Tag: EU

Europe eyes coal as Russia gas flows wane – Michael West

“But if we don’t do it then we run the risk that the storage facilities will not be full enough at the end of the year towards the winter season. And then we are blackmailable on a political level,” he said.

Source: Europe eyes coal as Russia gas flows wane – Michael West

Could Europe Install a Terawatt of new “Freedom Solar” by 2030 to Escape Russian Gas?

A thousand gigawatts is termed a terawatt, i.e. a trillion watts. Right now, there is only about one terawatt of solar electricity-producing capacity in the whole world, so these European countries want to double it in 8 years.

Source: Could Europe Install a Terawatt of new “Freedom Solar” by 2030 to Escape Russian Gas?

Putinism is breeding in the heart of the Republican party | Robert Reich | The Guardian

Given Australia’s L-NP is little more than a carbon copy of GOP policies Putanism is also breeding in their heart. Surveillance of Australians has never been greater than the degree to which it has under Peter Dutton and he wants it increased. He wants politician’s parliamentary privilege extended beyond Parliament to be able to defend and sue defamation cases at will and taxpayers’ expense.

The L-NP wants criticism stifled by putting restrictions in place on social media for individuals, disallowing the ABC and Independent media a source of income but ensuring the corporate MSM has theirs. Basically guaranteeing their quid pro quo relationship is in tact and will continue. Lets face it, Murdoch is currently Putin, the GOP’s and the Australian Liberal Party’s biggest supporter and Murdoch is Putin’s in the West. Fox News is even being dubbed and replayed on Russian State Media.

Make no mistake: Putin’s authoritarian neo-fascism has rooted itself in America. It may be possible to prevent Putin’s aggression from spreading to the rest of Europe. But it is not possible to win a cold civil war inside America without destroying the United States – another of Putin’s objectives when he ordered his spy agencies to help Trump.

Source: Putinism is breeding in the heart of the Republican party | Robert Reich | The Guardian

Ukraine Seeks To Join EU As Round Of Talks With Russia Ends | HuffPost Latest News

In this photo taken from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the nation in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Will Putin now invade Finland as Stalin did in 1939 because they are now too, considering joining NATO?

An embattled Ukraine moved to solidify its bond with the West on Monday by applying to join the European Union, while the first round of Ukraine-Russia talks aimed at ending the fighting concluded with no deal but an agreement to keep talking. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted photos of himself signing the EU application, a largely symbolic move for now that could take years to become reality and is unlikely to sit well with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has long accused the West of trying to pull Ukraine into its orbit.

Source: Ukraine Seeks To Join EU As Round Of Talks With Russia Ends | HuffPost Latest News

How Trump appeased Putin and Endangered Peace in Ukraine

But let us be clear: No American president is going to go to war with Russia over the Ukraine. There is no compelling US national interest in a military involvement in that part of the world, and Russia is a nuclear-armed state. The steps President Biden has spoken about, including sending 8,000 US troops to countries in the vicinity of Ukraine that are allied with Washington, are (rather weak) symbolism. The threat of economic sanctions is in any case far more powerful. But Biden wouldn’t be playing such a weak hand if the US had had a unified position for the past five years and if Trump hadn’t appeared to be working for the other side.

Source: How Trump appeased Putin and Endangered Peace in Ukraine

Clampdown on the unvaccinated as Europe becomes pandemic epicentre

“Me” vs “We” brigade is organized and DEADLY. Demanding the right on the streets to irresponsibly fill our hospitals and die next winter. Meanwhile, Dan Andrews with 58 % of polled support is thinking ahead to prevent a Covid-19 future from overtaking the limited resources of our universal health system. An event that the EU, UK and the USA are beginning to re-experience as a 4th wave and resurgence hit with the onset of winter.

