ENDGAME: Europe’s time is up

, 24/05/2011

“If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche’s infamous dictum has never had more purchase than in the current phase of the  eurozone crisis. European leaders have been gazing for more than a year into the abyss of our continent’s triple crisis (banking crisis, debt crisis and […]

What is Mr Trichet on about? Denial versus a centrally planned debt conversion

, 23/05/2011

The ECB’s President has taken it upon himself to lead a ferocious campaign against the restructuring of the Greek debt. His resolute and singleminded opposition seems increasingly odd when projected against the background of a Greek sovereign debt whose dynamic is indisputably explosive. Is Mr Trichet simply a man in denial?

Ring-fenced Greece: The evolution of a false promise first to an incredible threat and, then, to a dangerous delusion

, 19/05/2011

It all started with a false promise: The Greek ‘bailout’ (i.e. a combination of a gargantuan, expensive loan and severe austerity) would contain the Greek debt mountain and would, in association with the establishment of the EFSF a few days later, ring-fence Greece thus preventing the crisis from spreading to Ireland and the Iberian peninsula.

On the Political Economics of Dominic Strauss Kahn's Political Death

, 16/05/2011

This post is about the economic and political significance of Dominic Strauss Kahn’s (DSK hereafter) arrest. It will say nothing about the merits or otherwise of the charges against Dominic Strauss Kahn, the IMF’s Managing Director. All cases of alleged sexual assault brought against high profile men place two equally important  (yet often counter-opposed) demands […]

Clutching at straws: Europe's never-ending delusion feeds on Greece's unexpected 'growth'

, 14/05/2011

Did you hear the latest? Greece’s economy grew by 0.8% in the first quarter of 2011. This is, surely, good news. Except that, in fact, the Greek economy shrank by 4.6% in the first quarter of 2011.

Recent developments and the Modest Proposal: Interview with ForexStreet (Barcelona)

, 12/05/2011

Click here to go to the ForexStreet site, or read the interview below:

EXITING THE EURO? Mark Weisbrot, Hans Werner Sinn and Nuriel Roubini versus the eurozone’s Eagles’ Doctrine

, 11/05/2011

Thankfully, last Friday’s Der Spiegel article (as I had imagined it would [1]) opened a Pandora’s box of views on the state of the eurozone. Why thankfully? Because, until now, Europe has been living in denial, imagining that the crisis could be dealt with by a mix of expensive loans, deep austerity and tighter fiscal […]

Still optimistic…

, 10/05/2011

Last Friday, after Der Spiegel published a story that “Athens is considering withdrawing from the euro zone” I posted an article in which I chose to be optimistic; to see a gleaming silver lining in the fact that an otherwise upright German publication, with known connections to the German political system, published an inaccurate account that, […]

We are all Greek now!

, 09/05/2011

The Friday comico-tragic meeting (that was thrice denied before it was confirmed) in Luxemburg was a first, tentative move to an eye-glaring reality: We are all in it together folks. Whether we like or not (and many certainly do not), we sink or float in unison. Presently, we are sinking. That was the main, helpful, […]

On the true agenda behind Der Spiegel's story that Greece is thinking of exiting the euro

, 07/05/2011

The Spiegel story that “Athens is considering withdrawing from the euro zone” is not exactly false – just economical with the truth. Yes, a few weeks or months ago, the Greek government commissioned (as it ought to) several secret studies of the repercussions of various scenaria involving different forms of debt restructure, including one desperate scenario […]

The economists' instrumental rationality and Osama Bin Laden's final triumph

, 05/05/2011

In a recent post I argued that Bin Laden’s final act, being killed by US special forces, will prove the greatest legitimiser of his own brutality. Today I want to add another wrinkle to this point: A firm connection between the economists’ mindframe and bin Laden’s posthumous success.


