Intentional crisis that got out of hand? Power grab by Germany and will they serve as the patsy of choice again? It’s a shadowy sort of dance we are witnessing in Europe and for many it doesn’t make sense. The Greeks have been used like a sacrificial animal of some sort magnified by their own reluctance to enact structural reforms, the real nub of their problem, and instead have austerity being imposed on them which is essentially deflationary and falls on the general population making them polarize opinion as we have seen between neo-Nazis and anarchist-Marxists. In any event, the stench of nihilism is in the air and it doesn’t smell good. But is Germany acting alone in beating Greece up and now Spain, or are there other forces pulling the strings. Except things may be getting out of hand. The “he had good ideas he just went to far” ended in catastrophe, and in our present post Enlightenment, neo-neo liberal democratic praxis may be shredding on re-entry into the atmosphere. The ghost of Heidegger seems everywhere in the quest for the idyllic old days.
This austerity turning Greece into a pit of starvation and depression, and their resurrection of WWII memories is justified. Should Greece be booted from the EU? Greece is being treated as a kind of example of what happens if you don’t toe the line. And it gives justification to the likes of Thorstein Veblen that democracy would run its course to be replaced by a government by technocracy in a technological age, absent the limited choices and special interests known as window dressing and elected state leaders we presently have. The power of these non-elected institutions, the para-governmental apparatus such as ECB, World Bank, IMF etc. are completely outside the purview of democratic oversight. And it shows. The current problem is not German strength but German timidity. An unwillingness to take up a hegemonic assumption of leadership. They are doing nicely with the current arrangement, but its run its course of subsidizing the southern countries so they can buy luxury goods. There are people in Germany that recognize this as well and the do-little attitude could send the Euro collapsing, the re-dominance of the U.S as world reserve currency. Germany could be much worse off: markets could disappear while a new German currency hits the roof while other currencies are in a race to the bottom. It seems insane, but the “old” German problem, the fall guy could be the crucible in this artificial creation that was the new Europe.
The problem must be approaching the “red zone” , getting close to the precipice, if the Thomson owned Globe and Mail are reporting on it. One of the best articles on the situation by Doug Saunders. What could be added if we take Germany as a metaphor is that the problem is the extremely wealthy have always hoarded their pile going back at least to the Great Depression with elected governments in complicity with them. ( see link at end)
…If you wake up early in Frankfurt, you can drive to Madrid in time to have a late beer, without encountering a border crossing or a currency change along the way. Yet you will traverse an imaginary border between economic miracle and financial catastrophe, between booming Germany, the world’s second-largest exporter, and crisis-ridden Spain, a country so debt-troubled that it is in danger of crashing the euro.
You may notice that many more truckloads of German goods are headed through France to Spain than are going in the opposite direction – a one-way flow of goods and services that is the root cause of this continent-wide crisis, the reason why debt piled up along the Mediterranean coast in the first place….The root problem, however, is not borrowing or banks, but one of the most dangerous dilemmas of our age: People who live in exporting nations don’t spend money. They’re not paid enough to buy imports, so inequality soars and debt piles up….
…Germans prefer a different explanation. Those Europeans along the Mediterranean coast, the story goes, simply gorged themselves on borrowed money and public-sector spending, their economies larded with corruption and inefficiency, and never learned to save money or have a proper private-sector economy. The two economic cultures were incompatible from the beginning, this theory goes, and should never have shared a currency.
That story might be believable if you were driving to Athens. The tiny Greek economy, largely irrelevant to this drama now, did live up to some of those stereotypes. When you come to much larger Spain, you realize it doesn’t tell the whole truth.
There is no obvious reason why Spain should be an economic disaster. It was not a country with high government debt – in fact, it ran surpluses. It was not a country with out-of-control public-sector employment or corruption; in fact, it was considered a lean, clean model country. It was not a corrupt or difficult place to do business, as anyone who has shopped at a Zara clothes store or used the ubiquitous Repsol gas stations will tell you. Its big banks were very solid; one of them, Santander, has bought some of the failed British banks. And its citizens weren’t spendthrifts – Spain’s household saving
te is 18 per cent, higher than Germany’s.
But now Spain is in huge trouble. Its unemployment rate is 24 per cent… A private-sector mortgage debt crisis, caused by the cheap debt flooding in from the north to cover those imbalances, had to be bailed out by the government, adding public debt to the crisis. … almost impossible to pay down the debt or get the productive economy going again.
…It should be obvious that Spain’s problems won’t be solved by slashing government spending – it wasn’t the cause, and cutting it will stall the economy further. Nor will they be solved, in a fundamental way, by increasing it. So the debate over austerity, thrust into the mainstream by the election of French president François Hollande, is somewhat beside the point.His alternative – “growth” – is something almost everyone agrees upon, albeit not enough to renegotiate the austerity-based bailout pact. But they’re talking about different things. For German leaders, it means making the Mediterranean economies more efficient and productive. While countries like Spain do need some reforms, this really misses the point.
