Friday, 6 July 2012

Europe's crisis: market competition instead of social bonds

TASC today issued a new discussion paper by James Wickham in which he argues that the elites dominating Europe have abandoned any commitment to 'Social Europe' and have instead turned European institutions in what he terms 'market-making' mechanisms. A PDF of Europe's Crisis: Market Competition instead of Social Bonds is available for download here, and a digital version is available here.


Paul Hunt said...

This is an extremely well written paper - so well written, indeed, that one is encouraged to suspend disbelief and to be carried along by the flow of the polemic, floating effortlessly over the gaping gaps in the analysis, until one crashes in to the final paragraph.

It is a remarkable achievement to be able to confect such a wide-ranging piece with only the most cursory engagement with the fundamental conflicts that define the exercise of (or failure to exercise) effective democratic governance in all advanced societies and economies. These are the conflicts between providers/producers and users/consumers, between owners/employers and workers and between those who perceive they are not securing sufficient net benefit from the taxes they pay and those who rely on the public purse for employment or welfare.

Each EU member-state has developed (or failed to develop) its own approach to resolving these conflicts. The relative success or failure of member-states to resolve these conflicts defines the fudamental divide that has emerged in the EU between creditor nations (and those aligned with them) and debtor nations.

And this divide is characterised (and to a considerable extent occasioned by) the relative effectiveness of democratic governance. The better governed countries are in the creditor camp; the misgoverned in the debtor camp.

In the creditor countries, the acceptance of the principles of good governance is almost universal across the political spectrum - with the exception of the hard left and the unhinged right. This is far from being the case in the debtor countries. In the debtor countries, and Ireland is no excpetion, there appears to a widespread, determined denial of the extent they have been, and continue to, misgoverned.

No real progress is possible until the extent of this misgovernance is confronted and remedied.

Aidan said...

@ Paul Hunt

"If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail."
Abraham Maslow

Paul Hunt said...

The discipline of political economy provides no end of tools for those who make the effort to identify the problems that need to be fixed. But for those whose only tools are a conveniently modified analysis of class, the labour theory of value, the assumed omniscience and omnipotence of the state and the suppression, supplanting and 'superceding' of functioning markets, an enormous amount of disingenuousness, dishonesty and hypocrisy must be mustered to make the problems amenable to the application of these totally irrevelevant and ineffective tools.

Anonymous said...

I love the concept of the "Backbone State". I think we will hear more of this!