European governments are taking a hard-line stance against anti-vaxxers as infection numbers surge to record levels in many countries and threaten to ruin Christmas. The continent has become the global epicentre of the pandemic at a time when families had been hoping to once again embrace holiday festivities, and one another. With infections spiking again despite nearly two years of restrictions, the health crisis is increasingly pitting citizen against citizen — the vaccinated against the unvaccinated. Governments desperate to shield overburdened healthcare systems are imposing rules that limit choices for the unvaccinated in the hope doing so will drive up rates of vaccination. Despite overwhelming medical evidence that vaccines protect against death or serious illness and slow the pandemic’s spread, opposition remains stubbornly strong among parts of the population. In the Netherlands, protests this weekend turned into riots and police opened fire on crowds when a demonstration turned into what Rotterdam’s mayor called an “an orgy of violence”.

Source: Clampdown on the unvaccinated as Europe becomes pandemic epicentre

Europe’s Romani Population Can’t Breathe

Last month, a Czech police officer kneeled on the neck of Romani man Stanislav Tomáš until he stopped breathing. Fifty years since the first World Romani Congress, Europe’s Romani people urgently need a new movement against discrimination and deprivation.

Source: Europe’s Romani Population Can’t Breathe

Flooding in Germany and Belgium leaves more than 60 dead as streets become raging torrents – ABC News

An aerial shot of a half submerged train in a flooded village.

At least 58 deaths were reported in Germany and eight in Belgium The scale of the disaster is not yet clear France and the Netherlands have also experienced flooding

Source: Flooding in Germany and Belgium leaves more than 60 dead as streets become raging torrents – ABC News

Coronavirus: Germany, France return to lockdown as cases soar in Europe

All restaurants in France will be forced to close for at least a month under a new national lockdown.

Europe is bracing for a new spate of national lockdowns as coronavirus surges across the continent and threatens to fill hospitals with more patients than the first deadly wave of earlier this year.

Coronavirus: Germany, France return to lockdown as cases soar in Europe

With ‘great concern’ Germany watching Australia-China relationship

Germany's ambassador to Australia, Dr Thomas Fitschen.

Dr Fitschen said Germany would diversify its political and economic relations in Asia so that it did not fall into a dependency on China’s market. “Diversification does not mean decoupling. Diversification means China plus X,” he said. “The German government and the EU must put in place the necessary conditions for this.”

With ‘great concern’ Germany watching Australia-China relationship

Pompeo demands Europe ditch trade with China and choose FREEDOM over TYRANNY (in favor of US) — RT World News

Pompeo demands Europe ditch trade with China and choose FREEDOM over TYRANNY (in favor of US)

America is waving a big stick at everyone. Trump is doing the Kim Jong Un dance ODT)

via Pompeo demands Europe ditch trade with China and choose FREEDOM over TYRANNY (in favor of US) — RT World News

Old Dog Thoughts- 21/3/20 Leaders of the Free World

https://cdn.iflscience.com/images/9cc0cf38-a00f-5c8f-b46b-8f1c9914491c/extra_large-1584373010-cover-image.jpgImage may contain: 4 people, text

Fighting Fake News with REAL,21/3/20; Australian individuals are asked to cough up again like the GFC and not just into their arms; The IPA really do magnify why Capitalism hasn’t a clue on how to deal with Covid-19;

Another Country Defies Trump in Latest Blow to Iran Warmongers

Another Country Defies Trump in Latest Blow to Iran Warmongers

Incredibly, the European press is speculating whether the US Navy will intervene, without any warrant of international law.

Trump and his warmongers have not only failed to increase US prestige among key allies in Europe, but have actually so diminished the US superpower that now small European courts are defying it.

via Another Country Defies Trump in Latest Blow to Iran Warmongers

Old Dog Thoughts- Locked in a closet firing his shotgun Trump keeps missing walls


Fighting Fake News,27/6/19; Locked in a closet firing a shot gun Trump keeps missing the walls; Things you don’t really see reported by Andrew Bolt; Australia lead the way to the new world of concentration camps;

The Brexit mess could lead to a break-up of a no longer United Kingdom

Behind the scenes at Westminster and the teetering fate of the British government lies an even more profound change in British politics: the very real possibility of the break-up of the United Kingdom. In this situation Australia needs to tread carefully and maintain its good relations with what has emerged as its more stable European partner, the European Union, while offering silent support for whatever governments or countries could emerge from Brexit. Is the UK headed for dissolution?