What Germany needs, urgently, is to become a consuming nation. It built its post-1990s export boom on artificially low wages. That’s partly why Germans aren’t enjoying their boom as much as you’d think: They’re sitting on a $200-billion pile of cash that grows by almost $25-billion a year as export and debt payments pour in, unable to use it. As the International Monetary Fund has noted, this surplus is a core cause of the continent’s inequality and debt….
…Germany needs to follow the Chinese. Beijing, facing a ruinous surplus four years ago, allowed inflation to take place, wages to rise, and consumerism to become prevalent and therefore its trade surplus to fall close to zero – a much healthier position for everyone. Germany needs to follow this lead. The exporting nations need to inflate their economies, raise their wages, pour investment money abroad, creating markets for the prior victims of their debt. When those victims start selling, the others need to start buying. …Read More:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/doug-saunders/germany-needs-to-loosen-up-and-start-consuming/article2430163/
And this odd theory of Angela Merkel. I have not seen documented proof, however the idea is intriguing. ( see link at end) …
It was in 1954, a child was born, a baby girl, whom the reports repute to be Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany. With the official birthday of July 17, 1954, it is of interest that the Stasi GDR’s file on Angela Merkel, that is currently in the Soviet KGB archives, documents that her birth was on April 20, 1954. If the feared secret police’s citizen’s file in the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (GDR) is correct, then Hitler’s daughter, Angela Merkel was born on 65th anniversary of Adolph Hitler’s birthday on April 20, 1889….
Soon after Angela’s birth, by agreement between the Soviets, the Americans and the Vatican, Merkel was placed in the custody of the GDR Lutheran Church and officially was born on July 17, as Angela Dorothea Kasner, the daughter of Horst Kasner, a Lutheran pastor, and his wife, Herlind an English and Latin teacher. There in the countryside at Templin in East Germany, Merkel was raised about 50 miles north of Berlin, the capital of the socialist German Democratic Republic (GDR).
Even more interesting was that Angela’s mother was a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), whose ideology since 1875, centered upon the principles of Marxism and the interests of the working class and trade unions. In what was known as the Godesberg Program, it was not until 1959, four years after Angela Merkel was born, and placed as an adopted child in the home of a German Pastor, whose wife was an ideological communist, did the SDP of West Germany officially abandon its Marxist principles and the concept of the workers party. Instead, they began to promote its social welfare program. Inherently neutralist, the SDP was initially opposed to the rearmament of Germany with its entrance into NATO. It later came to affirm the reunification of East and West Germany and today is an avid supporter of the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire as it morphed into its final manifestation as the first, and foremost Super-state of the European Union with its military arm as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Soon, the rest of the world will follow in the footsteps of Rome. Read More:http://www.biblesearchers.com/hebrews/jewish/messiahtheprincetemple5.shtml
James Rickards:This highlights the most interesting but least discussed aspect of the international monetary system—the hidden role of gold. The organization itself has the third largest gold hoard in the world, over 2,800 tons, just behind the United States and Germany. It’s interesting that the International Monetary Fund still has this much gold since it officially stopped counting gold as an international reserve asset in 1973. However, individual nations continue to include gold in their reserves for internal purposes.
This brings us back to the curious case of Belgium. Its gross domestic product may be only 20 percent of Brazil’s, but it has almost seven times as much gold—Belgium has over 225 tons and Brazil has only about 33 tons. Indeed the countries that use the euro have a combined gold hoard of over 10,000 tons. This is more that the United States and more than Brazil, India, China, and Russia combined.Read More:http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2012/04/23/the-hidden-role-of-gold-at-the-imf
First, rather than providing peripheral countries with a market for their distress goods, the Germans have been enthusiastically selling their manufactured goods to the periphery. According to Eurostat, Germany’s trade surplus with the rest of the EU grew from 46.4 billion euro in 2000 to 126.5 billion in 2007. The evolution of Germany’s bilateral trade surpluses with the Mediterranean countries is especially revealing. Between 2000 and 2007, Greece’s annual trade deficit with Germany grew from 3 billion euro to 5.5 billion, Italy’s doubled, from 9.6 billion to 19.6 billion, Spain’s almost tripled, from 11 billion to 27.2 billion, and Portugal’s quadrupled, from 1 billion to 4.2 billion. Between 2001 and 2009, moreover, Germany saw its final total consumption fall from 78.5 percent of GDP to 74.5 percent. Its gross savings rate increased from less than 19 percent of GDP to almost 26 percent over the same period.Read More:http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136685/matthias-matthijs-and-mark-blyth/why-only-germany-can-fix-the-euro