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uziq
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Larssen
Member
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It puts into words some of the reasons for what I/we have been seeing in the last few decades. The top few %, or even less than 1%, have definitely seen wealth increase while income from wage labour anywhere has been stagnant for over 10 years. I recently saw a couple graphs which illustrated that in my country between 2007 and 2020, nominal wages esp. for new starters in the labour force have remained more or less the same, while 1 euro in 2007 is worth only 0,8 today - a 20% drop in people's relative wealth. All the while living expenses have definitely gone up. The long term trend is that the economic middle class is disappearing, fast. Most of the upper-middle class are also being pushed down. The inverse trend is visible at the top as well. I've seen multiple (luxury) brands/businesses that have found much more success by focusing on the upper income segments rather than any other as demand there is increasing, products can be sold for steeper and steeper prices and ever higher margins.

The problem is that I don't see a solution in the near-medium term or anything being done about it. I don't see any political party which really points out these issues and presents a comprehensive solution, most being caught up in issues of identity politics, global warming etc., that paradoxically only seem to increase in importance. And even if parties did try to tackle it, the issue of concentrating wealth seems transnational/global in nature and a point of competition between countries as many attempt to facilitate it. It is unlikely individual nations can do much if anything about it.

So are we heading to a world where we're recreating a new aristocracy of sorts? The older I get the more cynical I become with regards to that issue.

Last edited by Larssen (2020-08-09 10:50:19)

uziq
Member
+326|2172
this part:

9. Elites/Central Bankers gaslight the public into "new plans" which is a variation of "more of the same" while typically trying to make their critics the villains of the problems they created.
is basically in a nutshell what i was expressing to you in my extreme cynicism towards the EU/ECB and its policy with the eurozone.
Larssen
Member
+35|607
I'm inclined to say that 9th point is too conspiratorial.
uziq
Member
+326|2172
of course it isn't. there has been an institutional, neoliberal consensus generated since at least mont pelerin. and that hegemony has held power/ideological sway over the global banking system/central banks since the 1980s. the centrist/neoliberal project is not some conspiracy.

and how readily you have blamed all the southern european states for their plight, when, really, it was equally a product of a very faulty financial system!
Larssen
Member
+35|607
What is insinuated is that central banks act out of malice, consciously deceiving the public whilst only serving corporate/billionnaire interest. That I don't believe. These public servants are neither unaccountable nor wholly corrupt, and I genuinely believe they try to act in the best interest of society at large within their means, also considering democratically elected leadership. I happen to know a few people who work at our central bank specifically in ECB policy. While I can't pretend to know their views or work in detail, I completely trust their character & competence, notwithstanding that it's only anecdotal 'evidence'.

Apart from that, yes it's true there has been a neoliberal consensus of sorts, crucially within the countries that have the most influence over the economic future of our region. However, it doesn't mean that this is unchanging and without reflection, or that they are all powerful in controlling our economic systems. The picture is more complicated. Often we end up doing things without fully realising the consequences on the long term or because it's the best of a bad set of options.

I still do blame the leadership of some southern european countries for fiscally irresponsible behaviour, I don't think you can honestly hold this conversation without also acknowledging that the greek government was consciously fraudulent, or that corrupt allocation of government funding seems more rife in spain and italy than elsewhere, among other issues.
Dilbert_X
The X stands for
+1,702|4825|eXtreme to the maX
I'm very very sure 'Modern Monetary Theory' is a scheme to increase the value of assets held by the wealthy - property, stocks and bonds, gold etc, and reduce the value of 'assets' held by the poor, typically cash and the ability to work.

Oh wow its already happening

Larssen wrote:

1 euro in 2007 is worth only 0,8 today - a 20% drop in people's relative wealth. All the while living expenses have definitely gone up.
What is insinuated is that central banks act out of malice, consciously deceiving the public whilst only serving corporate/billionnaire interest. That I don't believe. These public servants are neither unaccountable nor wholly corrupt, and I genuinely believe they try to act in the best interest of society at large within their means, also considering democratically elected leadership.
LMAO The rich and wealthy have their ear and they're typically corrupt. They also sponsor academics to float theories that suit them. 'Helicopter money' thats a new one.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Draghi

There was some other fat EU finance guy who left to work for a merchant bank on a multi-million salary in the last few years, I can't remember who it was.

Anyway, if you think central banks in Europe aren't corrupt and work for the good of the people you're off your head.

