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End game for Greece?

by Frank Schnittger Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 07:28:18 AM EST

Yanis Varoufakis has an article in today's Irish Times in which he laments the failure of the Eurogroup to listen to his proposals even whilst they themselves have been kept in the dark about what "the Institutions" are proposing. Apparently no substantive discussions took place on what either "the Institutions" or Greece were suggesting as the way forward. A majority of the Eurogroup Ministers appear to have decided, in advance, that Varoufakis is not someone they can "do business with."

But perhaps the finance Ministers couldn't address, never mind resolve, the Greek crisis because at root it isn't a financial crisis, it is a political crisis which effects the whole European project. If this all goes horribly wrong, we will have Greece spinning, out of control, into the Russian orbit run by a military Junta and with politicians such as Varoufakis in exile, jail, or worse.  

The EU, meanwhile, will start to fall apart with nationalists governments, led by the UK, doing their best to break it apart. We may not have a major European war any time soon, but the slippery slope will have begun.  Meanwhile we will have people starving in the streets and dying en masse for lack of proper medical care.


There is no doubt that Greece needs an internal social, economic and political revolution.  For too long it has been run by a corrupt elite who pay very little by way of taxes and do not re-invest their profits to modernize the economy. It has a massive and inefficient military and civil service which absorb huge resources and stifle all economic enterprise and growth. The underlying Greek economy is painfully underdeveloped whilst social inequalities grow.

It is unclear whether Syriza, or any Greek government, have the means to lead such a revolution. Perhaps a massive rupture is unavoidable.  A default followed by ejection from the EZ could well result in hyper-inflation of any new currency, mass impoverishment, and violence in the streets.  Sounds familiar?  

The EU was founded to prevent such a re-occurrence and it will have failed in its most basic and sacred duty if it fails to prevent it. It will have destroyed its own most basic raison d'être and claim to legitimacy. All of Europe will be the loser.

We need to decide whether the EU truly aspires to be a Union or not.  If so, the suffering of the Greek people is indivisible from suffering in our own home states.  It is as much our responsibility as is the hardship experienced by our neighbours down the road. There is no solution to the Greek Crisis which does not involve at least a mini-revolution in the EU institutions as well.  Monetary Union cannot be pursued in isolation from fiscal Union, and the health, social welfare, education and economic development of the Greek people must be assured at an EU institutional as well as at a national level.

We cannot allow the suffering of the Greek people to become a bargaining chip in the power politics of competing national elites.  It is time for Community wide solutions to Community problems. It is time for the European Union to get real.

[editor's note, by Migeru]

In this series:

Display:
At least Varoufakis finds something positive to say about Ireland's Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, in stark contrast to the latter's previous dismissive comments about the Greek economy and its importance to Ireland.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 07:50:33 AM EST
It has become very quite here at the European Tribune. Why is that? Maybe we all feel that things are total spinning out of control and there is nothing left to do about it.

The European discussion is over, everything that matters now happens on the national level.

by rz on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is certainly part of it, but there are factors internal to the European Tribune as well.  We used to have rows about it.  Now nobody cares enough to bother.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:26:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It could be that the possibility of a solution is so remote, everyone is throwing their hands in the air.  That's pretty much the case here in the US (I figure we're a generation away yet from people taking to the streets, although an old-fashioned food shortage could change that in a hurry.).  Or it could be that we're in the opposite of an academic debate (where the debates are so bitter because there is so little at stake): The stakes are so high, debate isn't much of a priority.  Two men in a burning building can't stop to argue.
by rifek on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 02:11:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is there to discuss? The European Union is institutionally hopeless:
Perhaps the most telling remark by any finance minister in that meeting came from Michael Noonan. He protested that ministers had not been made privy to the institutions' proposal to my government before being asked to participate in the discussion.

To his protest, I wish to add my own: I was not allowed to share with Mr Noonan, or indeed with any other finance minister, our written proposals. In fact, as our German counterpart was later to confirm, any written submission to a finance minister by either Greece or the institutions was "unacceptable", as he would then need to table it at the Bundestag, thus negating its utility as a negotiating bid.

...

It is as if Europe has determined that elected finance ministers are not up to the task of mastering the technical details; a task best left to "experts" representing not voters but the institutions. One can only wonder to what extent such an arrangement is efficient, let alone remotely democratic.

...

Regrettably, my presentation was met with deafening silence. Excepting Michael Noonan's apt remark, all other interventions ignored our proposals and reiterated the frustration of ministers that Greece had ... no proposals.

An impartial spectator of our eurogroup deliberations would come to the safe conclusion that it is a strange forum, one ill-equipped to forge good, hard decisions when Europe truly needs them. Greece and Ireland took a major hit early on in the crisis because the eurogroup was not designed to handle crises efficiently. It is still unable to do so.

(Varoufakis in the Irish Times)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:39:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really wonder: lets say Greece defaults, what will the political result be for Podemos? Will they realize that the formula: euro yes, Austerity no, does not work?
by rz on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:42:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the Eurogroup have decided not to deal with Varoufakis, partly because he is too intellectually independent for them, and partly because of his negotiating style.  But the bigger issue, which I have sought to address in the diary, is that the issues are too big for their pay-grade and competence.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:52:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently the Euro Working Group likes Stathakis as a negotiator because he's soft-spoken and wears a tie. Such is the intellectual level not just of the ministers, but of the technocrats.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:14:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the immoral words of Matteo Renzi:
"The wind in Greece, the wind in Spain, the wind in Poland don't blow in the same direction, they blow in opposite directions, but all these winds say that Europe must change"

We could add Denmark now of course.

by rz on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:24:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And what is Renzi doing to change Europe? He's just blowing hot air in no direction.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:34:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, Europe can hardly change in three different directions. And isn't Renzi big project to prove that Italy isn't Greece? Even if he is successful, "we are a special snowflake" can hardly give Europe any direction.
by IM on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:37:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italians aren't buying it any more. Opinion polls from Repubblica:

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:39:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This ETer is not quiet about the fact that the comic's party is 7 points behind and closing.
Woot!

Toasty aroma reached you yet?

'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 Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:41:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the contrary, he's blowing it straight out his...never mind.
by rifek on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 02:17:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rz:
In the immoral words

Heh

'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 12:00:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, why is ET so quiet on the ugly Dansk Folkeparti coming second in the Danish general election and thus dominating the right-wing "Blue bloc"? To keep appearances, it is said that Venstre (3rd party) will still form the government with DF parti. This is what happens after Venstre's Anders Fogh (Rasmussen) spent the better part of the last decade supporting itself on the DF to govern. Voters have decided it they're going to have an anti-immigrant government they might as well vote for the real thing. And still they get Venstre. What will they vote 4 years from now?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:20:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it is said that Venstre (3rd party) will still form the government with DF partisupport


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:43:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"By the way, why is ET so quiet ..."

My question is ... what happened to Jerome ( a Paris )? Is he OK? Is the wind industry so brisk that he's just too busy? And how is dear poemless?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:57:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a silence. But sometimes, from reading you all for years, I also always hear your voices in the silence. ET is special in that way.
by Upstate NY on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 12:12:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Coverage is almost non-existent. I saw Jake promise a diary on FB, so that might appear.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 12:45:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am very concerned by the way the international press continues to speak of the "eurosceptic" Danish People's Party and the "centre right" Blue Bloc. In the next election cycle when people wake to with ugly parties in power in half of Europe they will wonder what happened and not realise the centre right enabled them for over a decade.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:16:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Germany all the discussion of Europe in the media is now focused on how 'they' want 'our' money. Yet at the same time, everybody professes to be pro-EU. Their is a clear disconnect here.
by rz on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:31:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a small movement between the blocs (the blue has now 90 seats and the red 89, if we include the four from the colonies). So Danish People's Party mainly gained seats from the blue bloc, which probably tells them to even more rascist.

And to make matters worse, the Soc-dems ran with the rascist card, and considering they gained seats (it was their coalition partners that lost) they will probably interpret it as a success.

On the left Enhedslisten that was not in the government also gained, as did the new party Alternative, while the two junior government parties lost seats. But how to interpret this, I leave to Jake.

by fjallstrom on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 03:34:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
the centre right enabled them for over a decade.

Berlusconi and Forza Italia enable The Lega's Salvini exactly as you say.

'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 12:03:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
desperation? I mean what is left to say?
by IM on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:38:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[Warning: Being of Norwegian and Icelandic decent, I have a decided bias here, but tough.]

It may be that those who watch Denmark most closely have been waiting for this.  Denmark has always had a strong, ultra-right streak cutting across all classes, from the crown straight down to the lowest clam digger.  Right up through much of the 19th Century (and even in the 20th), the crown, aristocracy, and clergy had an unnerving ability to make Russia look enlightened.  Just because they eventually took a leaf from Bismarck's playbook to set up a social democracy doesn't mean that streak has gone away.

by rifek on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 02:33:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ahem, "...Norwegian and Icelandic descent...."
by rifek on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 02:35:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can see I really need to do that write-up on the Danish elections...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 04:06:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of all the great unions of states the EU has come closest to a worthy model for possible world government union, which should and will be a reality probably already this century if we survive  global warming, (maybe even because of, in spite of or in order to govern during this event of hitherto unimagined magnitude).

'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 Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:42:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is mostly that the ET to a considerable extent has been out-competed by social media like Facebook.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 07:25:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kids today
by IM on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:02:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 11:24:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ET chose to put the accent on community, rather than on content. If content were more of a site driver, I think things may have been different. The community emphasis was understandable, though led to some other dynamics which caused a few rows which someone mentioned, above. And you are absolutely correct, the community part of the web has shifted away from sites like this to Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

Content could have been an alternative driver. Lots of things happened in this regard, including some of the aforementioned rows. Welcoming content in the present EU context requires, in my opinion, a certain level of openness to alternative opinions. And accountability and transparency in editorial decisions. But very little content is being produced today; a media site with no content simply disappears from the media landscape.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 02:41:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But putting the accent on community actually failed because the community-minded people were the first to leave.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 05:34:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does that mean those still clinging to ET's splintery timbers are not 'community-minded'?

Virtual communities are virtual not only because of geography, but aspects like geography, personal wealth, enough freedom to travel, aversion to alcohol's dreary aftermaths, (not to mention chores and tasks such as visiting the sick and caring for animals in one's real community) also play a part.

What I like about blogging is its virtuality, FB is different because of its ease in keeping distant families connected and its ease in putting up a page for any idea or movement.

If the driver is to see ET grow then feeding the whole shebang onto its own FB page may do it.

My guess is ET is way too male, hyper-acidic and wonky for more than tiny cult consumption, and who would want it turning into zerohedge anyway?

Jerome doesn't need the bucks more clicks would bring.

When he bailed from his own site, not to mention readers like de Gondi stop having time to write, it always seemed to me that since ET is on borrowed time, a dead blog posting, but it refuses to totally fade away, winning daily prizes in my book for its constant redefining of 'laconic'.

Laconicism may be the only art powerful enough to save mankind from tripping over and onto its own psychological swords. So here's to disenchanted wit and the evil minds who produce the glittering e-trails it leaves in its e-wake.

Bloggers awake, ye have nothing to lose but your ingenuousness, the world is a grown-up place with little mercy for psychic children clinging to cherished illusions, refresh your weary cynic's soul with some finely calibrated 'dark snark' that's bound to elicit a few sniggers and snorts as jaded, wise magi effortlessly distill their observations on a society in terminal decline into t'art o'tart and tincture of wry.

Scorpions lining a toilet bowl anticipating the Big Flush, bravely alchemising shit into wit as the plumbing gurgles, burps and hiccups ominously behind the crumbling plaster covering the rotted foundations and earthquake-shivered walls.

Now would I ever put up something like that on FB? Where my family could see it?

No, ET's charm is that no matter what awful conclusions about life and society one may have regretfully acquiesced, there is a dedicated social subgroup whose mental processes leave one feeling delightfully dumb and whose collective ability to come to equal-or-worse 'conclusive' scenarios are dark years beyond one's own humble attempts to outguess the future in its Singular Gnarliness.

This is profoundly therapeutic, (for some probably deeply dysfunctional reason currently resisting analysis) so I continue to research by coming back here until one day I outgrow it, finally graduating the internet college of trolls, flamewarriors and genuine idealists and becoming my very own proud punned-it with a zillion twitterers following my every bleary zinging insight into the Human Condition, global servers shuddering under the strain.

Further refinement possibly necessary before this Everest of Win ;)


'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 01:05:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you escaped from the lyrical left section?

"Scorpions lining a toilet bowl anticipating the Big Flush, bravely alchemising shit into wit as the plumbing gurgles, burps and hiccups ominously behind the crumbling plaster covering the rotted foundations and earthquake-shivered walls."

The James Joyce of bloggers?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 05:23:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Manic phase... please ignore uncharacteristic outburst, 'tis the season surely, of equinoxious excess.

The fit is passed now... ;)

'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 08:38:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lyrical left Behind, certainly! Oirish blood way back in the mix, comes to the fore when the blarney begins begorrah

'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 Jun 25th, 2015 at 08:50:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scoop blogs were, from the start, community blogs in that all users could post "diaries", ie were bloggers. ET shared that characteristic with MyDD, DKos, etc. It was the hot thing in... 2004-5.

But it was never a decision here that I'm aware of, to put the accent on community. That aspect was baked into the cake. And there was always concern with the quality and interest of content.

What's clear today is that the blogs that have retained and even increased audience (against the competition of the major social networks) are specialist blogs run by one or a small number of likeminded experts. ET has always been generalist. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not what works in today's Internet.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 07:48:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and relevant. Thinking in America of eschatonblog or balloon-juice, for instance. Not scoop sites, but being a scoop site was never a requirement.

And there is nothing like that, as far as I know, around EU matters.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 08:56:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
being a scoop site was never a requirement

As far as ET is concerned, it was a given. BT and ET were DK spinoffs, using the same software. Which looked like the way to go in 2004-5.

