The Global and European Crisis revisited: An audio from the launch of the Global Minotaur in Finland

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 12.03.50 PMOn 25th August, I had the honour of presenting the Finnish edition of The Global Minotaur to a splendid, and welcoming, audience at the University of Tampere. In this post you can listen to an interesting exchange on the state of the global and European economy, why Finns (along with citizens of other European ‘surplus’ member-states – but even more so than most others) ought to be very, very angry with their politicians (over the bailouts and overall handling of the Euro Crisis), on China’s future role etc.  Continue reading

Is Mr Draghi’s ‘turn’ significant? Is Germany ‘turning’? Can Europe escape its ‘iron cage’? Plus, on the Scottish currency plans – on Boom-Bust RT-tv

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[Jump to 3'20''] Erin Ade, RT’s Boom-Bust presenter, interviewed me yesterday on the state of Europe. We talked about the significance of Mr Draghi’s recent ‘intervention’, on whether Germany is about to change course, touched upon my article “Can Europe be saved without turning into an iron cage?” and briefly delved into Scotland’s proposal for a currency union with England if the Scots opt for independence on 18th September.

Discussing Scottish Independence and the demerits of a Sterling Union on KPFA Radio (Berkeley, CA)

ScotlandHere is a 25 minute radio interview on KPFA Radio (Berkeley CA) on the Scottish Independence question that will be decided by  Scottish voters on 18th September. (Click here and jump to 32’50” for the interview). The points raised are further supported by two previous posts: (a) Scotland Must Be Braver! and (b) If Scotland, why not Greece?

CAN EUROPE ESCAPE ITS CRISIS WITHOUT TURNING INTO AN IRON CAGE?

ON THE MODEST PROPOSAL’S POLITICAL, CONSTITUTIONAL AND ETHICAL DIMENSIONS

Rembrandt Europa[Image: Rembrandt's 'The Abduction of Europa']

This article is a sequel to an earlier piece entitled ‘Why is Europe not coming together in response to the Euro Crisis?’ and is best read in conjunction with this article (co-authored with James K. Galbraith) that compares our Modest Proposal for Resolving the Euro Crisis with alternative proposals for defeating the Euro Crisis. In what follows below , I argue that, as things stand, ‘political union’, ‘more Europe’, calls for a ‘Eurozone economic government’, or for a ‘Euro Chamber’ within the European Parliament, are not preludes to a democratic federal Europe. Instead, they are steps towards a postmodern European feudalism that is, in fact, the very antithesis of a democratic federation. The article concludes with an analysis of why our Modest Proposal offers Europe a rare chance to prevent the creation of a European iron cage in which what is left of our democracies must suffocate. Unlike all moves that are currently heralded as ‘baby-steps’ towards federalism, the Modest Proposal’s emphasis on ‘Europeanised Decentralisation’ is perhaps Europe’s best shot at a future consistent with the basic principles of a constitutional democracy.

 

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Chosen Cells – WdW Review

Chosen Cells  is a sequel to Solitary Subversives and our seventh article for Witte de With Review (an initiative of Rotterdam-based Witte de With Center for Contemporary Artof which we, vitalspace.org and I, are their…  ‘Athens Desk’). Click here for the  Witte de With Review site which contains several photos missing here. Or read on… Cells; Installation view of Maria Papanikolaou, Prison, 2008. The performance and video installation depicts a living prisoner-performer and a (video) projected inmate. During the performance, the two assist each other to escape. Image courtesy of Maria Papanikolaou and vitalspace.org

 

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WHY IS EUROPE NOT ‘COMING TOGETHER’ IN RESPONSE TO THE EURO CRISIS?

EU disunityIn this article I ask a question on everyone’s lips: Almost everyone agrees that the Eurozone was a one-legged giant; a monetary union lacking a political ‘leg’ to stabilise it. If so, why has the Euro Crisis (which surely strengthened that view on the back of its ferocity and durability) not strengthen the hand of the federalists? Of those who were, supposedly, waiting to pounce upon any opportunity to create a United States of Europe? (This article was compiled from extracts of a keynote speech I have on 25th August 2014 at the University of Tampere, Finland, in the context of a conference entitled Power, Knowledge and Society.)   Continue reading

Discussing Austerity with Phillip Adams, on Late Night Live, ABC Radio National

In this podcast you can hear my discussion with Phillip Adams, on ABC Radio National Late Night Live, on fiscal austerity and its discontents. The backdrop for this interview was, naturally, the Australian Federal Government’s attempts to ‘sell’ its latest Austerity Budget to the Australian people. (Click also here for my OpEd on ‘Austerity comes to Australia’, that appeared on the ABC’s White Paper e’magazine.)

Austerity comes to Australia – OpEd, WHITE PAPER, ABC Radio National

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 11.18.49 AMFollowing the passing of an Austerity Budget by the Australian Federal Government, the editors of White Paper (ABC Radio National’s online magazine) commissioned me to write an OpEd on what lessons Australia should learn from the implementation of similar austerian fiscal policies in Britain and the Eurozone.

You can read my article by clicking here, or simply by reading on…

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Summer stupour’s end. Posts recommencing…

This was the longest break I have taken since this blog began life. Two and a half books were written, during that time, plus a great deal of swimming in translucent waters, like those depicted in the adjacent photo, was done. Polyaigos Blue

With Europe continuing to experience its existentialist crisis, and the world at large more troubled than ever, it is now time to leave Nature’s wonders behind and return to our societies’ troubled waters. 

