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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 26 April

by afew Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:12:16 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1478 - The Pazzi attack Lorenzo de' Medici and kill his brother Giuliano during High Mass in the Duomo of Florence.

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:54:56 AM EST
MP: Bundestag ready to accept cosmetic changes to fiscal pact | EurActiv

A high-ranking member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition has said that they are ready to accept "rhetorical" changes to the EU' fiscal compact treaty in case of a victory of socialist candidate François Hollande in the French presidential elections. 

On Monday (23 April) Andreas Schockenhoff, an MP and vice president of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union group in the Bundestag, announced that the fiscal compact could be changed not on the substance, but on the rhetoric. "We can put in a fine paragraph on growth," he said.

"This way, Hollande will be able to say at home: `I have ensured that the fiscal pact deals with growth'. These rhetorical things, we can do them."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:34:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The word cynical won't do to describe this. Chutzpah is perhaps more apt but even there, chutzpah is more about egotism and arrogance. The utterance above contains several other characteristics that take it beyond the level of chutzpah. I mean, you can have ample amounts of chutzpah without necessarily being idiotic or obtuse.

Any other words?

by Upstate NY on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Recall:

EurActiv: Delors points the finger at Europe's 'killers' (29 March 2012)

He said that the EU leaders of the eurozone were "morally responsible" for the crisis, and that they ignored his proposals, made in 1997 in his capacity of president of the Notre Europe think-tank, to coordinate economic policies.

Instead, leaders only added the word "growth" to the name of "Stability and Growth pact", he said.

"What nonsense, what folly, what irresponsibility!"

Delors however confessed of having made a mistake, namely in believing that while federalism was not possible, cooperation could be an alternative. He further explained that what happened is that the common market with a common currency led to a greater diversification of productivity in the interest of Germany and to the detriment of others.



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:38:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An article "based on" that speech can be downloaded at the Notre Europe site. Snippet:

I had proposed the coordination of economic policies in 1997, when I was no longer president of the European Commission but a simple French citizen. I had proposed this as a consequence of the 1987 Delors report. It was not taken up: instead, "growth" was simply added to "stability". That is typically French, the French adore formal requirements. They returned home happy because "growth" had been mentioned. How irresponsible. Or what a fraud?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 01:47:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a very nice tribune by Delors.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:43:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Upstate NY:
Any other words?

not really, you nailed it.

i get the same shiver watching cameron foaming in pariament about the crisis 'we' are experiencing, like his buddies aren't chortling in their caviar and champers, his partner in crime, nick clegg slumped beside him like a deflated balloon.

cognitive dissonance, a terrible waste of beautiful minds.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 09:02:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a terrible waste of beautiful minds

you are obviously able to discern something which is not apparent to the rest of us. Cameron is a prime example of government "of the 1%, for the 1%, by the 1%". He cannot see beyond his own small entitlement class, cannot see the problem of his idea that while increasing money motivates the rich, then increasing poverty must surely motivate the poor.

We are not in France 1788, but probably entering the 1780s

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 02:54:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We are not in France 1788, but probably entering the 1780s

Forwards or backwards?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:42:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly going forwards. While I do not relish the prospect, the increasing immiseration the 1% are inflicting on populations who have become used to a reasonable standard of living is making resentments fester. If policies are not reversed I don't see where else it ends but in 1789 and the terror.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:07:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
your snark meter needs recalibrating...

dave was getting hot under the collar, and ed was tanning his hide in parliament.

all kabuki of course...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:46:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is pretty clear that what were, for Delors, flaws in the drafting of the Maastricht Treaty were, for the German financial elite, features. Delors and the rest of the countries in the EMU have been gulled. Time some figured this out.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:31:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Delors (from speech quoted above :

But there is something that I personally under-estimated, I must admit, because knowing that we could not go any further with federalism, I believed in cooperation - in the context of the triptych: "competition, cooperation, solidarity". I believed in cooperation and I was wrong. During this period, the Single Market with the Single Currency had given rise to an increasingly large diversification, a specification of production, to the benefit of some countries, of which Germany, and to the detriment of others.

...

We know now the strength of Germany and I am absolutely appalled when I hear economists talking about comparable competitiveness as if it were possible to club together in the same model Germany, Portugal and Greece. Europe is founded on the concept of diversity, can it live with this diversity or will it have to accept the implicit domination of Germany and its rules?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 01:51:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe is founded on the concept of diversity, can it live with this diversity or will it have to accept the implicit domination of Germany and its rules?

There are three choices I see:

  1. Change the rules.

  2. Dissolve the EMU.

  3. Watch helplessly as the periphery is crushed in an economic vice.

Option 3 is the current revealed choice. How long this remains the case determines how complete the destruction will be.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:26:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You got the word I was looking for when I posted the item. Yet you're right, this is in a superior category to chutzpah. Chutzpah is too nice.

This is brazen power, the reality behind the "Franco-German couple" facade. For Sarkozy, the Germans were willing to put on the "France still matters" show known as Merkozy. For Hollande, they are willing to put a pretty ribbon round the austerity pact. With a superior smile, as they get on with beggar-thy-neighbour business as usual.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 02:08:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We've been told that the EU was supposed to make war between the European Powers impossible.

Unfortunately it seems to have replaced bombers with bankers.

(And it may also be worth reminding readers how the banking classes facilitated and funded the Nazis in the run up to WWII.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:05:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And it may also be worth reminding readers how the banking classes facilitated and funded the Nazis in the run up to WWII.

And not just in Germany alone. The Anglo-US bank Brown Brothers Harriman and Prescott Bush were instrumental in providing investment and technology sharing, including the process for extracting gasoline from coal and producing tetra ethyl lead as well as synthetic rubber which was provided to Germany and withheld from US industry for several years.

IBM, Standard Oil, DuPont, and Ford, among others supported such efforts and then got to keep their assets in Germany after the war. Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg were executed for similar generosity towards the Soviet Union. US businessmen, especially Ford, were envious of how effectively Hitler dealt with the Unions and Hitler personally gave a medal to Henry Ford for his services to the Nazi regime.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:39:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Like the neutron bomb, the buildings are left standing while people perish.