I came here in the early days after reading Chris Bowers on MyDD explain how community blogging was transforming the American blogosphere, giving leftwing blogs the advantage over rightwing. Community was definitely, as I said above, baked into the ET cake. And even when a new software platform was discussed here (as it often was at one time) there was general agreement that a new platform should retain the user-blogging community aspect.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 01:25:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
However, I always had an idea that the site was really more geared to drive comments, much like the comments in a newspaper website, responding to content. Not so much geared to drive content, ie articles or diaries and whatnot.

The News of the Day feature, in my opinion, really pushes comments, not additional content or diaries, which might have come one by one in response to the news of the day but which, at least a couple of years ago, again in my opinion, discouraged rather than encouraged additional content. For, if one wrote about something which had already been commented on in the "News" section, one was sometimes reminded that this had already been covered in the "News" section.

End of day it probably didn't matter, but it is true that content has waned considerably, for various reasons, and of course not all of them due to a lack of a welcoming posture towards newcomers with unapproved views.  

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 10:29:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
fb seemed so convenient at the time. The easiest way to  keep in touch with my godson, who shares my phone aversion, and a few dailykos friends after our bannings. Almost entirely private messaging.

Then it started. Would you like to be friends? Well, why not?

Same old story. The printing press gave us tabloid mags. TV gave us Fox Noise and unreality shows. The net gives us channels of communication that preclude nuance or thought, but there's plenty of room for pics of cats and dogs.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 04:19:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have we been shy to link our ET discussions in Facebook?
by das monde on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 09:51:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have not been shy to post tweets. Twitter has a better interface for that than facebook.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 09:59:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In my eperience, political discussions are still much better here then on facebook. At least nobody here links fucking pictures.
by IM on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 11:59:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FB is mesmerizing but pithy. I've never seen any meaningful discussion there that doesn't bog down after a few swipes. It is also "Like" oriented which favours droolery over content. As well as being distractive by the sheer volume of posts. FB fosters intellectual laziness: there's really no overriding need or wish to invest any effort in thought there. One need only click up a link rather than actually write something, a sort of grand central sorting house.

Although I have not posted here in a long while, it's still my browser's initial page, the first thing I read for informed opinion.  

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 04:56:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Life goes on but as both peak oil and euro have been discredited, there is not much to add
by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 08:03:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the thing is, there is really no place to express ridicule of, say, the EU or the Euro.

The elites here, as well as the bien-pensants, haven't yet adopted the hypothesis of discreditation. It suffices to read the pages of Le Monde or listen to a Patrick Cohen interview or a Bernard Guetta intervention on France Inter to understand that the dominant class here, the one which controls the levers of the media as well as power, have not yet figured out that their pet project of Euro integration is essentially kaput.

And I am not aware of a place where contrary views can be made fun of.

Part of the charm of mydd, dk, and booman was that these were places where one could safely make fun of the elite project at the time of America: Empire, Fuck Yeah! Part one in Irak, and so forth.

This isn't today possible, as far as I know, in the EU, where the elite's pet project is Social Engineering via Austerity, Fuck Yeah!

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 09:04:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I think they have it figured out.  They just want to keep the masses distracted while they skim the last bits before it all goes down the drain. I know that's the strategy in the US.
by rifek on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 02:56:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As someone who has gone quiet...

[And I did post and comment a fair bit back in the day, even if you question the quality of my contribution... ;-)  ]

Recession bit hard in my life. I don't have the time I once had.
I also don't have the psychological resilience I once had for facing up to how broken mainstream economics and politics (including EU politics) are.

For me the reality is that we (whoever we are) are up against powerful interests. They have the "commanding heights" of media, money and power. I think we all might have hoped that community (and content) could be a starting point in turning the tide.

At some level I still believe that - but we didn't gain critical mass, we didn't find ways to support our work. And the "other side" got in on that internet thing too, with all their resources. And so now, if not back to square one, we're back to a reality, ET helped us find each other - and if we had no other priorities (of our daily lives) it could still be a great launching point into the world of social media etc. etc. But I think right now few of us have the time required...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 11:20:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Social sites, not FB so much, have certainly taken over from the Scoop model.

might I suggest that the contributions of the people here, which I have long enjoyed, would be a great addition to http://voat.co/v/europe

it uses the reddit template so each article is posted ala the Roundup here, but the discussion format allows for a bit more focus.  the site has a large userbase but is just beginning to really take off.  You could essentially determine the direction of Europe discussion on the site.

by paving on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 04:08:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to have a bit of a racist infestation right now, though.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 10:44:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It has become very quite here at the European Tribune. Why is that?

A large part of it is that I think we had this figured out years ago, and at every step along the way, the EU leadership has screwed it up.  There's not really much left to say.

Outside of ET, I gave up trying to convince people that this is a currency crisis rather than a debt crisis, and that Greeks are not the lazy idiots the press and politicians want people to think they are, long ago.

Greece is eventually going to drop the euro.  It will then go through a year or so of chaos.  Then it will finally begin to recover.  And then we can all go shout "Told ya so" at stupid people.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 07:15:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Greece is eventually going to drop the euro."

I don't think so..Thats has been the forecst on ET since almost four years now. butit never happened. I still don't think it will happen.

by IM on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:02:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The alternative is the EU (and Germany) accepting the reality that Greek loans are never, ever going to be repaid.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:05:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They'll have to accept quite a lot more than just eating past debts. In order to maintain the Euro, they would have to accept some form of transfer union in which countries which insist on running surpluses are forced to pay for the deficits of more responsible members. Otherwise we've just punted the problem down the road until Spain goes tits-up.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:14:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My modest proposal is to confiscate the current account surpluses. Any country with a current account surplus is required to transfer that amount to the European Union budget. Don't want to be a net contributor? run a current account deficit. Invest at home. Raise domestic wages. Do something useful with your money.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:35:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And tax intra-EU current account surpluses, distributing the receipts in proportion to population and GDP. If somewhere in the range of 20% is good for VAT, it ought to be good for international currency hoarders as well.

Of course, its the international currency hoarders that do the deciding as to what EU policy should be, and their attitude is "lets not tax you, and lets not tax me, lets tax that poor pensioner under that tree".

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 Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 07:50:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that the pensioner can't afford the tree. And even if they could, they'd only be allowed to rent the shade.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 08:05:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For the same of parallelism with LBJ's saying, I neglected to add, "and then lets make sure that when the park is privatized, they keep out the pensioners who clutter up this place, sitting under trees and playing chess and domino."

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 Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 09:18:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
they'd only be allowed to rent the shade.

At prices that would force them to go into debt which they still would never pay back. But that's ok because we can extend and pretend.

'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 Jun 25th, 2015 at 08:58:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And dog forbid they pocket a seed to plant somewhere else!

'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 Jun 25th, 2015 at 08:59:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, since the tree created in a Monsanto lab and Monsanto holds a patent on the genome.
by rifek on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 03:01:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But then Germany would have no further use for the EU!
by rifek on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 03:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ditto Eat-alia

'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 01:12:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why? You can treat the problem the EU way: kick the can down the road.

As long as Greece doesn't need to pay interest or principal or interest in the next 10 or 15 years, it doesn't matter what is still on the books.

And that is basically the method used by the last EFSF loans.

by IM on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:30:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the situation is not stable enough for that. Greece needs to start spending fairly large amounts of money quite soon, or there won't be ten-fifteen years of road to kick the can down.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 01:42:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not going to happen because there's no legal way to make it happen.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:30:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is unclear whether Syriza, or any Greek government, have the means to lead such a revolution. Perhaps a massive rupture is unavoidable.
It is clear the EU will not allow Syriza to try, let alone succeed.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:33:21 AM EST
Supporting Syriza in this would be tantamount to centre right Governments supporting Podemos et al in their own countries...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:57:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Syriza has no allies. Hollande and Renzi are social democrats who can at most be expected to show condescending sympathy for radical left parties like Syriza. But PASOK and To Potami are the allies of the Southern European left leaders. And Dijsselbloem is also Labour, but "Northern" so no love lost there.

I really don't know where (Presumably Varoufakis?) Paul Mason got this from, actually:

First, the working assumption of the Greek leadership - that Europe would drive a hard but fair bargain that allowed them to rebalance the economy without added austerity - was wrong. They told their voters they could soften austerity but stay in the Eurozone because key people in power had assured them that would happen: the US State Department, the Italian and French prime ministers, and the old Commission.

But there's a new Commission dominated by the right, and the Italians and the French ran into a block of countries in northern and eastern Europe who - reflecting the views of their own right wing voters - refused to budge.

The old Commission was also dominated by the right. It was in fact put in place to not be an obstacle to Germany - why else would Markel reward a dunce like Barroso with a second term?
The "good Euro" Yanis Varoufakis thought he could create has not, so far happened.
The "good Euro(pe)" was perhaps a core assumption here on ET when the site was founded, "if only we elect the right (presumably social-democratic?) leaders". The last 5 years have laid that idea to rest.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:13:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I already mentioned further above, the "no to austerity, yes to the euro" strategy has been proven to be unworkable.
by rz on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:27:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
perhaps the finance Ministers couldn't address, never mind resolve, the Greek crisis because at root it isn't a financial crisis, it is a political crisis which effects the whole European project
There is a financial and macroeconomic crisis, and Greece was used in 2010 as a conduit for a bailout of creditor country banks, with poisonous consequences.
If this all goes horribly wrong, we will have Greece spinning, out of control, into the Russian orbit run by a military Junta and with politicians such as Varoufakis in exile, jail, or worse
I'd like to see an outline of how that's supposed to happen, actually.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:35:37 AM EST
In principle of course it should not come to this. But lets say

Step 1: Default
Step 2: Syriza becomes even cosier with Putin
Step 3: Coup of some type.

but in general I actually also think it very unlikely that things will go out of control so badly.
 Yet, at the same time, I thought the same thing about the situation in Ukraine.

By the way: Great Twitter feed.

by rz on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:39:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way: Great Twitter feed.
That's one of the reasons for the reduced activity on ET. Nowadays the action is in the social networks. This blog is part of the family of sites descended from Daily Kos and harkening back to the original scoop, slashdot, and similar philosophies. Ten years ago community blogging was all there was. And ten years in online media is an eternity.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:44:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To which I would add:
Step 1 b.  Economic meltdown in Greece to a much greater degree than is already apparent and:

Step 1 c. Widespread public disorder - orchestrated by right wing and security elements

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:47:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's one outside scenario that the creditors are probably not considering likely or even possible.

  1. The deposit outflow from the Greek banks picks up pace on Monday
  2. The ECB extends extraordinary liquidity (ELA)
  3. At the extraordinary eurogroup on Monday, Varoufakis is threatened with an end to ELA unless greece capitulates on austerity and imposes capital controls like Cyprus did two years ago.

So far, everything is proceeding according to plan. Here's where Varoufakis takes a different turn.

4. Varoufakis tells the ECB if it believes the Greek banks are insolvent and the ELA should be stopped, then the SSM bank supervisory branch of the ECB should wind the banks down there and then. Banks which the SSM had been telling the world until last week were solvent and well-capitalised. We now have a European directive on bank recovery and resolution, after all. And if the national government in question cannot recapitalise the banks the ESM (formerly EFSF) is on the hook, too.

<popcorn>

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:02:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I could not have formulated it that way, but this would also be my impression. I do not know if this is what the Greek government is going to do.

 But it is what it should do.

by rz on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:13:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I fear this is like telling the police what is happening in a situation where it is the police that defines what is happening.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 03:36:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece will default and come closer to the United States.
by Upstate NY on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 12:13:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Via a CIA inspired military coup no doubt...

After the EU's excellent little adventure in Ukraine, no doubt the Eurocrats will overplay their hand again and drive the Greeks into somebody elses arms.  Whether it's the US or Russia is still up for grabs to the highest bidder.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:14:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too many Chile parallels for comfort.

And Greeks have a healthy anti-Americanism from their 1940s civil was experience.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:17:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And yet, even so, the Greeks always go back to the Americans. There is a huge revaunchist strain in Greece that is only now being doubted for the first time, but it is still strong.

The big achievement vis-a-vis Greece in the last 10 years is that the EU succeeded in moving Greece away from its role as American trojan horse inside EU structures, not to mention Greece's move away from the American military industrial complex. Greece used to purchase 95% of military weaponry from the USA in the 1990s. Now the EU is on par with the USA at 40%, with the rest of the 20% consisting of Russian Anti-Ballistic missiles and Israeli weaponry.

by Upstate NY on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:36:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And of course  the Troika have been insisting on massive cutbacks in all military expenditure?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:46:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Upstate NY:
EU succeeded in moving Greece away from its role as American trojan horse inside EU structures

The UK does a better job...

'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 01:16:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They certainly should have.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:47:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 1940s were mainly a British treachery. Winston churchill. It wasn't until the 1960s Junta that the USA and the Greeks had a falling out.
by Upstate NY on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:58:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's honestly rather naive to think Churchill's (disgusting) stance was not approved by the US.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 03:25:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Approved but in what way executed? I mean, there were British soldiers firing down on women and children from the rooftops.  Given that Americans had no idea what was going on on the ground, it was really a British treachery. The Brits knew all the players--the Americans did not. So even if the Americans had said, the Greeks must not go Russian, only the British could decide what that meant. Inside of Greece, it's considered a British perfidy that Churchill interpreted such directives as a need to snuff out the ordinary partisans of the left.
by Upstate NY on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 05:55:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed, the Brits were the executants. And Churchill, personally venomous re Greek partisans, held out for representing the West™ in the anti-Communist battle. But the US was concurrently handling other battlefields against the red enemy in non-Red Army Europe: Italy's democracy was permanently weakened by US presence prolonged by Gladio, for example. Afaik there was no disagreement in the US/GB bloc over the "handling" of Greece during and after the war. It was all part of the same anti-Communist fight.

Britain covered itself with lasting shame for that "handling". But, if I were Greek, I wouldn't harbour any illusions about the US.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 01:20:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I agree. I dont think Greeks harbor illusions anyway. Certainly not after the Junta and Cyprus. But the connection with the USA cannot be overlooked. While the connection was extremely strong between 1948 and 1974, it took a big hit with Papandreou in the late 1970s. But I'd still argue that Greece was an American puppet state for close to 3 decades. And there are very strong elements that had it veering that way until around 2000. It wasn't the Balkan Wars either since for all of Greece's support of Serbia, it was Greece that allowed the critical support of NATO through Salonika. The dents have come from EU encroachment and the Macedonian issue, coupled again with Cyprus.

