John Weeks has a good piece on the conflict between Italy and the European Commission. Apart from showing how ridiculous and ideological the EU-rules of the Stability and Growth Pact are, it also shows how it is impossible to apply them.
I am currently reading his new book, I highly recommend it. It covers much of the same ground as Yanis Varoufakis’ Modern Political Economics: Making Sense of the Post-2008 World, but in a more accessible and less technical/philosophical manner. On top of that it is written a bit in a ‘cranky old man’ -style which I think is highly suitable for the subject (and pretty entertaining as well). Anybody should be cranky about how mainstream economists have fed us and our governments pure rubbish. It would be so great if economists of this type, like Weeks, Varoufakis, Marc Blyth and Steve Keen team up with economic sociologists like Michel Callon, Edna Bonacich or Jens Beckert. Then we finally might get some kind of economics that makes sense.
Posted in Economy, EU, Eurocrisis
Tagged economic sociology, Edna Bonacich, European Commission, Italy, Jens Beckert, John Weeks, Marc Blyth, Michel Callon, Stability and Growth Pact, Steve Keen, structural deficit, Yanis Varoufakis
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard summarizes a three-part series in the Financial Times on the big moments of crisis in the EMU. The series is a long read, but it gives you a very good overview how incapable and fundamentally antidemocratic the current Commission’s leaders (and people at the ECB, and those supporting these policies) are.
I am very disappointed. Vote for someone in the EP elections that is a) democratic and b) understands economics. That way the next president of the Commission maybe will a decent person. And maybe the potential surge of populist parties will be positive in the sense that similar-as-now commissioners might not be confirmed by the EP.
I linked to this citation in the previous post but I want to bring it to the fore once more – the European Commission is actually welcoming a decision by the Portuguese government to ignore its Constitutional court!!!
The Court Decision, summarized by the Financial Times is:
The court rejected cuts in state pensions and public sector pay equivalent to about 7 per cent of annual income as well as cuts in sickness and unemployment benefits.
A contested “solidarity” tax surcharge ranging from 3.5 to 10 per cent on pensions of more than €1,350 a month was accepted by the court as well as a 50 per cent cut in overtime pay rates for public sector workers.
The Portuguese government ignored this ruling, and as a result the Commission issued a statement to this effect:
To summarize, the Commission is happy that the Portuguese government chose to ignore a ruling of its constitutional court (“welcomes that…”); it threatens to cut funding if the Portuguese government does not follow its prescriptions (“it is a precondition for a decision…”); it is in a state of denial on confidence (“the growing investor confidence…”); it recommends that democratic discussion does not take place (“it is essential that key political institutions are united in their support…”)
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/EconomistsView/~3/cgTg66qNv3c/the-commission-on-portugal-is-this-for-real.html Is there still someone that thinks the Commission is not a threat to democracy ? At least with respect to the Eurocrisis.
Here is the account. I like the way he exposes the EU elite and the difference between his substantive comments and the Commissioners’ ad hominem attacts (of course, his use of Monty Python quotes is well-known):
What you would never grasp from those outraged tweets is that all my criticisms have been substantive. I never asserted that Mr. Rehn’s mother was a hamster and his father smelt of elderberries; I pointed out that he has been promising good results from austerity for years, without changing his rhetoric a bit despite ever-rising unemployment, and that his response to studies suggesting larger adverse effects from austerity than he and his colleagues had allowed for was to complain that such studies undermine confidence.