Source: The Brexit mess could lead to a break-up of a no longer United Kingdom

‘Is this a red line for us?’ $15b European trade deal doomed if Australia dodges Paris pledge

EU doesn’t think Australia 1% of the words emmissions are insignificant as the Conservatives do (ODT)

The Coalition’s internal climate war risks damaging the economy after Europe declared it would reject a $15 billion trade deal with Australia unless the Morrison government keeps its pledge to cut pollution under the Paris accord.

The EU bloc is Australia’s second largest trading partner, third largest export destination and second largest services market. The EU was also Australia’s largest source of foreign investment in 2017.

Mr Morrison – who is in Jakarta for trade talks – and Trade Minister Simon Birmingham declined to comment on the European Parliament’s position.

via ‘Is this a red line for us?’ $15b European trade deal doomed if Australia dodges Paris pledge

Trump sidelined as UN Security Council plus Germany Meet Iran’s Rouhani in Vienna

I’m of a generation where the idea of the UN Security Council meeting without the US is hard to imagine. The conference is eloquent about how isolated and increasingly irrelevant Trump has made America. The rest of the world now sees Washington as an annoying problem to get around.

Moreover, think of it. This meeting involves three of America’s closest military and economic allies–Britain, France and Germany– having been pushed by Trump into the same corner with Russia and China in seeking to have better relations with Iran. I guess Trump has taught *them* a lesson.

Trump is ordering the US Department of the Treasury to slap third party sanctions on non-US firms who do business with Iran. Companies like Total, S.A., the French oil giant, who do business with the US, cannot afford to buck the Treasury Department and so are pulling out of planned Iran investments.

via Trump sidelined as UN Security Council plus Germany Meet Iran’s Rouhani in Vienna

Calls grow in Germany to Expel US Ambassador who Aims to Empower Hard Right


Berlin (AFP) – A member of the German government on Tuesday accused the new US ambassador in Berlin of meddling in domestic politics and aggravating already tense ties, as left-wing parties called for the staunch ally of Donald Trump to be expelled.

Richard Grenell took up his Berlin posting on May 8 and immediately irked Germany when he tweeted the same day that German companies should stop doing business with Iran as Trump quit the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

He stoked further outrage last weekend with reported comments to right-wing news website Breitbart of his ambition to “empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders.”


via Calls grow in Germany to Expel US Ambassador who Aims to Empower Hard Right

Turkey threatens Netherlands with diplomatic sanctions for acting like ‘Nazi remnants’ – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Turkey’s President threatens to impose sanctions on the Netherlands and take it to the European Court of Human Rights over a recent speaking ban.

Source: Turkey threatens Netherlands with diplomatic sanctions for acting like ‘Nazi remnants’ – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Brexit: Shocked European Union tells Britain to leave quickly amid ‘chain reaction’ fears – Brexit: UK EU Referendum – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A stunned European Union has urged Britain to leave as soon as possible amid fears its exit could spark more referendums.

Source: Brexit: Shocked European Union tells Britain to leave quickly amid ‘chain reaction’ fears – Brexit: UK EU Referendum – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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TTIP leaked documents could spell the end of controversial trade deal, say campaigners | Europe | News | The Independent



Hundreds of leaked pages from the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) show that the deal could be about to collapse, according to campaigners. The huge leak – which gives the first full insight into the negotiations – shows that the relationship between Europe and the US are weaker than had been thought and that major divisions remain on some of the agreement’s most central provisions.

