Category Archives: Δυναμική κεφαλαίου-εργασίας

The Crisis Of (Nordic) Social Democracy

It is therefore not only the crisis of social democracy we are experiencing but that of the compromise-based post-war political model in Europe. In the first phase of this political crisis, new far right parties emerged – viz. Front National in France, the so-called freedom parties in Austria and the Netherlands, and the Progress Party in Norway. The lack of any alternative policy from social democratic and left-wing parties means they must take their share of responsibility for this development. They had no policy to take on the neoliberalist attacks on the social gains that had been won through the welfare state. In recent years, however, we have seen that new political alternatives have started to grow also on the left (Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, Momentum in the UK, and the newly established Power to the People in Italy). These are young and incomplete initiatives, which can fail (like Syriza) or succeed, but in any case will further develop through struggles and experiences, victories and defeats.

via The Crisis Of (Nordic) Social Democracy

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Course outline: “The Sociology of Finance, Debt and Austerity”

In the process, we will broach such salient topics as (1) financialization and the global financial crisis; (2) creditor power, the morality of debt and the social implications of rising personal indebtedness, including its interaction with questions of class, race and gender; (3) the politics of public debt, austerity and North-South relations — from the “fiscal crisis of the state” in the 1970s and the Third World debt crises of the 1980s and 1990s to the recent turmoil inside the Eurozone; and (4) the different forms of debt resistance and anti-austerity protest that have emerged over the course of the past decades, as well as the prospects for meaningful debt relief and democratic renewa

via ROAR Magazine

The Future Of Europe – A Space For The Social Policy Avant-Garde

The goals via this new course must be:

A well-balanced welfare-orientated economic policy geared to correcting the inequities of distribution, the eradication of (youth) unemployment and the creation of quality jobs, social and ecologically sustainable investments and protection of the welfare state. Its central element is boosting domestic demand through a productivity-driven wages policy as well as an adequate co-ordination of fiscal policy;
Introduction of a ‘golden rule of fiscal policy’ whereby member states win room for public investments for the future; coupled with an investment offensive (cf DGB-Marshall Plan for Europe) as well as the ETUC Investment Plan for Sustainable Growth and Quality Jobs);
Embedding a ‘protocol for social progress’ within EU primary law which prevents the deregulation of the fundamental freedoms in the area of labour and social law along with the principle “equal pay and equal working conditions for the same work at the same place of work”;
Expanding the social dialogue, extending co-determination, in particular, a directive on the protection of co-determination in cross-border headquarter relocations and the restoration, stablisation and strengthening of free collective bargaining.

via The Future Of Europe – A Space For The Social Policy Avant-Garde

Retooling Social Europe Via Charters Of Rights

The power of accession

The EU could accede to the European Social Charter on the basis of Article 216 (1) TFEU. The idea of accession was also mentioned in 1984, when the European Parliament adopted the Draft Treaty Establishing the European Union, widely referred to as the “Spinelli Treaty”. Chapter 1 (Article 4. 2) refers to “economic social and cultural rights derived from the Constitutions of the Member States and from the European Social Charter”. Initiatives taken during the political run-up to embracing accession may play positively within European public opinion, as these would undoubtedly indicate that the EU is equally committed to the establishment of the internal market, and the creation of an area of freedom, security and justice, including social justice, where egalitarianism prevails in terms of civil, political, economic and social rights.
Window of opportunity

The incomplete project of constitutionalisation of social rights should come to a final conclusion. The European commitment to social rights is essentially rhetorical in nature, being through the years the Achilles heel of “Social Europe”. On that basis, the political and economic conditions may be propitious to reversing the downturn of the social rights. Given that the ultra-critical UK is no longer an “antagonist” of Social Europe owing to the recent Brexit vote, concrete measures via the ESPR could erode the economic and social divergences between Member States that have put Europe’s political cohesion at risk. Finally, this and the threat posed by the rise of extreme-right parties should motivate Europe to rethink its geopolitical role – and, indeed, its very nature.

via Retooling Social Europe Via Charters Of Rights

DIW Berlin: Low interest rate environment amplifies negative effects of austerity policy

