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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

kicking the democratic can down the road « Previous | |Next »
November 5, 2011

The Greek prime minister, who has backtracked on plans for a referendum on his country's euro bailout, survived a confidence vote in the Greek parliament on Friday. So the steps to address the Eurozone's democratic deficit has been let slip. Will the Greek people rebel through civil disobedience to prevent them from being ground into a decade-long depression through an imposed austerity to save the banks?

It appears that democracy is incompatible with collecting debts, and when indebted Greece can’t pay, there is a foreclosing on the public domain and privatizing the country. A neo-liberal mode of governance means the abandonment of any pretence to democratic, collective control over the conditions of life: politics is reduced to technocratic rule.


What also was let slip was the opportunity by the European financial elite and political class to get a stronger grip on both the European sovereign debt crisis and low economic growth at the Cannes G20 summit. There was no extra money for the IMF and Europe got short shrift from China when it rattled the tin for contributions to its bailout fund.

Michael Hudson highlights what is happening behind the scenes at the G20. President Obama, for instance, is:

making the threat that Europe has to cut its own throat in order to save the United States hedge funds and banks from taking a loss on the Greek bonds that they’ve insured. One of the reasons that people have been willing to buy Greek bonds is they bought credit insurance. And the European banks, mostly—maybe not Barclays or Deutsche Bank, but most banks—are not willing to write credit insurance, because everybody at the Böckler Foundation conference here in Berlin, every single economist says there is no conceivable way in which Greece can pay its debts. But the American hedge funds and bankers have come in and said, “We’ll write a guarantee.” Then they lean on President Obama and Tim Geithner to tell the Europeans: “You have to make Greece pay, so that we win the bets that we’ve made, because if we lose the bets, then we go under and the stock market crashes, and a lot of people can’t collect on their money market funds.”

Obama is basically telling Europe, “Don’t go the democratic route. Support Wall Street.” So Europe, like the US is a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people, and in which that concentration of income and wealth threatens to make both a democracy in name only.

The consequences in Greece is increasing political instability, a very fluid political situation, and rising public anger over the austerity measures that have seen ordinary Greeks' purchasing power halved. Italy is next in the front line in the Eurozone crisis.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:33 AM | | Comments (6)


About that cartoon...

Slightly off topic. But the next time I hear some wanker banging on about the Australian "fair-go" and our (apparently) open-minded, larrikin, egalitarian, anti-authoritarian, rebellious spirit.... I may just smack them about the head!

You larrikin.

Dinky di mate!

"Italy is next in the front line in the Eurozone crisis."

Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi is looking shaky. He returned from the G20 summit on Friday to be confronted by grim advisers telling him the haemorrhaging of his support in parliament could see him defeated in a budget vote on Tuesday.

Italy now faces regular visits from IMF inspectors – to monitor economic reforms demanded by the EU and which he promised will be voted through parliament by the end of the month.

The Berlusconi government probably has days or week left.

Ha! Al Capone!

Wouldn't it be funny if Berlusconi finally got dethroned by a bunch of accountants!

Improving definition of a fascist, Mars.
There is no doubt that Northern Europe's stingy response to the Mediterranean and its problems has truly dented Europe in Islamic North Africa and Middle East. Russia of course continues its interests in its shared locale, as a formidable regional, nationalistic power.
Europe's one solid ally is maybe Turkey, Israel and the Oil kingdoms have continued their drift toward the USA, leaving Iran and China isolated, apparently.
The Qantas example is the one to be observed for a little, for obstacles to avoid for the future.