Source: TTIP leaked documents could spell the end of controversial trade deal, say campaigners | Europe | News | The Independent

When we mourn the passing of Prince but not 500 migrants, we have to ask: have we lost all sense of perspective? | Voices | The Independent



Has something gone adrift within the moral compass of our ‘news’ reporting?  In the past week, 64 Afghans have been killed in the largest bomb to have exploded in Kabul in 15 years.  At least 340 were wounded.  The Taliban set off their explosives at the very wall of the ‘elite’ security force – watch out for that word ‘elite’ – which was supposed to protect the capital.  Whole families were annihilated.  No autopsies for them.  Local television showed an entire family – a mother and father and three children blown to pieces in a millisecond – while the city’s

Source: When we mourn the passing of Prince but not 500 migrants, we have to ask: have we lost all sense of perspective? | Voices | The Independent

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Barack Obama’s intervention in EU referendum debate could be a game-changer | Voices | The Independent


Barack Obama’s intervention in the European Union referendum was more spectacular than many in the In campaign dared to hope for. They will now dare to dream that it might prove a game-changer in the tight referendum race.

Source: Barack Obama’s intervention in EU referendum debate could be a game-changer | Voices | The Independent

Brussels attacks: last gasp of Isis terror in Europe, or sign of growing threat? | World news | The Guardian

Last week began well for security forces. But then came the bombings. And then the realisation intelligence had failed to contain a group more durable than anyone expected

Source: Brussels attacks: last gasp of Isis terror in Europe, or sign of growing threat? | World news | The Guardian

That stream of Refugees into Europe? It includes Palestinians forced out by Israeli Occupation | Informed Comment

By IMEMC | – – Palestinians are joining the Middle East exodus to Europe in greater numbers because of the …

Source: That stream of Refugees into Europe? It includes Palestinians forced out by Israeli Occupation | Informed Comment

Swedish prime minister reveals ‘great anger’ over reports of sex attacks | World news | The Guardian

Stefan Löfven speaks out after boy charged with assault at festival and police accused of withholding information about attacks

Source: Swedish prime minister reveals ‘great anger’ over reports of sex attacks | World news | The Guardian

Greece’s Varoufakis to Launch Pan-European Progressive Movement. He should lead the ALP

Hoping to show Europeans they have an alternative to the prevailing system of “authoritarianism” and austerity, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has announced a new cross-continent movement with a “simple, common agenda:” To democratize Europe. The movement, known as the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (or DiEM 25), will be launched on February 9 at Berlin’s Volksbühne theater.

Source: Greece’s Varoufakis to Launch Pan-European Progressive Movement | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Snowden’s Charges To Be Dropped? European Parliament Votes In Favor of ‘dropping charges’ AnonHQ

Most of the European Parliament’s members have voted in favor of asking its member nations to grant protection to the NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden. The man himself has called this a  ‘game-changer’ and a ‘chance to move forward’. The MEPs have asked EU …

Source: Snowden’s Charges To Be Dropped? European Parliament Votes In Favor of ‘dropping charges’ AnonHQ

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‘EU migrant crisis created by political elite for electoral benefits’ — RT Op-Edge

Unlike Lebanon or Turkey dealing with over two million asylum seekers, the EU is not really facing ‘a crisis’, said Anas El Gomati of the Libya-based Sadeq Institute think tank. European politicians are flaming xenophobic sentiment to get political power, he adds.

Source: ‘EU migrant crisis created by political elite for electoral benefits’ — RT Op-Edge

A Little Brown-Eyed Babe Washed Ashore | newmatilda.com

In 1957 a little blue-eyed boy was sat on the desk of the Australian High Commission in Sri Lanka and closely appraised. His parents had applied to migrate to Australia, but his aunts and uncles had already been knocked back.On paper they were European descent and English speaking, as they needed to be in order to pass the test of Australia’s Immigration Restriction Act (1901) – the White Australia policy.

Source: A Little Brown-Eyed Babe Washed Ashore | newmatilda.com

The Guardian view on Europe’s refugee crisis: a little leadership, at last | Editorial | Comment is free | The Guardian

Editorial: Angela Merkel has faced up to how a humanitarian emergency is threatening a continent’s defining values. The rest of Europe should pay attention, and follow suit

Source: The Guardian view on Europe’s refugee crisis: a little leadership, at last | Editorial | Comment is free | The Guardian

Iceland said it could only accept 50 Syrian refugees. Then 10,000 big-hearted Icelanders offered up their homes.

