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Parchment in the Fire: European Banks vs. Greek Labour

Filed under: Austerity Tagged: Austerity, Eurozone Crisis, Greece, neoliberalism

Parchment in the Fire: Germany’s sickly economy | Europe’s World

Germany’s sickly economy | Europe’s World.

Filed under: Austerity, Eurozone crisis Tagged: Eurozone Crisis, German Economy, Germany

Political Eh-conomy: Syriza buys four months of breathing room

Belatedly, here is an article I wrote on Greece’s agreement with the Eurozone for Ricochet. It focuses on the next four months with their opportunities and pitfalls. Given that the list of reforms authored by Yanis Varoufakis looks to get the approval of the Eurogroup member states, the article remains relevant, the breathing room actually in place.

Assuming its plan of reforms is accepted by the Eurogroup on Monday, Greece’s Syriza government has gained four months of breathing room — albeit in the same stuffy space, already full of the nauseating fumes of austerity, the window barely cracked.

No one was humiliated in (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Varoufakis Keeps Greece in the Eurozone, by its Fingernails  » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Varoufakis Keeps Greece in the Eurozone, by its Fingernails » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

Mike Whitney

It’s not easy to negotiate with a gun to your head. Nevertheless, that’s the situation Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis found himself in on Friday preceding a crucial meeting with the Eurogroup. According to one report, the objective of the last-ditch confab “was to prepare a consensus text that would be the basis for the discussion” with the EU’s finance ministers. That might sound innocent enough, but it doesn’t come close to explaining the real purpose of the meeting which was far more sinister. Check out this blurb from Costas (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Reading The Greek Deal Correctly

Reading The Greek Deal Correctly. James K. Galbraith

On Friday as news of the Brussels deal came through, Germany claimed victory and it is no surprise that most of the working press bought the claim. They have high authorities to quote and to rely on. Thus from London The Independent reported:

several analysts agreed that the results of the talks amounted to a humiliating defeat for Greece.

No details followed, the analysts were unnamed, and their affiliations went unstated – although further down two were quoted and both work for banks. Many similar examples could be given, from both sides (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: How Greece Got Outmaneuvered – The New Yorker

How Greece Got Outmaneuvered – The New Yorker.

By John Cassidy

To the surprise of nobody except a few alarmists, the finance ministers of the European Union reached a deal with Greece on Friday, extending the country’s existing bailout until the early summer. Greece’s new left-wing Syriza government had been telling everyone for weeks that it wouldn’t agree to extend the bailout, and that it wanted a new loan agreement that freed its hands, which marks the deal as a capitulation by Syriza and a victory for Germany and the rest of the E.U. establishment.

Strictly speaking, though, the (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Greek Bailout Extension Deal Represents a “Significant Retreat” by the European Authorities, CEPR Co-Director Says | Press Releases

Greek Bailout Extension Deal Represents a “Significant Retreat” by the European Authorities, CEPR Co-Director Says | Press Releases.

Washington, D.C.- A deal reached between the Greek government and European authorities represents a “significant retreat” by the so-called troika and “shows that their austerity program, which has failed miserably, is no longer politically enforceable,” Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said today.

Greek government officials reached a deal with European authorities earlier today to allow bailout funds to be extended to Greece for another four months. As The Guardian and other outlets have reported, the (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Greece deal is first step on the road back to austerity | Business | The Guardian

Philip Inman – The Guardian

The rightwing orthodoxy that dominates thinking in Brussels has asserted itself over the hapless Greeks. A deal that allows the eurozone policymakers, the International Monetary Fund and the government of Athens to keep talking next week is the first stage in a clampdown on anti-austerity sentiment.

Eurozone chiefs strike deal to extend Greek bailout for four months

Read more

That much was clear from the statements coming out of Brussels, not least those from Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s veteran finance minister, who indulged himself with some patronising comments to show where the power lies. “Being in (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Is Syriza Retreating? | Jacobin

Is Syriza Retreating? | Jacobin.

