Rodomi pranešimai su žymėmis Neokolonializmas. Rodyti visus pranešimus
Rodomi pranešimai su žymėmis Neokolonializmas. Rodyti visus pranešimus


John Harvey apie neoliberalizmą

Taip jau surėdyta, kad žmonėms reikia turėti nuomonę apie dalykus, kurių jie negali suprasti. Nebūtina aiškintis priežasčių, užtenka konstatuoti, kad nuo pat vaikystės turime keisčiausių nuomonių apie aplinkinį pasaulį, kurios mums visai netrukdo, o net padeda gyventi.

Šulinyje gyvena boba žaliaakė.
Vaikučius randa kopūstuose.
Valgyk košytę, augsi didelis.
Dovanėles atnešė zuikis nuo Kalėdų senelio.
... evoliucija tikėjimo tvirtybės išbandymui...
... oi, koks panašus į tėvelį...

Galime tikėti įvairiausiais dalykais, jeigu tai padeda ar bent netrukdo gyventi.

Naujienų filtre ką tik iškrito puikiai surašytas John Harvey paaiškinimas, kad neoliberalizmas jau visiškai trukdo.
Ireland: No more austerity (and dump the euro)
Just days ago, it was reported that Ireland appears to be in recession once again (Ireland falls back into recession). How can this be given the rapid growth of the Celtic Tiger just a few years ago? Actually, this comes as no surprise to many economists because the so-called solutions being implemented are a function of the very same principles that caused the collapse in the first place. Unless a significant about-turn is executed, stagnation, emigration, and unemployment will continue for years to come.

That culprit is the philosophy of neoliberalism. It argues, among other things, that unregulated financial markets efficiently price assets, higher profits are good for everyone as they lead to increased employment and wages (the so-called trickle down effect), and governments represent a net drag on economic activity. Neoliberalism has been a powerful force driving world economic policy since the 1980s and as such laid the groundwork for many of the problems we are experiencing today. Ireland was not immune to these influences and, as a consequence, policy makers lowered corporate tax rates, made transfer pricing rules business-friendly, and adopted a largely hands-off approach to financial regulation (even when improprieties emerged). Dropping the punt in favor of the euro was also seen as a sign of economic responsibility because it linked Irish policy to that of the fiscally-prudent Germans.


Propagandos pergalės. Degradavimas gerėja.

2013 m. birželio 3 d Europos centrinio banko vadovas: atsigavimas – jau čia pat
Europos centriniam bankui (ECB) sušvelninus savo monetarinę politiką ir išaugus paklausai eksporto rinkose, euro zonos ekonomika antrąjį šių metų pusmetį ims atsigauti, apie tai pirmadienį kalbėdamas tarptautinėje finansų konferencijoje Šanchajuje sakė ECB vadovas Mario Draghi.

"Ekonominė situacija euro zonoje tebėra sudėtinga, bet atsirado galimos stabilizacijos požymių, ir nuo antrojo šių metų pusmečio prognozuojamas laipsniškas atsigavimas", - sakė jis.

ECB vadovas taip pat paragino problemines ES šalis dėti daugiau pastangų sumažinti savo šalies biudžeto deficitą.

[...] "Šalys gali vykdyti reformas be OMT ir išsaugoti savo ekonominį suverenumą, arba jos gali pertvarkyti savo ekonomiką su OMT pagalba ir atsisakyti dalies savo ekonominio suverenumo, - M. Draghi žodžius, pasakytus tarptautinėje finansų konferencijoje Šanchajuje, cituoja "Associated Press".
Austerity Blitz: Eurozone Notes From Beyond the Grave
Tuesday, 02 July 2013, by CJ Polychroniou, Truthout
The capacity of the political elite to manipulate public opinion should never be underestimated. A glaring example is the case of Greece, where the government's propaganda in portraying an economic catastrophe and the conversion of a sovereign nation into a banana republic as a "success story" seems to be paying off dividends, as the latest polls show the gap between the conservative party and the Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, widening. French President Francois Hollande, who managed to become the most unpopular French president after only a few months in power, seemed to be following the same route when he declared on a recent trip to Japan that the euro zone crisis is over