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

by ATinNM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 02:14:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In reply to the question "Any other words?", and at the risk of turning the thread into a slice of english.StackExchange, hubris would seem to fit:

extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence

(from wikipedia)
by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:47:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Overestimation? Not so sure. Will a centre-left government in France really tip the balance that much? Perhaps after a change of government in the Netherlands.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:53:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well then, we need a word that can incorporate cynicism, condescension, idiocy, obstinacy, chutzpah, hubris, arrogance, egotism, nefarious intentions, lies and propaganda.

This is the sort of stretching of language that can only be accomplished by applying all those elements to someone's last name with the suffix -ize.

To [NAME]-ize.

by Upstate NY on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 09:20:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's also condescending: the assumption is that Hollande can't possibly really mean something so silly.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 05:09:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European labour cost study adds fuel to French campaign | EurActiv

A Eurostat survey revealing huge labour cost differences across the 27 EU member states unveiled yesterday (24 April) has provided fuel for the French election campaign, where the two contenders are battling over plans for a "social VAT" to protect French producers against social dumping.

Hourly labour costs for 2011 range from €3.5 in Bulgaria to €39.3 in Belgium, the highest in the European Union, and just ahead of Sweden (€39.1), the Eurostat figures show.

The average hourly labour cost for the eurozone is of €27.6, higher than the EU-27 average (€23.1).

Other EU countries with cheaper labour costs include Romania (€4.2), Lithuania (€5.5), Latvia (€5.9), Poland (€7.1), Hungary (€7.6), Estonia (€8.1), Slovakia (€8.4), the Czech Republic (€10.5).

In Germany, the hourly labour cost is €30.1 compared to France's €34.2.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:39:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / Draghi urges eurozone not to give up on austerity

BRUSSELS - Budget cuts may be deepening the recession, but governments should not give up now, European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi said on Wednesday (25 April) at a hearing in the European Parliament.

"We are just in the middle of the river we are crossing, the only way out is to persevere," the Italian economist in charge of the eurozone's central bank said.

He admitted that "fiscal adjustment" - a euphemism for budget cuts - is contributing to recession, which in some countries may last longer than a year or even two.

"In certain cases the contractionary effects could be medium or even long term, for instance where youth unemployment has been there for a long time," Draghi noted, in reference to Spain, where over half of people under 25 are out of a job.

He said the only way out is to stick to labour market reforms that "free some energies in the economy," given that countries like Spain were prosperous and competitive in the past.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:39:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Eurozone leaders push for growth
Speaking to the European Parliament, Mr Draghi acknowledged that austerity in Europe - which has brought waves of protest in Greece, Spain and beyond - has curtailed growth without doing much to reduce fears that governments may be unable to repay their debts.

He said austerity - spending cuts and tax rises - "has been undertaken and is starting to reverberate its contraction effects, and we haven't seen the benefits".

"What is most present in my mind is to have a 'growth compact'," the ECB boss said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:45:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is what's needed.

We don't want no stinking jobless recovery.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:41:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Better downsize the banking sector then.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:34:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Growth" is just a bankster term for increased financial sector profit. Employment may not be a formal enemy of growth, but is increasingly seen as a regulatory impediment to it

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:00:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We keep coming back to Kalecki's Political Aspects of Full Employment...

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:08:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel Backs Draghi's Call for Growth to Combat Debt Crisis - Bloomberg

Chancellor Angela Merkel backed European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's call to focus on spurring economic growth, as German officials rejected charges they are fixated on budget austerity to fight the debt crisis.

Europe needs growth "in the way that Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, said it today, that is in the form of structural reforms," the chancellor told a conference of her Christian Democratic bloc in Berlin today.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:11:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So "structural reforms" don't just lead to growth, they are growth according to Merkel...

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:40:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just as brutal national deleveraging is growth, because wages and prices fall instantly to a new equilibrium and the market leaps back. (Only failures like Keynes made out that wages and prices are too sticky for this theology to work in messy real life.)

Never mind. As Ludwig Erhard, when Finance Minister in the '50s, said of the "Social Market": "The market is social".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 02:29:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if wages and prices did that, you would still need the commit the loanable funds fallacy and violate stock-flow consistency to get the instant magic pony growth that new classicals pretend.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 02:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No.

Because growth for the 1% is the only growth that matters.

Even if the wider economy is in a depression, as long as income is rising for the 1%, everything is happening as it should.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:10:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Delors' For a revival of Europe (h/t afew)
Then, there are the international causes of the crisis affecting the euro. Of course, it is easy for the United States Secretary of the Treasury to talk about the euro crisis forgetting his own deficit and the domination of the dollar. But the international causes of the euro crisis still exist. It is, of course, due to the excess of financial ideology. I will quote you a single sentence that shocked me when I was talking to a leading French banker, who said to me: "Jacques Delors, you understand nothing, the creation of value is essential". "And what is the creation of value?" I asked him. I did not wait for his answer, as I already knew it: it is the increase in stock market prices. We are a long way from the Schumpeterian entrepreneur and the economic moral doctrine of Max Weber. For years we lived with this ideological euphoria and the Commission services were not insensitive to it. After all, to sum up, finance was the queen of the game and capitalism worked well, provided that employees accepted to be mobile and to earn less. That was their system. Such are the international causes of the euro crisis.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:24:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The bonus pool is the booty of the current pirate banking model.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:52:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Draghi to Holland: "Fate il vostro dovere!!"
by Upstate NY on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:55:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
"We are just in the middle of the river we are crossing, the only way out is to persevere,"

as the scorpion said to the donkey carrying him over the river...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:48:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow. Cognitive dissonance PLUS the sunk costs fallacy.

This is actually pretty impressive intellectually (in a sick sort of way).

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 05:12:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Political Affairs / Cyprus gets set to umpire EU budget talks

BRUSSELS - The incoming Cypriot presidency is getting ready to tackle the biggest and ugliest dossier in the EU - the money - amid a host of problems in its own backyard.

