Creating radically democratic solutions to the financial abduction of Europe | openDemocracy.
LOTTA TENHUNEN and ADRIÀ RODRIGUEZ 6 March 2014
Last weekend we participated in the European meeting and seminar The New Abduction of Europe -– Debt, War and Democratic Revolutions in Madrid. The meeting, organized by Fundacion de los Comunes in the framework of the network of museums L’Internationale, took place in Museo Reina Sofía and other spaces close by.
The meeting continued the process of putting in common, imagining further and translating into practice, in the form of easily replicable tools and strategies, the radically democratic solutions (Read more…)
Two very different provincial governments tabled their budgets this week. The freshly-elected BC Liberals and the seemingly election-ready Parti Quebecois both delivered what they termed “responsible” budgets. While the two governments identify with opposing ends of the political spectrum and face distinct political climates, these differences did not prevent their budgets from displaying some eerie similarities. Since these budgets tell the same stories, they are laying the ground for a common response.
Although the BC and Quebec economies are often regarded as moving in opposite directions, their economic performance in the five years since the financial crisis has been quite (Read more…)
Filed under: Austerity, Greece, inequality, Neoliberalism Tagged: Austerity, crisis, Greece, neoliberalism
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Mark Taliano discusses how corporatocracy is replacing democracy in Canada, while Jaisal Noor talks to John Weeks about the similar trend in the U.S. And DownWithTyranny reminds us how corporations came to be – and how radical a difference there is between entities which were granted limited liability only in exchange for their pursuit of public goods, and the present model in which liability shields instead serve as cover for antisocial behaviour.
- Meanwhile, Frank Graves confirms that the Cons’ goals of public austerity and enrichment of the wealthy couldn’t be (Read more…)
This and that for your mid-week reading.
- Erin Weir posts the statement of a 70-strong (and growing) list of Canadian economists opposed to austerity. Heather Mallick frames the latest Con budget as yet another example of their using personal cruelty as a governing philosophy, while the Star’s editorial board goes into detail about the dangers of yet another round of politically-motivated attacks on environmental and public interest charities.
- Meanwhile, Frances Russell slams the Cons’ efforts to rig the 2015 election. And Jordon Cooper discusses how voting is already too difficult for marginalized people without the Cons going out (Read more…)
Yesterday’s federal budget was a non-event. Indeed, the no-surprises budget was itself no surprise: the Conservatives have long done their fiscal policy dirty work in omnibus bills and other dark corners scattered throughout the legislature, Crown corporations and federal agencies. This leaves the media circus of budget day a very stereotypically Canadian mix of polite and boring. Canada’s is a slow-motion austerity and the current budget is a continuation.
To be sure, there were big-ticket announcements: a few bridges for cities, some internet for rural areas, internships for the young, factories for auto makers… The government, after all, still does (Read more…)
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Jo Snyder discusses how poverty makes everybody less healthy, and recognizes the need for higher basic wages as a result. And Laurie Penny highlights the futility of trying to badger young adults into service jobs which offer no opportunity for personal, professional or financial progress: The British government, like many others, is no longer even pretending to care about how or if the next generation gets to thrive. It is demonstrably content to sacrifice its young. That quality is not just spiteful; it is a recipe for social and cultural self-annihilation.
What (Read more…)
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Austerity, crisis, Europe, unemployment
Several weeks ago, I published a series of blog posts on profitability and investment in Canada since the financial crisis of 2007-8. These were republished as a single long article on Socialist Project and given the title, “Canada’s Profitability and Stagnation Puzzle”. Since them, Sam Gindin has published a reply to my piece, “Puzzle or Misreading? Stagnation, Austerity and Left Politics”. Gindin challenges me on a number of fronts, most generally for misreading the current predicament in terms of a static formula that treats all capitalist crises ahistorically. This critique has ramifications for how Gindin sees not only my (Read more…)
Puzzle or Misreading? Stagnation, Austerity and Left Politics | The Bullet No. 920.
That the many attempts to theorize the crisis of 2008, the deepest crisis since the Depression, have at best been inconclusive should not be all that surprising. After all, as Michael Bernstein noted in the late 1980s, a half-century after the Great Depression there was not yet any general agreement on the causes of that economic collapse. Another quarter century later, such a consensus over that long passed crisis has still not emerged. Yet if we on the left want to assess the likely outcome of the (Read more…)
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Austerity, Capitalism, crisis, finance
Came across this RT interview recently. It was recorded earlier this year and features host Oksana Boyko with President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. Grimsson served as a representative the left-wing People’s Alliance in Reykjavik and was finance minister from 1988-1991. More on his background – here.
