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Archives by Tag 'austerity'
Europe’s Economic Maginot Line
DEAN BAKER
In the build-up to World War II, the French military created the Maginot Line. This barrier, which utilized state of the art military defenses, was intended to defend France from a ferocious assault by Hitler’s armies. When the attack ultimately came, the Germans made q...
Spain Fights Austerity
PETER GELDERLOOS
With a deepening crisis and aggressive austerity measures, the people in Spain have reasons aplenty to rebel. First a socialist and now a conservative government have slashed retirement, unemployment, and severance benefits, made all labor contracts effectively precarious...
Sacking Sarkozy Won’t Be Enough
SERGE HALIMI
Will the French elect a different president, but leave unresolved all the issues raised in the election of 2007? The French would welcome a change of government: because, apart from President Sarkozy’s egregious shortcomings — his ubiquity, his exhibitionism, his endl...
The Real Agenda Behind Paul Ryan’s Deficit-Slashing Mania
DEAN BAKER
If you want to see House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan sanctimoniously excuse himself and his friends for missing the most predictable economic crisis in the history of the world, you now have the opportunity: In a ...
Ireland’s Debt and the Heart of O’Toole
CONN HALLINAN
Someone has pinched the heart of St. Lawrence O’Toole, and thereby hangs a typical Irish tale filled with metaphors, parallels, and some pretty serious weirdness. Who done it? The suspects are many and varied. Could the heist from Dublin’s Christ Church ...
What Could Have Happened in Spain
VICENTE NAVARRO
There are some misconceptions that exist about Spain among large sectors of the progressive community in the United States.  Partially this is a result of the very poor coverage that exists about Europe in general and about Spain in particular in the press in the U.S.  ...
Europe Gets Shock Therapy
CARLOS ALONSO BEDOYA
Eric Toussaint, a Doctor of Political Science and President of the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM), is a member of the Commission for an Integral Auditing of Public Debt in Ecuador (CAIC) whose findings resulted in Ecuador stopping its repaymen...
Our Very Own Oscar Night in Rimini
MICHAEL HUDSON
I have just returned from Rimini, Italy, where I experienced one of the most amazing spectacles of my academic life. Four of us associated with the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) were invited to lecture for three days on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and...
Missing Foundations
LINH DINH
Americans are living on borrowed time, economically. Like air conditioners, copper pipes and aluminum siding of a foreclosed home, what remains of our prosperity will be violently stripped away. There is no economic recovery because the foundations for such are simply not...
The Future of Greece May Not be as Bad as It Looks
PATRICK COCKBURN
Maria Svoronou has three jobs and was finishing a twelve hour day as euro zone leaders were finalizing Greece’s rescue package in Brussels. For all her hard work, she earns only Eur 870 a month and says that “if the situation gets any worse, I won’t be able to survi...
The Humiliation of Greece
MIKE WHITNEY
“How can one speak of default in the future tense when we’re already bankrupt… Don’t you see the people scouring through garbage and sleeping on sidewalks? Those who led us to bankruptcy – the troika and the government – now cla...
Capitalista Virus
ROBERT HUNZIKER
One of the great contradictions of modern day nation-state socio-economics is how and why capitalists continue getting away with sticking average working people with their mistakes. Capitalists receive fees and interests payments for/on issuance of debt by countries a...
Greece and Those Wild & Crazy Guys at the ECB
DEAN BAKER
I have been following the European sovereign debt crisis since it first developed more than two years ago. It was evident from the beginning that the conditions on the debtor nations being demanded by the “troika” of the European Central Bank, the European Union, and ...
The Divine Right of Money
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
The United States government and its NATO puppets have been killing Muslim men, women and children for a decade in the name of bringing them democracy.  But is the West itself a bastion of  democracy? Skeptics point out that President George W. Bush was put in of...
A Death Sentence for Greece
MIKE WHITNEY
“We are facing destruction. Our country, our home, has become ripe for burning. The centre of Athens is in flames.” – Costis Hatzidakis, conservative parliamentarian ...
The Troika Blackmails Greece
MIKE WHITNEY
“We are being asked to take even larger doses of a medicine that has proven to be deadly and to undertake commitments that do not solve the problem, but only temporarily postpone the foretold death of our economy.” — Hieronymos II, hea...
What Republicans Talk About When They Talk About Taxes
ROBERT HUNZIKER
With the onset of a reinvigorated U.S. economy, suddenly riding high on an unprecedented sea of liquidity, thanks to the Federal Reserve Bank, and punctuated by a renaissance of employment, up 243,000 jobs in January, it is probable Republican ca...