Europe is buckling under the weight of hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees trying to get into the EU. The Keleti train station in Budapest shut down Tuesday due to the number of migrants trying to get from Hungary to Germany; in late August, 71 refugees were found dead after suffocating in a refrigerated truck in Austria. Germany, meanwhile, is expecting 800,000 refugee arrivals this year.In response to the crisis, the tiny island nation of Iceland has only offered the smallest amount of aid, agreeing to take in a mere 50 Syrian refugees. That wasn’t nearly enough for popular Icelandic children’s book author Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir. She launched a Facebook campaign that asked her fellow countrymen and women to open up their homes and urge the government to do more, The Telegraph reports. In 24 hours, more than 10,000 Icelanders had offered their homes for refugees to stay in. Keep in mind that Iceland’s entire population is less than 330,000.”I think people have had enough of seeing news stories from the Mediterranean and refugee camps of dying people and they want something done now,” Björgvinsdóttir told Icelandic public television RUV in response to the overwhelming support.That seems to be true. “I’m a single mother with a 6-year-old son…We can take a child in need. I’m a teacher and would teach the child to speak, read, and write Icelandic, and adjust to Icelandic society,” one Facebook user wrote. “We have clothes, a bed, toys, and everything a child needs. I would of course pay for the airplane ticket.”The Icelandic government is now looking into how to accept more refugees. Whatever they decide, this much is for sure: The migrants they take in will have a warm welcome waiting for them. Jeva Lange

Source: Iceland said it could only accept 50 Syrian refugees. Then 10,000 big-hearted Icelanders offered up their homes.

home australia world opinion selected sport football tech culture lifestyle fashion economy travel media environment browse all sections Greece Comment is free Greece is the latest battleground in the financial elite’s war on democracy

Irish famine, original illustration

From laissez-faire economics in 18th-century India to neoliberalism in today’s Europe the subordination of human welfare to power is a brutal tradition

Starving people clamour at the gates of a workhouse during the Irish famine,’One eighth of the population was killed – one could almost say murdered – by the British refusal [to set] policies that offended the holy doctrine of laissez-faire economics.’ Photograph: Hulton

Greece may be financially bankrupt, but the troika is politically bankrupt. Those who persecute this nation wield illegitimate, undemocratic powers, powers of the kind now afflicting us all. Consider the International Monetary Fund. The distribution of power here was perfectly stitched up: IMF decisions require an 85% majority, and the US holds 17% of the votes.

The IMF is controlled by the rich, and governs the poor on their behalf. It’s now doing to Greece what it has done to one poor nation after another, from Argentina to Zambia. Its structural adjustment programmes have forced scores of elected governments to dismantle public spending, destroying health, education and all the means by which the wretched of the earth might improve their lives.
The euro will be stuck with austerity unless it learns to embrace democracy

The same programme is imposed regardless of circumstance: every country the IMF colonises must place the control of inflation ahead of other economic objectives; immediately remove barriers to trade and the flow of capital; liberalise its banking system; reduce government spending on everything bar debt repayments; and privatise assets that can be sold to foreign investors.

Using the threat of its self-fulfilling prophecy (it warns the financial markets that countries that don’t submit to its demands are doomed), it has forced governments to abandon progressive policies. Almost single-handedly, it engineered the 1997 Asian financial crisis: by forcing governments to remove capital controls, it opened currencies to attack by financial speculators. Only countries such as Malaysia and China, which refused to cave in, escaped.

Consider the European Central Bank. Like most other central banks, it enjoys “political independence”. This does not mean that it is free from politics, only that it is free from democracy. It is ruled instead by the financial sector, whose interests it is constitutionally obliged to champion through its inflation target of around 2%. Ever mindful of where power lies, it has exceeded this mandate, inflicting deflation and epic unemployment on poorer members of the eurozone.

