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I don't think though, that the euro can be considered an anti-labour project, not more than floating currencies can be anti-labour when they react to irresponsible wage increases.

The euro has got these huge problems for a simple reason: salaries rose far too quickly in the periphery and far too slowly in Germany. At least that is true when we speak of Spain and Ireland as the periphery: Greece is another matter.

Many people have argued that for a common monetary policy to work, we also need a common fiscal policy. I think this might be a bit too far: it would be enough on one hand if governments pursued respoinsible fiscal policy according to some regulatory framework, a bit like the Stability pact except not insane. Furthermore and more importantly, we do need some coordinated mechanism for collective wage bargaining, so we can make sure the Germans don't undercut everyone else and the Spaniards don't increase their salaries too quickly.

What we need is a pragmatic European joint labour movement. The main problem with this is that labour unions are built on solidarity and hence on identity, and because of that has a national basis. My experience is that national unions mainly fight each other rather than stand together against employers (for example in the SAAB Trollhättan vs. Rüsselsheim fight some years back).

So we might actually need some wage correction mechanism built not on labour unions if that proves unworkable, but on central EU institutions. These are, however, mired and marinated in a particularly stupid brand of neoliberalism. Top that with the the fact that if labour unions will not want to cede any power to a central European labour union, they will certainly cry foul over ceding power to the Comission or some other EU authority. And as things stand, they shouldn't...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 05:30:57 AM EST

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