a third way...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 11:19:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
who defines 'third way'

Why, Anthony Giddens, of course.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 11:33:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And there are those who wonder why I gag at 'settling' for advances on cultural and social issues. And it is shortsighted. As a country continues moving economically to the right what was once given as a pacifier will later be rudely taken back.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 07:40:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 02:55:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, does that make you a toxic-communist extreme-left unserious liberal?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 11:34:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not if you ask redstar...

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 04:09:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like a non-denial denial...

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 04:14:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Question is: in whose eyes?

I live in both worlds (being a Serious Person in my job and lifestyle, and spouting leftish ideas), so I'm a traitor to both, probably.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 05:03:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, redstar also has a serious person job.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 05:34:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pots and kettles?  :-)

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 07:41:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe he doesn't enjoy the lifestyle like I do :)

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 05:37:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Two issues. In decreasing order of importance.

1. Demographics.
The heyday of social democracy was when the demographic dividend was cashed in. These days the dependency ratio is rising, medical costs are going up and labor market participation is hard to boost.

Politics is becoming closer to a zero-sum game.

2. Internationalism.
In Europe we have decided to enlarge the EU fast and increase internal diversity even more. A minimal consensus necessary for regulation has thus become impossible. More European integration was possible only if one agreed to not regulate.

by oliver on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 06:55:37 AM EST
1. Demographics.
The heyday of social democracy was when the demographic dividend was cashed in. These days the dependency ratio is rising, medical costs are going up and labor market participation is hard to boost.

A fake crisis. There is nothing remotely problematic about forecasted labor force participation rates. It is trivially compensated for by a return to full employment policies.

Sucks to be a banker under full employment policies, but fuck the bankers.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 07:16:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry. I seem to have been unclear. There's nothing wrong with labor participation rates. They are very high. They are so high that only little increase is possible.

Unemployment is a problem, but not extremely high (with the exception of the last few crisis years). It is likely that most of the unemployed would get below average wages if they were employed. Employment as a source of state revenues is approximately maximized.

by oliver on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 08:01:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The state does not require revenues, unless you make moronic rules like the fiscal pact or Art. 123a.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 08:06:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just this weekend, on Mike Norman Economics: "Revenue" Has no Relevance Whatsoever to An Issuer of Any Given Liquidity Notation (aka, fiat currency) (December 8, 2012)
Since it's still necessary, let's restate the recurring issue that people are beating their heads against, like morons battling a brick wall.

"Revenue is obsolete to a fiat currency issuer" - doesn't seem to work well enough.

So let's try a simpler translation. "Revenue Has no Relevance Whatsoever to An Issuer of Any Given Liquidity Notation (aka, fiat currency)."

Gov receipts? Of fiat currency? Issuer receipts of liquidity notation?

By that logic, math departments must constantly be in danger of running out of numerals! Do people computing sense from nonsense run into Computational Cliffs? If they do, it's a voluntary, not absolute act, and the solution is always more, not less, practice. If people run low on numerals or symbolic logic notation, how do they arrange to get more "receipts" of either or both? Let me guess. Down Alice's rabbit hole? At the present time, you can actually successfully run for Congress simply by digging yourself in deeper.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 08:22:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that's clearly not true. The perception of revenue has an influence on general confidence in a currency.

In the worst case panic breaks out among the general public and you have a bank run and/or hyperinflation.

So the issue isn't the ability to print money - it's the ability to convince rest of world that your money is worth something.

Making reassuring noises about revenue covering spending is one dull way to do that.

Impoverishing most of your population isn't.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 09:32:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right about perception and, consequently, the need to "convince rest of world that your money is worth something".

The MMTers (I think) would argue that the notion that money is worth something is at the heart of a misconception that needs to be changed. Money needs to be associated with new frames.

Huge job ahead of them.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 10:38:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
You're right about perception and, consequently, the need to "convince rest of world that your money is worth something".

...and conversely much of the vaunted 'comsumer confidence' eroding so rapidly in the euro-bourgeoisie is (unconsciously) predicated on that money will be worth less tomorrow than it is today, so spend on what you need now, saving won't do much if inflation devalues your investments.

the new frame should be about 'the value of money' changing from something regionally consistent, perennially absolute to something relative to all other currencies in a globalising world, where reverting to economic national (or even bloc) isolationism is rapidly being removed as an option.

the difficulties we're experiencing while forging a new bloc like the eurozone, at a time when the great powers of america, china and russia are experiencing reactionary tendencies toward refragmentation rather than further hegemonic, monolithic expansion, ~and the decay of the last century's ideologies' meaning~ are but a rehearsal for ultimate global governance, with many more cultural differences and languages to bring into unity-in-diversity than what we are endeavouring to accomplish in the little crucible of the EU.

what we hammer out here in yurp will have far-reaching implications for eventual world peace, through pragmatism rather than ideological systemisation, balancing the extremes of orient and occident and sharing. by being not-asian and not-american we struggle to define a model neither without a past, nor chained to the weight of too much tradition. we see ourselves in both, and choose a middle way, not a third one, maybe a first one, before we drew country borders on maps and became 'us and them'.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 10:06:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that's clearly not true. The perception of revenue has an influence on general confidence in a currency.

If your policy prescriptions require "confidence," then you're doing it wrong.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 01:33:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For what government in what country in what world? And how do we get there?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 02:20:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For any more or less sovereign government.

The reason you need to collect revenues is to maintain the value of the currency. If the value of the currency tanks, you need to figure out why it's tanking (and whether it actually is tanking, or it's just the lazy money whining - which is the usual case). If it's tanking because you do not collect enough revenues, you need to collect more revenues. If it's tanking because of an unsustainable foreign position, you need to address the foreign position. If it's tanking because of unfriendly speculation, you need to hike margin requirements on people who short your currency.

If any of this requires "confidence" or "credibility," it means that you are either being insufficiently heavy-handed in your intervention, or your situation has already deteriorated to the point where you have to go hat in hand to the IMF just to avoid mass starvation.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 03:15:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My point was WTF governments and political parties have we got right now, and what hope of seeing a government that understands and intends what you describe?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 04:19:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We have WTF governments and political parties.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 04:21:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We have governments and parties committed to Doing It Wrong.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 07:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know you're Doing It Wrong™ when Ambrose Evans Pritchard is making a lot of sense by criticising you: Europe clings to scorched-earth ideology as depression deepens (09 December 2012)
EU policy elites blame "labour rigidities". The United Nation's economic arm UNCTAD counters that the EU demand for "wage compression" is itself perpetuating the crisis.

The labour share of total income has fallen to a 60-year low, eating away at demand. This is a formula for perma-slump. In a thinly veiled attack on Berlin, Frankfurt, and Brussels, the UN decried the "political blockade" against any solution to the crisis. It mocked the "discredited mantra" of flexible labour markets. Well, at least somebody is exposing the lie.

...

The failure of EMU policy is now undeniable. Whole societies have been broken on the wheel. Yet there has not been any substantive shift in strategy. The EU authorities remain adamant that the next bayonet charge will deliver victory.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 07:56:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When the US State Department makes sense, you know you've fucked up real bad.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 05:23:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, duh.

You're not answering my question. It's good to have the theory, but what hope do we have of seeing our political system put it into practice?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 01:36:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Much better if we participate in organized political activism, a la Syriza, Linke, IU.

Still pretty dismal, but much better than if we despair and do nothing.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 04:28:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thus the 'perception' problem is real and you have just described the proper ways to deal with it. Unfortunately, we can generally expect existing governments not to follow these prescriptions. That is pretty much a given for government capture by financial interests.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 07:48:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
oliver:
It is likely that most of the unemployed would get below average wages if they were employed.

[No Shit, Sherlock!]

Are you aware of the shocking fact that 50% of people have a below-average IQ?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 09:26:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe there's a profound truth in this statement. Let's see : you are suggesting that the unemployed don't have much value to add, so it's OK if they stay unemployed?

This is perhaps not an original idea, but I'm not sure I've seen it spelt out like that before.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 09:30:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That implies too much. It would be better if unemployment were lower. It would prevent some kinds of social ills. But it would not solve our overall economic problems.
by oliver on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 10:16:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it's likely we'd agree on what our economic problems are. In fact we seem to disagree on who "us" is. Insofar as you don't seem to see the fact of a large and growing fraction of the population not having a job or enough money to live decently, or any hope of a better life for their children, as part of "our overall economic problems".

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 10:32:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have seen an argument that unemployment is a result of employers' rising fixed costs because more and more people can't produce enough to cover workspace rents and employer's administrative costs. Real estate prices and managers' wages have been rising before the crisis similar to so called normal unemployment.
by Jute on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 06:25:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. And I have not yet seen a concept about what we do with people who don't finish high school.
by oliver on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 10:29:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Send them to the glue factory.

Not for jobs. But it would certainly lower unemployment.

In your opinion, what is the economy for?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 10:34:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In your opinion, what is the economy for?

You are asking a question without a single answer. When I buy it has another function than when I sell. And it is that way for everybody.

by oliver on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 04:35:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, you have different interests when you buy and when you sell.

There needs to be an overall strategic plan for the macroeconomy. Otherwise you get instability and general misery.