I still blame the German banks and the EU for writing loans, with the help of Goldman Sachs, to the southern european countries when there was never any prospect of them even paying interest, let alone repaying the capital.
Epstein didn't kill himself
Larssen
Member
+35|607
The EU is in a permanent tug of war between national interest and cooperative necessity. If one country has leverage above others, their interest can and often will be served more strongly. It should be clear that the loan scheme wasn't a product of altruism and sympathy. Moreover, any northern european politician that would have financed southern states as a gift would've seen their head roll in the next election - significantly increasing the draw of more anti-EU nationalist parties. I hope you all realise that is not a desired outcome. Monetary decision making in the EU is a tough sell to your average northern european, on his or her mind the main question is: "why should we pay for their lack of fiscal responsibility"? Followed by "maybe we're better off leaving the EU and keeping our money for us".

I'm also against any notion of north to south wealth transfer. There needs to be terms to the help because southern systems need reform, which is not going to happen out of the innate goodness in their hearts.
uziq
Member
+326|2172
what exactly is the point of the EU, if 'cooperation' and 'altruism' in the name of comity and community-building would equal 'career suicide' for a northern politician? does it just ultimately exist, then, to provide unserviceable loans from rich northern banks to ailing southern states? what an inspiring project! the eyes of the world are cast on fair europa!

dilbert is completely right in pointing to the complex between academics/thinktanks/various white-paper writing research groups and the neoliberal establishment. there has been a very conscious, and purposeful, 'long-game' played in the ideological arena, here, in which neoliberalism and centrism have positioned themselves as the 'commonsense' and 'prudent' arrangement. it is intimately related to the failure of the left from the inflationary/deregulative periods of the 1970s and 1980s. the complete ascendancy of neoliberal doxa (or, alternatively, the primacy of the banks and financial system) in europe now was a wet-dream for hayek in the mont pelerin days. they put in the institutional legwork and, indeed, do 'have the ears' of those in power. it's not conspiratorial at all: it's actually a material and concrete look at how power operates (was foucault a conspiracy theorist?)

Last edited by uziq (2020-08-10 01:46:25)

Larssen
Member
+35|607
I feel the assumptions on corruption of or within central banks are a pointless discussion, as it's fed primarily by baseless accusations and cynicism. I'll agree that perhaps it needs more democratic accountability, but as far as I'm aware the nations in Europe are usually the sole shareholders in their central banks. So there is definitely a relationship to maintain w political leadership. Their legal/constitutional task is also focused on maintaining economic stability and availability of pensions etc. within nations. Lining the pockets of the private sector is, I reckon, punishable by law.
Larssen
Member
+35|607

uziq wrote:

what exactly is the point of the EU, if 'cooperation' and 'altruism' in the name of comity and community-building would equal 'career suicide' for a northern politician? does it just ultimately exist, then, to provide unserviceable loans from rich northern banks to ailing southern states? what an inspiring project! the eyes of the world are cast on fair europa!

dilbert is completely right in pointing to the complex between academics/thinktanks/various white-paper writing research groups and the neoliberal establishment. there has been a very conscious, and purposeful, 'long-game' played in the ideological arena, here, in which neoliberalism and centrism have positioned themselves as the 'commonsense' and 'prudent' arrangement. it is intimately related to the failure of the left from the inflationary/deregulative periods of the 1970s and 1980s. the complete ascendancy of neoliberal doxa in europe now was a wet-dream for hayek in the mont pelerin days. they put in the institutional legwork and, indeed, do 'have the ears' of those in power. it's not conspiratorial at all: it's actually a material and concrete look at how power operates (was foucault a conspiracy theorist?)
As to your first point: it has become a union of necessity. The idealism of the early EU or the 80s/90s is gone as far as I can tell.
uziq
Member
+326|2172
great, trapped in a loveless marriage, afraid of divorce because neither individual can pay the mortgage on the big house.

Last edited by uziq (2020-08-10 01:57:32)

Dilbert_X
The X stands for
+1,702|4825|eXtreme to the maX

uziq wrote:

dilbert is completely right
Finally
Epstein didn't kill himself
Larssen
Member
+35|607
That is sadly the case yes, but it does not mean it will be that way forever. I'm carefully hopeful that my and future generations will be more pro European as a whole and less transactional in their mindset.

