Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

The EU Stupid Expands

by Frank Schnittger Thu Sep 12th, 2013 at 01:10:59 PM EST

Paul Krugman has again been making some apposite comments on the EU economic crisis. First he slams Olli Rehn [European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro] for being an ideological neo-liberal contemptuous of French democracy and with no real interest in furthering economic recovery in the EU:

The Austerian Mask Slips - NYTimes.com

Simon Wren-Lewis looks at France, and finds that it is engaging in a lot of fiscal austerity -- far more than makes sense given the macroeconomic situation. He notes, however, that France has eliminated its structural primary deficit mainly by raising taxes rather than by cutting spending.

And Olli Rehn -- who should be praising the French for their fiscal responsibility, their willingness to defy textbook macroeconomics in favor of the austerity gospel -- is furious, declaring that fiscal restraint must come through spending cuts.

As Wren-Lewis notes, Rehn is very clearly overstepping his bounds here: France is a sovereign nation, with a duly elected government -- and is not, by the way, seeking any kind of special aid from the Commission. So he has no business whatsoever telling the French how big their government should be.

But the larger point here, surely, is that Rehn has let the mask slip. It's not about fiscal responsibility; it never was. It was always about using hyperbole about the dangers of debt to dismantle the welfare state. How dare the French take the alleged worries about the deficit literally, while declining to remake their society along neoliberal lines?

There was a time when France was proud enough to stop such idiotic meddling in its affairs: Is there nothing that Olli Rehn can do or say that might get him sacked?

front-paged by afew


Next Krugman weighs in against the idiotic "recovery" narrative currently being spun by the Commission and the Cameron/Osborne Government (and no, I have not forgotten that the LibDems are supposed to have some input too...)

Oh Yes They Can - NYTimes.com

As Simon Wren-Lewis says, if some positive growth, eventually, means that your policies have been successful, then a policy of simply shutting down half the economy for a year or two, then letting it start up again, is a smashing success.

---<snip>---

So the claims of success coming from both the European Commission and now from Cameron/Osborne are deeply stupid -- but that doesn't mean that they won't gain traction. And as a political matter, bouncing dead cats can work very well. Combine Wren-Lewis's thought experiment about shutting down the economy with the substantial political science evidence that elections depend not on the level of income but on its rate of growth in the runup to the election, and you conclude that from a sheer political point of view gratuitously depressing the economy for the first half of your term in office can be a very smart move.

We can see the same dynamic working in Germany: Despite years of austerity and depressed growth, Germany seems likely to re-elect Merkel on the back of some slow and belated glimmers of economic growth in the last few months of her term. In another post, Krugman ascribes this to The Soft Bigotry of Low European Expectations - NYTimes.com

It really is kind of pathetic to see European leaders claiming vindication after one whole quarter of positive growth, at the thrilling annual rate of 1.2 percent. Just to say the obvious: when you've suffered a huge hit to output and employment, you're supposed to have a long period of fast growth to make up the lost ground. Otherwise you're making the definition of success way too easy.

To illustrate my point, here's a comparison I've been looking at. It's between Latvia -- which is the closest thing we have to an actual austerity success story, since it has been growing fast, even if it's still far below pre-crisis levels -- and another country, which isn't Latvia. Here's the chart:


Two big success stories, right? But who is Not Latvia?

Well, it's the United States from 1929 to 1935; data from the Millennial Edition of Historical Statistics of the United States (Latvia data from the IMF). Strange to say, most of us think America was still living through the Great Depression in 1935.

So Europe's biggest neo-liberal success story is actually faring considerably worse than the USA during the Great Depression - a time universally perceived as the low point of 20th. century capitalism. How could our expectations of what our leaders should do have been lowered so much? How is it that the architects of the greatest economic failure since the Second World War are still in office, never mind quite likely to be re-elected/re-appointed?

Krugman laments that European policymakers excuse the EU's awful performance on the grounds that it is wrong and unfair to compare current performance against the hugely inflated bubble economies that existed prior to the crash. However this excuse fails rather miserably when one compares Ireland's performance to that of Thailand post crash: The Baht and the Bubble Excuse - NYTimes.com

In any case, Asia from 1997 on provides a useful comparison. Southeast Asia in the mid-90s was a bubble — oh, boy, was it a bubble, with huge current account deficits and wild speculation in real estate. Nonetheless, by contrast with Europe’s crisis economies, the Asians fairly quickly returned to and then passed the pre-crisis peak:

I will say, 15 years ago it would never have occurred to me that we would be looking back at Asia’s crisis as a success story.

