The diaspora of young Italians Read more >>>
Gefira #13 for investors: Europe’s future is about demographics and energy depletion Read more >>>
Islam or nature, how the opponents of European migration policy escaped prosecution Read more >>>
Italy to outmaneuver ECB with parallel currency Read more >>>
We woke up another day and we found ourselves at war Read more >>>
It was just 2011 when the Finnish government, one of Greece’s many creditors, demanded that Athens put one of its national symbols, the Parthenon, as collateral for the rescue loans package.1)Finland’s demands for collateral could leave Greek bailout in ruins, The Guardian 2011-08-28.
Fast forward to 2015: while the European Union leaders humiliate the Greek democracy by imposing even harsher austerity measures than the ones previously rejected in a referendum, even despite the fact that the IMF admitted having miscalculated the Keynesian multiplier for Greece and thus completely underestimated the catastrophic consequences of austerity,2)Growth Forecast Errors and Fiscal Multipliers, IMF Working Paper 2013.Finland is no longer part of the group of “virtuous countries”: unlike Greece, its public finances are fine, however the sources of its economic strength, tech colossus Nokia is in a deep crisis,3)Finland: The sick man of Europe? BBC 2016-02-29.unable to keep up in innovation with its competitors, Apple and Samsung. The once national pride of the Finns, accounting at its peak for 20% of the Finnish exports,4)As Goes Nokia, So Goes Finland? Bloomberg 2013-09-03.will end up being overtaken by foreigners (Microsoft). To worsen the conditions of the Finish economy, the EU leaders opted for a trade war against one of Finland’s main trade partners, its neighbor Russia, over the Ukraine crisis.
Almost 1000 years ago, Turkish tribes started settling in Anatolia, beginning the formation of the Turkish state. How did it happen? Many jump to quick conclusions and simplify the matter pointing to the Byzantine defeat at Manzikert in 1071. The reality is different: in the aftermath of the battle, Emperor Romanos Diogenes reached a peace agreement under which the Turkish Seljuk sultan was handsomely rewarded with money while the Byzantine Empire did not suffer territorial loss. The Byzantine elite in Constantinople, however, decided to unseat Romanos and not to adhere to the agreement. In the subsequent squabble over the throne, one of the competing factions would hire a relative of the Turkish sultan, Suleiman to increase its chances to seize the throne. As the Byzantine elite rushed to Constantinople, Suleiman was left with his troops to control one of the biggest Byzantine cities of Anatolia, Nicaea. The resulting Sultanate of Rum, the first presence of the Turkish people in Anatolia, was born not by conquest, but by the shortsightedness of the Byzantine ruling class.
“There will not be Obama Care repeal and replace. There will be no tax cut. There will be no infrastructure stimulus. There will be just one giant fiscal bloodbath over a debt ceiling.”1)Stockman: “After March 15 Everything Will Grind To A Halt”, Source: Zerohedge 2017-02-27.These are the words of David Stockman, a former Reagan Administration White House Budget Director, who insists that a market bloodbath is imminent as the debt ceiling holiday will have been finished by March 15, 2017.
“We will have a government shutdown,” said Stockman to CNBC. “It is totally unexpected, unpriced in by Wall Street, [and] it will spook everybody.“2)Wall St. is misreading Trump, and a market bloodbath is imminent: Stockman, Source: CNBC 2017-03-05.March 15 is also the day of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting during which a rate hike decision is expected to be taken; the Dutch election is slated for the same day. Will it be the beginning of the great financial turmoil?
1)Vilfredo Pareto, By Ioannis Arvanitakis (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) was an Italian engineer, philosopher, economist, sociologist and political scientist, famous, among other things, for his theories about “the elites”.
In his theory of the “circulation of the elites” he argues that social mobility is fundamental for the peaceful continuity of social order: as long as the elite is open to the influx of capable elements from the lower classes, the system is able to rise up to the challenges it faces. When the elites shut themselves off and do not assimilate exceptional individuals from the lower social strata, an imbalance is created that can result in a violent overthrow of the ruling class by a new one capable of governing.
Drawing on that theory we argue that democratic systems have evolved in a way that an overthrow of the elite can happen without violence, but by democratic vote. Lack of social mobility, says Pareto, results in an elite detached from the daily challenges of the common man and a sense of disenfranchisement of the voters.
The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between Ukraine and the European Union, which came into force on 1 January 2016, was about to help the East European economy to recover; however, the results after the first year fell far short of Ukraine’s expectations. The former Soviet Republic lost €2.2 billion more than it lost in 2015 on trade with the EU. While imports from the EU have surged, exports have merely grown.