Conclusion: Ease austerity measures, boost investment

Now the issue arises as to which measures should be taken in the future to reduce sovereign debt as a means of enlarging governments’ financial room for maneuver and increasing economic growth. Since it does not look like the ECB will raise the prime rate in the near future despite the growing momentum in the euro area’s economic development, the only remaining option is to adjust the consolidation targets. To avoid the enormously contractive and counteractive effects of stringent austerity measures, we recommend making them less restrictive, while at the same time dismantling the tax system’s superfluous bureaucracy and other elements that hamper growth. Debt relief as a means of enlarging governments’ financial room for maneuver should be considered in a tangible manner. And investment that favors long-term potential growth should be systematically supported. This balanced policy mix contains powerful measures with medium-term effects instead of short-term ones. In an environment of low interest rates, debt deleveraging in the private sector, and loss of trust in the financial markets, it seems apt to avoid the high costs of restrictive austerity programs.

via DIW Berlin: Low interest rate environment amplifies negative effects of austerity policy

Growth Is Back! So What?

So what should we actually be concerned about? Instead of growth, well-being (human flourishing), resilience (resisting shocks) and sustainability (caring about the future) should become the collective horizons of social cooperation, of which economics is only a facet. Because these three horizons have been overlooked by mainstream economic thinking in the last three decades, our social world has been mismanaged and our prosperity is now threatened by inequality and ecological crises. At its best, economics measures what counts and provides societies with the means to make it count, among the most powerful of which are robust and relevant social and ecological indicators. Building, disseminating, and using them is thus a practical way to reclaim essential values and advance important issues and policies. Done properly, measuring produces positive collective meaning. Understanding how what matters to humans can be properly accounted for is the first step to valuing and taking care of what really counts.

via Growth Is Back! So What?

Company Cross-Border Transfer Rules Must End ‘Regime Shopping’

he ETUC has uncovered many examples of abuse of company mobility rules. For example, in the meat-processing sector, work was sub-contracted to Eastern European letter-box companies employing low-paid workers on short contracts. The complexity of such arrangements makes it hard for inspectors with limited resources to follow the trail of responsibility. People work up to 20 hours a day, with no sick pay, overtime compensation or health insurance.

In the construction sector, a Polish-registered company with one room and a shared phone number in Gdansk posted workers to Sweden, where local staff were sacked. The posted workers experienced long hours, bad housing, and non-payment of wages. The company paid no social security contributions in either country, while at the same time deducting charges from workers’ salaries.

via Company Cross-Border Transfer Rules Must End ‘Regime Shopping’

A Post-Christmas Carol: Scrooge And The Bankers

Private as well as sovereign debts have prevailed in the UK, the US and other advanced capitalist countries for the last three or four decades. Private debt to GDP ratios, according to analysis by Jorda et al. (2014) based upon historical data from BIS, increased from the 50-60 percent range in 17 selected advanced economies by 1980 to 118 percent in 2010.

Mortgage/equity loans) are the chief areas causing private debt, followed by higher education, vehicles and credit cards. Australia, Denmark, the Netherland, the UK and the US experienced a housing-induced boom (see Fernandez and Aalbers, 2016, pp. 75-6). ‘Middle class’ aspiration in post-World War II boosted these high-debt liberalised housing economies. The growth of mortgaged home ownership and steep house price rises as the result of high demand helped the financial sector to grow.

via A Post-Christmas Carol: Scrooge And The Bankers

Modern Monetary Theory – Wikipedia

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT or Modern Money Theory, also known as Neo-Chartalism) is a macroeconomic theory that describes and analyses modern economies in which the national currency is fiat money, established and created by the government. The key insight of MMT is that “monetarily sovereign government is the monopoly supplier of its currency and can issue currency of any denomination in physical or non-physical forms. As such the government has an unlimited capacity to pay for the things it wishes to purchase and to fulfill promised future payments, and has an unlimited ability to provide funds to the other sectors. Thus, insolvency and bankruptcy of this government is not possible. It can always pay.”[1]

via Modern Monetary Theory – Wikipedia

Bill Mitchell in Helsinki: The Euro Crisis and Austerity – YouTube

Professor William F. Mitchell discusses the theoretical and political background of the austerity policy. Helsinki University 9th October 2015. Mitchell works as a professor of economics at the University of Newcastle, Australia and as a director of the Centre for Full Employment and Equity. Mitchell’s latest book Eurozone Dystopia (2015) traces the origin of the flawed macroeconomic framework that rendered the Eurozone dysfunctional by design. In the book Mitchell lays bare the foundations of neoliberal “groupthink” that has locked the Eurozone into a destructive path towards persistent stagnation and rising social instability.