The Maastricht treaty, establishing the European Union and the euro, was built on a lethal delusion: a belief that the ECB could provide the only common economic governance that monetary union required. It arose from an extreme version of market fundamentalism: if inflation were kept low, its authors imagined, the magic of the markets would resolve all other social and economic problems, making politics redundant. Those sober, suited, serious people, who now pronounce themselves the only adults in the room, turn out to be demented utopian fantasists, votaries of a fanatical economic cult.

Those sober, suited, serious people turn out to be demented utopian fantasists, votaries of a fanatical economic cult

All this is but a recent chapter in the long tradition of subordinating human welfare to financial power. The brutal austerity imposed on Greece is mild compared with earlier versions. Take the 19th century Irish and Indian famines, both exacerbated (in the second case caused) by the doctrine of laissez-faire, which we now know as market fundamentalism or neoliberalism.

In Ireland’s case, one eighth of the population was killed – one could almost say murdered– in the late 1840s, partly by the British refusal to distribute food, to prohibit the export of grain or provide effective poor relief. Such policies offended the holy doctrine of laissez-faire economics that nothing should stay the market’s invisible hand.

When drought struck India in 1877 and 1878, the British imperial government insisted on exporting record amounts of grain, precipitating a famine that killed millions. The Anti-Charitable Contributions Act of 1877 prohibited “at the pain of imprisonment private relief donations that potentially interfered with the market fixing of grain prices”. The only relief permitted was forced work in labour camps, in which less food was provided than to the inmates of Buchenwald. Monthly mortality in these camps in 1877 was equivalent to an annual rate of 94%.

As Karl Polanyi argued in The Great Transformation, the gold standard – the self-regulating system at the heart of laissez-faire economics – prevented governments in the 19th and early 20th centuries from raising public spending or stimulating employment. It obliged them to keep the majority poor while the rich enjoyed a gilded age. Few means of containing public discontent were available, other than sucking wealth from the colonies and promoting aggressive nationalism. This was one of the factors that contributed to the first world war. The resumption of the gold standard by many nations after the war exacerbated the Great Depression, preventing central banks from increasing the money supply and funding deficits. You might have hoped that European governments would remember the results.
Greek debt crisis: Tsipras gets ultimatum to reach deal or face Grexit – as it happened
On Sunday, European leaders will meet for a summit that will decide whether Greece gets another bailout or leaves the eurozone
Read more

Today equivalents to the gold standard – inflexible commitments to austerity – abound. In December 2011 the European Council agreed a new fiscal compact, imposing on all members of the eurozone a rule that “government budgets shall be balanced or in surplus”. This rule, which had to be transcribed into national law, would “contain an automatic correction mechanism that shall be triggered in the event of deviation.” This helps to explain the seigneurial horror with which the troika’s unelected technocrats have greeted the resurgence of democracy in Greece. Hadn’t they ensured that choice was illegal? Such diktats mean the only possible democratic outcome in Europe is now the collapse of the euro: like it or not, all else is slow-burning tyranny.

It is hard for those of us on the left to admit, but Margaret Thatcher saved the UK from this despotism. European monetary union, she predicted, would ensure that the poorer countries must not be bailed out, “which would devastate their inefficient economies.”

But only, it seems, for her party to supplant it with a homegrown tyranny. George Osborne’s proposed legal commitment to a budgetary surplus exceeds that of the eurozone rule. Labour’s promised budget responsibility lock, though milder, had a similar intent. In all cases governments deny themselves the possibility of change. In other words, they pledge to thwart democracy. So it has been for the past two centuries, with the exception of the 30-year Keynesian respite.

The crushing of political choice is not a side-effect of this utopian belief system but a necessary component. Neoliberalism is inherently incompatible with democracy, as people will always rebel against the austerity and fiscal tyranny it prescribes. Something has to give, and it must be the people. This is the true road to serfdom: disinventing democracy on behalf of the elite.

