Paul Krugman examines the utter folly of the austerity approach taken by the EC toward the now-admitted shrinking of its nations’ economies. Read his lament in his column Pain Without Gain. In summary, Krugman asserts
For things didn’t have to be this bad. Greece would have been in deep trouble no matter what policy decisions were taken, and the same is true, to a lesser extent, of other nations around Europe’s periphery. But matters were made far worse than necessary by the way Europe’s leaders, and more broadly its policy elite, substituted moralizing for analysis, fantasies for the lessons of history.
I can’t help believing Krugman is right. But I also can’t help seeing through the façade to the bare fact that the Euro-banksters know exactly what they are doing. And there is no assurance, no commitment from leadership, that things won’t continue getting worse, or that that leadership will even try to make them better. David Dayen of FDL offers this observation:
I don’t know how many Eurozone finance meetings have been seen as consequential, but we’ve got another one today, with the Greek bailout as the main topic. Greek leaders hope that the finance ministers will approve the bailout, after they gave final assent to austerity measures. CNBC quotes officials saying the chances are “little higher than 50-50.”
The fundamentals of depression economics have been known for at least seven decades since America and Europe addressed the last great one. What to do is well-known. What not to do is presumably equally well-known. And yet European and American leaders alike, political and financial leaders, are approaching the problem exactly backward to the way that both Keynesian theory and actual experience would indicate. So I can only conclude that the 1% simply don’t give a damn what happens to the 99%, as long as the 1% lead lives of ease and comfort.
All I can say is that they’d better assemble good security armies at their gates. When the social fabric and the social contract begin to fray, so do reasonable expectations of orderly behavior. They want us to sit down and STFU while they hoard for themselves all the goodies we produce? Good luck with that!
CORRECTION: of course it should be not “Foolishness” as I originally misquoted but “Foolery, sir.” It would help if I looked things up even when I’m in a hurry.