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The powers that be in the European Union

by linca Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 06:07:06 AM EST

Craig Willy has posted a blog entry pointing out the actual order of the powerful EU institutions :

  1. European Council (member states)
  2. (Eurozone: Core states)
  3. European Central Bank
  4. (Eurozone: Peripheral states)
  5. European Commission
  6. European Parliament
as well as a summary of how we ended up with this rather undemocratic mode of governance.

The questions that now need to be answered are the usual, that is, how do we get back to a more legitimate way of directing the EU ? As long as the most powerful institution is mostly (except in times of extrem crisis, and even in Greece the winning party played strongly the "security" card) elected on something else than actual policy on the EU - The situation of Europe was barely mentioned in the last French presidential election -, we'll keep lousy politicians that don't care much about Europe. And voting for more leftish leaders won't change that, with the current crop of left-wing will have in Europe.

Maybe we're not ready, maybe too much of us are still caring about the nation state, to actually engage in real UE "federal state" construction that doesn't give all of its powers to the ECB ; in this case, should we (as left-wing, "living in Europe" Europeans) keep on pushing for more EU state building of a state we don't like, or try to start working against more EU powers ?

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Discuss.

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Putting aside the likelihood that the Eurozone crisis shows every potential for breaking the EU as we know it - which argues for concentrating on "socialism in one country" - whichever country you live in...

I think we've reached a stage where EU state building in the sense of more transfer of powers from nations to the EU is no longer viable, politically or morally.

Two things are needed, IMO:

  1. How do we push the Parliament up the ranking?

  2. How do we start getting the Parliament elected on the basis of European parties, rather than national ones?

(Possibly 2 comes before 1.)
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 05:13:48 PM EST
Should MEP pay be raised very significantly ? By how much must it be raised so that the national partis quiet down the populist media on that subject ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 05:27:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If MEP pay is raised I believe the problem will be tat people will think they're too expensive. Especially in poor member-states.

res humà m'és aliè
by Antoni Jaume on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 08:35:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends what reasons you give for a rise in pay. I'm for doubling or tripling their pay as compensation for a ban on their having other income, to fight corruption.
by Katrin on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 05:40:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the answer, as I have been arguing for some time, is to abolish the commission and replace it with a government responsible to the European Parliament. The European Council should lose its executive role and become something like the German Bundesrat.

The political significance of the European government and Parliament will only increase once they are clearly more important than national governments and parliaments.

Unfortunately the chance of any member state agreeing to my modest proposals is about zero.

by Gary J on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 07:31:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Parliament needs to approve the President of the Commission (and later the rest of the Commission), which is all the lever Parliament needs to grab the power to appoint (which would turn it into more or less a normal executive).

Step 1: Get a Parliament elected that cares about grabbing power.

Step 2: Elect Parliament presidents that agree.

Step 3: Hold vote on who parliament wants to see elected as President of Commission.

Step 4: Refuse to appoint anyone else.

This is more or less how parliamentarian systems evolve in the first place. The crux is step 1.

Then the Parliament and its elected Commission can confront the Council.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 06:29:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you'd discover the unfortunate truth. They who pay the bill call the shots.

There is simply no majority in Europe to give the EU that much power over money.

by oliver on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 11:49:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you claiming there was a majority for giving sovereignty to the European Central Bank?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 12:48:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, there is a majority for leaving it with the member states. Given that and a currency union in crisis the hierarchy of power is inevitable.

If you want to change it, you need to abolish the Euro.

by oliver on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 03:26:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree, abolishing the euro is only one way to get that. There may be other ways, even if I do not claim to know them, I'm not an economist with experience in money management. Maybe we only need to kick Germany out the euro...

res humà m'és aliè
by Antoni Jaume on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 03:34:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany cannot be kicked out, it will leave of its own accord on its own timing and after inflicting the maximum amount of damage on its EU "partners".

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 03:54:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is the unfortunately most probable future.

res humà m'és aliè
by Antoni Jaume on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 04:00:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you will not increase the power of democratic institutions by kicking out those who have an opinion you don't like. The German political stance has popular support. If anything popular opinion in Germany would be even less agreeable to you.

That exactly is the problem. Democracy and policies required to hold the Eurozone together have become mutually exclusive.

by oliver on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 04:32:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does kicking Greece out increase the power of democratic institutions?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 04:33:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. And I already told you that as long as the Euro exists, this is impossible to do.
by oliver on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 04:54:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then there are a lot of irresponsible EU policymakers speaking out of their asses...

