Should the completion of the Single Market be Europe’s top priority now? Watch the video of the 90-minute debate

Last week Intelligence Squared, Google and Youtube, with the support of the European Commission, organised a televised debate on the future of Europe using their standard debate format. The statement that was put to the audience was:

Europe, wake up! We will only return to growth and prosperity if we complete the Single Market

A panel of two ‘experts’ supported the proposition and another comprised two other ‘experts’ presented the argument against. In the process, they called upon ‘witnesses’ to testify one way or another. I was one of these ‘witnesses’.

Click here for the full 90-minute debate. If you want to jump to my main ‘testimony’, go directly to the 47th minute  – where I begin stating my argument that the roots of the Euro Crisis lie in the ill-conceived notion of a single market.


  • Yianis firstly thank you for your spirited presentation on Monday night here in Melbourne. Secondly you have strongly advocated a more forceful recapitalisation of European Banks. That being said, how do see this proposal possibly being implimented in light of Basel 3?

  • No thanks , lets go back before 1648 shall we.
    I want Kings to make goverment money base money again.
    I want the banks cast out of all goverment halls
    I want pure fiat.
    The EU is a market state monster , even worse then the nation state model.

  • What a strange bunch of people.
    They are like robots , Euro robots.

    Yanis , you want to buy us – I want nothing to do with a flipping banking union.
    My country once knew what a false cromwellian truely is – like in the old nation state years they will strip the edge and focus money and wealth to the centre.

    PS – that interveiwer is the most ignorant little bitch I have ever heard….she either knows nothing or too much.
    The EU wishes to destroy Europe and it will.

  • A new Cromwellian republic laying waste to what they see as wastelands.

    What a monster this Soviet is.

    At least they left Cuba alone to get on with its own business.

    But this market state monster wants us to buy their goods when we have no capital.

    Ray Crotty was so right.

  • The problem is not the ill conceived notion of a single market; it is the total lack of understanding of the nature of a true free market. A true free market comprises many different markets; but all working to the rules of a true free market.

    What is wrong IS the idea of a SINGLE market. That notion immediately precludes any form of competition….

    • Chris, I agree 100%, its unfortunate that common sense is in the minority due to unrelenting propaganda

    • How about we have a society without state intervention either? I can rob your house and you cant call the police or put me in jail.Sounds good doesnt it? If you think you are Tarzan then go to the jungle.

    • Crossover – “How about we have a society without state intervention either? I can rob your house and you cant call the police or put me in jail.Sounds good doesn’t it? If you think you are Tarzan then go to the jungle.” – Please get your facts straight. The judicial system is separate the from the legislative. In short, the “state” does not get involved in legal judgments, at least it should not. Anyway, getting passed that.

      “I can rob your house and you cant call the police or put me in jail.Sounds good doesn’t it?” If that is what he wants and what you want, what is the problem?

      “If you think you are Tarzan then go to the jungle” – But you seem to not be willing to let him go……

    • I have no problem with having police. I have a problem with a government that robs some people in order to redistribute their money in order to get elected again.

      Governments have learned that there is a limit on how much they can rob via taxes, so they use government debt plus inflation as a second measure.

      It is still robbery

    • Pedro – And the Euro has exposed the theft of inflation in countries like Greece

    • @Richard

      Im not going to argue with you (AGAIN) over semantics this time.You and him are dreaming of an economy where no authority either dependent or independent from the government will be able to intervene.Thats the equivalent of the jungle and the infamous law of the jungle.
      Thus: “But you seem to not be willing to let him go……” No sir, if he wants to live in the jungle he is free to do so, but he shouldnt demand or expect others to follow.You can join him though.

    • Crossover – Your not grasping the concept “You and him are dreaming of an economy where no authority either dependent or independent from the government ” – NO, that is what you are saying, not me. There is a place for government, just much smaller (my opinion, not sure if it is Pedro’s).

      “Thats the equivalent of the jungle and the infamous law of the jungle. ” – Law of the jungle is your terminology not mine. I believe the current criminal laws are fundamentally sound.

      “but he shouldn’t demand or expect others to follow.” – If I can speak on my behalf, I am not expecting you to do anything it is you with the expectations of other people.

  • Now, having watched the full debate it becomes very clear indeed that there is one vital aspect not recognised; everyone participating in the Google debate clearly is, relatively, prosperous. Thus the debate always stems from an aspect of general prosperity. Now, I agree, that sounds odd; but that is how this debate seems to me from the quite different aspect of being poor. Not something one ever wants to talk about either. You see, I am a classic British inventor. We do not have ANY access to a mechanism to enable the capitalisation of our original thoughts into job creation. The result is we are poor as we carry the full costs of invention while at one and the same time; there is no mechanism to provide income. There is no “Job” called “Inventor”. We subsist entirely on our wits and handouts from friends.

    I can tell you; that is not an easy place to be. Perhaps humiliating is the best description.

    Turning to the debate, the one phrase that stood out to me was from Yanis where towards the end he said:

    “………… maintenance of social life”.

    Europe is no different to any other of the major Western economies where, IMHO, all the internal problems stem from the same cause; to be able to maintain a social life requires prosperity. Even leaving ones home to meet with friends requires the prosperity to be able to interact with them; cost of travel to a club or bar, membership of the club, buy a pint at the bar, offer a meal ….. let alone travel to other countries to give a talk on your subject ….all these simple things that many take for granted are particularly impossible if you are poor.

    The only way to become prosperous is to have access to income from either employment or from being the creator of such employment. But, if you are the job creator, then the one thing you must have access to, is the underlying capital to enable the creation of the employment of others surrounding you. You have to be able to capitalise the invention to enable the creation of the jobs that in turn again; ……. enable the poor to ….. maintain a social life.

