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#14988827
Bill Mitchell in his blog says ---
The EU is neoliberal to its core and captured by corporate interests


http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=41571

The aptly named – Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) – “is a research and campaign group working to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making”. It is relentless in exposing the corporate scams that result in European Union laws being biased towards corporations at the expense of the well-being of the broader population. The research results they publish are diametrically opposed to the claims by the Europhile Left, especially those from Britain, that posit that the EU is the exemplar of global organisation, defending workers’ rights and all manner of good things, and with just a few reforms here and there is the hope for a progressive future. CEO’s most recent report (February 6, 2019) – Captured states: when EU governments are a channel for corporate interests – allow us to see how the EU machinery has turned the Member States into a “channel for corporate interests” – “middlemen for corporate interests”. My position is that CEO has it right and the Europhiles a dreaming.

snip ...

In 2018, CEO with some of its NGO allies “submitted freedom of information requests to 19 permanent representations in Brussels to obtain information about the extent of their contacts with lobbyists”.

They found that:

Only two member states both stored and released full data on lobbying: Romania and the Netherlands. Ireland only released the data relating to meetings with their Permanent Representative and Deputy, not lower officials. No other permanent representation released the data requested.

Which should tell you a lot.

The ‘Permanent Representation’ represents the interests of the EU Member States to the European Commission in Brussels. Each nation, typically, has a huge number of workers across all their government departments, in the Permanent Representation.

They wine and dine representatives from other EU Member States, the Commission and members of the European Parliament.

The Permanent Representations feed into all the major EU institutions – the Council of the EU and its rotating Presidency, the European Council, the Committees of the EU.

Each Member State has a Permanent Representation and they formally work through the Permament Representatives Committee (COREPER).

The collated – Data for Permanent Representations’ lobbying – collected by the CEO researchers reveals how these “permanent representations are a major target for corporate lobbyists”.

The corporate lobbyists work like beavers in Brussels to ensure the lower level officials of each Member State are on the same page and acting in the interests of the corporations.

CEO’s research shows that “when corporate interests win, the public interest loses out”.

snip ...

They also point to the basic architecture of the European Union as creating an organisation structure that engenders this type of capture.

1. “Elite corporate lobbies target the European Council of member state leaders, with access that NGOs and trade unions cannot match. For example the regular meetings of the European Round Table of Industrialists bring together 50 bosses of major European multinational companies with the leaders of France, Germany, and the Commission President.”

2. “Rotating presidencies of the Council of the EU provide a key target for corporate lobbies … corporate sponsorship of rotating presidencies now appears to be standard”.

3. “The EU’s complex and opaque committee structure benefits corporate lobbies with the resources and capacity to influence the final outcomes.”

4. “Brussels-based lobby consultancy firms provide specific services to corporate lobbies aimed at influencing member states” – so-called ‘lobby forums’ abound.

5. Data shows, for example, that 73 per cent of the meetings held by the Dutch Permanent Representation’s officials were with corporate interests “and only 15 per cent with NGOs or trade unions”.

The point is that to clean excessive access and influence requires root-and-branch changes – meaning the EU has to be abandoned in its current form and reconstructed as an intergovernmental agreement should the nation states determine there is a need for that level of cooperation.

Progressive reforms mooted such as an European unemployment insurance scheme will do nothing at all to change this endemic cancer.

The fact that the progressives want to just tinker around the edges must seem like gold to the corporate interests who have captured the EU decision-making structures.
snip ...

I agree with him.
#14988846
Steve_American wrote:The EU is neoliberal to its core and captured by corporate interests


You do not really need Bill Mitchel to tell you that neoliberal right wing parties control both the majority of the EU nation states as well as the EU parliament. Contrary to Bill Mitchel's various other nonsense however that is because neoliberal parties have been elected by the national electorates and not because the EU is neoliberal by design.

In case you did not notice:

your source wrote:“Elite corporate lobbies target the European Council of member state leaders
#14989004
noemon wrote:You do not really need Bill Mitchel to tell you that neoliberal right wing parties control both the majority of the EU nation states as well as the EU parliament. Contrary to Bill Mitchel's various other nonsense however that is because neoliberal parties have been elected by the national electorates and not because the EU is neoliberal by design.

In case you did not notice: your source wrote:
“Elite corporate lobbies target the European Council of member state leaders ..."

You are of course right except that your "right wing parties" call themselves center or even center left parties.