So what is the overall strategic plan, and what objectives is it designed to achieve?

And no, "politicians shouldn't make strategic plans for the macroeconomy" is a strategic plan. It's just a shit one.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 04:52:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The material provisioning of society is the way BruceMcF used to put it.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 04:37:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hire them to do public works for the (de facto) minimum wage.

The public sector does not have to hire people on "market terms." It can force the people hired on "market terms" to subsidize the people hired to enforce a de facto minimum wage.

Sucks to be a banker under that policy, but fuck the bankers.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 01:36:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes to the other responses, but on a different point, how much formal education do you really need to pick up a lot of jobs anyway?  I think the eternally upwards race for more and more credentials is mainly a pernicious by-product of a shrinking job pool, not any greater rise in the skills needed to do a rather large portion of the work that needs doing.

You can learn to do a whole heck of a lot of rather important jobs without wasting several years studying history and algebra.  For example . . .

*Any cooking or food-related work.
*Agriculture.  You CAN study it at university, but  that doesn't mean you have to, as generations of highly productive peasant farmers have shown.  In any case, most long-term fixes to industrial agriculture look to require MORE labor, not less.
*Lots of manufacturing work.
*Construction and skilled trades.
*Auto and machine maintenance and operation.
*Hair, makeup, nail work.
*Massage therapy.
*Anything artistic.  You study and practice and train, but nothing says you have to do it at school, and lots of people develop their skills in spite of their formal education.
*Cleaning and Maintenance.  Clean public spaces are incredibly valuable.

They're not upwardly mobile professional jobs, but how many professionals do we really need, anyway?  

by Zwackus on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 09:17:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First thing to do is find out why they didn't finish high school.  In the US the majority of cases collapses to: poverty.  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 01:57:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The demographic crisis of Social Democratic parties is that the grandchildren of the blue-collar cadres of the 1930 were the middle-class white-collar cadres of the 1990s.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 08:20:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say these reasons:

  1. Corruption. Corporate interests just bought socdems, infiltrated them, lead them, etc.

  2. Internationalization indeed. Best corruption practices were copied, spread, imposed. Eastern Europe offered particularly interesting exchanges, I guess.
by das monde on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 11:03:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say these reasons:

    Corruption. Corporate interests just bought socdems, infiltrated them, lead them, etc.

They buy by far more conservatives and especially neoliberals. Why would social democrats be more vulnerable?


    Internationalization indeed. Best corruption practices were copied, spread, imposed. Eastern Europe offered particularly interesting exchanges, I guess.

Well, when did the decay set in? Were the election of the late 70ies or early 80ies in Britain and Germany just swings of the pendulum or beginning decay?

by oliver on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 04:44:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They buy by far more conservatives and especially neoliberals. Why would social democrats be more vulnerable?

They're not. But conservative and neoliberal values are consistent with furthering or not hindering the interests of the corporates that buy them. In the case of social democrats, they are being bought to further interests contrary to their professed values.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 08:29:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Politicians lie. The Blair/Brown deal was to continue the Thatcher reforms while keeping some largely token elements of socialism.

Clearly, no one wanted the Tories again. So it's convenient to do a Clegg and sell the electorate one story while selling lobbyists others - and then retiring with a large pile of cash and useful speaking opportunities one wouldn't have had otherwise.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 09:16:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Done properly, buying off the supposed opposition (to just make opposition appearances) could be a most lucrative strategy.

For example, it is now tempting to look back at Gore, Kerry and check, how much did they do not to win.

by das monde on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 03:34:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The mental capture of the ruling group of the Swedish Soc-dems was in the 80ies (when the "War of the roses" raged). The right won largely because they had already captured the party's structures for discussing economic policy and the last of the old economic guard (like Gunnar Sträng) died of. So the education of soc-dem economists in the 70ies would probably be an interesting area.

After the mental capture, finance was deregulated with the predictable boom (late 80ies) and bust (early 90ies), then under the right wing governmetn of Bildt a shift to permanent high unemployment and slashing of social programs and services. Which Göran Person as finance minister and prime minister accepted and tried to handle the consequences of rather then challenge. In trying to handle consequences there is a portion of trying to harness the private printed money.

So at least in Sweden, the order goes:

  1. Mental capture of the upcoming elite of soc-dem economists.
  2. Mental capture of the soc-dem party.
  3. Mitigating the wild capitalism let loose.

Perhaps it is clearer in Sweden then in the UK, because here it was the soc-dems that deregulated finance, not the right wing.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 07:19:19 AM EST
Although he describes himself as a communist, much of his critique up until now has been about how financialization is parasitic or unproductive, especially as it relates to a world savings glut. He often looks at the problems macroeconomically as a question of surpluses and deficits, a question redistribution.  

