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Reaching the end game?

by Jerome a Paris Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:06:49 AM EST

We're quickly (and probably thankfully) moving near the endgame on the EU political crisis, as debt "contagion" reaches both Spain and Italy and will quickly impose that vastly more serious (yes, ironic use of word intended) political action is taken.

The crisis scenario is as follows:

1) Speculative attacks on Italy and Spain build up, eventually cutting them (and their banks) off from capital markets
2) Germany/Northern Europe refuse to provide any meaningful support
3) Spain and/or Italy default and/or reimpose capital movement controls, put in question other basic rules of the EU
4) Banks in Spain and/or Italy and very soon thereafter elsewhere in Europe blow up
5) Germany blames feckless southerners and Spain/Italy blames German self-destructive rigidity/selfishness. Each blames the other for destroying Europe.
6) Nationalists of all countries "unite." Godwin is thrown to the wolves.
7) Europe is in full blown political and institutional crisis (oh, and financial too)

The only place this can be prevented is in line 2 - ie will Northern Europe realize that it's in its own interest not to throw half of Europe under the bus because they righteously think it's the "moral" thing to do? And will they do it in a way that does not impose self-defeating austerity or semi-colonialist constraints on the Southern countries (in which case we're back soon enough to item 3- default or capital controls)?

The universe of outcomes possible today is steadily skrinking - the option of further muddling through seems closed and only the extremes remain, and the positive way out increasingly seems out of reach of our clueless or incompetent - or willfully destructive - political class. It's already obvious that they will act only under the immediate pressure of a full crisis, but it's no longer certain that they'll act before the crisis has caused irreversible damage, or reopened the pandora's box of European national populisms.


Display:
In principle it is possible to jettison the €-Mark without breaking the EU.

In practise, winter is coming.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:43:13 AM EST
and it will last years.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:48:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but given that the euro was the last "successful" political project of the EU (followed as it was by the constitution/Lisbon treaty saga), its abandonment would be the sign that the EU can go in reverse and a massive encouragement to all the national populist anti-EU forces everywhere.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:49:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the crisis is resolved, the economic governance of the EU will have to be reformed in the sane direction. A lot of conventional wisdom about sound money will have to be unlearned and unpreached by the politicians or the crisis will repeat itself.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:56:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only reason the brown shirts might win is because we gave them reasons to flourish.

There is no such thing as an European people. We are culturally too different. Too much coupling will lead, sooner or later, to an explosion.

Lets stop with the romantic myth of one humankind (or one europe-kind). We are different, and in ways that make it impossible to share the same societal infrastructure.

The trick now is to embrace difference (we take different paths and that is it), and avoid me-is-better-than-you attitudes.

Even with such a small objective, I am not optimist.

by cagatacos on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:00:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
cagatacos:
The only reason the brown shirts might win is because we gave them reasons to flourish.

Are you saying the entire European project has encouraged rightwing populism?

cagatacos:

There is no such thing as an European people. We are culturally too different.

We have not created a European people, but that is perfectly possible. How was an American people created?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:55:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think when the Erasmus/Eurail generation achieves political power (no later than 2025) we may have a European people, at least at the level of policy and opinion leaders. That's unfortunately rather likely to be too little, too late.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:03:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm thinking the euro project might have been a bridge too far. The federalists damn well knew that you couldn't have a common currency without a common fiscal policy of some kind, but they just felt that when push came to shove, one would have to introduce common fiscal policy! And that's that. Easier said than done, however.

No we see a huge backlash against the entire EU project because of the euro. A bridge too far, indeed.

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

by Starvid on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:00:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not only because of the Euro. Because the instinct of the European policy elite is to apply the IMF treatment to EU member states.

So, in fact, the Ecofin/ECB have become a caricature of the IMF/US Treasury of the 1980's and 90's and the Washington Consensus has given way to an equally toxic Brussels Consensus. I mean, seriously.

"Would it go too far if we envisaged . . . giving euro area authorities a much deeper and authoritative, say in the formation of the country's economic policies if these go harmfully astray?" asked Mr Trichet, suggesting "a direct influence, well over and above the reinforced surveillance that is presently envisaged?"

...

The central banker's boldest suggestion was a "new concept" for the euro zone that envisioned cases of "compulsory" intervention from EU leaders and the ECB in "major fiscal spending items and elements essential for the country's competitiveness".

...

In Mr Trichet's view, this EU finance ministry need not administer a budget but monitor directly fiscal and competitiveness policies. This ministry could ensure closer integration of financial services across the EU and sit on boards of international financial institutions.

These people are not "federalists", they're centralist plunderers.

EU, yes, but not like this.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:22:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Are you saying the entire European project has encouraged rightwing populism?

"Is encouraging", "will encourage". More than "has encouraged".


We have not created a European people, but that is perfectly possible. How was an American people created?

You understand that the comparison makes not much sense? I do not even know how to answer such question. It would never cross my mind that anyone would try that comparison...

by cagatacos on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:34:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So please explain how "is encouraging", "will encourage".

If it never crossed your mind to think of how an American people was created, think about it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:39:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's worth noting that part of the answer is 1861 - 1865 ... and that's not a happy thought.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 01:44:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. I wish I could believe that Europe has done enough in the way of past bloodshed.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 02:33:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's crossed my mind (hence the Churchill reference below), although not limited to Europe by any stretch.

I don't think the world as a whole really gets that we -- "we" being our governments -- have on our best days half-assed the response to this crisis, and on our worst actively encouraged it.

Other factors are going to make a recovery more difficult than it would've been in the past.  Peak Oil and climate change come to mind, although I think we're still some ways away from seeing the economic effects of the latter on a large scale that would stop middle-class people from watching American Idol for an evening and read something to get informed.

I worry the Great Recession was just the preface, and that things may get a whole lot worse very soon.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:27:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Me too. Bad moon rising.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 01:41:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i don't think america is that united, and the illusion of knowing what 'americanness' is was glossed over by some feelgood bullshit, largely unexamined because on the upswing of hubbert's curve.

now on the way down, what we know of as america may very well disintegrate under more rigorous deliberation.

similar, though less dramatic for the EU, and the present riots are plenty dramatic enough, i know.

if, as seems to be coming clear, the nobler aims of Union were just the bait for the trap created by the banksters, then no wonder it's heading for the cliff.

karma, innit?

'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 Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:32:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, there are arguments suggesting that an American collapse could be worse than in Europe, because not only have we lived for the past 100 years on the rising side of the oil supply curve, but we have also had lots of space to expand into, plenty of un-exploited natural resources, a low population density, and a pretty homogeneous Northern European population. Plus we pretty much bombed (or bankrupted, in the case of Britain) our global competition out of existence in WW2.

And our attitude of American Exceptionalism has some advantages and some disadvantages, not least a political system that was specifically set up to make significant changes to the system almost impossible. And that system has an intentional deadlock provision in the three branches of government (really four, if you count the House and Senate separately) that again make it hard to respond to changing political or economic changes.

It is interesting to ponder whether the U.S. of A. has been successful because of its political system or in spite of it.

by asdf on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:40:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(response to both melo and asdf)

I wasn't thinking so much of the political system, or supposing America to be fully united. Politically, the key point was the choice of the victorious ex-colonies in the 18th century to federate. That didn't of itself provide a united nation - it led to civil war, and the federal level still remains unaccepted by many - but it was a sine qua non.

But Americanness is not just "feelgood bullshit". The sense shared by Americans of belonging to a single polity is very strong. Given that America is made up of many different ethnic/national components, that's quite a feat, and not one ascribable to the political system per se. The myth of the perfection of the political system is, on the other hand, a persuasive one. The myths of universality and global beneficence too. The mythical history of the genesis of America was powerfully handled by Hollywood as it became a unified national (and beyond) media. It's no doubt an over-simplification, but Americanness was created by schoolteachers and the movies more than anything else, institutional in particular.

All that was fostered, it's true, by the upswing of cheap natural resources from within and without. It's a lot easier for each individual, each family, to buy into a national myth when betterment and opportunity lie ahead. And that may be a reason why Europe (even supposing the EU had a clue) may fail to convince with its own, different, version of Europeanness.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 02:20:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Market Europe just like Coca-Cola, says scholar | EurActiv

To forge a real sense of ownership and belonging, EU leaders and politicians should better market the European project, said the Indian dean of French business school INSEAD, Dipak C. Jain, in a recent interview with EurActiv.

Regular marketing and strategic excellence groups are the key ingredients to reinstate the true value of the European Project, according to the business school marketing professor.

Having followed the American Dream and now seeking to live the European Dream, the Indian says that Europe's citizens take the unity of the continent for granted and fail to "own it" or nurture it enough.

"Look, Coke and Pepsi, everyone in the world knows Coke and Pepsi, but every day they are still advertising. Somebody would ask that question: Why should Coke and Pepsi advertise? They are so well-known. But every day you still see their ads because that is the measure of communicating, of creating a sense of freshness," Jain said.

People should be proud of what they have achieved, he said, adding that those achieving excellence abroad should come back and explain the uniqueness of the European model.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 03:55:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The united states is known as a melting pot.  Individual cultural differences are not encouraged, and in some cases not tolerated.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 12:33:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would actually agree that the European project is encouraging nationalist populism as it is set up. The focus seem to have been to build a European elite out of national elites, which is bound to cause recentment among those who see power drifting even further away, becoming more unaccountable as it does. This setup also makes sure that those who are good at creating elite consensus will be advancing, something that could explain the often here noted ineptness when there are actually campaigns to foster european identity among the general population.

So I would say that it is perfectly possible to create a European people, but the EU is doing very little to do that. Considering the violence of new nationalities (as they tend to be formed in opposition to the other) that might be a good thing.

I think a European political level is possible without a European people, but it will always be at a disadvantage compared to the national level. Making it necessary for the Europena level to be more democratic, more transparent and less corrupt then the national level to be on par in influence. Or at least it needs the propaganda apparutus to appear to be better.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 03:08:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One might argue, with tongue only partially in cheek, that Eurovision has done far more to create Yurpeens than the ECB and its attendant (what's the word for people who kiss "feet" at court?)

Migueru and others often point out that there is an internet generation which might not be Yurpeen, but certainly is global. (That they are also fodder for globalized psychological control must also not be forgotten.)

I doubt very much that my 10 years in Yurp qualifies me as Yurpeen (especially in Mitte Friesland, or am i in Ost-Friesland, nee), but i'll bet i've got as much invested in the success of the EU as anyone.

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:04:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PS.  The "partially" tongue in cheek comment about Eurovision says volumes about the "leadership" of the EU.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:07:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd agree with most of that, except that I think national-populism has been whipped up by media in the hands of the same interests that want free trade in a single market (unconstrained by a strongly regulatory supra-national level).

But yes, the distance of the EU political and administrative levels from the vast majority of people has created optimal conditions for a war of populist attrition.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 02:33:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no such thing as an European people. We are culturally too different.

What is your scale of cultural difference and standard for "too different" cut-off point? Are people in Spain cutlturally too different, too? Or people in different districts of Paris? Biker gangs frequenting a rocker pub and youth dancing in an R&B disco in London?

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

by DoDo on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:43:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not have a precise "ruler" to give you. There is a multitude of things.

But I would say language is normally a big barrier. But even that one has exceptions (think .CH).

