The Peasants Are Revolting

From The New York Times:

By Paul Krugman
September 6, 2011

OK, I bagged out on the gala dinner because I’m exhausted from travel (it’s not the flight, it’s the drive to the conference venue), so time for a blog post while I wait for room service.

I see that Atrios has spotted another piece claiming that we’re having all this trouble because those pesky voters won’t support what the wise men know is good for them. I’ve written about this before, with comparable disgust.

Look, I don’t want to wax all sentimental about the genius of the common man. But the fact is that both the origins of this crisis and its perpetuation overwhelmingly reflect the errors of the very people now lamenting the annoyances of democracy that keep them from imposing their preferred policies.

As Atrios says, the euro was very much a top-down, elite-imposed project; and it’s the ECB and the German finance ministry, not the unwashed masses, that have pushed for the austerity-for-all agenda that is pushing the euro system to the edge as we speak.

Continue reading at:

6 Responses to “The Peasants Are Revolting”

  1. Andrea B. Says:

    This article is bullshit written by a right wing fanatic.

    It was not just the rich that benefited from the Euro, it was the middle class and working class. My entire family benefitted from it as it the entire surrounding area I grew up in Ireland. It also benefited Northern Ireland which is in the UK pound due to being on the edge of it. The Euro brought a massive boost in jobs at home. That I remember quite well in Ireland. The Euro brought price stability and enabled shopping all across the Eurozone with ease. The Czech republic, Poland, Serbia, Croatia and Ukraine have fixed more of there prices in Euro online so as to make shopping easier and to stabilise prices. All my electronics and clothes now come from Germany, Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands because they are cheaper and higher quality, as well as usually being made in those countries unlike British, Irish, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Swedish and Danish goods, which are mostly all made in China with some from India and Pakistan. The Germans, Czechs, Swiss and Austrians really know what quality is, at a good price.

    In Ireland joining the European Union raised the standard of living for all working class substantially. I remember the poverty when I was very young. People living in caravans and some even in sheds waiting for houses on the social housing list for more than a decade. Now there is no shortage of homes and even with the economic depression, Ireland has one of the highest home owner rates in the world.

    Before the lunacy that occurred from 1998, when the banks changed to US banking practices, with banks loaning out 150% mortgages and worse. Up until then, most Irish bought a plot of land and built the homes themselves, creating in the process, a serious long term investment worth usually five times the cost of building, upon completion and on some occassions more.

    The loans from 1998 from banks like AIB, that were based on finance from JP Morgan, Bank of America, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Societe General, were all 120% and above mortgages, with them offering 15 to 30 times salary, which they knew full well would be unrepayable even in a good economy.

    In the present European economy, the Euro is a good thing. The crisis at present comes from fear that is constantly generated by US and UK media/financiers who are making serious bonus’s out of taking short positions, although those who took out shorts against Poland, Estonia, Germany, Czech, Hungarian and Austrian economies recently, have lost billions and for some strange reason have not had there debts called in, even though they are legally bankrupt. I have a feeling there is more going on there than most realise.

    Also any hypocrite in the USA, calling for the Euro to be broken up needs to remove the log from there own eyeball before talking about the small splinter in the European eyeball.

    The Euro was agreed to by all states in there parliaments by democratically elected governments and every country joining the European Union since the introduction of the Euro has to have a referendum upon joining that includes Euro membership. Slovenia and Estonia were the most recent to join the Euro and Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic are slated to do so in 2014.

    When the USA dollar was created and imposed in state after state as each state joined, was forced into, was bought or were invaded by USA forces, there was never a referendum, public consultation, vote or democratic debate on dollar or USA membership. Alaska was bought from the Russians, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California were taken in warfare. There was no consent of any kind at all.

    In Europe, each country has to seek the consent of its population via a referendum, before joining the EU, with a seriously high set of democratic and human rights standards. That is why countries like Albania, have complete recognition for transsexual people, as that is one of the items of law that has to be settled, before even applying for the membership application to the EU.

    The Euro is being attacked constantly by Neo-Liberals who are mostly US based, with help from various bankers and futures dealers sypathetic to there ideology in some other countries. I think the Euro will prevail and eventually legislation will be brought in against Neo-Liberal excess’s in Europe. On several occassions already, France and some other countries have banned short selling against European stocks for temporay periods to curb nutcase financiers, trying to wreck the European economy.

  2. tinagrrl Says:

    Andrea, in this instance you do not know what you are talking about. Conversation is futile under these circumstances. — obviously, you live in an alternate universe.

  3. Andrea B. Says:

    @ Suzan,

    You left out that Krugman opposses saving. He is not as left as you think. He mayb eleft in the USA, but in Europe he is right.

    The idea that the EU came about because of neo-liberalism, is US conspiracy theory that has been promoted by people backed by the Koch Brothers.

    The EU came about because politicians realised they could not have anymore wars in Europe after WW2 and that they had to find a way to work together. That led to the first coal agreement, which eventually laid the basis for the modern EU. Practical reality (real politic) created the EU.

    Recently the EU has been infiltrated by some neo-liberals who are causing mayhem, but there days are numbered as people get angrier.

    The conspiracy theories doing the rounds of the USA regarding the EU are exactly that, baseless conspiracy theories.

    @ Tina,

    I saw with my own eyes how the EU lifted Ireland from being a third world country with a population who had no hope for anything except to immigrate, to being one of the richest countries by head of population in the world and do did the same with Northern Italy, Belgium, Spain and Portugal.

    I saw Ireland going from being a country of no hope whatsoever, to being a can do anything country and then having being destroyed by the disease of neo-liberalism. The disease of neo-liberalism was imported from the USA by the Fianna-Fail / Progressive-Democrats, then heavily enforced by the Fianna Fail / Green-Party coalition which destroyed healthcare, infrastructure, education and social progress, while ensuring that oil, gas and other multinational companies were treated as gods, while abusing ordinary citizens.

    I would rather have the healthcare, pensions, benefits, minimum wage of €7.65 / $10.7655 USD in Ireland which comes with lots of benefits, than live under the US system. In Ireland there are a lot of US lobbyists trying to reduce Irish pensions, benefits and minimum wage.

  4. Andrea B. Says:

    @ Suzan

    Your perspective. Being to the left in the USA does not autmomatically mean someone is to the left in Europe.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: