Eurocrisis Solutions For Whom? Posted on December 10, 2011 by Yves Smith This Real News Network segment was recorded before the supposed “this time we’re really gonna fix it” Eurozone deal was announced today. Nevertheless, it is a useful discussion of the political dynamics that drove the pact. More at The Real News Post navigation ← Econoparody: The Cinders of Ayn Rand Links 12/10/11 → Subscribe to Post Comments 25 comments LRT December 10, 2011 at 6:41 am It cannot work more than very short term. First, they will not actually succeed in imposing automatic fines. If they did succeed in imposing them, they would not be paid. Finally, the fundamental problem is the debt is bad, and as this becomes clearer and clearer, it will be impossible to roll it over, and they have not devised any solution to that problem. What happens when Italy is paying 8% or more to refinance? Curtains, and this has not been addressed at all. Lafayette December 12, 2011 at 4:15 am LESSONS LEARNED First, they will not actually succeed in imposing automatic fines. Oh,yes. This time around They Will. Lessons have been learned. But this time around they might not get to that point. The Golden Rule means that the EU Commission can come down on a country quick enough to stop the debt-laden spending profligacy – which happened in Greece. There will be far more collusion as regards oversight of national budgets at the Commission and the ECB. And Greece is a good example of another type of action. The largest property owner, after the government, is the Greek Orthodox Church. By law, it avoids paying property taxes. The EU can ask, in the future, that such laws be changed or that the country find other ways, far more austere, in order to maintain its debt-maintenance payments. I.e., the Commission can get into the nitty-gritty of national taxation to suggest ways of remedying overspent budgets by enhancing Treasury receipts. (Btw, the scrutiny will be happening in the background.) The “fines” can come in other ways. The EU, like the US, subsidizes national budgets with funds. Those subsidies can be either reduced or stopped altogether – as soon as a nation trips a debt-limit trip-wire successively two years in a row. The EU CAP (agriculture subsidy program) distributes 42% of the EU budget to EU farmers … The country can decide to withhold its contributions to the EU. Which is grounds for expulsion from the EU – which is unthinkable at national levels, since returning to local currency would create economic whiplash. MY POINT Face it, Europe has now a Debt Oversight System that is far more rigorous than that in the US. The US should think of a Golden Rule as well. (It could well have restrained Lead-head when he launched his 1 trillion dollar war over in the sandbox, whilst paying back his cronies for their electoral patronage by a tax-cut.) Another comparative point: No country has 20% of it’s budget going to the M-I-C and all EU budgets total far less as a percentage of GDP than the US. (EU 1.63% vs. US 4.5%) Therefore, aside from having far more will to do so, the EU has also far more means to maintain Social Justice by making the right investments that benefit all of society and not just a select few. Which is why taxes are higher, but the Gini Coefficient (that tracks Income Disparity) is substantially lower. The New World has a lot to learn from the New Old World. POST SCRIPTUM: Riddle And here’s another riddle for you: Europe never had a Glass-Steagal Act. When abrogated, both Wall Street and Main Street went on to build one of the most dangerous Financial Frauds since the Great Depression. Otoh, Europe, which has never put a fire-wall between Commercial Banking (a risk-averse business) and Investment Banking (a risk-prone business) … but it is has never had a SubPrime Mess or a Toxic Waste scandal. Why’s that? It’s cultural. There is not the same fixation on wealth accumulation in the EU and certainly not the same level immoral greed to pursue it at all costs. Does Europe not have high-flyer banksters? Oh yes, let’s not forget Nick Leeson and the Barings Bank collapse. But these are one-offs that happen when oversight is lax (Leeson was off on his own dealing in Singapore). It is not a collective phenomenon of European finance. POST SCRIPTUM Let’s not confuse Finance between the EU and the US. If one wants to confuse the two – try Wall Street and the City of London. In the City, a winner-take-all attitude seems very definitely to exist. Psychoanalystus December 10, 2011 at 10:06 am I still have 350 Euros in my wallet, so I better exchange them for Swiss francs right away… jsmith December 10, 2011 at 10:39 am All this has happened before. All this will happen again? So, after the fall of Mussolini in Italy remaining fascists banded together to form the Italian Social Movement (ISM). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Social_Movement This party then became the basis for the European Social Movement (ESM – gee, where have we seen that acronym before?) which was a pan-European fascist movement in which fascists from each European country would form alliances with the ultimate goal of superseding sovereignty. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Social_Movement Internecine squabbles doomed the ESM but it was later reborn as the National Party of Europe. Listed below are the goals of this pan-European fascist movement as they existed in the 1960s. The creation of Europe a Nation through a common European government. The creation of an elected European parliament. The continuation of national parliaments with their authority limited to social and cultural matters. Economics to be driven by the wage-price mechanism to ensure fair wages and economic growth. The creation of an economic alternative to capitalism and communism. More worker control and less bureaucracy in nationalized industries. The withdrawal of American and Soviet forces from Europe. An end to the role of the United Nations with the USA, USSR and Europe acting as three equals. Decolonization with a move to set up single-ethnic governments in former colonies. Europe to be defined as mainland territory outside of the USSR, the United Kingdom, overseas territories and around one-third of Africa. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Party_of_Europe Sure, this was 50 years ago and all of this is ancient history yet it’s quite fascinating to see where former fascist party members of various countries are today. Again, most of the overtly fascist and neo-Nazi European parties dissolved in the 1970s. But what about the members of those parties, their offspring and their ideas? Do they live on? For example, Gianfranco Fini former head of the ISM now is currently speaker of the lower house of Italian parliament. Is all of this mere coincidence, conjecture and conspiracy? Did the leaders of the failed American fascist coup of 1933 disappear? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot Hardly. Is it too much of a reach to think that the greediest and most power-hungry among the human race will continuously plot to gain control of the entire planet? That these plots have always been present in one shape or another? That what we are seeing in Europe is simply the next manifestation of said plot? We shall see. LeonovaBalletRusse December 10, 2011 at 2:40 pm jsmith, we are seeing this right now. YOUR getting to bed-rock about the colluding *undead* makes the blog below seem timid. Hudson does not dare to go as far as you do. Thanks for your perspicacious courage in putting this front and center. “Europe’s Transition From Social Democracy to Oligarchy” by Michael Hudson, Wednesday 7 Dec 2011, at New Economic Perspectives. LINK: http://www.neweconomic perspectives.blogspot.com/20111/12/europes-transition-frm-social.html LeonovaBalletRusse December 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm Corrected LINK above (to Hudson blog): http://neweconomicperspectives.blogspot.com/2011/12/europes-transition-from-social.html LeonovaBalletRusse December 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm jsmith, your instincts are correct, so permit me to take your references beyond your wikileaks links: “Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler” Unexpurgated Edition: Two Volumes in One – Second Impression, 1939 [with “Nazi” related “HB” seal], Hurst and Blackett, Ltd., Publishers, London – with “Translator’s Introduction” by “JAMES MURPHY, Abbots Langley, February 1939” — Note that “Murphy & Company” was the company for which Gerald C. Macguire is said to have been “a $100-a-week bond salesman–in wiki’s “BUSINESS PLOT” article with notes, about the “Plot Against the White House” that General Smedley Butler published (he published also the book, “War is a Racket”). Robert D. MURPHY is identified as “the man who in 1922 as U.S. Consul in Munich, first met Adolf Hitler and sent back favorable recommendations to his superiors in Washington. Murphy later shaped U.S. policy in postwar Germany as Political Advisor. [And he prepared] “the agenda for the 1973 Bilderberg meeting.” So writes F. William Engdahl in “A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order” – New Edition – (1992, 2004, 2011), in Note 2, page 179. In St. Bernard Parish, LA ruled “Murphy Oil.” Robert D. MURPHY is mentioned in other books by reputable scholars who have done meticulous research on the “cozy relationship” you infer: “TRADING WITH THE ENEMY: The Nazi-American Money Plot 1933-1949” by Charles Higham (1983; New York, Barnes & Noble, 1995); “THE HEIDELBERG MYTH: The Nazification and DeNazification of a German University” by Steven P. Remy (Cambridge and London, Harvard University Press, 2002); The reason that DNA discovery is important, is because often those of the same NAME in the highest circles insist there is “No relation.” Well, now this can be known, for generations of 1%ers intermarried for power and money like the best of the rulers of the *Holy Roman Reich* of the German/European “Nobility”, numbered: I-II-III-IV. It’s a good bet the the NAMES of the 1% remain