Having lived in several euro countries I have several times done cultural blunders galore. For instance, this last weekend I told the father of my partner that I was drunk one day the previous weekend (in the UK no less). My partner was looking at me, killing me with her eyes. It was a particular cultural blunder in Portugal: if you say that you spend part of your weekend drunk, you are not to be trusted. But, in the UK...

This, of course, is a anedoctal example. I can go on...

In Portugal having a ground flood apartment is cheaper. In The Netherlands is the opposite.

Arriving on time in Portugal is rare, in UK common, in NL overwhelmingly common.

If you Bike in Portugal to work, you are strange (very) person. In NL, it is quite normal.

These are all anedoctal examples, of course, but they accumulate, accumulate and make cultural communication difficult. And then there are serious things (for instance most small commerce in Portugal evade taxes en masse... that is seen as "smart"). The trains in Portugal are seen as an embarrassment from the past. More 800KM are being dismantled (ECB/IMF agreement) and nobody seems to care...

And on, and on, and on...

But I cannot give you a precise rule. Of course not...

by cagatacos on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:48:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently only 1.5% of the EU population takes advantage of free movement of persons. I'm sure people come and go - in my case I would have counted against that statistic for 4 years last decade, but not any more.

So let's say since the Single European Act 20 years ago 6-8% of the population has taken advantage of the free movement of persons. What about the rest?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 12:03:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Table 1, page 35, of http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2011/201130/201130pap.pdf
suggests that the average lifetime rate of migration (across any state border) in the U.S. is around 30%...
by asdf on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:52:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I don't think the USA should be the model on this. On one hand, US moving-around is enabled by uniform suburbs and a single language. On the other hand, it is unsustainable and leaves behind wastelands.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 04:15:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently only 1.5% of the EU population takes advantage of free movement of persons

What should I compare this number with? Any similar numbers on state-level internal migration in federal EU member countries, for example?

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 04:16:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know very few people in Madrid whose parents were born here.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 04:20:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that is a capitol and capitols tend to grow unproportionally by movement to the capitol.

Looking at Sweden, I would guess that the movement factor (however it is defined) is greater among people with a university education then people without a university education (as getting one often means moving). Greater among urbanites then ruralites (as movement to the countryside is much less then from).

If you factor in class I would guess that working class moves the least in presentday Sweden. You stay were you have connections. Middle class often moves at least twice, one for education and one for job. Upper class might move for education, often abroad, but then moves back to family estate or Stockholm as that is where they have their connections.

European movement is probably mostly limited to professions where it is necessary for a succesfull career.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 07:41:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you mean Capital rather than Capitol.

With the PN out of the way, lots of other regions in Spain have undergone population inflows, especially the industrial areas in the Basque Country and Catalonia. The issues is what counts as "migration" for the purposes of comparison with migration across EU member state borders. At the level of the region-autonomous community probably qualifies. In that case there have been large population movements within Spain, andnot only into Madrid.

This is the kind of economic migration that Germany is once again encouraging from the periphery (Merkel famously visited Spain last year to encourage young Spaniards to apply for jobs in Germany).

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 10:19:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the source for the 1.5% figure? Isn't it really the annual number for movements between different EU regions? And which year does it correspond to: are they from the time of or after the big recent migration waves west from the new EU members accounted for?

As for my own question, I fed the migration stats and the total population for Germany resp. pre-1991 West  Germany into a spreadsheet. I did't bother with a plot, just describe the trends:

  • annual rate of moves between municipalities within a state of Germany (this should be strongest due to urbanization): was above 4% in the 1960s, now just above 3%
  • annual rate of moves between different states of Germany: was 1.85% in 1965, dropped to 1% by the eighties, now hovering around 1.3%
  • annual rate of moves away from Germany: fluctuated between 0.7% and 1%, now around 0.9%
  • annual rate of moves into Germany: wild swings between 2% and 0.7% moderating in the last decade and half, now around 0.9%

:: :: :: :: ::

As a rule, there is lower migration over larger distances, but I see no watershed differences here at any level.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 06:06:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was the correct answer for a question in a Croatian online media quiz about the EU and Croatia's accession.

I tried to source the figure and failed.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 06:53:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because I love Eurostat:
In 2008 (the year with the largest number of countries reporting) 1.4 million people moved from one EU country to another. This corresponds to 0.28% of the EU population.

Table for countries with 2008 data. (UK outflow from 2009)

Country Outflow % Inflow %
Bulgaria 0.02 0.00
Czech Republic 0.05 0.17
Denmark 0.32 0.36
Germany 0.50 0.41
Estonia 0.30 0.07
Ireland 0.84 0.73
Greece 0.18 0.23
Spain 0.07 0.43
France 0.06 0.10
Italy 0.08 0.36
Cyprus 0.20 0.82
Latvia 0.15 0.07
Lithuania 0.32 0.01
Luxembourg 1.86 2.87
Hungary 0.03 0.18
Malta 1.16 1.10
Netherlands 0.31 0.34
Austria 0.43 0.67
Poland 0.16 0.01
Portugal 0.14 0.04
Romania 0.02 ---
Slovenia 0.21 0.10
Slovakia 0.03 0.16
Finland 0.16 0.14
Sweden 0.22 0.33
United Kingdom 0.24 0.32
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 07:57:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be quite consistent with the 6% over 20 years estimate, though 2008 could be a low point. You'd rather move when there is an asymetric crisis (as now if you're Spanish or Greek) than in 2008 when it looked global.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 08:56:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking at time series for some countries where data was available, 2008 looks normal. The migration rates crash in 2009, though. And we can see what must be Spanish and Italian property/retirement bubbles in 2007. Or at least for Spain. For Italy it looks like just a spike in 2007 from a low background. Is this sensible, or are data suspect?
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 10:01:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't look at the destination countries, look at the departure ones: Romania, Bulgaria for 2007, and the Baltics (OK you had Poland) from 2004 onwards.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 10:18:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There doesn't really seem to be much of destination vs. departure distinction. Or rather, the countries you mention are departure countries. But people are not leaving them in much larger numbers than people are leaving some so-called destination countries. There are also a few clear destination countries (in 2008) such as Spain and Italy.

But here are some time series anyway. No crash in 2008, and data for 2009 is largely missing. But note, people are not leaving these countries at greater rates than they leave for example Germany, though Germany has a balanced in/out flow. In terms of total internal EU migration these countries make a small contribution.

Emigration (to EU27 countries)

Immigration (from EU27 countries)

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 11:19:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There doesn't really seem to be much of destination vs. departure distinction.

There is in the explanation: you guessed property/retirement bubbles in destination countries, I guessed EU accession of departure countries, in particular of Romanic language speakers. But, if I am reading that graph right, Romania's total EU-27 emigration numbers actually dropped!? I have to double-check this.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 11:55:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What data did you use for the diagrams?

I looked at the Statistics tab, "Database" sidebar link, Population > International Migration and Asylum > International migration flows folder, and both the immigration and emigration sub-folders. The latter is in line with your data, except it's up to 2007 only and there is no data for Romania. But, more importantly, it appears to me that those two datasets aren't in concert at all. Total emigration from Bulgaria in 2007 is given as 2958 persons. However, immigration of Bulgarian nationals to Spain alone was 31,331 persons! From Romania, it's 197,642 persons (half of the EU-27 minus Spain citizen immigrants)!

I suspect that there is an issue of differing national definitions of emigration here (with emigrants classified as tourists for example).

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 12:17:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Immigration to Italy in 2007: 324,801 citizens of the EU-27 minus Italy, of whom 271,443 (84%!) were Romanian citizens, 19,101 Polish, 13,362 Bulgarian, all others a few thousand or less (while returning Italians numbered 42,818).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 12:29:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, same folder as you.
Tables: "Immigration by sex, age group and citizenship" and "Emigration by sex, age group and country of next usual residence".

You are right, something doesn't add up.
Emigration from Romania to Italy is
2.731, 3.393, 1.401, 1.098 in 2004-2008
Immigration to Italy from Romania is
66.098, 45.338, 39.715, 271.443, 174.554, 105.597 in 2004 - 2009

Perhaps people don't declare that they are leaving. Though I suppose that may vary between countries. I would check others, but the data explorer in being very annoying. So, not reliable statistics, then.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 04:26:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also ,aren't there some false zeroes for 2009 on your diagram?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 10:19:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 11:20:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to doubt that figure. There are about 1% of the French in the UK alone. And it's the second-biggest country in the whole area. How many Poles live abroad? Belgians?

Now, I realise that we can't move all that much. But that is not necessarily required to create an identity. We share so much history (some will argue that French food is the daughter of Italy, French was the language of the crown in England for centuries ...)! You could argue that there are usually more values in common between any two Europeans than between a Republican and a Democrat in the US.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 08:54:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I get much less total incomprehension dealing with Europeans - even those who aren't adept in English - than I do with USians.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 09:15:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Commission press releases: Foreign citizens made up 6.5% of the EU27 population in 2010 Foreign-born people accounted for 9.4% of the EU27 population (Eurostat, 14 July 2011)
In 2010, 32.5 million foreign citizens1 lived in the EU27 Member States, of which 12.3 million were citizens of another EU27 Member State and the remaining 20.2 million were citizens of countries outside the EU27. Foreign citizens accounted for 6.5% of the total EU27 population. On average in 2010, foreign citizens living in the EU27 were significantly younger than the population of nationals (median age2 34.4 years compared with 41.5 years).

These figures come from a report3 published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

...

In 2010, the largest numbers of foreign citizens were recorded in Germany (7.1 million persons or 9% of the total population), Spain (5.7 million or 12%), the United Kingdom (4.4 million or 7%), Italy (4.2 million or 7%) and France (3.8 million or 6%). In total, more than 75% of the foreign citizens in the EU27 lived in these five Member States.

Among the EU27 Member States, the highest percentage of foreign citizens in the population was observed in Luxembourg (43% of the total population), followed by Latvia4 (17%), Estonia4 and Cyprus (both 16%). The percentage of foreign citizens was less than 2% in Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia.

In terms of citizenship, nearly 40% of the EU foreign population were citizens of another EU27 Member State, with the highest shares in Luxembourg (86% of the foreign population), Ireland (80%), Belgium (68%), Cyprus (66%), Slovakia (62%) and Hungary (59%).



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 08:07:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The release also has data on foreign-born residents. Those born in another EU27 Member State are 3.2% of the total EU population (vs. 2.5% for citizens of another EU27 Member State). The highest ratios (with the corresponding citizen percentage in parentheses):

  1. Luxembourg 26.9% (37.1%)
  2. Ireland 9.8% (6.9%)
  3. Austria 6.1% (3.9%)
  4. Cyprus 5.3% (10.4%)
  5. Spain 5.1% (5.1%)
    Sweden 5.1% (2.9%)
  6. Germany 4.2% (3.1%)

Note Luxembourg and Cyprus: methinks that can only mean denied citizenship for children born to foreign citizen. Though I'm not sure how they count double citizens.

As for the lowest figure, by far, Poland has only 0.4% residents born in another EU-27 country (0.0% [!?] citizens).

There is no data on Belgium, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Romania.

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

by DoDo on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 02:04:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyprus numbers I guess could be related to the division of Cyprus. Foreign-born citizens living abroad? Ie exiles that keep and pass on their citizenship?

