Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The neoliberal experiment has failed

Now it needs a proper burial.  But how can that happen when the vast majority of establishment economists are determined to flog that dead horse back to life?  Perhaps by listening to the citizens--you know--democracy.

The Germans have grown tired of the Euro.  According to this article, opposition to the Euro has reached at least 57% of the population.

Demanding the Mark Back
Opposition to the Euro Grows in Germany
By Peter Müller  12/27/2010 
Surveys show that many Germans are worried about the future of the euro, but the country's political parties are not taking their fears seriously. The number of grassroots initiatives against the common currency is increasing, and political observers say a Tea Party-style anti-euro movement could do well.
As a playwright, Rolf Hochhuth knows how to use timing to achieve the greatest possible impact. In the 1960s, he criticized the pope for remaining silent about the Holocaust. When everyone in the world was talking about globalization, he took to the theater stage and unmasked consulting companies like McKinsey as exploitation machines.
Now Hochhuth is campaigning against the euro -- and his stage is Germany's Constitutional Court. "Why should we help rescue the Greeks from their sham bankruptcy?" he asks. "Ever since Odysseus, the world has known that the Greeks are the biggest rascals of all time. How is it even possible -- unless it was premeditated -- for this highly popular tourist destination to go bankrupt?"
In the spring, he joined a group led by Berlin-based professor Markus Kerber that has filed a constitutional complaint against the billions in aid to Greece and the establishment of the European stabilization fund, which was set up in May 2010. Hochhuth wants the deutsche mark back. "I don't know if this is possible. I only know that Germany lived very well with the mark."
It's an opinion that suddenly places this nearly 80-year-old man in a rather unusual position, at least for him: on the side of the majority of Germans.
Better Off with the Mark
Unnerved by shaky, debt-ridden countries and bailout packages worth billions, the majority of Germans want the mark back. In a survey conducted in early December by the polling firm Infratest dimap, 57 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that Germany would have been better off keeping the mark than introducing the euro. Germans, it seems, are gripped once again by their historic fear of inflation: According to the Forschungsgruppe Wahlen polling institute, 82 percent of the population is worried about the stability of their currency.
Now, a network of euro critics is capitalizing on this atmosphere. A group consisting of an aging playwright, a recalcitrant professor, a frustrated member of parliament with the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), the grandson of a former chancellor and a former top manager have decided they don't want the euro anymore -- at least not the way it is now. They are still only united by little more than a common issue, but it wouldn't be the first loose association of individuals that ended up becoming a political party. more
But voting doesn't work so well these days so folks are taking to the streets.  Here is Tony Been explaining that Europe's protests are justified and that demands in streets are key to mankind's future.
And then we have this author who believes that the current economic state is so screwed up, there needs to be a modern Marx or Keynes to come with a new theory to explain it all.  It was precisely this notion that drove me to write Elegant Technology in the first place.  I still believe that book actually accomplished its task.  Unfortunately (I think), I am FAR from being the new Marx or Keynes.
The Economic Crisis and the State of Economics
Waiting for a New Economic Theory
By SASAN FAYAZMANESH   December 21, 2010
Economic theories, for the most part, have emerged in response to particular social situations or governmental policies. For example, Francoise Quesnay’s 18th century Tableau Economique came into being in reaction to the plight of the French peasantry, excessive taxation, and government regulation that followed mercantilist teachings. Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” theory similarly appeared as a response to mercantilist restrictions. It also corresponded to the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, when inventions and innovations made England relatively prosperous. Thomas Robert Malthus’s population and glut theories emerged in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, when migration of peasants to the cities, unemployment, and poverty became rampant. Karl Marx’s version of the labor theory of value was a response to the revolutionary movements in 19th century Europe, as exemplified by the 1848 uprising and the 1871 Paris Commune. John Maynard Keynes’s “general theory” was developed in the midst of the Great Depression and was a response to the laissez faire economics and policies that prevailed at the time.
It is too early to see if the recent economic crisis—which started in the financial sector of the economy and spread to the productive side—will produce any novel theories. What we have seen so far is different economists reciting some old theories and advocating corresponding remedies. This is exemplified by three groups of economists, ranging from the most ardent supporters of laissez faire to those who see no future for capitalism.
The free market advocates still fall back on the marginalist or “neoclassical” theories that have dominated economic teaching since the end of the 19th century (the term “neoclassical” is a misnomer, but it is widely used). This unreal, a-historical theory started not with analyzing any real economy or human behavior, but with certain concepts in mathematical physics. more

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