Preface to the (forthcoming) French edition of THE GLOBAL MINOTAUR

IMG_0195The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the future of the world economy is about to be published in French, as Le Minotaure Planétaire, by newly established, progressive publishing house LES ÉDITIONS DU CERCLE. Read on for a draft of the Preface I composed for this French edition (which is now added to the German, Spanish, Italian, Czech, Finnish and Greek editions)… [for the translation in French, click here] Continue reading

Why is Europe not ‘coming together’ in the aftermath of the euro crisis? – audio

Europa abductionThis talk was delivered to the PhD Colloquium of the LBJ School of Public Affairs, on 6th November 2014. It was based on this article and is part of my research for my next book EUROPE UNHINGED: The next phase of the global crisis.

Why the Fiscal Compact is, legally, null and void: Interview by Giuseppe Guarino

fiscal compact nooseIn this fascinating interview, published in Corriere della Sera on 29th October 2014 and reproduced here in English, Professor Giuseppe Guarino, a former finance minister of Italy, argues that the Fiscal Compact never had a legal leg to stand on. Additionally, he also claims that, legally, the 3% deficit limit (in the Maastricht and later the Lisbon Treaties) was merely a ‘reference value’ and, under no circumstances, a ‘rule’. Professor Guarino suggests that European leaders have a unique opportunity to remove this ‘noose’ around our nations’ necks by revealing the Fiscal Compact’s, and the 3% so-called rule’s, true legal status (or absence thereof). Continue reading

MODERN MONEY: AESTHETICS AFTER THE GOLD STANDARD, UC Berkeley, Friday 7th November 2014

200_one_dollar_bills imageAn Academic Conference, sponsored by the Department of History of Art, University of California, Berkeley, November 6–7, 2014

Contact sferguson at usf.edu and jordanrose at berkeley.edu for more information.

(The image is Andy Warhol’s 200 One Dollar Bills, 1962)

This Thursday, lunch time talk on Europe’s refusal to ‘come together': LBJ School of Public Affairs PhD Colloquium, UT Austin

  • CRC_3299Theme: “Why is Europe not ‘Coming Together’ in Response to the Euro Crisis?”
  • Where: SRH 3.316/3.350. LBJ School of Public Affairs (3rd floor)
  • When: 12:15 to 1:30pm, Thursday 6th November

Abstract: Almost everyone agrees that the Eurozone was a one-legged giant; a monetary union lacking a political ‘leg’ to stabilise it. Moreover, both opponents of monetary union (e.g. Mrs Margaret Thatcher) and its chief designers (e.g. Mr Jacques Delors) had argued, or at least intimated, that the euro was only a first, tentative step toward a fully-fledged European Federation. If so, why has the Euro Crisis (which surely strengthened the arguments in favour of federation) not strengthened the federalists’ hand? Of those who were, supposedly, waiting to pounce upon any opportunity to create a United States of Europe? In this talk, we shall seek answers in the history of the European Economic Community, in the manner that the latter was destabilised by the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, in the economic and political forces spearheading monetary union since 1971, and in the context of America’s pivotal role in putting, and keeping, Europe together from 1944 to 2008.

Today’s Eurozone seen from an investor’s perspective – Keynote (audio)

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 11.36.14 PMOn 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)

 

ECB stress tests: The view of an insider – Guest post by Klaus Kastner

Klaus Kastner photoKlaus 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

It is time for the ECB to purchase EIB bonds: Bruegel’s Guntram Wolff sides with our proposal

recovery photoThe 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

Greece’s Finance Minister: The revolving doors’ syndrome on steroids

Hardouvelis phtotNow 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…

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Greek bonds and shares: What does their decline mean for Europe? – Interview with Jorge Nascimento Rodrigues for EXPRESSO

euro crisisThe 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

Has the Greece Success Story bubble burst? Interview with Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten

SAMARAS MERKELIn 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

Can Greece stand on its own feet? Interview with ADN Kronos

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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. OfScreen Shot 2014-10-10 at 12.50.34 PMcourse, 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

Egalitarianism’s Latest Foe: a critical review of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century

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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…

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Centralisation-Without-Representation: A reply to Frances Coppola, Simon Wren-Lewis and Niall Ferguson

euro crisis[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.[1]Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 4.57.39 AM

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Frances Coppola and Simon Wren-Lewis on the ‘Modest Proposal vs Austerian Federalists’

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 4.02.33 PMIn Whither Europe? The Modest Camp vs the Federalist Austerians James Galbraith and I attempted to chart the evolution of various plans to save the Eurozone. In that survey, we juxtaposed a Modest Camp (that includes our own Modest Proposal), whose philosophy is to promote a minimalist agenda for stabilising the Eurozone and ending its socio-economic crisis before Europe’s future can be discussed cooly and properly, against federalist plans (like those of the Piketty and Glienecker Groups) for political union. Our argument (also augmented here) was that the prescribed federalist moves are, by definition, austerian in logic and, thus, ultimately detrimental to Europe’s integrity and even its… soul.  Most recently, Frances Coppola and Simon Wren-Lewis, at the behest of Open Democracy (who published our original paper), responded to our musings. Here are their responses:

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