Part of the problem seems to be that many macro-economists and policy makers appear to be operating from a theory of an economy being a self-equilibrating system not requiring much in the way of political/fiscal intervention to come out of recession and back to potential growth: License To Stagnate - NYTimes.com

So what’s wrong with this pretty picture? Two ugly zeroes.

First is the zero lower bound on the interest rate: after a sufficiently large shock, the Taylor rule may say that you should keep cutting rates, but you can’t. Second is downward nominal rigidity, which isn’t quite as binding a constraint, but does lead the Phillips curve to be non-vertical in the face of very low inflation; as an IMF study of persistent large output gaps found, even years of a deeply depressed economy tend to produce at most slow, grinding deflation, and more usually slight positive inflation, not the ever-accelerating deflation the standard model would have predicted.

So here’s what happens after a large negative shock to the economy: the central bank finds itself up against the zero lower bound, so that all it can do is resort to controversial unorthodox measures. It might do that, or fiscal policy might be forced into action, if the economy really were suffering from accelerating deflation; but instead all you see is low inflation, which might even lead some central bankers to declare that they were doing their job just fine.

In the Bond movies, two zeroes meant a license to kill. In monetary policy, two zeroes — the hard zero on interest rates and the soft zero on wage changes — can, all too easily, give central bankers a de facto license to let the economy stagnate, remaining far below potential for an indefinite length of time.

As far as the Olli Rehns of this world are concerned, the latter problem - the soft zero on wage changes - is of course all the fault of the labour unions and the lack of "labour market reform"... I.e. the failure to impose even greater inequalities (and deflationary pressures) on European societies. And this is before one even considers the lack of a devaluation option for Eurozone countries in the grips of recession...

For all the progress of economic and political debate in the internet era, we are seeing perhaps the most complete example of popular ideological capture by our neo-liberal elites who have been arrogating to themselves the fruits of virtually all economic growth over the past 30 years. Most people seem to have come to accept declining growth, increased inequality, high unemployment and a withering welfare state as an unavoidable norm and are prepared to grasp at any straw indicating even a minor recovery.

Merkel's election strategy seems to be to demonstrate that Germany is not Greece - whilst ignoring the degree to which German dominance has caused the Greek crisis. Scapegoat somebody else and make your people glad they haven't been (relatively) scapegoated (yet) seems so be a winning strategy. Scare people about debt and economic uncertainty and then offer them the salvation of a few crumbs from the rich man's table. It is a psychological and rhetorical strategy well known to any hell-fire preacher: make people afraid of eternal damnation and they will be glad to pay their supplication to the State/Church as if it were an unavoidable insurance premium.

Whatever happened to the ideals of European solidarity, never mind the socialist revolution? Do we really need a war every generation to remind us of the horrors of allowing our elites unfettered access to power and the means of public propaganda? Where is the counter-cultural revolution, the class analysis, or the organized opposition to such policies? With European social democracy having been effectively assimilated by the elite, where is the new dynamic of change to come from?

Display:
Excellent, Frank. To be read in conjunction with Melanchthon's Oxfam: Up to 25 million more Europeans at risk of poverty by 2025 if austerity drags on for the costs to the weaker members of society of the neoliberal onslaught.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 12th, 2013 at 01:14:34 PM EST
And good on Krugman for calling stupid on stupid and then showing why.

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 Thu Sep 12th, 2013 at 02:27:22 PM EST
I don't think it's stupid, I think it's class war. I'm not convinced these people are so delusional they don't understand what they're doing.

Of course we are essentially dealing with fundamentalist zealots here. Like any other crusaders, they prefer holy violence and self-aggrandisement to more mature policy.

But even so - the serious people are not serious and in need of persuasion about the facts. They're actively, militantly, hostile and deranged, and working on an organised campaign of economic abuse and hatred for expedient political reasons, with the goal of enshrining rentier and exploiter privilege and making it immune to any democratic push-back.

They're as socially toxic as any other in-bred priestly caste. We'll know we have a democracy again when separation of church and state explicitly excludes them from all policy decisions.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 09:30:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not suggesting that the Olli Rehns or Camerons of this world are stupid, indeed they have been extremely effective in persuading hordes of people that TINA even as they impoverish those same hordes. The stupidity resides in the millions who believe this shit and in the leaders of the supposedly alternative social democrat and green movements who go along with it in the belief that this is their route to power.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 10:24:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not class war until there is actually a disagreement between the classes. The whole point of democracy is that the government does what the voters want, and if somebody is able to manipulate what the voters want, then that's part of the system.