Think of the World as a Country

Europe Piggy Bank

The global economy seems perplexing today: While all the traditional economic growth factors are in place (the world’s population is increasing, technical progress is huge, available savings are substantial, free trade is greater than ever), growth is slowing globally, save for the United States at this stage. And around the world, even in the United States, real unemployment has risen to record levels, investments are slowing down, inequalities are greater than ever before, especially in the United States. And the recent Baltic Dry Index (BDI) plunge (a number issued daily providing an assessment of the price of moving the major raw materials by sea, and which for a long time now has been a big indicator of impending crises) with its downward trend has caused panic to spread in the small circle of traders.

To deal with this problem, it seems that none of the conventional efforts are working: Interest rates are at their lowest; central banks are pumping an insane amount of money into the banking system; governments are plagued by record high deficits. Nothing is working. Nothing is starting. Everything is slowing down. Even prices.

What is wrong with the way the world has been functioning? How to explain that this incredible potential is not translated into practice? Economists, sociologists, political scientists throughout the world are discussing these issues ad infinitum without any convincing answer being given. And without anybody offering a new solution that is credible. Yet there is a critical need to understand the situation and to find ways to act. Otherwise, the global economy will plunge into a global depression with devastating political consequences. We will start seeing, we already see, those extreme parties taking power and democracy being questioned by the very people who pretend to speak on its behalf.

For me, the answer is obvious, although few people will admit it: The whole world economy is now a single economy. And one cannot understand it by juxtaposing the analysis of national economies and their trade exchanges. We must think of the world as a single economy; as a country. But a country without rule of law or regulatory state.

And such an economy, which was previously unknown in the real world up until today, can only, according to all existing theories, lead to an underutilization of the factors of production, that is to say to a shortfall in demand. And no regulatory state is there to compensate. In other words, the world is suffering from not having a tool able to create demand globally.

The ideal solution would be to create a World Central Bank, with democratic governance, with a world currency, able to pour massive resources on the world. In the form of money or in the form of investments in sustainable economy sectors.

The halfway solution would be to ask the G20 governments to agree to boost public investment massively, with recourse to heavy borrowing, forced if necessary, from large owners of capital.

The solution that is most in the interests of young people and employees would be a dramatic increase of all salaries throughout the world, and the acceptance of inflation. The one that is most in the interests of large owners of capital and seniors would be to make stock markets soar in order to create demand through the revaluation of wealth.

None of this will take place, of course. So the most likely scenario is that everybody will keep to oneself, to the point that they will isolate themselves from one another. But those who will create demand only at home, by massively increasing salaries or public expenditure, will quickly become dependent on imports, their currency will collapse. The United States may want to opt for this solution, as may Greece, on the other end of the spectrum. This will lead to protectionism, fragmentation, war.

It has become fashionable to say that we must think of the world as one, when talking about the climate change conference and its success. And yet, if ever there is a global conference that is urgent, it is rather one that would reform the IMF to make it more democratic and give it all its powers. Because if the world does not take action on the economy quickly, the problem of the emission of greenhouse gases will soon be resolved in the simplest way possible: There will be no one left to produce any.

What Is the Real Greek Morality Tale?


NEW YORK — When the euro crisis began a half-decade ago, Keynesian economists predicted that the austerity that was being imposed on Greece and the other crisis countries would fail. It would stifle growth and increase unemployment — and even fail to decrease the debt-to-GDP ratio. Others — in the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and a few universities — talked of expansionary contractions. But even the International Monetary Fund argued that contractions, such as cutbacks in government spending, were just that – contractionary.

We hardly needed another test. Austerity had failed repeatedly, from its early use under U.S. President Herbert Hoover, which turned the stock-market crash into the Great Depression, to the IMF “programs” imposed on East Asia and Latin America in recent decades. And yet when Greece got into trouble, it was tried again.

Greece largely succeeded in following the dictate set by the “troika” (the European Commission the ECB, and the IMF): it converted a primary budget deficit into a primary surplus. But the contraction in government spending has been predictably devastating: 25 percent unemployment, a 22 percent fall in GDP since 2009, and a 35 percent increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio. And now, with the anti-austerity Syriza party’s overwhelming election victory, Greek voters have declared that they have had enough.