[...] leading actors in the EU /.../ opted from the start to seek to exorcise the demons of financial instability and turmoil not through the use of expansionary fiscal policy tools, but by reliance on tough austerity measures and mindless fiscal consolidation. They do this without any consideration at all for the damage these policies inflict on human lives and the social fabric of societies in general. As one major study pointedly reveals, austerity indeed kills.(1)

[...] Lacking a federal structure and a democratic form of governance, the Euroland has evolved into a peculiar type of an empire whereby the core seeks to maintain its privileged position by pursuing policies detrimental to the periphery. Hence the great imbalances in the euro zone and the widening divide between North and South; hence also the conversion of the euro into a currency with a double function: providing a competitive advantage for the advanced nations of the North and serving as an albatross around the neck of the less developed nations of the South.

In the course of the crisis, the core has also attempted to convert the peripherals into colonies as a means of controlling the spread of the crisis throughout the euro zone.

[...] policies pursued by Brussels and Berlin are depriving the indebted euro zone member states of their sovereign status and are making a mockery of democratic processes and institutions.

As things stand, the euro zone is doomed to collapse. It lacks a banking or fiscal union and its hegemon is playing the role of a debt collector - all while national economies are collapsing and human lives are being destroyed.


Čekijos centrinis bankas atmetė ECB senjoražo "pasiūlymus"

Centriniai bankai neprivalo turėti jų įsipareigojimus viršijančio turto - savo koordinacines funkcijas gali puikiai atlikti turėdami bet kokio dydžio neigiamą kapitalą. O jeigu galima dirbti be užsienio atsargų, kyla pagrįstas klausimas, kokio velnio centriniam bankui jas kaupti.

Pavyzdžiui Lietuvos bankas deklaruoja šiuo metu turįs ~19 vertės tarptautinių atsargų. Kas nors suvokia, kam jos reikalingos? Valiutos stabilumui palaikyti? Ar tikrai verta vardan itin stabilaus lito kurso ne itin stabilaus euro atžvilgiu laikyti įšaldžius tokias atsargas? Kai 2009-ųjų pradžioje, paties didžiausio krizės nuosmukio metu, Lietuvai vadovaujantys tešlagalviai priėmė "herojišką" sprendimą "išlaikyti valiutos stabilumą", ar LB atsargos buvo kam nors panaudotos?

Ne. "Stabilumą išlaikė" sužlugdydami ekonomiką ir praskolindami valstybę. Centrinio banko atsargų piršteliu paliest nedrįso.

Sveiko proto testas: a) užsienio skola auga, b) centrinis bankas prisisūdęs užsienio aktyvų. Ką daryti?

Mokomės iš Čekijos (Dirk Ehnts):

There was a dispute some time ago between the ECB and the Czech Central Bank, which is described by Karl Wheelan in paper from November 2012:
The final argument, which Buiter and Rahbari advocate as a more convincing one, is perhaps best illustrated via an ongoing dispute between the ECB and the Czech National Bank. The Eurosystem has no legal requirement that its participating central banks have positive capital. Nonetheless, in its 2010 and 2012 Convergence Reports, the ECB has admonished the Czech National Bank because it has a negative capital position. Specifically, ECB (2010) recommends that the negative capital situation should be rectified “in order to comply with the principle of financial independence.”
According to this argument, negative capital compromises a central bank’s independence because it requires them at some point to request funds from the government to restore their positive capital position. Governments could then look for more influence over monetary policy in return for honouring this request. However, this is a completely circular argument. It relies on the assumption that positive central bank capital is required, so central banks must request recapitalisation and have their independence compromised. If positive capital is not required, then no request for recapitalisation is required and independence is not compromised.
Consistent with this point, the Czech National Bank has issued a statement (CNB, 2010) to say that it considers the ECB’s statement “completely unacceptable”. Specifically, it notes that “Throughout its existence, its capital position has never undermined its independence or limited its decision-making and operational capacity in any way. The CNB is therefore convinced that there can be no doubt about its legal and factual independence. Negative capital presents no problem for the CNB, and the central bank is able to meet its obligations.”
Lietuvis, prisiklausęs pasakų apie lito padengimą užsienio aktyvais ir savarankiškos centrinio banko politikos negalimumą turėtų krist iš kėdės iš pavydo. Čekams galima, o mums ne? Kodėl?

