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I'm done with the EU

by tyronen Mon Jul 13th, 2015 at 05:58:47 PM EST

I've changed my mind. I will be voting for the UK to leave the EU.

Whatever deal the UK Conservatives negotiate will only make matters worse.

I think leftists across Europe worthy of the name should transform themselves into Eurosceptic parties. The euro is an abomination. It must be abolished and national currencies restored. The Maastricht Treaty should be repealed.

These policies are nothing more than attempts to force ordoliberal policies across the continent. The EU is a thuggish, vicious oligarchy and I want no part of it anymore.

Further analysis and good discussions in the comment section - Bjinse


Display:
I probably would too - if they would let me vote, which they won't. Though this doesn't have much to do with the Euro, of course.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jul 13th, 2015 at 06:09:04 PM EST
My gut reaction is quite similar. i have barely survived Italy's verison of austerity imposed from on high. This has profoundly alienated me from the political tissue of this country. It is unlikely that I will vote again here or will simply scribble obscenities all over the ballot as the old man I am would like to do.

I am profoundly disgusted and ask the European masses, why aren't you taking to the streets throughout Europe? Or are you parochial non-entities that could care less about a better Union?

But then Europe is no more than a captive market for German export, with petty states wagging behind in voluntary servitude à la De la Boetie. So now I can do little more than boycott all German produce as well as that of their lackies. Perhaps one may reproach me that the industrious German people are not responsible for the decisions of their rulers. Just as the Greeks are not responsible for the decisions of their past governments.

Economy is indeed the new god, the Troika is no more than the mystery of the Trinity, the economy of the Trinity. But unlike the Christian Trinity, there is no room for Grace in this new religion.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Jul 13th, 2015 at 06:54:27 PM EST
I am profoundly disgusted and ask the European masses, why aren't you taking to the streets throughout Europe? Or are you parochial non-entities that could care less about a better Union?
People with jobs have too much to lose, generally, and too little time.

25% headline unemployment and 50% unemployment among a highly educated youth population is why Syriza exists in Greece and Podemos in Spain.

That by and large people in Greece don't have any substantial savings in the banks any more also goes a long way to explaining the 60/40 referendum result. I saw one foreign commentator admit after the referendum that they had analysed the vote - and advised a yes - from the vantage point of someone with cash in the bank.

When it comes to this kind of struggle, things do have to get worse before they can get better, which is not wishing for them to get worse in the first place. The human suffering involved in getting to where the Greeks were when they voted Syriza in 6 months ago far outweighs the uncertain benefits of a fight with less than assured success. Better for the many to muddle through.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 13th, 2015 at 07:07:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
People with jobs have too much to lose, generally, and too little time

This sounds like the ultimate capitulation. The options are lose the Eurogroup-way or lose the other way. Where is a leftist narrative of a future that is a win, that it is worth getting loud and angry for instead of only protesting against?

by Katrin on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 06:54:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know the origin of the quote, but the theory goes that "debt encumbered home-owners don't go on strike".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 07:06:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I perfectly understand, and it is a problem: people who want to fight have reasons to fear what they are risking. But is that really our main problem, or is it that people don't want to fight (and therefore don't even have to think about risks), because they don't see what for?

Migeru:

When it comes to this kind of struggle, things do have to get worse before they can get better,

Careful. People who see that things become worse, adapt (at least for a while) or they fight. What for? Very likely for movements that promise to restore the status quo ante: the ultra-right. Left movements can only win if they can plausibly promise a better future. If we can't agree what that might be, we have no chance.

by Katrin on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 07:33:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paul Mason: Greece put its faith in democracy but Europe has vetoed the result (Comment is Free, 13 July 2015)
Now it seems that both sides of the Greek referendum were voting for an illusion. One of the most touching aspects of Greek life is people's obsessional respect for parliamentary democracy. Syriza itself is the embodiment of a leftism that always believed you could achieve more in parliament than on the streets. For the leftwing half of Greek society, though, the result is people continually voting for things more radical than they are prepared to fight for.

I asked one of Syriza's grassroots organisers, a tough party cadre who had been agitating for a "rupture" with lenders for weeks, whether he could put his members onto the streets to keep order outside besieged pharmacies and supermarkets. He shook his head. The police, or more probably the conscript army would have to do it.

When it comes to the now-abandoned Thessaloniki Programme, the radical manifesto on which Alexis Tsipras came to power, there is always talk of implementing it "from below": that is, demanding so many workers' rights inside the industries designated for privatisation that it becomes impossible; or implementing the minimum wage through wildcat strikes. But it never happens. When strikes are called, it's by the communists. When riots happen, it's the anarchists. The rest of leftwing Greece is mesmerised by parliament.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 09:08:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Mesmerised by parliament" reminds me of Auden's line in his poem Spain "The conscious acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder" which Orwell said "could only be written by a person to whom murder is at most a word. Personally I would not speak so lightly of murder. It so happens that I have seen the bodies of numbers of murdered men - I don't mean killed in battle, I mean murdered. Therefore I have some conception of what murder means - the terror, the hatred, the howling relatives, the post-mortems, the blood, the smells. To me murder is something to be avoided."  

Paul Mason, sitting hundreds of kilometers away and hardly likely to have to deal with any of it, is awfully free with his advice for the Greeks to get-over their mesmerisation of parliament and engage in 'the necessary civil strife.'

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

by ATinNM on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 10:48:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And hence:
We apologise to Marxists worldwide for Greece refusing to commit ritual suicide to further the cause. You have suffered from your sofas.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 12:01:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Now it seems that both sides of the Greek referendum were voting for an illusion. "

An illusion Paul Mason peddled

"One of the most touching aspects of Greek life is people's obsessional respect for parliamentary democracy."

Has perhaps a wee little bit to do with Greeces quite recent history.

by IM on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 12:43:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is similar in the US.  Change of government require either ballots or bullets.  Ballots have been co-opted by the Ueberklass, and people haven't wound themselves up enough for the alternative.  It takes a lot of desperate energy for revolution.  The cops have shown how eager they are to kick heads in, and no one risks that without extreme provocation.  And the leaders of such revolutions tend to be the men on white horses riding in from the Right.  The message of the Right has a much easier time using fear and hate.
by rifek on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 10:19:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Change of government require either ballots or bullets. ... It takes a lot of desperate energy for revolution.
The Greeks have tried ballots and have been crushed. <shudder>

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 10:23:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And every other "democracy" is in the queue behind them.  Takes a lot to get people to say, "Screw the queue," though.
by rifek on Thu Jul 16th, 2015 at 12:04:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My sentiment as well. I actively supported Norwegian membership during both our referendums on whether to join ('72 and '94). Fortunately, my opponents on the "No"-side prevailed both times.
by ask on Mon Jul 13th, 2015 at 07:08:51 PM EST
Made no difference, unfortunately.

Norway implements EU policies more slavishly than almost any other country - but without the benefit of actually having a say as to what they are.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Jul 13th, 2015 at 09:13:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are right of course. Most directives are quickly implemented.

Who knows whether we would have joined the EZ as an EU-member, or remained outside like our Scandinavian neighbors.

by ask on Mon Jul 13th, 2015 at 09:25:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stop whining, Norway has its own central bank.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 04:07:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe someone should explain that to the Israelis.
If Greece is teetering on the edge of the abyss because of its system of political appointments, then Israel is knowingly marching on the exact same path: Making all senior civil service positions political appointments creates a public service completely dependent on the ministers' desires. The professional backbone of the Israeli civil service will be wiped out.

[...]

So, cronyism rules in Israel, too. The politicians on one side, and the unions on the other - each taking care of their own interests, and along the way destroying the effectiveness and professionalism of the Israeli government. That's why the day when we become Greece is not far away.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 04:16:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Were it not for the MV5* movement I would be so thoroughly disenchanted with Euro-politics I would probably have left Europe for fairer climes a few years ago, when the crisis gutted my then-excellent career and left me struggling to survive in my mid 60s.

I watch DiBattista and DeMaio take on the present-day sewer of Italian politics with such drive and conviction it makes me proud to be half-Italian, and proud to be a European.

They have the medicine Europe needs, and I plan to stick around to watch them earn their due laurels as victors in this vile vector of humanity.

If there were only two like that I would not believe in their future success, but the MV is crawling with fine thinkers, speakers and activists. They have done their homework and have their Augean shovels ready.

Their passion for politics is undeniable, they represent a revolution long overdue. At their helm Italy could become a coherent entity showing a rational model for development in a powered-down age.

We are so lucky to have them, and I pray Renzi's reign ends soon as possible and we can go for the vote.

(Before the immigrant issue gives Salvini's thuggish bigotry any more of the electorate, preferably, though he like Farage has it right about the Euro!)

'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 14th, 2015 at 12:39:46 AM EST
The personal experiences of recession given by melo and de Gondi elsewhere in this thread nicely frame the following (coincidentally, given the mention of Scandiavian opt-outs from the Euro, written by a Dane): The Euro - A Monetary Strangulation Mechanism (Lars Christensen, 14 July 2015)
In all 31 European countries - all very different. Some countries are political dysfunctional and struggling with corruption (for example Romania or Turkey), while others are normally seen as relatively efficient economies with well-functioning labour and product markets and strong external balance and sound public finances like Denmark, Finland and the Netherland.

Overall we can differentiate between two groups of countries - euro countries and euro peggers (the `red countries') and the countries with more or less floating exchange rates (the `green countries').

...

The difference is striking - among the 21 euro countries (including the two euro peggers) nearly half (10) of the countries today have lower real GDP levels than in 2007, while all of the floaters today have higher real GDP levels than in 2007.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 04:13:35 AM EST
It should be pointed out that 'real GDP' might be a somewhat imperfect measure at least for Lithuania. Nominal GDP in Lithuania is still below the  2007 level and the growth in real GDP is mostly a factor of huge fall in prices.

It is very unlikely that this is healthy growth. I am also very surprised about Slovakia. The nominal GDP performance of Slovakia is also very bad. Unemployment is above 11%.

by rz on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 04:48:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll try to chart the Eurostat nominal GDP data some time soon.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 04:58:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Philippe Legrain: The Berlin Bulldozer and the Sack of Athens (Foreign Policy, July 13, 2015)
When finalizing my book European Spring last year, I hesitated before describing the Eurozone as a "glorified debtors' prison." After this weekend's brutal, vindictive, and short-sighted exercise of German power against Greece, backed up by the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank's (ECB) illegal threat to pull the plug on the entire Greek banking system, I take it back. There is nothing glorious about the Eurozone: it is a monstrous, undemocratic creditors' racket.

...