He rarely takes on the sort of questions I hear from people from the far left, who think of the problems as cultural. i.e. Capital accumulation is but one symptom of larger social and ideological formations concerning the value of things (in regard to the production of consumers, natural resources, food, etc.)

Maybe that's unfair to Varoufakis who really has only come to be known as someone responding to the economic meltdown and the eurozone crisis. He has only rarely written of his philosophical underpinnings and what he has written has seemed a bit shallow to me.

by Upstate NY on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 10:33:27 AM EST
He often looks at the problems macroeconomically as a question of surpluses and deficits, a question redistribution.

It seems to me that most of what he is best known for is applied world system macroeconomics. His central thesis in Global Minotaur is that the breakdown of the former recycling mechanism, the Minotaur, has crippled the world economy and how it has done so. He has suggested ameliorating measures but I am not aware of him having generated a radical alternative. Nor am I convinced that is a fault.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 08:00:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He is operating in a political environemtn where ameliorating measures are considered radical.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 04:48:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And he was providing a rather pointed reinterpretation of post-WWII geopolitics already. This was of necessity and not without the involvement of relevant academic expertise by others, but still. To me the critique is seminal, not unlike A.J.P. Taylor's Origins of the Second World War, in that it far more fully contextualizes matters that previously had been viewed largely through frames of national interest. That is quite enough for a 'breakout' work. No point in smashing other icons in the process as that would make your work easier to dismiss.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 10:41:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whoa! A communist? I don't think I've ever heard him claim to be anything similar. Much of what he is advocating was commonsensical SD policy a couple of decades ago. And that wasn't communism :-)

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 12:16:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's not a communist, he has at lease one or two blog posts lamenting feeling betrayed as a Social Democrat. Also arguing that even he is too tainted by mainstream economics and past politics to be able to contribute to building a new hegemonic left. And he was an advisor to Papandreou the lesser.

Old-fashioned Social Democrat is more like it.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 12:23:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe then he talks too much because he most definitely has said he is part of KKE.
by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 01:29:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had either missed or misunderstood that bit.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 03:40:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Varoufakis has said on multiple occasions that he IS a Communist. Not only is he a member of KKE, but that this is literally his political inclination. I well know he has advised people at a high level in PASOK and SYRIZA. Nonetheless, he says he is registered with KKE (with whom he vehemently disagrees about most everything) and that he is still a Communist.
by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 01:28:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have links for these claims? I may have used the wrong search terms, but I couldn't find a single source in English OR Greek where he'd call himself a communist, or told he voted KKE, or told he is a member of KKE.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 04:24:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He said it during interviews. I have read and listened to Varoufakis so much in the last year, that this would be akin to finding a needle in a haystack. My memory is actually quite good and has been all my life; I tend to remember the things I've read. But when it comes to sourcing things on the internet, especially for details that are not that important to me (such as Varoufakis's political inclinations) I filter those out.

So, consider my lack of credibility in this case.

by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 09:56:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never heard of anything like it. He was in the PASOK milieux for as long as I can remember. This is most definitely NOT something you can do and remain a member of the KKE. His opinion of the ex-USSR is similarly low. Do you have any links?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 06:42:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From my answer above: He said it during interviews. I have read and listened to Varoufakis so much in the last year, that this would be akin to finding a needle in a haystack. My memory is actually quite good and has been all my life; I tend to remember the things I've read. But when it comes to sourcing things on the internet, especially for details that are not that important to me (such as Varoufakis's political inclinations) I filter those out.

So, consider my lack of credibility in this case.

by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 09:57:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I searched for the interview just now, I recalled when he said it. It was in the context of rumblings that he was being drafted to run for high elected office. He explained his political orientation in that context.
by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 10:17:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The closest I could find to him discussing his current political inclinations is Why Europe should fear Fine Gael-like `reasonableness' much, much more than it fears Syriza, in which he says SYRIZA is "probably the only party that `gets it'".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 11:37:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The basic premise of Social Democracy is compromise. They could deliver actual results when the other side felt like compromising (out of fear of the Soviet Union and/or domestic communists). But Social Democracy is structurally blind to the motion of the Overton Window. I agree with redstar that this goes back to their very origins, though I do see several stages in their shift to the right.