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 05:02:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a thesis that is well supported by multiply redundant lines of argument.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 06:26:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A sovereign has a monetary and fiscal authority which is solvent by legal fiat in its own currency. By that definition no Eurozone state is sovereign, and in fact the ECB ranks above them all because the ECB can actually tighten the monetary thumbscrews on states in order to enforce policy changes outside the ECB's statutory purview.

Therefore, what you claim there is a popular majority implies rolling back to before the Maastricht Treaty.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 03:53:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One question, if one member-state were to retire from the euro, how legitimate would be the claim that euro-denominated debts are in its own currency, and that a change first of name, then of value, would not imply a revaluation of the foreign debt in euros?

res humà m'és aliè
by Antoni Jaume on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 04:07:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most Euro debt is under national law, except for bailout money which I think is either under London or Luxembourg law.

However, both leaving the Euro and introducing different legal tender from the Euro would break a number of EU laws.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 04:12:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the present situation was supposed to never happen. Still exit has been trotted for Greece.

res humà m'és aliè
by Antoni Jaume on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 04:20:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ECB is trying to make Greece's life impossible as we speak: ECB turns screws on Greece, stops accepting collateral
The ECB move, which analysts said was aimed at stepping up pressure on Athens to adhere to the commitments of its EU/IMF bailout, will force Greek banks to turn to their national central bank for Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) funds. Those funds will be more expensive than funds available in the ECB's regular liquidity operations.

The ECB said the collateral exclusion was due to the expiration of a temporary 35 billion euro scheme agreed with Greece and euro zone leaders whereby the ECB would continue to accept Greek bonds after they went into default this year.

...

European and IMF officials are due to visit Athens next week to decide whether Athens merits another tranche of aid from its latest bailout package and analysts said the ECB move was designed to step up pressure on Greece ahead of the visit.



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 04:23:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One question, if one member-state were to retire from the euro, how legitimate would be the claim that euro-denominated debts are in its own currency, and that a change first of name, then of value, would not imply a revaluation of the foreign debt in euros?

On principle, you can make a strong case for either view. In practice, the police force and court system which enforce a debt decide which currency it is denominated it. The creditor decides whether he views this as a default, but creditor memory of default times out after about a year and a half.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 at 03:18:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a very peculiar definition of sovereignity. One which the general public does not share. The general public is not ready to hand over power of budgets, taxes, health care and pensions to the EU. It would take that to make EU institutions more powerful than the member states.

As far as power over the ECB is concerned, you need to remember that the member states still hold the ultimate weapon. They can leave the Euro.

There is a popular majority that will force a regression to the pre-Maastricht state, but not a popular majority that desires this. As usually the voters want to eat and keep the cake.

by oliver on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 04:22:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a very peculiar definition of sovereignity. One which the general public does not share.
The general public is wrong on economics because they adhere to common-sense-conservative frames.
The general public is not ready to hand over power of budgets, taxes, health care and pensions to the EU.
But that's what they have done with the Maastricht Treaty.
It would take that to make EU institutions more powerful than the member states.
EU institutions can break the back of member states and hide behind "markets" as they do so.
As far as power over the ECB is concerned, you need to remember that the member states still hold the ultimate weapon. They can leave the Euro.
Quote me a treaty article allowing Euro exit. Until you do (and you won't be able to), all EU member states can do is leave the European Union altogether.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 04:27:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The public was told some things about Maastricht and the Euro, which it believed. Unfortunately these things have turned out to be in conflict with reality. And that puts it nicely.
That leads to certain problems. You cannot tell voters that you screwed them and then get them to agree to your newest proposal.

As for leaving the Euro we are approaching a very ugly area. The EU has quite limited means to enforce its treaties. If a member state insisted on leaving the Euro, the EU probably could make it leave the EU altogether. However, it is doubtful that the EU as a political project would survive that. The lawyers would be told to find some way and nobody would look closely at it. A bailout was also supposed to be strictly forbidden once.

by oliver on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 04:51:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You cannot tell voters that you screwed them and then get them to agree to your newest proposal.