(Todėl, kad pinigų politikos prioritetą teikiant ne nacionaliniams, o neaišku kieno interesams, nebegalima nieko - negalima CB aktyvų investuoti neaptarnaujant svetimo senjoražo, negalima valstybinio sektoriaus lėšų nelaikyti užsienio savininkų bankuose, negalima turėti valstybinio komercinio banko).

Neseniai į akį krito 'interfluidity' Steve Randy Waldman replika neigiamo CB kapitalo adresu. Monetary policy for the 21st century:
There is a theory that the value of a currency is somehow related to the strength of the issuing central bank’s balance sheet, so a currency issued against fictional “goodwill” would quickly become worthless. Suffice it to say that, with respect to non-redeemable fiat currencies, there is absolutely no evidence for this theory. There is no evidence, for example, that the purchasing power of the US dollar has any relationship whatsoever to the Fed’s holdings of gold or foreign exchange reserves. The assets of existing central banks are mostly loans denominated in the currency the bank itself can produce at will. You may argue that those assets are nevertheless “real”, because repayments to the central bank will be with money earned from real activity. But that assumes what we are trying to explain, that people are willing surrender real goods and services in exchange for the bank’s scrip. Perhaps fiat currency derives its value from coercive taxation by government, as the MMT-ers maintain. Perhaps the imprimatur of the state serves as an arbitrary focal point for the coordination equilibrium required for a common medium of exchange. I don’t know what makes fiat currency valuable, but I do know that the real asset portfolio of the issuing central bank has very little to do with it.
Žinia, kai ekonominė teorija trukdo kreivai realybei, realybei nuo to nei šilta, nei šalta.
So, there is no problem with negative equity at the ECB, it seems. It’s just that the rules – once again – that had been put into place do not allow the ECB to function properly as a central bank. Without a major change in the rules regarding the ECB the crisis will never stop. The existing system is faulty and only “works” because Mario Draghi broke the rules. “Works” means here that the financial system does not collapse. However, the problems in the real economy are still there. The euro zone is in recession, some countries have mass unemployment and young people face the worst job market since the end of WW II.
Yra įvairių argumentų. Norint iš čekų ko išmokti, reikėtų galvoti. Galvojimas eikvoja energiją. Šuo kariamas pripranta.