So, what is to be done? First, let us be clear: Greece could be blamed for its troubles if it were the only country where the troika’s medicine failed miserably. But Spain had a surplus and a low debt ratio before the crisis, and it, too, is in depression. What is needed is not structural reform within Greece and Spain so much as structural reform of the eurozone’s design and a fundamental rethinking of the policy frameworks that have resulted in the monetary union’s spectacularly bad performance.

Greece has also once again reminded us of how badly the world needs a debt-restructuring framework. Excessive debt caused not only the 2008 crisis, but also the East Asia crisis in the 1990s and the Latin American crisis in the 1980s. It continues to cause untold suffering in the U.S., where millions of homeowners have lost their homes, and is now threatening millions more in Poland and elsewhere who took out loans in Swiss francs.

Given the amount of distress brought about by excessive debt, one might well ask why individuals and countries have repeatedly put themselves into this situation. After all, such debts are contracts — that is, voluntary agreements — so creditors are just as responsible for them as debtors. In fact, creditors arguably are more responsible: typically, they are sophisticated financial institutions, whereas borrowers frequently are far less attuned to market vicissitudes and the risks associated with different contractual arrangements. Indeed, we know that U.S. banks actually preyed on their borrowers, taking advantage of their lack of financial sophistication.

Every (advanced) country has realized that making capitalism work requires giving individuals a fresh start. The debtors’ prisons of the 19th century were a failure — inhumane and not exactly helping to ensure repayment. What did help was to provide better incentives for good lending, by making creditors more responsible for the consequences of their decisions.

At the international level, we have not yet created an orderly process for giving countries a fresh start. Since even before the 2008 crisis, the United Nations, with the support of almost all of the developing and emerging countries, has been seeking to create such a framework. But the U.S. has been adamantly opposed; perhaps it wants to reinstitute debtor prisons for over indebted countries’ officials (if so, space may be opening up at Guantánamo Bay).

The idea of bringing back debtors’ prisons may seem far-fetched, but it resonates with current talk of moral hazard and accountability. There is a fear that if Greece is allowed to restructure its debt, it will simply get itself into trouble again, as will others.

This is sheer nonsense. Does anyone in their right mind think that any country would willingly put itself through what Greece has gone through, just to get a free ride from its creditors? If there is a moral hazard, it is on the part of the lenders — especially in the private sector — who have been bailed out repeatedly. If Europe has allowed these debts to move from the private sector to the public sector — a well-established pattern over the past half-century — it is Europe, not Greece, that should bear the consequences. Indeed, Greece’s current plight, including the massive run-up in the debt ratio, is largely the fault of the misguided troika programs foisted on it.

So it is not debt restructuring, but its absence, that is “immoral.” There is nothing particularly special about the dilemmas that Greece faces today; many countries have been in the same position. What makes Greece’s problems more difficult to address is the structure of the eurozone: monetary union implies that member states cannot devalue their way out of trouble, yet the modicum of European solidarity that must accompany this loss of policy flexibility simply is not there.

Seventy years ago, at the end of World II, the Allies recognized that Germany must be given a fresh start. They understood that Hitler’s rise had much to do with the unemployment (not the inflation) that resulted from imposing more debt on Germany at the end of World War I. The Allies did not take into account the foolishness with which the debts had been accumulated or talk about the costs that Germany had imposed on others. Instead, they not only forgave the debts; they actually provided aid, and the Allied troops stationed in Germany provided a further fiscal stimulus.

When companies go bankrupt, a debt-equity swap is a fair and efficient solution. The analogous approach for Greece is to convert its current bonds into GDP-linked bonds. If Greece does well, its creditors will receive more of their money; if it does not, they will get less. Both sides would then have a powerful incentive to pursue pro-growth policies.

Seldom do democratic elections give as clear a message as that in Greece. If Europe says no to Greek voters’ demand for a change of course, it is saying that democracy is of no importance, at least when it comes to economics. Why not just shut down democracy, as Newfoundland effectively did when it entered into receivership before World War II?

One hopes that those who understand the economics of debt and austerity, and who believe in democracy and humane values, will prevail. Whether they will remains to be seen.