Post Civil War, almost all Greek ministers and leaders were "tutored" and educated at a certain facility in the state of Virginia. Greece sent small numbers to the Korean War (boggles the mind, after WW2, Civil War, that Greece would send any) in the amount of over 2,000+ soldiers. But this was the 5th largest number from any country worldwide. This was a purely American plan.

by Upstate NY on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 10:31:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you talking about 1944?  Because after the war the US was fully aware of what was going on.  Just because Truman had no clue (beyond "The Commies are coming!  The Commies are coming!") doesn't mean the folks who were actually making the policies didn't.
by rifek on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 05:03:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't need to invoke Chile.  We've done it in Greece.
by rifek on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 04:04:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the CIA any good at coups these days? Think of Venezuela in 2002.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:31:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots of Army  officers visiting their US counterparts through the NATO buddy system...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:45:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The financial and macro-economic crises are a consequence of the underlying political, social and economic crises in Greece made much worse, as you suggest, by putting European taxpayers on the hook for what were then potentially huge banking losses.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:01:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the financial and macroeconomic crisis precedes the Greek crisis, which itself was made worse as Greece was made a scapegoat by the desire (but by 2010 political inability) to put European taxpayers on the hook for banks.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:06:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am referring to the Greek rather than the global economic crisis which is a result of decades of misrule, corruption, fraud, under-investment and under-development - all brought to a head by the Global financial crisis...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:40:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Greek crisis was unleashed by the knock-on effects of the global crisis, and provided Germany with the needed scapegoat to further its agenda of permanent austerity.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:41:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany, its northern Euro-pals, and (look at Osborne) all conservative authoritarian economic liberals. And, behind the pols, the financial sector that just wasn't going to take the hit for the crisis it caused.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 03:32:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was still Labour in Britain at the time.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 06:18:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes Atlee is responsible too! (in 1944 and een more the civil war).

Wasn't the election in Britain in may 2010?

And Merkel waited until the election in Northrhine-Westphalia also in may - so de facto it was the tory-liberal coalition.

by IM on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 06:34:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... that the English Labour Party could be "conservative authoritarian economic liberals" too?

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 Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 12:01:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tony Blair and Bill Clinton: politically and economically two peas in a pod.
by rifek on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 05:07:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is part of what my question was aimed at confirming, since allowing the Democrats to be a conservative authoritarian neoliberal party too was the preferred strategy of the Democratic Leadership Council, with the ultimate aim to open up the wallets of corporate interests who were disinterested in funding the Democratic wing of the Democratic party until it was neutered into a vote gathering operation for a Corporate wing.

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 Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 10:49:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By "look at Osborne" I mean his current insistence on reinforced fiscal austerity. Which is not Euro-enforced.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 01:23:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Monetary Union cannot be pursued in isolation from fiscal Union

This is what I never understood about the EU from day one. It appears now that the reason I couldn't get it is that no one does.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 10:09:28 AM EST
In the neoliberal economic theory, it is assumed at the outset that the economy left to its own devices will gravitate to a full-employment general equilibrium (that is, full employment in the sense of everyone ready, willing and able to work at a "competitive" wage being able to find work).

Now, how can such a preposterous assumption can be in the   foundations of the economic theory that all of the Truly Serious People(TM) work with? Because it is an economic framework in which many things that are necessarily done by some government are logically unnecessary or else simple assumed to be available ... which is the basis for allowing those to be not provided by public, democratically-elected governments, whenever it is in the interests of private, capital-elected corporate government to provide them.

So the mainstream neoliberal economist plays a similar role to many churchmen in the Middle Ages, chanting mumbo jumbo that few people understand, and proclaiming an ideology in which rulers ruled by God Given Right and ordinary people would receive their reward in some mystical future ... whether that be Paradise or the Neoliberal Long Run.

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 Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 11:33:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I've been told of recent meetings of high earners on Wall Street, you don't even need mumbo jumbo. The myth of free markets needs only a couple slogans to find root. A family member sat in on a panel of economists (of a right-bent) warning of huge piles of corporate debt and the problem of mutual funds (a problem coming down the road, apparently); the economists were talking to room full of executives and sales people at one of the biggest houses/banks. The push back the economists received was appalling. The execs got their 30-second blips and marching orders from Fox News and CNBC. The right wing economists were pushing for a need for regulation.

These people are incorrigible and just plain dumb. You don't even need to talk ideology or philosophy with them.

by Upstate NY on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 10:40:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
As it happens, Edmund Burke would have found the plans presented to the Eurogroup last night by finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to be rational, reasonable, fair, and proportionate.
The fact that he has to link to Varoufakis' blog rather than to a mainstream paper tells you all you need to know of the state of today's press.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:21:49 PM EST
Things have come to a sorry pass when we have to look to the Telegraph for a sane analysis of the Greek crisis.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:42:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I sometimes wonder if Evans-Pritchard reflects on how his thoughts on the EU might apply to the Tories.
by rz on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:51:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:54:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That said: I like his stuff on Europe. At some point I stopped judging people because they write for the Telegraph. It is the actual content which matters.
by rz on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 02:56:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
E-P has been one of the heroes here for quite a long time. Yet dog knows we don't generally like the Telegraph.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 03:27:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet dog knows we don't generally like the Telegraph

Is that the dog that didn't bark? :-)

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 04:38:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we are all atheists around here right? so please lets not use the g-word here.
by rz on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 04:46:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is that a new rule?

god help us.

by IM on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 06:05:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No we're not all god-damned atheists. I still believe in the Hand of Maradona, or whatever the Supreme Schiedsrichter deciders.

What i don't believe, can't wrap my head around, is the anti-civilization politics of the EU leaders. Of course, Yurpeen politics is still a notch better than the weaponized mass psychosis which is the US.

Crash Davis, catcher for the minor league Durham Bulls, says it best...



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 06:11:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU stooges leaders are all working for the enemy, ie the international financiers and opinion-makers who all met at the Bilderberg meeting in Austria, with the usual anti-democratic press blackout atmosphere so special to this crowd.

They shuffle leaders around like chess pieces at their convenience and tell us TINA.

Europa, a myth to begin with, a brave effort to immunise a chronically belligerent, rapacious continent from a further 2000 years of eternal bloodletting.

Brazil managed 500 years with 10 geographical neighbours and one war (with Paraguay), right?

Germany is germanising Europe instead of vice-versa.

National egoism has not diminished, it is increasing, though things are far better than they were in 1951 when the concept of Europe united was born.

My fear is, similarly to nuclear power, the idea might look good on paper but requires clarity of mind not reliable in our troubled species.

Hubris on the other hand is in generous supply...

The immigration issue makes Greece look like a sideshow in some ways.

After centuries of raping and pillaging Africa and the Middle East, chickens are coming to roost here. This as much as the heartless attitude to Greece is starting to define the new Europe under present mismanagement.

Further speeding the imminent downfall of the economic system as we know it today.

Probably the major glue holding this Zeppelin together is fear that what followed might be worse. If Greece proves otherwise then that boogeyman loses its power.

'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 Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 09:08:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... often given substance by people modifying their behavior to conform to some affinity or loyalty to the the thing that the myth says that the nation is ...

... then how much more Europa, which in geographic terms is just a part of West Asia characterized by a lot of peninsulas, and is historical terms are those peoples with some strong cultural legacies from classical Mediterranean civilization who don't happen to be incorporated into Dar Islam (and in some cases, that was because they were incorporated into Dar Islam but then pulled out again).


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 Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 11:59:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are several forces that will ensure Greece does not prove otherwise.
by rifek on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 05:31:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...are a notch better than American?

I am not so sure anymore. Living here is better than living there, to be sure, though our elites are doing their best to mke that less and less true.

But our politics superior to American? I can't say that with a straight face anymore.

Lack of alternance? Check. Social democrat/christian democrat divide is similar to Democrat/Republican "divide" 20 years ago (characterised by a humourous bumpersticker from back then "Gore or Dubya? I think I'm gonna Ralph," and which still largely holds.

Politicos capture by the elite and increasingly out of touch with real life? Check. I keep remembering when Bush the Earlier was mocked when, on a campaign stop at a supermarket, he was visibly impressed by the barcode scanning equipment ubiquitous to those of us who don't have servants do our shopping.  I remember this often, like when the PS Culture Ministry official makes excuses about a 50K€ bill for taxis on top of the official having also a driver, or back when I worked in travel and saw that by far the highest average hotel bill in Europe, ranked by major cities, was not major trade and finance centers like London or Paris or Frankfort. No, the highest average hotel night stay, in €, is Brussels.

Moronic politics around things like climate denial? Check. Refer also to elite capture, as a man will say anything if his paycheck depends on it (see Tories as well as many politicians in various Eastern members of the EU).

Nope, the US has its faults, but at least it can be proud of still moving forward, as with Obamacare. Everywhere we look, in the EU, forces of regression have the upper hand and are pressing their advantage...

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 03:10:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am highly confident that living anywhere in America is better than living in half of Europe, if not more.

But it's also true that living in half of Europe is better than living in all but a very small slice of America (i.e. Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York).

In the USA, it is very noticeable when our liberals point to the greatness of Germany or the Scandanavian countries as models, but of course, the rest of the struggling countries must not be mentioned.

by Upstate NY on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 10:44:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find US liberals' love of Germany insane given what Germany has done and is doing to Europe.  Gimme Obama over Merkel any damned day.  That love seems to be based largely on some vague notion of Germany having strong unions and liberals' strange affinity for lousy German cars.

Personally, I'd take my little liberal oasis town here in Northfloridistan over anywhere in Connecticut.  And, unless it's Boston or NYC, you can have Mass and New York.  Although I'd obviously prefer their politics at the state level.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 07:55:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would take living on a Greek Island over living anywhere as well, but I was trying to expand boundaries into functional units. Can't fit 11 million Greeks onto an Island. As for Florida, we boycott it.
by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 10:32:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I find US liberals' love of Germany insane given what Germany has done and is doing to Europe"

US conservaties löove Germany too. Balanced budgets, you know.

But I think there is nothing to see here: turning a foregn country into a morality tale goes back to Tacitus. At least.

by IM on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 11:48:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After nearly 14 years away, i'm certainly not one to know what "US liberals" think, or whether there's any "love of Germany." I find most americans have little clue about Yurp.

But they do look to Germany (and Scandinavia) for underlying policies on energy and the environment. Which seems fair to me. Jerry Brown's going a long way to make California a sunny version of Germany, though it could use some of Germany's rainclouds.

Of course, US liberals love of Germany's energy policies was before the GroKo (Grosse Koalition) took a hatchet to renewables. (and Yurp demanded renewables enter the crooked free market for electricity.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 01:10:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know this area, Tallahassee to Marianna. It doesn't take much to feel like a pillar of enlightenment there.
by mminch on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 08:20:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whaddayousayin' 'bout my friend Drew!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 08:26:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to distract from your great diary or disparage your friend, but there are certain pockets of conservative er.. thinking, in which even Obama's policies seem enlightened. Conservatism there is not a way of thinking or reasoning, it is a Belief.
by mminch on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 09:03:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I appreciate that.  Your original comment could have been misread to conclude that Drew is only to be considered enlightened relative to his surroundings!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 12:11:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Uh, I'm guessing you're confusing Marianna with Tallahassee, which are an hour apart and politically night and night.  Marianna is not Tallahassee, bud.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 01:03:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK liberals might want to come to Europe to tell us why our system is worth saving. We have a lot of conservative influence to "reform" in the direction of dismantling that which liberals think is better about Europe.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 08:31:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US Liberals?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 09:03:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, brainfart.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 09:07:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"We have a lot of conservative influence to "reform" in the direction of dismantling that which liberals think is better about Europe."

We do, and I lament that - yet not all has been destroyed yet. I am not ready to give up on what is left.
Should we look at the environmental footprints across the Atlantic? I know it is far too big in Europe, but, really?
I don't see that European black males are expected to live 20 years less than their white counterparts.
I don't see that -however I abhor them- European right-wing parties have got to the point where in order to have a role in them you need to deny climate change, deny that guns are a hazard, nor even swear that tax cuts for the rich increase total taxes collected (I am not saying that no one is making that claim - but not all are).

And Syriza may yet bring some much-needed to change to what we believe possible.

So despite my despair, I don't think we are on a par just yet.


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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 10:02:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I absolutely agree.  Most posters here can't grasp the lunacy that is US politics.  When the same-sex marriage decision came down yesterday, conservatives immediately started challenging the Supreme Court's authority to rule on the issue, even though that was settled over 200 years ago.  As I've posted elsewhere on ET, the far right positions Hungary is taking now have been the mainstream policies in the US for decades.
by rifek on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 06:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have been directly exposed to the lunacy of US right-wingers (and the inadequacy of the 'other side') for years, 'debating' the idiots first in science and atheism forums and then in political ones at the time of the Iraq War. You'll note that throughout in the Hungary diary, I am contrasting with Western Europeans (aiming for the majority of my readership). The U.S. immigration quotas, the insane defences at the Mexican border and the (up to fatal) police violence against 'illegal' immigrants, the election rhetoric from one mainstream party (and the silence to support from local representatives of the other), the hypocrisy regarding the role of 'illegals' in especially the agricultural industry: Europe has parallels to each of that, but not (yet) on that level and not (yet) that across-the-board. But that's the direction the Fortress Europe mentality is taking us towards.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 28th, 2015 at 05:55:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The USA is going through the classic stages of post imperial decline - overweening arrogance, living in their own self-regarding bubble, ignorance of everything outside that bubble, and a tendency to over-react at the slightest provocation with a military "solution". What's Europe's excuse? Our empires died a long time ago.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 28th, 2015 at 10:15:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not that long ago. The British didn't close their last death camps (that we know about) until sometime in the 1960s. Lots of people in their 50s in France and Britain today grew up in the colonies.

And of course Germany got its empire back in 1993, and it's clearly gone to their head.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 28th, 2015 at 10:58:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what was our excuse when we were still on the rise?  Simple immaturity and callowness?
by rifek on Sun Jun 28th, 2015 at 01:09:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Conformity to the historical human baseline.

