Some readers would probably come up with less polite versions of the question above, but regardless of how one states it, policy in the Eurozone is very much driven by both the needs and the wants of German banks. This Real News Networks segment skips over the needs, the continuing concerns about their capital levels, to focus on how German bankers and policymakers have come to believe that austerity is a good solution for the fix they are in.
The central problem is that most of the German products (especially the cars) is destroying the European capital (oil) base.
OECD Europe Y2000 : 6.8 MBD
Y2012 : 3.4 MBD
Europes faith was sealed post big bang /SEA 1980s…..
They mistook Londons credit note production for “growth”
Germany said to itself back then – why invest in Nuclear fixed capital when I can afford Nat gas / oil imports by simply selling more cars,
But this depends on credit note production , not intrinsic physical world factors which are asserting themselves.
Germany last year was only kept above European waters by the UKs demand for its cars and other stuff.
Germanys decision to abandon its pre 1990 nuclear plants has already fed into the European price of Nat gas , which takes away even more from European domestic demand.
OECD Europe has seen a 2MBD drop in oil consumption already.
Thats 10 celtic tiger Ireland gone…………..
Its only a months data but what more significant from a euro perspective is the dramatic drop of German Regs in December (although 2 less working days this year)
I think its the lowest German Dec reg for a long time and may suggest the chickens are coming home or may not….
Dec car reg : – 16.4 %
this is 40,000~ less cars then last December………….half of the current total yearly Irish consumption.
No matter what all the euro car makers get up to -especially using cheaper workers further and further east to avoid labour value (but increasing the non labour input costs) – it will not solve the real problem.
Also Icelands recovery is instructive.
It for better or worse is a real distinct economic hinterland……..i.e. it remains (for the moment) a real country rather then a extreme market state.
Its savings are internal (capital controls) and therefore trades for external goods and services in the old fashioned nation state fashion.
Its (albeit tiny) car market is up 56% in 2012 vs 2011.
However the role of peripheral countries is to bail out global wage / energy arbitrage banks and nothing more then that – i.e. they are conduit jurisdictions.
The Greek car market is down another 40% in 2012 from a very small 2011 base.
The function of the PIig states is to prop up a defective global banking east -west trade nexus via capital export into this black hole.
Hi Dork (you’re not really a dork though)
I agree with everything you’ve said in your comments. What I can’t get my head around though is, what on Earth is it that makes people in the Republic keep acquiescing to this austerity “solution” ?
I’ve seen several interviews with various sectors of the population and all of them express grievance, very profound in some cases, about what they are having to endure. And they also know, if not in detail, this is being done to prop up the Eire banks which is turn is propping up the German banks… But still they tolerate it. At times, like a guilty child, they seem to show signs of convincing themselves that it’s all “their fault” due to past excesses. It’s like they’re brainwashed, but they know they’re brainwashed but can’t/won’t do anything about it. Bizarre.
Maybe it is really an example of the Stockholm Syndrome. On a huge scale. Or put more colloquially, “clinging to nurse for fear of something worse”.
Maybe psychologist historians will look back on our current post-bubble era as an example of mass delusion. That still does explain the “why ?” for me though.
i didn’t read your posts in detail (children crawling all over me here in Berlin), but I think the German idea of austerity is more about keeping German money in Germany than any guilt / social pyscological phenomenon. I don’t really sense the WWII guilt syndrome you described (or maybe I misunderstood your point). Instead I think the general German attitude which promotes austerity is about making sure Germans continue to control German banks, eventhough they are very much linked to the European central bank.
While the phenonmenon is more intracontinental, its similar to what Richard Rottenburg desrcibed in terms of developmental relations between rich countries in the north and poor countries in the south and as Hans-Jörg Rheinberger elaborated upon as development aid in terms of the central conflict of interests: the necessity for donor countries to control money flows, and the political goal of self-determination on the part of recipients.
Two recent phenomenons which were interesting has been the progression of funding for research from the DFG to the EU (which has precipitated some moves from Bonn to Luxembourg or Brussels I believe) and the other has been the interest in returning to the DM (not widespread, but there have been some calls).
So how do you explain the fact that German workers have voluntarily accepted to take 10% less of Germany’s aggregate national income pie?
Sure, they have been lied to and misled by an elaborate propaganda campaign. But why did the campaign work? Are German workers just that stupid, or, on the other hand, like Clive infers, is there some other psychological mechanism at work?
As Amitai Etzioni explains in The Moral Dimension, decisions concerning spending and saving are not at all rational, at least if we define rationality as being the rationality of the rational egoist (an entirely self regarding individual whose sole motivation in life is to maximize individual self-interest). Here’s Etzioni:
money is a mirage
That’s easy: It’s because their politicians are very, very good. It seems to be a constant refrain by those who consider themselves in the know, a Greek chorus to the effect of how can The Peepul be so easily duped. But that just goes to show their innate provincialism. Rest assured the elites have at their beck and call literally the best propaganda money can buy; billions of dollars worth of focus groups, polling, etc., and they know to within a micron just how close to the wind they can sail.
The propaganda campaign in Germany barely worked. Watch the repeated election of the Social Democrats and the Greens in the state elections. If Bavaria were cut loose from Germany, I suspect Merkel would be gone already.
A bigger question is, why did the propaganda campaign in Ireland work? The banksters seem to have successfully controlled the four largest parties in Ireland (FOUR), which is completely astounding.
In the US we could blame the Calvinist tendency to self-flagellate and “take what we deserve for our sins” but I’m not sure that applies to Germany.
I really wanted to reply last week, but again, multiple small children crawling over me — I’m not so sure about the bounded rationality argument, and your claim homo altruistic is at work in Germany … I really think it is much more about the fact that Germans are very much in the lead in how Europe moves towards a financial union de facto, and the resistance to keep German control over German banks, as well as the need to iterative cohort process which is still going on related to the unification of west and east germany, as well as east european workers and perhaps more importantly turkish immigrants and to a lesser degree Africans. The video of this guy from UMass really left a lot to desire, and he hardly seemed credible when talking about the “personalities” of the big four. Does he mean Deutsche Bank, Commerce Bank, Sparkasse and I forget the other one??? My impression is that the German banking system is fairly well controlled, outside of the HypovereinBank and Deutsche Bank which experienced its widespread losses more associated with the RMBS. From where I stand in Berlin, WWII seems more in the past here, than it does in the USA — maybe Bonn still has more connection to the past, but its also much smaller and more provincial. If you want to get a better understanding of German’s place in Europe, just look at Berlin, which is rapidly becoming the de facto capital of Europe. Also have a look at the DeutscheRenteVersicherungs bureau — very stable foundation from I can tell. I can’t think of a better retirement system in the world.
No doubt some are retarded……
Some are getting their bread buttered via transfer payments – so the local political class have no real monetary relationship with their local hinterland.
Their claims on wealth depend on the Status quo.
This is a general feature of the euro system in Spain ,Greece etc etc.
A long term strategic goal of the EU & eurosystem is a general reduction of local & nation state redundancy…..
This happened the moment we entered in 1973 when the small farmers were taken out of the equation with more favourable transfers to the larger more productive but also more input heavy farmers.
We actually had a agricultural land boom in the 70s which went bust in the early – mid 1980s not unlike the present housing boom and bust.
The EU functionaries have now taken this attack on redundancy to extreme levels.
Banning peat harvesting (which was always a fuel we fell back on in hard times) and to make it politically acceptable buying off those involved with a fistfull of euros.
But I guess there was always a landlord / peasant mentality in this country.
People would accept a good landlords management and not a badly managed estate.
In fact Ireland can be looked on as not a country as such – but merely a large mostly badly managed estate.
This video from Le Mans France is instructive.
The globalists in charge of the EU project wish to destroy the only coherent political power base in France and indeed Ireland.
They bring in this Nitrates directive apparently to protect water courses with a ban on Manure / nitrite spreading on hills with a gradient over 7%……….
At the same time free trade schemes bring in cheap Brazilian Beef from former rain forests………
The local farmers cannot compete with this double edged darkness.
Bringing down tarrif walls while expecting these people to run a business respecting the enviornment is pure badness.
They wish to turn all of Europe into a fucking theme park.
The real objective of those guys in Brussels is a destruction of local and nation state redundancy using spurious ecology arguments which on a global level is a canard.
The real question is who is really behind these euro soviet Diktats and what corporate interests will gain from this extreme level of control over peoples lives.
France has the best land in Western Europe………..something or somebody wants it me thinks.
Various interests want to turn Europe into another American failed market state so that they can pick the marrow from nation states bones.
Its so obvious now.
Many years ago I went ot a lecture on nitrites and other water pollutants by a retired consultant to the water industry here in the UK.
Apparently, nitrites can cause ‘blue baby syndrome’ in babies under (I think from memory) about 6 weeks old because their kidneys aren’t fully functioning when very young. BUT … if given better water they recover immediately and the syndrome is rare – the last recorded case in the UK was from the 1960s. As he said it would have been far cheaper to give bottled water to all young babies whether they were in risk areas or not.
However, the water companies were happy to be good corporate citizens – no doubt because the regulatory regime allowed them to make a given return on capital and nitrite removal is technically difficult and very capital expensive.
He also said that the allowed limits for a long list of pollutants were not based on scientific research but mostly pulled out of thin air.
That may be the case………
But do you really think corporate power is wielded to protect babies ? , blue or otherwise ?
They wish to take the land me thinks – just like Middle American farms – although much of the best vineyards in France are owned by corporate & old big money interests cattle farms are still mainly family owned.
When Glaswegians were drinking out of the Clyde (you don’t want to drink out of the Clyde) during the 19th century they were dropping like flies.
The people with Industrial interests in that city were losing money.
So they decided to redirect the water from this catchment via a massive early Victorian hydro works.
It was not really very altruistic.
“The EU functionaries have now taken this attack on redundancy to extreme levels.”~TDoC
Which makes sense, right? Since every redundancy eliminated frees up more resources the functionaries can skim off for themselves and their cronies. The irony is that there is a positive correlation between redundancy and stability. The more “efficient” the EU becomes, the less stable it will be. Eventually, those EU functionaries may succeed in reducing redundancy to such an extent that the whole edifice will be so fragile that a strong gust of wind will send it toppling.
I wonder if we’ll see the great Irish peat march, like Gandhi’s salt march.
I think there are limits to their power………
I have no problem with making sacrifices that orbit around my local political / sociological sphere but if my capital flows to a Chinese plantation…….
The Mario character has done a good job for his masters – transfering diesel up North.
Ireland they have taken…….
I am not so sure.
It ain’t Hamburg thats for sure.
This could be fun.
The future Palermo Tram…………
I imagine there will be serious collision every day ,with numerous small crashes also…..
It must be a dastardly Mario plan to remove cars from the streets as they generally come off second best against a 20 ton tram.
But seriously – what happens to the surplus value when we all become good Germans ?
Global banks will capture it and waste it on something else further from home.
This happened to Ireland when it left the Sterling building – almost IMMEDIATELY there was a Great national push for productivity……..soon wages decreased dramatically against output.
We exported our surplus value and eventually surprise surprise the surplus came back in huge quantities via bank credit to be wasted on Grot of all shapes and sizes.
The lesson learned ?
Recycle your own national (in the pre 1979 Irish case only some of the British output)
That is the key to redundancy.
Real defined national hinterlands trading with other defined national hinterlands.
