On 30th October I was invited to address a meeting of German, Austrian and Swiss pension fund managers on how they should make sense of the Eurozone’s current state of play. In this keynote (click below for the audio and the accompanying slides) I present an explanation of the causes underlying the impossible dilemmas pension fund and fixed income managers are facing in Europe today. Plus a proposal of what the ECB ought to do to make a substantial difference.
For the keynote’s audio click below and, once its starts, open Zurich Powerpoint (and click to change slides when you hear the gong in the background)
Klaus Kastner is a former banker from Austria who is also ‘afflicted’ with a deep concern for Greece; witness his excellent blog ObservingGreece. He has commented many times on this blog and, on the occasion of the ECB’s recent stress tests (and in response to this post) he sent me the following comment. His first hand experience of European banks renders is both useful and interesting. Read on… Continue reading
For the tv interview click here or the photo above (and jump to 21′). A related, analytical, article, can be found here.
Last Sunday the ECB published its quality assurance results, its stress tests of our systemic banks. It was, from where I am standing, a sad day.
An interview with Antti Ronkainen published in SUOMEN KUVALEHTI (in Finnish). Click here for the original or read on… Continue reading
The ECB’s recent dalliance with QE-light is macro-economically irrelevant. For a long while we have been arguing (see Policy 3 of the Modest Proposal) that it is high time that the ECB buys en masse EIB bonds, thus enabling the EIB to issue new bonds as part of a European Recovery Program; an investment drive that will mobilise the glut of idle savings, neither adding to public debt nor inflating financial assets (or, indeed, the fear of fiscal transfers from the core to the periphery). It is the optimal strategy for defeating deflation and whipping up growth without inflating asset prices. It was with pleasure that we recently read Guntram Wolff’s article which seems to endorse this proposal. Continue reading
Now that the bubble of the Greek success story has, thankfully, burst, it is perhaps apt to take a good look at the track record of Greece’s finance minister: the talented Mr Gikas Hardouvelis. Readers that harboured hopes of a Greek turn-around (against this blog’s repeated warnings) ought to brace themselves – the finance minister’s story is not recommended reading for the faint hearted…
The spectre of Greek contagion seems to be returning to the Eurozone. At least this is the fear that I sense by talking to financial journalists across Europe. In this interview with Jorge Nascimento Rodrigues (for EXPRESSO) I argue that: “The Euro Crisis never went away. What happened was that Mr Draghi’s skillful interventions in the summer of 2012 suppressed the crisis in the bond markets but, at the same time, pushed it deeper into the foundations of the real economy. It was inevitable that, as the crisis was wrecking these foundations (with deflationary forces, desperately low levels of private and public investment and increasing debt to GDP ratios in the Periphery), it would resurface in the bond and equity markets. It does not matter whether the trigger was Greece, Portugal or Italy. What matters is its inevitability.”
You can read the interview as published in Portuguese here, or in its original (and longer) version below. Continue reading
In this interview, with Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachtrichten (German Business News), I address the question of what happened in recent days in the Greek bond markets, in view of the Greek government’s failed attempt to argue that Greece is about to exit its Bailout. Regular readers may notice that I am merely repeating what I was saying back in April. For the full interview (in German, as it appeared in DWN) click here. For the English version, read on… Continue reading
As elections begin to loom in Greece, an extraordinary propaganda drive has commenced. Its purpose? To impress upon the world (with a view to swaying Greek pubic opinion) that Greece is out of the woods; that Greek public debt is (miraculously) sustainable, that the banks are back on track, that investment is beginning to flow again, that unemployment is in the mend. Ofcourse, none of this is true. Greece is being made over as a Potemkin village prior to the forthcoming General Election. In future posts I shall show that the reality on the ground continues to be one of a depressed economy, with an unsustainable public debt, a banking system that only functions courtesy of the ECB’s willingness to turn a blind eye, a private sector in which everyone owes to everyone and no one can pay and investment that is utterly non-existent. For the time being, here is a short interview with an Italian journal – click here. For the original English text read on… Continue reading
The Real-World Economics Review commissioned a number of us to write critical reviews of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century. They include, beside the over-signed, David Colander, Edward Fullbrook (who must be credited for the whole issue), James K. Galbraith, Michael Hudson, Richard Koo, Richard Parker, Ann Pettifor, and Robert Wade – see below for links to their papers.
My own contribution is entitled Egalitarianism’s Latest Foe: a critical review of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. (A Spanish translation is also available here.) Read on for the links to all 16 articles…
[This post was later published by Open Democracy]
Behind the European Union’s official ‘line’ that the worst of the Euro Crisis is behind us, a flurry of proposals for institutional changes reveal a deep-seated anxiety about the Eurozone. Indeed, in recent weeks, even the German finance minister, Mr Wolfgang Schäuble, went public with an op-ed in the Financial Times (1st September 2014, co-authored with Karl Lamers), presenting a proposal for a Eurozone Parliamentary chamber that would legitimise, and stand behind, a new office of Euro ‘Czar’ with the capacity to veto member-states’ budgets.
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
[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.