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”

Continue reading

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

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

Italy, Greece and Europe after the European Parliament elections: An interview with Alessandro Bianchi

ITALY_GREECEHow the current policies of the Brussels-Berlin-Frankfurt triangle are based on a propaganda campaign reflecting continuing Crisis Denial and why they constitute an attempt to create a new financial bubble  – Why SYRIZA is a pro-European progressive party, in contrast to UKIP and Ms Le Pen’s FN – What should we expect of the new Italian government and why there is important room for an alliance between Italy and a SYRIZA-led Greek government. In conversation with Alessandro Bianchi of L’Antidiplomatico (click here for the Italian version) Continue reading

QE for infrastructure investment could be ECB’s alternative to ‘pushing on a string’ – Tom Bowker, Central Banking Journal

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 3.34.06 AMTom Bowker, of the Central Banking Journal and centralbanking.comhas written about my proposal that the ECB’s Quantitative Easing program should be aimed at purchasing bonds issued by the European Investment Bank/Fund as part of an Investment-led Recovery Program for the Eurozone as a whole.  Continue reading

How should the ECB enact Quantitative Easing? A proposal

eurosThe ECB has no alternative to enacting some form of Quantitative Easing (QE) in order to prevent deflationary expectations from setting in fully. Core inflation has already reached a level that, even according to Mr Draghi’s own pronouncements on 24th April, should have already triggered off QE. (See also Wolfgang Munchau’s well argued case here.) However, the ECB’s governing board is finding it hard to agree on what assets the ECB ought to buy. In this post I suggest a simple answer to this debilitating question.

Continue reading

‘European Progressive Policy Initiative’ endorses the Modest Proposal’s four main policies

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 1.16.35 PMA group of noted international economists (including Joseph Stiglitz, Peter Bofinger and Stefanie Griffith-Jones), known as the European Progressive Policy Initiative (EPPI), has issued a policy paper that endorses the main planks of our Modest Proposal for Resolving the Euro Crisis 4.0.

EPPI was assembled in 2013 by Europe’s social democratic alliance in the European Parliament. This is significant, given the social democrats acquiescence to the Merkel-led toxic policies, which are causing Europe to fragment. Coming, as it does, a few weeks before the European Parliament Election, this policy document flags the potential for breaking the stranglehold over European politics of the indefensible ‘official EU position’, i.e. the toxic trio of claims that:  Europe is on the mend – Austerity is working – Europe has taken important steps in shoring up the Eurozone’s institutions).
Continue reading

Think Big, Think Bold

EU isn't workingWhy the Left in Britain and in the Eurozone must aim for a radical Pan-European Green New Deal 

The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) kindly invited me to draft a possible Manifesto for the European Left, in view of the May 2014 European Parliament election. Here is the final document I produced entitled THINK BIG, THINK BOLD: Why the European Left must aim for a radical, Pan-European, Green New Deal.

 

Continue reading

Why I signed the petition for a Portuguese debt restructure

Pray for portugalJorge Rodrigues, of  Portuguese daily Expresso, asked me to explain why it is that I signed the petition of 74 economists calling for an immediate debt restructuring of Portugal’s public debt, how this ‘call’ squares up with our Modest Proposal and what type of debt restructuring I had in mind. Click here for the interview as published in Expresso. My original answers in English follow… (See also this piece on lessons for Portugal from the Greek PSI – click here for the Portuguese published version) Continue reading

Peter Bofinger’s Euro-bundles are a Step Backwards – to the EFSF’s toxic bonds. But they do point to a real solution

by James Galbraith, Stuart Holland and Yanis Varoufakis (*)

Peter Bofinger’s proposal for Euro-bundles (see here for an introduction) serves the noble purpose of rekindling the debate on the Eurozone’s fiscal and monetary incoherence. The idea behind Euro-bundles is to issue a common bond without joint liability that the ECB can then purchase in the context of a monetary policy that uses quantitative easing to fend off deflation, with the welcome side effect of lessening the Eurozone’s borrowing costs. While we shall be arguing that Professor Bofinger’s Euro-bundles are ill- conceived, we applaud his idea of a common bond involving, in some capacity, the ECB.  This idea points in the direction of a genuine solution to the Eurozone’s fiscal and monetary fragility. Continue reading

GERMANY’S CHOICE: AUTHORITARIANISM OR HEGEMONY? (*)

For those of us who grew up under totalitarian regimes, it is noteworthy that Europeans are resorting to a time-honoured tradition: telling jokes as a form of defiance. Here is one: “Why did Europeans agree to form the euro?” “Because”, the joke goes, “the French feared the Germans, the Irish wanted to escape Britain, the Greeks were terrified of Turkey, the Finns wanted to prove they were more European than the other Scandinavians, the Spanish wanted to become more like the French, the Italians wanted to become German, the Dutch and the Austrians had all but become German, the Belgians sought to join both Holland and France, and, finally, the Germans feared… the Germans!” Continue reading

Three culturally depra(i)ved economists? Swift and our Modest Proposal

Language Log featured a critical post the other day on our Modest Proposal for Resolving the Euro Crisis. It criticised not the substance of our economic proposals but our choice of title. Surprised and incensed that our Modest Proposal lacked the irony (or was it sarcasm?) of Jonathan Swift’s original Modest Proposal, the author accuses us of, at best, ignorance of Swift [" Maybe (some) economists no longer read Swift?"] and, at worst, of “erasing cultural history”. Interestingly, the said blog post generated quite a number of comments, most of which assumed that we were unaware of Jonathan Swift’s playful proposal. A reply was, I thought, in order. This is the one I just posted on that blog, and which I paste below: Continue reading

Greece’s duty to negotiate with Berlin: Part B of an interview with Roger Strassburg and Jens Berger, of NachDenkSeiten

Roger Strassburg and Jens Berger, of NachDenkSeiten, interviewed me on the Modest Proposal to Resolve the Euro Crisis and the Eurozone Conference that James K. Galbraith and I organised in Austin in November 2013. Part A of the long interview was posted here. Here is Part B of the interview, which (as you will see) focuses more on Greece and the chances of kickstarting the debate that Europe is refusing to have, so far…. Continue reading

Modeste proposition pour résoudre la crise de la zone euro – The Modest Proposal 4.0, published by Les Petit Matins, with a foreword by Michel Rocard

En coédition avec l’Institut Veblen.

Confrontée à une crise économique et sociale majeure qui nourrit la montée des nationalismes, la zone euro n’a plus droit à l’erreur. Il faut agir et vite !

Comment ? D’abord en partant du bon diagnostic. Non, le problème majeur n’est pas la dette. Celle-ci n’est que le symptôme d’un mal plus profond : l’architecture défaillante de la zone euro. Face à l’urgence, il faut se montrer réaliste et pragmatique : on ne va pas changer les traités et rouvrir des débats source de division.

Tout l’intérêt de ce petit ouvrage est de formuler une proposition immédiatement applicable pour sortir de la crise, s’inscrivant dans le cadre institutionnel actuel et propre à remettre la zone euro sur la voie de la prospérité.