You can tell the voters that an earlier generation of politicians screwed everyone. Or you can tell them that other political parties screwed everyone. That's what happened in Greece with Syriza and his 30-something-year-old leader eating PASOK's lunch.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 05:09:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True. It will work sometimes and in some places. Yet even in Greece it took a peculiar electoral system and it was quite close. How could that be enough?
by oliver on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 at 04:12:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, in Greece the peculiar electoral system was what allowed the Troika parties to govern nonetheless by giving ND 50 extra seats, it wasn't what allowed PASOK to implode.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 at 04:58:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wiemarize a country sufficiently and it will discard the gold standard. One way or another. The details will depend on the idiosyncrasies of the country in question, but discarding the gold standard is a constant.

This is the second most consistent historical experience in economics (the first one being that no, this time is not different).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 at 03:23:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which raises the question of how to increase democratic control of the EU in a confederacy to which many but all confederation members have surrendered their economic sovereignty.

If the European Council presently holds pre-eminent power, then moves toward democratizing the European Council would give leverage to the process. For instance, each state could send three members, head of government and at least two non-cabinet Parliamentary representatives. Council representatives limited to no more than three votes each and heads of government limited to no more than five votes would from 2 to 7 Parliamentary Representatives in addition to the Head of Government.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 06:54:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"to which many but all" ...

... to which many but not all have surrendered their economic sovereignty.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 07:16:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There should then be a mechanism to insure that the two or more non-cabinet representatives may not necessarily belong to the majority.

The last sentence is not very clear despite the typo "from" "form?"

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Jul 21st, 2012 at 01:54:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, proportionally. Say, each MP gets one vote, quota is is number of MP's divided by number of Parliamentary reps plus one.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jul 21st, 2012 at 09:49:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
29 votes. 29/3=9rem2. So Parliament elects 8 members on a proportional basis, with 3 votes each, and the PM is the ninth member with 5 votes.

13 votes. 13/3=4rem1. So Parliament elects 3 members on a proportional basis, with 3 votes each, and the PM is the fourth member with 4 votes.

3 votes. Minimum 3 members, so Parliament elects 2 members on a proportional basis, with 1 vote each, and the PM is the third member with one vote.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jul 21st, 2012 at 06:15:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Useless, because power comes down to money. And those decisions are subject to ratification and informal mechanisms.
by oliver on Sat Jul 21st, 2012 at 02:49:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, without organized movements to push for reform, vested interests will rule. Democratizing institutions only opens up a chance, they don't deliver results without a fight.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jul 21st, 2012 at 09:52:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The power in the council is not determined by numbers of votes. It depends on the economy behind the members.
by oliver on Sat Jul 21st, 2012 at 03:22:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the entire economy of each nation speaking with one voice, that voice being the government of the day, that is an artificial construct of the Council.

Using the existing votes to determine how many members the parliament will send on a proportional basis is because those existing votes have already been hammered out and are enshrined in treaty, so leaving them alone makes sense ... precisely because the exact number of votes of each member is not the primary source of the problem.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jul 21st, 2012 at 06:12:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the money has to be authorized. That needs a parliamentary majority. As long as the member nations act, they need to speak as one.

You may want the EU as a whole to act. But it lacks the money. Either you give it much more taxes or the money comes from the ECB. But for either extension of EU power there is no majority.

by oliver on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 at 03:07:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the money has to be authorized. That needs a parliamentary majority. As long as the member nations act, they need to speak as one.

What does this mean to say?

If it means to say that there would be a structural tension of it was possible to form cross-national coalitions in Council with ensuring the authorization of the money to carry out the program of the Council majority ... why, yes, there would be.

A proposed reform that would be sufficient to solve the structural problems of the EU is by its nature the most difficult type of structural reform to get through.

But contrast, if a proposed reform doesn't set up a structural tension with the status quo, there's no point to pursuing it, since its just a paint job.

So what is required are structural reforms that establish arenas in which it is possible to make substantial progress. And any such reform will be a source of structural tensions if its worth anything at all.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 at 05:54:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Last time I checked the Parliament had - among the EU institutions - the highest confidence in the population. So when it comes to the Parliament appointing the Commission I don't think the population is the problem.

Or was the intended reading
A swedish kind of death:

Then the Parliament and its elected Commission can confront the Council.

oliver:
Then you'd discover the unfortunate truth. They who pay the bill call the shots.

There is simply no majority in Europe to give the EU that much power over money.

But my comment applies to the normal decision making process (where much of the Councils real power stems from the collaboration of the Commission). Today we get a Council+Commission proposal that with the narrowest of margins has to pass the Parliament, with a Commission appointed in real terms by the Parliament we would get a Parliament+Council proposal that has to pass the Council. It changes the dynamics within the current treaties.