"It's the big bang in the EU because everything gets put on the table - own resources, administrative spending, external aid, cohesion, agriculture," a Cypriot source told EUobserver in Brussels on Wednesday (25 April), referring to future talks on the Union's next €1-trillion-plus seven-year budget.

"We are currently assessing the level of ambition we should have for each dossier. We're really ambitious to finalise [the budget talks] by the end of the year ... if it is not possible, we at least want to reach a stage where an agreement is within reach," the contact added.

Cypriot priorities also include new EU rules on asylum seekers - a hot topic in the current anti-immigration climate, especially for Cyprus' neighbour, Greece, which is struggling to cope with Asian and Arab Spring refugees.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:40:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC - Democracy Live - MEPs clash over EU accession to ECHR

MEPs have had a lively and, at times, heated debate on progress towards EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights, on 19 April 2012.

The ECHR was drafted in 1950 by the Council of Europe - a body independent from the EU - and came into force in 1953.

It covers principles including the right to life, freedom of the press and provisions on privacy; and violations of the convention are dealt with by the European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg.

Although all EU member states are signatories to the ECHR, there is a proposal for the EU as a whole to become a signatory.

This would implement a power in the Lisbon Treaty for the EU to have "legal personality", meaning that it is able to accede to international treaties and conventions in its own right.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:47:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nazi Propaganda Gets a Makeover in Serbia - IPS ipsnews.net
BELGRADE, Apr 25, 2012 (IPS) - As the May 6 date for Serbia's general election inches closer, two young Belgrade playwrights have capitalised on the electoral war of words between the pro-European camp and conservative nationalists to highlight the dark side of propaganda and expose the omnipotence of party membership.

For the last few months, the airwaves and newspapers in Serbia have been thick with promises of a `better life' for a nation struggling with aftershocks of the economic crisis, high unemployment and a painful transition to a market economy.

Election pledges also touch on rebuilding democracy and all its attendant institutions, which came into being only after the downfall of the country's former leader Slobodan Milosevic in 2000 and have since suffered from a lack of efficiency, transparency and accountability.

Amidst the turmoil, Maja Pelevic (31) and Milan Markovic (33), whose plays are staged in several prominent Belgrade theatres, offered what they described as a new "cultural and marketing strategy", which was quickly snapped up by every major political party in Serbia and propelled the two young artists into positions of political authority.

What politicians and the media failed to recognise was that the duo's text, `Idea, Strategy, Movement', was lifted right out of a 1928 speech by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, entitled `Knowledge and Propaganda'.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:54:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nazi Propaganda Gets a Makeover in Serbia - IPS ipsnews.net
"We also replaced the words 'national socialism' with 'democracy' and `propaganda' with `political marketing' and it worked fine," she added.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:55:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Big deal; we're way ahead of you. Our fabulous government routinely adopts big chunks of 1930s continental terminology. E.g., our Department of Homeland Security is a pretty obvious ripoff of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA). Same name, same function, same mindset...
by asdf on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:07:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: ECB and several euro states prepare for direct lending of the EFSF to banks
The ECB and several member states prepare proposals to enable the EFSF/ESM to directly lend money to troubled banks; A working group meeting is to come up with proposals next week; Mario Draghi called for a growth compact in his hearing at the European Parliament
So, what is this growth compact?
According to Asmussen one option would be to redirect money from the EU's structural or regional funds to program countries
Robbing Peter to pay Paul!
Another option would be labour market reforms as the Agenda 2000
And that's the extent of the "growth compact"?
German newspapers and  interprets the ECB's proposal as a further sign that Angela Merkel's consolidiation approach is increasingly contested; Mark Schieritz says the proposal offers nothing new, just more of the same; Francois Hollande proposes his own 4-point growth compact; it includes eurobonds to finance infrastructure projects, EIB involvement, a financial transaction tax and redirection of unused EU funds; Sarkozy under pressure after comments that Le Pen was compatible with the principles of the republic; FTP party leader and Bundesbank urges ECB to exit loose monetary policy; German Christian democrats agree on minimum wage for all sectors not covered by collective wage agreements; though collective wage bargaining agreements that foresee wages below the minimum wage shall nevertheless stay valid; Zaki Laidi writes that Sarkozy's lack of political coherence and action is the reason why he lost support; IMF says Spanish banks need more money; German tourists, meanwhile, have been avoiding Greece, fearing anti-German reprisals.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:01:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
German Christian democrats agree on minimum wage for all sectors not covered by collective wage agreements

Am I missing something, or does this put them to the left of the SPD?

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

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:25:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No it doesn't.

And as you can see that is not a general minimun wage.

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:35:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hang on a minute. The SPD engineered a situation where the only workers covered by a minimum wage were those covered by collective bargaining.

There exists a second class of workers who currently have no minimum wage coverage. If the CDU proposal covers everyone who is not already covered, how is this different from a general minimum wage?

The only possibility I can see would be if the CDU proposal allowed collectively-bargained minimum wages to be lower than their proposed coverage. If that were the case, it could be said that they are not proposing a general minimum wage. But I can't see how that could work.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:07:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German Christian democrats agree on minimum wage for all sectors not covered by collective wage agreements; though collective wage bargaining agreements that foresee wages below the minimum wage shall nevertheless stay valid

Bold mine.

Of course, that will only last for one union contract cycle, after which the unions can simply refuse to sign any agreement which does not in some material fashion outperform the legal minimum wage for non-union shops. So it's essentially grandfathering in current contracts. Which does makes some sense, from a certain point of view.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:17:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They engineered nothing, there has never been a general minimum wage in Germany. The method to use state sanctioned collective bargaining treaties to create sectoral minimum wages goes back to the nineties.

One reason the social democrats used this method  is that the CDU blocked a general minimum wage earlier. It was supposed to be a substitute.

"The only possibility I can see would be if the CDU proposal allowed collectively-bargained minimum wages to be lower than their proposed coverage."

exactly. That is the proposal.