Austerity Does Not Grow the Economy
DEAN BAKER
The Federal Reserve Board issued new projections for the economy last week, and they are not pretty. It projects the unemployment rate will still be 8.2 percent at the end of this year, 7.4 percent at the end of 2013, and 6.7 percent at the end of 2014. To put this in ...
Draghi’s Real Goal in the Eurozone
MIKE WHITNEY
Imagine if your banker offered to lend you a $150,000 to make up for the money that you’d lost on your home since the housing bubble burst in 2006. And, let’s say, he agreed to lend you this money for 3 years at rock-bottom rates of 1 percent provided that you...
Greece in Chaos
NOËLLE BURGI
“Who knows what tomorrow will bring?” people ask in Athens, Salonika and right across Greece. There’s a sense of collective imprisonment, individual uncertainty and impending catastrophe. Yet Greece has had a turbulent history, and the Greeks have always...
Assaulting Libraries
BINOY KAMPMARK
What is more important in a library than anything else – than everything else – is the fact that it exists. – Archibald MacLeish, ‘The Premise of  Meaning’, ...
Rule By Troika
SERGE HALIMI
Former bankers Lucas Papademos and Mario Monti have taken over in Athens and Rome, exploiting the threat of bankruptcy and the fear of chaos. They are not apolitical technicians but men of the right, members of the Trilateral Commission that blamed western societies for b...
Austerity and Social Unrest
DAVID ROSEN
Whatever the long-term fate of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, it has made two major contributions to the warming 2012 political climate. First, OWS put the concept of economic and social (in)equity, of the haves and have-nots, the 99%-ers, of class...
“Fiscal Union” Merkel-Style
MIKE WHITNEY
Angela Merkel has a cure for the eurozone’s pesky debt crisis. Hair shirts and stiffer penalties. Aside from that, the German Chancellor has very little to offer by way of a remedy. In fact–what was so surprising about Monday’s widely-anticipated press c...
The Baltic Tigers’ False Prophets of Austerity
JEFFREY SOMMERS, ARUNAS JUSKA, & MICHAEL HUDSON
The Baltic states have discovered a new way to cut unemployment and cut budgets for social services: emigration. If enough people of working age are forced to leave to find work abroad, unemployment and social service budgets will both drop. This simple mathematics...
There Will Be Blood
MARSHALL AUERBACK
Another week to go before the euro blows up, or so we’re told again for the thousandth time. More likely is that the ECB does barely enough to keep the show on the road, fiscal austerity continues and riots intensify on the streets of Madrid, Athens, Rome and Paris.  L...
A Self-Inflicted Recession Threatens World Economy
MARK WEISBROT
The economic news out of the eurozone is getting worse every day, and so is the contagion to the rest of the world. The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), the club of 34 mostly high-income countries, has now lowered its projection for eurozone ...
The Austerity Regime
JACK RANDOM
“An urgent, tough and structural redesign of the International Monetary Fund is needed to prevent crises…  Meanwhile, inequality in our countries will grow because of those [IMF] reforms; tears will be shed and poverty caused for those millions excluded...
Who Benefits From Austerity Politics?
ROB URIE
With so called “technocrats” being installed in Italy and Greece to lead governments through austerity programs, the discussion of who benefits from these programs and who pays remains largely in the background. When benefits are discussed they are usually couched in ...
This Stupid Democracy Thing
PETER LEE
It’s finally become clear to everyone the key problem in the current Eurozone crisis is just too much democracy. Pesky voters opposed to austerity measures get in the way of efforts to cut government expenditures in order to reduce deficits and make repayment of ...
Cheers as Gain-through-Pain Crowd Take Aim at Italy
MARSHALL AUERBACK
The markets are again in free-fall and, once again, a lazy Mediterranean profligate is to blame.  This time, it’s an Italian, rather than a Greek.  No, not Silvio Berlusconi, but his fellow countryman, Mario Draghi, the new head of the increasingly spineless European ...
Bankers Crush Greek Democracy
DEAN BAKER
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou touched off a firestorm last week when he proposed putting the austerity package designed by the “troika” (the I.M.F, the European Central Bank and the European Union) up for a popular vote. The idea that the Greek people might d...