But this is much bigger than Greece. It is clearer than ever that Europe's dysfunctional monetary union has a German problem, too. As creditor-in-chief in a monetary union bereft of common political institutions, Germany is proving to be a calamitous hegemon. Paris may have tempered Berlin's petulant threat to force Greece out of the euro, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel undoubtedly calls the shots. The deal that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras capitulated to mirrored German demands, not the proposals he drafted with French help last week. By pointing out the futility of resistance if Greece wished to remain in the euro, Paris has, in a sense, acted as Berlin's agent in securing Athens' acquiescence.

...

The Eurozone as a whole remains an economic basket case and a democratic disgrace. It is trapped in a nightmarish limbo where politics precludes the creation of common institutions that would cage German power and put the ECB in its place, while fear prevents its victims from leaving. So much for the European dream.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 05:13:07 AM EST
Paris has, in a sense, acted as Berlin's agent in securing Athens' acquiescence.

That is how I see it, too.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 11:18:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This boring stuff has gone down as predicted. Quite some time ago I had to revisit all my analytical framework and things now make more sense (in a creepy kind of way).

A suggestion to all that are discovering that they are "done with the EU": maybe it is time to revisit some of your deeply seated views of the world that made you cheer all this lunacy. It is a painful process (know it first hand) but necessary.

Another suggestion: starting with "if they have done as I wanted" is neither democratic not realistic.

Another note: I have been noticing in my feeds back home (Portugal), which include mostly "normal" people, a massive amount of anger towards Germany and everything German. Comparisons with what happened in the 20th century are not only becoming acceptable, but are becoming the norm. This is not going to end well.

by cagatacos on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 06:55:17 AM EST
" I have been noticing in my feeds back home (Portugal), which include mostly "normal" people, a massive amount of anger towards Germany and everything German. "

You see what you want to see.

by IM on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 07:04:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I fear that you are blind to what you don't want to see.
by Katrin on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 07:34:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thankyou Katrin for showing us not all in your country are quiescent and 'good'.

Germany's leaders are revving up another wave of loathing such has not been seen since WW2.

Schauble has become the new symbol of everything psychotic in Europe's governance to the great majority of Europeans. Merkel is the front man but that idiot is howling at the moon right behind her.

Who will rid us of this troublesome economics minister, (as they said when Varoufakis was up in their faces) will now come back focused on Schauble and that hypocrite Schulz who's been trying to have it both ways. Good cop and bad cop at once don't fly.

Dijsselblum is a wanker, almost as much as Osbourne ang Juncker. These creeps have slimed their way to the top of the food chain, all True Believers who will want to 'die with their boots on'.

Money is the only thing worse than religion for making monsters out of people...

Jeroen Dijsselbloem - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In March 2013, Dijsselbloem took a lead in the negotiation, conclusion and subsequent public promotion of the "Cyprus bail-in". He attracted criticism for the precedent of taking depositors' balances as part of bank rescues but said "I'm pretty confident that the markets will see this as a sensible, very concentrated and direct approach instead of a more general approach...It will force all financial institutions, as well as investors, to think about the risks they are taking on because they will now have to realise that it may also hurt them."[11]

He said on or about March 24 2013 to the Financial Times and Reuters that the Cyprus bail-in was a template for resolution of a bankruptcy,[12] but on March 26 2013 contradicted himself, and said Cyprus was not a template.[13]

Clueless and/or dishonest

'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 14th, 2015 at 04:05:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We see what we want to see.

Human nature in seven words.

Now where are we going and what's with the handbasket?

by budr on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 07:39:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm afraid you're underestimating the amount of anger and ill-will Germany has amassed over the past couple of weeks following its leadership's handling of Greece. Anger (and shock) that extends beyond the Eurozone and even beyond Europe (you might also want to check closer to home). This, for no discernible gain for Germany (if you differ, please kindly explain).

It is of course your prerogative to dismiss this, but you surely realize that "You see what you want to see" works both ways.

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 02:20:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps. Bit I have senn these claims aigian and again on this blog over the last few yaers and tehy nevver panned out.

And social media - now that is a bad measure of everything.

That the ultra neoliberal german newspapers are quite hypocritical with their sudden crocodile tears is peopably no surprise.
 

by IM on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 04:10:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're not wrong.  We're just six years ahead of everybody else.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 02:32:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the Syriza masterplan will work in six years?
by IM on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 02:44:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the SPD's master plan has worked for how long?

Syriza 6 months in fuckin office, under more pressure than you can likely relate to, and you expect what?

What this crisis has done is expose the holes in every politicians' plans, fer crissakes. No one gets what must be done. It doesn't take a genius to stick a finger in the dike. But it takes some serious vision to find a way out of this flood of madness.

What do you propose (if i may ask)?

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 04:33:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IM proposes that we stop criticizing German leaders because it hurts his/her feefees.

Angela Merkel is to economics what Dubya was to foreign policy.  My plan is pretty simple:  Whatever she says, do the opposite.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 04:48:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do I , now?
by IM on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 04:55:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Syriza 6 months in fuckin office, under more pressure than you can likely relate to, and you expect what?"

Not much. But I simply don't see the tremendous success claimed here. And the often vacillating policy - was it renegotiating or default? - of Syriza hints to a lack of a plan.

"under more pressure than you can likely relate to,"

But you can?

"What do you propose (if i may ask)? "

I would have tried for better conditions, wouldn't have achieve much, but propably more then Tsipras has got now.

by IM on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 05:02:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But I simply don't see the tremendous success claimed here. And the often vacillating policy - was it renegotiating or default? - of Syriza hints to a lack of a plan.

I actually agree here.  It seems clear Syria wanted to stay in the euro, but when it became clear that meant accepting brutal (and doomed to fail) austerity, they weren't willing to pull the trigger on Grexit.  I don't think Tsipras and other leaders thought it out very well, partly because they couldn't really wrap their minds around the issues completely.

Some of it's probably an issue of background.  Tsipras is, if memory serves, an engineer.  Varoufakis is obviously an economist.  They can both talk math, and even speak the same language in terms of the sort of equations used in many cases, but the applications are different.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 05:22:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
C'mon Drew, pulling the trigger on Grexit, even with a spaceship full of expert extraterrestrials who can see the future, is not a very easy decision... especially when you have the responsibility of a country and its peoples on your desk, rather than an internet discussion.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 05:41:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I completely agree.  I've said the bit about not understanding the econ with respect to Obama (a lawyer, obviously, and lawyers suck at math) in the past too -- and Obama's better with it than pretty much any head of state I can think of in my lifetime off the top of my head, despite what I'm sure were Larry Summers's best efforts.

I don't need a spaceship though full of clairvoyant aliens though.  This is basic stuff.  This is one where everybody from Milton Friedman-- who was warning of this back in the mid-'90s! -- to Randall Wray would agree on.  And that says to me Tsippy did a lousy job surrounding himself with good advisers.

Plus, I wasn't dumb enough to run for the office.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 05:51:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You always seem to be responding to your perceived ET in general, rather than my specific post. But OK, i'll bite.

tremendous success claimed here? What are you actually addressing? There is no tremendous success, at least from my posts. But if you can't see that they have changed the game for the better, by bringing some truth into the equation, then you need new glasses.

I brought up pressure to put the performance of Syriza into perspective, which you seem unable to address. It's not about whether i can stand that pressure, it's whether you can see the framework in which Syriza is operating under. Was that so hard to understand? In comparison to your century plus, they're doing quite well for a team not yet reaching toddler status.

And it's reassuring that you would have achieved a bit better "conditions" than Tsipras. i wish you would have been Greece's PM if that were the case, goes without saying.

Would that be "better conditions" like the better conditions the GroKo achieved in bringing the Energiewende into the marketplace today? (Don't answer that, i don't wish to hijack this discussion, but if that's an example of better conditions, i'll take Tsipras over experienced negotiators every time.)

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 05:37:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you read the latest interview with Kouvelakis it's clear any plans Tsipras and Varoufakis might have had were xabotaged by Dragasakis. He might in fact take over if Tsipras falls.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 05:41:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kouvelakis is a little unclear though. If Varoufakis, Dragasakis and Lapavitsas all thought the ECB would use bazookas, who were the surprised naifes? Are we talking about Tsipras's inner circle? Pappas? Kouvelakis was contradictory and confusing in that article.
by Upstate NY on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 09:37:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Varoufakis spoke of a small council of 6 that voted on whether to take the nuclear option against the Eurozone. These were probably Varoufakis, Stathakis, Dragasakis, Pappas, Mardas and Tsipras (got this list from a facebook thread started by Talos when the Varaoufakis interview came out). Then Kouvelakis seems to be talking of a larger general council. That's either the collection of 13 ministers or (unlikely) the whole cabinet of 41 ministers and alternate ministers.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2015 at 01:16:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe Pappas and Mardas then. Tsipras made a colossal mistake here. You had to know back in December whether you were willing to engage. This is why accurate polling helps political candidates. Tsipras could have won the election on simply being at least slightly more sympathetic to the people than Samaras, or he could have run as a reformer against corruption. If he knew he wasn't willing to take the all the way (not necessarily Grexit) he should have never engaged. If I were Syriza, I would have simply shown up at the Eurogroup in December and said, "We are pass the [neoliberal] reforms, but will avoid recessionary measures." Reforms such as pharmacies, bread buns, tax on Braille typewriters, labor rights. I would have resisted VAT rises on tourism and made a case for humanitarian measures to replace pension cuts. I would have completed the 2nd program in February. Then I'd like to see what the proposal for a 3rd bailout would have been.
by Upstate NY on Thu Jul 16th, 2015 at 01:00:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kouvelakis says
Very vaguely. In restricted cabinet meetings, the so-called government council, where only the ten main ministers take part, Varoufakis had mentioned the necessity in the spring to consider Grexit as a possible action and prepare for that. I think there were some elaborations about parallel currency, but all this remained quite vague and poorly prepared.
The main ministers were

  • Prime Minister: Alexis Tsipras
  • Government Vice President: Giannis Dragasakis
  • State Ministry: State Minister Nikos Pappas
  • Economy, Infrastructure, Maritime and Tourism Ministry: Minister Giorgos Stathakis
  • Interior and Administrative Reconstruction Ministry: Minister Nikos Voutsis
  • Finance Ministry: Minister Giannis Varoufakis
  • Defense Ministry: Minister Panos Kammenos
  • Foreign Ministry: Minister Nikos Kotzias
  • Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Ministry: Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis
  • Justice Transparency and Human Rights Ministry: Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos
  • Labor and Social Solidarity Ministry: Minister Panos Skourletis
  • Health and Social Security Ministry: Minister Panagiotis Kouroublis
  • Culture, Education and Religion Ministry: Minister Aristidis Baltas
  • Government Spokesperson: Gavriil Sakellaridis
I'm not sure what he means by "10" ministers. But anyway, this is what Kouvelakis says about Dragasakis' people.
The first group had a consistent line from the outset -- there was absolutely no naïveté on their part. They knew very well that the Europeans would never accept a break with the memorandum.