Išgirtasis vokiškasis modelis

Bill Mitchell apie neoliberalizmo "laimėjimus" Vokietijoje:
(kopijuoju begėdiškai didelį teksto fragmentą, nenaudodamas 'blockquote')
First, that 63-letter word. The Age reports (June 4, 2013) – Sixty-three-character word is now verboten that:
Germany’s longest word – Rindfleischetikettierungsuberwachungsaufgabenubertragungsgesetz, the 63-letter title of a law about beef – has ceased to exist.
That is a long word. Apparently, it was not in the dictionary but was in official usage.
What about this German word?
That seems to be around 93 characters.
But other things are getting smaller in Germany as well.
The Wall Street Journal article (May 29, 2013) – ‘Minijobs’ Lift Employment But Mask German Weakness – tells us that the upbeat talk about Germany as a success surrounded by failure is somewhat mistaken.
It does have a relatively low unemployment rate (6.9 per cent in May 2013). But:
… nearly one in five working Germans, or about 7.4 million people, hold a so-called “minijob,” a form of marginal employment that allows someone to earn up to €450($580) a month free of tax.
Minijobs pay low wages and do not provide the standard statutory benefits (holiday pay etc).
The neo-liberal apologists claim the minijobs satisfy the preferences of workers for flexible casual work. But the reality is different.
They become just another rationing device when aggregate demand is too low and lead to rising inequality and diminished investment in human capital.
The official data shows that:
While Germany’s top earners among full-time workers who contribute to the social security system saw pay rise 25% between 1999 and 2010, salaries in the lowest quintile increased roughly 7.5% … After inflation of about 18% during that period, Germany’s lowest wages dropped significantly.
The minijobs were part of the Hartz reforms, which I briefly discuss below.
The neo-liberals also claimed they formed part of the “stepping stone” upgrading where a young person could first take a casual job and then progress up to more regular, high paid positions.
The evidence in Germany (and everywhere for that matter) disputes this claim.
The point is that part of the Euro crisis that is least reported is the way that Germany responded to the loss of its exchange rate. Previously, the Bundesbank had manipulated the Deutsch mark parity to ensure the German export sector remained very competitive. That is one of the reasons they became an export powerhouse. It is the same strategy that the Chinese are now following and being criticised for by the Europeans and others.
Once the Germans lost control of the exchange rate by signing up to the EMU they had to manipulate other “cost” variables to remain competitive.
So the Germans were aggressive in implementing their so-called “Hartz package of welfare reforms”. A few years ago we did a detailed study of the so-called Hartz reforms in the German labour market. One publicly available Working Paper is available describing some of that research.
The Hartz reforms were the exemplar of the neo-liberal approach to labour market deregulation. They were an integral part of the German government’s “Agenda 2010″. They are a set of recommendations into the German labour market resulting from a 2002 commission, presided by and named after Peter Hartz, a key executive from German car manufacturer Volkswagen.
The recommendations were fully endorsed by the Schroeder government and introduced in four trenches: Hartz I to IV. The reforms of Hartz I to Hartz III, took place in January 2003-2004, while Hartz IV began in January 2005. The reforms represent extremely far reaching in terms of the labour market policy that had been stable for several decades.
The Hartz process was broadly inline with reforms that have been pursued in other industrialised countries, following the OECD’s job study in 1994; a focus on supply side measures and privatisation of public employment agencies to reduce unemployment. The underlying claim was that unemployment was a supply-side problem rather than a systemic failure of the economy to produce enough jobs.
The reforms accelerated the casualisation of the labour market (so-called mini/midi jobs) and there was a sharp fall in regular employment after the introduction of the Hartz reforms.
The rapid increase in the minijobs is a reflection of these deep-seated changes and have created a situation where an increasing (and sizeable) proportion of German workers are now excluded from enjoying the benefits of national income growth in that nation.
The German approach overall had overtones of the old canard of a federal system – “smokestack chasing”. One of the problems that federal systems can encounter is disparate regional development (in states or sub-state regions). A typical issue that arose as countries engaged in the strong growth period after World War 2 was the tax and other concession that states in various countries offered business firms in return for location.
There is a large literature which shows how this practice not only undermines the welfare of other regions in the federal system but also compromise the position of the state doing the “chasing”.
But in the context of the EMU, the way in which the Germans pursued the Hartz reforms not only meant that they were undermining the welfare of the other EMU nations but also droving the living standards of German workers down.
And then the crisis emerged amidst all this.


Dvipusių susitarimų spaudyklė :: Franco-German challenge to eurozone bank rescue plan
The two also agreed to back a more German vision of the eurozone’s fiscal future. Paris, with the backing of Brussels, had sought a substantial eurozone budget that could be used to provide counter-cyclical payments to struggling countries, such as a eurozone-wide unemployment insurance scheme.