I suspect what you are refering to is the crisis managment that falls with the ECB and the member countries - in and outside Council meetings. That will not change until we get the Parliament to appoint a majority in the ECB board or a federal treasury or something like that. This would take treaty changes that currently would never be proposed, never mind accepted.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 at 04:11:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a questionable idea to make the ordinary decisions, which matter little compared to handling the crisis, democratic, but leave the really important stuff as is. If you were to design a message telling the voters that they are not important, you'd hardly come up with a better way.
by oliver on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 at 04:18:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, unfortunately that is true and inherit in the EMU structure. The ECB holds incredible power and is - as far as I know - completely independent of all other EU institutions except the Court (that fired national CB bosses can appeal their firing to). If there is a lever I would like to know about it, but as it looks now the ECB could just as well have been constructed outside the EU system.

As we have seen from the Merkel-Sarkozy meetings, even the Council is not all that important, it is just the member states (with budget powers and the guns to back up an exit) and the ECB. This makes it a seperate structure from the EU legislative process (which can be important, ACTA for example sure appears to have caught the interest of many).

I struggle to find anything to compare it to, but perhaps there are times in the process of parliaments gaining power over the kings in catholic Europe where the church held a similar untouchable position of power outside legislative, executive and judicial power.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 at 07:57:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Kemal Atatürk showed us how to solve that problem.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 at 03:40:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you'd discover the unfortunate truth. They who pay the bill call the shots.

There is simply no majority in Europe to give the EU that much power over money.


When the present crisis is over, the ECB will no longer be independent of Commission - which under askod's strategy eventually means Parliamentary - oversight.

We know this because the ECB is too thoroughly infested with quacks to reform itself from the inside, and it is key to resolving the present crisis. Ergo, the crisis can only be resolved when a power group external to the ECB seizes control of it. The most obvious group to do so is the Commission.

And once you have the printing press, you have the power of the purse, with the added pleasure of exercising it over the pitiful wailing of the gold bugs and deflationists.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 at 03:14:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More likely, when the present crisis is over the ECB will be a smoking crater and the Commission will be a shell of its former self if it exists at all.

The Commission is also thoroughly infested with quacks, also known as "mainstream economists trained after 1980".

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 at 04:39:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Metatone:
How do we start getting the Parliament elected on the basis of European parties, rather than national ones?

For that we need an issue that can be the dominant electoral issue in all member states.

I think the fastest route would be if PES decided who they want for President (of the Commission) and push their candidate against who they want EPP to nominate (our guy vs Berlusconi or something...). If they need a legal figleaf for the media, the Lisbon treaty says that the Council shall take into account the results of the Parliametn election - clearly this means that the biggest group gets their candidate.

Unfortunately I doubt PES is willing to risk the safe seats on the Commission they get under current arrangement for a grab on all of it. Lacking a will to power, they do.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 07:19:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The ESM is actually, by the treaty, unaccountable to the European Parliament. Apparently so is the EcoFin - Juncker once (two years ago, debating the crisis) famously remarked in the Parliament that he had "colleagues" telling him he had no need to go to the Parliament, but he was doing it out of due courtesy.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 04:43:08 AM EST
Abolish central bank independence and replace it with control by the Parliament. Failing that dismantle everything.
by generic on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 04:49:16 AM EST
You'll have to do that over Germany's kicking and screaming undead body.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 05:24:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably worse than that. The political classes of all the Eurozone countries mobilized in support of Maastricht. And at least some of them must have thought through the implications. And approved.
by generic on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 05:52:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See Maastricht and All That (Wynne Godley, 8 October 1992) and Robert Mundell, evil genius of the euro (Greg Palast, 26 June 2012)

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 05:55:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Godley's text reads like prophecy.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jul 21st, 2012 at 10:30:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dirk Bezemer; 'No one saw this coming' - or did they? (Vox, 30 September 2009)
From the very beginning of the credit crisis and the ensuing recession, it has become conventional wisdom that "no one saw this coming". Anatole Kaletsky (2008) wrote in the The Times of "those who failed to foresee the gravity of this crisis - a group that includes Mr King, Mr Brown, Alistair Darling, Alan Greenspan and almost every leading economist and financier in the world." Glenn Stevens (2008), Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, said:
"I do not know anyone who predicted this course of events. This should give us cause to reflect on how hard a job it is to make genuinely useful forecasts. What we have seen is truly a `tail' outcome - the kind of outcome that the routine forecasting process never predicts. But it has occurred, it has implications, and so we must reflect on it".
We must indeed.

