The euro crisis reflects the failure of a dead-end policy. The German government lacks the courage to move beyond a status quo that has become untenable. This is why, despite extensive rescue programmes and countless crisis summits, the situation of the eurozone has steadily deteriorated over the last two years. In the wake of its economic crash,Greece faces the prospect of leaving the eurozone, which would have incalculable knock-on effects for the other member countries. Italy, Spain and Portugal are all in the grip of a severe recession, which is driving up unemployment.
Europe needs a new direction. A restructuring of the eurozone, including a transfer of sovereignty, is essential to end the crisis
Message to the BBC and assorted international media on this Greek Election Day: Try to recover your journalistic principles even at the eleventh hour!Posted: June 17, 2012
By Yanis Varoufakis Originally posted at http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/
Over the past 48 hours, as Greek voters are mulling over their options prior to entering the polling stations, the international media have indulged in a frenzy of disinformation and scaremongering. Gone is the nuanced reporting of the BBC, nowhere to be seen the critical approach to the Euro Crisis that the rest of the international media have shown over the past few weeks. As if united behind a common cause, the hordes of international TV and Radio reporters are now peddling a simple line: Today, the Greek people are choosing between ‘Reason’ (meaning the pro-bailout New Democracy party) and ‘Indulgence’; between staying in the euro and leaving on a whim. In moment of greater exuberance, they add that, today, Greeks can deal a decisive blow at the Eurozone by voting against the European Union’s strategy for dealing with the Euro Crisis. What utter nonsense!
This is nothing but an Assault on Truth. First, Greeks are NOT voting on whether they want to stay in the Eurosystem or to leave. They are voting between two different programs on how to survive within the Eurozone. On the one hand, there is the discredited ‘establishment’ line which has it that, to stay in the Eurozone, Greeks should simply do as they are being told by the troika. On the opposite corner, there is the Syriza position that doing as we are told is guaranteed to lead to the wholesale and final collapse of what is left of the Greek social economy, thus leading us out of the Eurozone by default. Their recommendation is that Greece should adopt a determined bargaining stand. Read the rest of this entry »
The continent is destroying the weak to protect the strong. But will that be enough?
BY JAMES K. GALBRAITH
THURSDAY, NOV 10, 2011 4:59 AM PST published at http://www.salon.com
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Center: A protester passes by a burning barricade during clashes in Athens. (Credit: AP)
The eurozone crisis is a bank crisis posing as a series of national debt crises and complicated by reactionary economic ideas, a defective financial architecture and a toxic political environment, especially in Germany, in France, in Italy and in Greece.
Like our own, the European banking crisis is the product of over-lending to weak borrowers, including for housing in Spain, commercial real estate in Ireland and the public sector (partly for infrastructure) in Greece. The European banks leveraged up to buy toxic American mortgages and when those collapsed they started dumping their weak sovereign bonds to buy strong ones, driving up yields and eventually forcing the whole European periphery into crisis. Greece was merely the first domino in the line. Read the rest of this entry »
by Stergios Skaperdas
Department of Economics University of California, Irvine October 28, 2011 Modified on October 31, 2011
ABSTRACT: In Greece and other countries of the Eurozone there are a number of misconceptions about the debt crisis. I argue against seven of such misconceptions (or, myths) about the effects of default, the primary cause of the crisis, the likely effects of an exit from the Eurozone, the bargaining power of the Greek government in its negotiations with the EU/ECB/IMF troika, and others. Default and exit from the Eurozone appears to be the most viable alternative in the long run; such a move would seem to require considerable preparation under short time constraints and a government with broad political support.