from age to age. Technology permited their 1% *Lebensraum* to be converted from the Military Mode of Adolf Hitler to the Financial Mode of 1% Corporate+BloodMonopolyCapital. Happy hunting! LeonovaBalletRusse December 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm P.S. it has recently been posted on the Internet that a company in Heidelberg, Germany had been chosen to print the new Deutsch Mark. The University of Heidelberg is the main topic of the book by Remy above. The city of Heidelberg is where our U.S. Army troops were stationed, permanently it seems, after WWII, and where our troops and officers have flourished ever since. This surely is a *cozy* relationship. For continuity’s sake, you should acquaint yourself with the dead serious book by Russ Bellant, “Old NAZIS, the NEW RIGHT, and the REPUBLICAN PARTY: Domestic fascist networks and their effect on U.S. cold war politics (Boston, South End Press: A Political Research Associates Book, 1988, 1989, 1991). Don’t let the title deter you from reading this succinct study of the networks. The two books mentioned before are: “WAR IS A RACKET” by Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler, with introduction by Adam Parfrey (Feral House, Los Angeles CA, 1935, 1936, 1939, 2003 by the Butler Family); and not by Butler, but about the Plot Butler exposed: “THE PLOT TO SEIZE THE WHITE HOUSE: The Shocking TRUE Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR” by Jules Archer (New York, Skyhouse Publishing, 1973, 2007; orig. published by Hawthorne Books, New York, 1973)–from which I quote: “Tall, heavyset [key founder and sponsor of the American Legion], Grayson Mallet-Prevost MURPHY not only operated one of Wall Street’s leading brokerage houses but was also a director of Guaranty Trust, … and had extensive industrial and financial interests as a director of Anaconda Copper, Goodyear Tire, and Bethlehem Steel….the financier had been decorated by Benito Mussolini, who had made him a Commander of the Crown of Italy.” etc. Keep up the good work. Stephen Nightingale December 10, 2011 at 9:09 pm LBR: “It’s a good bet the the NAMES of the 1% remain from age to age.” Wonder how many variants of ‘Koch’ they include? Lafayette December 12, 2011 at 9:59 am All this has happened before. Yes, of course. History repeats itself but always in different ways. We’ll come out of this one, as we have in the past, and all the Disaster Mongers on this forum … should watch fewer Hollywood scare movies. We should be paying more attention to how we prevent what happened in the US and let Europe mend itself in its own way. Our own problems are a far, far greater danger. For which, nothing has been done, nor seems to be planned, because we allowed some troglodytes to corner the HofR. We should be ashamed of ourselves. Susan the other December 10, 2011 at 11:10 am Doesn’t anybody think they can do this? The Germans just agreed to the ECB being the buyer of last resort and a 700bn Eu infusion. Or did I imagine that? I swear I read it. So going forward private bondholders will be made whole. The ECB is going to backstop all European debt. This should keep interest rates low in the periphery and it will, over time, lower the relative value of the Euro and Germany will benefit as well. No? Why can’t this work? I think it was pretty clear that Germany was too furious about all those weapons of mass economic destruction written by US banks which, apparently, all went through the City of London (Max Keiser). The very mild statement put out by the EU that the UK could join them if they agreed to a transaction tax didn’t tell the whole story. Has Timmy voiced an opinion yet? Jim December 10, 2011 at 9:27 pm Susan, so how do you propose that Italy and Spain begin to grow if they share the same currency with Germany. Perhaps you believe that the German taxpayer will be willing to permanently transfer 6% of German GDP to the southern European countries, thereby making them viable. I don’t see that. But perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps the German taxpayer is ready for substantial permanent fiscal transfers – the only way that the Eurozone survives. And perhaps the German taxpayer is willing to see a United States of Europe soccer team in the World Cup, comprised of 2 or 3 players from the German state, playing alongside 4 from Spain, and 2 from France. Because December 10, 2011 at 9:47 pm Germany was always going to get the good deal. But the game is up and they have to decide if they will play ball and rule as the Nazi’s wanted to, or break it up and move on. I suspect for greater unification, Germany will demand more imperial control of that unification if you get my drift sweetie. Which, like you, think the Eurozone will break up. The latin countries will balk. PaulArt December 10, 2011 at 11:17 am Merkel seems to think she is the second coming of Thatcher! So cocksure with her silly grin and ‘media aware’ tics. Jim December 10, 2011 at 9:23 pm Thatcher was far savvier than Merkel. Thatcher realized that the EuroZone