I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized Different Because Worse

Different Because Worse

Sakis Gekas
This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, by Carmen M Reinhart & Kenneth S Rogoff, Princeton University Press, 496 pp, £ 19.95, ISBN: 978-0691142166 Never has an Irish tragedy so much resembled a Greek one. Millions of Irish, Greeks and shortly other Europeans too are suffering as a result of mismanagement of public finances, lack of regulation in the banking sector and inadequate monetary policy. The EU has been unable to maintain its coherence, often appears divided and fails to demonstrate belief in a European integration project that transcends the accumulation of capital and rigidly defined economic growth. This time the crisis could be much worse than previous ones because of its global, and more particularly, its European dimension. The European Union will have to evolve and face the present challenge or change course towards a less democratic and less egalitarian agglomeration of states: nothing like what was imagined, and until recently praised, as the “European miracle”. After the European Union forced Ireland in November 2010 to borrow €85 billion the message projected around the world six months previously that the Greek debt crisis was due to Mediterranean laziness and a profligate state began to flicker. In the case of Greece, the economic crisis dramatically aggravated chronic inefficiencies and rampant tax evasion. After the Greek aberration however, the crisis entered its “normal” phase, revealing the structural problems in the eurozone: full provision for the mobility of capital and investment but the complete absence of a plan to reduce unevenness within this currency union zone. Greece is now going through a lull after the storm of last spring. The bailout package of €110 billion ensures that the country need not borrow again from financial markets until 2013. Financial markets, it seems, rapidly lost confidence in the ability of countries in the European periphery to repay their debts. Media within and without the country reprimand Greece for having lost competitiveness but downplay the role of bubbles in the stock market, the housing markets and domestic consumption. The bubbles, today, as in the past, would not have been possible without an unregulated banking sector and lending by primarily private banks. This is why countries in the periphery of the eurozone (except Finland) are crumbling while the German economy is growing at extraordinarily high ‑ for times of crisis ‑ levels. It is in this context and “economic climate” that interest in…



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