    The underlying problem is; the entire Western economic model does NOT have ANY functioning mechanism to capitalise the creation of free enterprise jobs.

    If, as I said at the start, you are blessed with a functioning job, then you have access to prosperity and the underlying problem is simply not on your horizon; with the very greatest of respects; you will not see it. The people that can see it are those of us that have no mechanism, (other than through repeatedly presenting our viewpoint on the likes of this web site), to get across the utter importance of this missing function; the lack of a funding mechanism to enable the capitalisation of jobs.

    Until there is a general recognition of the importance of this missing function; any such debate will fail to get at the heart of the overall problem; a desperate lack of new job creation.

    As an individual private inventor; I am expected to create a river of jobs in a financial desert; by pouring my drinking water onto the sand.

    That is simply an impossible errand.

    • @Chris
      A British boffin !!!!
      I thought yee guys became extinct a while back – a series of unfortunate events – with the big bang of 86 the final debt blow.

    • For the record, I am not a “Boffin”. I left school with 3 “O” Levels, Woodwork, (for which I won the school prize), Technical Drawing, (for which I was told I received a 100% mark),, and Art. Everything else is self taught; my high point being given a Common Room Pass for the University of Southampton in the 1980’s.

      Dork of Cork, if I may be so bold, you should follow my example and have the courage to address the rest of the planet under your real name; you will discover yourself as a part of a VERY special group…….. 🙂

    • Call me Frank if you wish but I prefer the Cork Dork thingy.

      Who said you need a offical pass to become a British Boffin ?

      In a war you would be probally drafted into offical boffin culture.

      For now yee guys remain on the edge of something.

  • [N.B. For the benefit of those who will be, or have already watched this excellent discussion, it must be said (as I haven’t seen it spelled out clearly in the post, or in the video), that the topic of a “single market” refers to the new pet project of Brussels. Start at

    and go through the FAQs for more.]

    It is very encouraging and uplifting to watch people really talking about European issues (with disagreements and all), in a manner completely unlike the drab, hypocritical discussion of these issues by national and EU politicians (as reported by the press).

    Yet, as I was watching this debate, a question kept popping into my mind:
    “What percentage of the European population, or of–my country’s–Greece’s population for that matter, is actually able to follow this debate (in the sense of comprehending the arguments raised, being aware of the discussion’s context etc).

    I do not have data, but I am worried that the answer is likely “very small”. And that is the crux of the problem: even if there is agreement among the European elites on a comprehensive plan for restoring Europe, how is that going to be sold to the broader European public, whose mind has been polluted by 3 years of rhetoric about pigs, grasshoppers-and-ants, punishment for profligate nations, austerity-as-rescue, etc?

    I have a bad feeling about this…

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  • Dear Yanis,

    You say that banks oppose the idea of a banking union because they want to protect their cosy relationship with their national supervisors. I put it to you that the matter is more complex than this.

    Please see this statement:

    Association of German Banks welcomes plans for European banking supervision

    Please compare it with this other one from the German association of savings banks radically opposing the banking union:

    As you can see the big German commercial banks are in favour while the public German banks are the ones against and use the same arguments as those of the German finance minister.

    The reason is that it suits big commercial banks just fine to have a supranational supervisor and support system that matches their large cross-border interests whereas savings banks that operate locally have nothing to gain from sharing their contributions to their national deposit guarantee schemes with banks in 16 other foreign countries. They are also likely to be more protected from local politicians within a national supervisory framework than if they have to rely on foreign supervisors who will not give the same weight to their importance for the local economy in which they operate.

    I have not seen a single statement from the European Banking Federation nor the IIF saying they oppose the banking union (not even criticising it) or a single European Supervisor.

    • Yanis wants to break up a 400~ year nation state model , I have no problem with that.
      But lets not create a 9th circle of banking hell shall we…..
      Divorce banks from state fiat and let them share a private currency in Europe if the devils wish.
      But this idea of free floating banks with the ability to produce credit of the Euro relam without any political control is the darkest Idea I have ever heard
      Have we learned anything from this free banking crisis with our supposed protectors of money – the central banks at the heart of this extraction entropy economics.
      No goverment fiat needs to become base money again and as it is almost impossible to stop banks producing private credit fiat
      state units of account needs to divorce itself from the banks and thus
      their direct control & subsidy for malinvestment schemes.

      Fat chance this side of the dark ages though

  • After all markets are only parts of societies, the extent of the influence of which depends on the economic model being followed at the time.

    Now, as Europe is getting poorer, the markets demand the share of lion from the society.

    Complete the single market with destroyed education, healthcare etc?

    Isn’t Africa a free market zone?

  • Yanis I want to say this while it’s stil fresh and urgent in me. I don’t need public acknowledgement on this but I hope you will ponder it seriously… When you spoke of systemic coherence and that that was the key to any kind of longevity for a Union of countries towards a common future(very clearly I might add). The English diplomat immeadiately basicaly rebutted ” oh of course thats not the ONLY thing that needs to happen” (ie. finish the Single market). So he in effect saw things on a linear basis (this, then this, then this etc.) this is no accident because these people have no sense of holistic thought process. Everything for them is pure power relations(look now how Straus Khan sees his picadilos as a victim of a moral crusade against him) and the word relations I’m using is too kind for what it really means. They are the ultimate cynics on human behaviour and if they think conflict will serve this power relations dynamic (the sesation of conflict served this dynamic and that is part a big part of why there was no conflict for so long) then they will engage once again after seventy years in conflict. That’s it.