Luxembourg, hm, my gut reaction is that the numbers has something to do with tax-evasion. But I do not know enough dirty tax tricks to turn this into a hypothesis.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 02:56:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm? I don't get either of your arguments. What these numbers mean is that at least 5.1% of the population of Cyprus and 10.2% of the population of Luxembourg have been born in the respective country but don't have the corresponding citizenship. I don't get how exiles living abroad or tax evasion can explain this.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 04:47:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I must have misunderstood "corresponding citizen percentage". I took it to mean percentage of citizen who are foreign-born. What did it mean?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 07:00:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah. It meant in the same sense as for the preceding stat for all of the EU27: percentage of the population living in a given EU27 country but having the citizenship of another EU27 country.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jul 15th, 2011 at 01:34:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see.

New theory: Luxembourg being really small and having lots of EU institutions could have a significant percentage of EU-bureacrats who prefer to have their original citizensship and pass it on to their children.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jul 15th, 2011 at 02:31:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkish Cypriots not acquiring Cypriot citizenship can easily account for the discrepancy I think...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Jul 15th, 2011 at 03:45:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think if they are accounted for as non-citizens, then as citizens of a non-EU27 country.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jul 15th, 2011 at 04:47:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
language is normally a big barrier

No doubt about it. But, first, there are several multilingual countries in the world, Switzerland is not the only one. Second, while language is closely tied to the concept of most European nationalisms, the situation is not as clear-cut on a closer look. That is, a key to the creation of European nations was the creation of education systems and media using and spreading a unified language, a process involving the suppression of language variation within the borders of a prospective nation state, but that variation wasn't suppressed entirely. So for example German has the South German 'dialects' and the associated 'veal sausage equator' cultural divide. English has its class-based dialects in England. Then there is Catalan, which has largely shaken off the notion of being a 'dialect' of Spanish, and a pseudo-debate about whether Valencian is a dialect of Catalan or not.

Having lived in several euro countries I have several times done cultural blunders galore.

Moving between countries is not the only way you can get into cultural blunders. For example, I am convinced that at least in my region, countryside vs. urban is as wide of a cultural divide as language, and the customs breached that identify you as one from the wrong place are innumerable (from greeting customs to preferred music instruments). Class, again, is a great 'source' of cultural blunders (your drunkedness example in particular works out rather differently if you talk with people of different status I think).

In Portugal having a ground flood apartment is cheaper. In The Netherlands is the opposite.

How is that supposed to make an European people impossible? And again, you have such differences at much lower level, even within a single city (depends on the lift/staircase, garden, view, number of levels, flat or tiled roof).

Arriving on time in Portugal is rare, in UK common, in NL overwhelmingly common.

Differences in working culture (which, again, don't so easily map on nations as you think) can indeed pose a serious problem when one looks for a job in a different region or works in the same project with people from far away. But, is it insurmountable? I don't think so. And as long as genuine (that is, truly self-sufficient) national economies are impossible (because they are), such cultural differences will have to be scaled, whatever the future of the EU and Europeanness (or Spain and SPanishness or London and Londonerness).

If you Bike in Portugal to work, you are strange (very) person. In NL, it is quite normal.

This changes fast and does so at a more local level... Biker culture grows on biker infrastructure (and traffic rules) and the visibility of interest groups (like CriticalMass). I'm commuting by the same train for five years now, there were no commuters with a bike when I started, there are about a dozen every morning now (and of every age!).

More 800KM are being dismantled (ECB/IMF agreement) and nobody seems to care...

Let me disillusion you: the closure of branchlines, based on the idiotic concept of evaluating the economic potential of railways by considering every rail line and the traffic on it separately and without a serious consideration of upgrades, is a Europe-wide 'trend' for decades now.

And on, and on, and on...

On and on and on, I see you emphasizing differences with an implicit assumption that such or similar differences don't exist within or across the units you want to de-couple Europe (and perhaps some of its member states?) into. I suggest that you consider that neither a political entity, nor a concept of collective identity needs a lack of diversity, and even if there is a concept of same-ness, it can be illusory. That, and I'd find the forces for actually creating the cultural same-ness within the de-coupled units you dream of rather oppressive.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 05:05:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:

Arriving on time in Portugal is rare, in UK common, in NL overwhelmingly common.

Differences in working culture (which, again, don't so easily map on nations as you think) can indeed pose a serious problem when one looks for a job in a different region or works in the same project with people from far away. But, is it insurmountable? I don't think so. And as long as genuine (that is, truly self-sufficient) national economies are impossible (because they are), such cultural differences will have to be scaled, whatever the future of the EU and Europeanness (or Spain and SPanishness or London and Londonerness).

Arriving on time and standing very politely in line are hallmarks of swedish national character. Both was formed in the late 19th century by the national railroad company to conform with its needs. I in particular like the pamphlet on how to queue.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 07:47:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
> There is no such thing as an European people.

Meh. The concept of a "people" is an arbitrary one anyway.

The flip side of course is that a "people" emerges whenever a critical mass of people believe that their identity derives from a specific shared set of commonalities (be they culturally of pseudo-genetically defined).

If enough people believe in it, it becomes true.

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

by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:30:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a "people" emerges whenever a critical mass of people believe that their identity derives from a specific shared set of commonalities

...with the qualification that the specific set of characteristics believed to be shared commonalities doesn't have to be the same for all individual believers; what is needed is that a critical mass of the believers overlooks the differences for the time being (which doesn't exclude eventual evolution to separatism or civil war or ethnic cleansing).

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

by DoDo on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:44:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the distinct "cultures" are made up anyway. Little stories more-or-less consciously manufactured to justify power grabs by local middle classes or aristocracies, as a rule.

It's interesting to see you line up with the xenophobic right on the importance of difference too. They've spent decades trying to kill the idea of solidarity. Nice to see they've succeeded.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:12:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are indeed correct, I fully agree that differences are very important. But my view is that they are mostly POSITIVE (not negative). If we were really similar than it would be very difficult to adapt to a situation when some largely shared quality suddenly became adversarial to survival. Diversity is another name for nature.

So, yes I think the xenophobic right is on to something. And feel free to connect me to them (if you think that that increases the quality of the argument). At least they understand that there are important differences. It is the way that they view difference that is problematic (a view that is shared by many "progressives" - they view difference as a bad thing and want everybody to be equally "cosmopolitan").

Another pragmatic issue is that, in problematic times, people tend to protect the ones they identify with (and vilify "the other"). I am not saying I like this, just making what I believe is an observation of fact. This is one of the reasons I believe we live in dangerous times: we (Europeans) are too coupled and we do not identify as a single group (we identify on a national basis) - this is a recipe to war.

Maybe it would have been possible to have created an identity for ourselves as Europeans in the very near past (I do not believe this, but maybe). Clearly, that option is now mostly gone.

by cagatacos on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 12:03:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe it would have been possible to have created an identity for ourselves as Europeans in the very near past (I do not believe this, but maybe). Clearly, that option is now mostly gone.
I think at most 15% of the public will miss it when it's gone.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 12:22:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
cagatacos:
we (Europeans) are too coupled and we do not identify as a single group (we identify on a national basis) - this is a recipe to war.

I suggest you think about the centuries of war behind us. This is not just about WWII - it is long centuries of rivalry and warfare.

Were we "too coupled" then? Were we not, on the contrary, "national"?

If there's a recipe for war, I'm afraid it lies in the neoliberal commandment to be competitive. Particularly in a global rat-race where a considerable number of European countries will be in difficulty as individual units. But then, I agree, that's what is happening to us now because of the craven uselessness of our political leaders.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 02:51:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to nit pick, but we were too coupled in different ways: land disputes for instance. Too much relationship does not only mean institutional, but a plethora of other things (some of which is not even voluntary, like shared borders).

That being said, I fully agree with the neo-liberal problem that you raise. Better would have been possible, but the system is neo-lib by design.

by cagatacos on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:02:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we were too coupled in different ways: land disputes for instance.

I think we are even more coupled in those ways now. How do you suggest to untangle it other than war? Should Spain send home all retired Brits, for example?

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 05:10:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 This discussion of European-ness or the lack of it strikes me as fascinating, important and in various respects, mistaken in a number of ways.

  If you'd immigrated to Europe as I did--especially from a culture which is itself an off-shoot of a part of or a near part of "Europe" (it always struck me as odd that the British people(s) or many of them tend or try not to think of themselves as European but that's another related and long story), an adult largely unfamiliar with any European nation or culture, you'd be able to recognize how a European culture that cuts across nationalities and languages exists.  Centuries ago, it was feudal, monarchist, etc.  In the succeeding centuries, much for the better, it became or trended toward the democratic and the old-style feudalism ended as did the old formal monarchies--though some today regret this.  

   If you want to know what "European-ness" is or means, spend a good stretch of time in a remote land that was not once a colony of a European nation (or even some which were once colonies).  

   Great differences and great similarities among Europeans are a good thing and, whether good or not they're a fact.  Nearly complete similarity or dissimilarity wouldn't be as good a thing even if it were possible.

   Neo-liberal globalization would install a different sort of neo-feudalism and an anti- and un- democratic social, political and economic authoritarian or perhaps totalitarian aristocracy which takes current trends and pushes them further in the same direction of closed, opaque and un-checked power of, by and for the interests of a rentier class.  That's the threat that all Europeans face now and it would help a lot if they recognized it and untited resolutely to oppose it because, if it's allowed to become fully, technologically entrenched, it will be absolute Hell to dislodge it until it leads to near or complete environmental wreck and ruin which undermines it--but by that time, we'd also be undone and a desirable human future also undone.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 06:32:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  "given that the euro was the last "successful" political project of the EU"

    "The operation (surgery) was a success; but the patient died." ?

   To call the Euro common currency policy a success requires a lot of assumptions which I can't make.

  Measured in terms of its fostering European economic intergration, I consider it a marked failure.  It didn't harmonize wage or labour policies or practices, it didn't even contribute to that.

   It saved corporate interests (financial and others) currency conversion costs and it rationalized the accounting & costing of projects beyond one nation's boundaries.  Thus, it made shipping jobs and manufacturing out to cheaper labour easier to convince corporate decision-makers to do--further rationalizing an already anti-humane process by helping to further conceal its negative aspects from people already disposed not to look at them.

   The Euro currency, in the way it was done, not a common currency program in and of itself, seems to me to have been a project by and for the interests of a narrow set of interests which are, to put it bluntly, inimical to much if not practically everything inherently humane and worthy about the rest of the European Union project as a whole social, political and economic project.  The Euro was essentially a boon to Neo-liberal economic interests.  The trouble is that these are based on fallacies and, as we're seeing, when put into practice, they produce disastrous results.

   But, in the main, those neo-liberal economic interests are shielded from bearing the costs, burdens and consequences of the ensuing disasters.  These are shoved off on others who are helpless to avoid them.

   There was never any question that the European Union project could "go in reverse"-- i.e. fail, devolve, suffer a disintegration.  The idea that it was immune from these was never other than make-believe; but make-believe has characterized so much about what European Union elites have argued and insisted on and tried to do.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:34:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just yesterday in Comment is Free: Why the euro is not worth saving
This crisis has exposed the fact that - unlike the EU itself - the eurozone's monetary union was always a rightwing project
.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:45:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]

  Thank you for the link.  Great article. I'd missed the earlier comments about it.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge
by proximity1 on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:58:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 I recall a post from Jake S. in which he pointed out that the structural problems could go on and on producing other similar monetary imbalances with all that this implies as long as the fundamental issues are left unaddressed.  But addressing them means taking on directly the central place of the financial-order and the set of imperatives its interests place ahead of everything else.

