Jean Claude Juncker had a good idea but looked in the wrong place for funding it. His good idea was to promote a sizeable investment program (€300 billion) that would help Europe end years of crisis, stem deflation and return the continent to growth. Unfortunately, Mr Juncker thought it a good idea to tap the European Stability Mechanism’s unused borrowing capacity in order to fund his investment program. Soon after putting forward this idea, Germany smacked it down. Why was Mr Juncker badly mistaken to suggest the ESM as a funding source? And what should Mr Juncker have proposed instead? Read on…
As Europe seems resigned to the perpetuation of the Euro Crisis, with its authorities in a state of permanent paralysis (with only the ECB trying, and failing, to stem the debt-deflationary vortex), it seems more pertinent than ever to keep the debate on the Modest Proposal going. If only as a reminder to the powers-that-be that there are immediately implementable policies whose implementation would stem the crisis without breaking any of the existing rules, without having the core countries pay one euro for the debts and losses of the periphery, and without any further diminution of national sovereignty. Can all this be possible? Is the Modest Proposal genuinely capable of delivering such much-needed relief at no cost and without bypassing any of the existing rules? We, the authors of the Modest Proposal, think so. Of course, sceptics have every right to pose questions and challenge our hypotheses. In this post, one such sceptic asks pertinent, probing questions about each of the Modest Proposal’s four policies. Which we do our best to answer. [(*)For earlier Q&As on the Modest Proposal, raising many of the same issues, click here and here.) Read on… Continue reading
On 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
[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.
Here 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?
ON THE MODEST PROPOSAL’S POLITICAL, CONSTITUTIONAL AND ETHICAL DIMENSIONS
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.
In 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
FRIENDS OF EUROPE, an official publication of the EU, kindly commissioned me to write a short article on the State of the Union after the European Parliament elections, in the run up to the magazine’s 9th October conference of the same theme. You can read the article on the FoE’s website or just continue below
It is with great pleasure that I received the news from Finland that my Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the Future of the World Economy has just been published in Finland by the good people of Vastapaino Publishers. (Click here for their site.)
My Preface to this Finnish edition follows: Continue reading
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.)
Following 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…
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.
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.)
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…
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
In 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”
If 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.)
László 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
Le Monde featured this piece on my research of social economies that emerge in video game communities. Readers may profit from reading the Reason interview on which it was based – and this recent keynote I delivered at the 2014 CFA Institute’s Conference in Seattle.