This is why Dragasakis from the outset did everything he could not to change the logic of the overall approach. He clearly sabotaged all the attempts for Syriza to have a proper economic program, even one within the framework that had been approved by the majority of the party. He thought that the only thing you could get was an improved version of the memorandum framework. He wanted his hands completely free to negotiate the deal with the Europeans, without himself appearing too much at the stage, he succeeded in controlling the negotiation team, especially once Varoufakis had been sidelined.

In summer 2013, he gave a very interesting interview that created a lot of buzz at the time. What he was proposing was not even a softer version of Syriza's program, but in reality a different program that was a slight improvement of the existing agreement that New Democracy signed.

The naïves must have been what he calls the "left Europeanists", among them Tsakalotos.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2015 at 01:18:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mardas, by the way, was one of Varoufakis' two deputy ministers (the other is Nantia Valavani who resigned this week). He's the only one presumed to have been in the small council of 6 who decided on the capital controls who was not a minister.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2015 at 01:21:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no tremendous success, at least from my posts.

I have not said anything about your post, I reacted to the comment that ET . in general - knows everything six years prior. So I expected a flawlessly executed masterplan from Sysriza in six years time.

"But if you can't see that they have changed the game for the better, by bringing some truth into the equation,"

I prefer tnagible results to moral victories.

"It's not about whether i can stand that pressure, it's whether you can see the framework in which Syriza is operating under. Was that so hard to understand?"

In the way you said it, yes. And I adressed that. Even regarding the cirumstanes, their planless vacilalting and their penchant for cheap symbolic politics was suboptimal.

"In comparison to your century plus, they're doing quite well for a team not yet reaching toddler status."

six months mudling through isn't that much. And the end result - do you call that a success?

"And it's reassuring that you would have achieved a bit better "conditions" than Tsipras."

cheap shot, especially cheap because you asked. I claimed Tsipras wuold have achieved more by concentrating on one goal.

"Would that be "better conditions" like the better conditions the GroKo achieved in bringing the Energiewende into the marketplace today"

You do know that 2014 was a record year in ne installations? So no, I don't share yur opinion there either.

by IM on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 05:56:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IM:
I prefer tnagible results to moral victories.

A shift in the public discourse is a tangible result. You seem to think that negotiations of politicians bring about substantial change in a policy that is founded in the conventional wisdom without a changing public opinion shaking those foundations first. I find this notion apolitical.

by Katrin on Thu Jul 16th, 2015 at 02:31:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find your attitude to value purity about everything else and concentrate purely on symbols apolitical.
by IM on Thu Jul 16th, 2015 at 01:18:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, i don't wish to hijack this Greece thread with an Energiewende discussion. I'll leave it after pointing out IM's large error.

Yes, Germany had a huge capacity increase in windpower in 2014, 5,279.2 MW to be exact. But that was not because of the success of EEG 2.0, it was because of the rush to get projects installed before EEG 2.0 went into effect. Everyone knew about this since mid-2013.

Germany will not experience such a record year, or anything even close, again. In fact, the industry is now capped at 2500 MW/yr. (Plus some repowerering.) Way to call a policy failure a success, IM.

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jul 16th, 2015 at 02:59:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Germany will not experience such a record year, or anything even close, again."

we will see.

what failure?

by IM on Thu Jul 16th, 2015 at 01:16:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No we won't see, had you read the post i stated onshore is capped at 2500 MW/yr plus some repowering. Offshore, after projects already with fixed net connections are built, is capped at a mere 800 MW/yr. that's failure #1.

Failure #2 is that after 2016, all projects, even farmers' single turbines, have to be sold into the market, even though there is not one instance of a well-functioning market anywhere.

Much less investment security. Have you noticed how many bankruptcies in both the onshore and offshore sectors have happened recently. Especially in offshore, the supply chain is going kaput, which also prevents the necessary cost-lowering. The caps were far too low. As was the decision not to reach the governments previous offshore capacity target of 10,000 MW by 2020. Instead it's now 6,000 and change. Too low to keep the industry and supply chains alive.

A giant German export success, which the entire globe looked to for guidance, is now straitjacketed.

Yes, failure.

But i don't wish to hijack this discussion, EEG 2.0 belongs somewhere else.

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jul 16th, 2015 at 04:34:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brief comment - also to prevent further hijack - but I'm appalled to hear that. I knew a ceiling on installations had been put in place in Germany, but I was not aware the off-shore ceilings are now that low. That's pure investment destruction. It's the kind of unreliable government policy on a par with the Dutch government. I'll prod you for a little more once my life has stopped being crazy (could take a while).
by Bjinse on Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 04:11:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, Greece will drop the stupid currency within a year or two, default, go through a year of economic pain, and then begin recovering.

Like they should've done four or five years ago.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 04:46:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IM:
You see what you want to see.

And do you see the arrogance and passive aggression in this comment (and countless others.)?

Whatever good energy you bring to the discussions is frequently marred by this kind of dismissive tartness, which is a shame as you obviously have much knowledge to bring to the table.

Unpleasant, uncivil tone...

'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 Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 05:04:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right on melo. He does bring so much to the table, including but not limited to a sharp knowledge of history (as do others here). and it's important to have a real SPD voice here.

If we could only stick to the issues and debates.

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 05:31:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just came back from lunch with a Portuguese friend who used to work with the UK bank regulator.
Well, indeed, both people at the table were absolutely livid with Germany -not with Germans necessarily of course, and we share mutual German friends, but absolutely livid and disgusted.

Very disappointed that Varoufakis had been voted down, too.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 08:51:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not going to end well.

Said on Twitter yesterday, admittedly while a bit drunk and depressed by the whole thing, "We're all gonna pay for this."

Hope I'm wrong, of course.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 02:31:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course Europe will find a way to disappoint that expectation, as it has done for nearly a decade now.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 04:11:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank FSM the Germans don't have nukes then.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 04:50:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
maybe it is time to revisit some of your deeply seated views of the world that made you cheer all this lunacy

I don't know. My view is that a democratic, European level in politics would be a fine thing indeed. Even a necessary thing to handle the stresses of climate change.

That the EU never amounted to that does not mean that it couldn't have. Most institutions are in place, what would have been needed was a power grab from the parliament, in particular in regards to the appointment of the Commission. Instead we got a power grab from the ECB and the Eurogroup.

by fjallstrom on Mon Jul 20th, 2015 at 12:10:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We all voted for nationalist right wingers. That's what we got, and this is what happens when you let them loose. It's not magic: they're remaking Europe in their image.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jul 20th, 2015 at 03:52:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you mean 'we' in the sense of  'we the people' or did you literally vote for nationalists? Or do you mean redstar?

You know the EPP affiliated parties are not really nationalists, the do believe in the trans-national rule of capital.

by rz on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 07:27:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We the people. And yes when it comes down to it the EPP are nationalists. The ALDE are more of a pure economic liberal grouping.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 08:26:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The power grab is by the Council. They fucked up in a major way at the Nice Summit in December 2000, which motivated the Convention on the future of Europe and the resulting Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe. This was, however, derailed by thd French and Dutch 'noes' in respective 2005 referenda. There followed the Lisbon Treaty. And then the financial crisis was used by the ECB for its own power grab and by the council to gut the Commission by appointing Barroso for a second term in the crucial years of 2009-14. Meanehile the Parliament has flexed its muscles on various issues and done the Spitzenkandidaten thing last year. But the conservative Spitzenkandidat and ex-Council and ex-Eurogroup grandee Juncker has embarked on an agenda of reducing thd power of the Parliament by avoiding legislation subject to codecision as much as possible.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 20th, 2015 at 03:55:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe we all feel the same today:  I'm done with the EU. Has anyone a better idea, though?
by Katrin on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 07:36:55 AM EST
In theory: sovereign nation states. But my favourite would be something like city states. No need to invent anything new really.

In practice, how do we get out of this mess? I do not know. But I am starting to suspect that it might involve lead.

On a personal note, I am going to a place that is much more saner: the USA.

by cagatacos on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 07:50:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
cagatacos:
In theory: sovereign nation states.

Has already been tried and wasn't such a success.

I wish you good luck and hope it's going well for you. (Although, fearing lead and emigrating to the paradise for gun-toting weirdos... watch out.)

by Katrin on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 07:58:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You do understand that in the medium-term (100 years or so), the amount of "lead" used inside the USA is nothing in comparison to the one used in Europe (think WWI and WWII)?

The pseudo-lefty bias against the USA is mostly a prejudice...

by cagatacos on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 11:37:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are not many periods over the last century when the US was not at war somewhere on the planet. Exporting it doesn't make it better.

But essentially, what I think you're saying is that you don't like Europe. It's a bit like Maggie Thatcher saying "nothing good ever came out of Europe".

You've every right to say it, of course, and I hope you'll find the US up to your expectations.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 11:50:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always try to avoid a conflation between Europe and the EU. So I would appreciate if we could be rigorous there, please.

All the great things about Europe have little to no involvement of the EU, save maybe for freedom of movement. Health care, education, workers rights were mostly constructed independently by the nation states. That is why, for example, while health care mostly works in Europe it has so many different models of operation...

On the overall (when you count the positives - that exist - and the negatives) clearly the EU is a "force for bad"

by cagatacos on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 04:53:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And are busily being deconstructed by a lot of the nation states.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 05:49:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Using the EU as the perfect excuse. Which is exactly the case in Portugal.
by cagatacos on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 05:56:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Getting rid of the excuse doesn't get you rid of the problem.
by IM on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 06:00:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually it does. The political clout for this comes from saying within the EU and the Euro.

Do you think the Greeks would tolerate any of this if it want not for the promise of staying in the Euro.

by cagatacos on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 07:43:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
who knows? the IMF can still be used as an boogyman or the US
by IM on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 08:02:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People from the Southern countries understand the symbolic meaning of the European Union in our respective domestic politics.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 08:15:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure and I assume the same is true for eastern europe.

But other symbols can be used.

by IM on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 12:16:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But other symbols will not be conducive to "the European Construction".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 12:16:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The copmmon european practice to use "Brussels" as scapegoat for everything is not conducive either.

