Crisis in the Euro Zone: The bourgeoisie has no alternative to austerity

3 posts / 0 new
Last post
Crisis in the Euro Zone: The bourgeoisie has no alternative to austerity
Printer-friendly version

The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Crisis in the Euro Zone: The bourgeoisie has no alternative to austerity. The discussion was initiated by jk1921.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

There is a lot to mull over

There is a lot to mull over in here. In particular, the relationship between growth and debt. However, perhaps a broader issue that is implied here, but upon which no clear judgement is passed in the article, is the nature of the Euro and the European Union itself. The ICC has said for a long time that the EU is an economic union, not an imperialist one. That's fine, but what about the nature of the EU and the common currency as economic institutions? Has the Euro expeirment failed--as evidenced by the current crisis? Or is it working more or less as planned, as a trans-national state captialist measure, whereby the larger economies are working (not without difficulty) to contain the danger to the system posed by the weaker economies? How did we get to a situation where such peripheral economies as Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal are posing such an existential threat to the global system? Or does the focus on the PIGS obscure systemic weaknesses that are present in the larger economies as well (Certainly there is some evidence for this as witnessed by increasing fears over Italy)? Still, we hear a lot about the German success story--how its refusal to fall for the easy temptation of out and out austerity (quite in contrast to their demands for other countries) has allowed it to ride above the tide.

Internationally, it does seem as if the page is turning against UK/Republican style austerity towards a more direct embrace of stimulus once again--using Germany as some kind of model. The article sees this as an example of the growing incoherence of the bourgeoisie, which has no clear idea about how to address the impasse the system has reached. That is probably right in the "long run." Still, we hear a lot in the media about how the problems facing the world are now more "political" than "economic." Certainly, this misses the longer run picture, but in the shorter term there is some truth to that. We see it especially in the U.S., but also it would seem in the European situation and I think the article misses some of the depth of that part of the equation. What about the prospects for a "fiscal union"? Is that even politically possible? If it is, would it help? Perhaps the answer to that is implicit in the final paragraph of the article, where it is suggested we are on a time scale of months, rather than years or deacdes.

Still, I think the article falls for some simplisitc forumale--using the phrase "collapse" far too liberally and also raising the boogeyman of rampant inflation once again, something, which despite all predictions, we simply have not experienced as of yet. It seems that there are some dynamics to the current situation we have not entirely grasped.


The "brilliant" idea of

The "brilliant" idea of recovery is losing some of its brilliance in the UK. No sign of it in Mr Cameron's recent pronouncements, just doom and gloom all round, and scathing attacks on scroungers and those 'who live off welfare', and those who 'want something for nothing.' Does the bourgeoisie really believe that we like living like beggars, or love having to live with mum and dad at the age of 28 because, with no job, there's no alternative. And as to something for nothing... Well THEY should know. Hasn't the bourgeoisie had everything for nothing all it's life? Good housing, good food, good education, good holidays, good cultural access, all its life, and all for nothing! That is to say, with money freely available to them, and thus no limitations on life's possibilities, and with all the profits produced by workers at their service, don't they get everything "for nothing"?

It's not fair, says the bourgeoisie, in the shape of Mr Cameron, that those who don't want to work (ie can't find a job, or have given up looking for one in depressed misery) should get just as much to live on, in hand-outs, as those who go to work get in the form of a wage! (This should give all workers, employed or otherwise, considerable food for thought. In fact, given the low level of renumeration both for workers who've got a job, and those eternal holiday-makers the youthful unemployed, the way things are going, this food for thought may soon emerge as the only sustenance available to either! )

Who does Mr C think he's talking too? This is not the early seventies, when Ted Heath used to appear on the telly every night, or so it seemed, if the electricity was on in your zone, ranting at striking workers and shouting: "We've had enough. We've had enough" like a Greek chorus. Nor is it the eighties, with Mrs T urging all to "get on your bikes and go and look for a job"; presumably something she'd done a lot of in her youth, before becoming chief referee in the street violence between police and striking coal-miners. No, times are different now. True, austerity is much worse: but then so is the crisis. True, the bourgeoisie still rule: but their dictatorship is more apparent now than it used to be. True, there is not at the moment the degree of class vigor and militancy that there was then: but it's also true that bourgeois threats are losing potency, and that union sabotage is wearing thin. So as the time arrives for the re-emergence of a proletarian response, the bourgeoisie, weighed down with the need to impose austerity, is likely to find itself wrong-footed in the face of its class enemy.