Irish Left Review · We Need a Plan B 16 Flares Twitter 8 Facebook 8 16 Flares × Here’s the letter published today in the Irish Times calling for an alternative to present economic policy. The letter is signed by 60 community activists, academics, leaders of advocacy groups & NGOs and writers & commentators. Conor McCabe and I have signed it too. Sir, – It is now clear that austerity policies are not working. The domestic economy will remain recession this year. We need a Plan B. Such a Plan B must include a substantial investment programme directed at infrastructure, education and labour skills. We need to redistribute income from high incomes and large wealth-holdings to low- and average income-earners, whether they are in work or reliant upon social protection, or both. This should be done through new taxation measures on capital, property and high incomes. We need to face up to the burden private banking debt is placing on the economy. Repeating past failures is no longer an option.
The case against Europe: MEP Daniel Hannan reveals the disturbing contempt for democracy at the heart of the EU By Daniel Hannan Published: 22:04 GMT, 14 August 2012 | Updated: 09:08 GMT, 17 August 2012 Over 13 years as an MEP, Daniel Hannan has witnessed first hand how Brussels works. Now he has written a forensic analysis of why it’s rotten to the core. There is a popular joke in Brussels that if the European Union were a country applying to join itself, it would be rejected on the grounds of being undemocratic. It’s absolutely true - and, believe me, it isn’t funny. Democracy is not simply a periodic right to mark a cross on a ballot paper. A protester places a EU flag on a bonfire during a riot outside the European Council hall in Gothenburg Sweden It also depends upon a relationship between government and governed, on a sense of common affinity and allegiance. It requires what the political philosophers of Ancient Greece called a ‘demos’, a unit with which we the people can identify. Lacking any natural loyalty, they have to buy the support of their electorates. Got that?
Eurozone unemployment hits new record 31 January 2012Last updated at 11:44 Unemployment is at the highest rate since the euro was launched in 1999 Unemployment in the eurozone hit a record high at the end of last year, the Eurostat agency has said. The jobless rate in the 17 countries that use the single currency was 10.4% in December, unchanged from November's figure which was revised up from 10.3%. Some 16.5 million people were out of work in the eurozone in December, up 751,000 on the year before. The highest unemployment rate remains in Spain (22.9%), while the lowest is in Austria (4.1%). Unemployment has been rising throughout 2011, as the debt crisis in the region has continued. Investment delays Guillaume Menuet, economist at Citigroup, said he expected the number of people out of work to increase throughout 2012. "In many cases you find firms continuing to delay investment projects. In the 27 EU countries, the unemployment rate was 9.9% in December, with 23.8 million people out of work. Deteriorating situation
20 Signs That Europe Is Plunging Into A Full-Blown Economic Depression An economic nightmare is descending on Europe. With each passing month, the economic numbers across Europe get even worse. At this point it is becoming extremely difficult for anyone to deny that Europe is plunging into a full-blown economic depression. In fact, some parts of Europe are already there. In Spain the overall unemployment rate is over 22 percent, and in Greece one out of every five retail establishments has already been closed down. The frightening thing is that we are just at the beginning of the process for most European nations. The tax increases and budget cuts that are being implemented right now in Europe will be felt for years to come. The following are 20 signs that Europe is plunging into a full-blown economic depression…. #1 The unemployment rate for those between the ages of 16 and 24 is 28 percent in Italy, 43 percent in Greece and 51 percent in Spain. #2 Overall, the unemployment rate for those under the age of 25 in the EU is 22.7 percent.
The Cedar Lounge Revolution Draghi's new plan to save the euro: 'Goooood morning, Vietnam!' This is an edited version of my Eurowatch column in Friday's Irish Daily Mail -- Here, in just one line, is Mario Draghi’s latest plan to save the euro, as announced yesterday in Frankfurt: the ECB will buy lots of Spanish and Italian bonds once their governments promise to embrace eurozone-approved austerity. There were some garnishes added, but that was about it. If you are thinking the plan sounds familiar, you are right. In May 2010 and in August 2011 the ECB also started bond-buying programmes, meant to do exactly what this new plan is meant to do: let the markets know the euro is irreversible, let investors know that the ECB will not let the cost of Spanish and Italian sovereign debt rise to impossible levels, and tell the markets to back off. The plan didn’t work in May 1010. It didn’t work in August 2011. But Mr Draghi thinks it will work this time, because this time it’s going to be different. But let’s say the justices at the court say the ESM can go ahead. Start with Spain.
Satyajit Das: The impossible puzzle: how to reduce debt without growth - Business Comment - Business In practice, the level of sovereign debt acceptable to investors is more complex, depending on a combination of factors. One factor is the currency of that debt. The US, Japan and the UK have all benefited from the fact that its sovereign debt is denominated in its own currency. Where it borrows in its own currency, a sovereign's capacity to borrow is only constrained by the willingness of investors to purchase its securities and the cost of that borrowing. Where the borrowing currency is a major reserve currency, used in global trade or favoured as an investment by central banks, the scope for borrowing is higher. Substantial domestic savings, like in Japan, enhances the ability of the government to finance its expenditure. A significant portion of government debt of weaker European states is held by foreign investors – Greece (91 per cent), Ireland (61 per cent), Portugal (53 per cent) and Italy (51 per cent). In contrast, only 28 per cent of Spanish debt is held by foreign investors.
Four legs good, six legs better? EU offers 3 million Euros for research into using insects in foods such as burgers By Rob Waugh Updated: 12:42 GMT, 30 January 2012 A Thai guide eats a grub: Around 2.5 billion people worldwide eat insects The EU will spend three million Euros to research 'the potential of insects as an alternative source of protein.' Research projects will be selected this year. Food experts agree that insects would probably have to be disguised for European audiences, so the insect 'food' could be used as an additive in burgers and other fast food. The UN's Food Standards Authority says of the research: 'While insects have not traditionally been used for food in the UK or elsewhere in the European Union, it is estimated that about 2.5 billion people across the world have diets that routinely include insects. 'While many insects are regarded as pests, the UN's Food and Agriculture authority is interested in promoting edible insects as a highly sustainable source of nutrition.' 'Food producers will probably get away with describing it as animal based proteins.