Sarkozy’s Austerity Package for France
PHILIPPE MARLIÈRE
At the G20 summit in Cannes, Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel successfully bullied George Papandreou into backing down on a referendum after the Greek prime minister had promised to consult his people on a new bailout. The Franco-German pair ordered Silvio Berlusconi to ...
How Capitalism Flopped
DEEPAK TRIPATHI
In the struggle against global laissez faire capitalism that has brought the current economic collapse, protesters won an important victory last week in Britain, while stalemate continued in Greece. The alliance between the church, the main financial district called the C...
Is Super Mario Printing Already?
MIKE WHITNEY
“Italy’s borrowing costs have spiked higher towards levels that forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to be bailed out. The yield on Italy’s ten-year bond is up another 0.32 percentage point at 6.43 percent, a new euro-era high. A yield above 7...
Occupy the European Central Bank
DEAN BAKER
In the last month, people from around the country and around the world have picked up on the Occupy Wall Street theme of retaking the country from the wealthy. Insofar as this sentiment gathers force in Europe, there is probably no place better for people to plant themsel...
Victory for Democracy in Greece!
DANIEL KOVALIK
The title of this piece should have been the title of the news stories today about the surprise announcement by the Greek Prime Minister that, instead of forcing but another round of draconian austerity measures upon the Greek people, the Greek government will instead be ...
The Spirit of the Age
TARIQ ALI
“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth glancing at,” wrote Oscar Wilde, “for it leaves out the one country at which humanity is always landing. And when humanity lands there, it looks out, and seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is t...
Martin McGuinness’s Deadly Ambush
HARRY BROWNE
Dublin. Martin McGuinness says he never killed anyone during his years — however many years it was — in the IRA.That’s as may be. But this week he certainly delivered a killer blow to the presidential hopes of one Sean Gallagher. In a Dublin ...
The Closing of the American Mind
VIJAY PRASHAD
I. That Strange Brown Man, Gandhi. Gandhi is standing in the bustle of Occupy Boston. The wry smile, the flapping ears, and the walking stick in hand. A sign flags near his knees, “The world holds enough for everyone’s NEED, bu...
No Party For Europe
DEAN BAKER
Jean Claude Trichet will be retiring as head of the European Central Bank at the end of the month. He will step into retirement having wreaked the sort of destruction on the European economy that hostile powers can only dream about. Tens of millions of people across the e...
The Myth of Greek Profligacy
MARSHALL AUERBACK
Historically, Greeks are very good at constructing myths.  The rest of the world?  Not so much.  Reading the press, one gets the impression of a bunch of lazy Mediterranean scroungers, enjoying one of the highest standards of living in Europe while making the frugal Ge...
Destroying Estonia
JEFFREY SOMMERS and MARKKU SIPPOLA
The elite financial press continues to promote  their Baltic austerity model.  Last month in CounterPunch,  Michael Hudson and I showed how Anders Aslund, from the bank-funded Petersen Institute, kicked the snowball down the hill to roll and grow regarding the...
Greece on the Brink
BRANDON JOURDAN
Athens. In Athens, Greece, there are all the elements of a low-intensity conflict zone. Greece has become ground zero of the Eurozone’s fiscal crisis. The latest strikes are seen by many to be historic in a country with a rich tradition of protests. ...
Beware “Social Justice” Advice From Bankers
PATRICK BOND
Durban, South Africa. In these days of dire economic and environmental crisis, with political elites under attack from Athens to Washington, the establishment is desperate for legitimacy. Even International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff now publicly endorse ...
Battling Capital
VIJAY PRASHAD
“Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at th...
Obama’s New Populist Fakery
MICHAEL HUDSON
The seeds for President Obama’s demagogic press conference on Thursday were planted last summer when he assigned his right-wing Committee of 13 the role of resolving the obvious and inevitable Congressional budget standoff by forging an anti-labor policy that cuts Socia...
The European Debt Crisis Myth
MIKE WHITNEY
 No one opposes unity. And no one opposes a stronger, more unified Europe. What people oppose is policy; policies that slash workers wages, privatize state assets, increase unemployment, and prolong recession. That’s what people oppo...
Greek Tragedy
NICK DEARDEN
Everyday the same news – Greece lurches nearer to a default, the financial markets panic, and governments come up with a few more euros or some soothing words to calm them for a few hours. The meltdown has been put off for another day. Almost every commentato...
London Calling
JACK RANDOM
London calling to the faraway towns Now that war is declared-and battle come down London calling to the underworld Come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls The Clash To all those British intelligenc...