  So, we might ask: how are those in office whose power is ultimately beholden to these financial interests supposed to oppose them effectively?

   The episode so far involving Greece shows that saving the investors from the market's rigors by covering their losses at the expense of the Greek people doesn't do anything to lessen the eventual default of the Greek government which is now stuck with the burdens that the investors were spared having to face.  

   The main lesson appears to be: the market's claimed and supposed corrective rigors--which involve poor investment decisions leading to losses for the investors--has been short-circuited and thus defeated.  In other words, the basis for this market ecomomy virtue including an imposed responsibiliity on decision makers for their choices is shown to be a sham.  How do Euro advocates fix that problem?

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:47:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I recall a post from Jake S. in which he pointed out that the structural problems could go on and on producing other similar monetary imbalances with all that this implies as long as the fundamental issues are left unaddressed.  But addressing them means taking on directly the central place of the financial-order and the set of imperatives its interests place ahead of everything else.

Yes, the real issue is that the Euro rules include no negative feedback mechanism for internal Eurozone trade imbalances, and that the "solution" embodied in the Pact for the Euro basically boils down to IMFing the periphery and condemning it to permanent recession.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:55:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by cagatacos on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:52:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At stage 1.

Double the size of the EFSF to €1.5 trillion of equity from the EcoFin plus a credit line from the ECB, replace Klaus Regling with George Soros leading it, and give Soros total discretion in the use of funds.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:46:32 AM EST
That's still under 2 :) ("meaningful support")

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:47:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Point.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:54:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What would be the objective of that move? Long term? Short term?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:48:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It assumes Soros broke the European Exchange Mechanism in 1992 out of skill and not out of luck. You put the grayback wolf in charge of defending the sheep from the cubs.

If you're going to fight off a market attack you need two things: unlimited funds and credibility with the enemy.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:50:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a third option besides skill and luck: That any sucker could have done it if he had enough money to toss around, and it was just that Soros was the one sitting on the big pile of cash.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:59:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then do it just for the credibility with the enemy. The market is stupid like that.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:01:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, allow Mario Draghi to run for PM of Italy by appointing Willem Buiter ECB president in his stead (after giving Buiter Dutch nationality).

Why Buiter? Because he's one of the few pwople who writes sense about central banking in the context of internationally active banks.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:53:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Merkelettes' Siren Song Sounds Very German

Not sure which euro-zone country might be next in line for a bailout? Confused about exactly which government bonds to sell? Anxious to find out where not to sell protection against default?

There are so many alternatives it can be difficult. Could it be Spain, with its sky-high unemployment rate and enough empty buildings to house the population of more than one of the Baltic states? Could it be Belgium, which still doesn't have a government a year after general elections and doesn't seem likely ever to have one again?

Well, you could mess about with spreadsheets and do some deep thinking about long-term growth prospects, social cohesiveness and debt dynamics. Or you could just wait for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to open her mouth.

Having already sealed the fates of Greece, Ireland and Portugal by choosing exactly the wrong time to name a sell-by date for a euro-zone default--2013, by the way--Mrs. Merkel jumped back into the fray on Monday.

For no apparent reason, she decided to tell the world that Italy must send "a very important signal" to nervous investors by following through on its budget plan.

(...)

From the middle of last week, investors' confidence in Italy started to crumble. There was speculation that its banks wouldn't do very well in stress tests to be published Friday, and that could end up costing the government more money it doesn't have. And while the government has embarked on an ambitious new plan to cut its deficit, its growth forecasts seem wildly optimistic.

Having said that, there is a time when it is just about possible to get everyone off the slopes before an avalanche hits, if only it weren't for the person screaming "avalanche" from the safety of a higher peak.

Yet again, the German chancellor has done the screaming, dutifully echoed by a chorus of northern European finance officials we can collectively call the Merkelettes.

(...)

Is scolding the southern ne'er-do-wells in public just an election tactic, and is the collapse of the euro zone a small price to pay for a third term?



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:58:05 AM EST
Precisely in this context do we note a missing link in the ET universe. Perhaps because the blog is in english, there is a dearth of reporting and comment from German-speaking citizens.

Given the siren-singing of Angie and the Merkelettes, we need to have the blog reflect German voices as well.

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:14:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember advocating for a multilingual ET, especially adding German blogging, as early as 2006.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:18:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See links here and also this comment by afew.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:22:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are there any bloggers who write on German-language sites that might be worth following?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:22:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On this issue the failure is mine, i'm not active nor follow much of the German blogging universe.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:38:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mine too. I don't have a clue where to even begin to look. If we found some, we could post excerpts here, and forward the discussion back to them, maybe thus encouraging some of them to post here as well.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:45:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have had and lost German bloggers, who contributed in English:

  • Jörg in Berlin, coming from Atlantic Review
  • Nanne, who was Dutch but lived in Germany and also started blogging with Atlantic Review before apparently stopping blogging altogether
  • Martin, here on ET
  • Ritter, also here on ET

DoDo regularly blogs about German politics and brings in bilingual content.

One thing I have noticed is that, French or Spanish language media and blogging are mostly of national interest or from a national perspective. I haven't read nearly enough of the German language web to have an impression. But I think the European public sphere functions mostly in English as a lingua franca, with national-language debating spheres focused mostly on the national level.

In French there's Quatremer. Café Babel has made an attempt at multilingual media. But it doesn't seem to work. The internationally-minded can and do use English (and German, and French, as here on ET).

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:53:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember some of them. But I was thinking of communication mainly in the other direction, to involve people who don't find us directly.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:06:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If bilingual diaries don't do the trick then maybe full non-English content would be necessary. But the debate would irreparably fragment.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:07:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A discussion we were having already in January 2006!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:32:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. And bilingual Spanish or French diaries didn't do the trick, because you can only have monolongual comment threads and it's possible that it's the comment threads that do it.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:12:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]

If bilingual diaries don't do the trick then maybe full non-English content would be necessary. But the debate would irreparably fragment.

Interesting that a community of highly literate and cosmopolitan European citizens cannot find a solution to language barriers.

Can I suggest that language is a difficult barrier to solve? That it may even impose limits to the degree of communication possible? And that that might have some political consequences...

by cagatacos on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 12:10:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, we can communicate among ourselves in a variety of languages.

But if we attract monolingual users in different languages (as opposed to keeping just the English monolinguals currently on ET) the debate will fragment.

Unless the polyglots spend their time translating other people's comments or we integrate automatic use of Google translate into the user interface. Which would be an interesting experiment...

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 12:20:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, that was what I had in my mind and express terribly wrong. It is difficult to conceive a system that easily allows people with different linguistic backgrounds to communicate fully. Even when people are mostly interested in communicating among themselves.

The problem is much more serious with face-to-face communication. I have lost much (in personal terms) while in British pubs (the UK was where I spent most of my professional life), those little things that make direct, spontaneous communication next to impossible. The accent that you don't understand, the joke you lose because you fail to know some cultural detail, ...

I think these "minor" details are much more important than they seem. They make it more difficult to build complicities. You end up (in cosmopolitan settings) seeing people clustering by some kind of identity factor (language, cultural). Again, I am not saying I like this, it is only what I deem as an observation.

by cagatacos on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 12:29:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Face-to-face communication is aided by body language and nonverbal communication generally.

But even there, there are "linguistic" differences. Italian body language in conversation is notorious, but every culture has its own.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 12:43:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
cagatacos:
Can I suggest that language is a difficult barrier to solve? That it may even impose limits to the degree of communication possible? And that that might have some political consequences...

Language is a difficult barrier, but all the smae, how many languages are/were spoken across Europe? And how did that prevent the creation of nation-states such as they exist now? And, contrariwise, why did not nation-states emerge that brought together those of the same language? (In other words, why no state of all German-speakers or all French-speakers?).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 02:18:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words, why no state of all German-speakers or all French-speakers?
Heh. Last time we tried that, 50 million people died.

Furthermore, lots of small languages and minorities were more or less forcibly assimiliated during the 19th century, creating the homogenous nation states. And what a mess we would today if that had not been done back then.

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

by Starvid on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 02:26:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, these are answers to my questions.

Above all, I meant to say that the creation of nation-states was not (necessarily) determined by common language or culture, but by political arrangements (including more or less adhesion or coercion).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 02:58:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I suggested above, language is important but not a clear cut. Not suggesting an absolute rule, just an important factor. I can easily contradict myself just by invoking Switzerland but, there are much more examples in favour of language as an important factor (e.g. contemporary Belgium) than against.
by cagatacos on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:53:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However, this emphasis on language is a modern political construct, largely created in the 19th and early 20th centuries (then again, so is democracy as we know it...).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:59:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that you raise things in a century-long perspective it does indeed brings another flavour to the discussion.

Maybe when cities became linguistically homogeneous (which they are nowadays - even melting pots - at least there is a clear majority language) it then became an issue.

But reading some descriptions of medieval cities, me thinks you have a point there.

by cagatacos on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:10:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unhh. Dah.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:20:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's less about cities becoming homogenous and a lot more about a deliberate political drive to establish "the nation" (i.e. the language) as a polity, which could then be leveraged in other power struggles. The relevant ideologues of the time were quite clear on this (at least in Denmark, where nationalism was quite explicitly fanned in a ploy to weaken the monarchy by starting a civil war in Slesvig).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:45:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And then other nationalism were invoked for Norway and Iceland to break away from Denmark.

Ethno-nationalism is a toxic soup.  

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

by ATinNM on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:53:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PN: Norway seceded from Sweden, not Denmark. Denmark lost Norway to Sweden when we backed Napoleon's little exercise in futility.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:08:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ack.

Brain fart.


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

by ATinNM on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 08:32:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Ethno-nationalism is a toxic soup.

It does exist. Toxic or not.

My point is not that it is good. Just that it exists.

One is free to try to mitigate it, to reduce it, to control it, to fight it. But not to assume it does not exist. And it is stronger than any feeling of "Europeaness".

I suggest that it might be easier (and better) to disarm its ugly parts (the we-are-better-than-others mentality) than build a European identity (at least one that is stronger than localized/nation-based identities).

by cagatacos on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:30:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say that nationalism started out in the 18th century as just another way for the ruling vampire class to oppress the subjects by distracting them from domestic injustice by pointing wildy at those evil furriners, but after a couple of generations the vampires started believing their own propaganda, and ironically paved the way for democracy and greater equality, the logical result of nationalism (among other things). The line of reasoning here being: "we shouldn't do what just good for ourselves or our class, but rather the country. Hey, maybe this not only includes national glory, but the lives of our uh, let's call them, countrymen? Maybe we should stop treating them like shit, as we're on the same team? Even if we are obviously more important players than the unwashed masses are." And so on, until equal rights actually seem to be something reasonable vampires can disagree over, instead of utter madness. There are of course also very important materialistic and economic forces at work here as well, as in industrialism, better education, liberal and labour movements and so on, but as we all know that, just let's ignore those factors for now.

Likewise, I think we can see the weakening of democratic ideals (mainly equality) among our elites as a result of weakening nationalism (or the non-corrosive version, patriotism) as they identify less and less with their countrymen and more and more with foreign elites, becoming "Davos Men" instead. Or to put it another way, they are reverting back to 18th century nobly born vampires. I think basically all our economic problems are due to this development.