For instance, consider the states that most reliably vote for the Republicans. They are poor. The poor people vote for policies that enhance the wealth of the rich people. That's not much of a class war.

by asdf on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 12:41:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greatest victory in class warfare was persuading the working class they were middle class, or were just about to be.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 12:44:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole point of democracy is that the government ^pretends to do ^ does what the voters want.

It's one of the current myths - and a very useful one - that people are apathetic.

In fact most people aren't, at least not in Europe.

They simply have no legitimate non-violent way to influence policy. As we've seen here, all the main parties are on the wrong side of the argument.

There is no democratic representation for the majority view.

As for the US - there's endless potential for radicalisation, especially if the Christian churches decide to join in. The Syrian fiasco proved that the lock-down isn't absolute. And even in the US, the population as a whole is far more centrist or even left-leaning than its representatives are.

It may be a generation or two before the push-back starts. But I'd be surprised if it never happened. I think there's plenty of outrage building among the indentured generation, and there will likely be a huge and unexpected shift in the next decade or so.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 12:58:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, but there has always been a progressive candidate, at least for the office of President over here. The problem is that people won't support them because they're not the type of people who get elected class president in junior high school. Politics is ultimately a popularity contest, and that is one part policies and 9 parts appearances.

Is there no socialist party in Europe these days?

by asdf on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 02:24:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
asdf:
Is there no socialist party in Europe these days?

That would be the Die Linke, Syriza, etc type parties, Merge of former communst parties and left wing social democrats (as in soc-dems that remember that the "soc" stands for socialist).

FPTP is effective in slowing down the growth of alternatives. So UK parliament only has three major parties all with roots in the 19th, early 20th century, compared to the continent where you in general has at least one left of soc-dems party and a green party, both of decent size.

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 Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 03:05:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It hasn't helped that a lot of the "progressive" candidates are creeps like Kucinich, who reminds me a lot more of dogmatic campus Leninists than anything else.
by Zwackus on Sat Sep 14th, 2013 at 12:15:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll take the dogmatic campus leninist Kucinich over the dogmatic words-fail-me Olli Rehn any day, thank you very much.

After all, Kucinish as Mayor of Cleveland had the balls to default on the city's creditors to save the municipal utility. And after being run out of town on a rail, 20 years later

[i]n 1998 the Cleveland City Council honored him for having had the "courage and foresight" to stand up to the banks, which saved the city an estimated $195 million between 1985 and 1995


Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 14th, 2013 at 04:44:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True but if the last success of an politician occured in the mid-seventies...
by IM on Sat Sep 14th, 2013 at 05:02:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with being principled is that you get excluded from executive office for the rest of your life. Much better to be a successful politician like Olli Rehn
from a sheer political point of view gratuitously depressing the economy for the first half of your term in office can be a very smart move.


Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 14th, 2013 at 05:07:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a class war - the problem is that only the wealthy realize it and are the only ones doing all the fighting

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 04:00:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... not the strategic nous in deploying the argument.

Of course its not stupid to deploy this stupid argument, so long as the Mess Media refrain from harassing the people deploying it in a united chorus of derision about how stupid it is.

But the fact remains ~ claiming credit for a weak GDP recovery in the midst of an ongoing labor market depression that your policies have made worse is a stupid argument. Its a sad commentary of the Mess Media context that carries the argument that it is not more widely recognized as such.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 06:23:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not stupid, and it's not a stupid argument - it's just Soviet-style propaganda.

The chocolate ration has been decreased increased, and we're supposed to clap louder.

Of course it makes no sense economically. But it doesn't need to.

Propaganda is about lying effectively, not about telling the truth. And if you keep repeating the lies without debate, and if most people have no access to alternative viewpoints, the lies will at least be influential, and will be believed by many.

It's beyond most people's comprehension that the lies are lies, that they operate on the scale they do, and that the people who benefit from them as a insane as they really are.

As I keep saying, most people's model of human interaction is based on the kinds of exchanges they have at home and at work, where even if people are disturbed and slightly dangerous, they're not murderous and sociopathic.

So it's very difficult to imagine that politics and finance are any different.

But they are. With a few exceptions, they're not careers for people with a normal ethical sense.