As the uS and Uk example shows you can use other reasons for austerity.

by IM on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 12:21:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You took my comment completely backwards.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 12:24:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True, but the excuse was deliberately designed to function as such. Why else have confidential meetings without minutes?
There is no point in elections if there is no way to tie decisions to persons/parties or whatever else you happen to be voting for.
by generic on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 08:20:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The "democratic deficit" has finally come home to roost. Interfluidity:
Until the financial crisis, people like, well, me, were of two minds about the EU's famous "democracy deficit". On the one hand, I believe that good governance requires accountability to and participation of the broad public. On the other hand, before the crisis, I was willing to cut the Euro-elite a lot of slack. I'm an American born in 1970, but my life is largely framed and circumscribed by events in Europe during the Second World War. I grew up on a diet of "never again". I am writing these words from my grandfather's villa on the Romanian Black Sea, which my mother worked doggedly to recover in an act of sheer vengeance for what this continent's history did to her father. I was inclined to support Europe's democratic fudges when they were about diminishing and diffusing the still palpable possibility here of reversion to ethnonational conflict. To see European institutions deployed precisely and with great force in the service polarization across national borders has radicalized and made a populist of me (as have analogous betrayals among the political leadership of my own country). If I were Greek, I would surely be a nationalist now.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 08:31:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For a long time, I considered the EU a success because it had managed to put politicians from 28 European states in the same room without any of them whipping out knives. Then, it started dealing with important policy choices, and it swiftly went downhill from there.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 09:54:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Using the Eurozone maybe.

But, despite the Tories being normally reliable at producing any possible insanity, I have not heard them claim that the EU is forcing them to privatise the NHS and remove its funding.

Maybe because if they did, their base would expect them to fight it, which they do not want to do.

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 15th, 2015 at 06:01:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, using the EU Council as cover for policies that wouldn't pass muster at the national level.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 06:54:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When it comes to healthcare, I have not seen it. I can see how you can use the 3% stupid target to push for it, but the EU council?

In other fields I would agree with you, but really do not see what the EU council gives you for arguments to destroy healthcare.

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 15th, 2015 at 07:55:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
State aid, competitive tendering, lots of rules are being used to push privatisation.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 12:15:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
cagatacos:
the amount of "lead" used inside the USA is nothing in comparison to the one used in Europe (think WWI and WWII)?

To be rigorous: you were clearly talking about Europe there, not the EU. And that comment is what I replied to.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 07:23:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where did I ever said that "I did not like Europe" (to use your words)? That is a bit of word twisting.

I said that I do not like the EU, that I think the USA are currently a safer place to be in. And that much more lead was used in Europe than in the USA in the last century.

The big twist here is precisely conflating both concepts.

But let me go one forward: whoever is pro-EU is clearly anti-Europe. Unfortunately we are arriving at a situation where this kind of black-and-white reasoning does start to make sense.

by cagatacos on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 07:48:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You should go to California. I liked it there. I think the job market is also quite good there. Midwestern state are not so nice.  
by rz on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 08:10:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
California: bring your own water.

When I moved there in 2000 it was "bring your own batteries" (thanks to Enron).

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 08:11:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And a gun to defend your water.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 10:15:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey hey, c'mon. Just show up with a marketable skill and don't show up your boss ... Dilbert land.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 03:08:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see the contradiction.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 04:12:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am going to a liberal bubble inside Montana. Been there countless times. A bit afraid of biking 50 miles South-East as things can get a bit odd (had a couple of less pleasant experiences). But inside the bubble is great. Great nature, great people and a very cosmopolitan place for its size.
by cagatacos on Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 08:40:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I wish you all the best. Of course since the internet is everywhere you can still hang out here. I have never been to Montana. I suspect the winters are a little bit to cold for comfort.
by rz on Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 04:33:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
cagatacos:
Where did I ever said that "I did not like Europe" (to use your words)?

I didn't claim you said it. I gave my opinion on what I thought (and think) underlies your words: "what I think you're saying is..."

The EU (however heinous its crimes) is not responsible for war in Europe in the last century. If anyone is conflating Europe and EU, you are, by citing past wars in support of your feeling of insecurity in the current EU. You might also remember that those past wars concerned individual nations, which you have consistently said you prefer to supra-national institutions. And talking about absence of war on the territory of the USA is disingenuous: as a nation, the US is an almost constant belligerent (on other people's territory).

But you're absolutely entitled to fear that lead will fly in the EU and to find the US more reassuring. So good luck with your change of continent!

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 08:29:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin:
Has already been tried and wasn't such a success.

Hang on, it wasn't all bad all the time. Compared to this present clusterfuck I mean.

Small is beautiful, the more democracy scales up the greater incentive to game and corrupt it occurs, as dependably as a swiss clock.

We will never go back to small bands of nomadic hunter-gatherers (probably) with that kind of (often instant) accountability, unless we power down all the way, or get calamitised in some natural way, whether through our own idiocy or through some supervolcano's vagaries.

So then what? These elephantine bureaucracies lose quality as they gain in size, counter-intuitively perhaps.

Football teams can manage it, I don't see why small community government can't remain in leagues with neighbours yet act in a much more sovereign manner.

The middle way between Leviathan and pre-civilisation!

'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 Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 05:18:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:
We will never go back to small bands of nomadic hunter-gatherers (probably)

Hopefully! You don't want to propose even more efficient ways to destroy human lives than we already have, do you? I am quite fond of industrial society and the high degree of differentiation of labour it needs. You don't have that with "small is beautiful". You need very large entities for a society that is able to develop, maintain, and improve such things as a health care system, energy grids and the like. I want democratic structures to match large systems of interdependies, not a regression into pre-industrialisation.

by Katrin on Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 06:15:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Greek example shows that Civilization providers are asking an increasingly steep price...
by das monde on Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 07:01:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Compared with 20th century it is still cheap.
by IM on Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 10:13:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that a threat?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 10:32:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a comparison.

a bit eurocentric, I admit that

by IM on Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 10:45:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin:
You don't want to propose even more efficient ways to destroy human lives than we already have, do you? I am quite fond of industrial society and the high degree of differentiation of labour it needs. You don't have that with "small is beautiful". You need very large entities for a society that is able to develop, maintain, and improve such things as a health care system, energy grids and the like.

I respect your belief, but cannot concur. For everything we have gained from these advantages you mention we have tossed away skills and subbed them with 'management' of such banal evil.

Maybe it makes me a doubter in humanity, but in my experience the more humans you put together closely, the more madness ensues.

My faith in humanity comes more from lone individuals who bucked ignorant trends with foresight, or small groups to whom accountability and reputation matter.

Feed people properly and you don't need gargantuan bloated health systems which are then engulfed with the task of mopping up damage caused by large corporations selling toxic shit to ad-manipulated consumers.
Distribute energy sources and no more need for large expensive grids no-one wants in the their backyard.

Dismantle weapons systems and use the billions spent on them for schools.

Small is beautiful. Get that right, then scale it up till you reach the limit then back off... go back to small again till it feels right.

By this token, Countries are easier to manage coherently that Unions of Countries because countries themselves are themselves unions of towns and regions.

The EU is fear-based, and probably because of that has ended up where it started, with a bitter, peeved Germany smarting from imaginary wounds (Jews, banks) and scapegoating weaker neighbours (Roms, Jews, gays and now Greeks.

And so few see and decry the pattern, for political correctness, (surely Germany is over that, they could never descend to such gullible compliance with dark-intentioned leaders again surely, surely, surely.)

Then look what's happening!

Complete with Hollande fatefully recycling the Vichy ass-kissing.

'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 Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 03:42:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not want to make a particularly important point here bit here a link to one of my favorite attacks one the small is beautiful idea. https:/www.jacobinmag.com/2015/05/slow-food-artisanal-natural-preservatives
by rz on Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 04:41:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That article reads like McDonalds PR.

"Moved around" is an interesting new euphemism for 'enslaved and transported into forced labour'.

It makes a huge straw man of how life sucked so mightily, as if no-one ever knew any kind of happiness before canned peas.

All this to attack the slow food movement!

i think it's obvious that life was neither unremittingly bad or good, it was a mix just like it is now.

Absolutist arguments are tiresome no matter what they tout.

'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 Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 07:00:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha, that article is really uncritical of processed food, as if there was a clear dichotomy between fast food and chewing on uncooked grain. Still, it is a good diatribe against the "back to natural food" campaign that leaves out that for the vast majority this meant something between starvation and malnutrition. There is such a thing as class... Dismantling industrial potential and returning to pre-industrial production would be even worse. There is no other outcome possible than when Pol Pot tried it.
by Katrin on Sat Jul 18th, 2015 at 07:22:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lucky I love these discussions...:-)
Maybe I don't make it clear enough that Pol Pot's reality is not what I have in mind.
A hundred years ago ninety five percent of the workforce worked the land, exposed frequently to extreme hardship but not to the kind of virulence that cities engender.
My proposal would be to solve unemployment numbers being so high by moving youth to the country to raise organic food.
There are so many abandoned farms in Europe. We know much more these days how to do it well, (though many secrets of locality are disappearing as the young care less and the old pass away).
Wholefoods at people's prices would hopefully ensue, within walking distance of everyone.
People would be so much healthier.
Healthier people make healthier decisions, health services unclog, more money is available to invest in better education so folk who live away from cultural centres don't feel left out, abandoned.
The provision of high speed internet would be the decisive agent in removing the sense of provinciality rural dwellers traditionally felt.
With appreciation for quality food becoming ever more central to global culture, (while social engineering is not usually my cup of tea,) I think in this case it would be justifiable.


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jul 18th, 2015 at 08:12:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is quite nice to hear you emphasise that you don't want to copy Pol Pot, but I never thought you would. My point is that rolling back on industrialisation cannot have any other outcome. I quite agree with your point on agriculture: growing more organic food (which will need more labour) to get a better quality of food (and better soils) is necessary. This is not the same as demanding to roll back industrial modes of production or a society based on the large entities we need for health care systems, high speed internet, etc.
by Katrin on Sat Jul 18th, 2015 at 10:11:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Archdruid Report

If there's such a thing as a natural human society, the basic dark age society is probably it, since it emerges when the complex, abstract, unique, and historically contingent cultures of the former civilization and its hostile neighbors have both imploded, and the survivors of the collapse have to put something together in a hurry with nothing but raw human relationships and the constraints of the natural world to guide them. Of course once things settle down the new society begins moving off in its own complex, abstract, unique, and historically contingent direction; the dark age societies of post-Mycenean Greece, post-Roman Britain, post-Heian Japan, and their many equivalents have massive similarities, but the new societies that emerged from those cauldrons of cultural rebirth had much less in common with one another than their forbears did.

I am fed up with the bland, tasteless, genericised nature of Brussels-led European-isation. Europe's variety is what makes it great.

Fear, more fear, we can't punch our weight as individuals, to compete in world markets we need to have the clout, the big stick of military budgets, the carrot farms of CAP grants and Schengen, Erasmus, EU-wide justice et al.

So after the sacrifice of Greece, do we really think they'll stop there? TTIP will reduce Europeans's human and civil rights.

The markets are always rumbling in concert as constant soundtrack of building storms, or the acrid thump of ever-closer artillery, the anonymous decisions of investor gamblers menacing our ways of life. So the Euro...

And now we are still terrified of the spread, growth has shuddered to a standstill, the ECB has abandoned its role as central bank (leaving us more vulnerable instead of less), and our new sovereigns are from the training grounds of Goldman Sachs and Chicago school, and all their economics has brought us is misery for the many, luxuries for the few.