Stathis Kouvelakis

To use a worn-out cliché, “the times are critical.” In fact, they are more than just that: we are at the edge of a crucial temporal sequence. The whole endeavor of a Syriza government will be judged by its reaction to the unprecedented blackmail and ultimatums it is receiving from its tragically misnamed European “partners.”

And the news from the frontline is not pleasant. To be sure, it is very difficult to have a clear view of the current status of the negotiations — “negotiations” being a oxymoron given the (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Podcast: Leo Panitch on Syriza and Greece

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/podcast150220-leo-panitch.mp3

 

This week I’ve devoted the entire show to discussing the most recent developments in Greece. While there is a great deal of day-to-day drama at the level of the ongoing negotiations between Greece and European institutions, I wanted to take a broader strategic and political look at what the election of Syriza both for Greece and more broadly for the left around the world, including in Canada. To that end, I’m happy to present an extended conversation with Leo Panitch. Leo is professor of political science at York University, author most recently of (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Syriza Holds Its Ground | Jacobin

Syriza Holds Its Ground | Jacobin.

As the media and the Athens stock market (down 4 percent yesterday) had widely expected, yesterday’s finance ministers’ meeting ended in failure, perhaps even a momentous one.

The tone of the Greek government’s official communiqué, which the whole media were quick to pick up on, was very tough indeed: “‘Certain circles’ insistence that the new Greek government implement the Memorandum is absurd and unreasonable. The implementation of the Memorandum program was not on the table at the summit, and those who try to put it back there are wasting their time.”

(Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: The pro-worker, pro-growth experiment in Greece is under threat | Senator Bernie Sanders | Comment is free | The Guardian

The pro-worker, pro-growth experiment in Greece is under threat | Senator Bernie Sanders | Comment is free | The Guardian.

While the wealthiest 85 individuals on the planet own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population – and when the top 1% will soon own more wealth than the bottom 99% – the people of Greece and the anti-austerity party, Syriza, they elected to lead them are struggling to rebuild their economy so that ordinary people there can live with a shred of dignity and security.

But powerful international interests are putting the pro-growth, pro-worker experiment (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON On Greece once More

LOUIS-PHILIPPE ROCHON

Associate Professor, Laurentian University

Co-editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon

________________________

As I have said before (see here) and will say again: any solution to Greek’s tragedy, which involves keeping the Euro as a currency is a second-best solution, unless the appropriate institutional changes are adopted. Anything short of this will simply maintain the Euro straightjacket and perpetuate the policies of deflation. Austerity has proven a disastrous and unsustainable policy that has revealed the weaknesses of the Euro. Indeed, without political union, the Euro remains an incomplete (and illegitimate) currency, and the sooner it (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Tessa Jowell writes that we need to treat inequality as a disease which can be cured through effective public policy, but the Star points out that the Cons have instead gone out of their way to make it worse. Fair Vote Canada interviews J. Peter Venton about the toxic effect of inequality on our political system. And Sean McElwee notes that in the U.S. at least, the right has managed to turn the middle and working classes against exactly the type of redistribution which best serves their interests.

- Yanis Varoufakis (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jim Stanford highlights the fact that a deficit obsession may have little to do with economic development – and calls out the B.C. Libs for pretending that the former is the same as the latter: I found especially objectionable the article’s uncritical cheerleading for expenditure restraint, praising the government for below-average per capita spending on health care and education, and for welfare rates that are “frozen in time.”  Why are these things assumed to be “good”? To the contrary, the lasting debts that B.C. is accumulating by underinvesting so badly (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: G20 meeting of world finance ministers too little too late

Posted earlier as an opinion piece for CBC. See original post here (this post slightly modified from original)

By Louis-Philippe Rochon

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon

 

Much was at stake earlier this week when finance ministers from G20 countries met in Istanbul to discuss Greece and the state of the world economy in light of recent downgrades in world growth expectations. But did they agree to too little, too late?