However, you miss the overall point that the EU treaties freeze in neo-liberal rules that make it even more difficult or even impossible for progressive parties to prove they can do better. It looks [from where I an] that a few nations have tried and been slapped down. Portugal, Italy, and maybe Spain come to mind. Without some proof by results it is harder for other progressive parties to win over the electorate of each nation individually.

But, try to understand this. On the internet NOBODY *ever* changes their mind in plain sight. Mostly I write and argue with you and siviad, etc. so that I can try to convince the lurkers who's minds are not already frozen in concrete.
#14989019
Steve_American wrote:You are of course right except that your "right wing parties" call themselves center or even center left parties.


No they don't call themselves centre-left but even if they did, it is beside the point, the point being that neoliberal right wing parties currently govern the majority of EU states as well as the majority of the EU parliament. And they do so because they have been elected, not because it is inherent in any structure.

However, you miss the overall point that the EU treaties freeze in neo-liberal rules that make it even more difficult or even impossible for progressive parties to prove they can do better.


That is absolutely false. Nothing about the EU treaties is neoliberal. Liberal indeed, neoliberal no. What is neoliberal in the EU treaties and how does it prevent the election of progressive parties?

It looks [from where I an] that a few nations have tried and been slapped down. Portugal, Italy, and maybe Spain come to mind. Without some proof by results it is harder for other progressive parties to win over the electorate of each nation individually.


From where I stand it seems to me that you Americans have the most neoliberal governments and structures in the world but none of us are telling you to break up the USA, or to tear apart your constitution because allegedly you have neoliberalism engraved in your foreheads. Instead, we criticise the actions of your elected governments, while you instead of criticising the actions of our governments you are trying to undermine our entire Union like your ridiculous President; as if the EU stopped existing tomorrow these neoliberal government would automatically seize to exist as well, which is evidently false. If neoliberalism is the reason you want to undo the EU, you should start undoing the US first because you are more neoliberal than the EU is.

Progressive parties often win in EU countries but not on enough EU countries to form a grand EU coalition, but this too will happen eventually. Eastern Europe is particularly problematic because after being so long under the Iron Curtain, these people hate anything to do with the left, so they vote for neoliberals like a junkie on opium.
#14989042
@noemon,
Well, noemon is in serious denial.
The US Constitution does not contain language that limits the total US debt to some percentage of the GDP [current or of recent past], nor does it have any limit on the size of the current year's deficit.
In the EU there are limits on both. These are the main neo-liberal rules I, at least, am referring to.

Also, she agreed right there above that it is unlikely that all the national gov. will ever have a Progressive gov. at the same time. In the US it takes 3/4 of the states to ratify proposed amendments, in the EU it takes 100% of the national govs. to agree to changes in the rules. Because 100% will never happen the EU system can't be reformed from within.

She doesn't see this. In this case "she can't see the forest for the fog".
#14989067
Steve_American wrote:@noemon,
Well, noemon is in serious denial.
The US Constitution does not contain language that limits the total US debt to some percentage of the GDP [current or of recent past], nor does it have any limit on the size of the current year's deficit.
In the EU there are limits on both. These are the main neo-liberal rules I, at least, am referring to.


You are going around in circles, making it very clear that you are both in denial and in quite massive ignorance, as I wrote in your other thread:

noemon wrote:Your claim that the SGP is to blame for the austerity is false. The SGP rules(3% deficit, 60% debt) never prevented anyone from breaking them repeatedly and for long periods of time. The ESM was set-up for purpose and the IMF applies the same if not more neoliberal austerity when handing our loans on its own around the world.


The SGP rules have never prevented progressive governments either from getting elected or from ignoring these rules, altogether. The lack of such a rule in the US has not prevented neoliberal governments from running the country for decades. You are indeed trying to blame the tree(SGP rules) while ignoring the forest(neoliberalism). After so many decades of neoliberal rule in the US, one would expect that you or Mitchell would be able to come up with better reasons as to why neoliberalism has been monopolising western politics for so long.

Also, she agreed right there above that it is unlikely that all the national gov. will ever have a Progressive gov. at the same time. In the US it takes 3/4 of the states to ratify proposed amendments, in the EU it takes 100% of the national govs. to agree to changes in the rules. Because 100% will never happen the EU system can't be reformed from within.

She doesn't see this. In this case "she can't see the forest for the fog".