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:19:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I distinctly remember an SPD-Grüne majority government in the '90s. Is there some legal arcana here that enables the CDU to block a minimum wage law despite being in the minority for a solid decade? Or were the SPD just being gentlemanly and abstaining from any social progress that the CDU pitched a hissy fit over?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:22:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is something called the Bundesrat, you know.

But basically they didn't push for a minimum wage between 1998-2005 (not the nineties) because the unions still opposed it. They feared back then that a state minimum wage would make them less powerful. Only later they changed their view. (The more powerful Unions later) And the buildings union was happy with their sectoral minimum law. (One of the problems with the unions is that the sectoral unions are strong and their federation weak.)

As soon as the unions changed their mind, a general minimum wage was the official SPD position.

But in the latter years of the red-green coalition there wasn't a Bundesrat majority and in the great coalition the CDU opposed a general minimum wage.

So they used collective bargaining in sectors, made mandatory by the state (Allgemeinverbindlichkeitserklärung). But since only some employers were pro minimum wage, that just created a minimum wage patchwork, covering only some employed and these on different minimum wages.

And that is how things stand. Now the CDU proposes - not the government - that another large patch is added to the patchwork.

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:41:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks more like a safety net than a patch.

And from outside Germany, it looks suspiciously like a concession to Eurozone partners, an alignment with norms. A hopeful sign, in short.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:51:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have to remember that until now it is just a CDU proposal. The FDP still opposes it. So it won't become law soon.
by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 05:16:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here an early 2005 article from some left wing unionists.

http://www.labournet.de/diskussion/arbeit/realpolitik/kombilohn/mlbachmann2.html

The story is basically that Franz Müntefering (SPD) proposed a general minimum wage, but said that the condition for an actual legislative proposal is unanimous union support. The unions couldn't get a common line, ver.di (services) and NGG (food and restaurants) being pro general minimum wage, IG metall (metal and electronics) and IG BCE (chemical and energy) opposed.

So until the end of red-green some major union opposed a minimum wage and the SPD - don't know about he greens - didn't want to act without them.

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 05:06:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... so it would be theoretically possible for unions to sign new collective bargaining agreements which provide for a minimum wage below the general minimum.

This strikes me as unlikely. So functionally, this is a general minimum wage, unless you have something other than a semantic argument to offer.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:47:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the unions oppose it and don't see a general minimum wage.

You have to remember that you just have to find a union for a collective bargain treaty. What kind of union isn't specified and some small fake union, especially "christian" union will do. So yes, there have been until now and probably will in the future "unions", who will do any collective bargaining deal the employers want. Including below general minimum wages.

The mainstream will let the old treaties slide, but we don't know about the others.  

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 05:14:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What? Unions don't have to "be representative" of the workers in order to negotiate in their name?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 06:18:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Technically, in Germany, unions always negotiate only for their members. And the employers can freely choose with whom and if at all they negotiate.

Now de facto unions tend to have a unionization grade of 30% or higher in the firm or the sector and so can force the employers to negotiate. The employers then pay everybody according to the treaty, sometimes because the individual contracts are linked to collective contracts, sometimes because paying non union members less would be an encitement to join the union.

But especially in sectors or firms were unions are weak, small, almost virtual unions can make treaties too. In the individual treaties where is then a clause: pay according to collective treaty with christian union x. And you can claim to have a collective treaty. And you could use such a treaty with a pliant union  to ward off a general minimum wage.

Or "union" and employers could even try to make the declaratory treaty mandatory in their sector. Mandatory treaties mostly exist in sectors were unions and employers associations are weak anyway.

Now anywhere were real unions exist, they could just go on strike. But in the many, especially service, sectors were real unions are weak, they are not able to go on strike.

There is one remedy: The courts. (It is Germany after all). Real unions can go to court an declare their unions non-union. If they are to weak to plausibly conduct collective bargaining, they should be declared non-unions, always in a particular sector. The unions succeeded with such a suit in the lend-labour sector recently.

But that needs years and even if the real union succeeds, in the meantime a new fake union has popped up.          

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 06:47:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The German economic model is a wonder. We should all adopt it immediately without reservation.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 06:51:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The german labour law - especially collective bargaining law - tends to work generally.

It depends on unions strong enough to threaten a strike, that much is true.

The weakening of unions tend to show the flaws not visible with stronger unions.

That is also the reason that the weaker unions first supported a state minimum wage: the stronger unions could still pretend that in their sector everything is well.

That said I think in the end all collective bargaining rests on the ability of the unions to go on strike.  

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:07:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Spain there are worker councils at firms, and periodic "union elections". A "fake union" could not win representation at a firm's workers' council if there were a "real" union, ability to strike or not. And an industry sector wouldn't be able to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with a union that isn't broadly represented in the sectoral workers' councils.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:09:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could change the labor laws and then they would have to on strike anyway. Like they just do.

And in germany the employees councils can do a lot, but very much not negotiate about wages - unions only. (And this does actually go back to beginning of the twenties, like a lot of german labour laws)

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:14:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point is, how can a union that fails to win election to the workers' council (only reasonable definition of "fake" union) negotiate a binding collective bargaining agreement?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:15:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's see:

a) There is collective bargaining agreement

b) Genuine unions are to weak to force one

c) The employer or a employers association seeks themselves a union and negotiate a agreement

d) In the individual agreements with employees a new clause incorporating the collective agreement is inserted

(It is probably a high fluctuations sector anyway or you can use move the employees to sign new treaties - no union they can complain too)

e) The individual agreement makes the collective agreement legally binding (It would be binding for union members of the contracting union anyway, but we assume few exists)

I can't use "contract"?

by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:31:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In French they say convention. But I think the right English word is agreement.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:56:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Spain it's convenio (colectivo) which is probably best translated into English legalese as covenant.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 08:31:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think contract pertains to an individual worker. So, a worker will have an employment contract which must be drawn in accordance with any applicable collective bargaining agreement, and other statutes.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 08:30:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A union can negotiate with every employer even if they have only one member working there. The union needn't be elected to do so: they just represent their members.