was a flawed concept, and wisely kept the UK from joining it. The Germans, for whatever reason, seem blindly wedded to this ill-fated construct. Thather believed in the sovereign nation; Merkel is seemingly willing to have unelected bureaucrats in Brussels take German taxes to redistribute them. Because December 10, 2011 at 9:29 pm Seriously, think about it. What was in the EU charter that benefitted Germany, but not the UK. That is why Thatcher stayed away. Glen December 10, 2011 at 3:24 pm I would hope that the Europeans vote out Merkel and Sarkozy when they are given a chance. Not that there is anybody in government ANYWHERE that will represent the people, but you might as well kick out the current set of a$$holes and get a new set. LeonovaBalletRusse December 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm Glen, you think these are the worst possible picks? “Watch out what you wish for.” “Better to bear the ills we have Than fly to those we know not of.” “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy: “HAMLET”: Wm. Shakespeare My quotes dredged from memory may not be exact. Glen, do you think it cannot go from bad to worse, from worse to worst? “Desperate people do desperate things.” Glen December 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm Unfortunately, I have come to count on worse, MUCH worse, to force any real change. nun yerbizness December 10, 2011 at 10:27 pm who needs an echo chamber when conversing with oneself passes for intelligent conversation? Because December 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm Merkel has gotten quite fat. LRT December 11, 2011 at 3:22 am Once more the tinfoil hat stuff, this time from people who seem never to have set foot in Heidelberg, which I assure readers is a very ordinary smallish German provincial town and not the center of some crazed neo-Nazi conspiracy the only evidence for which seems to be that they actually print Euros there…..! What is certainly true about the EU is the following:- It inherits the dream of centuries for a united Europe. Europeans seem to have given up the idea of bringing this about by conquest, which they have been trying to do from one country or another ever since Charlemagne and have been bringing it about by consent and negotiation. There is nothing unreasonable about this, any more than there was about the unification of Germany or Italy. Or the US. It did have its origins in the elimination of the incredibly destructive Franco-German rivalry. You may forget that since around 1750 this has led to war after war, finally culminating in the two world wars. Any reasonable politician thinking about these matters in 1950 would have said we cannot do this again, whatever it takes, we have to put an end to this. The European countries have a quite different political tradition from the Anglo Saxon. They are Roman Law not Common Law based. The civil service is much less subordinate to the legislature, much more of a policy making and executive function. The old aristocracy still has an influence which surprises the few Americans who ever come to see it. Democracy is comparatively recent. In Germany, for instance, we only have had 50-60 years of functioning democracy. Compare that with the UK and US. France has alternated between authoritarianism and democracy since Napoleon. How long has Italy been democratic? You don’t have to be a tinfoil hat wearer to understand that this has led them to a gradually tightening federal structure, primarily run by the Commission, a civil service on the French model – but also on the Prussian model. So no, there is not a neo-Nazi or neo-Fascist conspiracy at work here. There are a number of motives, a view of history, and a number of models, and they tend to make the political establishment in European countries move in the direction of a federalism of states with a very powerful civil service. One clue to the fact that we are facing in some ways a too weak central authority, not a too strong one, is that the Mediterranean fiscal insanities were not better controlled from Brussels – or Berlin-Paris. The failure is not one of excessive central authority, its one of too little. Having willed the end, they declined to will the means and indulged in wishful thinking. Never underestimate the enormous effects of the huge bloodletting of the first half of the last century on Europe. Its partly the loss of talent, but its also the loss of confidence. The US went through something similar in the Civil War, but its effects were regional and they were swamped by the great wave of immigration. Europe has not recovered. Sweden was a different country after the wars of the 17th and early 18th centuries. The Europeans are not the people they were in 1914. In the end the issue for the UK is that the political tradition is very different. The fatal contradiction there has always been that the UK never wanted anything but a tariff zone. The City has been a main contributor to the current financial crisis, and has acquired a quite unhealthy