Quite a lot of major advances in the human condition - things like religious tolerance, the modern notion of sovereignty, the moral opprobrium attached to genocide, and others too numerous to list - have happened because there was a sufficiently big war that the big men looked at each other and went "okay, the stakes were a bit too high on that last roll of the dice. It's all fun and games when it's just the peasants getting murdered, but this is getting out of hand. Let's all agree to tone it down a bit from here on."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 28th, 2015 at 01:20:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You had FDR and even Eisenhauer was better than current Republicans. The sad fact is that culturally and politically, the USA has been in decline since the 1960s.  I blame Vietnam, racism, followed by Iraq, citizens United and the worship of money above all else, but we all have our own demonology...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 28th, 2015 at 01:20:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reagan was a progressive in comparison to this crop.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Sun Jun 28th, 2015 at 03:34:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes but he turned the tide. Carter was still a human being for all his faults.  From Reagan onwards with was big business which was in charge - regardless of whether it was Republicans or Democrats in power - it was just different sectors of big business who were in control (Big Oil vs. Wall street etc.)

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 28th, 2015 at 06:20:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the Big Oil companies switching to the Republicans when the West Texas oil quotas went away and their quarter by quarter stake in full employment went away has far more to do with it than those who put politics down to which side "ran the best campaign" seem to ever contemplate.

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 Jul 1st, 2015 at 08:53:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What i don't believe, can't wrap my head around, is the anti-civilization politics of the EU leaders. Of course, Yurpeen politics is still a notch better than the weaponized mass psychosis which is the US.
This might be that time of the civilization cycle, brief but intense period of social-political catabolism (i.e., destructive "metabolism"), speedy simplification of peak civilization, an Armageddon show with Final Judgement "natural" selection for sustainable inheritance of the land. The interesting times, as the Chinese say.

In other words, the EU/US governments are not really able (or at the very least, willing) to provide the latest civilized living standards to everyone, even within their own territory. The whole EU project (as we know it) might tangibly exist for the very reason of perceived necessity for inevitable catabolic scale down (as happening about now). A Greek default/Grexit is probably a long anticipated event - with all its "contagious" effects to the whole Europe.

The core reason for Greece not to default is to remain a member of the civilized world, with all its material, electronic and trade benefits. Ironically, there might be not much civilized benefits awaiting Greece (and the whole Europe, especially the periphery) anyway. On the other hand, a default makes Greece a pariah, a hated companion of Russia, Iran (whether Syriza will cozy up to Putin or not). A classic scenario perhaps: the uber-civilized have to "stand up" to indebted or resource rich dummies...

by das monde on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 07:52:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would seem that if Greece was looking for a patron who would be in a position to provide them with that an improved living standard than the EU is prepared to allow them to have, then the only feasible patron for that would be China.

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 Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 08:59:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indebtness to IMF and other Western masters led most (geographically or in social stratification) of Africa, Latin America, South Eastern Asia to the massive poverty that they have now. Greece can have similar expectations in a few years.

There is a non-neglible possibility that the Russian standard is the best that Greece can have in the middle term. But how can you talk that politically?

by das monde on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 09:48:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if Greece turns into an outpost of the Sino-corporate Empire Merkel will go down politically as well as historically.
She may well be too situationally unaware, too blackmailed or bought-off to be able to do otherwise though.

And she is the most powerful European leader by a factor of 5...!

'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 01:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 05:11:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would be a lapsed Unitarian if it was possible to lapse from Unitarianism ... which is perhaps best expressed by saying that at one time I was an agnostic, but now I am not so sure.

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 Sat Jun 20th, 2015 at 11:52:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Recovering catholic here. 30 years sober but in recovery we take it one day at a time.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 01:46:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of when ET was a strong place for sharing viewpoints one didn't often see in the main press organs of Europe's various capitals. Today on Greece, before that on the financial crisis, or many debates around stimulus back in 2008, a year at least before the politicians and their chiens de garde in the press starting talking that way. Or Tony Blair for President, or the wisdom of EU enlargement, or...you name it, we were on it back then, and this was a good place for a refreshing take on EU issues.

Thanks for the reminder!

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 02:28:59 AM EST
Thanks.  Unfortunately health issues have prevented a more active participation on my part, and I don't consider myself an expert on Greece.  But at least now and again we can still provoke a lively discussion which includes many levels of expertise and points of view to generate a discussion where the whole experience is greater than the sum of the parts. We can't expect to be taken seriously as a European focused blog if we don't have ongoing discussion of the Greek issue.

I found your discussion above of ET focusing on community rather than content interesting. My take was always the reverse - that ET focused too much on ensuring that everyone had the correct ideological view, and that many nascent or potential relationships were broken in consequence. Not a few members found participation in ET discussions quite a bruising experience and subsequently left.

Certainly a disillusion with the European project has been a major factor behind our failure to take off as a major forum. Personally I haven't found social media to be a direct competitor - Facebook performs a different function for me and I have never really gotten into Twitter. But virtually none of my family and friends follow my facebook links to do more than read a blog I have written on ET - and even they complain I use too many big words.

Perhaps we have fallen between two stools - not really an authoritative expert blog like say, Krugman, but not a very accessible  one either for those with just a basic knowledge of (say) economics. Perhaps we needed more "hobbyists" like Dodo on trains and Helen on Beer to attract a wider audience. I can't really do poetry, art, cinematography or music analysis, but they always seemed to be a major missing to me.

Perhaps the ideological capture of popular thought by neo-liberalsm is so complete that most people simply can't understand alternative analyses.  There doesn't seem to be much of a counter culture alive and kicking these days, but perhaps I am too out of touch. In any case I see the need for a more vibrant ET to be as important as ever, and am only sorry I'm not in a position to contribute more.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 03:33:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps we have fallen between two stools - not really an authoritative expert blog like say, Krugman, but not a very accessible  one either for those with just a basic knowledge of (say) economics.

Your comment drives me to respond. I consider myself an "outsider" here. I know so little of euro politics on the ground. I just read, and occasionally visit. And economics? It isn't greek to me - I can read greek - it is Klingon. I feel ignorant and autistic when people talk economics. But that is precisely the appeal of ET. It is a way in; it provides pointers, ideas for further reading, for those of us not so literate in the subject. So it's a place to learn.

There are a million places to go to get my pre existing opinions reinforced. Such "communities" hold little appeal.

Me I get worked up about soil biodiversity. And nobody cares about that. Except the pope.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 04:57:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Atheists and Jews who love the Pope!



Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 05:30:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For me the appeal of blogging has always been the learning environment it provides.  I am less interested in the lead piece, than in the discussion it provokes - because that is where you learn. I have never blogged about my work, because where's the fun in blogging about something you already know pretty intimately?

Sometimes I barely know enough about a topic to write a reasonably coherent lead piece, but those are also the blogs that teach you the most about a topic.  You have to leave your ego at the door, because sometimes someone will point out a rather basic flaw in your analysis, and that can be embarrassing, particularly when you blog under your full real name.

I'm pretty sure some here will disagree with some of the things I have said about Greece in this blog - but most have been too polite to point this out. Some here know a lot more about the situation there than I do but for whatever reason have chosen not to write their own lead pieces.  At least a blog like this can get the conversation going.  Agreement is not mandatory, and your contributions here are much appreciated.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 06:06:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
melvin:
Me I get worked up about soil biodiversity. And nobody cares about that. Except the pope.

And me.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 01:02:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 05:28:44 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 Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 01:43:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps the ideological capture of popular thought by neo-liberalsm is so complete that most people simply can't understand alternative analyses.
Conversely, I am afraid that after 10 years - though this was already apparent 5 years ago - we have developed a group discourse so far removed from the conventional wisdom (at least on economics) that it may be difficult for outsiders to even understand what we're talking about when we talk about economics. But we don't get overly technical, and we quote liberally from specialists sites such as Naked Capitalism and New Economic Perspectives...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 04:09:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I seem to recall a discussion we were both part of at least 5 years ago on this problem. I was reminded of it recently in discussions with my parents in the run up to the UK election.

I think this is part of what I was obliquely referring to regards a lack of time etc.

We've had years of diaries where various foundational theories, concepts and beliefs inside economics have been stress tested. (Your own Socratic series being a good example.) It's only from that base that you can understand some ET discussions about "why policy X is likely to fail" and "policies that might work better."

I'm sure we've all had the urge at time to try and codify some of that background into something we could get others to read. But it's a lot of work to write something like that.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 05:39:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And for each individual argument, others have already done it better elsewhere.

What we have that they don't is the synthesis of a lot of different ideas. But getting that across takes a whole book. Which nobody would read anyway.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 07:40:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we may well be saying the same thing, just in a different way. When I am referring to an emphasis on community, what I mean is more an emphasis on community standards . Fall afoul of them, and one was sometimes made to feel as though one definitely did not belong. In the end, this is not good for attracting a wider audience, nor is it necessarily good for attracting content (but there were always going to be issues in the latter case given the set-up of the site...)

So I think we do agree on this point, though I may not have expressed, at least initially, quite as forthrightly as you do.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 10:23:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fall afoul of community standards and you'll be made feel you don't belong? That's just outrageous. What sort of people would do a thing like that? Imagine.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 10:31:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
what I mean is more an emphasis on community standards .

But when you loosen them you get the Wild West barroom of dkos. Some days that's fun, but ET is an island of serene sanity compared.

'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 01:48:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found your discussion above of ET focusing on community rather than content interesting. My take was always the reverse - that ET focused too much on ensuring that everyone had the correct ideological view, and that many nascent or potential relationships were broken in consequence. Not a few members found participation in ET discussions quite a bruising experience and subsequently left.

Is that really the case? I've been a resident right-winger at the ET for a long time, and nowadays I even consider myself to be a conservative. Yet I've always felt welcome, and also felt that at the ET, substance is valued over posturing. But who knows, perhaps people have been sniping at me all the time, and I've just been to dense to notice it? ;)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 11:35:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think if you're coming in really late it's probably hard to get a handle on past discussions and to get into the cultural context.

Also, if you insist on being Serious you're not going to have a good time.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 11:42:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Late? But I've been at the ET since 2006... Even if I haven't written any diaries for almost four years.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 11:53:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I don't mean you, I mean people coming in in last couple years.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 11:59:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well many did leave, and some voiced their reasons privately to me.  But perhaps you have the intellect, self-confidence and maturity to hold your own even where majority opinion goes against you. I think ET has matured considerably in recent years, but did we always suffer fools gladly, or at all?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 11:44:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We've had our share of fools, and good riddance. But some people who left were not fools.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:39:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But you're not a religious conservative.

Plus, you're a Swedish conservative. Paraphrasing a political cartoon from Politiken.dk in the late 1990s, all Scandinavian political parties are "Social Democrats who..."

So you're a Social Democrat who think he's a conservative. At least that's more honest that most Social Democrats.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:32:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" At least that's more honest that most Social Democrats. "

Now I remebember why discusisons here can be so annoying.

by IM on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:34:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's Spain's Social-Democrat in chief, yesterday, playing the centralist nationalism card to celebrate that he managed to run unopposed in the party primary for the general election.A Social Democrat who doesn't know he's a conservative.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:38:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But centralism/federalism isn't something you can find on social democratic - neoliberal axis.

But then I am prejudiced: I don't get separatism in spain.

by IM on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:45:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The PSOE is supposed to be the Federalist party. But huge flags, I mean...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:52:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yes, this background... And what did he say? "The baner of spain is the banner of the PSOE - [should be] the banner of everybody?"
by IM on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:55:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or there is the SPD which yet again failed to rebel and approved the new data retention law.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 05:39:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh please.
by IM on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 10:56:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
124 against 88.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 03:35:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As if I don't know. This gets boring.
by IM on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 04:11:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, the SPD's constant retreat gets boring.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 05:15:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IM:
Now I remember why discussions here can be so annoying.

Grumpy works really well around here! All flavours welcome! :)

ET is Kult Komedy, Kutting the Krap out of BS MSM

'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 01:54:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, little Ms. Sunshine.

I am probably more optimistic then the rest or ET put together.  

by IM on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 06:40:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I beg to differ.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 08:53:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am probably more optimistic then the rest or ET put together.

'Probably' you can be a grumpy optimist. Happens frequently. It helps having others to read one's vents. As Helen so memorably said once, (I paraphrase): we're here because we don't want to throw bricks through our TVs.

A good grump adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi to a thread, piquant as marmite on a slice of buttered toast, wouldn't be here if I weren't a fan, dosage is everything!  

'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 08:31:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keep taking the Marmite!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 08:46:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Conservatism is about many other things than religion, just like liberalism or socialism isn't about atheism. There are many different kinds of conservatism, and we too often let our view of what words actually mean emanate from the American context.

An American liberal would probably be called a social democrat in Europe, a European liberal might be a neo-liberal (or a conservative!) in the US, and so on.

It doesn't help that most politically minded people associate the content of ideologies with the policies of the current banner-bearers of said ideologies. E.g., is nuclear power liberal? Is it conservative, socialist? Neither...

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

by Starvid on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:41:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It isn't green. The fact that everybody was a big fan of the peaceful uses of nuclear power birthed the greens.
by IM on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:43:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed. Nuclear power is pretty much the anti-Green, ideologically speaking. Or rather, a lot of Green ideology is about anti-nuclearism.

This is quite fascinating, as there are many connections between conservatism and Green ideology. The first national parks were created by conservative governments, the stewardship view of nature, the precautionary principle, a suspicion against the innate goodness of "progress", technical, commercial or societal, and so on.

There are of course also huge differences between Green and conservative ideology as well.

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

by Starvid on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:55:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
a suspicion against the innate goodness of "progress"

Which traps people in 50's tech like nuclear?

This is the weak link here, no-one buys into nuclear power being in any way, shape or form 'green' except a handful of True Believers and power-drunk Utility companies with nightmares of source-distributed energy (unfortunately with their claws in various EU governments at very high levels).

I think the discussed love of American liberals for Germany hinges largely on Merkel's gesture after Fucked-up-shame-a, though it was largely a fake-out.