, 03/05/2011

A new rationale for the ‘Modest Proposal (*)’  – based on an a supportive letter I received from George Krimpas, Emeritus Professor at the University of Athens.  (*) by myself and Stuart Holland

Lest we forget: Justice's ignominious defeat in the shape of Bin Laden's bullet ridden body

, 02/05/2011

A superpower gloating over the body of an extra-judicially killed killer. The powerful sovereign extending its power to a far away land to put to the sword a ruthless opponent. Not even a whisper about the demands of jurisprudence that ought to be universal and independent of the hideousness of the defendant. The postmodern middle […]

Greek debt restructuring and the reason Germany's banks are delaying it

, 26/04/2011

Why is the inevitable Greek sovereign restructure being delayed? Who is playing King Canute? The German banks, is the three word answer. Why do they care? Is it because they are so terribly exposed to Greek sovereign debt. No, that is not it. All up, German banks are owed around €20 billion by the Greek […]

From Places Like Mine and Yours

, 23/04/2011

ON THE PROGRESSIVE POTENTIAL OF SMALL, QUASI-AUTONOMOUS  STATES LIKE SCOTLAND, IRELAND, GREECE, PORTUGAL etc.  The strong Scottish accent was conspiring with the noisy pub background to prevent me from understanding the words spoken in my ear by an imposing trades union figure. Thankfully, I managed to decipher the words he spoke, and which I still […]

A year ago, Greece asked to be 'bailed out'. The writing was on the wall…

, 21/04/2011

Having just been interviewed on BBC Radio 4 on the anniversary of Greece’ request for the 110 billion euro loan from the EU-IMF, I  thought I should look at what I had said last year this time when asked, by the same station, to comment on that loan request. Believe me when I say that […]

And what about Greece? Is the Greek crisis quite separate from that of the rest of the eurozone? A meltdown of our own making?

, 17/04/2011

Regular commentator Jerry Goldstein sent me a comment on yesterady’s post, the one entitled It’s the (German) Banks, stupid! His main point is that, whatever Europe does to sort out its mess (regarding public debt and banking troubles), Greece finds itself in a different ball game. The country, Jerry, argues is in a state of […]

It's the (German) banks, stupid!

, 16/04/2011

Or what’s behind Germany’s hesitant statements on Greek debt restructuring, Ireland’s move against subordinated bondholders and the ECB’s stance on interest rates

The Trouble with Humans: Why is labour special and especially targeted at a time of crisis- Part B

, 13/04/2011

Continuing on the theme of two days ago, in today’s post I delve a little more deeply into the astonishing peculiarity of the labour contract: the contract between employer and employee. Readers who have not read the earlier post (click here) may find it hard to follow. Hope you enjoy. (The text below is based […]

For whom the bells toll: Why the foretold Greek debt restructure will bring Spain into the mire which will, in turn, boost Ireland’s pain

, 12/04/2011

Despite angry denials, the trajectory that started in Greece is heading for Madrid and carries the cumulative weight of sovereign and banking insolvency that will further immiserate Ireland.

The Trouble with Humans: Why is labour special and especially targeted at a time of crisis- Part A

, 09/04/2011

In an earlier post I argued that we need to examine carefully how labour is turned into a ritualistic scapegoat in response to an economic crisis that has nothing whatsoever to do with high wages and over-generous conditions. Today I begin a series of posts that try to shed light on the deeper causes; on […]

Socrates drank the conium – but the convulsions will be felt everywhere

, 08/04/2011

In the Theatre of the Absurd the playwright utilises the bizarre, an element of   surprise, copious vagueness and frequent non-sequiturs, blended in with dramatic shifts in mood and some great confrontations, in order to throw helpful light on our commonplace, ordinary lives. In contrast, Europe is writing a different script. One that I tend to […]

Scapegoating labour: A favourite pastime during a downturn

, 06/04/2011

Crises are the opportunists’ delight. Recall how a few minutes after the second airplane struck the World Trade Centre, a New Labour spin doctor sent a memo around encouraging various government departments to bring out ‘bad news’ stories, hoping that the fallout from New York would hide them from public view long enough to defuse […]

The Empire is Striking Back, gross failure continues to be handsomely rewarded, and the world economy struggles to find its footing without the Global Minotaur.

, 03/04/2011

That the Empire has struck back there is no doubt. Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd C. Blankfein just rewarded himself with $19 million bonus  for 2010: the year during which he appeared in front of a Senate Committee, a court , an SEC investigation revealing in full technicolor the great variety in which GS broke the law, manipulated […]

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