As Polish media reports, the European Union has flooded Ukraine with goods,1)Unia Europejska zalała towarami Ukrainę, Rzeczpospolita 2017-02-27.which is contrary to the aim of the free trade agreement: the document assumed the asymmetric openness of the markets in Ukraine’s favour.
After Viktor Orban’s Hungary, the second European Union state took an aim at George Soros and his funds, accusing him of organizing anti-government protests and attempts at destabilizing the country. The head of the ruling party and a former Romania’s prime minister Liviu Dragnea, known for his independent national economic policy, called the leaders of the recent massive street protests as “agents of George Soros.”1)Romania: Keep the corrupt in jail, where they belong, Al-Jazeera 2017-01-30.
While some believe that “bad” governments from Eastern Europe (from Poland to Macedonia) use Soros’s Open Society Foundation and his broad contacts as a scapegoat in order to avoid the responsibility for their own weak political results, chief communications officer of the Open Society Foundation, Laura Silber, does not try to conceal their engagement.
Western societies have been subjected to cultural and ethnic diversification which, as its advocates proclaim, was to enrich the indigenous populations and boost their development. Contrary to the stated goals, members of different ethnic groups tend to stick together, displace the locals, and rather than morph into the culture of the host population they preserve their own,1)How Labour turned London into a foreign city: Fewer than half the capital’s population are white British, gangsters from Somalia terrorise the suburbs and even the tramps are immigrants, reveals astonishing new book, Daily Mail 2016-01-24.all the more so since their numbers are doubling and trebling and since they regard their recipient societies as weaklings without moral backbone.2)“It is not as wrong raping a Swedish girl as raping an Arab girl,” says Hamid. “The Swedish girl gets a lot of help afterwards, and she had probably fucked before, anyway. But the Arab girl will get problems with her family. For her, being raped is a source of shame. It is important that she retains her virginity until she marries.” “It is far too easy to get a Swedish whore… girl, I mean;” says Hamid, and laughs over his own choice of words. “I don’t have too much respect for Swedish girls. I guess you can say they get fucked to pieces.” Immigrant Rape Wave in Sweden, fjordman 2005-12-12.Under such circumstances separate communities form, large cities turn into mosaics whose particular religious and cultural elements are but loosely connected. Differences in worldviews, beliefs, traditions spark off mutual suspicion, aversion, animosity or an all-out enmity. Social cohesion is only make-believe with all the attendant problems which include (ethnically or racially-driven) crime.3)Rotherham child abuse: Eight jailed for rape and sexual abuse of three girls, BBC 2016-11-04; Rotherham: eight men jailed for sexually exploiting teenage girls, The Guardian 2016-11-04; Calderdale gang jailed for grooming and abusing girls, BBC 2016-06-17.
When the sense of security is lost, when “the break-ins and muggings [are] beyond control”,4)Rotherham child abuse: Eight jailed for rape and sexual abuse of three girls, BBC 2016-11-04; Rotherham: eight men jailed for sexually exploiting teenage girls, The Guardian 2016-11-04; Calderdale gang jailed for grooming and abusing girls, BBC 2016-06-17.and people cannot rely on the police, and such is the case in many large cities across Western Europe, with their no-go zones,5)European ‘No-Go’ Zones: Fact or Fiction? Part 2: Britain, Gatestone Institute 2015-02-03; the following is vehemently denied by the British side, hence especially revealing: Britain protests to Hungary over claims of ‘no-go’ zones in UK, Daily Mail 2016-09-22.members of a community start setting up their own policing units in self-defence. The London-based Shomrim is a prime example.
How Labour turned London into a foreign city: Fewer than half the capital’s population are white British, gangsters from Somalia terrorise the suburbs and even the tramps are immigrants, reveals astonishing new book, Daily Mail 2016-01-24.
“It is not as wrong raping a Swedish girl as raping an Arab girl,” says Hamid. “The Swedish girl gets a lot of help afterwards, and she had probably fucked before, anyway. But the Arab girl will get problems with her family. For her, being raped is a source of shame. It is important that she retains her virginity until she marries.” “It is far too easy to get a Swedish whore… girl, I mean;” says Hamid, and laughs over his own choice of words. “I don’t have too much respect for Swedish girls. I guess you can say they get fucked to pieces.” Immigrant Rape Wave in Sweden, fjordman 2005-12-12.
Rotherham child abuse: Eight jailed for rape and sexual abuse of three girls, BBC 2016-11-04; Rotherham: eight men jailed for sexually exploiting teenage girls, The Guardian 2016-11-04; Calderdale gang jailed for grooming and abusing girls, BBC 2016-06-17.
European ‘No-Go’ Zones: Fact or Fiction? Part 2: Britain, Gatestone Institute 2015-02-03; the following is vehemently denied by the British side, hence especially revealing: Britain protests to Hungary over claims of ‘no-go’ zones in UK, Daily Mail 2016-09-22.
