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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
We Are All Greeks Now

Greece, the US and the Neo-Liberal Coup

by ROB URIE

Since the onset of economic calamity in the West beginning around 2007 ‘official’ response has been framed as modest successes with a few policy errors while the reality is of remote elites and their agents enacting punitive policies under the guise of material economic constraints. In this context the election of Alexis Tsipras and Syriza in Greece appears a radical left turn while the actual economic proposals under discussion appear to be the middle-of-the-road textbook economics that preceded the neo-liberal coup of the 1970s in the U.S. And while Mr. Tsipras has greater understanding of this economics and strategies of economic resolution than do the European and American leadership classes, the levers of resolution remain firmly with this (mis)leadership.

Put differently, the economic suffering of so many is largely gratuitous, economic predation carried out under the pretense of material constraints. As with Argentina in the early 2000s, Greece has an ‘internal’ kleptocracy with ‘external’ alliance to international bankers through the economic lever of external debt. While the U.S. leadership could have conjured the funds ‘out of thin air’ to put the unemployed in the U.S. to work and chose not to, Greece’s membership in the E.U. precludes this potential solution. As was largely the case with the mortgage relief and Federal Reserve asset buying programs in the U.S., subsequent European loans to Greece went to rebuild European bank coffers on the backs of the Greek people.

uriegreece1

Graph (1) above: as of December, 2014 over six million potential workers in the U.S., people who want to work but have given up looking because of the weak job market, are estimated to exist. The Economic Policy Institute compared baseline estimates of job market growth to actual growth and the missing six million workers are the difference. Because this method already took into account expected retirees and others likely to exit the job market the state of the economy is mainly left to explain the missing workers. As FDR showed with the New Deal work programs in the 1930s, the U.S. government can create jobs for these people if the U.S. (mis)leadership cared to. Much as with the predominant German view of Greece, the view among American elites is that the unemployed simply lack the motivation to find work. Units are missing workers. Source: EPI.

The rise of Syriza in Greece is a welcomed development if Mr. Tsipras and his colleagues understand what they are up against and act accordingly. Whether the commitment to stay with the E.U. project is sincere or tactical, the currency union precludes much constructive action other than internal reorganization of the Greek economy. Internal reorganization, reigning...

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