   

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

by Starvid on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 06:00:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say that nationalism started out in the 18th century as just another way for the ruling vampire class to oppress the subjects by distracting them from domestic injustice by pointing wildy at those evil furriners

Which nationalism are you thinking of?

I think modern nationalism started with French nationalism, the birth of which is difficult to time as the development from a concept of aristocratic class solidarity to entire population community was continuous from the 100 Years' War to the French Revolution. There were your evil furriners in Joan of Arc times, though not as mere distractions. Then when the absolutist monarchy used nationalism in its campaign to get control of what was Lotharingia, it was not evil furriners but a justification of land grabs. Then in 1789, it was focused on domestic injustice and brought down the ruling class. Tough it then led to Napoleon's expanding empire.

Most of the later nationalisms in Europe broke up existing empires and grew or empowered new elites (or adapted existing ones, like the Catholic Church).

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 06:17:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Basically, all nationalism was about distracting and oppressing the domestic population, until somewhere around the French revolution. That I agree with. It's only after that point that the vampires started believing their own propaganda, so to speak. Probably also because the elites grew, both in absolute numbers and as a fraction of the population. It wasn't just about the king, the high nobility and their cronies any longer. When you start widening the elites (with the growth of the bourgeoisie, due to faster economic growth, itself a result of new technology etc), the new members of the elite still knew where they came from (ie not being nobles), and when you started accepting a bigger elite once, you could do it again, and you could even start arguing that the difference between the elite and the people wasn't one of different natures, but rather one of a difference in degrees, if you see what I mean.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 06:43:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me emphasize the elite replacement element of my argument. This may have been less apparent in Scandinavia, where say Norway's breakaway from Sweden wasn't a revolutionary event and in Sweden itself the bourgeoise elite de-facto merged with the aristocracy rather than push it aside, but quite apparent in say Czechoslovakia or Bulgaria. In most European cases, the belief was first and the exploitation by the (new) vampire elites second.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 06:50:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And as I do not tire of pointing out, a different trajectory in the 19th century and we would all be speaking Scandinavian. And for an earlier fork we could have been speaking northern German dialects if the Hansa/landed nobility conflicts had ended differently. German was at a time the dominant language in the bigger Scandinavian cities.

It would sound differently but be as natural a result of the evolution of earlier north germanic dialects and the constructs used today.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 08:04:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 "Scandinavian" being (please excuse me if this is a etiquette blunder) the correct name for "Swedish"?

  I would love to know Swedish.  And German.  And Italian. And Norwegian, Finnish and Russian.  And Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, Japanese, Latin (classic), and Greek (classic and modern).

   Imagine!  

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 08:13:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Skandinavisk is still used to refer to the fact that Norwegians, Danes and Swedes can converse together without too much trouble even though the languages have diverged.
The Nordic Council has on several occasions referred to the (Germanic) languages spoken in Scandinavia as "Scandinavian language" (singular); for instance, the official newsletter of the Nordic Council is written in "Scandinavian language". Scandinavian is generally treated as the same language throughout Scandinavia; Scandinavians use their own language when communicating with other Scandinavians, and the command of any Scandinavian language is considered sufficient in all professional situations. A Swede who lives and works in Norway, even on a permanent basis, is not expected to speak Norwegian, neither privately nor professionally, and many Norwegians even understand Swedish better than a number of Norwegian dialects.[which?] However, speakers of Icelandic and Faroese will not be understood in mainland Scandinavia and will be expected to use mainland Scandinavian there.
(Wikipedia)

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 08:19:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  Thanks for that note.

  Mig., if you don't mind saying: I'm curious about how many languages you try and get some notions of by spending even occasional time on their vocabulary and garmmar.

   PS: I'm amused to see that the U.S. state of Minnesota is the fourth largest Scandinavian "nation" in the world.  Uf dah!   ;^)  

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 08:41:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was mainly referring to the 19th century political movement.

Scandinavism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The movement was initiated by Danish and Swedish university students in the 1840s, with a base in Scania.[5] In the beginning, the political establishments in the two countries, including the absolute monarch Christian VIII and Charles XIV with his "one man government", were suspicious of the movement.[5] The police in Denmark therefore kept the proponents of Scandinavism under close guard. However, when Oscar I became king of Sweden and Norway in 1844, the relationship with Denmark improved and the movement started to gain support in liberal newspapers like Fædrelandet and Aftonbladet, which saw it as a way to counter the conservative powers that were. During the war between Denmark and Prussia in 1848, Sweden (then in union with Norway) offered support in form of a Norwegian-Swedish expeditionary force, though the force never actually saw combat. The movement received a blow from which it never fully recovered after the second Danish-German war over Schleswig, when the Swedish government refused to join an alliance against the rising German power on the continent.

If - by another course of historical events - the movement had succeeded the dialect of the area of the federation capital would probably set the basis for Scandinavian as a language, seeing how similar Swedish, Norwegian and Danish are. The political borders has formed the languages, not the other way around.

On the same note, if the Netherlands had not been a distinct political entity from Germany in 1878, dutch would probably been a dialect of deutsch, not another language.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 01:24:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Try India (the other case study the EU should look at after Switzerland).

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 03:47:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nanne was told to stop blogging by his boss when he took up a new job last year.

In general, it's true, Germans have not "stuck" here.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:06:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Joerg had a mainstream Atlanticist slant, and I think get got the predictable hard time for it. (Not necessarily a bad thing, I think.)

Wasn't Martin more on the right too, or am I getting him confused with someone else?

Nanne wasn't, and it's a shame he's no longer allowed to blog.

We'll probably keep having the multilingual conversation regularly, but currently I don't think there's an easy answer, politically or technically - short of posting en masse on German blogs. And my German certainly isn't good enough for that.

Is there anything equivalent to ET, or even just broadly progressive, in Germany?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:15:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Martin is a convinced Catholic, and left in anger at the treatment meted out here to the Pope.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:25:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Is there anything equivalent to ET, or even just broadly progressive, in Germany?

My own German isn't good enough to surf the German Web. CH, dvx, DoDo, gk..? generic is Austrian and might be able to reply?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:29:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I certainly never found anything equivalent. And while broadly progressive discussions do happen, they seem to be rather fragmented.
by generic on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:10:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
germans have better press media, better discussions of issues on tv, and a flourishing green party. when they want progressive change they don't discuss it so much, they get out there and protest instead.

'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 Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:11:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WEISSGARNIX is a blogger with original thoughts on economic subjects whose writing I happened upon multiple times, but I don't follow it regularly, either (nor do I agree with his views). By the way, he thinks Italy is different because most government debt is held by nationals.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:18:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He turned somewhat strange after reading the old Austrians and getting a gig at the FAZ. His comment threads are one of the places I'd look for informed progressive opinions though.
by generic on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:48:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed one of his commenters pointed out that the part of the debt held by nationals is still only 55%.

reading the old Austrians

How old? Carl Menger old or Hayek/von Mises old?

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

by DoDo on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:54:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hayek/von Mises old. To be fair I didn't really follow the discussion in any detail and am mostly arguing out of prejudice. For all I know they have actual insights to offer.
by generic on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:29:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Can't answer that but I found these possibilities:

  http://financee.de/

  http://www.zeit.de/blogs/index

  reader comments (in German) follow articles here:

  http://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2011-07/Italien-Eurokrise-Lueder-Gerken

  http://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2011-07/Rating-Agenturen-Studie-Schweiz

  http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,770569,00.html  

  English-language: topical: Euro crisis at Der Spiegel:

  http://www.spiegel.de/international/topic/euro_crisis/

 and,

  discussion fora (German language) on economics at Der Spiegel:

   http://forum.spiegel.de/forumdisplay.php?s=5d502cc0b1b3ca6c94f85218e4d0d9ec&f=5

ex. :

   "Kann Europa die Euro-Krise stoppen?"

Seit Monaten suchen die Regierungschefs der Eurozone nach Rezepten gegen die Schuldenkrise, bislang ist von einer einheitlichen Linie wenig zu sehen. Bei mehreren Gipfeltreffen soll jetzt ein Rettungsplan geschmiedet werden. Kann der Kraftakt gelingen? Oder ist der Euro am Ende?

   link: http://forum.spiegel.de/showthread.php?t=31117

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:55:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spiegel is one of the bad players here... Its reporting is along the same lines as most conservative newspapers when it comes to Greece...

_______________________________________________

"Those who fight might lose, those who don't fight have already lost." - Berthold Brecht

by RavenTS on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:43:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good German blogs/sites to watch:

  • NachDenkSeiten ( http://www.nachdenkseiten.de ) - Arguably Germany's most prominent left blog; Has something called the "Hinweise des Tages" ("Today's Notes") compiling notable stuff from different sources.
  • Querschüsse ( http://www.querschuesse.de ) combing through economical and statistical data, has very good overview articles on Greece, also on German consumer confidence etc.
  • http://www.wirtschaftskampagnen.de/ is about campaigns openly or covertly conducted to manipulate opinion on economics
  • http://www.freitag.de/ - A leftish newspaper, always has at least some good content.

I have for some time now thought about compiling interesting articles/links from these sources and post them here - if there is any interest in that?

_______________________________________________

"Those who fight might lose, those who don't fight have already lost." - Berthold Brecht

by RavenTS on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:42:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mymain problem with the Nachdenkseiten is that it is a complete top down affair. No comment function or user participation except some published e-mails. Seems like a lost opportunity to me.
by generic on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:46:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right. But it still is a good starting point to find out what's happening and what could be done differently. Some articles there are cross-posted from/to Jens Bergers blog, http://www.spiegelfechter.com , and over there there are always lively discussions...

_______________________________________________

"Those who fight might lose, those who don't fight have already lost." - Berthold Brecht

by RavenTS on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 01:01:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are a few. The one which does a lot of notable press clippings and commentary:

Nachdenkseiten

Very famous and broad:

Telepolis

One year to go !

by pi (etrib@opsec.eu) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 04:43:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From April 2010 ago in The Independent [UK] The iron Frau: Angela Merkel


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:44:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For no apparent reason, she decided to tell the world that Italy must send "a very important signal" to nervous investors by following through on its budget plan.

The likely reason – Berlu threatening to not toe the line on austerity by sidelining Tremonti:

Analysis - Tremonti exit would spell big trouble for Italy | Reuters

(Reuters) - Speculation is growing that Italy's Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti -- credited with shielding the country from the euro zone debt crisis -- will soon be forced out of government, which would further raise the heat on Italian bonds.

The yield differential on Italian 10-year bonds versus safer German bunds hit its widest since the launch of the euro on Friday, as the markets worried about contagion from the Greek debt crisis.

Tremonti overcame cabinet resistance to push through a tough austerity programme last week, but now looks increasingly isolated and appears to no longer have the full support of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

If so, the operation was a success:

UPDATE 1-Italy's Tremonti returns to Rome to oversee austerity | Reuters

ROME, July 12 (Reuters) - Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti left a meeting of euro zone finance ministers early on Tuesday to oversee approval of government's austerity measures, reassuring markets hit by fears of an imminent debt crisis.

After a wild morning, in which yields on Italian 10-year bonds shot past 6.0 percent and the premium over benchmark German debt widened to a record 350 basis points, financial markets calmed following the announcement.

