As the simmering crisis between Greece and the institutions formerly known as the Troika heats up again, it’s a good time to look once more at the roots of the European crisis and what they mean for the possibilities open before Syriza at the present juncture. Greece is being squeezed by Europe: it’s cash is about to run out, they’ve been limited from raising new funds on bond markets and are being asked for ever greater concessions in terms of the reforms. Indeed, the red lines for compromise are right under Syriza’s feet and it’s (Read more…)
Le Monde reminds all of us why Syrzia matters not just in Greece, but across Europe and even on our side of the North Atlantic.
The Greeks don’t need to have the meaning of the word “democracy” explained to them. Even so, they have been given countless lectures since voting in a leftwing government determined to end the austerity policies that have made their lives a misery for six years. The schoolmasterly reprimands have come from people who know what they are talking about: they are people who imposed treaties their electorates had voted against and reneged on campaign promises (Read more…)
Very interesting interview with Syriza MP and SOAS Professor of Political Economy Costas Lapavitsas.
Greece: Phase Two | Jacobin.
Much — too much — has been written in a journalistic, superficial vein about Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and last month’s negotiations with the European Union. But now that the lines have hardened and are clearer for us all to see, a new situation has opened up.
The scenario of Greece leaving the eurozone (“Grexit”) is more frequently and explicitly posed as the only way that Syriza’s government can avoid backtracking on its campaign promises.
To discuss this question (Read more…)
Associate Professor of Economics, Université de Grenoble (France)
Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University (Canada)
Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics
The final agreement between Greece and the Eurogroup is a disappointment for anyone who held high hopes that Greece would have taken away more than a mere extension to the existing deal.
In the end, Greece gained very little and the continued austerity will do very little to close the growth gap. It is difficult to see anything short of a total capitulation. Perhaps the view Greece could walk out with a victory was (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Janine Berg writes about the need for strong public policy to counter the trend of growing inequality. And Gillian White traces the ever-increasing divergence between worker productivity and wages in an interview with Jan Rivkin: White: Some say that the decrease of collective bargaining has played a role in creating the gap, how true do you think that is?
Rivkin: There are a number of causes, one is the underlying shift in technology and globalization. Another is systematic underinvestment in the commons, which is a set of shared resources that every business needs (Read more…)
Filed under: Austerity Tagged: Austerity, Eurozone Crisis, Greece, neoliberalism
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…)
Varoufakis Keeps Greece in the Eurozone, by its Fingernails » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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
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…)
Is Syriza Retreating? | Jacobin.
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…)
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…)
For sale? Owner must sell …
Right now a battle of Homeric proportions is being waged for the future soul of the European Union.
On one side are the Teutonic bookkeepers of the EU, led by Merkel of Germany and Cameron of Britain. On the other side is the tiny, profligate, bankrupt state of Greece, the home of Western civilization. Caught in the middle are the other EU states, with the citizens of most of them not too sure that tightening the screws on Greece with renewed – or continued – austerity steps is the wisest thing to do. Siding with (Read more…)
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.”
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…)
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…)
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…)
I’m starting to cautiously think that the Varoufakis and Lapavitsas “approaches” to the crisis might end up not too far away from each other even though the strategic direction they have advocated is very different. The situation, especially after today’s hardening of the creditors’ stance at the Eurogroup, may simply force it. The other option is that this is the intense posturing phase just before a bridging agreement, in which case the following would cease to apply. Like Paul Krugman, however, I’m inclined to think that the EU is serious in possibly forcing a crisis — with creditors and (Read more…)
The chairperson of the Council of Canadians has asked the new Syriza government in Greece to reject the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
The post Council of Canadians’ Maude Barlow asks new Greece government to reject CETA appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
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…)