Democracies have become turkeys voting for Xmas.

'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 Sun Jul 19th, 2015 at 05:35:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:
So after the sacrifice of Greece, do we really think they'll stop there?

Voluntary? No. I thought that we are talking about how to stop them, though, and I haven't given up.

Hey, for the first time there is a challenge to TINA with some power, even if it's only in one tiny country so far. Are we now very disappointed that neoliberalism didn't break down immediately on hearing the Greek election results? Or are we surprised that the right wing doesn't play fair? You all sound as if the left was worse off than last year. This is not the case.

by Katrin on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 06:32:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only way we are ever going to get "all-organic" agriculture is if the labor involved is all robots.

That's fortunately pretty likely to happen - you don't need mono-cultures, pesticides or people slaving on the land if food is grown by small bots stalking the fields with bug-zapping lasers at the ready, and this is likely to result in insanely high yields per square kilometer (because it amounts to automated gardening, not conventional farming) which will permit us to use less land to sustain the same population.. but as an employment measure?

No. It'll depopulate the country side even more.

by Thomas on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 12:41:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thomas, perhaps you underestimate the appeal of the countryside to city dwellers, especially if said countryside does not consist of chemical monoculture.
If they clean the air in the cities, possible but not imminent, then it would be a different story
Meanwhile I love your bugzapping bots.
Roll on laser chainsaws and silent electric tractors too.
Pony optional.

'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 21st, 2015 at 05:22:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:
Meanwhile I love your bugzapping bots.

LOL. The beloved bot will probably be programmed by a city dweller who has never in his life seen a bee, and it will kill everything that moves and does not exceed a certain size, I guess. I love Thomas's trust in technological solutions. What can go wrong?

by Katrin on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 06:37:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I miss Futurama too! (No, post season 5 isn't the same.)
by Number 6 on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 07:16:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This isn't even a plausible failure mode. The current prototypes already identify bugs before killing. Any field deployed model will be very good at discriminatory zapping.
Most likely way for this tech to go wrong is for people to get overly ambitious and deliberately exterminate insect species that are vexing to humans from an entire area, not just keep them away from fields and gardens. Which wouldn't be a technological failure, but a social / legal one.
by Thomas on Wed Jul 22nd, 2015 at 08:33:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You should start a thread on that, Thomas.
by Katrin on Wed Jul 22nd, 2015 at 12:48:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess it is because I am weird but I actually really like the city and I do not feel that the air quality is insufficient.

On Sundays I like to to visit our (small) harbor. When nobody is working and all the machines are powered down. Such places create a strange feeling of tension and energy.  A big industrial place standing still is like the quite before the storm.

by rz on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 07:24:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like Zelasny's short story "Lucifer".
by Number 6 on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 09:07:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds lovely. What is the name of your city plus small harbour?
by Katrin on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 09:31:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Karlsruhe. The harbor is the river harbor at the Rhine.
by rz on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 09:51:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That sounds like a good way of getting away from the city when it's all dug up. Have they any plans of ever finishing the roadworks, or is it going to be like Stuttgart?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jul 22nd, 2015 at 02:38:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plans of course. Soon it will be finished.... or maybe not.
by rz on Wed Jul 22nd, 2015 at 03:27:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm often biking or whatever in Bremen's Industrie Hafengebiet on weekends. I find it brilliant, while all the many beautiful nature areas are filled to the max with weekenders.

Now if we could only get rid of the windmills.

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 12:26:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cultural and employment opportunities are limited by travel time - that concentrates things in urban centers, even more so if you are using mass transit.

If both your work and play is all online, maybe you don't care, and I suppose a largely depopulated country side would mean very cheap rent, but the net movement of population has always been "into the city" and that does not seem likely to halt.

Eh. Bug-killer bots aren't science fiction. They're a predictable outcome of technology that's getting more and and more advanced at a very steady pace, and they allow for micromanaging the insect biome of a field in a way chemicals or human labor never could. The example that's currently being showed towards production is a dedicated mosquito-killer that's stationary, but a couple of rounds of better electronics and you will be able to buy a version that's mobile can be loaded with a kill-list. Best of all, it's not like pests are going to evolve resistance to it - how would that work, mirror finish shells and wings?

by Thomas on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 08:52:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We are coming from different philosophies, Thomas. When you think of [organic agriculture] + [technological research] this little gadget for pest control comes to your mind. The technology is thrilling, I don't doubt that. My answer to [organic agriculture] + [technological research] is more systemic, for instance: How will interdependencies of organisms in the soil change in rapidly changing climatic conditions?
by Katrin on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 09:29:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Robotics is quite systemic in the long run - pest control will come first, because there required mechanics are easier and there is a straightforward and very large market for it - it substitutes directly for pesticides in conventional agriculture, and can be used by organic farmers, but going further robotics is potentially a revolution on scale with the green revolution, because it means you can use the kind of intensive "labor" normally reserved for gardens on an industrial scale. No need for mono-cultures. "Stoop-labor Bot Mark II" can walk down a field and plant it all in whatever seems most appropriate for that square decimeter, mixing as it goes, and harvest it the same way, creating the kind of productivity you would normally only see on land micro-managed by a Russian grandmother.
At which point we can most likely let 80 or 90 percent of our current farmland revert to a state of nature.  
by Thomas on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 12:26:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cultural activities in rural areas are only limited by our imagination.
The internet will kill much of the loneliness and you can take special trips in your solar car for something SPECIAL sometimes. :-)


'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 21st, 2015 at 10:51:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course melo, the article is quite polemical. And there is also a much broader range then simply 'natural' vs 'preprocessed' or 'slow-food' vs. mc donalds.

Yet before this I had never seen anybody make a forceful point in favor of processed food.

by rz on Sat Jul 18th, 2015 at 07:49:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's mean-minded, most of all.

As for forceful points, what is advertising if not that? We are surrounded daily by idiotic marketing, a psychological saturation of lies.

Fast food, fast demise...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jul 18th, 2015 at 08:34:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure size is the actual problem here. The exact problem is that we have not solved the agent problem. What is consistently going wrong is that the individuals we empower to solve our coordination problems are subverted into acting against the common good with very great frequency. - Not just in government, but also in the private sector.

.. and it seems to me that this problem is, in fact, completely solvable. The mechanisms behind this are not obscure and they can be disrupted.

Tools that should be tried: :

"Radical Transparency". Want to hold a public office ? Run a life log. This is basic smart-phone tech.

"No Revolving Door". Resurrect the life-time civil servant, because getting rid of them has turned out to just make regulatory capture trivial.

"Regulate finance into oblivion". More sophisticated finance is a terrible idea that sucks talent out of parts of the economy that actually needs it. Quants would be much more socially useful coding games for the latest pocket toy of the people than where they currently are.

by Thomas on Sat Jul 18th, 2015 at 03:50:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On financial regulation and the sophistication of finance I suggest reading  this post on Interfluidity (note it is heavilyhyperlinked)
However, in a recent post, I think I have been treated unfairly. I think no fair reading of my financial opacity piece, alone or with its two followups, could characterize my position as "extoll[ing] deception and theft". The first piece is not satirical, in the sense of advancing a position which its author does not hold. But it is hyperbolic and sardonic, in the sense of laughing into ones execution. I think it is true that the business of banking, in order to effectively perform its social function of mobilizing resources at scale, necessarily involves a degree of deception. It must work to persuade a variety of stakeholders that their claims are very close to risk-free when in fact they cannot all be. That a degree of deception, or at least obfuscation, is inherent to banking does not justify all possible misbehavior. If you must lie for some greater good, you are especially bound to put the proceeds of the lie towards the greater good, and not just run off with the cash. Nothing justifies the sort of looting to which no one has called attention more assiduously than Smith. However, the opacity built into the very structure of modern banking systems, irreducibly if they are to perform the work we now delegate to them, renders it nearly impossible to prevent the pillage. Far from hagiography, in my mind this thesis is bitter eulogy for the hope that a banking system like ours can be "reformed". I think that we need to find other, very different, means of performing the functions that status quo banks currently perform, so that we can encourage the institutions that currently dominate to wither into obscurity. I know this is a tall order.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 18th, 2015 at 05:06:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are more forms of democracy than what we have now. There is the imperative mandate to make sure that representatives represent. Or council democracy. Or totally new combinations of democratic options increasing accountability of our representatives. Our problem at present is that though we elect representatives on some levels of statehood, decisions are made by bodies that we didn't elect, at least not for that purpose.
by Katrin on Sat Jul 18th, 2015 at 07:34:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The EU is a fine idea if only we elected left wing national governments" has been the last line of defence on this blog for 10 years. That line fell this weekend.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 08:42:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It might have worked if you added "and everyone else did too."

I think it's unlikely that Tspiras caved due to lack of principles. There are rumours that it was being hinted that if he didn't play along Greece would soon be in another war with Turkey.

So - what we've learned is that the right, which is always prepared to go to criminal lengths to further its interests in the rest of the world, is no different in Europe.

And the European institutions have no democratic defences. (Unless you count setting cars on fire.)

This time the Trojan horse was financial. The convergence system, the ECB, and the Euro were always designed as neoliberal weapons.

Now that they've been used, we know what they're for and what they can do.

Now that we've been used, we need to work out how to push back against them at the institutional level.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 09:23:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It might have worked if you added "and everyone else did too."
I see a lot of red in the European Council...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 09:41:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Red meaning what?
by Katrin on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 10:05:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Party of European Socialists. That's left, right? Right!?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 10:06:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Quisling-parties? I am tempted to link to something of a good author of political literature.
by Katrin on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 10:22:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
always so subtle
by IM on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 11:30:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Always so sensitive.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 12:04:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, they were all that was left, but they left the left, left us too, left us behind.

Right?

'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 14th, 2015 at 10:36:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not socialist, it's barely European, and it's certainly not much of a party.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 12:45:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But they have a Spitzenkandidat...!

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 02:35:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's unlikely that Tspiras caved due to lack of principles. There are rumours that it was being hinted that if he didn't play along Greece would soon be in another war with Turkey.

This is ridiculous conspiratism.

Tsipras folded. That is all.

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

by Starvid on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 02:36:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And Erdogan should this do because of...?

Erdogan ma be a nut job, but he hardly takes orders from the EU (or, as Iraq II showed, the US)

by IM on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 03:59:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
I think it's unlikely that Tspiras caved due to lack of principles. There are rumours that it was being hinted that if he didn't play along Greece would soon be in another war with Turkey.

It's kabuki then. NATO needs Greece, so Greece can fudge accounts, and now the poor Greeks can see their national heritage sold of to the new barbarians at the gate, so Obama says "Keep them in", so we 'extend-and-pretend some more. Tsipras was taken into a side room and told all this, (and probably a whole lot more that would turn a normal person's hair white overnight).