Instead, the two sides agreed to explore a less-ambitious “specific fund” that could only be tapped to provide incentives for countries to agree tough economic reform measures.

Such reform measures would be part of new “contractual arrangements” between national governments and Brussels that would be akin to the detailed reform agenda’s currently agreed only with bailout countries.

The contractual arrangements and a limited incentive fund have long been part of Berlin’s agenda for eurozone reform.
Jeigu eurozona išties būtų į politinį solidarumą nukreiptas projektas, centralizuotos socialinės programos, finansuojamos per bendrą europinį deficitinį biudžetą būtų pats tas sprendimas. Prancūziška vizija - pusė žingsnio teisinga linkme.

O jeigu eurozoną suvokti kaip neokolonijinį projektą, vokiškoji strategija - way to go. Rinkti iš periferijos kanukų neįgyvendinamus politinius įsipareigojimus ir dusinti. (3% fiskaliniai deficitai eurozonos mastu yra neįmanomas, nepasiekiamas taikinys).>

Yanis Varoufakis parinko metaforą:
Suppose that I were to demand of you that, by the end of August, you should be able to run the 100m sprint in less than 10’’. Suppose further that, to give you a firm incentive to lift your ‘game’, I whip you continually. Alas, August is approaching and your performance in fact declines, as the whipping has drained your body and spirit; in addition to the soul destroying common secret that you never really stood a chance of running 100m in less than 10’’. So, faced with this grim reality-check, I announce a new timeframe: While I am not reducing the frequency or severity of my whipping, I give you more time to achieve the impossible task. You now have until the end of… December to reach your ‘target’!
ir paprastai paaiškino, kaip diržų veržimasis Europoje veikia:
Austerity is not about low deficits. Low deficits are an end; an objective. Austerity is a policy; a means-to-an-end, where the end is low deficits. Austerity is thus defined as the attempt to reduce the deficit by cutting spending and boosting taxes.

Now, the trouble with austerity is that, when implemented in a time of private sector deleveraging (i.e. when firms and households are struggling to cut down on expenditure and reduce their indebtedness) austerity is self-defeating as it reduces tax revenues faster than (or as fast as) it shrinks expenditures. So, the result of austerity can often result in high deficits and invariably fails to reduce overall debt levels! Precisely what happened in Spain, in the UK, everywhere it has been practised since the Crash of 2008.

To sum up, austerians point to sustained deficits and debt levels as evidence that austerity has not been practised. The reality is precisely the opposite: The stubbornness of deficits and debts is the result of austerity that was implemented energetically and failed spectacularly – as predicted.
Vokiška prievartinių reformų politika problemos nesprendžia. Reikalingi didesni deficitai ir fiskalinis perskirstymas.


Wynne Godley ir europietiškos problemos

Ralph Musgrave — European Commission tells the UK what do about youth unemployment.
That’s “European Commission” as in “we lot who have managed to create 50% youth unemployment in Greece, 50% in Spain and 36% in Portugal, so we obviously know what we’re talking about”.

See: Council Recommendation on the United Kingdom’s 2013 national reform programme

The European Commission’s – er – “advice” then descends from the ridiculous to the totally ridiculous: it tries to tell the UK what do about it’s deficit. Here it follows the standard IMF / OECD / Pete Peterson / Bowles and Simpson / Rogoff and Reinhart line, namely that a country should have a PLAN for deficit reduction.

The whole notion of a PLAN for reducing the debt or deficit is nonsense because it fails to get a point made by Keynes: “Look after unemployment and the budget will look after itself”.