Keywords: Eurozone, Greece, debt, default. Read the rest of this entry »
by Yanis Varoufakis http://yanisvaroufakis.eu
A Damocles’ Sword is, supposedly, hanging over Greece. We are told (even by the Greek EU commissioner) that Greeks must either accept that their country will be run, and micromanaged, by a committee of foreign creditors or else that Greece will be kicked out of the eurozone. This threat is founded upon (to put it not too bluntly) a flagrant lie. Greece cannot be pushed out of the euro without the euro collapsing in short order. Let’s see why:
First, there is no formal mechanism by which any member-state or EU institution can begin a process that leads to Greece’s ejection from the eurozone. Indeed, the eurozone was designed so as to lack such a mechanism for the explicit purpose of impressing its permanence upon the markets.
Of course, there are a myriad ways in which power can be exerted upon a weak partner desperate enough to accept some desperate deal. For instance, powerful EU partners could lean on the Greek government, suggesting that Greece will be taken to the cleaners if it does not itself initiate an exit strategy, sweetening at the same time the bitter pill with promises of help if it does initiate it.
Secondly, even if the Greek government were thus convinced to bite the bullet and start the exit process, the result would be a most definite unravelling of the eurozone. The reasons are evident to anyone prepared to simulate in their mind the train of events that will follow such a decision. Read the rest of this entry »
Author: Costas Douzinas*
Few events in recent European political history have baffled analysts and commentators more than the widespread insurrection or ‘riots’ (according to right-wing commentators) that took place in Greece in December 2008. The catalyst was the unprovoked police killing of the 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos on December 6 in the Exarcheia district downtown Athens next to the Polytechnic and the Law School, two Universities associated with student militancy for some 60 years. Within hours of Grigoris’s killing, massive protests, occupations and demonstrations broke out all over Greece. Daily marches to police stations, Parliament and Ministries were accompanied by sit-ins, street happenings, interruption of theatres, the raising of a banner calling for resistance on Acropolis and the burning of the Christmas tree in Syntagma Square. Some early violence against banks and luxury shops was minimised and no casualties. In an unprecedented move, large numbers of secondary school pupils occupied some 800 schools and took to the streets. Half the population supported the protest. Solidarity protests throughout Europe created fears of the protests spreading.
The insurrection led to a plethora of anxious interpretations. Many, often contradictory, causes were put forward: economic (unemployment and neo-liberal economic measures), political (persistent corruption and failure of education), cultural or ideological. But the most prominent reaction of commentators has been incomprehension mixed with incredulity.
by Richard Wolff.
PUBLISHED ON JUNE 4, 2010
Political theater now grips Greece. As with ancient Greek plays, today’s drama also reaches and touches everyone else. We sense Greece’s dilemmas becoming our own.
Her rulers declare that a crisis now threatens Greece. They blame it on the masses. To overcome it, they must impose great suffering on the masses. The rulers’ chorus intones the absolute necessity, the utter unavoidability of that suffering as the only solution. There is, it insists, no other option. The masses waver. Many lean toward resignation, accepting the suffering as punishment for their sins that caused the crisis. For the moment, the rulers exult as their elaborate political theater of blame seems to have successfully shifted the costs of the crisis from them to the masses. And yet, there are also signs of impending oppositional anger from the masses. Huge demonstrations rocked Athens in May. Cathartic moments loom. Read the rest of this entry »
Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City. He also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan.Earlier he taught economics at Yale University (1967-1969) and at the City College of the City University of New York (1969-1973). In 1994, he was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Paris (France), I (Sorbonne).
The political ‘explosion’ that took place in Greece was a symptom of a systemic and deep-rooted legitimation crisis of the Greek state. This essay examines some of the causes of this crisis, how the political space in which this explosion occurred was produced, and possibilities for continued political antagonisms and struggles. Events belie forecasts; to the extent that events are historic, they upset calculations. They may even overturn strategies that provided for their possible occurrence. Because of their conjunctural nature, events upset the structures which made them possible (Lefebvre, 1969: 7).
The dramatic upheavals in Greece, sparked by the December 2008 murder of a ﬁfteen-year-old student by the police, have been the focus of much interest and speculation. This ‘explosion’ has been one of the most acute challenges to the Greek political
establishment since the end of the Greek Civil War. Read the rest of this entry »