via Bill Mitchell in Helsinki: The Euro Crisis and Austerity – YouTube

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems | Books | The Guardian

Neoliberalism’s triumph also reflects the failure of the left. When laissez-faire economics led to catastrophe in 1929, Keynes devised a comprehensive economic theory to replace it. When Keynesian demand management hit the buffers in the 70s, there was an alternative ready. But when neoliberalism fell apart in 2008 there was … nothing. This is why the zombie walks. The left and centre have produced no new general framework of economic thought for 80 years.

Every invocation of Lord Keynes is an admission of failure. To propose Keynesian solutions to the crises of the 21st century is to ignore three obvious problems. It is hard to mobilise people around old ideas; the flaws exposed in the 70s have not gone away; and, most importantly, they have nothing to say about our gravest predicament: the environmental crisis. Keynesianism works by stimulating consumer demand to promote economic growth. Consumer demand and economic growth are the motors of environmental destruction.

via Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems | Books | The Guardian

Brexit And The Status Quo Ex-Ante

Every non-euro country’s government except Britain and Denmark must adopt the euro after 2020. Though severe instability of the euro earlier this decade sapped much of the enthusiasm for adopting it, the requirement is embedded in EU treaties. The fiscal pact (TSCG) is inseparable from joining the euro zone because it is the vehicle for enforcing the Maastricht fiscal rules. Taken together, the rules and the TSCG enforcement procedures combine to make a reactionary and undemocratic policy regime as I argued in a previous SE article.

Assume that as a result of a second referendum and/or a vote of parliament a British government reversed Article 50 and sought to re-establish membership. Clause 5 of Article 50 allows for that possibility — if “a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49”.

Article 49 states that a re-applying government shall be treated as a new applicant. Thus, to re-enter the British government would lose its opt-out from the euro and have to adopt the TSCG. Both would be unwise and together would undermine progressive change in Britain.

via Brexit And The Status Quo Ex-Ante

Ένας τρελός κόσμος: ο καπιταλισμός και η επιδημία ψυχικών ασθενειών

Η ψυχαναλυτική ψυχοθεραπεύτρια Sue Gerhardt έχει γράψει πολύ εύστοχα για αυτή την σχέση, υποδηλώνοντας ότι στις σύγχρονες κοινωνίες συχνά «συγχέουμε την υλική ευημερία με την ψυχολογική ευημερία». Στο βιβλίο της «Η Εγωιστική Κοινωνία» δείχνει πόσο επιτυχώς και αμείλικτα ο καταναλωτικός καπιταλισμός ανασχηματίζει το μυαλό μας και επαναπροσδιορίζει το νευρικό μας σύστημα με τη δική του εικόνα. Γιατί «θα χάναμε μεγάλο μέρος του τι είναι ο καπιταλισμός», σημειώνει, «εάν παραβλέψουμε τον ρόλο του στην εμπορία της επιθυμίας».

Μια άλλη βασική πτυχή του καπιταλισμού και των επιπτώσεών του στην ψυχική ασθένεια είναι φυσικά η ανισότητα. Όπως αναφέρθηκε στην έκθεση του Royal College of Psychiatrists: «Η ανισότητα είναι ένας βασικός καθοριστικός παράγοντας της ψυχικής ασθένειας: όσο μεγαλύτερο είναι το επίπεδο της ανισότητας, τόσο χειρότερα είναι τα αποτελέσματα της ψυχικής υγείας. Τα παιδιά από τα φτωχότερα νοικοκυριά έχουν τριπλάσιο κίνδυνο ψυχικής κακής υγείας από τα παιδιά από τα πλουσιότερα νοικοκυριά. Η ψυχική ασθένεια συνδέεται σταθερά με τη στέρηση, το χαμηλό εισόδημα, την ανεργία, την κακή εκπαίδευση, τη χειρότερη σωματική υγεία».

via Ένας τρελός κόσμος: ο καπιταλισμός και η επιδημία ψυχικών ασθενειών

Inequality In Europe: What Can Be Done?

