Monday, July 27, 2015

Martin Kirk — Greece: It’s All Going With the Flow

Reading the commentaries on Greece in the last few weeks, it’s clear that there is a degree of genuine shock and consternation rippling through groups who have traditionally been the main cheerleaders of the EU. How is it, people are asking, that we got to this place where the sovereignty of a nation can be overridden by the elite in this way? How can it be acceptable that a small, unelected and unaccountable set of technocrats can be free to micromanage the Greek economy, right up to dictating how much bakers get paid, and even putting public assets into a private trust, like a parent putting candy out of reach of a child because they cannot be trusted with it. The degree of patronization is staggering and has led Nick Cohen to diagnose the EU as a “cruel, fanatical and stupid institution,” and Owen Jones to go so far as to argue that the left should now reject the EU as a political project.

I, too, feel a visceral revulsion at the way Greece has been treated, and I am increasingly of the opinion that the EU as an institution must be rejected. And I do mean the EU, not the Troika. The EU is ultimately the responsible party here; it invited and made space for IMF dominance; it sanctioned the establishment and operating principles of the Eurogroup as a extra-legal entity that has wielded extraordinary financial and, by short extension, legal power; and it is directly responsible for the legal structuring of the ECB, which, as George Monbiot points out, “enjoys “political independence”. This does not mean that it is free from politics, only that it is free from democracy.” 
But my reasons go beyond Greece, beyond even the EU, to the fact that this is all merely one example of a global drift away from democracy, towards a form of public/private governance whose raison d’être is capital generation. Not as a service to humanity, but as a purpose and an end point unto itself.

When seen in this larger reality, what’s happened to Greece looks less like an unfortunate but contained European phenomenon and more like a vivid example of a form of governance that people the world over should be extremely wary of. In other words, Greece is a cautionary tale for all of us, that warns us how fully our governance structures have been captured by elite, private interests.…
Neoliberalism is antithetical to democracy.

Story Europe
Greece: It’s All Going With the Flow
Martin Kirk
ht Clonal


Ralph Musgrave said...

That's about the tenth article I've read which fails to distinguish correctly between the effects of the EZ and the EU. The detailed supervision of Greece stems ENTIRELY from the common currency, the Euro, i.e. the EZ. If (e.g. like the UK or Sweden) it had it's own currency and was able to devalue (while still being in the EU) there'd be absolutely no need for the supervision.

NeilW said...

"That's about the tenth article I've read which fails to distinguish correctly between the effects of the EZ and the EU. "

That's because there is no practical difference Ralph.

All the countries of the EU suffer the ridiculous economic restrictions imposed by the EU treaty - freedom of movement of capital , goods and importantly labour and the restrictions on the central bank providing overdrafts to the Treasury. Which then allows lots of people to do politics with the 'unsustainability' of interest rates, while making fiscal counterstabilistion policies mighty difficult to implement.

And that's before we get to TTIP which will further restrict a state government's ability to run its own affairs for the benefit of its own people.

It would require a country to formally derogate from the entire economic tracts within the EU treaty to free them from the straitjacket.

The grandfathered freedoms within the EU afforded to the older members such as the UK are not available to the newer members. The newer members are required to expend a lot of economic effort 'converging' with silly criteria.

The EU Is a total failure and should be scrapped.