First of all I am a he. Second, you have not had a progressive government in the US like ever. In the US, neoliberalism is in fact engraved on your foreheads while the EU is far less neoliberal than the US. These rules as I told you above have not prevented anyone from breaking them repeatedly and for long periods of time, they have not prevented progressive governments from getting elected or from running their programs, so your argument is moot, completely.
#14989299
@noemon,
Well, in my reply above the post above I pointed to 3 nations that I think have been slapped down recently.
You ignored this specific claim for 2 replies now. Instead you just make blanket claims that it is *not ever* so. For example, you wrote just above, "The SGP rules have never prevented progressive governments either from getting elected or from ignoring these rules, altogether." This seems to be a denial, but I would like you to show how it isn't true for Italy now, or Spain or Portugal in the last year or 2.
You should know that you do this a lot. Make a statement that denies someone else's statement without any evidence to back up your claim. You just expect others to take your word for it and to ignore the other guy's word. Why do you think so strongly that lurkers will take your word for the facts when the people you are contradicting did usually provide at least one 'fact' to substantiate their statement? Especially, when in the last 2 weeks you have conceded that you were wrong or partly wrong at least 3 times.
As we said when I was 12 [i.e. 60 years ago], "Who died and made you the boss?"

And, I have made arguments for why Neo-liberalism rules the day in the US. I just don't think that this fact changes the fact that the EU rules have frozen in a Neo-liberal set of rules. Neither does it contradict this when you claim that the rules have never been enforced. Maybe the nations cave-in without the punishment being applied. And hiding behind the IMF shouldn't get the EU off the hook either; not when the IMF is extra-legally allowed a seat at the table and a voice while the pressure is being applied.
. . . BTW --- have you ever conceded that the rules are Neo-liberal and have no basis in reality. That 3% and 60% were just pulled out of the air. Or that using the old GDP in the 2 calculations during a recession makes it impossible to use Keynesian economics. How is a nation to predict just how low the GDP wil go in the next recession? And remember, neo-liberal economic theory was saying in 2007 that there would not be another recession anytime soon, if ever? Or that, a growing money supply in a growing economy is a necessity.

I thought you might be a woman because your avatar is female and your site-name is made up. Sorry, but it is your own fault and not mine.
#14989304
Steve_American wrote:Well, in my reply above the post above I pointed to 3 nations that I think have been slapped down recently.
You ignored this specific claim for 2 replies now.


You seem incapable of matching my replies with your claims despite the fact that these replies have been said & proven with evidence directly to you more than once. Last time you could not handle this exact conversation you claimed that it was because of your Ausberger's, now you are saying that you are not here to discuss but merely to talk to the lurker's.... :roll:

noemon wrote:b) It was not the Commission's fault the crisis states went bankrupt and prostrated themselves before the banks, in fact it is exactly the opposite for if the crisis states had followed the commission's recommendations to not have national debt over 60% of their GDP they would not have gone bankrupt.

c) It was not the Commission's business to figure out solutions, it was the Council's(national Prime Minister's) & the Euroroup's (national Finance Ministers) business as we all witnessed live before our eyes. It was the neoliberal national governments of the EU countries that agreed and then imposed the austerity, not the Commission.


noemon wrote:Suppose there was no EU to tell you that you cannot spend more than 3% in a deficit when you have more than 60% debt on your shoulders, would you be able to spend this money if the EU did not breath down your neck?

The answer is no! Because the spreads on your bonds are so large that there is nowhere to draw the money from. You are both ignoring the fact that this became an issue only after Greece, Italy, Spain, could not get funded from the markets(aka as the few banking conglomerates in N.Y., London, etcetera) and they had to turn to the EU to find money. The EU provided the money through the ESM and she did so with much less conditions attached than traditional IMF, World Bank or the regular banks in the open market. And to top that up the EU is also providing free structural funds from the EU budget which do not pile on the debt of EU countries. Plainly speaking, without the EU, these countries would not be able to run deficits at all, they would however be able to print money till kingdom come with their currencies becoming toilet paper in a matter of weeks or days as it had happened numerous times in the past for them. If that is your alternative, then you must surely both understand why you are wrong.


And, I have made arguments for why Neo-liberalism rules the day in the US. I just don't think that this fact changes the fact that the EU rules have frozen in a Neo-liberal set of rules.


I have not seen any such argument of yours, the fact that you insist on believing that it is the EU's fault neoliberals get elected is truly mind-boggling and quite evidently wrong as progressive governments have been getting elected in the EU for decades, quite unlike the US where they have never been elected at least not as long as I remember. This fact alone proves your entire argument wrong right off the bat. If you are honestly interested in why social democratic parties are no longer doing as well as they used to, then perhaps this article might help you.

Lastly, the EU has so many wonderful progressive Labour Protection Laws that US workers cannot dream even in their wildest dreams, which is really the reason why neoliberals hate the EU so much and why they use all kinds of propaganda including the one we are currently witnessing in the here and now to undo the EU, so that they can undo the last fortress of progressive labour rights.

I thought you might be a woman because your avatar is female and your site-name is made up. Sorry, but it is your own fault and not mine.


I don't mind being called a woman but as far as I can introduce myself to this forum I have several real pictures of myself posted in the community as well as several details of my personal life. It is indeed not my fault that you have been here for years but have never bothered to look it up.
#14989331
Also when it comes to voters; it's particularly their fault. Certainly for those with hypocritical/contradictory views. Like middle-class swinging voters in marginal UK constituencies. Lower taxes and better public services. Oppose BOTH tax increases and debt increase. Oppose aggressive wars but support more military spending & nuclear arsenal. 'Concerned' about rising living costs but oppose nationalisation of major sectors of the economy that raised their prices, etc, after privatisation.

Thatcher and her equivalents 1980s-onwards were able to capture the votes of the post-industrial middle-class and dupe hem because of their gullibility and hypocritical views, etc. Baby boomers that accepted the benefits of the social democratic welfare state but 1980s onwards supported its dismantlement, etc
#14989441
noemon wrote:Progressive parties often win in EU countries but not on enough EU countries to form a grand EU coalition, but this too will happen eventually. Eastern Europe is particularly problematic because after being so long under the Iron Curtain, these people hate anything to do with the left, so they vote for neoliberals like a junkie on opium.


Eastern Europe is different from Western Europe and it will remain so for a very long time. It's democracies are young and unlike Western Europe it didn't experience long period of economic growth and stability after 1989 like Western Europe enjoyed after 1945. Trying to force western values on eastern Europe will be counterproductive and will only lead to more euroscepticism, oposition and more regional cooperation (to oppose EU).

Neoliberal parties were popular 10-20 years ago when there was strong need for economic reforms. Today's trend is populism, nationalism. There is strong distrust in traditional parties. Democratic systems in eastern Europe are young and didn't have time to evolve into stable systems with few powerful parties. It never completely gained trust of people like in western Europe. It gradually lead to traditional parties being severely weakened. Biggest ruling parties are led by a strong politician. The party cannot oppose him to oust him. It resembles situation in Europe after 1918 when trust in democracy was low, except extremes have been discredited. My opinion is the change is irreversible and it will slowly spread into Western Europe (already happened in Austria, Italy).

In eastern Europe traditional left is generally incompetent (it includes the most corrupt former communists), focusing mostly on pensioners, unemployed and very low income persons - not the sort of people who can move a poor country forward. Social democracy exhausted itself and has very little to offer. During last parliamentary elections in Czech republic Social Democrats got only 7.3% of vote, traditional communists 7.8% (record low for both). Major successes of Social Democrats in the 20th century include universal healthcare, free education, social security. But social democrats are not needed anymore. Populist parties are stealing their voters as they can represent poor people too when it fits them.

I seriously doubt "progressive parties" can be successful in eastern Europe and have major influence for reasons I mentioned.
#14989507
noenom, like I said a few weeks ago, I don't like you. Your style of posting is offensive and calling people propagandists is insulting.
You are set in your opinions just as I am. We will never convince each other.
I'm trying to disengage from you, because you don't respond to my key points. This seems like 'if I can't respond and I'll never concede a point, so I must just ignore it.' It does seem like this.
#14989726
noenom, if I may add to the above,
I don't think you & disagree that much on the underlying facts. What we disagree on is how to weight those facts.
For example, you make a big deal out of Greece and others being bankrupt and so this allows the ECB and IMF to impose harsh economic damage on the people of Greece. I, OTOH, don't see that this makes any sense. The ECB can and now does create euros out of thin air to loan to EZ nations or their banks to bail out the banks. The loans to Greece for example didn't go to the Gov. of Greece to spend in Greece. No, they went immediately to German and Fr. banks that would have gone bankrupt if Greece had not paid their bonds as they came due.
So, we weight the facts differently.
#14989745
I agree with what you are writing about Greece, the ECB, the loans and so on and forth, in fact I have a long history of making these arguments in here myself but that does not mean that it is the EU's fault -as you claim- or that if your removed the EU from the equation, then somehow these countries would magically be able to get cheap or free money out of thin air. In fact countries that are outside the EU that go bankrupt and get the IMF treatment, they are treated far worse than the EU countries that went bankrupt. On top of that you are totally ignoring the roles played by national politicians(Schauble, Merkel, Rutte, Djisselbloem), even when people that you clearly respect such as Varoufakis for example are telling it to you as it is. You feel the need to excuse all these people for their actions and throw the entire blame on the EU. The EU for years has been the punching bag of politicians from left, right and centre. All national politicians whenever they do something unpopular with their voters, they blame the EU: "hey guys, it's not our fault, the EU made us", it has been an easy scapegoat to misdirect blame from their own selves to an abstract organisation, despite the fact that these same politicians have voted and rubber-stamped whatever that thing might have been. It has been convenient to them to blame someone far away instead of assume their own responsibility and such a thing happens in all EU countries and among parties on the left, on the right and on the centre. It does not mean however that it is right to do such a thing especially in here among laymen because we in here have absolutely no benefit of scapegoating the EU, but quite the contrary, we should identify the real culprits for those policies that we disagree with so that we can address those culprits and hopefully remove them from their political position by informing lurkers and voters so that they do not re-elect them or their apprentices.

You seem to like Varoufakis quite a lot. Varoufakis through his experience has very clearly identified the architect of the austerity and the neoliberal policies currently applied across the EU and that person was the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble. It is not some bureaucrat, it is an elected politician and that politician and his ideology should be clearly identified so that he, his acolytes and the ideology can be dealt with by the voters. Falling into the trap of blaming the EU instead of the actual culprits is merely playing their game and detracting from their own responsibility. The benefit from such an exercise is negative because people with such ideologies carry on imposing them while everyone is looking the other way and getting animated with the wrong thing.

The US is no EU but neoliberalism is still reigning supreme, how is that possible if the issue is with the EU structure as you claim? You argue for the dissolution of the EU so that you stop neoliberalism, but such a dissolution does not lead to your desired outcome, nor is there even the slightest indication that if you do away with the EU, you also do away with neoliberalism, in fact it is so obvious that the opposite is the case as we can clearly witness Britain leaving the EU and going into a neoliberal overdrive while Labour has set preconditions that even if/when Britain leaves the EU, then she must carry on adhering by the EU's progressive legislation on worker rights & protections as well as consumer rights & protections.
Lastly, the position that we must dismantle our states completely every time we lose the elections to our ideological foes is a very absurd and dangerous position. Democratic systems means that you will get your turn to govern and when you do, you should make the most out of it so that you increase your chances of getting re-elected, it does not mean that every time a political side loses the elections they ought to throw their toys out of the pram and call for the destruction of the state in order to prevent the others from carrying out the very platform they were elected to carry out.

Yanis Varoufakis wrote:Wolfgang Schäuble may have left the finance ministry but his policy for turning the eurozone into an iron cage of austerity, that is the very antithesis of a democratic federation, lives on.

What is remarkable about Dr Schäuble’s tenure was how he invested heavily in maintaining the fragility of the monetary union, rather than eradicating it in order to render the eurozone macro-economically sustainable and resilient. Why did Dr Schäuble aim at maintaining the eurozone’s fragility? Why was he, in this context, ever so keen to maintain the threat of Grexit? The simple answer is: Because a state of permanent fragility was instrumental to his strategy for using the threat of expulsion from the euro (or even of Germany’s withdrawal from it) to discipline the deficit countries – chiefly France.

Deep in Dr Schäuble’ thinking there was the belief that, as a federation is infeasible, the euro is a glorified fixed exchange rate regime. And the only way of maintaining discipline within such a regime was to keep alive the threat of expulsion or exit. But to keep that threat alive, the eurozone could not be allowed to develop the instruments and institutions that would stop it from being fragile. Thus, the eurozone’s permanent fragility was, from Dr Schäuble’s perspective an end-in-itself, rather than a failure.
#14989778
@noemon, I'm still trying to disengage with you.
TL;DR
One last comment.
I do NOT think it matters at all who is responsible for the current situation/mess the EU & EZ is in for the question of -- "Where do we go from here?"
Why do you think it does matter?
#14989795
noemon wrote:These rules as I told you above have not prevented anyone from breaking them repeatedly and for long periods of time, they have not prevented progressive governments from getting elected or from running their programs, so your argument is moot, completely.