The description accompanying the video says in part: As Iceland’s banking system went into meltdown at the start of the global financial crisis, it came under enormous pressure from the rest of Europe to accept crippling austerity measures that would have burdened its people for generations to come. And yet the tiny island (Read more…)
Americanized Labor Policy Is Spreading in Europe – NYTimes.com.
While most of the debate over Europe’s response to the financial crisis has focused on the budget austerity enveloping the Continent, the comparatively unheralded erosion of worker protection is likely to have at least as big and lasting an impact on Europe’s social contract.
Filed under: Austerity, Europe, Exploitation, Labour, Neoliberalism Tagged: Collective bargaining, European Union, Labour law, labour relations
This is the third and final post in what has become a three-part series on the puzzle of high profitability and low investment in the Canadian economy. In the first part, I looked at some data that shows the existence of the puzzle and explored a few of the factors that could be behind it. The follow-up post outlined broadly Keynesian and Marxian solutions aimed at raising investment: the former based on stimulating demand, the latter on eliminating overcapacity and increasing the relative profitability of productive capital. Here, I want to continue the thoughts that concluded the second part, (Read more…)
The Council of Europe Commission for Human Rights has published a report documenting the various ways in which austerity is negatively impacting on human rights across Europe. I have copied the summary of the report below:
Europeans are living through the deepest economic recession since the Second World War. What began as a meltdown of the global financial systemin 2008 has been transformed into a new political reality of austerity which threatens over six decades of social solidarity and expanding human rightsprotection across Council of Europe member states. The initial government responses to the economic crisis were characterised by unprecedented (Read more…)
People at risk of poverty or social exclusion – Statistics Explained.
A recent Eurostat report has reported the following, disturbing figure in Europe:
In 2012, 124.5 million people, or 24.8 % (Figure 1) of the population, in the EU-28 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE), compared with 24.3 % in 2011.
This data only accounts for 2012, so it does not take into account the recent drop in unemployment figures in the US and the UK. However, given the trend of low wage labour that is proliferating in the context of the current crisis ( (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- David Simon laments the division of the U.S. into the few who are rewarded by market forces and the many who are constantly under siege – while also pointing out that concentration of wealth may prevent democratic forces from offering a counterweight: The idea that the market will solve such things as environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, our problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after the other when that economy is changing; the idea that the market is going to heed (Read more…)
Check out @chakrabortty’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/chakrabortty/status/409810696763760640
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Austerity, Conservatism, neoliberalism
Somebody suggested that the CBC would be a far more interesting place if the Lang-O’Leary Exchange morphed into the Lang-Jimbo Reality Show. Now that’s a CBC we might be inclined to fight a little harder to protect. There are not … Continue reading →
Buried in the federal government’s recent Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections are figures showing the Harper government is set to squeeze federal government’s role to the smallest it has been in seventy years. (Bill Curry at the Globe also just wrote about this, but without figures further back than 1958).
Total federal government spending as a share of the economy is projected to drop to a 14% share of the economy by 2018/19. This would be the lowest since at least 1948. Because the government has tied the federal public service up in knots, actual spending will likely (Read more…)
Happier days for the populist right
Well, it was indeed a circus at city hall yesterday. I wasn’t able to attend the performance live but did have the pleasure of watching some of it unfold via the miracle of the interwebs. Those Ford brothers sure know how to do a great imitation of The Sopranos – belligerent, bullying, pulling faces like a couple of 12-year old school yard pricks. Better
Ponzi Austerity: A Definition And An Example – Social Europe Journal.
For a while now I have been arguing that Europe’s policies for reducing the public debts of fiscally stressed member-states can be described as a Ponzi austerity scheme. In this post I attempt precisely to define ‘Ponzi austerity’.
Standard Ponzi schemes are based on a sleight of hand that creates the appearance of a fund whose value grows faster than the value that has come into it. In reality the opposite is true, as the scheme’s operator usually helps himself to some of the incoming capital while (Read more…)
Everyone’s clamouring for Ford to resign: he lied, he smoked crack, he was wasted on the job, the city needs a competent administration. Balls, I say. I’ve seen competent administrations and I can say for certain in the present climate that a “competent administration” will focus its attention on further austerity and attacking those who resist austerity. Need I remind that the entire left wing
Crash! A brief history of modern global capitalism – audio slideshow | Comment is free | theguardian.com.
An amazing slideshow of a century of capitalist development and economic crisis narrated by one of my former professors, Leo Panitch, author of The Making of Global Capitalism.
Filed under: Capitalism Tagged: Austerity, Capitalism, crisis, neoliberalism