Wednesday, July 29, 2015

John Weeks — Third Bailout and the Third Punic War

After his defeat by the Roman leader Scipio Africanus at the battle of Zama in 201 BC, the great general Hannibal pleaded with the Carthaginian Senate to accept the draconian peace terms demanded by Rome. Polybius has him say to the Senate, “I beg you … to declare your acceptance of the [peace] proposals unanimously” (The Rise of the Roman Empire, Book XV).
The draconian treaty proved too burdensome for the Carthage Senate to implement. This led to a Third Punic War and yet another Roman victory in 146 BC, over an enemy far weaker after fifty years of austerity due to payment of tribute to the Roman overlords. No treaty ended this third war. The Roman army sacked Carthage, razed it to the ground and sold the population into slavery.
Those in Greece whose hope is that the Third Bailout has bought them time for a better deal with the Troika in the future might reflect on the outcome of the third Punic War.
Triple Crisis
Third Bailout and the Third Punic War
John Weeks | Professor Emeritus of the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London


Ralph Musgrave said...

Instead of clever clever references to Rome and Carthage, John Weeks might have told us exactly what the holier than thou leftie alternative to the “EU’s neoliberal economic model” would actually consist of. Unfortunately repeating the word “neoliberal” like demented parrots is about the nearest the average leftie gets to constructive suggestions.

I can only assume that the leftie alternative would consists of some sort of fiscal union. But that would require Germany & Co to be even more generous than they are now, and I suspect they just wouldn’t wear that.

I predict that in a year’s time lefties will tumble to that problem.

Calgacus said...

But that would require Germany & Co to be even more generous than they are now, and I suspect they just wouldn’t wear that.

No, it wouldn't. Refraining from economically sabotaging your neighbor's society is not generosity, but common decency. Germany & Co, the creditor states, systematically prevent the debtor states from repaying their debts. So common decency, equity dictates that Germany & Co have nullified much or all of the debts owed by them by their own actions, which of course involve sabotaging their own societies too.

Germany & Co could easily decide to be more "generous" in your sense if they understood basic economics. An EU wide Job Guarantee would be the best solution. Centralized EU provision of pension and welfare benefits would be comparable but somewhat lesser. As Greece would spend what it gets, Germany would get what it spends, be better off than it is now, in either real or nominal terms.