Eh...the ECJ overrules national governments all the time. E.g. 5 seconds of googling of ECJ and state aid:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ity-market
https://mnetax.com/spanish-tax-lease-sy ... ules-28759

noemon wrote:All national politicians whenever they do something unpopular with their voters, they blame the EU


Partly because current governments are bound by the decisions of previous governments by EU treaties/law, partly because governments use the EU to "offshore" unpopular policies. In both cases, the EU itself is part of the problem.
#14989803
Steve_American wrote:I do NOT think it matters at all who is responsible for the current situation/mess the EU & EZ is in for the question of -- "Where do we go from here?"
Why do you think it does matter?


The answer to the question "where do we go from here?" is to not re-elect the same people who took us here and to elect those who will take us out of this mess. And that is why it is so important to identify them instead of blaming the wrong thing, for all these reasons I clearly explained to you in the previous post.

Rugoz wrote:https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ity-market


your source wrote:Sara Bell, founder and CEO of Tempus Energy, which started the challenge in 2014, said: “This ruling should ultimately force the UK government to design an energy system that reduces bills by incentivising and empowering customers to use electricity in the most cost-effective way – while maximising the use of climate-friendly renewables.”

The scheme works by energy companies bidding years in advance for billpayer-funded subsidies to provide backup power at crunch times during winter.

Labour said the ruling meant that the government would have to rethink the market.

Alan Whitehead, shadow energy minister, said: “This judgment effectively annuls previous state aid permission to provide subsidies for existing fossil fuel power plants. I have long criticised this bizarre arrangement, which simply throws money at old dirty power stations.”

Richard Black, director of the ECIU thinktank, said the ruling should be seen as an opportunity for the government to reshape the market away from fossil fuels and towards battery storage and cleaner technologies.

Clark said the government was already in contact with the European commission and seeking state aid approval, so the capacity market could be reinstated. The business secretary used his speech to celebrate the rise of renewables. “Cheap power is now green power,” he said.



Rugoz wrote:Partly because current governments are bound by the decisions of previous governments by EU treaties/law


Since you are not part of the EU, I highly doubt you know anything at all about the scapegoating of the EU by national politicians purely for populist reasons.
#14989809
As much as i am pro-EU, let me present a real argument against the EU:

The EU violated the social contract between itself and the people living within it. The whole concept of Europe only started existing from 1991. Before that we were occupied territory, be it by soviets or americans. Ultimately 1 was more oppressive while the other one was more subtle. But our independent existence as the EU begins from 1991. The decisions of war,peace,global politics was not decided by the EU but the important people in Moscow and Washington. But from 1991 we went our own way. It is not just about Maastricht but also about reduction of power from the US and USSR because 1 collapsed and the other didn't have that much need to meddle in the European affairs since the USSR was gone.

So in here you need to understand what was the social contract since 1991. The social contract and usefulness of Europe came from the fact that after the collapse of the USSR, the EU became as sort of democratization tool that said, hey, if you look/become more democratic/liberal then you will be included in to this zone that will provide stability and prosperity while protecting your liberal/democratic institutions. So the foundation of this social contract was perpetual growth that all get for maintaining certain democratic principles/liberal values. And it was fine and acceptable for everyone while it lasted until 2008 and the recession. The growth is harder after 2008 but it was promised as perpetual and unavoidable. I am trying to say that one of the foundations/social contracts that was promised was unrealistic. So we are suffering the consequences now. Capitalism will have boom and bust cycles whenever we like it or not.