A frustrated Harry Truman would often say, “Give me a one-handed economist. All my economists say, on the one hand…on the other.”1)The one-handed economist, The Economist 2003-11-13.
At present, too, the media are clearly in search for a man who holds strong views and they have surely found one in Hans Werner Sinn, professor emeritus, who has published and continues to publish an avalanche of texts, is frequently interviewed by the mass media and remains one of the renowned German economists.
He made himself famous formulating a hypothesis of a bazaar economy by means of which he attempted to clarify why the German national product is shrinking despite the fact that the country has been on top of the list of the exporting countries.2)Hans-Werner Sinn (2005): Die Basar-Ökonomie. Econ Verlag. ISBN 343018536X.His books, too, have made the headlines (e.g. Can Germany Be Saved? The Malaise of the World’s First Welfare State (2007) and The Green Paradox (2011))in which he voices his protest against the energy transition and advocates a policy of strict regulations regarding banks. In numerous interviews Sinn has taken a stance on politics, now giving support to the ruling class, now endorsing the opposition. For that matter he praised Agenda 2010.3)Die Agenda 2010 und die Armutsgefährdung.His statements and comments have since 2015 evoked such uneasiness among the ruling elites that finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble began to call him in private “Professor Nonsense”, while Angela Merkel broke off the relationship with him although he used to be a welcome guest in the chancellery.4)Der verbliebene unabhängige Denker, Internetkanzlei 2012-07-23.
2016 was the year of the revolt. The Dutch referendum, the British referendum, the American elections and the Italian referendum all ended up in humiliating defeats for the political, corporate and financial elites; only Austria decided to keep faith with their projects, but even there the demonstration of malcontents was significant. 2017 requires a change of strategy.
Mainstream political parties are in disarray everywhere, facing either the rise of anti-establishment parties in the political arena or that of anti-establishment candidates within their own ranks. With the forthcoming French elections, the Socialist party collapsing after François Hollande’s disastrous tenure and the primary establishment choices Sarkozy and Juppè eliminated, a change of strategy was needed to stop the wave of the much dreaded democratic participation of the masses (dubbed as populism), unwilling to submit any longer to the interests of the elite: enter Emmanuel Macron.
The European Union is a project of the elites. Members of these elites who either are members of the European Parliament or hold posts in the commissions are also members of their respective political parties, which means that to all intents and purposes the EU is pursuing policies that those parties advocate and endorse. Never mind voters, never mind citizens who show up at referendums and defy the party line, which is by the way why, James Madison, one of the founding fathers of the American Constitution, said that the minority of the opulent must be protected against the majority.1)Federalist No. 10, Wikipedia 30.01.2017.
If a 4.5 million nation is the third biggest foreign holder of US Treasury securities, the biggest in the European Union, it is something remarkable. If a 0.5 million nation is the second EU-holder of US papers, it is something striking. Ireland and Luxembourg, as well as the United Kingdom and Belgium, are used by the international financiers of foreign powers to credit or cheat the US government who pays them interest for avoiding taxes in their home-country.
It is widely known that Japan and China are the two biggest holders of US government bonds. But these countries have huge savings and their investments over $1 trillion have fundamentals. Meanwhile, the EU holdings (altogether bigger than those of Japan or China) are pumped up by financial institutions, including US financiers and companies. In other words, European holdings stem from loose tax rules rather than strong economic demand for securities.
The European elites have long stopped to respond to the fears and hopes of the people, which resulted in the emergence of new political parties and movements that address these fears and inspire many citizens of the Old Continent with a hope that it is still possible to have a new, healthy establishment. The forthcoming elections in France, Italy and the Netherlands may decide whether such politicians as Fillon, Macron, Grillo or Wilders, who decisively oppose the current establishment, will hold positions of power. The question arises whether they are as reliable and trustworthy as they would like to be perceived or they only wish to pull wool over our eyes and will not be all that different than their neoconservative and liberal predecessors.
Due to numerous scandals, cronyism, unfair business deals, empty promises, thousands of migrants in the streets and refugee camps people began to mistrust the likes of Berlusconi or Sarkozy. Recently, new actors have appeared on the political stage who immediately have been labelled as extreme right or left, populist, xenophobic and anti-European. People in Italy and France, however, do not let themselves be duped with such misnomers anymore and prefer now to turn their attention to such politicians as Marine Le Pen or Beppe Grillo, who at least represent the common man’s feelings and hopes. Yet, even if the National Front and the Five-Star Movement abide by their election promises, the leaders of these parties do not seem so decent as their voters wish they were.