Fake unions play a role in temporary work: These slave traders must pay the same wage as the company where the slaves actually work IF THEY DON'T HAVE AN AGREEMENT OF THEIR OWN. So they have fake agreements with fake unions. They get away with it, because so few temp workers are organised in real unions

Worker councils are elected in the companies, but they don't do bargaining and they are banned by law from calling to strike.

by Katrin on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:42:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could change the labor laws and then they would have to on strike anyway. Like they just do.

Bingo.

A strike fund and organisation percentage large enough to support participation in a one-month general strike seems like a good benchmark to aim for.

Not that you will ever actually want to do a one-month general strike. But you have to be able to, for the same reason you have to be able to impose hard currency rationing and price controls, even if you don't ever want to actually do it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:01:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In German companies there are worker councils too, but they have nothing to do with collective bargaining and strikes. They are elected by all employees, not the union members.

German unions and labour laws worked quite well as long as unemployment was low and slave temporary work was banned. When temporary work was introduced our stupid unions disdainfully refused to have anything to do with it. So now we have "core staff", well paid and organised in unions and temporary workers who get paid much less and who are organised in Verdi (the ones who supported a minimum wage fairly early), but organising them is very difficult and there are the fake unions IM mentioned.  

by Katrin on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:27:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
now we have "core staff", well paid and organised in unions and temporary workers who get paid much less

You have the same "dual labour market" that we're told is the source of all our problems in the periphery?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 08:26:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course. I've been told that it is the flexibility that cures all problems, though.

There are a few specialised companies though who pay well and who have no interest at all in flexibility of their well trained employees. In all other sectors of the economy precarious employment is becoming the rule as older employees reach pension age. There won't be much of a "dual labour market" soon.

by Katrin on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 08:51:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be "agreements" in English not "treaties".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 06:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Treaty is never used outside state relationships? Can I use pact? Deal is to informal for legally binding agreements?
by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:09:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Collective bargaining agreement" is a set phrase. You can say "a collective bargaining agreement is a pact/treaty/deal/whatever".

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:11:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Pact" is the sort of word newspapers use when they're used "agreement" too many times in a paragraph. Agreement is idiomatic, and in context will be expected to be in some way binding.

Sorry, I almost never correct usage like that.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 09:36:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beppe Grillo's Blog

The Five Star Movement is upstaging the conventional parties by pledging to refuse political "reimbursements," the Movement's representatives have cut their salaries from the monthly 12 thousand euros to two thousand; they propose a two-term stay in Parliament; renewable energy replacing fossil fuels; public water; zero waste; sustainable growth. The five stars (in the logo) represent honesty; know-how; transparency; effective comunication; continuous political representation.

For a fast-growing number of Italians the Five Star Movement is the political antidote for a corrupted country where, every other day for the last twenty years, headlines broke stories of political malfeasances: if not organized crime, it was politicians or parties squandering taxpayers' money, pillaging state-owned properties, mismanaging the country's environmental wealth, neglecting crumbling infrastructures.

Such as the Italian situation, no one should be surprised if political parties are no longer believable. In fact, millions of disgusted people are no longer accepting the ineptness of a political caste hell bent on destroying a country physically and morally. Thousands of people jam the squares across Italy whenever the comedian-activist, leader of the Five Star Movement shows up to mock and lampoon a decadent political class while offering a political alternative. If the political success of the the Five Star Movement proves anything it proves that people power is alive and well and George Carlin would have been pleasantly surprised.

beppe's on a roll lately... it's true about george carlin, he would approve of comedy used as political weapon of mass instruction.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:53:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Comme Marine Le Pen, Sarkozy veut une présomption de légitime défense pour les policiers | L'Elysée côté jardinLike Marine Le Pen, Sarkozy wants a presumption of self-defense for police officers
« Je suis du  côté des fonctionnaires de la République, voilà la réalité. Que la justice dise le droit et nous nous inclinerons, mais je demande que le droit de la légitime défense évolue dans un sens plus protecteur pour les policiers et les gendarmes. Il doit y avoir une présomption de légitime défense. Dans l'Etat de droit, on  ne peut pas mettre sur le même plan le policier dans l'exercice de ses fonctions  et le délinquant dans l'exercice de ses fonctions à lui », a indiqué Nicolas Sarkozy lors d'une visite en Seine Saint Denis, alors qu'un policier a été mis en examen pour homicide volontaire, suscitant l'émotion de ses collègues policiers."I'm on the side of officials of the Republic, is the reality. The justice system determines the point of law, and we respect that, but I ask that the right of self-defense is taken into account for a more protective environment for police and gendarmes. There must be a presumption of self-defense. Under the rule of law, we can not put on the same level the officer in the performance of his duties and the offender in the performance of his duties, "said Nicolas Sarkozy during a visit in Seine Saint Denis, while a policeman was indicted for murder, prompting the emotion of his fellow officers.
Cette proposition sur la présomption de légitime défense a été faite préalablement par Marine Le Pen.The proposal on the presumption of self-defense was made previously by Marine Le Pen.

Footnote : We have grown accustomed to Sarkozy's methods of legislating based on the week's newspaper headlines. But there is an element of black humour in the fact that the person against whom the charged police officer is to be presumed to have defended himself ... was shot in the back.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 08:52:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Under the rule of law, we can not put on the same level the officer in the performance of his duties and the offender in the performance of his duties

The "offender" has duties?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 09:00:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The duty to turn around before the police fires?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:18:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. He had to be shot in the back because he was running away ie guilty.

An innocent man would have turned round. Then the gunshot would have been accidental.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:45:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Duties" is a bad translation. The word is "functions". Still sounds funny.

There will be no limit to Sarkozy's crawling to the right wing over these two weeks.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:48:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, he's being deliberately funny about the guy who got shot in the back. This is why we love him so.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:56:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:55:26 AM EST
U.S.: Occupiers Confront Wells Fargo Shareholders - IPS ipsnews.net
SAN FRANCISCO, U.S., Apr 25, 2012 (IPS) - More than 1,000 people took the Occupy Wall Street Movement message straight to the one percent Tuesday, most of them rallying outside the Wells Fargo stockholders meeting in the heart of San Francisco's financial district - and some 30 of them "mic-checking" inside the meeting.

