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November 03, 2012

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john buell

Good post on a subject that seems to be neglected in the midst of our election. I refer readers of this blog to Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis's ongoing commentary on this theme. Most recently:
while designing the Recovery, we better beware: The return to growth should not come at any price. What grows matters. We want growth in sectors that generate good things that humanity needs more of and a deep deflation of the toxic sectors that make life nasty, brutish and short – from physical pollutants to real estate bubbles and toxic derivatives.

We must aim at the mobilisation of idle savings into medium to long-term investments that serve genuine human needs – rather than producing new bubbles for the purpose of dealing with the ill effects of previous bubbles that burst disastrously. None of this will be accomplished by markets caught up in an equilibrium of fear that is reinforced daily by universal austerity. Equally, none of it will happen unless public investment takes markets seriously.

Lastly, permit me to finish on a note appropriate to the great debates that take place in this fine building concerning this country’s role in Europe and with regard to your attitude to the Eurozone – to the currency union whose on-going disintegration is threatening to push us all into the mists of a long Winter of Global Discontent.

Like many of you here tonight, who happen to share a Eurosceptic disposition, I too think that we Europeans created a monster in the form of the Eurozone. And just like Mary Shelley’s Dr Frankenstein, whose intentions were not all bad, we now find ourselves unable to control our creation, the euro – a vicious beast that is wrecking our neighbourhood with reckless abandon.

But my message to my Eurosceptic friends, of both the Left and the Right, both here in Britain and in my own country, is this: Beware what you are wishing for. For the cruellest God is the one who grants us our wishes.

We may wish that inane Euro-loyalists get their comeuppance; that they learn their lesson the hard way, watching their ill-conceived Euro perish. But, tragically, if this happens, the pain will spread far and wide and the vast majority of victims will be outside the Eurozone and will suffer far more than the Eurocrats ever will.

If we fail to fix the Eurozone, Europe will most probably inflict, for the third time in a century, an unnecessary calamity upon humanity. My great fear, and conviction, is that, today, Europe’s worst enemies are the Euroloyalists who profess to serve and to believe in it. Not the Eurosceptics. Europe needs Eurosceptics, or better Eurocritics, to be at its centre. To stop deluding themselves that they can sit this one out.

After all, no economy is an island.

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