Still the numbers speak for themselves, Germany's advocacy of solar power these last 16 years has paved the way for others to follow. If a country as hard-nosed, (with risible amounts of full sunshine to boot) is doing it, it can be done, period.

Grid issues left over from 50's tech is slowing down intelligent power rollout for decades. :(

Battery research a la Tesla/Panasonic is/will be the workaround. :)

The grid will go the way of telephone landlines and the horse-drawn buggy, or be revolutionised top to bottom to include fibre-optic.

'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 02:16:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a suspicion against the innate goodness of "progress"
Which traps people in 50's tech like nuclear?
Of course, if you're born after WWII, nuclear is not "progress".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 05:09:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
true. but the great debates about nuclear power started in the seventies. So it was the future then. or uptil then.
by IM on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 06:47:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The grid will go the way of telephone landlines and the horse-drawn buggy

I have been in the habit of ignoring such ideas as fantasy... but I have had a visit from a nephew who designs electrical distribution systems and markets, and he says it's starting to happen on his turf... we're talking big industrial consumers, not hippies. Also residential districts.

This is going to create both operational and philosophical problems, because it may become prohibitively expensive to maintain a grid when all the people who can profitably secede have done so.

 This would be worth a diary...

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

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 05:56:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The entire idea of Progress, ever forwards, ever upwards, really reached a climax with nuclear power. It is linked to a belief of centralism, economies of scale, techno-optimism, industrialism, the modern rational impersonal society, and so on.

Green ideology is too a great extent a reaction against these things, or perhaps rather, green ideology managed to capture these strong reactionary  feelings in society.

A good example of this kind of green-conservative thought can be found in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, or more specifically, in the Hobbits of the Shire.

So, how come mainstream conservatism couldn't assemble these reactionary under-currents, but lost them to the emerging Green movements? I'd say it is mostly because conservatism had been influenced by the strong progressivist thinking in market liberalism and socialism. And that's not very strange, given the great success of industrialism, technological progress, reason, economic growth, consumerism and the entire mass society.

It was pretty hard to sit on some estate as a wealthy scholar-warrior-philosopher, and telling the great unwashed masses that they'd better go back to nature. Or if you were that kind of conservative, no one listened to you, and with good reason.

Still, perhaps it would have been better if mainstream conservatism had maintained some of its previous skepticism against progress.

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

by Starvid on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 03:31:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
I'd say it is mostly because conservatism had been influenced by the strong progressivist thinking in market liberalism and socialism.

Progressivist?

Your sentence packs a lot of possible meanings.

I think most conservatives would have warned against giving so much power to finance through cheap easy debt. Living within one's means may be conservative, but it's also common sense. Eco-folk would agree economically, but far more importantly ecologically.

This is why Occupy and the Teabaggers are actually reading different sides of the same page.

Conservatism married high finance (as well as Christian fundamentalism) in reaction to the 60's anarchic explosions, the worldwide reaction to the Vietnam war and the socio-cultural upheaval borne by the babyboomers reaching puberty on the uplift of still expanding first world economies.

The numbers of educated young people protesting with the unions were potentially revolutionary in a political sense so all the elite world-wide joined ranks to resist rapid change, and when possible divert it into harmless hipsterism and fashionista consumerism.

Thanks to advertising dumbing down sentient beings into blobs of greedy Pavlovian protoplasm, their mission to regress peoples' intellectual growth back to a 50's mentality has been hugely successful, it's enough to see whom the republicans in America are touting as the Next Big Thing to realise just how wildly willful their efforts have been.

Collective lobotomy complete with firepower, Hedge fund Jesus with nukes!

In Yurp conservatism is mostly about keeping fat cats fed, plus some blather about 'county' values and grouse moors for show. Thanks to decades of state laicism the pull of religious crazy here is tiny compared to the good ole USA, thank the FSM. Who knows what conservatism means in present-day China, Hong Kong or Taiwan? All these old paradigm supposedly horizontal binaries like right-left, conservative-progressive are going the way of the Dodo, what's left are those who believe in manmade climate change and who are well paid not to, or that hoariest of vertical dualities: rich-poor.

Politics for the poor doesn't pay. :(


'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 08:20:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In this context, I use the word Progessivist not as a description of progressive left-wing politics, but as a description of the thoughts associated with Progress. Upwards and forwards, bigger, faster, richer... these are thoughts which are prevalent within market liberalism and old-style socialism. Not so much in green thinking, or old-style conservative thinking.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 10:23:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I might add, though, that I myself also has been very influenced by this idea of Progress, and hardly am some purely idealistic non-materialist conservative. Migeru once wrote (I can't seem to find it at the moment) that some comment I wrote at the ET made me sound like a salesman for Electrolux. ;)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 10:33:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As an example, consider the smokestack, spewing out thick and possibly noxious clouds and vapours. What is the symbolic value of this icon?

Today, pretty much everyone think of pollution when they it. So did Western conservatives 100 years ago. Liberals and socialists on the other hand, identified smokestacks with wealth, modernity and progress. And they had good reasons for that.

The greens certainly did not have a positive view of smokestacks, and their influence since Rachel Carson's Silent Spring means we don't either.

We also value a clean environment relatively more today because we are richer and do not suffer the absolute privation of yore, but that's another part of the story.

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

by Starvid on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 10:54:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One could of course speculate that one of the reasons why some conservatives opposed materialism, industrialism and Progress is that they already had it pretty good, materially speaking. It is easy to oppose Progress when you know you'll always have hot food and a soft bed waiting for you.

I suppose the same tendency can be found in the current green movement in the West.

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

by Starvid on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 11:00:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So did Western conservatives 100 years ago.

Western conservatives didn't give a damn about pollution 100 years ago. They didn't like industry because of changes in society. But even there, their resistance vanished sa soon as you told them that the smokestack belonged to a weapon manufacturer.

by IM on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 11:03:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you need to read up on some political philosophy. Also, when I say conservative in this context, I'm not talking about some guy who owns a polluting factory and votes for conservative parties, whose main goal might well be to support the privileges of the moneyed classes.

Rich people who even had factories tended to be liberal - not in the American meaning of the word - rather than conservative. Rich conservatives often were land-owners, priests, officers, academics, and so on. Unlike liberals, they often opposed free trade, democracy, and so on. At least in Sweden.

As the 20th century ran its course, this old-style conservatism was out-competed economically and socially and was absorbed or merged with liberal right-wing forces. The result was often liberal-conservative currents, which were very positive to Progress.

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

by Starvid on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 11:14:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you need to read up on some political philosophy.

No I don't. If I say conservative I talk about real existing conservatives parties in 1915. And were wasn't any worry about pollution there.

What you are doing is projecting your own political positions back in the past.

by IM on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 11:19:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Once again, I'm not talking about political parties. If you insist on moving the goal posts, I don't think we'll get anywhere in this discussion.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 12:14:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is not moving the goal posts. If we don't talk about conservaties in a political sense, what are we talking about?

As I said: Of course back then the differences between conservative and right-liberals were still visible; but the environment wasn't one.

by IM on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 01:31:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm talking about political thought and philosophy. If I recall correctly, both Spengler and Heidegger wrote on this, certainly later than 1915. The Heidegger stuff is mostly incomprehensible, but that's just to be expected.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 06:51:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not conversant with Spengler's stuff, but in what manner does Heidegger differ from every other shill with a degree and a polysyllabic pitch? Isn't he just a liberal Hayek?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 10:44:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, conservative Hayek.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 10:45:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I only ever knew three people who claimed to understand Heidegger.  One understood him once, but had forgotten the details, another went mad shortly afterwards, and the third questioned his own existence and thus didn't say anything.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 05:59:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Channelling Lord Palmeston... I hope you are not the third?

"The Schleswig-Holstein question is so complicated, only three men in Europe have ever understood it. One was Prince Albert, who is dead. The second was a German professor who became mad. I am the third and I have forgotten all about it."

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

by eurogreen on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 06:13:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had the pleasure, once, of studying existential phenomenology and phenomenological ethnomethodology in which the names of Heidegger, Kierkegaard and Husserl featured. Not one of my prouder academic achievements...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 07:07:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 07:49:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always thought the muppets got closer to the meaning of life than most philosophers who seemed to end p getting stuck up their own arse...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 08:04:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course the subtitles are apocriphal.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 08:21:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As related by Ludwik Silberstein, during one of Eddington's lectures he asked "Professor Eddington, you must be one of three persons in the world who understands general relativity." Eddington paused, unable to answer. Silberstein continued "Don't be modest, Eddington!" Finally, Eddington replied "On the contrary, I'm trying to think who the third person is."


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 08:20:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The economic fight Starvid describes was (at least in Sweden) mainly a battle fought in the last 40 years of the 19th century. By 1915 the conservatives had lost on the economy and was mainly fighting to conserve political power against such threats as universal and equal suffrage. (As a sidenote, during the economic fight the liberals were very much split on the question of suffrage.)

If there was a clear difference on smoke stacks connected to conservative versus liberal economics it would be found 50 years earlier then 1915.

I must admit I am kind of fuzzy on the political roots of the conservationist movement so I am agnostic on the smoke stacks.

by fjallstrom on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 04:01:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Rich conservatives often were land-owners, priests, officers, academics, and so on. Unlike liberals, they often opposed free trade, democracy, and so on."

They did and they still were somewhat distinct from nationaliberal parties. But they didn't care about the environment. They opposed free trade to get protectionist tariffs for the agricultural sector.

by IM on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 11:23:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nor did I ever claim that they opposed free trade on environmental grounds. Who would ever argue in such a convoluted way?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 12:15:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe all of you could expand their study to Spain (or Portugal), where industrialists and democracy went hands in hands, during all 19th century, whereas church and conservatives were in favor of maintaining an agricultural explotation against science and education... qualities needed for the industry.

The opposition between industrials and leftist group is, I think, more a consequence of the labor mouvement. (1st and 2nd international?)

by Xavier in Paris on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 05:16:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
Liberals and socialists on the other hand, identified smokestacks with wealth, modernity and progress.

I see that scene from Atlas shrugged when our hero looks down on a once-beautiful valley belching smoke.

Starvid:

We also value a clean environment relatively more today because we are richer and do not suffer the absolute privation of yore, but that's another part of the story.

And so is the fact that many (or most?) indigenous people would not choose to have their sacred lands desecrated in return for a microwave and a popup toaster.

But then again those Native Americans getting rich off white mens' gambling may not agree.

Anyone here see 'The gods must be crazy'? It puts forward this paradox of how much modernity makes sense to 'primitive' folk.

Highly recommended! ;)

'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 Jun 25th, 2015 at 07:45:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh - a lot of the early green movements was pro-nuke, on the good and sufficient grounds that it was "Not Coal", and at the time windmills were "Those things people used to grind grain with" and solar cells exotica used to power satellites.
Near as I can tell, this changed largely because of the enormous overlap in social circles between the people agitating against rivers catching fire and the anti-nuclear weapons movement.

It's possible I'm wrong about this, so I am just going to make it a question:

Does ET believe the anti-nuclear power movement would even exist if nuclear weapons had never been used in anger? If there were no arsenal standing by to end the world? If, say, power reactors had come about due to a french project to end coal imports in some alternate 20th century?

by Thomas on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 10:19:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Does ET believe the anti-nuclear power movement would even exist if nuclear weapons had never been used in anger?"

a very intersting question. But what about e.g. Tchernobyl? It would still have happend in your scenario and have a large impact on popular opinion.

by rz on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 10:40:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A lot of insecure nuclear power designs exist because of dual weapons use. So Chernobyl and Windscale (Sellafield) might never have happened under Thomas' scenario. I don't know about 3-Mile Island or Fukushima.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 10:47:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's only true to an extent, though.

No matter how you slice it, atomic power stations are going to involve pressurized steam in close proximity to toxic, radioactive heavy metals in sufficient quantities to support a fission chain reaction. If you have the sort of lackadaisical attitude to safety that Tepco displayed, you're going to have incidents and accidents. If on top of that lack of safety culture you build your plant in an earthquake and tsunami zone, it's only a matter of time before you have a catastrophe.

The particulars of the reactor design change the probabilities, but play the corner-cutting game long enough and your number is going to come up eventually.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 10:57:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's why
I don't know about 3-Mile Island or Fukushima.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 12:26:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would the nuke industry have gotten started at all without nuclear weapons?

In the UK, it's not at all clear that it would have.

Also - PV solar wasn't possible after WWII, because there wasn't a semiconductor industry.

But presumably wind could have gotten started a decade or two earlier than it did, and some power could have been generated almost immediately.

If the huge subsidies spent on nukes had been spent on R&D into renewables instead. who know where we'd be.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 10:48:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:

Also - PV solar wasn't possible after WWII, because there wasn't a semiconductor industry.

Thermal solar power was, though.

In a future were Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn did not do their experiment, or in which Lise Meitner did not figure out the results, nuclear power could have been considered disproven through the fourties - merely a sci-fi idea to entertain the readers of HG Wells and Karel Čapek.

If then in the fifties Meitner's and Hahn's experiment was done and interpreted, and France needed to replace coal imports, would they then invest the development costs of this new and totally unproven technology or pick up were their 19th century project to get less dependent on coal by developing thermal solar power?

I think the latter, in particular as the pre-wwI development got as far as providing Cairo with electricity, so there was a proof of concept that would be lacking in nuclear power.

by fjallstrom on Sun Jun 28th, 2015 at 03:25:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Uhm.. in our history, a lot of the interest in renewable energy was driven by the anti-nuke movement. The dirigiste drive for wind in Denmark was a direct result of the anti-nuke protests succeeding in preventing the building of reactors here, and the vast German investment in solar can also be credited to that political faction.

ca 1950 in a world without the association with armageddon, no-one is going to focus research solar over splitting atoms, if for no other reason then because Metropolitan France doesn't have the  natural endowment of desert nearby that Cairo does, and without a preexisting aversion..

Heck, note that the dangers of low-dose radiation were mostly worked out due to statistical work on japanese survivors, so one very plausible timeline is one in which climate change is an utter non issue, the air is much cleaner, but thyroid cancer is mysteriously a rather more common ailment.

by Thomas on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 04:25:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But without the cause of the aversion you don't have the investment in researching the technology. So in the 50ies without bombs atomic power is possible, but demands a massive research program which may lead to nowhere if the right tech can not be built. Sort of the position of fusion power today.

Considering France started investment in thermal solar power in the 19th century as a response to lack of coal after the French-German war, and materials and technology had improved in the 50ies, solar would be in the cathegory of buildable with a question mark for how much power you could get from it. Sort of where wave power is now.

So wave or fusion? I would say wave.

by fjallstrom on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 04:33:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And of course wind turbines rely on an accretion of technology in aerodynamics, electrical generators, tower construction, for offshore wind offshore structure construction, which originated in other things with clear incremental improvement tracks.

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 Jul 1st, 2015 at 09:02:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

There was a period during the middle third of the postwar period where public expectations of safety and environmental concern ran way ahead of contemporary best practice in the chemical, petroleum, atomic, and pharmaceutical industries.

The initial response to this pressure was to lie a lot.

Then things like Bhopal, Thalidomide, Piper Alpha, Exxon Valdez, Three Mile Island, and Chernobyl started happening. Because that is what happens when you manage HSE risks with public relations campaigns instead of process safety campaigns.

Even if the nuclear power sector had meticulously implemented best practice process safety standards, without cutting any corners and without lying about how far advanced the process was (which it didn't), you'd still have been looking at massive blowback.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 10:49:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not joking, this site is nothing if not fiercely secularist (emphasis on the -ist).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:44:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
God damn it, there you go again, denigrating the Supreme Being.

Haven't you seen Gilliam's Time Bandits?



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 01:03:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
I'm not joking

Sure, now? ;)

'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 02:18:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
It doesn't help that most politically minded people associate the content of ideologies with the policies of the current banner-bearers of said ideologies.

Being pragmatic means being post-ideological these days.

Flexible as bama-boo.

Starvid:

E.g., is nuclear power liberal? Is it conservative, socialist? Neither...

As presently practiced it's regressive.

Is solar power communist? ;)

'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 01:59:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I once read a LeGuin story were it was anarchist.
by IM on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 06:36:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Associated with battery backup, I'd say it was libertarian.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 09:50:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps the ideological capture of popular thought by neo-liberalsm is so complete that most people simply can't understand alternative analyses.

TINA because of the lack of ability to visualize an alternative.  I think the main thrust of conservatism for the last 40 years has been to destroy the average person's capacity for vision.

by rifek on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 06:59:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me offer a counterpoint to that fear. It'll be horrible for the Greeks no doubt. They have been offered as the sacrificial pawn while the harsh (and stupid) firewall was drawn around the rest of the bailout countries. After five years of a suffocating 'rescue' they are still bankrupt - but hey, a lot slimmer.

Yet, if a Grexit were to occur it wouldn't be the End of Europe.

A Grexit won't break up the European Union - Wolfgang J. Koschnick - Telepolis

Currency unions such as the Eurozone have been there quite often - they mostly dissolved without any ado or fuss.

... even in well-informed discussions about the Euro it is claimed that a failure of the common currency will mean a failure of European integration and the common market. But that is flat wrong. Even if the currency union were to be dissolved completely, the market union would be untouched. It worked long before the Euro and wouldn't need the Euro. ...

Even Greece has been a member since 1981 and would stay in the EU after a Grexit.

There have been currency unions like the ECU quite often. They disintegrated when the economic disparities between member states became too strong or members violated the rules. No tragedy. No damage.

There especially was no breakdown of states or communities between nation states. There was no war either, also no cold ones. Not even a period of cooled relations. A currency union like the Eurozone is just a technical institution no guarantee of freedom and peace even if almost all European politicians make such loudmouthed claims.

They still jubilate that there are no border barriers, that WW2 is over and there has been a long period of peace. They marinated the currency policy decision of introducing the Euro in a maudlin emotional sauce. And therefore totally misconstrued what was happening.

The irony of history is that there already had been a currency union in the heart of Europe. It was a precursor of sorts to the Euro. Greece also belonged to it at the time and was expelled over chicaneries. They currency union survived without problems.

Since 1830, when Greece became independent after 400 years of Osmanic rule, the Greek state finances were chronically dysfunctional. Every few years Greece had to declare bankruptcy. It was part of state folklore.

In 1865 four countries founded the "Latin Coin Union": France, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland. ... The currencies could be traded without exchange - just like the Euro today.

The members of the union agreed on fixed exchange rates between their gold and silver coins. At the beginning there was great enthusiasm for the union. Travellers were happy not to have to exchange money at the borders - just like with the Euro.

... But like many currency unions the Latin Coin Union had several construction faults. There was a North-South divide between highly developed industrial economies and backwards agrarian countries. Every once in a while there were trade and financial crises. That should be familiar to today's observers.

The biggest mistake was that the issuance of paper money was not regulated. Italy, in a financial crisis, printed a lot of paper money and exchanged it for coins. That money flowed to other countries and caused inflations in France and Belgium too. The Banque de France suspended the paper to coin exchange.

In 1868 Greece joined the union. It hoped to profit from the stability of the currency union after being excluded from international capital markets for decades. ...

With the words "Unfortunately, we are bankrupt" prime minister Charilaos Trikoupis affirmed the oath of disclosure in 1893. Four years later the European powers came Greece's aid. They guaranteed a bond but demanded reforms and oversight over the repayments. An international commission monitored that. That should be familiar to today's observers.

In his history of the Latin coin union the American economist Henry Parker Willis described the membership of Greece .. as a fundamental mistake. ... "The membership in the union was attained by obscure political means but not out of economic and financial calculations."

Greece and Italy began to use tricks. They issued coins with lower gold and silver content ... The Swiss ambassador in Paris complained loudly about the "unhappy marriage with Greece". But unfortunately "it was done - we have to keep bearing the consequences."

In 1901 Willis wrote "as an experiment for an international currency the Latin union has failed. Its history throws light on the difficulties of an regulating a currency internationally. ... it has only damaged its members."

In 1908, 40 years after joining, Greece was thrown out ... 1910 Greece was allowed to rejoin. But with WW1 the currency union was practically finished.

The other countries started to ignore rules too. ... The member countries didn't terminate the treaty only because they balked at the high cost of dissolution. Some things just repeat themselves as a farce. After a long period of infirmity the Latin Coin Union was finally abrogated in 1926.

Because of similar reasons another currency union ended - the "Scandinavian Coin Union". Sweden and Denmark had founded it in 1872. Norway joined later on. ... National interests won out. The currency union went away but the strong bond between the Scandinavian countries remained.

Currency systems are instruments of economic exchange and development. No more no less. They are not instruments of keeping the peace. The fate of humanity and the christian occident is not decided by them. ...

The Western European nations had much more peaceful relations before the Euro than after. ...

[The politicans] obviously didn't know what they were doing. More precisely: they didn't want to know. They saw themselves as grand historical protagonists of Europe united in peace and prosperity while ruining their currencies and finances, and sending a large part of their youths to unemployment.

The European peoples are using old cliches with abandon. ... The harsh sounds are a battering for European peace. ... The veneer of friendship between peoples is wafer thin and already scratched. The old hatred breaks out fast. ...

An Orwellian newspeak has established itself in European politics. While the political class keeps repeating the mantra that peace and freedom is fixed to the wellbeing of the Euro there is as much discord and hatred as there hasn't been in a very long time.

At the apex of the Euro crisis the general mood of the populace has entered into a deep Euroskepticism. ... A few years ago many people saw themselves as Europeans first and nationals second. Only few people do that today. ... mostly indifferent towards Europe, if not even hostile.

Citizens should understand that the politics of this country is in the hands of a bunch of grandiloquently blathering cocks who don't understand the most primitive causal relationships...

The assessment of the French historian Emmanuel Todd is unambiguous: "The Euro will enter history as the master mistake of the ruling elites in Europe. They didn't know what they created - a zombie - and therefore cannot detach themselves from it." ... "The national currencies were an instrument of regulating the common market to counterbalance the differences in competitiveness. You don't need a Nobel price in economics to see that."

In a situation that needed a professional analysis of advantages and disadvantages of a fateful currency decision, and not romantic incantations of blooming landscapes, politicians revelled in emotional and banal Europe euphoria, invoked horror scenarios of WW2 and celebrated in overblown speeches the general hope for peace, joy and pancakes [a German phrase].



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 07:55:48 PM EST
None of these currency unions had a central bank. Or this degree of economic integration. The eurozone like the EU as a whole is sui generis.
by IM on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:18:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Eurozone does not have a central bank either. It has something that calls itself a central bank but which refuses to perform the core functions of a central bank.

Which is pretty much the role the IMF played under the Bretton Woods system. And we all know how that ended.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:30:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The Eurozone does not have a central bank either"

O god, not that again.

by IM on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:32:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A central bank defends the payment system every second of every minute of every hour of every day. The ECB has betrayed that fundamental function of a central bank, over and over and over again, by politicizing the provision of liquidity.

It might have "central" and "bank" on the nameplate, but this no more makes it a central bank than having "peacekeeping" in the name of an occupying force makes it peaceful.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 10:29:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Hong Kong, they were more honest when setting up a monetary authority with a a fixed goal of maintaining a fixed exchange rate, and called it the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

Except following that precedent would require specifying whose monetary authority it is ... IEEFMGDMA, the "Informal Eurogroup of Eurozone Finance Ministers under German Dictation Monetary Authority", just doesn't have any resonance.

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 Jul 1st, 2015 at 09:21:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those are distinctive features but the analogies to the historical cases are there too. Also 'economic integration' (trade) is not fiscal integration, is it? Anyway:



Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 02:39:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" but the analogies to the historical cases are there too."

No, the structural differences are to big.

by IM on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 11:17:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One day we will look back and wonder how we got so tangled up in talking about the world's highest-ranking-on-the-sad/boring-scale subject: the freaking Euro!

Yawn. (Yes Virginia, macro-economics is addictive).

'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 Jun 24th, 2015 at 02:22:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We had a discussion about Austria's new found sympathy for Greece. I noted that the FM is from the EPP. The person himself now has this to say:

Wichtig sei, dass die EZB die Banken weiter finanziere, solange diese nicht insolvent sind.

Die Banken müssten liquide bleiben. Schelling verwies darauf, dass die Hellas-Banken beim EZB-Stresstest gut abgeschnitten hätten. Dass so viele Bankkunden gleichzeitig ihr Geld abheben, würde niemand aushalten, so Schelling.

Important is that the ECB keeps finacing the banks as long as they are solvent.

The banks need to stay liquid. Schelling notes that  the Hellas banks got good grades from the ECB stress test. No one could stand so many bank customers withdrawing their money, according to Schelling.

As far as I remember he has been hostile for the whole negotiation charade. Yet here he demands that the ECB keep doing its job and later in the interview he answers that he assumes that Athens will be fulfil all its commitments until there is a solution or non solution to a question whether they will be able to pay salaries in full in June.
Seems to me that some people noticed that Vienna lies quite be bit south of Frankfurt.

by generic on Sun Jun 21st, 2015 at 11:10:43 PM EST
Austrian banks are likely lose more than German banks if Greek banks fail.

I suspect that the opinions of Eurogroup countries are based on the idea that someone else should pay.

Finnish banks have a small exposure to Southern Europe's debts and Finland requires that private creditors should take the losses. Germany has borrowed most to other countries and it opposes any plans to cover the debts by ECB.

Are smaller countries with large banking sector more supportive to the idea that public creditors should take a large share of losses?

by Jute on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:29:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the position of the Netherlands? The Netherlands is a small country with a large banking sector.
by rz on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:55:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Netherlands also has a 10% current account surplus...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 04:01:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the key here is: smaller countries with a large banking sector that has foreign exposure.

Many Austrian banks have been involved in (sometimes complicated and opaque) lending in other parts of Central Europe - notably Hungary but also in the Czech and Slovak countries too.

Much of this is lending to people and companies, rather than governments, so it is not the same - but the potential issues around instability and a bank run make a lot of people very nervous about the politicisation of the provision of liquidity to banks in trouble.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 05:29:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is one thing though: The Heta bank, the bad bank for Hypo Alpe Adria is going to be resolved with the state decreeing that not a single cent more will be thrown into that sink hole. Now, some of the bad loans are still guaranteed by the state Carinthia but the whole process has been structured so as to not trigger them.
The Bavarians will disagree.

The question is what happens if the ECB disagrees. Austria is not vastly more powerful than Ireland which has been forced to assume banking debts without there being any guarantees at all. So it makes perfect sense for the whole Austrian political system to be wary of letting the ECB nuke a countries' financial system over non compliance.
At least we seem to have moved on from the geography lessons.

For some good Heta write-ups look at Frances Coppola's Forbes pieces. Here for example.

by generic on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 11:56:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My understanding is that the main thrust of the 2010 Greek "Bail-out" was to replace private banking debt with public sovereign debt. Thus the european financial elite managed to pass the poisoned chalice to ordinary voters... quelle surprise! The portrayal of the crisis in National terms hides the fact that there is also a considerable transfer of wealth from poorer to richer citizens throughout Europe.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 07:04:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But yesterday the same guy said that there won't be a deal until Greece gives specific dates for each promised measure.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 03:49:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, he blames everything on the Greeks. But he does not provide the ECB political cover for any aggressive moves. By my low standards this looks like an improvement.
by generic on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 09:21:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An edited version of this blog has been published as its lead letter by the Irish Independent - the largest circulation daily in Ireland.

Greek crisis is political, with the potential to tear EU apart - Independent.ie

The Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis laments the failure of the Eurogroup to listen to his proposals even whilst they themselves have been kept in the dark about what "the institutions" are proposing. Apparently, no substantive discussions took place on what either "the institutions" or Greece were suggesting as the way forward.

A majority of the Eurogroup ministers appear to have decided, in advance, that Varoufakis is not someone they can "do business with". But perhaps the ministers couldn't address, never mind resolve, the Greek crisis because at root it isn't a financial crisis, it is a political crisis which effects the whole European project. If this all goes horribly wrong, we will have Greece spinning, out of control, into the Russian orbit and with politicians such as Varoufakis in exile, jail, or worse.