In other words, a monetarily sovereign government should pitch it’s deficit (or surplus) at a level that reduces unemployment as far as is possible without exacerbating inflation too much. If the private sector happens to be in a fit of irrational exuberance, government may well need to run a surplus in order to confiscate financial assets from the private sector and quieten things down. Conversely, if the private sector is in subdued mood, government will need to run a deficit so as to boost demand and feed financial assets into private sector pockets.
And since it is impossible to predict what mood the private sector will be in in twelve months time (never mind three years time), it’s impossible to say what size deficit (or surplus) will be suitable in twelve months’ time or three year’s time.
Paskutinė pastraipa yra paprastas paaiškinimas, kodėl metinės BVP prognozės ir metiniai biudžetų planavimai negali būti "atsakingos" politikos dalimi. Prognozavimas tokiems laikotarpiams neveikia.

Jei kam įdomu, dedu nuorodą į 1998 metais publikuotą Wynne Godley ir George McCarthy straipsnį "Fiscal Policy Will Matter", kuriame jie

a) pademonstravo stock-flow consistent modelį, leidžiantį gana tiksliai prognozuoji JAV BVP pusę metų į priekį. Amerikos ekonomika didžiausia pasaulyje ir gana uždara, todėl tuos pusę metų galima laikyti ilgiausiu įmanomu prognozės laikotarpiu apskritai. Mažesnėms ir atviresnėms ekonomikoms prognozės būtų dar trumpesnės (jeigu dar būtų laiku prieinama joms reikalinga statistika;

b) suformulavo teiginį, dažnai vadinamą Godley teorema, pasak kurio bet kurios ekonomikos BVP augimui būtinas valdžios deficito plius eksporto santykio su mokesčiais ir importu augimas.
This concept of fiscal stance is not new. It is thirty years since Carl Christ, of Johns Hopkins University, had the brilliant insight that should an economy ever reach stationary equilibrium, all stock variables as well as all flow variables would be constant; and that if all stock variables, including government debt, were constant, government receipts would have to equal government payments. It would then follow that if the economy were moving toward stock-flow equilibrium and if taxes were levied as a proportion of income, the GDP of a (closed) economy would always be tracking, perhaps with a long lag, government outlays divided by the average tax rate – the very same concept that we call fiscal stance. Therefore, a necessary condition for the expansion of the economy, at least in the long term, is that the fiscal stance should rise: Government expenditure must rise relative to the average tax rate. If the tax rate were held constant, government expenditure would have to rise absolutely for output to grow; if government expenditure were held constant, the tax rate would have to fall.
Christ’s finding was confirmed in two famous articles, Blinder and Solow (1973) and Tobin and Buiter (1976). But this whole line of argument has never been influential in the policy discussion and now seems to have disappeared from the literature. Perhaps the notion of a stock-flow equilibrium is too much of a will-o’-the-wisp, and the lags that would lead the economy to it so long and complex that this concept of fiscal stance has been thought to have no operational significance. Our first major contention is that the Christ conclusion, suitably adapted, has a practical application of decisive importance.”
Jeigu jau pradėjom, pora papildančių nuorodų tekste:
The result of ignoring the accounting matrix is to forget we must have an ever increasing deficit in order to for the economy to grow. Reading through the papers by Buiter and Blinder, it’s easy to they knew this at some point roughly 40 years ago, but have forgotten it now.

(Update: Ramaman provides us the links to the papers Godley mentions. Blinder and Solow is here :Does Fiscal Policy Matter? (1972). Buiter and Tobin: Long Run Effects of Fiscal and Monetary Policy on Aggregate Demand (1974) )
Grįžkime prie eurozonos realijų. Žinomame 1992 metų straipsnyje Maastricht and All That Godley prognozavo dabartines eurozonos problemas
Some writers (such as Samuel Brittan and Sir Douglas Hague) have seriously suggested that EMU, by abolishing the balance of payments problem in its present form, would indeed abolish the problem, where it exists, of persistent failure to compete successfully in world markets. But as Professor Martin Feldstein pointed out in a major article in the Economist (13 June), this argument is very dangerously mistaken. If a country or region has no power to devalue, and if it is not the beneficiary of a system of fiscal equalisation, then there is nothing to stop it suffering a process of cumulative and terminal decline leading, in the end, to emigration as the only alternative to poverty or starvation.
ir nurodė gilumines priežastis
The central idea of the Maastricht Treaty is that the EC countries should move towards an economic and monetary union, with a single currency managed by an independent central bank. But how is the rest of economic policy to be run? As the treaty proposes no new institutions other than a European bank, its sponsors must suppose that nothing more is needed. But this could only be correct if modern economies were self-adjusting systems that didn’t need any management at all.