Not some extreme market state where all of the surplus gets pushed up to global wage / energy arbitrage banks in the hope they know whats best for us little people.
DoC. I like your clarity on the proper scope of export. No other concept can survive because it kills itself.
“what on Earth is it that makes people in the Republic keep acquiescing to this austerity “solution”?”
That is a good question because the answer is clearly understood by ordinary people and accepted widely … Greeks to Catalans … it isn’t abstract or oblique such as an economic ideology.
As it is, austerity is the only way for Europeans to obtain imported fuel: the Europeans are sacrificing everything else for their cars. The raisonne d’etre for the euro was as a hard-currency alternative to the dollar. European states such as Italy and Spain would not have to buy dollars, D-mark or sterling on the forex markets in order to buy petroleum.
That’s why the euro-zone amalgamation process halted after the euro appeared, it was a token designed to bypass the dollar forex toll booth and nothing more.
The Greeks measure the cost of remaining in the euro and being able to gain crude at some cost versus going to the drachma and being unable to gain any fuel at all except by way of the black market. Greeks also (reasonably) fear hyperinflation as drachma holders will pay any price including hundreds of billions per euro or dollar so as to gain some of that gas.
Basically, the entire European nightmare is about the cars … and driving the cars … and nothing else. That’s why there will be no end to the unraveling until the Europeans get rid of the cars. Europe has no domestic fuel supply to speak of … 15 million barrels per day consumption @ $112/barrel flowing out of the country … that’s your austerity right there.
Read your linked post there. The fella has a chip on his shoulder about something, other than that I’m not quite sure what his points are on Iceland.
But importantly he has a piece on the sidebar claiming that “John Cochrane of UofC responds to Paul Krugman’s infamous article on whether Chicago-school economists failed to predict the current crisis and demolishes Krugman throughly(sic) and brilliantly”.
Now I’m no fan of Krugman but few people have made bigger fools of themselves than John Cochrane since 2008….. really!
So i searched for a few older blog posts from the fella Gurdiev. He seems like a hack to me. In a post on Feb 5th 2009, for example, he calls for Flat income taxes and extreme spending cuts in Ireland…. Neo-Liberalism writ large!
No wonder he hates the commentariat, even those who are neo-liberal have at least allowed the facts to slightly alter their world view.
What makes you think I agree with him ?
He is a good economist though.
Look at his data / graphs………….
Yeah, the straight lines he gets joining up two peaks or troughs on a randomly varying function are some of the finest straight lines I have ever seen. They alone indicate he is worthy of a Nobell prize.
Michael Ash makes it sound as if the German bankers are a bunch of feckless bumblers.
This is a view bereft of history. It lets the bankers off the hook, explaining away their malice — their orgy of greed, selfishness and free riding — as incompetence.
In his conclusion, however, Ash mentions something that is never mentioned in banker propaganda, and that is that German workers have taken it on the nose. Just like workers in other developed countries (like the US), or developing countries (like Mexico or China), workers have seen capital garner all new productivity gains, and then some. As Ash points out, German workers now must make do on 10% less of the aggregate national income pie, capital having hogged the pie and increased its share by that same amount.
There is a massive redistribution of income in the world from labor to capital, and it is ubiquitous.
Those deadbeat unemployed folk.. we will CRUSH them, even if it takes 200 years we will extract what belongs to Caesar!
just before caesar starves to death… and not in time to save him… so very sad
Caesar says; “The(German)wolf is always at the door.”
Austerity versus stimulus is a false dichotomy. What needs to happen is a fundamental rearchitecting of the economy and society. As long as the public is trapped between two false choices nothing will get better.
And by the way, to clear up a serious misunderstanding about peak oil that keeps causing ridiculously stupid peak oil “debunking” artiles to be linked on NC(even going so low as to have links to the bottom of the barrel Business Insider site to do so), peak oil is about energy invested vs. energy returned. It has nothing to do with running out.
