Monday, December 2, 2019

Bill Mitchell — European Union–business as usual as the madness continues

At the weekend, the German Social Democratic Party elected a new leadership from the Left of the Party, in the hope of resurrecting their disastrous political standings (Source), In rejecting the other main contender, current Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, the decision has apparently threatened the GroKo (Große Koalition), the coalition between Merkel’s CDU/CSU union and the SPD, which, arguably, has been the reason for the declining fortunes of the SPD. They have, in effect, abandoned their charter and become part of the neoliberal, austerity machine. The new leadership rejects the basis for the GroKo. At present, the SPD is only marginally ahead of the far-right AfD with the Union and Greens ahead of them. The same political dislocations are happening throughout Europe although the antagonism to the neoliberal austerity orthodoxy is more manifesting in chaos than a defined direction away from the major political parties (Britain is currently a good example of that). Meanwhile, the orthodoxy continues in the European Commission and in its – Autumn 2019 Economic Forecast: A challenging road ahead – they are requiring the majority of Member States to inflict more austerity on their nations even though a recession is looming. That is, business as usual as the madness continues.
Looking like the West is doing its best to blow itself up. Whom the Fates would destroy they first drive mad. (source)

This is in part the consequence of abandoning liberal values based on virtue ethics for neoliberal values based on bourgeois liberalism.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
European Union – business as usual as the madness continues
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia


Blissex2 said...

«This is in part the consequence of abandoning liberal values based on virtue ethics for neoliberal values based on bourgeois liberalism.»

Interesting point! In part I suspect this is due to a decline in christian humanism, where the "right wing" of politics used to be conservative "christian democrats" rather than dystopian social darwinists with what is in effect a pagan theological background.

As to this the catholic church, however corrupt and bizarre as an organization, I think is trying to counter that tendency; the most plausible "conspiracy theory" or rather interpretation I have read about the EU is that it was fundamentally a catholic church inspired project by "christian democrat" movements to recreate something like the humanist multiethnic carolingian empire, by a church horrified by the rise of paganist social (and racial) darwinism in Europe before WW2.

Blissex2 said...

«christian humanism»

Oh well, I hope that nobody will laugh, but I found a very profound theological but also in a wide sense cultural and political point in the writing of a larouchista:

The emergence of Christianity marks the greatest turning-point in human history. By becoming man, Christ broke the cyclical image of history, which had been the leading feature of pagan, pre-Christian myths and cults.

She writes that about "filioque" which is just verbiage, but it is about the central point of christian humanism (and in some ways not too different from buddhist etc. humanism): that there is indeed a turning-point in history, and after that human beings can be redeemed, and are thus "perfectible", thanks to the love of their deity and their own faith (and consequent acts for many/most christians).

This has another profound consequence: that christian (and buddhist etc.) humanism rejects gaining the favour of deities via the selfish and transactional sacrifice of *others*, and only *altruistic* and spontaneous self-sacrifice is compatible with the humanistic love of their deity for all.
That I think gives a completely flavour to social and cultural attitudes, together with the idea that humans are (however slowly) "perfectible", and so their societies etc. by analogy.

Peter Pan said...

Hopefully Neopaganism has shed its social darwinist roots.

Blissex2 said...

«Hopefully Neopaganism has shed its social darwinist roots.»

Let's hope, and have the same hope for the Mammon-worship that is “neoliberal values based on bourgeois liberalism”.

But I am afraid that is intrinsic: paganism is based on the assumption that there are metaphysical beings more powerful than us, that however are quite antropomorphic, including having appetites, that we can negotiate with them by promising to satisfy their appetites, and as a consequence they can bestow their favours and a slice of their powers on us if we make sacrifices to them, and "winners do whatever it takes" to gain the most favour, and eventually the logic becomes that either you are a powerful sacrificer, or a powerless sacrificed. This even without imagining that there are metaphysical entities that have straightforwardly evil appetites.
R Girard made the plausible point with his "scapegoat" theory that the latter tendency is pretty common; in christian humanism the theory is that since Yeshua, a person of the deity, offered spontaneously and altruistically himself as blameless scapegoat for everybody else, that is done once and for all, and therefore the cycle of sin and sacrifice of the scapegoat is broken forever.
In paganism you need intrinsically to satisfy the appetite of your patron deity periodically.

Matt Franko said...

"the neoliberal, austerity machine."

How does he know if there is "austerity" without looking at the growth in govt spending YoY???

He probably thinks the US is in "austerity!" too and spending is up over 5% YoY this year and over 6% growth last year...

How about some numbers for a change???

Give all the figurative language a rest already....

Peter Pan said...

Offerings of food to the gods was a sign of Social Darwinsim?
Seems to be a bit of a stretch.

Scapegoats used to be actual goats, upon which all ills of a community were placed.