There is now no doubt that the world economy, not just Canada’s, has slow downed considerably and will slow down even more unless appropriate policies are adopted soon. To date, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Mariana Mazzucato argues that we need to change our conversation and our policy choices on public investment in Canada’s economy: As in many other countries, the conversation about government and public investment in Canada has for decades distorted and underplayed the role of the state as a crucial agent in shaping and creating markets.

In a country where inequality has grown as the progressive state has been dismantled, I learned that corporate tax rates have been reduced, and generous tax credits given out to promote R&D, all while Canadian corporations hoard (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to end your week.

- Simon Wren-Lewis nicely describes the austerity con (coming soon in extreme form to an Alberta near you): ‘Mediamacro’ is the term I use to describe macroeconomics as it is portrayed in the majority of the media. Mediamacro has a number of general features. It puts much more emphasis than conventional macroeconomics does on the financial markets, and on the views of participants in those markets. It prefers simple stories to more complex analysis. As part of this, it is fond of analogies between governments and individuals, even when those analogies are generally seen (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Elias Isquith interviews Mark Blyth about his book on the disastrous consequences of austerity, while Paul Krugman writes that austerity is particularly sure to cause economic destruction when combined with a push toward consumer deleveraging. And Bruce Campbell looks to Syriza as an example of how people have real political choices – even when parties try to tell them otherwise out of either corporate ideology or fear.

- CBC reports on Generation Squeeze’s study showing the need for greater social spending to support young Canadians.

- But Angella MacEwen is rightly concerned (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Germany faces impossible choice as Greek austerity revolt spreads – Telegraph

Germany faces impossible choice as Greek austerity revolt spreads – Telegraph.

 

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

The political centre across southern Europe is disintegrating. Establishment parties of centre-left and centre-right – La Casta, as they say in Spain – have successively immolated themselves enforcing EMU debt-deflation.

Spain’s neo-Bolivarian Podemos party refuses to fade. It has endured crippling internal rifts. It has shrugged off hostile press coverage over financial ties to Venezuela. Nothing sticks.

The insurrectionists who came from nowhere last year – with Trotskyist roots and more radical views than those of Syriza in Greece – are pulling further ahead in (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Los indignados to Podemos, The Making of a Party

Filed under: Austerity, Europe, Eurozone crisis Tagged: Austerity, Eurozone Crisis, Podemos, Spain

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Both Richard Bilton and Matthew Yglesias discuss Le Monde’s reporting on HSBC’s active participation in widespread tax evasion. And James Bloodworth rightly argues that we should see tax avoidance as socially unacceptable even if governments fail to do their job in ensuring that everybody pays their fair share: Indeed, who wouldn’t want to be tax efficient?

The answer very much depends on what sort of society you want to live in. Were the question phrased more honestly – i.e. bearing some relation to what the consequences of being ‘tax efficient’ are (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON: Greece, Syriza and the Euro

This is a guest blog post from Louis-Philippe Rochon.

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.

What a tumultuous few weeks we witnessed in Greece. Though the victory of Syriza was ill-received in particular in Germany and the European Central Bank, it was nonetheless a resounding victory for democracy. This victory may now spill into other countries and give much credence in particular to the Spanish Podemos party.

Moreover, recent German threats to throw Greece out of the Euro zone only further masks what is increasingly becoming evident: the Euro is a flawed and poorly designed institution that condemns Europe and (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis Head to Head with German Counterpart Wolfgang Schauble

Filed under: Austerity, Eurozone crisis Tagged: Eurozone Crisis, Germany, Greece, Syriza

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Scott Santens links the themes of health and equality by suggesting that we treat a basic income as a needed vaccine against poverty and all its ill effects.

- Erika Eichelberger and Dave Gilson highlight how U.S. corporations are siphoning money offshore to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. And Kate Aronoff warns us that the mindless extraction of profits is producing environmental and financial crises alike: Between debt and our slowly roasting planet, we’ll be lucky to walk away from the next 25 years with just one crisis. There (Read more…)