In the next posts I shall ‘visit’ Australia’s latest Austerian Turn, before heading for Finland – where my Global Minotaur was just published (in fluent Finnish) and where I am to deliver a keynote this coming Monday on the state of Europe. 

Photo: Polyaigos Blue (Please note that the blue-ness depicted is not photoshopped or enhanced in any way. This is what it looks like, on the south west corner of the barren island of Polyaigos, close to the island of Melos.)

Greek summer stops posting…

Dear Reader, You may have noticed that my posts have ceased over the past week. Summer is responsible. A wonderful Greek summer, spent mostly on a tiny boat in the Aegean. Back in mid-July, with posts mostly reflecting my total immersion in the writing of my next book, entitled EUROPE UNHINGED: The next phase of the global crisis (to be published in New York by Nation Books). Till then, an image (of partner Danae & friend) to go with the spirit of the moment…

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A European New Deal financed by the EIB, with ECB QE-backing, is the optimal policy: Now recommended also by W. Münchau

Faced with deflationary forces in its core, and a lasting depression in the periphery, the Eurozone requires a major investment drive. One of the Modest Proposal’s policy recommendations is that the European Investment Bank (along with the European Investment Fund) embarks upon a massive investment drive (up to 8% of Gross Eurozone Product) without any national co-funding. These investments could be funded through 100% issues of EIB-EIF bonds, with the European Central Bank purchasing, in secondary markets, sufficient quantities of these bonds to ensure that their yields stay well below 1.5%, thus making a European New Deal not only possible but also self-financing – and off the books of national budgets. Continue reading

James K. Galbraith on The Modest Proposal, Europe and Greece

JamieIn this Q&A with a Greek journalist, on the occasion of the launch of the Greek translation of the Modest Proposal, James K. Galbraith argues that Italy and Greece can play an important role in changing the terms of the European ‘conversation’, so that rational, minimalist solutions like the Modest Proposal can have a chance of saving the Eurozone. He also explains that the Greek implosion was always a political choice by Berlin and Frankfurt; and that if the troika squeeze is lessened, it is due to SYRIZA’s success – not to the success of the austerity program. Finally, he answers an important question on the Chinese government’s investment strategies in Greece and in the rest of the Eurozone. 

“The Modest Proposal requires a change of thinking, not a change of European Treaties.”

“If Greece has been declared a success, it is largely due to the success of SYRIZA – not of the austerity program”

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The Modest Proposal (in Greek) – presented tonight, in Athens, by Alexis Tsipras, Yanis Varoufakis & George Krimpas

Πρόσκληση στην βιβλιπαρουσίασηIf you happen to be in Athens tonight (Tuesday 17th June), come to the Byzantine Museum (2 V. Sofias Avenue) at 8pm for the launch of the Greek translation of our Modest Proposal for Resolving the Euro Crisis 4.0. It will be presented by Yanis Varoufakis (who will speak to the proposal itself), George Krimpas (who will place it in a broader context) and Alexis Tsipras (who will speak to it as Leader of the Official Opposition and, primarily, the European Left party’s candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission). (Unfortunately no translation will be available.)

 

A proposal for Federal Unemployment Benefits in the €-Zone: By EU Commissioner László Andor

LaszloLászló Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, has recently given a speech (at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, 13 June 2014) entitled Social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union: What lessons to draw from the European elections? It is a good speech, well worth reading carefully, that outlines a proposal for a federal-like Eurozone-wide unemployment insurance scheme. While I have my concerns regarding its feasibility, and in particular the notion of fiscal transfers without democratically elected Eurozone federal insitutions, Mr Andor’s speech marks a third category in our classification of proposals to save the Eurozone: Federalist Anti-Austerians. For Commissioner Andor’s speech… Continue reading

The Metaphysics of Money – Guest post by Paul Tyson

cashRecently I was at a coffee shop, and to test a metaphysical hunch I asked a few of my fellow caffeinated confreres this question: “What is money?” They all gave answers along the following lines. Money is an arbitrary symbol of exchange value that we just make up in order to facilitate trade and investment. Money itself isn’t any thing but it is a collectively believed in fiction which operates as a very useful means of exchange.   Continue reading

Whither Europe? The Modest Camp vs the Federalist Austerians – in Open Democracy

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 4.02.33 PMby JAMES GALBRAITH and YANIS VAROUFAKIS

Proposals for resolving the Eurozone crisis, and re-designing its architecture, are multiplying – especially as evidence mounts that the crisis is continuing, despite all the official announcements of its end. Our Modest Proposal  was the first to have been tabled, along with Breugel’s Blue Bond Proposal, back in 2010. In this review article, J.K. Galbraith and I argue that, while there is now a plethora of proposals for ‘fixing’ the Eurozone, there are only two competing camps. One is our ‘Modest Camp’, whose policy recommendations would re-configure the Eurozone immediately, using existing institutions, and without cumbersome federal moves that would legitimate a permanent Austerity Union. The other being, what we described as, the Federalist Austerians’ Camp.  Click here for the OPEN DEMOCRACY site