There's a lot of ifs and buts to that. The problem may be systemic in nature, as state organisations tend to cling to power and confuse national interest with their own interest. It's a possibility that the current construct will remain more or less unchanged for a long time to come. The basic functioning of the EU is stretched as far as it can go, restricted by its fundamental institutional design in the EC/Council/EP construction and their respective powers.

I see three possibilities:

1. Cycles of constitutional reform driven by crises
2. Maintaining the system as is with adjustments to respond to crises
3. Dissolution & construction of a new union.

Three being the least desirable option.
uziq
Member
+326|2172
how are people going to become 'less transactional' when economic inequality is on the rise, and precarity is the new norm? you really think about the covid-comet economic strike that people are going to suddenly enjoy being paid less/unemployed? i think you've been at the office kool-aid.

"our quality of life has stagnated, and now plummeted, over the last 30 years. but wow! i've realized that i love my european neighbours so much that money isn't even important! let's take some more LSD and listen to jimi hendrix!"

Last edited by uziq (2020-08-10 02:13:22)

Dilbert_X
The X stands for
+1,702|4825|eXtreme to the maX
4. Dissolution

Larssen wrote:

I'm carefully hopeful that my and future generations will be more pro European as a whole and less transactional in their mindset.
That ship sailed a loooong time ago, its going to take another major war.

5. Dissolution, then assimilation by the Russians.
Epstein didn't kill himself
uziq
Member
+326|2172
https://twitter.com/doctorow/status/1292310248779202560

on the upcoming commercial real estate/banking disaster.
Dilbert_X
The X stands for
+1,702|4825|eXtreme to the maX
What happens when the US stock market crashes?
Epstein didn't kill himself
Dilbert_X
The X stands for
+1,702|4825|eXtreme to the maX

uziq wrote:

https://twitter.com/doctorow/status/1292310248779202560

on the upcoming commercial real estate/banking disaster.
I believe there will be a third wave of retail/online sales, Amazon and their vendors will open showrooms/delivery/return points at very low cost, thus cutting delivery services out of the pie.

Not a time to be owning a mall obviously.

Last edited by Dilbert_X (2020-08-10 02:17:44)

Epstein didn't kill himself
Larssen
Member
+35|607

Dilbert_X wrote:

4. Dissolution

Larssen wrote:

I'm carefully hopeful that my and future generations will be more pro European as a whole and less transactional in their mindset.
That ship sailed a loooong time ago, its going to take another major war.

5. Dissolution, then assimilation by the Russians.
Our interdependence demands some sort of regional institution for cooperative purposes. A new union could either be much more loosely defined or more integrated, it's a blank slate option. But I nor anyone else would like to live through the chaos that will ensue if the EU topples over entirely.

how are people going to become 'less transactional' when economic inequality is on the rise, and precarity is the new norm? you really think about the covid-comet economic strike that people are going to suddenly enjoy being paid less/unemployed? i think you've been at the office kool-aid.
It's the millenials and gen z out in force protesting for equal rights, to manage global warming, to show common humanity with refugees and the like, is it not? They're also generally good at speaking english and grew up inside an integrated union as the default. It's by and large older generations keeping the movements for change down. So I hope generational shift will keep that energy.

Last edited by Larssen (2020-08-10 02:19:15)

uziq
Member
+326|2172
yeah, that generation aren't going to acquiesce in the status quo, my guy. if the EU is a neoliberal institution putting the banking system before the economic wellbeing of workers (even assuming they carry their youthful optimism and radicalism into middle-age; most hippies didn't), then they are going to get rid of it. there is already a widespread current of 'lexit' or left-exit, left-nationalism, left-independence, etc, etc.  that's if the right-wing and populism don't effortlessly scoop up all that discontent -- which they've been doing for the last 10 years, winning biggly.

on the contrary, current gen-z'ers have very little generational memory or sentimental attachment to the post-world war 2 order, or the cold war, or even the fall of the berlin wall and reunification of germany. all that idealistic baggage about 'the good of europe, ensuring peace and stability' etc. is a rapidly depreciating currency. you better believe that there are anarchists and socialists in spain, greece and italy who do not give a FUCK about europe.

Last edited by uziq (2020-08-10 02:22:21)

Dilbert_X
The X stands for
+1,702|4825|eXtreme to the maX

Larssen wrote:

Our interdependence demands some sort of regional institution for cooperative purposes.
No it doesn't. Countries could just, you know, cooperate. How the fuck is the EU staff almost the same size as the UN?