"Any delivery from the government on the austerity package, any good news in that respect, is very, very positive. So if politicians are getting their act together, it's absolutely good news," said Royal Bank of Scotland analyst Paola Biraschi.

...On Tuesday, Italy's main opposition group, the centre-left Democratic Party, called for the package to be approved in parliament by the end of the week, while the ruling centre-right PDL party was expected to back whatever Tremonti suggested.

"There may be possible, limited modifications but we will leave the field free for Tremonti," Anna Cinzia Bonfrisco, a senior PDL parliamentarian told reporters.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:27:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...On Tuesday, Italy's main opposition group, the centre-left Democratic Party, called for the package to be approved in parliament by the end of the week, while the ruling centre-right PDL party was expected to back whatever Tremonti suggested

Well then, that's one more EU country where the center-left betrays its base. Really depressing...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 04:42:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you should renumber 7) as 0)

Also, 5) happened a year ago after 1) happened in June 2010 without lasting long enough to cause 4)

2) Happened in February 2010.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:07:35 AM EST
another order of magnitude in the dimension of the crisis - ie one where real pain for some of our elites can no longer be avoided.

And we haven't reached the default/capital transfer restrictions/other massive EU-rules breaches stage, nor an outright open blame-each-other world (it is happening, but it's still on a somewhat deniable basis, or it has to be somewhat retracted).

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:35:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you think German government sources spreading rumours about Spain tapping the rescue fund the week before a bond issue and the banking system being cut off from the interbank market for some time was not the right order of magnitude...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:14:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree it was the same level in terms of consequences, but it was still down via rumors, not as official discourse. I do think it makes a difference (in theory if not in practice).

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 08:57:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Allegedly Zapatero was furious when he phoned Merkel in practice, not in theory.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:13:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ElPais.com is headlining the "failure" of yesterday's European Summit.

Apparently all the ministers are back home thinking they did their homework.

Spain's minister Elena Salgado is quoted as saying today "the troubled waters will return to the riverbed".

Of course they will, the question is how many drowned they will be carrying.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:15:05 AM EST
Jerome. You are forgetting step 8.

8) The guns come out.

Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying

by RogueTrooper on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:18:24 AM EST
And point inward.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Initially, yes.

However, once nationalism has consumed its internal "other" it will move abroad.

Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying

by RogueTrooper on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:43:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
dvx possibly meant "in" in the "European" sense.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:45:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed :)

Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying
by RogueTrooper on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:58:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know that at some point they're going to rebrand popular dissent as "violent lawlessness".

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:49:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have reached this point in Greece already:

Prime Minister George Papandreou warned on Wednesday that violent protests against spending cuts to satisfy international lenders threatened to lead to the kind of barbarism that in the past had derailed democracy in Greece.

The austerity required in exchange for a bailout for debt-ridden Greece has sparked attacks on politicians and bloody demonstrations on the streets of Athens, where hooded youths have fought running battles with riot police.

This is uttered a week after the police cracked down with immense violence on a 99% peaceful demonstration. Papandreou is threatening with an imaginary and surreal "demonstrator junta" yet most citizens now think of his government as the dictatorial threat.

BTW the riot police were fighting "running battles" not only with "hooded youths" but with everything that moved, downtown. The police, I note, is the only sector of public employment that is not being reduced in numbers, with the troika's consent...

So yes, "lawlessness" will be the name of dissent in the bankster dystopia the ruling elites are building across the EU, as the Greek test-case demonstrates...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:15:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But elsewhere
Papandreou: Greece is paying price for the EU's confusion

George Papandreou warned Monday that markets increasingly doubt the euro zone's ability to deal with its debt crisis and provide support for the common currency. In a letter to eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker seen by Dow Jones, Papandreou warned fellow EU leaders to end a "cacophony" of diverging views over the bloc's sovereign-debt crisis with a strong message to the markets. Papandreou said Greece can no longer afford "moving from crisis to crisis" and that it is paying the price for the EU's "experimentation and confusion."

Papandreou needs to decide who his allies are: the EU elite, the Greek people, or the financial markets.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 03:59:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 The irony here is really beyond belief.

   Just try and list the paradoxes.

   Greece, (I'm refering not to the now-delegitimized government but to what really counts: the Greek people by an overwhelming proportion) a NATO country, (no?), is under full anti-democratic assault by violent and armed forces, yet NATO is standing around picking lint off its suit jacket.  Elsewhere, where non-NATO governments are busy doing similar violence to their own peoples, NATO has shown a lively interest even to the point of taking up various forms of active defence and support--or, at the very least, diplomlatic objection to the violence-- of some of them: as in Libya for example and in less open ways in Syria, Yemen, etc.

   The Greek police, paid for by Greek taxpayers' money, are supplied with tear-gas and use it against the very people who ultimately pay their salaries.  Further, the police are using illegal violence against a popular movement bent on opposing a now-illegitimate and flagrantly undemocratic government--that is, many if not most of the protesters which police are battling are seeking a restoration of something much more resembling democratic governance than what is now the case.  Question: what possible legitimate use can a civil (or even military, for that matter) police force have for the possession and use of tear gas?  As I see it, there is none.  Crowd control in practical effect almost always means in fact anti-democratic repression of last-resort  and legitimate public protest to restore lost rights and liberties.  Full stop.  Otherwise, people simply don't go out into the streets (in contemporary circumstances) in numbers so larges and unruly as to "require" the use of tear-gas on public gatherings.

   The real situation concerns a rentier class's large-scale mass theft of public money and other resources for their own privileged benefit.  Where are the police and the public prosecutors when it comes to them?

   That brings me logically to my next observation:

   What good use are the civil and criminal laws and courts of Greece and, beyond it, Europe?  Remember Europe?  It's supposed to be under law, governed by clear and open rules and regulations.  Well, where is the legal recourse for the Greek people to stop this government operated "shake-down"?  Shouldn't the European court of justice, including the Human Rights part of it, be of aid to the Greek people?  In theory, they should.  In fact, however, they're basically useless--just like NATO's umbrella of protection.  By the time Europe's courts have gotten around to doing what the Greek courts obviously won't or can't do for the Greek people, the damage will be irreparably done.

  So, in sum:  where are the laws and institutions--civil, military, and other--which were laboriously constructed supposedly for the safety and welfare of the various publics of Europe?  What real practical use are they?  

   If Syrians can be recognized as deserving "Western" defense from the Syrian authorities, if Lybians likewise deserve the West's interest and intervention on their behalf and against the repression directed by Ghadaffi, why, then, are the Greek people (and soon others, obviously) left helplessly to face their regime's oppression?

  Why?  Why?  Why?

  Where is "Europe" when its people need help and protection from violent and lawless forces using authority illegitimately?  Where?  What use is "Europe" for its own peoples in such a troubled time as this?

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 07:21:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a long tradition of mindless use of tear gas against demonstrations of every size, going back to the 1990s at least, in Greece (see the pictures of anti-nazi resistance hero Manolis Glezos being teargassed by police in an anti-austerity demo last year) . The difference now was in scale. 2860 canisters of tear-gas were dropped in Syntagma, in the space of 10 hours: that's one every 14 seconds. And that doesn't count "sprayings" and use of stun grenades which caused total loss of hearing for one journalist(possibly due to the extra fact that the police beat him up after the explosion, instead of taking him to a hospital). There were no guns, but the level of repression was otherwise middle-eastern. And then the PM condemns protests and public disapproval as lawlessness while praising the way the police handled the situation!

People and organizations are taking the government, the police and the minister in charge to court. By the time these reach court however, even if the judges decide on the plaintiffs favor and against their social "side", it will have little political effect. I note that in order for one trigger-happy killer cop to end up in jail for a serious period of time, Athens needed to burn for two weeks in December 2008...

European elites, I think, realize that the policy they are shoving down the throats of Europe's peoples, requires that they borrow a page from Ben Ali's book. They certainly don't seem to give two damns about democracy.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 11:33:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 
  RE the end-game metaphor:

 I'm interested in your vision of who, in all of this (your scenario as enumerated above)  you see as being the main protagonists/antagonists ?

  Who--what groups--are opposed in this "struggle" for which you see us nearing the end-game phase?

   Is it Euro Union elites (in some configuration) opposed to "financial market" actors (in some configuration)?  In that case, wouldn't there be more than a few individual actors in roles on both "sides" of the picture?

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:25:42 AM EST
It seems to me you're projecting rather a lot on the use of the term "end game"?

Who uses the term "struggle" apart from you, for instance?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:31:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]

  That could be.  I shouldn't imply that Jerome sees things as being a struggle.  But, as I see it, in some important sense, whether J. meant to suggest it or not, there's a struggle involved in the sovereign debt issues involving Euro nations (not to mention elsewhere around the world.)

  If you'd prefer, please feel free to drop the term "struggle" and consider the question without that term.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 09:58:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see a struggle between the current crop of EU leaders and anything/one (apart from internecine squabbling). And if we take Market Forces™ to be incapable of political thought - naturally, by definition, since they express the sum of individual choices in the rational pursuit of utility - then Market Forces™ are not fighting the current crop of EU headless chickens. I suppose there's some shadow boxing going on, but there isn't much to see in terms of heroes measuring up to each other.

Yet the global financial sector (and global capitalism that is dominated by it)'s interests lie in a minimum of regulatory constraint and a maximum of free trade, in neoliberal ideology that obtains and sustains those aims, and are mainly based outside the EU, particularly if one considers the importance of the network of offshore financial centres aka tax havens. The development of the EU as a globally-recognizable regulatory pole (let alone a federal EU) is inimical to those interests. The "struggle" concerning Europe that we have been seeing for at least twenty years finds its centre in that hostility. (I put "struggle" between quotes because it seems to me it's been mostly capitulation on the EU leadership side, and there's another word that calls for quotes).

The euro appears today something like a life boat dropped as a desperate act by the last European federalists to a whole bunch of people in the sea, in the hope that, realizing they would otherwise drown, they would organize the climb aboard in an orderly fashion. But what may have worked in the past no longer works in an era of neoliberal ideological hegemony. I'm not simply saying "neolib forces undermined the euro", I'm also suggesting we should look at the political situation, in which conservatives or centre-left share a common pro-market doctrine, leaving us without even much hope of voting one lot out to get anything different from the other lot. I'm also pointing to the race for rapid enlargement of the EU, conducive to institutional fragmentation but single market-friendly, pushed for by the usual free-trade suspects like the UK and the Netherlands but also by formerly federalist now mercantilist Germany. Look too at the rise of petty national-populism exacerbated by media run by business-friendly interests.

In other words, I think the European project has fallen foul of the incompetence and egoism of its main protagonists, but above all of toxic injections of neoliberal doctrine. In which it is of course only part of a similar world scene. "Struggle"? There should be one, but, as Warren Buffet chortled, his side is winning. Hands down.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:17:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]

  I find a lot in there to agree with!

   

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:22:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What game is being played? Who does Merkel think is on her side? Who thinks Merkel is on their side?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:11:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Who does Merkel think is on her side? Who thinks Merkel is on their side?

Beats me.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:17:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a partial guess at the second question. Zapatero still can't bring himself to believe Merkel is his enemy.

As for the rest, I don't know.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:25:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German banks?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 02:07:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 yes, who?  These restate the questions I would like to get at.