...

In Bezemer (2009), I document the models that got it right. The important question for economists is - how did they do it? What is the underlying model?

...

The most detailed of these models, which has also been used to construct public projections and analyses, are "Flow of Funds" models of the US developed by Wynne Godley and associates at the Levy Economics Institute. These may serve as pars pro toto for the class of "Flow of Funds" models of real-financial interactions (e.g. also Werner, 1997; Graziani, 2003; Hudson, 2006; Keen, 2009). A simplified (closed-economy) representation in Godley (1999) consists of stocks and flows of a number of asset classes between four sectors (explicitly separating out the financial sector), with their properties and interrelations represented in over 60 equations (Table 1; see Godley 1999 for all symbols).



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 at 04:55:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At what point does the answer become, "okay, maybe we'll try to build the EU a bit later as the current governements will only produce a dangerous institutional setup" ? Voice is not working, maybe Exit becomes the only solution...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 05:53:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At what point does the answer become, "okay, maybe we'll try to build the EU a bit later as the current governements will only produce a dangerous institutional setup"?
That's been my answer since the 2005 "constitution" referenda.

The problem with "exit" is that we'd exit with the same national politicians that are the problem at the European level.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 05:57:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly yes, but it would at least deprive the governments of the Council as a venue to conspire against their parliaments and populations. Pessimistically an EU breakup would just offer a new lease of live to the WTO.

But then I don't get the impression that the Greek government would have the stomach to continue its class war without the Troika behind them. They look quite demoralized.

by generic on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 06:31:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As my recent experience with the EC demonstrated, no one is accountable for their field of responsibility.

I used to be very pro EU but now I just find that it's another useless and expensive level of bureaucracy.  

by stevesim on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 06:17:00 AM EST
The European Parliament continues to be a net positive, though.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 06:47:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lobbies need to be transparent, revolving door appointments absolutely forbidden. This would weed out a lot of europols who enter politics more for personal enrichment than public service.
Also female representation needs to be vastly upgraded as the proportion now is disgracefully paternalist.
Enough of the cosy boys' club, in which corruption thrives.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 08:07:32 AM EST
There are so many preliminary questions before answering the question of how to make the EU is governed by legitimate democratic institutions!

If the EU advances, it will advance under the current rules; if it does not advance, it will disappear.

Without answering these numerous previous questions, there will be no substantial changes in the building of a legitimate EU.

by PerCLupi on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 01:55:38 PM EST
I think we can safely say that the EU is highly dysfunctional. Step one should be to refocus on the principle of subsidarity, and claw back all those power from Brussels which are better managed in national capitols. Then in some years, when the EU is actually working in a reasonable way, we can start discussing a more federal solution again.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jul 21st, 2012 at 10:17:40 AM EST
But one of the things that makes the EU violate the principle of subsidiarity is that that the national governments use the EU to push legislation it would have problem passing at home and then blaming EU for it. See for example the debate in Sweden about the implementation of the Data storage directive, you rarely heard it mentioned that it was Sweden - or more precisely justive minister Bodström - that initiated it. It was just "Brussels makes us do it". I think it is important to recognise that the Council is a federal chamber, after all the liberum veto did not make Poland an assortment of principalities just a highly dysfunctional state.

So without reform there will be no refocusing.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 at 04:31:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the council deliberates in secret.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 at 04:51:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Federal Europe does not sound good at all, but if such a thing would emerge, the first law should be: The federal state borrowing from private banks should be illegal. Without that starting point, it would be a disaster.
by kjr63 on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 at 05:14:47 PM EST
Also ECB should be a subordinate of European Parliament. These two demands should be absolute, otherwise we should resist any federalist developments.
by kjr63 on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 at 05:21:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the ECB is subordinate to the Parliament, then whether or not the federal level borrows from private markets is not a crucial issue.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 at 05:41:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, as long as these interest charges serve some public purpose.
by kjr63 on Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 at 08:15:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The public purpose of the interest charges in that case is to make a private market for them. The ECB buys or sells them to inject or withdraw reserves from the system on an ongoing basis to establish whatever rate its setting. Whether the bonds are initially sold at auction or initially transferred directly to the ECB to be credited to the reserve account doesn't materially affect the amount of bonds that end up held in the private sector if the ECB is being competent at managing its target rate.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 at 11:45:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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