I am driven to the conclusion that such a view – that economies are self-righting organisms which never under any circumstances need management at all – did indeed determine the way in which the Maastricht Treaty was framed. It is a crude and extreme version of the view which for some time now has constituted Europe’s conventional wisdom (though not that of the US or Japan) that governments are unable, and therefore should not try, to achieve any of the traditional goals of economic policy, such as growth and full employment. All that can legitimately be done, according to this view, is to control the money supply and balance the budget. It took a group largely composed of bankers (the Delors Committee) to reach the conclusion that an independent central bank was the only supra-national institution necessary to run an integrated, supra-national Europe.

But there is much more to it all. It needs to be emphasised at the start that the establishment of a single currency in the EC would indeed bring to an end the sovereignty of its component nations and their power to take independent action on major issues. As Mr Tim Congdon has argued very cogently, the power to issue its own money, to make drafts on its own central bank, is the main thing which defines national independence. If a country gives up or loses this power, it acquires the status of a local authority or colony. Local authorities and regions obviously cannot devalue. But they also lose the power to finance deficits through money creation while other methods of raising finance are subject to central regulation. Nor can they change interest rates. As local authorities possess none of the instruments of macro-economic policy, their political choice is confined to relatively minor matters of emphasis – a bit more education here, a bit less infrastructure there. I think that when Jacques Delors lays new emphasis on the principle of ‘subsidiarity’, he is really only telling us we will be allowed to make decisions about a larger number of relatively unimportant matters than we might previously have supposed. Perhaps he will let us have curly cucumbers after all. Big deal!
Prieš dvidešimt metų pažadėjo, kad murkdysimės ir paaiškino kodėl. Deja, neapsiriko.


Neokolonializmas. Trumpai ir aiškiai apie Vokietijos euro politiką

Levy ekonomikos instituto bloge pristatomas C. J. Polychroniou straipsnis The New Rome. The EU and the Pillage of the Indebted Countries.

[...] with the eurozone mired in recession (the latest numbers from Eurostat are here) and a deep depression in Greece, it might look like a failed experiment.  But it only looks this way, Polychroniou suggests, if you think of economic growth and the wellbeing of the average worker as among the primary goals of the project.  The setup of the EMU is not the result of some set of technical errors or oversights.  It is consistent with a long-developing attempt, culminating in the Maastricht Treaty, at transforming a social market economy into a laissez-faire market economy:  “it stemmed,” Polychroniou writes, “from the very premises of the fundamentally neoliberal economic thinking that had begun to take hold of the mindset of European policymakers in the 1980s.”  If anything, he argues, the struggles in the eurozone, particularly on the periphery, are being seized on as an opportunity to accelerate this transformation, with Germany playing the role of “neocolonialist” in the process:
Germany has adopted toward the indebted eurozone member-states the same policy it carried out with regard to East Germany after unification: the destruction of its industrial base and the conversion of the former communist nation into a satellite of Berlin. The bank rescues masquerade as the rescue of nations, and are followed by the enforcement of unbearable austerity measures to ensure repayment of the “rescue” loans. Then comes the implementation of strategic economic policies aimed at reducing the standard of living for the working population and the shrinking of the welfare state, complete labor flexibility, and the sale of public assets, including state-controlled energy companies and ports. This constitutes the German strategy for pillaging the debt-laden economies of the Mediterranean region.