Protesters, many of whom had come from out of state, targeted what they said was Wells Fargo's high rate of foreclosure, predatory lending practices, tax dodging and investing in private immigrant detention centres. Wells Fargo is the nation's largest mortgage lender.

Rev. Gloria Del Castillo, of the Buen Samaritano church in San Francisco's largely Latino Mission District, came to the protest as part of an interfaith organisation working for economic and social justice. Her understanding of the mortgage crisis is not theoretical.

"I'm here today, not only as a faith leader in this city," Del Castillo said, before marching to the Merchants Exchange Building, where the shareholder meeting was to be held. "Myself, I'm going through foreclosure right now, thanks to Wells Fargo. I asked them three times for a loan modification so that I could stay in my home, and they refused."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:53:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernanke says Fed prepared to do more for economy | Reuters

(Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday said the U.S. central bank "would not hesitate" to launch another round of bond purchases to drive borrowing costs lower if it looked like the economy needed it.

"We remain entirely prepared to take additional balance sheet actions as necessary to achieve our objectives," Bernanke told reporters. "Those tools remained very much on the table and we would not hesitate to use them should the economy require that additional support."

In response to the deepest recession in generations, the Fed lowered benchmark overnight rates to near zero in December 2008 and more than tripled its balance sheet by purchasing $2.3 trillion in government and mortgage bonds.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:59:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here 'economy' should be read as 'financial sector'.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:40:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain in recession means more woe for government | Reuters

(Reuters) - The economy has fallen into its second recession since the financial crisis after a shock contraction at the start of 2012, heaping pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron's government as it reels from a series of political missteps.

Britain's Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has seen its support crumble after weeks of criticism over unpopular tax measures in last month's budget, and is under further pressure from revelations about its close links with media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

With local elections taking place on May 3, there could hardly be worse timing for Wednesday's news from the Office for National Statistics that Britain's gross domestic product fell 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2012 on top of a 0.3 percent decline at the end of 2011.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:03:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour are +11 nationally.

(But Boris is +6 in the election for London Mayor, so voters haven't tied him to the sinking ConDem shipwreck.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:24:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
London's mayoral election is a banana republic election. Virtually all of the non-BBC London media are edited or run by either Boris supporters or (as in the case of the Evening Standard) people beholden to Boris for their job.

Further, Boris naturally has plenty of financial support from Square Mile.

Finally, throw in the fact that the City's transport infrastructure is bursting at the seams again - and Boris is quite happy to let it fail, because the alternative (which other candidates acknowledge) is some further minor restrictions on road traffic. Thus he gets a core vote from the rim of the city...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 09:43:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition, the field is again Boris and Ken with Paddick as the also-ran.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 09:45:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there is an irony that, when the new owner took over the ES, he saw fit to print an apology to London for the bias the previous owners showed against Ken in the previous mayoral elections.

But tbh both Boris and Ken look like yesterday's men, both of their agenda seem almost irrelevant to today's problems let alone tomorrow's

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:00:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:02:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Vivendi Said to Consider Company Breakup - Bloomberg

Vivendi SA (VIV) is considering an overhaul of its company structure that may lead to a breakup of the owner of the world's largest music and video-game companies, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

One option under discussion is to split the Paris-based company into two, with one part incorporating media assets such as Universal Music Group and video-game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI), said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. The other would include Vivendi's telecommunications and content distribution units, they said, adding that the review is at an early stage.

Vivendi's supervisory board, led by Chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou, is seeking to reverse a slide in the company's stock and reduce a discount he puts at almost 40 percent because of the way Vivendi is structured as a holding vehicle of multiple units. The board is due to discuss the alternatives during a three-day summit with top executives in June, one person said.

Other options may include a partial or complete spinoff of pay-TV operator Canal Plus, which is 20 percent owned by publisher Lagardere SCA (MMB), the people said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:10:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Business Insider: IT'S OFFICIAL: Keynes Was Right (April 24, 2012)
Now, I'm not an economist, and I'm not born of a particular economic school that I've bet my life's work on, so I have observed the global economic events of the past five years with a fairly open mind.

I've listened to Keynesians like Paul Krugman argue that the way to fix the mess is to open the government spending spigot and invest like crazy.

And I've listened to Austerians like Niall Ferguson argue that the way to fix the mess is to cut spending radically, balance government budgets, and unleash the private sector.

And I've also looked back at history--namely, Reinhart and Rogoff's analysis of prior financial crises, the Great Depression, Japan, Germany after Weimar, and so forth.

And more and more it appears that Keynes was right.



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:09:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More from BI

The Austerians love to point at the 1930s as "proof" that Keynes was wrong. Look at the huge "New Deal," they say. Look at all those expensive public works projects. Look at all the spending the government did to try to get us out of the Great Depression, and it never really worked. What got us out of the Depression, the Austerians smugly observe, was World War 2.

But what was World War 2 if not an absolutely gigantic Keynesian stimulus?

The Federal deficit in World War 2 was massive--much bigger than any time during the Great Depression. And we built up a huge Federal debt load. And ... we set the stage for two decades of amazing prosperity, in which we worked off those debts.


Go TARA!


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:51:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure Wall St would look at that and channel Gonzales by saying "How quaint"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:10:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:55:45 AM EST
France urges UN to mull Syria military option - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

The French foreign minister has said the UN Security Council should consider military action in Syria if an international peace plan fails to stop the violence under President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Alain Juppe also demanded on Wednesday that 300 UN observers authorised to go to Syria be deployed within 15 days. He said Paris would consider peace envoy Kofi Annan's scheduled report on May 5 as a deadline for Damascus to comply with the plan.

"We think this mediation should be given a chance, on the condition that the deployment of the observer mission happens quickly,'' Juppe said after a meeting with Syrian dissidents at his ministry.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:50:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gingrich expected to end US presidential bid - Americas - Al Jazeera English

Newt Gingrich is expected to withdraw next week from the US Republican presidential contest, two advisers to the former speaker of the House of Representatives have said.