This is not an exhaustive list but illustrates the breadth of predistribution as an egalitarian strategy. In conclusion, three points ought to be made. Firstly, ‘redistribution’ and ‘predistribution’ are not mutually exclusive. Egalitarians need both. If predistributive measures are effective, they ought to raise the overall tax take by boosting employment participation; greater resilience in the tax base then increases the potential for redistribution and ‘social’ investment over the long-term.

The second point is that predistribution is often politically more difficult than traditional redistribution. Predistribution involves taking on entrenched vested interests, especially in the financial sector. It is important to highlight that lower inequality of primary incomes is positive for economic efficiency as well as social justice. Greater equality helps to create more stable market economies, balanced by societies where democratic politics rather than market forces prevail.

via Inequality In Europe: What Can Be Done?

Με τη βούλα του Ευρωδικαστηρίου οι περικοπές συντάξεων – ThePressProject

Συγκεκριμένα, η Die Presse σε άρθρο με τίτλο «Ελλάδα: οι συντάξεις θα μπορούσαν να περικοπούν» αναφέρει πως: «Μια χώρα θα μπορούσε εξαιτίας μιας οικονομικής κρίσης να προβεί σε περικοπές συντάξεων. Ένα τέτοιο μέτρο δεν θίγει τα περιουσιακά δικαιώματα των πολιτών της, έκρινε σε απόφασή του το ΕΔΔΑ την Πέμπτη. Οι δικαστές απέρριψαν προσφυγή μιας Λιθουανής, η οποία προσέφυγε στο ΕΔΔΑ κατά του λιθουανικού δημοσίου επειδή η σύνταξή της μειώθηκε κατά 15% κατά την περίοδο 2010-2013».

Σύμφωνα με τον γερμανικό τύπο, η Λιθουανία πέρασε μια βαθιά δημοσιονομική κρίση και αναγκάστηκε να επιβάλλει ευρείες περικοπές σε συντάξεις και κοινωνικές παροχές, απολύσεις στο δημόσιο και μεγάλες αυξήσεις φόρων. Κατά το δικαστήριο, οι περικοπές στις συντάξεις είναι νόμιμες, καθώς θεωρούνται «επιβεβλημένες» για «το κοινό καλό». Σύμφωνα με τις αναφορές, με την ίδια αιτιολογία έχουν απορριφθεί ανάλογες προσφυγές από την Ελλάδα και την Πορτογαλία.

via Με τη βούλα του Ευρωδικαστηρίου οι περικοπές συντάξεων – ThePressProject

How economics became a religion

Contrary to the tenets of orthodox economists, contemporary research suggests that, rather than seeking always to maximise our personal gain, humans still remain reasonably altruistic and selfless. Nor is it clear that the endless accumulation of wealth always makes us happier. And when we do make decisions, especially those to do with matters of principle, we seem not to engage in the sort of rational “utility-maximizing” calculus that orthodox economic models take as a given. The truth is, in much of our daily life we don’t fit the model all that well.

via How economics became a religion | John Rapley | News | The Guardian

All the Plenary’s Men – The case against Banksters

The King can do no wrong.”

—William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England

“When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

—Ex-President Richard Nixon, interview with David Frost

The question at bar is why the U.S. Department of Justice has failed to prosecute any too-big-to-fail banks or—more importantly—their bankers, even for admitted crimes.

It’s a crucial question, because after eight straight years of unremitting prosecutorial failure, it looks very much as if a select group of top banks can, in fact, do no wrong. If that’s the case, then our constitutional republic isn’t merely in trouble. It’s dead.

via All the Plenary’s Men – YouTube

Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee held a hearing on Thursday May 18 2017 to evaluate lessons from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) bailout of Greece in 2010 and 2012.