The EU, meanwhile, will start to fall apart with nationalist governments, led by the UK, doing their best to break it apart.

We may not have a major European war any time soon, but the slippery slope will have begun. Meanwhile, we will have people starving in the streets and dying en masse for lack of proper medical care.

There is no doubt that Greece needs an internal social, economic and political revolution. For too long it has been run by an elite who pay very little by way of taxes and do not re-invest their profits to modernise the economy.

It has a massive and inefficient military and civil service which absorb huge resources and stifle all economic enterprise and growth. The underlying Greek economy is painfully underdeveloped, whilst social inequalities grow.

It is unclear whether Syriza, or any Greek government, has the means to lead such a revolution. Perhaps a massive rupture is unavoidable.

A default followed by ejection from the eurozone could well result in hyper-inflation of any new currency, mass impoverishment, and violence in the streets. Sound familiar?

The EU was founded to prevent such events and if it fails to prevent them, it will have failed in its most basic and sacred duty. It will have destroyed its most basic raison d'être and claim to legitimacy.

We need to decide whether the EU truly aspires to be a union or not.

There is no solution to the Greek crisis which does not involve at least a mini-revolution in the EU institutions as well.

Frank Schnittger



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 07:17:35 AM EST
Greek crisis: Finance ministers dampen hopes of deal today - live updates | Business | The Guardian
Eurogroup chief: It's an opportunity for a deal

Last question: Are these Greek credible's actually credible?

Moscovici sounds optimistic:

This is a solid basis, but work still needs to be done. We are currently looking for an agreement but we haven't reached one yet.

Dijsselbloem echoes him, calling the Greek proposals "a welcome step, in a positive direction."

It is also an opportunity to get that deal this week, and that is what we will work for.

The dramaturgy of today's Eurogroup meeting was intense, and, as far as I can see, staged by the Greeks to make fools of the EU finance ministers. They were all very bitter, going into the meeting, about getting the Greek proposals so late -- Schauble even insisted there was nothing new -- so they couldn't be briefed by their experts.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 09:24:12 AM EST
They better change their bitterness around, because right now, the Greeks upped their pension contribution for salaried workers to close to 50%.

Greece is doing all it can to reinforce the spirit of tax evasion. I can't think of anything that would reinforce tax evasion more than agreements with the eurozone--except of course the public flogging of taxpayers.

by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 10:37:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 12:13:40 PM EST
Economics and Politics by Paul Krugman - The Conscience of a Liberal - NYTimes.com

Larry Summers has written a scary column warning that Greece may be on the verge of becoming a "failed state". It's a useful corrective to the extraordinary complacency I'm hearing from too many European officials. But I do think it's worth pointing out that this need not happen, even if there is no deal.

What Summers seems to portray is a scenario in which Greek banks collapse and take down the economy with them. But what if Greece abandons the euro and issues its own currency to keep cash flowing?

For sure there would be a sharp devaluation, which would lead to a spike in inflation. But would hyperinflation follow? Remember that Greece is running a large cyclically adjusted primary surplus -- that is, given even a modest economic recovery it would not need to roll the printing presses to pay its bills. And a a devaluation would, other things equal, promote recovery.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 01:37:44 PM EST
The real reasons why Tsipras cannot 'cave in to austerity' - Independent.ie

French President Francois Hollande seems to blame Betty Batziana - 'Red Betty' - the life partner of Alexis Tsipras for the financial intransigence of Athens. Hollande said last week that the Greek Prime Minister and founder of Syriza was "henpecked" by his partner: the Greek politician had confided to Hollande that he "could not cave in" to EU austerity demands because if he did "Betty will leave me".

Batziana - she has retained her own family name and she and Tsipras have never married, on a point of secularist principle - is known to be more left wing than her partner, and, originally, was more political than he was. As a young man, and until he developed knee problems, Tsipras was more interested in sport than politics. It was she who was the political firebrand, and, according to reports, it was she who introduced Alexis to the Greek Communist Party, the KKE, which, back in the day, was especially supine to Moscow. It's perhaps surprising that it was Tsipras, rather than Batziana, who became the politician in the family. She took a PhD in electrical and computing engineering, and pursued an academic career, while her partner entered parliament in 2009, and found himself Prime Minister in January this year. (They have two sons - one, Orpheus Ernesto, was named after Che Guevara.)



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 06:50:55 AM EST
Orpheus' wife Eurydice Pasionaria could not be reached for comment.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 06:58:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does anyone remember Elsa Morante's wonderful La Storia? It featured two canaries, Lino and Lina, both named after Stalin.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 07:30:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So that's why Trierweiler left him....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 07:03:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What the bloody fuck? They're playing the emasculation card?

"MAN UP ALEXIS! KILL THE FUCKING PENSIONERS! STARVE THEM AND YOU CAN BE A REAL BOY!' 'NOW, LETS MEASURE OUR DICKS AND SEE WHO'S BIGGEST!"

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 07:08:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it seems that's where we have landed...

On the other hand, perhaps this kind of thing says something about the relationship of the writer (and his supporters like Merkel and Hollande) to their voters... they cannot imagine why Tsipiras is so reluctant to ditch promises to his voters...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 07:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not very gentlemanly of Hollande to reveal the contents of a private man-to-man conversation though was it?  Tsipras could have been speaking in jest for all we know, knowing that Hollande has has his own "woman" problems... the full article is not too bad considering it was written by Mary Kenny...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 08:21:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, not gentlemanly at all.

 I'd assume Tsipras wasn't being serious. This is why Varofakis was saying he'd recorded meetings - EU leaders are leaking against them all the time.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 08:34:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I appreciate the domestic political dynamics that people like Holland and the Finance ministers are operating under, but I am appalled by the level of competence they are showing - right down to a lack of basic manners. If I were still working and had people reporting to me I'd slaughter them if they behaved like that towards a client or towards each other. There are certain basic professional standards you don't contravene even if you are dealing with dickheads - because otherwise you become one yourself.

Noonan likes to operate as a bit of a lad sometimes, mixing it with political opponents.  That's ok if you're  a backbencher, but not when you are representing your country.  Even Fine Gael dumped him as leader double quick when the electorate decided that wasn't how they wanted a potential Taoiseach to behave - although Ahern, Cowen, and Kenny haven't exactly raised the standard since...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 08:49:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are assuming the political leaders and finance ministers do or should want to negotiate in good faith.

In fact, their overriding concern is that a party of the radical left cannot be allowed even limited success.

Tsipras and Varoufakis, and Syriza generally, are a foreign body for the EU consensus.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 09:27:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My point is that all they are doing by their behaviour is highlighting their own incompetence and increasing the sympathy/support for Greece and Syriza throughout Europe. If you really want to screw someone you do it in such a way that know one saw you do it and everyone blames the victim for their misfortune...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 11:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They believe they have done their job laying the blame on Syriza, too.

And if you live in a bubble and only talk to insiders and the financial press, that's what happens.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 12:00:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Careful with that pitchfork.
I saw a tweet with Tsipras's original comment, clearly meant as a joke by him. I haven't seen any mention of Hollande's mentioning of it, other than the Irish journalist's, unsourced.

I don't actually believe that Hollande didn't understand Tsipras's joke. Hollande has plenty of sins, but misogyny is not, as far as I know, one of them.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 09:09:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They were saying the same thing about Varoufakis in the early days - that his more radical wife was responsible for his position. Which is ridiculous as his wife is not a radical leftist either.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 09:17:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Personally, I think it's because they won't wear ties.  I refused to wear ties early in my corporate career until I was told "if you take the shilling..." One of the conditions of the Bail-out will probably be that they wear ties in future.

Much later my employer realized the error of their ways and introduced a casual dress code for all non-customer facing staff.  I think that will come much too late to help Greece

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 11:49:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In this very thread:
the Euro Working Group likes Stathakis as a negotiator because he's soft-spoken and wears a tie


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 12:01:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Corporate dress codes operate on the same principle: If I'm gonna have to wear a tie you goddamned have to as well. The fact that Greece in summer is far too hot for ties without unaffordable aircon is neither here nor there. It's a matter of corporate community discipline and ensures everyone plays by the same rules.  Special cases or different climatic conditions be damned.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 12:18:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So if the Greeks insist on wearing traditional Greek garb, that would be okay?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 01:00:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZevgKAiUwZ8

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 04:48:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After all, what is a tie but a symbolic noose around our neck, a symbol of the death-tether that capital has around our life?
by Zwackus on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 05:02:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Male Liberation Front: Burn your ties!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 01:03:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece crisis: Sense of foreboding permeates everyday life
University student Alex Retzis says he voted for Antonis Samaras's conservative New Democracy in the last election, but he has been impressed by Syriza's performance on the international stage in its first six months in office. He admits being concerned about the current standoff - his parents recently withdrew the €10,000 they had in the bank - but he is convinced the Greek government is playing its cards well. So impressed that, if an election were called tomorrow, he'd vote Syriza.

"I think [finance minister Yanis] Varoufakis is doing better than the last government," he says, sitting in the shade in a park in central Athens.

"At least now we know we are not the slaves of Europe . . . Now we say No sometimes. We don't do everything they say. He's a Greek hero, Varoufakis."



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 08:09:17 AM EST
Lenders grant beleaguered Greece two-day reprieve
Greece has been granted a two-day reprieve in its campaign for new rescue loans as it comes under extraordinary pressure from euro zone leaders and the European Central Bank to comply with their conditions for aid

---snip---

Late last night, German chancellor Angela Merkel said time was running very short but she hoped the next summit would have nothing more to do but take note of an agreement with the ministers.

While it was clear that financial sustainability would have to be discussed, she noted that Greece did not have big debt repayments for many years.

European Commission chief Jean Claude Juncker said:"I simply wanted to say that the proposals that the Greek government was submitting to our mediation tonight and early this morning - although these proposals were coming in with some delay - are a major step taken by the Greek authorities."

---snip---

In light of this [Noonan's] intervention, and that of Mr Schäuble, ECB president Mario Draghi said his institution's support for Greek banks was not an issue for ministers to decide. The ECB governors would continue to review the situation on a daily basis, he said.

I would have thought it was the Lenders who had been given a reprieve form default...

Nevertheless, reading between the lines, it seems Merkel, Juncker etc al are getting ready to close the deal - almost regardless of the technical content - and Draghi has told Ministers in no uncertain terms that the provision of liquidity is none of their business...he will do what it takes... and starving the Greek banks of liquidity is not a bargaining chip in their armoury, whatever Noonan and Schauble may think.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 08:36:46 AM EST
The creditors may well fail to aggree to even this deal.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 09:14:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's clear that there is no consensus in the eurogroup to make "concessions" to Greece; many are dead set against any renegotiation of debt.

The Greeks took it as far as they could, negotiating in good faith, and got no concessions in return for theirs. If even their capitulation turned out to be not enough, then it would be clear to all that it's a matter of ideologically-driven punishment.

But I think Schauble and his barking acolytes will be overruled. But I'm not convinced Tsipras has a majority.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 09:23:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If there is not even a commitment to debt relief, then might Tsipras backtrack on his offer, and what will happen then?

Also, by the way, even a written commitment from a Council Summit is not worth the paper it's written on. We saw that in 2012.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 09:29:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tspipras  - with 70% popular support will win a parliamentary vote - even if it requires some opposition deputies to provide a majority.  I don't think there will be a debt write-down though - Merkel will hide behind the fact that no big repayments are required for a long time.  A big debt load is the best way to keep the Greeks in line in the future...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 11:57:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But they have already argued that the debt relief promised in 2012 has not been delivered because the Greeks have not finalized the agreed upon reforms. If that is their argument, can they go back on it if at some point the Greeks do pass the agreed reforms?
by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 01:18:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If i read things correctly, Juncker once again told Tsipras what he needed to do, Tsipras complied, and the Eurogroup was in the dark. They had resigned themselves.

So now the Eurogrup realizes the deal is crap, just tax raises and an eventual paring back of early retirements. They say they want to raise 23% VAT on restaurants from 13%. This would be killer for the Greek economy.

If, that is, the Greek govt imagines they could collect this at all (which I can't imagine).

So, they may find disagreement over the restaurant VAT alone, and the fact that the IMF doesn't like the tax rises.

Also left unsaid is whatever deals were made about giving lip service to debt relief. This is a deal no one likes. And for once, it's not because they made a good compromise. It' because it is a bad deal.

by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 01:12:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They say they want to raise 23% VAT on restaurants from 13%. This would be killer for the Greek economy.

What proportion of restaurant business is foreign tourists? I think those will pay the hike.

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

by DoDo on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 03:53:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't Greece already agree to that?
by IM on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 04:19:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It will cause a lot of people to lose their jobs, it will increase unemployment. Food prices tend to be sticky, so any rise in VAT is going to cause tourists to eat more gyros rather than go to resturaunts.
by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 04:57:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]

ekathimerini.com | VAT hike in food service will be the `kiss of death' for the sector

A return of the value-added tax on food service to 23 percent from the current 13 percent would amount to a kiss of death for the sector, according to the head of the association of restaurant chains (SEPOA), Thanassis Papanikolaou.

The SEPOA chief told Kathimerini that the impact will be huge on restaurants, bars, cafeterias and tavernas, as besides the sector's VAT hike, the related sector of tourism will also see a rate increase.

"We have the experience from 2011 when the increase from 13 to 23 percent in food service brought the shutdown of 4,500 enterprises and the loss of 40,000 jobs,» he stated.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 09:11:27 AM EST
Is the table a deal, a proposal or what is it?
by fjallstrom on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 10:30:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It appears to be a Guardian compilation of the Greek proposals, I found it here.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 10:47:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek proposal
by IM on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 10:51:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's pretty damning that restaurant VAT is supposed to go up 10% but the luxury tax only 3%...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 04:01:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spiegel is reporting massive opposition in Greece to the proposals. Parliament leaders are saying it won't pass without opposition support, which could well bring down the government. Unions are planning strikes.

Here's where I wish Talos or others on the ground could report.

I wonder if Tsipras made the proposals knowing they wouldn't be accepted.

What a fuckin mess.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 12:07:43 PM EST
Noonan claims he was misquoted on Greek debt stance

Mr Noonan said he had great sympathy for the Greek people, which was a view he had expressed several occasions in the House.