The decision by Gingrich emerged on Wednesday, a day after Mitt Romney added to his commanding lead in the Republican nomination race with primary wins in five states.

Gingrich's advisers spoke to The Associated Press news agency on the condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation. The advisers said he will formally end his campaign next Tuesday and will likely endorse Romney.

The former House speaker did not formally withdraw from the race but said on Wednesday he is now campaigning as a "citizen". He did not explain what he meant.

Gingrich had campaigned heavily in Delaware, one of five states to hold presidential primaries on Tuesday, but lost by nearly 30 percentage points.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:50:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gingrich to quit White House race after stormy bid | Reuters

Clobbered by negative ads paid for by allies of Romney, Gingrich's campaign went downhill almost immediately after he won the South Carolina primary on January 21.

He will formally pull out next week, a Gingrich campaign official said on Wednesday.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:59:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stormy? Huh?

You could certainly call it vicious, antagonistic, damaging, and more than a little bonkers.

But stormy?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:27:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bets on how long before he deletes all his criticism of Romney (technicians working on that madly right now). And bets on how long before he endorses Romney (a couple of weeks).

Evangelicals are now in a real pickle, with a choice only between a life-long, full-fledged Christian and an openly Mormon semi-Christian. Maybe there's time for one more not-Romney to peak and fade before autumn...

by asdf on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:13:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the repugs know this primary season has damaged them, so they'll wnat the dust ot settle, Allen West will be bundled into a cupboard, Cain will be dumped in an alligator pen and Gingrich will be appointed zoo czar and only allowed out when in the company of real monkeys.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:14:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AU demands end to Sudan border violence - Africa - Al Jazeera English

The African Union has called on Sudan to stop its aerial bombardment of South Sudan and for both countries to cease hostilities, as an uneasy calm settled over the disputed border region.

Despite a lull in violence on Wednesday, the continental bloc said Sudan and South Sudan must withdraw their forces from Heglig and keep their troops within their borders.

The demand, made by the AU Peace and Security Council in a statement released after a council meeting late on Tuesday, came as South Sudan freed and handed 14 Sudanese prisoners of war to the International Committee of the Red Cross on Wednesday.

The AU also said the two neighbouring countries should stop issuing inflammatory statements and propaganda that could escalate the conflict.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:51:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too funny:

Of course those were precinct caucuses. You had to stick around for the voting for COUNTY delegates, and those results were different.  And the COUNTY conventions elected STATE delegates, and those results were different.  And over the past weekend the STATE delegates elected the NATIONAL delegates who will go to Tampa to decide who the GOP nominee will be.
Minnesota has 40 delegates to Tampa. 3 each were allotted to each Congressional district, so, with 8 districts, 24 seats were at stake.  Ron Paul supporters won 20 of 24!

Ron Paul people are starting to cause faction-fighting within GOP state parties.  This is not the first example, I'm sure it won't be the last.


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

by ATinNM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 02:29:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:56:11 AM EST
ALEC Says It Plans To Craft Legislation To Take Down State Renewable Energy Targets | ThinkProgress

Two leading conservative political organizations say they are stepping up coordinated efforts to repeal state-level renewable energy targets.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) -- a "stealth business lobbyist" that works with corporate interests to help them write and implement "model" legislation -- says it may soon start crafting laws designed to kill or weaken state targets for renewable electricity, heating and fuels.

ALEC has come under fire in recent weeks for its support of voter ID laws and the controversial Stand-Your-Ground law that opponents blame for the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. After progressive groups began an aggressive campaign to educate the public about ALEC, 13 companies have since pulled their membership from the organization.

Last July, Bloomberg News acquired tax documents showing that Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil and other energy companies paid membership fees to ALEC in order to help write legislation repealing carbon pollution reduction programs in states around country.

Bloomberg now reports that ALEC is looking to take aim at renewable energy programs in states:

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 12:08:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Accelerating climate change exerts strong pressure on Europe's mountain flora

A pan-European study published in Science shows that mountain plants across the continent are moving to higher altitudes. This often results in raised species numbers on mountain tops, when colonizers from lower down start to dwell on the summits. This study, however, also shows that upward shifts can lead to a reduction in species richness.

The paper is based on detailed surveys of 66 mountain summits distributed between the north of Europe and the southern Mediterranean Sea. An international research group, led by the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Vienna, mapped all plant species at each site in 2001 and 2008 using the same standardized procedures. The study was coordinated by Harald Pauli, Michael Gottfried, Stefan Dullinger and Georg Grabherr.

Increasing species numbers were only found on summits of northern and central Europe. By contrast, species numbers were stagnating or declining at nearly all sites in the Mediterranean region.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 12:10:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Genetically modified corn affects its symbiotic relationship with non-target soil organisms

Bt corn is genetically engineered to express insecticidal toxins derived from a soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, to protect it against common agricultural pests such as the corn root worm and European corn borer.

Tanya Cheeke and her colleagues (at Portland State University, Oregon) were interested in determining whether the cultivation of Bt corn has a negative effect on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal colonization of Bt corn or of crops subsequently planted in the same soil.

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are ubiquitous microscopic soil fungi that form symbiotic relationships with the roots of most plants. Plants supply the fungi with carbon, and the fungi increase the host plant's ability to uptake nutrients and water from the surrounding soil.

"Because these fungi rely on a plant host for nutrition and reproduction, they may be sensitive to genetic changes within a plant, such as insect-resistant Bt corn," stated Cheeke.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 12:15:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But What in Place of Nuclear Power - IPS ipsnews.net
LUCERNE, Switzerland, Apr 25, 2012 (IPS) - In the wake of Fukushima, the Swiss government decided last year to slowly, but definitely phase out nuclear energy. But the new energy strategy for the next decade has drawn criticism, especially from environmental organisations.

Switzerland's household electricity relies largely on nuclear and hydro power. Five nuclear power plants, of which the last will be shut down in 2034, currently produce 40.7 percent of the country's electricity. Making up for this large share once it's phased out requires a fundamental change in Switzerland's energy policy, an "ambitious but feasible" undertaking as the government keeps saying.