After a mainline hit of realpolitik Tsipras pragmatically decides he doesn't want to be president just to be chief gravedigger for his country's demise and so tries to split the difference, keeping pensions while hosting inspectors from C. Control looking over his government's shoulder.

No go, the humiliation must be seen to be without quarter, heads will be left to rot on stakes so the cowed europeans don't ever dare to think they have any say in their affairs, democracy and referenda be damned.

Troika love... They'll thank us one day, not. (like all the countries 'helped' by the IMF).

'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 Sun Jul 19th, 2015 at 05:46:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's unlikely that Tspiras caved due to lack of principles.
No need to invoke conspiracy theories. Tsipras was locked with 20 other hostile political leaders for 17 hours. At one point, presumably in the negotiations over Greek state assets, he's reported to have offered Merkel his jacket, too.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 19th, 2015 at 06:45:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading the Varoufakis' exit interview and the Jacobin article it becomes pretty clear what went wrong inside Syrizia.

Especially the latter. It points fingers at Dragasakis for always wanting to negotiate a surrender, unnamed other central committee members who couldn't believe what was happening until the end.
And not least of all it tells us how useless the Left Platform was. When there was talk about a plan B it reads like this:
Greece: The Struggle Continues | Jacobin

And you confirm there were initial preparations for Grexit put on the table and rejected?

Very vaguely. In restricted cabinet meetings, the so-called government council, where only the ten main ministers take part, Varoufakis had mentioned the necessity in the spring to consider Grexit as a possible action and prepare for that. I think there were some elaborations about parallel currency, but all this remained quite vague and poorly prepared.


As if its none of their business. But fear not!

This is the moment of course of inevitable self-criticism, which is only just starting. Clearly, the Left Platform could have done more in that period in terms of putting forward alternative proposals. The mistake is even clear because the alternative document itself was there, there was just internal hesitation about the appropriate moment to release it.


They had their own proposal and were only waiting for the right moment!

And Tsipras chaired this mess without ever forcing a clear decision on strategy.

by generic on Mon Jul 20th, 2015 at 10:37:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I want to point out that Dragasakis  looks actually rather well in all this. His approach to suck up to the Eurogroup was at least internally coherent.
by rz on Mon Jul 20th, 2015 at 10:52:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
His faction were the "realists" and they prevailed.

You could also chsracterise them as quislings and Pasok-like, and wonder whether their victory was pyrrhic and how long they will last.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 20th, 2015 at 03:41:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. governments - plural
by IM on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 11:32:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the Euro Council: Hollande. Renzi. Faymann. Fico.

In the Eurogroup: Sapin. Padoan. Dijsselbloem. Kazimir.

Are those not "left"?

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 11:57:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
not enough.
by IM on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 12:08:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess we should all just wait for Sigmar Gabriel in his shining armour.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 12:31:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
big armour!

but yes, a change of power in Germany would be important.

by IM on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 12:33:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No it wouldn't, because Germany's interests at the moment are not to allow the peripheral member states to have their own economic policy.

Germany has a surplus of old and retiring people, and a lack of future. As a country, it needs to extract some rent from its neighbours, be it by destroying these. After all, this leaves some more vital space available for the next generation of germans.

by Xavier in Paris on Sun Jul 26th, 2015 at 06:10:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Krugman: Angry germans
Basically, the incoming missives take two forms:

  1. Obscenities, in both English and German

  2. Bitter accusations of persecution, along the lines of "As a Jew you should know the dangers of demonizing a people." Because criticizing a nation's economic ideology is just like declaring its people subhuman.

Again, these are letter-writers, and hardly representative. But Germany's sense of victimization does seem real, and is a big problem for its neighbors.
by Xavier in Paris on Sun Jul 26th, 2015 at 06:57:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is nonsense. All industrial societies age, including Grrece.  

That domestic demand led growth in Germany somehow violates german interests is just absurd.

by IM on Mon Jul 27th, 2015 at 04:51:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is currently NO domestic demand-led growth in Germany. That's the problem.
by Xavier in Paris on Mon Jul 27th, 2015 at 03:20:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is not really true, but that is not the point. The point that you claimed that for some reason more demand-led growth is not possible or not desirable. And that is simply not true.
by IM on Mon Jul 27th, 2015 at 05:36:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
show me where I claimed that.
by Xavier in Paris on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 06:44:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You did claim it was in German interest to destroy the industrial base of the the rest of the world, which is simply wrong. German politicians might believe in a set of doctrines which imply that, but they are simply, dreadfully, tragically, wrong. Austerity hurts the future prosperity of Germany, even when it is taking place in Greece, because making your trade partners poorer is in fact a bad thing. The optimal way to rebalance the european economy from a German point of view would be to increase consumption in Germany until imports exceed exports, because that way the loans can be realistically paid back. This would result in much higher employment in the periphery, and a rise in their wealth levels also (although not as much of one as in Germany, because a large part of the output would be exports.)

And doing this is within the power of the german government, because they have immense leverage over wages, due to the way the economy is set up. The problem is that they have no clue what they are doing, and actually acquiring a clue would destroy the self worth of the politicians involved.  - They would have to grasp that they, personally, have spent decades fucking over Germany.

by Thomas on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 07:38:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do claim that it is in Germany's interest to destroy the economies of the peripheral states of the European Union, by undercutting their industries, using the fixed exchange rate allowed by the euro to artificially lower german wages relative to peripheral wages, and using a ECB-led monetary policy that has been tailored only for german interests, excluding peripheral countries needs. This was especially clear during the 2000's real estate boom in Spain.

I never talked about "the world", please do not lie to contradict me.

The process, as I see it, is quite simple actually: Germany has too much pensions to serve and has an internal balance of power tilted towards old people. It does not have the possibility to pay them by having a balance between old and young at home, for demographic reasons. It then has to make some return on capital that is sufficiently high to pay for these pensions. To get this, the only way is to decapitalize the country (first) and then Europe, rapatriating the profits afterwards. This is exactly the process at play in Greece.

Germany has absolutely no commitment, moral or otherwise, to the well being of other countries. The one and only thing that has some importance is Germany iself, so no time will ever be wasted to compromise when the balance of power allow not to do so.

I will add that this is not due to an essencial german evil, but to the internal power play of european peoples. Germans are simply the most numerous, but they are not alone: some small countries do the same.

by Xavier in Paris on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 08:18:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're wrong. To the extent that demograpics is a problem, in order for international economic policy to resolve it, Germany needs the periphery to become net exporters of goods and services to Germany

Or alternatively, for the pensioners of Germany to retire in the periphery.

Both of these require the periphery to have more industry, and general productivity, not less.

Germany is suffering the delusion that being a net exporter is a way to grow wealthier. It isn't. It's a way to pile up foreign exchange, and that exchange is  meaningless unless you spend it, and will be repudiated if the hoard grows too large.

by Thomas on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 08:54:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I do claim that it is in Germany's interest to destroy the economies of the peripheral states of the European Union,"

please define peripheral

 "by undercutting their industries,"

that should be why in the german interest?

 "using the fixed exchange rate allowed by the euro to artificially lower german wages relative to peripheral wages, "

How could that work? wouldn't that not a one off effect?

"and using a ECB-led monetary policy that has been tailored only for german interests, excluding peripheral countries needs."

The ECB policy since 2008 is not in the peripheral interest why?

"This was especially clear during the 2000's real estate boom in Spain. "

Yes, I remember the argument: The policy was only in the interest of the "core". But that included France. If not Italy.

"The process, as I see it, is quite simple actually: Germany has too much pensions to serve and has an internal balance of power tilted towards old people."

You could say the same about Italy. O Greece. Or if not now then in some years about all OECD countries.

"Germany has absolutely no commitment, moral or otherwise, to the well being of other countries. "

The eternal german soul, what?

" I will add that this is not due to an essencial german evil, but to the internal power play of european peoples. "

Sounds pretty much like exactly that theory to me. It can't be economics.

by IM on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 09:08:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
peripheral: you had a nice graph of the countries which saw a relative increase in their production costs due to the euro, it is a good indicator of the "peripheral" status of a state.

the positive (and durable) effect of the euro on germany industry is due to the averaging effect. You have indicators (inflation...) that drive a policy which are calculated on an average basis between various countries. By construction, the resulting policy will be favourable to all countries which economies are on one side of the average, and disfavourable to the countries on the other side (and neutral for the countries near the average).

Peripheral countries (eg. Spain, Italy, Irland) are on the wrong side of the policy, Germany (and probably a few others small states like netherlands) on the right side, France is near the neutral line.

The averaging process could be understood as a tilt toward the country with the more power at a given time, power due to population, riches, political influences, sociologic variables (whiteys and brownies!)...

The easy money time was especially benefitting Germany in the 2000 (and I find this a natural solidarity) and still benefitting Germany now, at the cost of sinking the economies of the peripheral countries.

Is this a given in the perspective of a continent wide unification? Maybe. An example is the unification of piemont & sicily: the use of a single currency, with a fixed rate by definition, in a situation where one part of the country should have had a devaluated currency leads to a destruction of the industry in Sicily and its concentration in the more favourable state.

Regarding the eternal german soul, you're obviously more qualified to talk about it. Maybe the eternal german soul has something to do with self-victimisation, a refusal to accept compromise, and a general conviction that german rules are best for everybody. I don't know if a german soul do exists. My contacts with german people are so different one from the other that I couldn't identify a general trend. But the country, via its government is certainly acting as if brutality and domination of the continent was still objectives of German politics.

by Xavier in Paris on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 11:31:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Xavier, you are buying into mercantilist logic here. The policy of the last couple decades created a large and persistent trade surplus in Germany. That is the "benefit" you are referring to, and the thing Angela Merkel is fighting tooth and claw to keep.

Which is insane. Industry is not it's own reward. The products of industry are the reward of industry. To continually send more of them out of your country than you receive - and to plan on having this state of affairs persist indefinitely, means you fail at capitalism. Foreign currency you have no intent to spend, ever, is not wealth. It is merely numbers.  

TLDR: Trade surpluses are every bit as bad as trade deficits.

by Thomas on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 12:31:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 "The easy money time was especially benefitting Germany in the 2000 (and I find this a natural solidarity)"

But should have benefited the whole "core" and indeed french growth was faster.

" and still benefitting Germany now, at the cost of sinking the economies of the peripheral countries."

How so? How is easy money sinking the periphery?

"Regarding the eternal german soul, you're obviously more qualified to talk about it."

Obviously not: There no such thing as an national soul and certainly no eternal one.

" Maybe the eternal german soul has something to do with self-victimisation, a refusal to accept compromise, and a general conviction that german rules are best for everybody."

