Thursday, July 09, 2015

New column day

Here, on how we should be taking the crisis in Greece and other global instability as reasons to ensure Canada retains the authority to act in its own interest - rather than excuses for rendering ourselves just as helpless as Greece itself.

For further reading...

- Mark Blyth nicely documents the origins of the debt now being held over Greece's head, while Sara Yasin and Emilie Munson take a look at who was really bailed out from Greece's borrowing in the wake of the global financial crisis.

- Amanda Taub writes that neither Greece nor anybody else really knew what was being agreed to as the EU was formed:
To the extent that membership in the EU came with obligations, they were presented as something along the lines of polite social commitments, as if joining the euro were akin to extending a dinner invitation to friends because they had you over last month and it would be rude not to return the favor. There was a distinct lack of acknowledgement that all that togetherness and integration could come with truly burdensome obligations, or with unsettling political or social change.
And needless to say, we should avoid the trap of signing on to new international commitments out of a similar sense of mindless agreeability if they stand to drive up health care costs and fetter our democratic decision-making

- Meanwhile, Paul Krugman nicely summarizes how Greece tied its own hands by entering into the eurozone, while granting decision-making authority to outside bodies with no interest in its economic stability.

- Finally, Chris Hall discusses both Canada's own fragile economic state and the Cons' efforts to blame what's happening outside our borders. But as I pointed out in this post, one can't have much confidence in a government whose cure for exposure to international instability is more of the disease.


  1. All in all, the EU wasn't too terrible an idea when it was mostly just a really big standards body. Having everyone agree on what was OK to put in food or whatever, so if it can be sold in Italy it can be exported to Belgium and still be legal, was almost certainly a net positive.

    The Euro was a terrible idea, although that was not too obvious at the time. And having the whole structure mostly run by bankers and technocrats with very little democratic oversight was a ludicrously bad idea that would never have flown if neoliberalism hadn't already given bankers and technocrats way too much power and appearance of legitimacy.

    1. All too true. I'll add only that your take on the EU largely matches mine on trade agreements: there's plenty of reason to match standards and deal with actual avoidable trade barriers, but instead of doing that the corporate class insists on giving itself the right to sue governments for making policy choices in the public interest.