   Who are they that Merkel represents?, if anyone?  Surely she's not simply fighting for her own peculiar personal interests in all this.  So, then, who is with her?  And who is opposed?  What, again, are the various forces (i.e. interests) ranged pro and con in this matter?  That's what I'm trying to ask.

 

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:21:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely she's not simply fighting for her own peculiar personal interests in all this.

Or maybe she is.

It's possible that the EU will come crashing down entirely to satisfy her petty power craving.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:31:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  And the E.U. "crashing" will enhance her own political power?  How is that?  

  I mean, how will her own power be enhanced in a way that it couldn't or wouldn't be just as well without the crash of the E.U.?

   And, didn't someone mention that one of the big fears of the E.U. "PiP"--the heads of state---is that the E.U. would come apart "on their 'watch'" ?

   I think that, "This could mean the end of the E.U.!" is the threat used to make the children put on their pyjamas, brush their teeth and go to their bed.  Else the big bag children-gobbling Boogey Man might eat them.

 

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:46:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know, but she doesn't have to have any higher goal in all this than preserving her reputation.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:51:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm applying my version of Occam's Razor to EU leaders:

never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:25:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  I think both malice{¤} and stupidity can be and very often are conveniently found together-- {¤} I'm thinking that "selfishness" is a better term for what's going on than "malice"

  you could call it "un-enlightened self-interest".

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:45:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's probably a combination of all of the above.

For the defence, we have the reality that there is absolutely no evidence that the Finance Party are capable of even the most basic risk management and useful financial fortune-telling.

For the prosecution - the people financing the Finance Party stand to make a lot of money, both directly through short plays and indirectly through missing regulation that the EU was trending towards.

If someone happened to find evidence that the major names had received financial support from the financiers while the constitution and other rules were being drafted, that would be - interesting.

Not that I'm suggesting such support ever existed. But if it did, it might be one of the few things with the power to change the narrative at this point.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:56:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Note, for example, Paul Krugman's remarks excerpted below from his latest column, (emphasis added):

 

  ..."The truth is that creating jobs in a depressed economy is something government could and should be doing. Yes, there are huge political obstacles to action -- notably, the fact that the House is controlled by a party that benefits from the economy's weakness. But political gridlock should not be conflated with economic reality.

Our failure to create jobs is a choice, not a necessity -- a choice rationalized by an ever-shifting set of excuses.

Excuse No. 1: Just around the corner, there's a rainbow in the sky.

Remember "green shoots"? Remember the "summer of recovery"? Policy makers keep declaring that the economy is on the mend -- and Lucy keeps snatching the football away. Yet these delusions of recovery have been an excuse for doing nothing as the jobs crisis festers.

Excuse No. 2: Fear the bond market.

Two years ago The Wall Street Journal declared that interest rates on United States debt would soon soar unless Washington stopped trying to fight the economic slump. Ever since, warnings about the imminent attack of the "bond vigilantes" have been used to attack any spending on job creation.

But basic economics said that rates would stay low as long as the economy was depressed -- and basic economics was right. The interest rate on 10-year bonds was 3.7 percent when The Wall Street Journal issued that warning; at the end of last week it was 3.03 percent.

How have the usual suspects responded? By inventing their own reality. Last week, Representative Paul Ryan, the man behind the G.O.P. plan to dismantle Medicare, declared that we must slash government spending to "take pressure off the interest rates" -- the same pressure, I suppose, that has pushed those rates to near-record lows.

Excuse No. 3: It's the workers' fault.

Unemployment soared during the financial crisis and its aftermath. So it seems bizarre to argue that the real problem lies with the workers -- that the millions of Americans who were working four years ago but aren't working now somehow lack the skills the economy needs.

Yet that's what you hear from many pundits these days: high unemployment is "structural," they say, and requires long-term solutions (which means, in practice, doing nothing).

Well, if there really was a mismatch between the workers we have and the workers we need, workers who do have the right skills, and are therefore able to find jobs, should be getting big wage increases. They aren't. In fact, average wages actually fell last month.

Excuse No. 4: We tried to stimulate the economy, and it didn't work.

Everybody knows that President Obama tried to stimulate the economy with a huge increase in government spending, and that it didn't work. But what everyone knows is wrong.

Think about it: Where are the big public works projects? Where are the armies of government workers? There are actually half a million fewer government employees now than there were when Mr. Obama took office.

So what happened to the stimulus? Much of it consisted of tax cuts, not spending. Most of the rest consisted either of aid to distressed families or aid to hard-pressed state and local governments. This aid may have mitigated the slump, but it wasn't the kind of job-creation program we could and should have had. This isn't 20-20 hindsight: some of us warned from the beginning that tax cuts would be ineffective and that the proposed spending was woefully inadequate. And so it proved.

It's also worth noting that in another area where government could make a big difference -- help for troubled homeowners -- almost nothing has been done. The Obama administration's program of mortgage relief has gone nowhere: of $46 billion allotted to help families stay in their homes, less than $2 billion has actually been spent.

So let's summarize: The economy isn't fixing itself. Nor are there real obstacles to government action: both the bond vigilantes and structural unemployment exist only in the imaginations of pundits. And if stimulus seems to have failed, it's because it was never actually tried.

Listening to what supposedly serious people say about the economy, you'd think the problem was "no, we can't." But the reality is "no, we won't." And every pundit who reinforces that destructive passivity is part of the problem.

  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/11/opinion/11krugman.html?pagewanted=print

 

   So, an idea emerges from this:

    The sovereign debt crisis is entirely and needlessly manufactured, created, by interests who see it as a great provoker of trouble which will be "fixed" in a way which tremendously enhances and consolidates the power--financial and political--which they already wield.

   Since the claimed answers to the debt problems are

   lower wages,

   more transfers of jobs and manufacturing,

   greater destruction of unions and collective bargaining power,

   a reduced competition in the private sector, greater (if that's even possible) power and control over public entities and elected and appointed officials by private corporate interests,

   maybe there are no opposed interests 'at the top'.  Maybe, instead, this is a play acted out in with the aim of convincing various publics that there's a terrible thing happening, it's going to get terribly worse unless very drastic actions are taken, and, finally, the drastic actions all add up to the public having to take far more in reductions of their quality of life while, on the other end of the spectrum, those who enjoy the best and the most are, in order for the crisis to be reolved, going to have to accept far more in benefits, more in income, a larger share of the wealth, and even greater gains in their quality of life.

   

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:40:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 more empahsis added:

 

  citing Krugman:

  "So let's summarize: The economy isn't fixing itself. Nor are there real obstacles to government action: both the bond vigilantes and structural unemployment exist only in the imaginations of pundits. And if stimulus seems to have failed, it's because it was never actually tried.

 

  So, translating a winning strategy over to the Euro zone's Euro currency crises, sovereign debt crises--perhaps we have something like

 --- both the (claimed) sickness and the cure are in the interests of your "doctors" who assure you that they'll help you if you'll only relax and let them do their expert work.

   Do you really need the Euro? or, come to think of it, the European Union?  I know, I know, we, (your doctors) were recommending it as extremely beneficial, but, hey,  what if "losing it" helped your doctor gain a lot?  He'll operate, he's trained to do that.  He can amputate.  You don't need two legs.  You can walk on crutches.  With time, you'll get used to it.  And all the doctors will tell you the same thing.  Go and ask them.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:18:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
going to have to accept far more in benefits, more in income, a larger share of the wealth, and even greater gains in their quality of life.

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it...

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 01:03:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 The crisis scenario is as follows:

1) Speculative attacks on Italy and Spain build up, eventually cutting them (and their banks) off from capital markets

 (part of the  game)

2) Germany/Northern Europe refuse to provide any meaningful support

  (part of the game)

3) Spain and/or Italy default and/or reimpose capital movement controls, put in question other basic rules of the EU

  (maybe part of the game--since the stuff that will be "put in question" will happen to be the very stuff these financial interests either don't need or don't like)

4) Banks in Spain and/or Italy and very soon thereafter elsewhere in Europe blow up

   "blow up" means what?

    default?  Uh-uh.  Not part of the game; though a very impressive threat.

  In order to keep the banks from "blowing up", you, I, and all the ordinary mortals who live in the wage-earning world, we have to take less and pay more for it so that those who have the most already and who want more, more, more, much, much more, for less, can have that.

  ...

  ...

  ...

 so these could occur but probably won't because in order to "save us" from these horrors, we'll be told that we have to cough up more for less, to the benefit of the people in a position to manufacture and use these convenient crises.  Surprise!  Surprise!  Who'd 'a thunk it?!!??!!

5) Germany blames feckless southerners and Spain/Italy blames German self-destructive rigidity/selfishness. Each blames the other for destroying Europe.

   "Europe," as such, as the E.U. goes, (a program which, by the way, promised things in terms of greater democracy, civil freedoms, rights, etc., which conservative financial markets never saw as in their own interests, and so), is very, very expendable. Blame for its "loss" is easy and cheap, too.

6) Nationalists of all countries "unite." Godwin is thrown to the wolves.

  Markets, again, don't give a f--- about that anyway, if it should happen.  Bloodshed and violence always privilege the concentration and use of power and force: "in the interests of democracy, repressive actions were taken; in order to save democracy, repressive actions were taken..."

7) Europe is in full blown political and institutional crisis (oh, and financial too)

    One man's crisis is another man's opportunity.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 11:03:59 AM EST
I wish I believed any of these bad options represented the end.  I don't think any of them do.

What was it Churchill said about the end of the beginning?

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 12:05:08 PM EST
One reason for lack of German and other North European support is the length of boom / bust cycles and center / periphery shifts. People won't easily see possibility and need for reciprocal solidarity in future.
by Jute on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 03:51:21 PM EST
Is the Euro Entering Its Dying Throes? - WSJ.com

"European Union leaders may have missed the window of opportunity to try to engineer an orderly adjustment and now may be faced with a disorderly one," said Ilan Solot, a currency strategist with Brown Brothers Harriman in London.

For some time, investors have been nervous that as the negotiations on other bailouts dragged on, contagion would hit Spain, the next-largest debtor and the one that appeared most at risk.

But, in a game of euro-zone leap frog, Italy jumped to the front of the at-risk queue when Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Friday appeared on the verge of losing his much-respected finance minister, Giulio Tremonti, and the country's already dubious fiscal discipline appeared more in doubt.



We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:05:03 PM EST
"already dubious fiscal discipline" ???

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:19:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are not sacrificing enough virgins to the volcano god.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 05:35:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you really sure you want to use this metaphor for Berlusconi?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 12:44:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for that mental picture.

Now, who's boggarting the brain bleach?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 12:04:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: Moody's cuts Irish debt rating to junk status:

Ratings agency Moody's has cut the Republic of Ireland's debt rating to junk status.
Moody's said its decision was based on the "growing possibility" that Ireland would need a second bail-out before it can return to capital markets.

This is some sort of war obviously, but who's fighting whom exactly?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 06:19:11 PM EST


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 07:01:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The market" appears coordinated but it isn't, so this is more like fighting an infestation than fighting a war.

The problem is that the people in charge of fighting the infestation have been bitten by the vermin and infected with a neurological disorder called market fundamentalism, which clouds their thinking.

So the disorganised vermin is winning.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 03:52:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a naive American I obviously don't understand much of what's going on over there (or over here, for that matter). But I'm curious to know why the Euro cannot be inflated out of trouble.

