Thursday, November 19, 2015

We Want Our Markka Back!

The thing that Finland is most famous for is their schools.  And with good reason.  Their splendid performance in internationally administered achievements tests is easily verified by visiting the place.  Those educated people not only did well in school, they keep learning all their lives.

So the Finns demonstrate what is possible when it comes to democratic self-government.  If they get something wrong, there are usually pretty good reasons.  And easily the most disastrous public choices they ever made were their decisions to join the EU and adopt the Euro.  I asked one of those scary-smart Finns a few years back why they did something so certain to mess up their lives.  Well, he was not about to agree with assessment that the EU was a disaster waiting to happen.
  • The educated class were nearly unanimous in agreeing that joining EU was an opportunity not to be missed.  Add into the mix the support of the big exporters like Nokia and almost no one dared to question the wisdom of EU membership.
  • Finland still nurses some old wounds and chief among them is the very real lack of respect she feels she has earned.  Hardly anyone can find them on a map.  It was the late 19th century before the Finnish language was used at their national university.  The phenomenal management of post WW II relations with USSR was turned into the insult "Finlandization."  Nokia was mistaken for being Japanese by almost everyone.  Etc.  Joining the EU was designed to fix that problem because Finland was being asked to join one of the more exclusive clubs in the world.  
  • Finland's intellectual classes had no problem with the neoliberal assumptions built into the Euro.  The left in Europe is notoriously weak on monetary policy and the right was pretty enthusiastic about the tight monetary constraints.  Why should we object to the monetary constraints? they asked.  Finland is already managed this conservatively.  I was informed that the Finnish Central Bank had been closed and their lushly appointed building was now being used by the University of Helsinki.  What could go wrong?
Well, actually quite a bit.  Finland now finds her economy in deep trouble.  Nokia is in ruins—rolled over by the smartphone revolution.  The frugal Finns have been forced to cosign for the debts of places like Greece.  And then the most unnecessary disaster—the Eurozone decision to start an economic war on Russia.  Without trade with Russia, Finland's economy is crippled.

I'd like to say I predicted all this trouble but I did not.  I merely pointed out that any currency designed by a University of Chicago extremist like the Euro, had a truly gruesome track record.  Neoliberalism would fail because it was mathematically insane.  The rest of those disasters were essentially random.  And I simply cannot believe that those Finns won't be trying to maintain their commercial ties with Russia.

We Want Our Markka Back! 50,000 Finns Sign Petition to Leave Eurozone

© AFP 2015 / DANIEL ROLAND, 15.11.2015

A petition for Finland to leave the Eurozone has reached more than 50,000 signatures, triggering a compulsory parliamentary debate.

A campaign for Finland to leave the Eurozone has gained more than 50,000 signatures for its proposal, the number of votes that forces parliament to debate its proposal for a national referendum on the issue.

The petition was organized by Finnish MEP Paavo Vayrynen, a veteran politician and former presidential candidate from the Center Party, who has also served as a Finland's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

It requests parliament to order a national referendum on the Eurozone, of which Finland is a founder member. In 1998 Finnish parliamentarians decided to join the single currency, and the following year the euro replaced the markka, Finland's currency since 1860.

"The euro area has not developed as was presented to the parliament in 1998. Affiliation with it has caused financial loss to Finland, unemployment and bad government deficit," the European Citizen's Initiative reads.

"Member states in distress are being financially supported in a way that violates the EU Treaties. These support mechanisms are being strengthened, and put in place on a permanent basis. The euro area decision making system is being changed in a way that would essentially reduce the economic and state independence of Finland."
Vayrynen is continuing to collect signatures for the petition, which Finns were able to sign both on paper and electronically.

"The collection will continue. Some of the signatures may be discarded because some people could have signed the initiative twice," said the MEP, who began collecting signatures for the petition four months ago, and had collected 42,000 signatures after two months.

The signatures are currently being verified by Finland's Population Register Center, which will then forward the initiative to parliament. more

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