He said he had also been quite helpful to the Greek authorities, adding he did not have the strong personal relationship which the Socialist Party and Sinn Fein had with the Greek government.

"I do not share the commitment to their economic policies that Sinn Fein and the socialist group seem to share," he added.

The Minister was replying in the to Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger who asked if it was true he had insisted emergency funding for Greece would be reduced until it retracted its demands to have any sustainable debt reduction.

Ms Coppinger said the most important thing for the Minister and the Government was to ensure Greece did not get any deal which Ireland could not secure. She said she did not think it was very helpful to ask for the noose to be tightened around the necks of the Greek people and government.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 12:27:47 PM EST
It seams to me that the deal which is on the table will be a complete disaster. Renewed austerity will push the country into deep recession once more. Syriza will not survive this.
by rz on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 03:26:16 PM EST
If Tsipras is lucky the deal is going to be derailed by even more crazy demands by the IMF or somebody.  
by rz on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 03:42:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The payments to the IMF over the next few months are huge. Once Greece gets the IMF out of the way, things might change.
by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 04:59:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its happening! The IMF says no! I only saw it on spiegel online which is not very reliable, but anyway.
by rz on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 02:26:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a feature, not a bug.
by tjbuff (timhess@adelphia.net) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 09:56:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece Handed New Terms as Tsipras Approaches Decision Time - Bloomberg Business

Greece's creditors handed the government revised terms for an agreement as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed incredulity that his own list of proposals to secure bailout funds had fallen short.

The overhauled set of measures was passed to the Greek government on Wednesday morning, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private.

The new terms come as Tsipras prepares for a Brussels meeting with the heads of the three creditor institutions -- European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Finance Ministers will gather later on Wednesday to try and reach a deal before Greece's bailout expires and about 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in payments come due to the IMF on June 30.

"There is still a lot of work to do," Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs meetings of his euro-area counterparts, told reporters in Brussels. "We are not there yet."

The latest exchanges underscore the febrile nature of the negotiations as they enter the final hours before the country's bailout -- and finances -- run out. Greek markets dropped on Wednesday as Tsipras took to Twitter to chide his country's creditors for not accepting a list of measures including tax increases and curbs on early retirement that he had submitted on Monday.

"The repeated rejection of equivalent measures by certain institutions never occurred before," Tsipras said on his Twitter account. "This odd stance seems to indicate that either there is no interest in an agreement or that special interests are being backed."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 08:55:06 AM EST
This is it.

When the Conservative Kathimerini declares that Europe has screwed the negotiations royally with what it did to Tsipras yesterday, you know that it's the end.

Moving now from his positions to a  complete capitulation would be the end of Tsipras and Syriza.

So, the EU has played its last hand, which says that either Syriza takes Greece out of the euro (and dies) or Syriza capitulates (and dies).

Either way, Syriza dies, which is a much more important result than Greece staying in/leaving the euro.

by Upstate NY on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 09:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then the fact that Syriza bend over backwards to come to an agreement makes at least clear who is to blame. I wonder what will Nea Demokratia do? Will they run on a 'will do exactly as the IMF says' platform? Buisness owners hate the new VAT proposal and the IMF wants even more!
by rz on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 09:30:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 09:44:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I read about this. But what are they gona do? Is the EU really going to offer them a different deal, just to crush Syriza? As far as I understand it, New Democracy called the new elections because the IMF made impossible demands. It is just that nobody said so in public.
by rz on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 09:53:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Syriza circles are afraid of a repeat of the Papademos technical government. The EU would engineer an ouster of Tsipras and replace him with a unity government led by the current Central Banker.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 09:55:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know that this event (the Papademos technical government) is often called a coup. But the fact is that in the end Papademos had a majority in Parliament. To do this again they need a majority in parliament. Do you think this is possible this time as well?
by rz on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 10:01:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Syriza won's split, so no.

The Troika wet dream is that at least a third of Syriza (the "Social Democratic" wing) would join Potami, PASOK and New Democracy. Not gonna happen.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 10:18:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The international twitter feed of To Potami is quite clear that they will do whatever the IMF says. But what about New Democracy?  
by rz on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 10:40:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me also say the following: I think in 2011 when this happened many people in grecce trusted that EU more than their local elites. This has most likely changed.
by rz on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 10:02:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My experience of speaking to Greeks in the last few years is that there is absolute and total confusion. And I say this after also speaking to at least one policy maker/academic from a previous gov't and someone who is affiliated and regularly writes for To Potami's Protagon site (which is at least more open to a variety of views than other news/party organs, even Varoufakis used to write there).  By confusion, I mean a total lack of ability to understand motivations. This doesn't mean that I was in the know or better at predicting/understanding why decisions were as they were. Rather, it is about seeing how people's expectations and readings ended up being very mistaken. They can't even fathom Tsipras, Varofuakis, etc., and I'm not even sure that Tsipras and Varoufakis have a sense of themselves.
by Upstate NY on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 12:16:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 10:36:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 10:37:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The IMF are insane.

Cut taxes! Cut spending! Utopia will follow!

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 10:51:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Their own rearch indicate that only cutting VAT is an effective stimulus measure. Yet VAT is supposed to be increased. It is true that their research also says that cutting spending is slightly better than incresing taxes. But then: It is also clear that Greece needs debt relief measures and this is also not forthcoming.

all in all: completly nuts.

by rz on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 10:54:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Debt relief and infrastructure investment. Actually, I suspect just infrastructure investment would probably do, if there was enough of it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 11:11:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you cut taxes and spending by the same amount, aggregate demand will fall, ceteris paribus. This is due to the fact that the average consumer has a lower marginal propensity to consume than the state has - which generally consumes 100 percent of the money it budgets as spending.

If say 80 percent of the tax cut is consumed by the recipients and 20 percent of the tax cut is saved, demand will fall by an amount equal to 20 percent of the tax cut. This is then multiplied by the fiscal multiplier, which seems to be about 1.5. This means that the fall in aggregate demand will not be 20 but 30 percent of the size of the tax cut.

This is no secret to the IMF, because it was their own research department which made one of the most authoritative studies on this very issue.

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

by Starvid on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 03:49:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mentioned earlier that you didn't feel persecuted here despite being a conservative.  I think your comment above illustrates why. You can articulate a particular perspective very well and that is appreciated here. The big sin here is to write stupid comments where stupidity is defined as not being in the most articulate 1% of the population. That makes for some very enlightening reading here, but a blog primarily aimed at the top 1% in intelligence won't ever have a mass audience...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 08:55:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And all this effectiv from July 1th
by IM on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 10:48:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek crisis: Tsipras meets with creditors with bailout in doubt - live updates | Business | The Guardian
Leaked: Greece's creditors' demands.

The five-page counter-proposal made by Greece's creditors has just leaked - in several places.

And it confirms that Athens has been pushed to raise more from VAT and also make sweeping changes to its pensions system, including raising the retirement age faster and eliminating benefits for the poorest pensioners.

The red crossings out show items which are being rejected by creditors, and the underlined red sections show the new proposals.

If they are serious (and I don't mean Serious) then the negotiations are dead, because this is murder.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 10:38:10 AM EST
Are we truly powerless to stop this madness? Together with the behind the scenes talks with parties to form a new government, is this not actually a bloodless (meaning no military, not that Greek people won't be shedding blood over these reforms) coup d'etat?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 11:00:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As discussed above: Who is going to lead the coup? Even the conservative 'pro-europe' crowd that has been staging demonstrations in the last few days in Athens, is not really 'pro-austerity'. Small business owners have seen first hand what VAT increase will do to them. Is New Democracy really going to be the party once more which forces Greece through yet another period of 10% lost GDP?
by rz on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 11:08:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that the fact that Syriza has been willing to be so accomodating will help them now. The facts are on the table: The EU can not be trusted.
by rz on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 11:09:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, the cabin door is locked, the maniacs are at the controls and they have the buildings in sight. Not a thing we can do. Try and pick up the pieces after the disaster, I guess.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 11:14:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We are powerless to stop the madness. The best we can hope for is a Greek default on the European creditors (not on the IMF). And let the chips fall where they may on the Greek banks. The ECB pulls the plug on them at their own risk, after all they're also the banking supervisor.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 12:37:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" (not on the IMF)."

Oh, yes. They should be thanked for their very reasonable behaviour.

by IM on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 10:55:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Once a default happens there is a high likelihood of Greece being effectively (though perhaps not explicitly) under a financial sanctions regime from the EU. And it's the job of the IMF to provide access to hard currency.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 11:43:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"And it's the job of the IMF to provide access to hard currency. "

So that the IWF can demand the same as they demand now?

by IM on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 11:46:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The IMF (sorry, Der IWF) had no business whatsoever getting involved in lending Euros to a Eurozone country five years ago, or in lending to an insolvent government without debt restructuring. Strauss-Kahn has been tarred and feathered enough and we may never get to punish Schäuble, but that's all water under the bridge. I'm talking about the future, and in the future Greece may not want to be the first and only country in history that defaulted on the IMF.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 12:32:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" but that's all water under the bridge. I'm talking about the future, "

And I am talking about the present. And I don't see any signs that the IMF will behave an different in future.

by IM on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 01:28:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Der IWF (IMF) was brought in at the "request" of Frau Merkel, n'est Wahr?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 02:14:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany needed a political fig leaf for the imposition of austerity on another member state, and also didn't trust the Commission to be a sufficiently strict enforcer.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 05:22:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there was a list recently on countries that had defaulted on IMF loans. Many of which later paid and re-entered IMF's good graces.

It is a good point that Greece might want to preserve the option of borrowing from the IMF for the future. But what about IM's point that IMF is known for deamnding neoliberal reforms in exchange for loans?

by fjallstrom on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 04:08:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I somehow doubt that retaining the ability to borrow from ideological loan sharks is high on Syriza's list o priorities. In fact, if they want to prevent a future government from introducing neo-liberal policies, being in the IMF's bad books is a plus.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 04:14:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek crisis: Tsipras meets with creditors with bailout in doubt - live updates | Business | The Guardian
the IMF is pushing Athens to make deeper cuts to pension spending, raise more from VAT, and also row back on its corporation tax hikes.

I'm going to have to go home, I'm attracting funny looks at work from my body language.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 11:31:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When you've lost Yanni Baboulias and PoliticoEurope, you have really screwed up:

Yiannis Βaboulias ‏@YiannisBab  18m18 minutes ago
And just like that, creditors restored Syriza's "heroic" status. Looks like their strategy will be massively backfiring in Greece.

by Upstate NY on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 03:19:01 PM EST
And also outside Greece.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 04:22:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just tuned in to Aljazeera to get the latest on the Greek situation. What was reported was that "they" were suppose to work through the night but gave up and went home after an hour. Time to hit the bars, I guess.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 05:42:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here in Ireland, Sinn Fein and various smaller socialist parties and independent - together representing up to 30-40% of the vote - are basically supporting Syriza in this.  Noonan has been bating them for this - trying to cast them as far out leftists - but is I think fatally mis-reading the mood of the electorate.  

Up until now I would have assumed that the Fine Gael Labour coalition would have been re-elected with something to spare next year - re-elected by an electorate grateful that we are not Greece and that quite a pronounced recovery now seems to be in progress.

Now I am not so sure. People don't vote for a nasty party in Ireland. The worst sin is to kick someone when they are down. And people know that as far as Greece is concerned, "there but for the grace..." go we.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 09:14:52 AM EST
Ireland won't support debt relief for Greece, says Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said Ireland will not support debt relief for Greece as crisis talks continue in Brussels.

Speaking to reporters on the way into the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, he was critical of the tax-raising measures the Greek government has proposed to try to reach a deal with its creditors.

Mr Kenny said the eurogroup meeting of finance ministers had been adjourned again as there did not seem to be credible papers on the table.

"From our point of view we want to encourage a system to help Greece and the people in Greece but it is very important that the propositions that are tabled make economic sense and that they are financially sustainable and fair," he said.

In other words, Syriza must implement Fine Gael policies and Fine Gael are the best judge of what is good for the Greek people. Above all, Syriza must not embarrass Fine Gael by achieving a debt write-down that Fine Gael didn't fight to achieve.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 02:29:07 PM EST
During that discussion he flat out lied about Ireland not raising taxes during its "rescue".

I really need to do the work (or, better, find the work) to demonstrate that Ireland would have recovered faster and be better off without austerity.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 02:47:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, he was against the 2012 bailout of Greece (which included tax relief)?
by Upstate NY on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 03:59:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 04:09:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the tax increases were imposed by Fianna Fail before they lost office but Fine Gaels base has to be told a story about FG trying to reduce taxes even as they cut Lone Parents allowance...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 04:05:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Better get practicing!


'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 Jun 25th, 2015 at 09:30:34 PM EST
Bad link.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 05:28:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Economics and Politics by Paul Krugman - The Conscience of a Liberal - The New York Times

This ought to be a negotiation about targets for the primary surplus, and then about debt relief that heads off endless future crises. And the Greek government has agreed to what are actually fairly high surplus targets, especially given the fact that the budget would be in huge primary surplus if the economy weren't so depressed. But the creditors keep rejecting Greek proposals on the grounds that they rely too much on taxes and not enough on spending cuts. So we're still in the business of dictating domestic policy.

The supposed reason for the rejection of a tax-based response is that it will hurt growth. The obvious response is, are you kidding us? The people who utterly failed to see the damage austerity would do -- see the chart, which compares the projections in the 2010 standby agreement with reality -- are now lecturing others on growth? Furthermore, the growth concerns are all supply-side, in an economy surely operating at least 20 percent below capacity.

Talk to IMF people and they will go on about the impossibility of dealing with Syriza, their annoyance at the grandstanding, and so on. But we're not in high school here. And right now it's the creditors, much more than the Greeks, who keep moving the goalposts. So what is happening? Is the goal to break Syriza? Is it to force Greece into a presumably disastrous default, to encourage the others?

At this point it's time to stop talking about "Graccident"; if Grexit happens it will be because the creditors, or at least the IMF, wanted it to happen.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 12:43:11 PM EST


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