If the PIGSI or whatever decided to pull out of the Euro, they would have to start their own currencies back up and then inflate them to "cover" their loans. Which would possibly impoverish them, but it would be traditional localized national impoverishment.

Conversely, if Germany is very concerned about inflation, she could pull out to retain currency stability (of a new DM) and allow the rest of the community to inflate the Euro. That would mean German bank losses, but would not be as bad, from the German viewpoin, maybe as a complete collapse of the Euro.

---

Also, taking the other tack, if the Euro group stayed together and deflated it, wouldn't Germany as a net exporter be better off? Goods purchased within Europe would still be bought at the common Euro price, but global exports would bring in more value to Germany.

Are either of these points important?

by asdf on Tue Jul 12th, 2011 at 10:51:41 PM EST
But I'm curious to know why the Euro cannot be inflated out of trouble.

Because then any day we'll be buying bread with wheelbarrows and invading Poland.

Conversely, if Germany is very concerned about inflation, she could pull out to retain currency stability (of a new DM) and allow the rest of the community to inflate the Euro. That would mean German bank losses, but would not be as bad, from the German viewpoin, maybe as a complete collapse of the Euro.

That's not in Germany's narrow national interest. The way the Euro is currently set up, Germany can shift the whole burden of that adjustment onto the periphery. It is possible that the periphery will say "no dice" to that. But that faction of the periphery's policymakers hasn't won yet, and aside from European solidarity (from Merkel? Hah) there is no compelling reason for Germany to concede that point until it is forced to.

Also, taking the other tack, if the Euro group stayed together and deflated it, wouldn't Germany as a net exporter be better off? Goods purchased within Europe would still be bought at the common Euro price, but global exports would bring in more value to Germany.

The Eurozone as a whole has balanced external trade. Which means that any policy change that's big enough to bring intra-Eurozone trade imbalances down to a sustainable level is also big enough to deprive Germany of very nearly all of its current export surplus.

Of course, we could devalue the Euro to obtain an overall foreign surplus, but it is not immediately obvious why we would want to do that. Devaluing your currency below what is required to balance your foreign accounts strikes me as something you only want to do if you need to capture foreign industrial plant, and Europe does not particularly need that (besides, where would we capture it from? China?).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 12:33:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is possible that the periphery will say "no dice" to that. But that faction of the periphery's policymakers hasn't won yet, and aside from European solidarity (from Merkel? Hah) there is no compelling reason for Germany to concede that point until it is forced to.
The European periphery is still in the throes of a sort of Stockholm syndrome. "Being good Europeans" trumps narrow national interest.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 03:49:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe a few politicians need to get taken hostage by the other side, to develop their Stockholm syndrome in a more productive direction.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 06:47:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The peripherals were not held hostage by the core, but by their own dictatorships.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 06:50:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention how the peripheral elites were held hostage by their own minds...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 06:56:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
asdf:
If the PIGSI or whatever decided to pull out of the Euro, they would have to start their own currencies back up and then inflate them to "cover" their loans. Which would possibly impoverish them, but it would be traditional localized national impoverishment.

it would certainly help italian tourism, which i hear is having a poor year. the reshifting back to the euro would be pretty traumatic, embarassing even.

having said that italy has taken what it could get from the euro, and has even used it to rationalise not getting its own house in order, as big mama europe was always there to milk, so in some ways, after the horrible change back to the (joke currency) lira, italy might be better off eventually too.

it would definitely become a cheap and cheerful holiday destination again, like it was in the 50's.

then again maybe italy could nationalise the vatican and san marino, that would probably sort the debt issues quite smartly... :)

we in europe have a rich history of 'feelgood bullshit' as well, but it hasn't approached the delusional levels seen in the post-world-war USA, where the mix of exceptionalism and ignorance takes the cake, the ice cream and the fruit salad.

the spell is wearing off, so the exhortations have become correspondingly shriller and more hysterically hubristic. i was not america-bashing gratuitously, the euro past is littered with examples of nationalism-gone-apeshit, historical cycles repeat world wide.

i find this rah rah extremely childish and self-congratulatory, but i wasn't trying to score 'better-than' points with that comment, euroland is far from immune from such garbage.

i just wish we could see the whole earth and the ecosystem with the kind of passion we have devoted to patriotism... maybe we will yet. that would however make a lot of fish feel a lot smaller as the size of the social pond increased.

a Good Thing, imo. of course the corollary is if we can't manage nation states, who is of the calibre to manage a globally connected system?

statesmen/women don't exactly drop from the sky like manna.

'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 Jul 13th, 2011 at 03:16:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Sarkozy wants a summit, but Merkel does not want to go (June 12, 2011)
There were unconfirmed reports about an EU summit yesterday, as requested by several leaders, including Nicolas Sarkozy; Angela Merkel is much less keen on the idea but circumstances might force a decision soon; another extraordinary day on the markets yesterday, as Italian 10-year yields push through 6% at one point; Willem Buiter says Italian re-rating is game changer, as this becomes a systemic crisis; German Bild tabloid agrees, for the sake of Italy; Zapatero calls on Germany in particular to make greater efforts at crisis resolution; at yesterday's Ecofin consensus emerged that some form of selective default is unavoidable for Greece, which would be part of the second loan package; on the table is the proposal for Greece to buy back its bond at 50% discount for roughly €70bn with EFSF money; The second loan package for Greece would then need to be bigger than €115bn ;Wolfgang Münchau says situation extremely grave as leaders need to do a lot more than agree a Greek package to get out of this crisis; as politicians call for a private sector participation, Moody's has downgraded Ireland to junk, citing policy signals as among the reasons; Ewald Nowotny says rating agencies add no analytic value or understanding, and express only view, which are damaging to the eurozone; Giulio Tremonti seeks Italian parliament to approve his  austerity package by Sunday revamped to include privatisation and liberalisation plans; some IMF directors have expressed concern that Italy's budget savings are mostly backloaded, and thus not sufficiently credible; EU finance ministers promissed support for banks that fail the stress tests; First leaks of test results to be presented on Friday find that six Spanish bank and one Austrian and a Greek bank failed the stress test; IMF warns Germany of low growth trend; the French Greens, meanwhile, elected the Norwegian born Eva Joly as their candidate for the French presidential elections.
(Google link)

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 03:44:27 AM EST
There was some confusion yesterday about whether a summit would be held. France was in favour. Van Rompuy said he did not rule it out. But Berlin was notably cool on the idea. Merkel said she sees no need, and the Germany finance ministry even said a Greek deal could wait until September. The purpose of this summit would be to halt the contagion of this crisis and fix the uncertainty surrounding the second Greek loan programme. But it was not clear last night whether such a programme could, in fact, be negotiated in time. The Institute of International Finance disagreed, saying a solution would have to be found quickly, or the markets would spin out of control.
Either the German government believes its own lie that this is about Greece, or they think the public is stupid.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 04:01:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or both.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 04:14:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
or the markets would spin out of control.

Wait, I thought that was a good thing?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 04:14:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought they were already out of control?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 04:24:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought that was the point.

Unless you're some sort of communist, of course.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 04:35:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't you predict earlier this year, somehwere, that the July bank stress tests would be the beginning of the end of this phase of disaster-perpetuating policies?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 07:57:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy is a game changer also for the tabloid Bild Zeitung, with two editorials urging for the eurozone to undertake whatever it takes to safe the common currency. "The honest answer is: We don't have an alternative" the paper's editorialist Ulrich Becker writes. He asks for a restructuring of the Greek and perhaps also the Portuguese debt, even if this is costly for public budgets and banks. "We all must be prepared to shoulder the financial consequences". Franz-Josef Wagner in his daily letter to the readers declares his love for Italy ("the sound of Ferrari motors", "Gucci, Versace", "truffles, wine and cheese"). "I will not allow those shitty greedy financial jugglers to destroy my Italy."
Then again, that kind of change of heart is not entirely unheard of...
Eurointelligence:
Bild says Draghi was the most Germanic of all candidates
where only six weeks earlier
"Mamma mia" wrote Bild "for Italians inflation in life is like tomato sauce on pasta". The paper also noted that the Italian governor was vicepresident at Goldman Sachs in 2002-5 "precisely the period when the bank allegedly helped the Greek government to disguise its public debt". To be fair, in the same article Bild took aim at other potential candidates to guide the ECB.
Today,
Even Bild has apparently swallowed the line that Draghi is the most Germanic central banker out there, picturing him with a Prussian police helmet.
You can't make this shit up:


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 04:06:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The solution focussed on in the discussions is for Greece to buy back parts of its own debt at a discount rate of 50% of its nominal value with money from the EFSF, reports FT Deutschland. Member states seem to be prepared to do this against the will of the ECB.  This also means that the next package will need to be bigger in volume than the currently envisaged €115bn. "There will need to be more money on the table", FTD quotes EU sources. Extra money will be needed in order to save Greek banks. The objective is to reduce the Greek debt from currently around 150% of GDP to 120% of GDP. To do so the Greek government would have to buy back discounted bonds for roughly €70bn.
Oh, good, doing the right thing after causing the maximum possible amount of damage:
FT Deutschland reports this morning that Germany, Finland and the Netherlands are blocking proposals to increase the scope of the EFSF to include bond purchases, or to fund any effective bond bond repurchase programmes. The article says the development was a setback for the ECB, which had hoped that the EFSF could buy part of the ECB's own peripheral bond portfolio, which it amassed as part of its securities market programme. The article says that Germany was ready to increase the package from a nominal to a real €440bn (but what's is the point of that without bond purchases?). The articles says it is doubtful that this would contribute to a calming of the financial markets.
(Germany rejects EFSF bond buying, Eurointelligence 07.03.2011)

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 04:09:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece to buy back parts of its own debt at a discount rate of 50% of its nominal value

Who would sell? The national governments, the ECB, foreign private banks, Greek private banks?

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 04:14:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect that, at this point, the ECB holds all the Greek bonds that were once held in "trading" accounts at "mark to market" valuations. Those had realised gradual losses as the market price of greek debt deteriorated.

Everyone who held Greek bonds in "investment" accounts at "hold to maturity" valuations would have realised a large loss if they had sold at market price, and would still do so if they sold now.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 04:23:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Everyone who held Greek bonds in "investment" accounts at "hold to maturity" valuations would have realised a large loss if they had sold at market price, and would still do so if they sold now.

Here's the world's smallest violin ...

... playing My Heart Cries for Them.

'Bout 80 seconds of Due Diligence would have uncovered the fact those Greek bonds were garbage.  


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

by ATinNM on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 09:22:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Greece could buy-back the 23% held by Other Foreign Holders.  In a rational, deal-with-reality, world it would get the euros to do so from the ECB¹.  Now, I'm guessing, it would probably come from the IMF, World Bank, and etc.  In the general scheme of things 70 (or so) billion euros isn't all that big a deal; it's less than IBM grosses in 18 months.

¹  I wrote a funny

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

by ATinNM on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 09:16:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now when did we cover that subject...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 07:32:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Must have been February 12 of last year...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 07:52:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Though the man who had the proper policy response from the get-go was Willem Buiter, who came up with the concept of market making of last resort in August 2007, in the middle of the first liquidity crunch in this systemic crisis.

See the links at the bottom of this comment.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 08:06:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With his wife Anne Sibert. Men being less circumspect, Buiter is the one making all the media noise while the actual articles are co-authored.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 08:23:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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