Even worse, after 2008 the burden of austerity was not split evenly. Lets call it the concept of pain. Nationalism is linked to this also in my opinion. The ability of large communities to split the growth and pain is what we basically call a Nation State like France, Germany, Greece etc. It is more complicated then that obviously, but this concept of splitting the benefits/spoils and pains is what molds the communities in to countries. Because it ultimately means that this community is somebody who will be happy with you or suffer with you. So you can depend on your countryman. When the Nazis marched eastward, all of Poland suffered. When the Soviets marched Westward, all of Estonia suffered etc

So when people complain about there being no "European" identity then perhaps this is what they mean. I do not say that there are no people who consider themselves European. There definitely are such people. But they are not a majority nor are they the moving force in politics. The unhappy, unemployed, disenfranchised are the moving forces to a great degree and now those people see that the EU basically turned them away. The EU is not interested in sharing the pain. So how can they trust the EU? So if there is no clear concept of sharing burden along with sharing growth then this means that we will ultimately have something that is much inferior to a nation State on the foundation level. EU is stuck somewhere inbetween a community and a nation state(Lets say a very decentralized one)

The European state will only exist when we find a way to deal with the above issue. Then i can happily say that the foundation will be solid. Ultimately this will also help us resolve many questions of economic and social nature that arise from geography and history. An example of this is a question of the Euro for example. The Euro is very beneficial for the Germans/Polish/Baltic States/Northern Europe but it is detrimental to Southern Europe(Greece, Italy, Spain etc). Southern Europe needs cheaper currency to manage their debt that is in Euros. Southern Europe needs cheaper currency to make development easier because development costs are higher compared to the 1st group where it is much cheaper. Germany on the other hand needs a stable income from exports which requires a stable Euro. (Competitiveness wise German economy is probably 2nd to non) Then lets look at it again, if German competitivnes is 2nd to non and the currency is the same then what prevents Germany from basically out-competing the rest of the regions in Europe? So as you see, even the growth aspect in not shared.(It is more or less okay in this regard anyways)
#14989820
Steve_American wrote:
I do NOT think it matters at all who is responsible for the current situation/mess the EU & EZ is in for the question of -- "Where do we go from here?"
Why do you think it does matter?

noemon wrote in reply:
The answer to the question "where do we go from here?" is to not re-elect the same people who took us here and to elect those who will take us out of this mess. And that is why it is so important to identify them instead of blaming the wrong thing, for all these reasons I clearly explained to you in the previous post.

Well, OK, like I said we really don't disagree we just weigh things differently.
You think voting the neo-liberal bastards out is a good 1st step. I agree it is a necessary step.
OTOH, I don't think that voting the bastards out is enough because the EU & EZ rules are still in place. If we assume that several nations have followed your lead then where are we? Well, I guess I have to grant you that it would be possible for those nations to give the finger to the EU rules because their allies could block any punishment by the EU system. However, there is also the ECB to consider. In so far as the nations need any help from the ECB they will be SOL until the ECB is changed.
. . . But, how can the ECB be changed as long as Germany can veto all changes.
. . . Also, how can the EU survive if it has 2 blocks of nations pulling it in opposite directions and the rules require *all* to agree every tiny change?
#14989839
Steve_American wrote:Wel, OK like I said we really don't disagree we just weigh things differently.
You think voting the neo-liberal bastards out is a good 1st step. I agree it is a necessary step.
OTOH, I don't think that voting the bastards out is enough because the EU & EZ rules are still in place. If we assume that several nations have followed your lead then where are we? Well, I guess I have to grant you that it would be possible for those nations to give the finger to the EU rules because their allies could block any punishment by the EU system. However, there is also the ECB to consider. In so far as the nations need any help from the ECB they will be SOL until the ECB is changed.
. . . But, how can the ECB be changed as long as Germany can veto all changes.
. . . Also, how can the EU survive if it has 2 blocks of nations pulling it in opposite directions and the rules require *all* to agree every tiny change?


The ECB is already doing quantitative easing and has already pledged to do "whatever it takes", so the Germans already lost that battle when Draghi came out as ECB President. The SGP rules do not need to be changed for progressive governments to run their programs. I do not see why anyone in his right mind would want to have a yearly deficit over 3% of GDP. The EU has always been quite flexible on the SGP rules and a government can indeed have a yearly deficit over 3% for about 3-4 years before the EU would step in and kindly request fo this deficit to be brought down. However if enough progressive governments are voted in national elections then they can also change the SGP rules even if there are a few countries against it because in the EU once there is enough momentum for something, then it can and does indeed change towards the direction of that momentum, even if there is opposition to such a change. Personally I think the SGP rules combined with the general EU laxity on the matter is a good compromise and a good rule that can prevent over-spending and massive debt accumulation. The case of Greece, Italy shows that even with the rules in place, governments can do it anyway, so if we remove it altogether then it would be akin to giving them the green-light to massive debt.
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