Deciding on the nuclear shutdown is one thing, but implementing it and defining concrete measures is a more complicated task. The Swiss Federal Council has outlined its energy policy framework for the next decades under the title `Energy Package 2050'. The main pillars of the strategy are reduction of energy consumption, increasing efficiency of energy use, and scaling up renewable energy.

The government has calculated that by 2050, energy consumption could be reduced by 28 percent compared to 2000. Potential for reduction is mainly seen in buildings rehabilitation and in the industrial and services sectors. EnAW, the energy agency of the Swiss economy, has presented a study including scenarios for increasing electricity efficiency. According to EnAW, Swiss companies could save 7 twh (terrawatt hours) by 2050.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:56:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
Potential for reduction is mainly seen in buildings rehabilitation and in the industrial and services sectors. EnAW, the energy agency of the Swiss economy, has presented a study including scenarios for increasing electricity efficiency. According to EnAW, Swiss companies could save 7 twh (terrawatt hours) by 2050.

so, do the swiss out-do the rest of the continent for eco-aspiration, or are they trailing behind?

is The Clue dawning brighter in the alpine world?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 08:04:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The government has calculated that by 2050, energy consumption could be reduced by 28 percent compared to 2000."

Quite possibly, but that will be coupled with a massive increase in electricity consumption.
Replacing all the fossil fuel usage will not be benign. In particular replacing all those car engines. Which is not to say that it's impossible necessarily, but it's a steeper climb that 40.7%-28%=12.7% would seem to indicate.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:09:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Activist Post: Blamed for Bee Collapse, Monsanto Buys Leading Bee Research Firm
Monsanto, the massive biotechnology company being blamed for contributing to the dwindling bee population, has bought up one of the leading bee collapse research organizations.

Recently banned from Poland with one of the primary reasons being that the company's genetically modified corn may be devastating the dying bee population, it is evident that Monsanto is under serious fire for their role in the downfall of the vital insects.

It is therefore quite apparent why Monsanto bought one of the largest bee research firms on the planet.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:20:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:56:34 AM EST
U.N. Focuses on Largest Generation in History - IPS ipsnews.net
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 25, 2012 (IPS) - The United Nations, which has remained focused on the world's political and military hotspots, has turned its attention to the bigger socioeconomic issues facing adolescents and youth, including poverty, sexual abuse, female genital mutilation and lack of reproductive health care.

"This generation of youth is the largest in history," Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon told a meeting of the 47-member U.N. Commission on Population and Development (CPD), which concludes Friday.

"And even more important, this generation of youth is shaping history," he said, in an oblique reference to the role played by youth in political uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, including Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt and Syria.

The theme of the weeklong CPD meeting is "National Experience in Population Matters: Adolescents and Youth".

Out of a growing world population of over seven billion, about 1.2 billion have been identified as adolescents and youth, according to the United Nations. And of this 1.2 billion under the age of 20, about 300 million live in "grinding poverty", says Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:53:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Vietnam Clamps Down on Bloggers - IPS ipsnews.net
BANGKOK, Apr 25, 2012 (IPS) - A pioneer of citizens' journalism in Vietnam is risking 20 years in jail for defending Internet freedom and exposing the draconian censorship laws in this communist party-ruled country.

Nguyen Van Hai, who writes under the pen name `Dieu Cay' (Peasant's Pipe), has refused to accept the charges brought up against him, limiting the possibility of an acquittal, his lawyers have told human rights groups.

The lawyers fear that if Dieu Cay persists with his attitude, "they would have little chance of obtaining an acquittal or even a light sentence," the Paris-based Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) said ahead of his impending trial.

Dieu Cay's refusal to sign on the dotted line comes as Hanoi gears up to implement in June the new `Decree on the Management, Provision, Use of Internet Services and Information Content Online'.

The 60-year-old war veteran has been detained for the past 17 months for postings critical of the Vietnamese government on the Club for Free Journalists (CFJ), a blog established in September 2007 to promote independent journalism in a country where media are in the iron grip of the one-party state.

"He should have never been arrested in the first place," Vo Van Ai, president of VCHR, said in a statement on the charges Dieu Cay faces for violating Vietnamese criminal laws on "spreading propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:57:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Indian teenager annuls her child 'marriage'

A young woman has had her child "marriage" legally annulled in northern Rajasthan state, in what is thought to be the first case of its kind in India.

Laxmi Sargara, 18, wed Rakesh when she was just one and he was three.

She grew up with her own family, only finding out she was married when her in-laws came to claim her this month.

Child marriages are illegal in India but are still common in many parts of the country, especially in rural and poorer communities.

"I was unhappy about the marriage. I told my parents who did not agree with me, then I sought help," Laxmi told Agence France Presse (AFP) news agency.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:05:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rupert Murdoch: myth, memory and imagination | Comment is free - Harold Evans | The Guardian

Rupert Murdoch has apparently lost a great deal of his power of memory, but nature has compensated by endowing him with a vivid imagination. He can surely deploy his new gift in the service of Fox movies. There is the great scene he pitched to Lord Justice Leveson on Wednesday morning where the editor of the Times enters left, closes the door behind him and begs: "Look, tell me what you want to say, what do you want me to say, and it need not leave this room and I'll say it." And our hero proprietor, so famously fastidious about such matters, has to tell Uriah Heep: "That is not my job."

And thus, children, was how Mr KR Murdoch honoured the promises of editorial independence that enabled him to avoid the Monopolies and Mergers Commission over his bid for Times Newspapers in 1981. As the editor in question, I am not able to compete with Murdoch in fabrication - he has had a lifetime of experience - but I do happen to have retained my memory of the year editing the Times, made notes, kept documents and even had the effrontery to write a whole bestselling book about it in 1983, called Good Times, Bad Times.

It has gone unchallenged for 30 years in its detailed account of precisely how Murdoch did break all five of the crucial pledges, did press for adopting his rightwing views, did want to know why we reported the Treasury statistics that the recession continued when the government had previously said it had ended.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:08:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:56:58 AM EST


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