No worry: Nobody could beat you in self-righteous self-victimization.

by IM on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 02:16:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Xavier in Paris:
I do claim that it is in Germany's interest to destroy the economies of the peripheral states of the European Union, by undercutting their industries, using the fixed exchange rate allowed by the euro to artificially lower german wages relative to peripheral wages, and using a ECB-led monetary policy that has been tailored only for german interests, excluding peripheral countries needs.

You do claim, but you never did demonstrate that it is Germany's interest (my emphasis) to "destroy" the periphery. As Thomas remarked, destroying EU's economy is hurting Germany too (no one is an island and neither is Germany). As you know, I tend not to attribute to malice what can be more easily explained by stupidity.

(and yes, your sig is as offensive as the Churchill quote)

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 04:24:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"You did claim it was in German interest to destroy the industrial base of the the rest of the world, which is simply wrong. "

He said peripheral european countries. But that is simply wrong, too.

"German politicians might believe in a set of doctrines which imply that, but they are simply, dreadfully, tragically, wrong. Austerity hurts the future prosperity of Germany, even when it is taking place in Greece, because making your trade partners poorer is in fact a bad thing. "

Just propose to a german businessman a sharp course of austerity in -

China.

Wonder what will happen.

"And doing this is within the power of the german government, because they have immense leverage over wages, due to the way the economy is set up. "

Tell me more about that magical abilities.

by IM on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 08:54:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Successive German governments suppressed wage increases through moral suasion and "Reforms". These levers would work exactly as well if applied in the opposite direction. Possibly better, because they are not restricted by the lower bound of zero. No magic required. Heck, just standing up in the bundestag and saying that wages are too low would likely move them a couple of percentage points all on it's own by indicating which side of the next wage negotiation round had official approval.
by Thomas on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 09:26:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Successive German governments suppressed wage increases through moral suasion and "Reforms".

No, not really. That is in Germany as elsewhere determined by the relative power of unions - decreasing - and employers - increasing.

by IM on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 09:52:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because of their relative influence over the governments, at least in part?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 11:30:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe that such questions are decided at the workplace. A union that can't strike or can't threaten with a strike won't win anything. And to many workplaces have no union at all. Unionization has gone down tremendously in Germany the last decades.  
by IM on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 01:04:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is mostly the result of the "reforms" I mentioned. To any government worth its salt, the relative strength of labor and employers isn't a external variable, it's a policy tool. A tool the German government has been misusing. For quite a while.
by Thomas on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 12:13:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
why right here:

"No it wouldn't, because Germany's interests at the moment are not to allow the peripheral member states to have their own economic policy.

 Germany has a surplus of old and retiring people, and a lack of future. As a country, it needs to extract some rent from its neighbours, be it by destroying these."

"As a country", you wrote

by IM on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 08:38:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can(t find the expression "demand side" in my text. Maybe you could point me to the correct paragraph?
by Xavier in Paris on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 11:33:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"demand-led growth" sorry.
by Xavier in Paris on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 11:56:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"demand-led growth" sorry.
by Xavier in Paris on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 11:56:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And your sig is annoying.
by IM on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 01:18:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I said:

"but yes, a change of power in Germany would be important. "

You said:

"No it wouldn't, because Germany's interests at the moment are not to allow the peripheral member states to have their own economic policy."

And in the context - a change in power in germany changing the direction of the economic policy of the EU - I interpreted that as a change in Germany and in the other eurozone countries to demand-led growth policy.

So what is your precise theory: That Germany could well change to demand led growth, but would still need to destroy the periphery - defined as all countries with higher growth of labour unit cost since 1999 in order to prosper?

by IM on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 01:18:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no way a change in government in Germany will lead to a demand-led growth in Germany or elsewhere, because nobody in Germany has any interest to a demand-led growth. Pensionners do not need a demand-led growth, they want low inflation.

If, unicorns aside, a demand-led growth were to take place in Germany, then a lot of problems would be solved.

The size of the demand increase needed in Germany is illustrated by the difference between the red line and the european average.

by Xavier in Paris on Wed Jul 29th, 2015 at 05:54:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"There is no way a change in government in Germany will lead to a demand-led growth in Germany or elsewhere, because nobody in Germany has any interest to a demand-led growth."

Nobody. There are 41 million employees in Germany, but nobody has an interest in demand led growth.

"Pensionners do not need a demand-led growth, they want low inflation."

nonsense. they have in interest that their income rises faster then inflation, that is all.

by IM on Wed Jul 29th, 2015 at 06:35:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are pensionners. They have interest in investing their money (via pension funds) in high growth countries (peripheral in the 2000's) and use it in a low inflation country (Germany).

The 41 million employees are not equals. The poors are screwed, and the not poors have the same interests as the pensionners. Plus, if equal to the french situation, only the richest are voting. So, yes, the ones who are poor and do not vote are underlings who have the same importance to german governement as greek employees.

by Xavier in Paris on Wed Jul 29th, 2015 at 08:46:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is possible through a thorough greening of the economy, de-monopolizing the utility giants, banks and MIC and liberating that money to pay forward for the infrastructure needed.

'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 29th, 2015 at 09:39:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not left enough, or not enough left?

By the way, with Social Democrats like these...



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 12:37:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well te fico oufit...

I will let you in a secret: I don't base my hopes on Ponta either

by IM on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 03:58:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To paraphrase Gandhi when quizzed about Western civilization, the European Union would be a very good idea; an idea that is moving further and further away...
by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 01:22:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Personally I don't blame the EU en masse, just its treaties and this random, arbitrary pulled-out-of-someone's-ass- number of 3% which is just anal.

What almighty oracle carved that number in tablets of stone?

Italy needs to threaten to do an orderly exit, and meanwhile stop feeding the beast. The MV5 is positioned along these lines, but I learned it here. Everyone is fed up with this pain, all because of a fucking currency.

I don't want to throw any babies away with the bathwater, but this European Union thingy needs to be redesigned from the foundation up.

I don't blame Prodi really either. He thought wiser heads would prevail, but he should have seen the flaws upfront. I guess he bought the 'endless growth papers over all our problems' line of kool-aide back before the venomous snake in the Garden of High Ideals came hissing out of the weeds.

'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 14th, 2015 at 04:18:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kevin O'Rourke: More miscellaneous irritations (The Irish Economy, 13 July 2015)
All in all a great day for Golden Dawn. As for the rest of us: I don't suppose that any other left wing party that may come to power in the future seeking to challenge the current European economic policy mix will be as feckless as the Tspiras government. The lesson that they will draw from this debacle is: negotiating with Germany is a waste of time; be willing to act unilaterally, be willing to default unilaterally, have a plan for achieving primary surplus if you haven't already achieved it, have a hard default and euro exit (now possible, thanks to the Germans) option in your back pocket, and be willing to use it at the first sign of hassle from the ECB. A deal could have been done today that would have strengthened the Eurozone, but instead it has just become a lot more fragile.

Update: Wolfgang Münchau is well worth reading, here.

Update: this is also well worth a read.

Update: Charles Wyplosz is well worth reading here. Good to see someone pointing out the obvious about this extraordinary programme, and also taking on the (to my mind bizarre) argument that the headline debt/GDP ratio is irrelevant.

Update: Dae Woong Kang and Ashoka Mody offer a historical perspective here.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 09:00:34 AM EST
The left has to realize own transformational roots, know better what it really wants, and commit to the wanted transformations. The big Syriza mistake was putting the highest priority to status quo -- staying in the eurozone.
by das monde on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 09:12:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
rz pointed out a week or so ago, SYRIZA was a Pro-EU/Anti-Austerity Party.  Nobody knew until this week that wasn't a tenable position.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 11:00:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Nobody"? Speak for yourself... And I am surely not alone...
by cagatacos on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 11:39:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because nobody had realised the CDU was an anti-EU pro-Austerity party.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 12:05:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. The radicalism of the CDU was stronger then I expected. They are driving the Eurozone into new Great depression with a great passion and a compete ignorance of every different point of view.
by rz on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 02:38:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not worried about Golden Dawn. After beating up on immigrants they got nothing. The Greek public has shown itself to be way left of Tsipras, maybe even of Syriza.
Salvini's much more dangerous that way because he has the political wits to do a Ron Paul, legalising prostitution is his latest genius move to solving Italy's problems.
Typical...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jul 18th, 2015 at 08:43:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the US, even Ron Paul can't do a Ron Paul. He just came out against Obama's Iran agreement. (I'm not going to look for a link on this slow connection at Padova Centrale)
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jul 18th, 2015 at 09:44:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Salvini is not that scary either really... Too crass for many voters.
If MV5 didn't exist, then I'd worry.
The right is in a deeply satisfying state of chaos thankfully! The voters understandably hate Salvini anywhere south of Roma Ladrona.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jul 18th, 2015 at 10:38:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
" The voters understandably hate Salvini anywhere south of Roma Ladrona."

I thought the lega is making headway outside the north now?

by IM on Sun Jul 19th, 2015 at 09:01:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is new territory for them, and they will get a few votes.
After a decade plus of treating them as the enemy, resentment is deep against the Lega, it would take that long or more to get any trust, seriously.

The other issue, an elephant in the corner, is that the mob have long, complex relations with the traditional, vote-bought parties that have divvied up this area since the war. Centre Left and centre Right, both thoroughly corrupted from top to toe.

Salvini is many things repellent, but this flaw is owned by Berlusconi most of all. He is fading but the effects of twenty years under his aegis will keep on giving until/unless excoriated and extirpated by new generations of Italians, (the ones that don't emigrate, natch).

The rot goes unbelievably deep, as the tireless magistrates are discovering.

Lega are frying the racism fish, it feeds the clueless masses.

Theirs is a bog standard corruption, and Salvini may be a bigot, but other than that he is actually not that shady compared to the rest of the politicians here.


'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 Sun Jul 19th, 2015 at 11:08:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't help wondering what the real story is with NuLab™ in the UK.

None of the centre-rightists are any more obviously electable than the sole left candidate. Yet there's been an absolute blizzard of "We're a Tory country now, get used to it" propaganda from both the far right and the nominal left after the election - in spite of all the evidence that anti-austerity is a popular platform, and the one thing that swung the vote is the EU referendum promise.

NuLab have been taking donations from hedge funds, which seems to me to be a less than entirely socialist thing to be doing.

So who's paying for the message, and pushing hard to keep any hint of left-wing principles out of reach of voters?

In other news, Murdoch has discovered a home video of the Queen and the former Queen Mother practicing Nazi salutes in the years before the war, and published it with glee in The Sun.

This might or might not be entirely unrelated. At this point I honestly have no idea what's happening any more. We seem to have the politics of the insane asylum wherever we look - and that even more than usual.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jul 19th, 2015 at 08:50:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sam Kriss: Fragments against the ruin (14 July, 2015)
In the years after the collapse of the Mediterranean world, Europe and Christendom were almost identical concepts; after that, Europe was defined by white skin and a habit of imperial massacre elsewhere in the world. Now, Europe is best defined as the place where they implement austerity.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 10:08:29 AM EST
Migeru:
Now, Europe is best defined as the place where they implement austerity.