dominance over UK government. No restraints on the City are now politically possible in the UK. It always was going to blow up, it was just a question of when. PDC December 11, 2011 at 6:43 am One sensible comment, at least. jsmith December 11, 2011 at 11:59 am “So no, there is not a neo-Nazi or neo-Fascist conspiracy at work here.” Certainly the terms neo-Nazi or neo-Fascist aren’t entirely correct/accurate in that they don’t quite capture the new forms of governance that Europe and the rest of the West are facing at present. However, historical analysis going back centuries is entirely pointless and fruitless in regards to trying to ascertain what is going on in the West at this time. Why? First, the interconnectedness of the West through the elevation of transnational corporations to a level of power and influence that supersedes that of sovereign states. Sure, one could look at how Germany, France and Italy emerged from conflicts in the 18th century as to the trajectories that the EU will take OR one could see that the preponderance of Goldman Sachs employees – for example – and other banking interests have basically ushered in a new type of rule, a rule that as described now is by unelected technocrats, a rule by businessman really unaffiliated with the nations they may hail from, a economy that combines that some of the worst aspects of capitalism with the worst aspects of a socialized economy, ie., an economic form that is – as seen in modern China – an “alternative to capitalism and communism” but which borrows from both. Secondly, Sheldon Wolin in his excellent books describes the rise in the West – Europe AND the US – of “inverted totalitarianism”, a systems that differs from those of the past in that earlier totalitarian states – the Nazis, Stalin, etc – politics determined the system’s power hierarchies with economics always subordinate to said politics. However, since the WWII and the introduction of such concepts as “negative freedom” by Isaiah Berlin and others, the system has mutated to elevate economics to a level that subordinates the politics. Thus, no matter what the political system, the neoliberal economic system will dominate in some form. This is what Thatcher meant by there is no alternative. Examples are numerous but none more telling than the co-opting of every leftist party in Europe and their support of austerity measures that would seemingly be antithetical to their traditional philosophical positions. Lastly, although we can speak of countries and the people within them as wanting this or that or acting this way or that due to their histories let’s not try and minimize the emergence/importance since WWII of the transnational groups set up by the elite from all Western countries whose aim was to consolidate the philosophical landscape of Europe and help prevent the armed conflicts they had just witnessed. However, armed conflict between nations was only one aspect of unrest that they had to address. How to quell the revolutionary impulses of the people within the states themselves? Again, as alluded to the idea of “negative freedom” as espoused by Isaiah Berlin and signed onto by many leaders of the West sought to stamp out “positive freedom” as they saw it and by that the route of authoritarianism. In its place, people would be allowed a minimized version of freedom one now encapsulated in economic choice. Thus, people would be free to the extent that they could go and purchase whatever they would like and enjoy their Huxleyian existence. With this philosophy in place and the titans of industry now in charge of an economic system that subordinates any and all political considerations, I think we are seeing a new form of governance which is most aptly called “participatory fascism” in which corporations and the state have melded into a single entity and the people subservient to it are allowed the “freedom” to vote in elections which either put a member of the already existent financial elite into power or which are re-held any time a result the ruling oligarchy finds offensive is rendered – e.g, the EU votes and re-votes in member states. Wrapping up a way too long post, I just wanted to make clear that what you dismiss as being conspiratorial or tin-foil hat matter actually is well-documented and has many very prominent subscribers. However, much of this information and its sources is not promulgated in the MSM, thus a) one must really search for it and b) it has the tendency to be easily dismissed by those who have not taken the time to keep current as to the new ways in which people are beginning to view the events shaping the Western world at present. jsmith December 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm For an analysis that touches upon some of the things in my post, Robert Fisk writes how the banks have become the dictators of the West in The Independent yesterday. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-bankers-are-the-dictators-of-the-west-6275084.html Comments are closed. Tip Jar Please Donate or Subscribe!