Congressman Andy Barr, chairman of Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee in the US Congress urged the International Monetary Fund to disengage from the Greek program. The United States are the biggest contributor to the IMF.

The Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee held a hearing on Thursday May 18 2017 to evaluate lessons from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) bailout of Greece in 2010 and 2012.

“With Greece’s economy again officially in recession and discussions underway for a third IMF bailout, it is clear from today’s hearing that the IMF’s past efforts to save Greece from insolvency have been unsuccessful and that it needs to learn from those failures,” said Subcommittee Chairman Andy Barr.

“The IMF must focus on its core mission, not provide political cover for Eurozone politicians who refuse to take responsibility for Greece’s debt crisis.”

Key Takeaways from the Hearing:

  • The IMF’s bailout of Greece has politicized the Fund and left the Greek economy in tatters, tarnishing the IMF’s reputation and putting taxpayer dollars at risk.
  • Eurozone officials are using the IMF as a fig leaf to avoid electoral consequences, even though Europe’s own bailout fund possesses ample resources to resolve the Greek crisis on its own.

Congressman Andy Barr  opened a hearing on lessons from the IMF’s bailout of Greece as Chairman of the Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee. The purpose of the hearing is to evaluate the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) financial rescue of Greece, including large “exceptional access” programs approved in 2010 and 2012.

Key Takeaways from the Hearing: The IMF’s bailout of Greece has politicized the Fund and left the Greek economy in tatters, tarnishing the IMF’s reputation and putting taxpayer dollars at risk. Eurozone officials are using the IMF as a fig leaf to avoid electoral consequences, even though Europe’s own bailout fund possesses ample resources to resolve the Greek crisis on its own.

via US Congressman Barr urges IMF to disengage from the Greek program – Keep Talking Greece

Το Ευρωδικαστήριο απέρριψε τις αγωγές Ελλήνων συνταξιούχων για τις περικοπές

Το Ευρωπαϊκό Δικαστήριο, στη σημερινή του απόφαση παρατηρεί, ότι ακόμη και αν γινόταν δεκτό ότι οι επίμαχες αποφάσεις ήταν όντως ικανές να προξενήσουν την προβαλλόμενη από τους ενάγοντες ζημία, τα δικαιώματα προσβάσεως στις παροχές κοινωνικής ασφαλίσεως και τις κοινωνικές υπηρεσίες δεν συνιστούν απόλυτα προνόμια.

Πράγματι, η άσκησή τους μπορεί να περιοριστεί, όπως προβλέπει το άρθρο 52, παράγραφος 1, του Χάρτη των Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων, εφόσον τούτο δικαιολογείται από σκοπούς γενικού συμφέροντος που επιδιώκει η Ένωση και οι περιορισμοί είναι αναγκαίοι και ανταποκρίνονται πραγματικά στους ως άνω σκοπούς.

via Το Ευρωδικαστήριο απέρριψε τις αγωγές Ελλήνων συνταξιούχων για τις περικοπές

For A Treaty Democratizing Euro Area Governance – (T-Dem)

However scattered they may be, these different policies are truly ‘governed’, as a hard core emerged from the ever closer union of national and European economic and financial bureaucracies – French and German national treasuries, ECB executive board, senior economic officials from the European Commission. As matters stand, this is where the Euro Area is supposedly governed and where the proper political tasks of coordination, mediation and balancing among the current economic and social interests are carried out. In 2012, as he gave up reforming the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance, a cornerstone of this Euro Area governance, François Hollande contributed to consolidating this new power structure. From then onwards, this European executive pole has only seen its competences expand. Over a decade, its scope for intervention has become significant, ranging from ‘budgetary consolidation’ (austerity) policies to far-reaching coordination of national economic policies (Six Pack and Two Pack), the set-up of rescue plans for member states facing financial distress (Memorandum and Troika), the supervision of all private banks.

via For A Treaty Democratizing Euro Area Governance – (T-Dem)