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.


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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


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.

The Modest Proposal for Resolving the Euro Crisis explained: 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. Here is Part A of the interview (Part B, which is centred upon Greece, will be posted tomorrow). (Click here for the interview in German, as published in NachDenkSeiten.) Continue reading

Why Reinhart and Rogoff are wrong about the Eurozone’s debt structure and the costs of debt mutualisation

Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff recently published a notable IMF working paper (13/266) entitled ‘Financial and Sovereign Debt Crises: Some lessons learned and those forgotten’ (December 2013). Their overarching claim is that the advanced economies are wrong to pretend that the present levels of debt can be sustained by means of fiscal austerity and without debt restructuring, sustained inflation or a combination of the two. This is a sensible argument, well grounded on empirical and historical evidence, that governments would be wise to internalise.  Continue reading

James K. Galbraith on Europe, the US, debt and money – interviewed by Roger Strassburg

In this interview James Galbraith explains our Modest Proposal for Resolving the Euro Crisis, argues that the Eurozone’s dismantling is a bad idea, discusses money and debt (in the context of Modern Money Theory) and, finally, comments on current developments in the US social economy. The interview was conducted by Roger Strassburg Continue reading

Can the Eurozone Be Saved?

European Political Leaders and Policy Experts to Meet for Two Days in Austin to Discuss

The LBJ School of Public Affairs of the University of Texas at Austin will host a two-day conference on the fate of the Eurozone on Nov. 4 and 5. “Can the Eurozone Be Saved?” will convene European political leaders and policy experts to examine alternative policies to keep the Eurozone intact.

The meeting will feature: Continue reading

What Merkel’s Third Term Means for Europe

(This article was commissioned by The New Left Project – click here for the NLP’s site)

A few days before the German federal election, the American commentator Bob Kuttner called upon German Chancellor Angela Merkel to use the election victory that was clearly in the making to change tack regarding the European Periphery. Focusing on Greece, Kuttner added to a chorus of commentators who have called for a Marshall Plan, accompanied by a generous degree of debt forgiveness, as a ‘second phase’ of the program of budget austerity and reform imposed on Greece over the past three years. Kuttner even suggested labeling it The Merkel Plan, so as to afford the Chancellor a timeless legacy for genuine ‘tough love’, as opposed to being permanently remembered, at least in the Mediterranean, for unremitting heartlessness toward citizens of countries bankrupted when the Eurozone’s architecture was found wanting.

The problem with Kuttner’s noble suggestion is that Germany cannot afford such largesse. Continue reading

Hollande and Merkel: Where Left is Right – guest post by Stuart Holland

Rather than the claim of German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble that the rest of Europe needs austerity to be able to compete (The Guardian, July 19th), François Hollande was right to say in an interview with Le Monde (September 3rd) that Europe should stop apologising for the Eurozone crisis and its failure to recover growth and jobs, and act. 

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