It's the millenials and gen z out in force protesting for equal rights, to manage global warming, to show common humanity with refugees and the like, is it not? It's by and large older generations keeping the movements for change down. So I hope generational shift will keep that energy.
They're too fragmented, disorganised and chaotic to do much besides create fragmentation, disorder and chaos - which Russia and China will exploit.
Epstein didn't kill himself
Dilbert_X
The X stands for
+1,702|4825|eXtreme to the maX

Larssen wrote:

I feel the assumptions on corruption of or within central banks are a pointless discussion, as it's fed primarily by baseless accusations and cynicism.
Mario Draghi OMRI GColIH BVO (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmaːrjo ˈdraːɡi]; born 3 September 1947) is an Italian economist who served as President of the European Central Bank between 2011 and 2019. Before that, he served as the Chairman of the Financial Stability Board from 2009 to 2011 and Governor of the Bank of Italy from 2005 to 2011.

Draghi previously worked at Goldman Sachs from 2002 until 2005. In 2014, Draghi was listed as the 8th most powerful person in the world by Forbes. In 2015, Fortune magazine ranked him as the world's second greatest leader.[1] In May 2019, Paul Krugman described him as "[arguably] the greatest central banker of modern times".

Draghi was a full professor at the Cesare Alfieri Faculty of Political Science of the University of Florence from 1981 until 1994[5] and a fellow of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2001).

From 1984 to 1990 he was the Italian Executive Director at the World Bank. In 1991, at the initiative of the then Minister Guido Carli, he became general director of the Italian Treasury, and held this office until 2001.[6] During his time at the Treasury, he chaired the committee that revised Italian corporate and financial legislation and drafted the law that governs Italian financial markets.[7] He is also a former board member of several banks and corporations (Eni, Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale,[8] Banca Nazionale del Lavoro and IMI).

Draghi was then vice chairman and managing director of Goldman Sachs International and a member of the firm-wide management committee (2002–2005).[9] He worked on the firm's European strategy and development with major European corporations and governments.[10] After the revelation of off-market swaps used by Greece with the help of Goldman Sachs, he said he "knew nothing" about this deal and "had nothing to do with" it. He added that "the deals between the Greek government and Goldman Sachs had been undertaken before [his] joining of [the company]."[11]

Draghi is a trustee at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and also at the Brookings Institution, in Washington, D.C.
Nothing to be cynical about there whatsoever.
Epstein didn't kill himself
Larssen
Member
+35|607

Dilbert_X wrote:

Larssen wrote:

Our interdependence demands some sort of regional institution for cooperative purposes.
No it doesn't. Countries could just, you know, cooperate. How the fuck is the EU staff almost the same size as the UN?
On the miniscule possibility that the EU will dissolve without any regional forum replacing some of its functions, the basic prerequisite would be that we have to throw all sense and logic to the wind. You have no idea in how many ways EU-wide policies and legislation are tied up in daily life. They're part of every industry from telecom to food supply and logistics, to economic policy etc. The easiest route, Dilbert, would be to maintain or reincorporate some of those arrangements in a new institution. A total collapse to pre-WW2 politics is like a return to the dark ages and a surefire way to repeat the 20th century. But oh well I guess 'we can just u know cooperate', real big brain stuff there.
Larssen
Member
+35|607

uziq wrote:

yeah, that generation aren't going to acquiesce in the status quo, my guy. if the EU is a neoliberal institution putting the banking system before the economic wellbeing of workers (even assuming they carry their youthful optimism and radicalism into middle-age; most hippies didn't), then they are going to get rid of it. there is already a widespread current of 'lexit' or left-exit, left-nationalism, left-independence, etc, etc.  that's if the right-wing and populism don't effortlessly scoop up all that discontent -- which they've been doing for the last 10 years, winning biggly.

on the contrary, current gen-z'ers have very little generational memory or sentimental attachment to the post-world war 2 order, or the cold war, or even the fall of the berlin wall and reunification of germany. all that idealistic baggage about 'the good of europe, ensuring peace and stability' etc. is a rapidly depreciating currency. you better believe that there are anarchists and socialists in spain, greece and italy who do not give a FUCK about europe.
I'd like to think that most people with a modicum of intelligence can see that the european system of nation states is unravelling before our eyes in a world of global trade, movement of people and exchange of information/ideas. The structures we have are untenable and only kept alive through international organisations, primarily the EU and NATO.

Last edited by Larssen (2020-08-10 02:43:13)

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