And the difference in morality is the core problem. You have one large bloc of the population acting in more or less recognisably human ways, and a tiny but immensely influential bloc acting like dangerous escaped mental patients.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Sep 16th, 2013 at 06:20:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not stupid, and it's not a stupid argument - it's just Soviet-style propaganda.

The Soviet propaganda was openly boring and rather benign in comparison. Whatever their goals, the deliverables were not that depressing. Quite possibly... their Hideous propaganda was in hiding the planned Soviet collapse.

In this century, there is a clear rise of non-falsifiable argumentation in politics. Should that be a "natural" development, or a determined meta-policy?

by das monde on Mon Sep 16th, 2013 at 08:19:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the best single book to read on propaganda? Is it stll Bernays? Does Lakoff fit the bill?

In the Neurozone, there can be only one.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 18th, 2013 at 04:20:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... when the argument is in fact stupid as an argument.

There are people who hear it, think it sounds stupid, but assume they must be unaware of something because everybody treats it as if it makes sense.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Sep 18th, 2013 at 10:40:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Olli and his cohorts are NOT the stupid. The stupid is the set of policies they advance, unfounded self contradictory and incoherent as they are - the fact that there is no there there - yet they get away with it through dint of repetition. The stupid is that such transparent nonsense can be sold as easily as it has been.

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 Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 07:51:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly, the scolding of the Olli Rehns and other neurotic fusspots has had its effect on the French polity. It has been announced in the last couple of days that the austerity effort for the 2014 budget year will be 80% spending reduction and 20% additional tax.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Sep 12th, 2013 at 03:40:31 PM EST
splendid diary, Frank.

it's like watching a slo-mo trainwreck of all europe tried, and purported to stand for.

now with the public patient sufficiently mediated into collective coma anesthetised, the harvesting of the organs can proceed, with all nervous system twitches  safely channeled into sports and celebrity watch-gossip-twittering.

 the icebags are waiting. the getaway ambulances revving their engines, offshore banks await their deposits in shady accounts, the corporatisation of whatever shreds are left of social fabric and the commons can move into its ultimate fulfilment.

the pauperisation of the undeserving many (who asked their parents to conceive?) by the few blessed with the passcode.

how high must the mighty fly before they fall, for the evanescent edification of history?

is there an olympics for elitism? new records falling broken, broken as the people caught in the neolib debt trap, betrayed by the supposed guardians of their peace and prosperity.

paul krugman is mincing his words ever less, it's good to see.

where is he on energy policy?

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Sep 12th, 2013 at 04:39:20 PM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 05:52:09 AM EST
This is one of the most depressing truths Krugman has blogged since the crisis started.
Combine Wren-Lewis's thought experiment about shutting down the economy with the substantial political science evidence that elections depend not on the level of income but on its rate of growth in the runup to the election, and you conclude that from a sheer political point of view gratuitously depressing the economy for the first half of your term in office can be a very smart move.


Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 12:00:53 PM EST
For as long as I can remember Governments have sought to cram all the harder, unpopular stuff into the first part of their term in the hope that people will have largely forgotten by the time the next election comes around. In the US this means you can only really change things for about the first 15 months of your term as President because after that congress is focused on the midterms and anything that attracts the opposition of powerful vested interest groups has to be avoided.

For this reason Obamacare may very well end up being Obama's singular positive achievement in office - besides all the not-negative stuff of ending some wars and not getting too involved in others. For this reason too, European Governments have sought to impose unpopluar tax increases and "labour market reforms" etc. very early in their terms. However deflating whole economies in the hope that you can reflate them in time for the next election brings this political cycle to a whole new level.

The Irish Government is now desperately trying to find some means of reflation (or avoiding further deflation) having semi-succesfully placed all the blame for all the nasty cuts on the Troika, Unfortunately for them, the troika is refusing to play ball because unconstitutional and unelected institutions don't have to worry about election cycles.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 12:28:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence: Moscovici advocates Eurozone unemployment insurance (11.09.2013)
Pierre Moscovici repeated that France wants the euro zone to have its own budget, with the equivalent of a finance minister. The first step in such a budget could be a shared unemployment insurance system, he said. Revenues from the budget could come from a shared sales tax, or even a carbon tax, he suggested according to the Wall Street Journal. "The euro zone needs a second generation of architects so it can deliver all its promises to its people," Moscovici said.

