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That's because the Euro isn't a single currency - it's an excuse to force neo-liberal ideas about competition and 'reform' onto nation states.

It's a neo-liberal Trojan Horse - the exact opposite of the expression of pan-European popular solidarity it could have been, and some us (naively) hoped it would become.

The problem isn't the concept of a single currency, but the fact that its implementation was left to a nomenklatura of Wall St-inspired rapists and headbangers.

The latter are the problem, and progress will be impossible until they're swept from power.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Nov 1st, 2014 at 01:43:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think people like Jacques Delors were motivated by neoliberal conspiracies to force competition and "reform" on nation states (which is not to deny the existence of would-be such conspirators, or that economic liberals were not in favour of the single currency). And I'm far from agreeing with you that "its implementation was left to a nomenklatura of Wall St-inspired rapists and headbangers". That description doesn't correspond to what I see of delusory French and pig-headed German elites, in 1992 or now.

As for "the concept of a single currency", the fact is more that the area concerned didn't (doesn't) correspond to requirements, and it's rather difficult to conceive of a large area that does, absent a couple of centuries and a civil war to settle things down.

I certainly agree that, now the failure of the experiment is patent, the big money-financed noise machine (in and out of public view) keeps up the beat in favour of destruction aka "reform". All we are doing here is registering the increasing number of those who speak out in the opposite direction, but the Serious™ people aren't listening.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 1st, 2014 at 04:05:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
I don't think people like Jacques Delors were motivated by neoliberal conspiracies to force competition and "reform" on nation states (which is not to deny the existence of would-be such conspirators, or that economic liberals were not in favour of the single currency).

Which reminds me of the Shock Doctrine and how the economic structure of South Africa after apartheid was written by a select few while the great number of people (including most of ANCs leadership) were busy with what seamed as the great questions of democracy.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Nov 1st, 2014 at 04:29:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a job relating the quasi-fascist, ultra-colonialist, resource-rich South Africa at the end of apartheid with Europe in 1992.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 1st, 2014 at 04:46:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The two do not have to be equated for the comparison to fit.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Nov 1st, 2014 at 09:52:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on how loosely one likes to think.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 2nd, 2014 at 01:44:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems to me that, everywhere we have private banking, when it is time to make serious constitutional decisions, the economic structures and arrangements are usually decided by those with expertise in these subjects and to their benefit.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Nov 2nd, 2014 at 11:44:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm, ok.

I see a general pattern where you have politicians stuck in a business-as-usual frame, who produce complicated systems of economic regulations that just happens to be neoliberal dogma. The politicians may not mean to legislate neoliberal dogma into law, the politicians may be stuck in some other frame. But then as the pieces fall into place the system gets set into neoliberalism.

So if Delors et al did not mean for it to be neoliberal trap, then who wrote the damn thing? If it is similar to the examples in South Africa, Latin America and East Europe that the Shock Doctrine covers some economists with ties to the Chicago school are likely to have delivered it in some form. "You need a currency union? Here we have one, made just for you! Lots of boring details here that you don't need to know, what you need to decide is what to call it and what symbols to use."

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Nov 2nd, 2014 at 02:27:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After 1980 the consensus of the economic profession was "neoliberal".

Joseph Stiglitz in Globalization and its Discontents has an interesting description of how the IMF and World Bank gor gradually purged of their old Keynesian staff and replaced it with the "Washington Consensus" we know and love.

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 Nov 2nd, 2014 at 04:59:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think people like Jacques Delors were motivated by neoliberal conspiracies to force competition and "reform" on nation states (which is not to deny the existence of would-be such conspirators, or that economic liberals were not in favour of the single currency).
It's not a conspiracy, it's a Zeitgeist.
And I'm far from agreeing with you that "its implementation was left to a nomenklatura of Wall St-inspired rapists and headbangers". That description doesn't correspond to what I see of delusory French and pig-headed German elites, in 1992 or now.
Let's see who has been in charge:
  • 1993-1994 Delors III
  • 1995-1999 Santer Commission
  • 1999-2004 Prodi
  • 2004-2009 Barroso I
  • 2009-2014 Barroso II

The problem reall has been that in 2009, with the crisis already under way, Merkel decided a puppet at the Commission was a good thing. Things started to go pear-shaped at the turn of 2010 with the mishandling of the Greek crisis.
As for "the concept of a single currency", the fact is more that the area concerned didn't (doesn't) correspond to requirements, and it's rather difficult to conceive of a large area that does, absent a couple of centuries and a civil war to settle things down.
Forget about Mundell-Fleming "optimal currency areas". What you need is 10% of GDP in a federal budget, and commensurate fiscal transfers (say, a 10x expansion of cohesion funds). A country such as Germany with a current account surplus of 7% should be transferring 4% of its GDP.

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 Nov 2nd, 2014 at 03:48:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you actually read the economic conditions set out in Maastricht?

The social chapter, such as it is, seems to have been added as a CYA afterthought, and has played a relatively minor role in policy since 1992.

As for Delors - surely one of the earliest faux-Socialists who was more interested in financialisation than in political and social progress?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Nov 2nd, 2014 at 02:29:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'It's become a neo-liberal Trojan Horse' is probably more the case.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Nov 1st, 2014 at 09:50:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem isn't the concept of a single currency, but the fact that its implementation was left to a nomenklatura of Wall St-inspired rapists and headbangers.
Between concept and implementation comes design, and the design was flawed. Without monetary financing of public debt (which Germany would never have agreed to) or at least a 10-fold expansion of the EU's budget, with federalization of taxation and fiscal policy (which France would never have agreed to), the Euro was doomed to fail as soon as a recession deeper than 3% of GDP hit. Which was ruled out by the faerie tale of "great moderation" after 2000, but remember this was not operative in the politicians' minds in 1992. We know the 3% rule was a completely arbitrary rule used by Mitterrand to rein in spending by his ministers in the 1980s.
The latter are the problem, and progress will be impossible until they're swept from power.
The "nomenklatura" includes a Brussels civil service which has adopted econospeak to an astonishing degree. Everything is "market", everything is "competition"...

And then a coterie of know-nothing politicians who embody the worse of the "common sense" of their voters.

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 Nov 2nd, 2014 at 03:31:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like to agree, but from Delors onwards I'm not seeing much evidence of interest in enshrining progressive social values in European politics.

At best there's a certain reluctant acceptance that social welfare matters somewhat, and it's not always a bad idea to throw some cash at backward areas.

But all the important decisions have always been made on the basis of neoliberal monetarism by bankers, economists, and those with similar backgrounds.

The clues were always there, right back to when the EU's ancestor was called the 'Common Market' in the UK.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Nov 2nd, 2014 at 02:35:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And that it's a sovereign currency without a sovereign.  Because another thing that's been made clear is that the EU can not as a matter of law dictate policy and action to its members.
by rifek on Sat Nov 8th, 2014 at 09:58:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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