We can diss Social Democrats all day, but the problem is that they still command the majority of leftist, even working-class leftist voters in almost every country. As long as the majority of voters doesn't want to risk radical changes, the shift to the right will continue. As for how long this will continue: my less pessimistic scenario is that it goes on until the welfare state-created middle class is almost completely turned into a proletariat (and even Greece or Latvia is not quite there); the more pessimistic view is forever (with fascists or neofeudalists hijacking social ressentiments).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 02:30:25 PM EST
DoDo:
The basic premise of Social Democracy is compromise.

Well, I would say that in the early years they compromised between what the movement wanted and what they could get right now. Now they compromise between what they can get politically and what neoliberal economics tells them is possible economically.

In at least Sweden I think that in the 30ies to 60ies the Soc-Dems were the driving force in moving the Overton window to the left, often commanding a majority of their own.

DoDo:

We can diss Social Democrats all day, but the problem is that they still command the majority of leftist, even working-class leftist voters in almost every country. As long as the majority of voters doesn't want to risk radical changes, the shift to the right will continue

I think you slide to easy from the party don't wanting to risk anything, to the voters not wanting to risk anything. Politics and voting being largely tribal I don't see that one follows the other that easily. For example, there has been quite a movement within the Swedish Soc-Dems this year to change the party's stance on private companies performing public services (schools and hospitals in particular) in order to demand a non-profit clause. This movement that appears to have had large support has been wittled down by the resistance from the central party command and ended in some kind of compromise that will be managed by the central party command. I see nothing that indicates that accepting the will of the members would have lost them votes, but they would have been attacked as not Very Serious Persons.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 02:52:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Politics and voting being largely tribal I don't see that one follows the other that easily.

Well, not that easily, but tribal voting is a form of not taking risks, too.

I see nothing that indicates that accepting the will of the members would have lost them votes, but they would have been attacked as not Very Serious Persons.

Was there a backlash from party members? Asking it differently, do party members have the will, ability or candidates to change the leadership's attitude by changing the leadership?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 04:13:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, instead they get depressed and leave. Which they have been doing since the eighties. Looking at the youth organisation memberships they are not recruiting much either.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 08:37:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To add: the trend with decreasing membership is eroding the party's strenght but apparently to slowly to matter much to decisionmakers.

Looking at longer trends the Soc-dems has lost more then average since 91 - they have retained 39% of their membership in 1991 and will soon cross below 100 000. The youth organisation - organising members under 35 - has only 8 000, pointing towards an even smaller party. But although the right wing parties also has lost members, it hits the parties on the left harder as the right has the backing of big money.

Additional: Center Party has the most remarkable collapse - retains only 21%. The are also currently polling below the parliament limit. The left party holds their members numbers. Greens and Swedish Democrats (ugly) are the only parties in parliament that has an upwards trend.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 10:09:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
Politics and voting being largely tribal I don't see that one follows the other that easily.

Well, not that easily, but tribal voting is a form of not taking risks, too.

I agree with this. Re-reading your original comment, in this light, the decline can be halted either by moving the soc-dems to the left or waiting for it to be sufficiently Greek-style, bad, so the voters becomes more willing to take chances. Moving the soc-dems could take different forms, including but not limited to joining the soc-dems or joining parties to the left of it.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 12:12:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
History informs us when thing get sufficiently Greek-style bad:

  1.  The voters move to the authoritarian Right

  2.  The voters move to the Left and the US overthrows the government in a Civil War or coup-de-etat to install a RW government.

so, in either event you'll get a authoritarian Right Wing government.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 01:24:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Compromise politics means that things change easier in your advantage if you have the momentum but it also means that things change easier to the other direction.
by Jute on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 06:49:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]

The basic premise of Social Democracy is compromise. They could deliver actual results when the other side felt like compromising (out of fear of the Soviet Union and/or domestic communists).

I think that's a key insight.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 05:05:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of a circa 1990 Tom Toles cartoon in two panels. The first showed analysts at the CIA and Pentagon working hard to bring down the Soviet Union. The second showed analysts at the newly downsized quadragon working hard to bring back the Soviet Union.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 08:24:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence:
Will they delay banking union?
(12.12.2012)
Bersani says he is Monti

The strategy of the Partito Democratico is now clear, according to Pier Luigi Bersani - to continue Mario Monti's agenda - more rigour, more austerity, but also more fairness, Corriere della Sera reports him as saying.  He is also trying to reach out to the centrist parties in order to isolate the populist.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 04:51:23 AM EST
Well PD is a liberal-socialist mix at its roots and it was PD who didn't like "PES" at the EU level and had it changed to "S&D", so expectations on them should be even lower than S&D members of the S kind...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 11:41:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How common phenomenom was the collapse of liberal parties in Europe? Did conservatives moved towards libertarism and social democrats towards right to attract people who had previously voted liberal parties?
by Jute on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 06:37:39 AM EST


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