Christine Lagarde said the euro zone still has a way to go in building a fiscal union to deal with future crises. She said Europe has made significant progress on increasing oversight of national budgets, but the rules will only be good if they are properly enforced. Lagarde also called for a stronger risk-sharing mechanism, such as a rainy day fund, and said there needs to be a credible pan-European backstop for the resolution of banks.



Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 06:01:46 PM EST
Christine Lagarde said the euro zone still has a way to go in building a fiscal union to deal with future crises.

Forget the future. The euro zone has a long ways to go in building a fiscal union capable of dealing with the current crisis!

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 Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 07:59:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 14th, 2013 at 04:38:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This new has NOT been emphasized in the french press: I cannot recall an article in LeMonde or le Figaro, or on the radio regarding a pan-european unemployment insurance.

This kind of mechanism would fulfill one of Krugman's technical requisite for a non optimal monetary union.

A free fox in a free henhouse!

by Xavier in Paris on Mon Sep 16th, 2013 at 03:05:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EurActiv: France considers cash creation to finance energy transition (12 September 2013)
France's Economic, Social and Environmental Council (ESEC) unveiled its conclusions on Tuesday (10 September) about how to finance the energy transition while public debt continued to weigh heavily on the state budget and the tax burden was already stretched to the limit.

...

According to the ESEC, the ECB would lend money at low rates to the European Investment Bank (EIB) and France's Public Investment Bank (BPI) - which would de facto mean money creation. Public banking structures would then have the responsibility to lend the money collected from the states. But this remains a theoretical hypothesis for now, as the organisations in question have yet to give their green light.

The inflation would be limited as the money created would go to job creation, research and other productive activities. There would therefore be no upward pressure on prices.



Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 06:03:54 PM EST
I fear that something dramatic will have to blow up in Germany, (dare I hope it is Merkel's head?), for this to ever happen.

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 Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 08:02:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The real sad part is that I'm not sure a defeat for Merkel would make all that much difference - even if Die Linke became part of a red red green governing coalition.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 14th, 2013 at 04:42:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A necessary but not sufficient condition.

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 Sat Sep 14th, 2013 at 09:02:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you haven't seen this before, here's the take from Businessweek (Bloomberg)


There are, as the Economist's Matthew Bishop once observed, two Krugmen: the scholar and the polemicist. The scholar sifts data for patterns. The polemicist picks fights to make points. "It kind of helps to use various people as foils," Krugman said in an interview this year for this magazine. "If someone has said something that's demonstrably at odds with experience or just demonstrably stupid, I use it." He once told a National Public Radio interviewer, "There are so many fools that if you try to suffer them at any great length, there's no time left." Columnist George Will said of Krugman: "If certainty were oil, he'd be Saudi Arabia."

Despite his popularity and determination, Krugman hasn't exactly won the argument. He's had no luck getting the Federal Reserve to raise its inflation target to 4 percent, from 2 percent. He also hasn't managed to persuade Congress to increase spending to stimulate growth; with the sequester, lawmakers have done just the opposite. Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, who calls himself a fellow progressive, says Krugman shows too little concern for wasteful government spending. "This approach is disastrous both politically and economically," he wrote in a Huffington Post column.



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Sep 15th, 2013 at 12:58:16 PM EST
Policies aren't determined by winning arguments, but by which interests control the media and the mechanisms of Government. To say that Krugman hasn't won the argument simply translates as: he doesn't represent the dominant interests in banking, the economy and polity.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 15th, 2013 at 02:10:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's true.

also you can't win an argument with fools bearing (even demonstrably) fallacious arguments and pretzel logic.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Sep 16th, 2013 at 01:35:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Simon Wren-Lewis says, if some positive growth, eventually, means that your policies have been successful, then a policy of simply shutting down half the economy for a year or two, then letting it start up again, is a smashing success.

Yes, rather like driving your car home from work, sputtering and stalling the whole way, parking it in the drive, then driving it to work in the morning, again sputtering and stalling the whole way, and saying, "It's going faster than it did all night."

by rifek on Tue Sep 17th, 2013 at 04:46:15 PM EST
...Jérôme's party, liberal as ever.

And so, when you ask

There was a time when France was proud enough to stop such idiotic meddling in its affairs: Is there nothing that Olli Rehn can do or say that might get him sacked?

just remember, who it is exactly who is in power in France. It's a question which answers itself.

At least Ireland had the self-pride to say no on a number of occasions. France casts its lot behind its elite, effete and ineffective to a man.

by redstar on Thu Sep 19th, 2013 at 11:19:46 AM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]