“peak oil is about energy invested vs. energy returned. It has nothing to do with running out.”
Precisely. To paraphrase Dickens:
“Amount of energy to bring 1 gallon of gas to market less than energy available in that gallon, result happiness. Amount of energy to bring 1 gallon of gas to market more than energy available in that gallon, result misery.”
The German government imposed austerity policies one time before. Like today the policies were imposed as a reaction to a banking crisis.
The chancellor imposing the policies was Heinrich Bruning, a man forever known as the Hunger Chancellor. His policies only made the economy worse and devastated the public.
Bruning is also known as the last Chancellor before Hitler.
What short memories the Germans and for that matter all Austerians have. Why would policies that failed before work now?
I’ve always admired how succinctly Hannah Arendt summed it up in The Origins of Totalitarianism:
This is, of course, how it usually works.
The elite seem to have no conception of how to set up a stable system of noblemen and peasants. It is most certainly possible, but it requires that the noblemen keep the peasants content. “Bread and circuses” was the old recipe, and our current elite seems to have a psychopathic desire not to provide the bread. Or the circuses, for that matter (see copyright law).
Nothing’s been the same since they stole that Rheingold…
Even the IMF is starting to think German bankers are the New Black Death, a Plague of Neo-Liberals:-
The Bundesbank is not so much a central bank, as it is a kind of religious cult in charge of a central bank. The beliefs centre around opposition to the twin devils of inflation and profligate politicians(Salvation is a more nebulous concept). It’s actions can only be understood in this context.
The bank has now decided that Germany will be the first country to leave the eurozone. Merkel and the government’s positions are irrelevant, as were the positions of former German governments who crossed the bank.
Once the bundesbank decides to go, nothing short of a religious movement within its on walls will stop the return of the mark.
Amusing. While watching I could not help but recall other videos – conspiracy theory videos: The Banking Cabal, The Bilderbergers, The Illuminati, The CFR, The IMF – singly or in other wildly conjectural combinations, control the world and wish, in their hearts of hearts, to enslave or murder us all. Then there is this video, a Greek tragedy of bankers trapped by their devotion to an inhumane ideology into working assiduously to impoverish us all such that our system-growing animal spirits might be unleashed. Like the Inquisitors of the 12th Century, driven by devotion to a strict and punitive ideology, into inflicting horrific tortures on their victims such that they could repent and join God in heaven. When one is suffering, it hardly matters what your tormentor’s motives are.
Bring it on…………..
Without Germany and France driving us PIigs into surplus (using a non optimum currency mind you) so that they can force feed us cars we don’t need they are a nothing…..
The amount of raw materials Germany needs for its mercantile operations is simply stupendous despite their frantic efforts at efficiency ……and export of labour value east.
Excess capacity will be the new norm for Germany & China.
All those toy factories and no juice in the tank……….
Post war Germany is the home of the anti – Physiocrats
A economic theory factory that cannot conceptualize real energy systems…inputs & outputs and all that lark.
The market state is bleeding………let it bleed to death.
In the context of the idea that the German elites want to keep control of the German banks this news bit last week about Germany repatriating gold seems to lend ideas to a certain nationalistic viewpoint within the inner workings of the global and Euro elite:
However, the global designs of capitalism will attempt to roll over this attempt to put national boundaries around any source of capital. An interesting fight in the coming decade.
Good grief … it’s hopeless! How can someone so educated and natively intelligent be so clueless?
Prof Michael Ash believes the ‘Southerners’ in Europe earned to pay for German products, how can this be so? Ash must somehow believe the 2d law of thermodynamics is suspended for the EU South? He and his friends and family are going to learn a very hard lesson in basic physics over the next couple of years.
The EU South are consumers, they borrowed like the Americans to obtain what they wanted. There is no way that the Greeks and others can use the German products to earn … they cannot repay anything. The German products are toys, symbols of empty ‘prosperity’ … enablers of waste and creators of pollution and other externalities … as seen on TV.
