Is Europe loosening up austerity’s iron clasp?

Suppose that I were to demand of you that, by the end of August, you should be able to run the 100m sprint in less than 10’’. Suppose further that, to give you a firm incentive to lift your ‘game’, I whip you continually. Alas, August is approaching and your performance in fact declines, as the whipping has drained your body and spirit; in addition to the soul destroying common secret that you never really stood a chance of running 100m in less than 10’’. So, faced with this grim reality-check, I announce a new timeframe: While I am not reducing the frequency or severity of my whipping, I give you more time to achieve the impossible task. You now have until the end of… December to reach your ‘target’!

  • Question: Have I loosened up my grip over you? Am I showing flexibility in view of your continued subjugation to my will?
  • Answer: Of course not. All that happened is that I have extended into the future my maddened misanthropy, making a virtue out of my abject policy failure.

The above metaphor may be pointed yet it is by no means unhelpful in grasping the EU’s latest announcement that Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands will be given more time to achieve the deficit reduction targets by the same self-defeating austerian terms.

 

22 thoughts on “Is Europe loosening up austerity’s iron clasp?

  1. If at least the BCE was bringing in serious monetary stimulus, maybe austerity would be bearable. As it is, it’s just a diuble whammy of contractionary policies.

    I wonder why those that force austerity on the south don’t realize that Market Monetarism would at least make the austerity palatable.

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  3. I have a tangentially related question:

    In my discussions on the internet, some neoliberal commentators make the claim that “austerity has not even been tried yet”. Of course, this is counter-intuitive as hell for us who have been following the news of the brutal cuts in Greece and elsewhere closely. Their argument is that state expenditures (in absolute terms, i.e. euros; not as a ratio of GDP) have been steadily rising during the crisis, just at at slower rate than before. They say that unless we see an actual absolute decrease in state expenditure, then it’s not really austerity.

    My usual retort is twofold:

    1. If adjusted for inflation these figures would be different.
    2. Interest rate payments on past debt are now consuming a bigger slice of the budget than before.

    I can’t help but feel that I’m missing something and these two factors aren’t enough to explain the observation. What am I missing here?

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  12. If you take Brussels as a nicro cosmos, you have empty houses (speculation) high unemployment, the most expensive restaurants and the highest amount of prostitution in Europe.
    The Eurocrats are living an over the top degenerated live style (this I know from first sight) financed by European taxpayers. The Eurocrats regular income is already a kind of bribe, plus all the benefits they get through promoting the interests of the lobby groups. This scheme was planned from day one. Freedom for the elites, preasure for the people. For me, EU means fascism, defined as the merger of big Capital and corrupt Politicians with their hords of functionairy.No chance for an overhaul. The system is installed and fatten itself.

    • Could not agree more with you! So Greece with their political elite in bed with this Brussels crowd, Greece is going to hell in hand basket.

      Only way out is to break up this sick system, but how? Needs a larger country to break out and lead the way. Greece is a vassal state stuck in the slave house with the Greek political elite still selling the idea that being in chains is the best future.

  13. If you take Brussels as a nicro cosmos, you have empty hoses (speculation) high unemployment, the most expensive restaurants and the highest amount of prostitution in Europe.
    The Eurocrats are living an over the top degenerated live style financed by European taxpayers. Their regular income is already a kind of bribe, plus all the benefits they get through promoting the intersts of the lobby groups. tese scheme was planned from day one. Freedom for the elites, presure for the people For me, EU means fascism.

  14. Great metaphor professor. The situation is so absurd that it brings to mind Monty Python’s excelent sketch of the “First man to jump over the English channel”. Check it out for a few loughs.

  15. “in addition to the soul destroying common secret that you never really stood a chance of running 100m in less than 10″

    Nice analogy, I like it a lot. The very same applies to Greece, Portugal and others with regard becoming fit (in the sense of equals) for a common currency with Germany, Austria and so on.

    No chance, never. No matter how much they are whipped, no matter how much time they have.

    Of course, as everybody knows, the Greek, Portugueese and so on populace was baitet into this common currency desaster by their respective ‘elites’ with the implicit promise to be sooner rather than later on the same standards of living as the core countries. It is on time the people in the troubled nations whip for this betrayal their ‘elites’ as long as necessary, means forever.

    • Only thing missing in the analogy: The sport club exit door!

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