Recent items of interest

July 19, 2015

I recently wrote an article about Ordoliberal theory, the way that it has come to dominate economic policy making in the eurozone and the implications that that has for Europe. Now we have it straight from the horses mouth. Here is a an interview with Donald Tusk, the European Council president, in the Financial Times. He has this to say:

“If I look for something inspiring when it comes to the economy, I am ready to look towards something wise and responsible in different sources than this kind of debate. For me, maybe the best school of thinking is the so-called “ordoliberals” in Germany, in this critical time after the Second World War. Very pragmatic, no ideology, no illusions. Books and also practical politics from [Ludwig] Erhard, [Walter] Eucken, [Wilhelm] Röpke. This, for me, is the source of thoughts that can be very useful for today. Wilhelm Röpke thought – and I think it’s very relevant here today – we have too much Rousseau and Voltaire and not enough Montesquieu.”


Shortly before his resignation Yannis Varoufakis spoke at the Hans-Boeckler foundation on the crisis of the eurozone. In the Q&A at the end he responded to a conservative German MP’s question with an answer which very clearly outlines the key issues of the Greek crisis in the context of the European project.


The full video of Varoufakis’s presentation during the Panel session “Greece’s future in the EU” in Berlin is here.


Harpers has an article by James K. Galbraith entitled “Greece, Europe, and the United States”. It makes a persuasive case that progressives in Europe should now be opposed to the single currency project and that they should seek its break up.

On the current political situation inside the eurozone Galbraith has this to say:

“There is an eastern bloc, led by Finland, which is right-wing and ultra hard line. There is a model-prisoner group—Spain, Ireland, and Portugal—which is faced with Podemos and Sinn Fein at home and cannot admit that austerity hasn’t worked. There is a soft pair, France and Italy, which would like to dampen the threats from Marine Le Pen and Beppe Grillo. And there is Germany, which, it is now clear, cannot accept debt relief inside the euro zone, because such relief would allow other countries in trouble to make similar demands. Europe’s largest creditor would then face a colossal write-off, and the Germans would face the stunning realization that the vast debts built up to finance their exports over the past fifteen years will never be repaid.”

And on the future strategy of left reformists inside the eurozone Galbraith has this to say:

“What will become of Europe? Clearly the hopes of the pro-European, reformist left are now over. That will leave the future in the hands of the anti-European parties, including UKIP, the National Front in France, and Golden Dawn in Greece. These are ugly, racist, xenophobic groups; Golden Dawn has proposed concentration camps for immigrants in its platform. The only counter, now, is for progressive and democratic forces to regroup behind the banner of national democratic restoration. Which means that the left in Europe will also now swing against the euro.”

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