The Greeks, Irish, Spanish, Portuguese … French and Japanese … the Chinese and the Americans have borrowed trillions in various currencies to gain petroleum … they have burned this petroleum up for absolutely nothing! There is no gain from it, no return. What sort of return can be obtained from driving in circles from gas station to gas station? Except for taxi drivers and delivery men, the answer is nothing, the countries are absolutely bankrupt because there are no productive enterprises whatever … there never were any productive enterprises only different levels of waste … different levels of destroyed capital.
Ash starts his discussion past the point where industrialization itself must be questioned as a going concern, by doing so he is intellectually dishonest or ignorant. Ours is a crisis of net-energy. We cannot afford the more costly fuels any more because our ‘returns’ are borrowed using the wasting process as collateral. Not only is the fuel too costly but so is the credit needed to obtain the fuel.
Our modern world was built around $20 per barrel crude into perpetuity. $110 crude is a death sentence to all things modern … starting with the beloved automobile … including jet aircraft, modern militaries, e-gadgets, pro-sports, nuclear power, US-style suburbs, ‘resort’ ghettos and waste-infrastructure such as highways, high-speed railroads and office towers.
We pretend there are no consequences to our waste, we don’t even acknowledge it … even when all of us are living the consequences!
The analysts here- and analysts there are patting themselves on the back for ‘predicting’ the major real estate crash in 2007 and the unraveling of mortgage backed securities on the shadow market. The same people are oblivious to what is taking place right under their noses. The costs of gaining then burning 90 million barrels of fuel every day must be met by borrowing. That is almost 4 billion gallons … every day! This is why the world is hundreds of trillions of dollars in debt! Meanwhile, the auto and energy tycoons demand that funds be stripped from the elderly … to feed into the furnaces and the gasoline tanks. “Jawohl” cry the analysts because they cannot bear the thought of giving up the wonderful, beloved cars or the modern ‘lifestyles’, the flat-screens, stainless steel kitchen appliances and the mood lighting.
In the EU loans must be had from outside the individual countries … this is why these countries’ economies have collapsed or are collapsing. Greece now, France tomorrow, Germany soon enough. The Europeans are debt-saturated. There are diminished returns to more debt. Because the countries cannot borrow they are insolvent … because they are insolvent they cannot borrow.
None of them earned anything. Some just borrowed more than others, some can borrow now because greater numbers of ‘others’ are excluded from credit every day.
There is no way back … to where we were before, either … the fuel is gone forever, it took 100 million years for it to form, there was nothing gained from the waste except some momentary ‘fun’ and fake ‘status’ … the people are not smarter or better looking or more witty or with better moral character … driving in circles in traffic jams makes drivers fat and enraged, they hate all life, they become Nazis because everyone in front of them is an ‘untermensch’ … they are well-trained like rats in a maze … follow orders, listen to the economists, step on the gas, let the devil take the hindmost.
The economist says, “it’s all the bankers’ fault” when the banker is the servant of the auto manufacturer and the highway construction company executive, the real estate developer and the insurance executive, the advertising manager and the Wall Street crook, the military contractor, the fuel supplier and shipper … the handful of tycoons that rule them all and in the darkness bind them …
What IS happening in Europe? It is becoming car-free: ‘conservation by other means’. This is not the road taken by rational choice but instead it is no road at all, a plunge into the abyss … the relentless pounding of the Europeans into rubble from the bottom up, the forcing into starvation and depravity. Look for those Greeks to sell their children into slavery or the French their internal organs for a few liters of petrol … pay attention and do so well: as long as one car runs in Europe there is no bottom and no halt to the slide until the entire continent becomes a tribal wildland like Somalia.
It’s coming to a town near you and it’s coming fast. When net energy goes negative … watch out.
ridiculous jibberish — no such thing is happening in Europe