We invented the rack and such joyful sundries too. Torquemada is smiling in hell.

Reminds me of visiting Madame Tussaud's most nightmarish exhibitions as a kid.

'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 14th, 2015 at 04:23:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why people think that lot of smaller states even more dominated by corporate interests and right-wing parties is going to be an improvement I don't know.

The fundamental problem is that the conventional wisdom everywhere has become increasingly right wing, nationalist and nuts. The EU member states have all elected right wing parties except for the current Greek government, and they're only in power because the right so utterly screwed over the economy.

This is probably the failure mode of 20th C democracies in a 21st C media environment.

You sound like Republicans threatening to secede from the US because they lost the debate on Obamacare.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 01:45:49 PM EST
Do you think the last week-end's event are making more likely for the UK to leave the EU in 2017?
by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 02:54:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK is possibly the worst example of democratic failure in Europe. Depends how the media tell the people to interpret it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 03:05:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it traces back to the corruption of economics as an academic discipline - Keynes set the political agenda for the western world for decades, but then moneyed interests noticed that endowing university chairs cost a lot less than buying influence with politicians directly, and is much more effective because it shapes the lens through which the world is interpreted. This isn't even a conspiracy theory - The foundations carrying this program out aren't secret, they have webpages. But it means popular understanding of economics has essentially not improved since Keynes died. In many ways, it's gotten worse. Disinformation and obfuscation rules.
by Thomas on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 04:07:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thomas:
But it means popular understanding of economics has essentially not improved since Keynes died. In many ways, it's gotten worse. Disinformation and obfuscation rules.

It has got worse, they've successfully blackened his name, Military Keynesianism is the only allowed exception.

One day we will look on present-day economics with the same horror as we do ancient human sacrifice... because that's what it is.

They are sucking on Gollum's precious while good folk starve and kill themselves in record numbers. They are machine-gunning a whole country for the concupiscence of a favoured few, babbling about how we will return to growth.

Dem green shoots burned to a scorched frizzle...

'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 14th, 2015 at 04:35:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course in essence you are right, but Eataly's gobmint is actually labeled Left.

<runs to bathroom.>

'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 14th, 2015 at 04:26:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One word.

Iceland.

by tyronen on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 07:10:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See: The Icelandic Myth In Spanish Media (Icelandic Grapevine, 29 May 2015)
Over the last few years, a myth of sorts has developed around Iceland's response to the economic crash. At some point--due to bad translations or wishful thinking--an idea arose that Iceland is some sort of utopian paradise where the bad bankers are in jail, Icelanders collectively wrote a new constitution over Twitter, and unicorns are the primary mode of transportation (maybe not the last part).


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 12:53:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even worse, they have unemployment at 2.6%, well below the natural rate. This can only lead to overheating of the economy and hyperinflation. Or have I been reading too many economists?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 02:48:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't believe in small states dominated by corporate interests, you are right. Neither do many who are disgusted by the EU.

But I reckon there is a large element of "I don't want to be a part of that". Monbiot here is still on balance siding with staying in, but has a poignant conclusion:

My feelings towards the EU are now similar to my feelings towards the BBC: a sense that I ought to join the defence of this institution against reactionary forces, but that it has succumbed so catastrophically to those forces that there is little left to defend. If the nature directives go down, while TTIP and the fiscal waterboarding of countries like Greece proceed, it will not be obvious what continued membership has to offer 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 15th, 2015 at 03:26:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's the "not in my name" rallying cry that was already seen in opposition to the Iraq invasion by Bush the Lesser and Tony Bliar.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 04:24:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's become unthinkable to argue from a perspective of empathy, so all solutions have to be framed around what violence is to be conducted. That's sort of recent. Worshiping power and violence is baked into civilization itself, so it goes back millenia. It's hard to be aware of it.

I was at a restaurant the other day and overheard the people next to me talking about Greece. Guy says in his standard-issue pompous silicon valley voice - "I think Merkel has done a really good job of maintaining the moral high ground." Inconsequential people who fancy themselves as serious people recognize other serious people, I guess.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 05:10:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fits with Krugman's definition of Very Serious People as "those willing to inflict suffering on the weak and the poor."
(Not an exact quote.)
by Number 6 on Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 05:35:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I so wish someone would translate this Varoufakis interview (I cannot do it myself, unfortunately, I wish I had the time). Here Varoufakis is a lot more open than ever before, 10x more than the New Statesman interview.

He was taken aside multiple times by Schauble in a private way and Schauble spoke to him openly about his plans. Clearly, Varoufakis despises Djisselboem here. And I don't know if this is just V's bias, but how can it be that in private, Jeroen fulfills every stereotype cast at him in his public caricature?

The two reporters are well versed and they are touching all the bases, especially when it comes to Grexit plans. Varoufakis is making a really good case that he and the others worked through the problems of even preparing for Grexit. It is pretty convincing. It has more to do with the power and reach of a liberal democratic gov't inside the eurozone. You cannot prepare for Grexit without Grexiting shortly thereafter.

AND, if you recall the Lapavitsas piece in Jacobin back in March, he claimed that Schauble would offer Greece a soft exit. I was one of the people who ridiculed Lapavitsas here as a dreamer, saying that I was fairly certain Germany would try to undercut Greece. But I think, listening to Varoufakis here, it was an actual offer, and Lapavitsas got the info from Varoufakis.

What more, Varoufakis reported back about his talk and it was hardly believed. Varoufakis himself admits he fell into a  kind of trap, having been the person to whom Schauble uttered this, because he became afraid that any move by Greece toward Grexit would be seized on and create momentum. I don't know if this was Schauble's intention, to scare Varoufakis, but it worked. It's likelier that it wasn't actually a tactic, but a real plan by Schauble.

It shows that Varoufakis and Tsipras are as much prisoners of their distrust of the German team as the German team are prisoners of their distrust of the Greek team.

So, in other words, 6 months of prisoners' dilemma.

And though Varoufakis hasn't analyzed it as such, this is certainly how it sounds like to me, having heard him here.

I do have to say that I find Varoufakis infinitely more convincing than Tsipras, but this is my bias since I credit Varoufakis's experiences outside Greece quite a bit.

by Upstate NY on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 07:30:21 PM EST
Apparently, Tsipras and Varoufakis were conditioning targets for all those 6 months.

Already this was  significant submission:

let us agree on three or four important reforms that we agree upon, like the tax system, like VAT, and let's implement them immediately [...]

And they said "No, no, no, this has to be a comprehensive review. Nothing will be implemented if you dare introduce any legislation. It will be considered unilateral action inimical to the process of reaching an agreement."

by das monde on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 09:15:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Angela Merkel backed this up at the post-summit press conference. She accused the Greeks of passing laws that had not been approved. I think the main one was the tax amnesty law.
by Upstate NY on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 09:27:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Upstate NY on Tue Jul 14th, 2015 at 07:30:47 PM EST
Owen Jones: The left must put Britain's EU withdrawal on the agenda (14 July 2015)
The list goes on, and it is growing. The more leftwing opponents of the EU come out, the more momentum will gather pace and gain critical mass. For those of us on the left who have always been critical of the EU, it has felt like a lonely crusade. But left support for withdrawal - "Lexit", if you like - is not new. If anything, this new wave of left Euroscepticism represents a reawakening. Much of the left campaigned against entering the European Economic Community when Margaret Thatcher and the like campaigned for membership.

It would threaten the ability of leftwing governments to implement policies, people like my parents thought, and would forbid the sort of industrial activism needed to protect domestic industries. But then Thatcherism happened, and an increasingly battered and demoralised left began to believe that the only hope of progressive legislation was via Brussels. The misery of the left was, in the 1980s, matched by the triumphalism of the free marketeers, who had transformed Britain beyond many of their wildest ambitions, and began to balk at the restraints put on their dreams by the European project.

The left's pessimism about the possibility of implementing social reform at home without the help of the EU fused with a progressive vision of internationalism and unity, one that had emerged from the rubble of fascism and genocidal war. It is perhaps this feelgood halo that has been extinguished by a country the EU has driven into an economic collapse unseen since America's great depression. It was German and French banks who recklessly lent to Greece that have benefited from bailouts, not the Greek economy. The destruction of Greece's national sovereignty was achieved by economic strangulation, and treatment dealt out to Alexis Tsipras likened to "extensive mental waterboarding". Slovakia's deputy prime minister, Peter Kažimír, may have deleted his tweet calling this modern-day Versailles "the results of their `Greek Spring'", but he is right: this was all about crushing a rebellion.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 11:48:54 AM EST
Agreed.
(Foreigner living in the UK, so probably won't get to vote on it.)
by Number 6 on Thu Jul 16th, 2015 at 08:14:54 AM EST
Merkel 'gambling away' Germany's reputation over Greece, says Habermas | Business | The Guardian

Jürgen Habermas, one of the intellectual figureheads of European integration, has launched a withering attack on the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, accusing her of "gambling away" the efforts of previous generations to rebuild the country's postwar reputation with her hardline stance on Greece.

Speaking about the bailout deal for the first time since it was presented on Monday, the philosopher and sociologist said the German chancellor had effectively carried out "an act of punishment" against the leftwing government of Alexis Tsipras.



'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 Fri Jul 17th, 2015 at 07:11:17 PM EST
" ... the German chancellor had effectively carried out "an act of punishment" against the leftwing government of Alexis Tsipras."

And she's very proud! Don't kid yourself ... it wasn't an accident.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Jul 22nd, 2015 at 06:14:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece, the Sacrificial Lamb - The New York Times

Greece, in fact, has a lot of tanks, because the German and French arms industries, eager to get rid of surplus hardware in a world where wars are fought by bombers and drones, bribed the politicians. During the first decade of this century Greece was among the top five importers of weapons, mainly from the German companies Ferrostaal, Rheinmetall and Daimler-Benz. In 2009, the year after the crash, Greece spent €8 billion - 3.5 per cent of GDP - on defence. The then Greek defence minister, Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who accepted huge bribes from these companies, was convicted of corruption by a Greek court in 2013. Prison for the Greek; small fines for the German bosses. None of this has been mentioned by the financial press in recent weeks. It didn't quite tally with the need to portray Greece as the sole transgressor. Yet a Greek court has been provided with conclusive evidence that the largest tax avoider in the country is Hochtief, the giant German construction company that runs Athens airport. It has not paid VAT for twenty years, and owes 500 million euros in VAT arrears alone. Nor has it paid the contributions due to social security. Estimates suggest that Hochtief's total debt to the exchequer could top one billion euros.


'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 Sun Jul 26th, 2015 at 07:19:46 PM EST


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