A montanha mágica

domingo, março 21, 2010

Do sociólogo Immanuel Wallerstein só li The Modern World-System I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century, há uns anos, e mais uns textos aqui e ali, avulsos. De vez em quando uma crónica, como é o caso da que deixo aqui hoje, passou-me pelos olhos para aí há quinze dias três semanas.

Commentary No. 276, Mar. 1, 2010

Immanuel Wallerstein

"Greek Mess, Euromess, Western Nations Mess, World Mess?"

Everyone is discussing what Fortune magazine is calling the "Greek maelstrom" and everyone is pointing the finger at someone else. Whose fault is it? The Greek government is accused of cheating and allowing Greeks to live beyond their means. The European Union is accused of having created an impossible structure for the euro.

Or is the fault with Goldman Sachs? It is accused of having enabled the Greek government to falsify its accounts when it sought to join the euro monetary system. It is accused today of engaging in "credit-default swaps" that make the situation of the Greek government even more vulnerable, but to the bank's profits. The head of credit strategy at UniCredit in Munich says this is like "buying insurance on your neighbor's house - you create an incentive to burn down the house." Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany calls Goldman Sachs' actions in 2002 "scandalous" and Christine Lagarde, France's Finance Minister, calls now for greater regulation of credit-default swaps.

Niall Ferguson says that "A Greek crisis is coming to America." He calls this "a fiscal crisis of the Western world." Ferguson is preaching the evils of public debt and of the concept of a "Keynesian free lunch," which in the end is a "drag on growth." Paul Krugman says it's a "Euromess" because Europe should not have adopted a single currency before it was ready to have political union. But now the euro can't be allowed to break up since it would trigger a worldwide financial collapse.

Meanwhile, it seems everyone is pressuring the Greek government to reduce its budget deficit as a percentage of GDP from over 12% to say 4% in say four years. Can it do this? Should it do this? The Greek government says it will do something. This "something" has been enough to bring about massive strikes of farmers, hospital workers, air traffic controllers, customs officials, and all those who are being asked to reduce their income in the middle of an economic crisis and increased unemployment.

Should Germany do something? The Germans don't want to for two principal reasons. The first is the prospective demand of other states in economic difficulty (Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland) for the same thing. The second is the internal pressures of their citizens who see any help to Greece as money that is being taken away from them, when they too are feeling an economic squeeze.

On the other hand, if Greece (and other countries) squeeze their citizens to pay down the debt, it means reduced purchasing power for imports - first of all, from Germany. And this means in turn a downturn for the German economy. Josef Joffe, the editor of Germany's Die Zeit, groans: "Europe has become a huge welfare state for everybody, for states as well as individuals."

Meanwhile, the euro is slumping and the dollar is once again, for a moment, a "safe haven." Ferguson warns us that "US government debt is a safe haven the way Pearl Harbor was a safe haven in 1941."

When an analyst in the Financial Times suggested that Germany was going after all to bail out Greece, a German reader commented: "So what you're saying is give them your money to spend in your shop." But isn't that just what the Chinese do when they buy U.S. Treasury bonds?

What these multiple cross-cutting analyses of short-term blame and short-term gain miss is that the problem is worldwide and structural. Banks exist to make money. The games Goldman Sachs has been playing (and other banks as well) has not only been with Greece, but with many, many countries - even with Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, even with the United States.

This is because governments wish to survive. To do this, they need to spend enough money to prevent a "maelstrom" and civil uprising. And if they don't take in enough taxes to do this (both because they don't want to raise taxes further and because a weaker economy means less overall tax income), they must "massage" their accounts by borrowing. And covert borrowing (from banks, for example) is better than overt borrowing, since it enables governments to avoid criticism, until the day when the secret gets revealed, and there's a "run on the bank."

Greece's problems are indeed Germany's problems. Germany's problems are indeed the United States' problems. And the United States' problems are indeed the world's problems. Analyzing who did what in the last ten years is far less useful than discussing what, if anything, can be done in the next ten years. What is going on is a world-wide game of chicken. Everyone seems to be waiting for who will flinch first. Someone is going to make a mistake. And then we'll have what Barry Eichengreen has called "the mother of all financial crises." Even China will be affected by that one.

by Immanuel Wallerstein


posted by Luís Miguel Dias domingo, março 21, 2010

Parece-me inevitável a U.E. assumir algum proteccionismo económico, dificultando a importação de bens da China e dos EUA, e a Alemanha adquirir bens de produção na Grécia, Espanha e Portugal, assim solvendo o apoio financeiro que necessariamente terá de prestar para segurar o Euro. E, note-se, a Alemanha aceitou o Euro para obter a confiança política dos demais estados de que a sua hegemonia no hinterland da Europa Central não iria ser nenhuma ofensiva contra os outros estados. Assim, agora, resta-lhe defender o Euro, nem que tal necessariamente signifique passar a tutelar determinantemente os PIG's...
Enviar um comentário
Powered by Blogger Site Meter

Blogue de Luís Dias
A montanha mágica YouTube

vídeos cá do sítio publicados no site do NME

Ilusões Perdidas//A Divina Comédia


Google Art Project

Assírio & Alvim
Livrarias Assírio & Alvim - NOVO
Pedra Angular Facebook
blog da Cotovia
Livros &etc
Relógio D`Água Editores
porta 33
A Phala
Papeles Perdidos
O Café dos Loucos
The Ressabiator

António Reis
Ainda não começámos a pensar
As Aranhas
dias felizes
there`s only 1 alice
menina limão
O Melhor Amigo
Hospedaria Camões
Bartleby Bar
Rua das Pretas
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
primeira hora da manhã
contra mundum
Os Filmes da Minha Vida
Poesia Incompleta
Livraria Letra Livre
Kino Slang
sempre em marcha
Pedro Costa
Artistas Unidos
Teatro da Cornucópia

Manuel António Pina
Rui Tavares
31 da Armada

Discos com Sono
Voz do Deserto
Ainda não está escuro
Provas de Contacto
O Inventor
Ribeira das Naus
Vidro Azul
Sound + Vision
The Rest Is Noise
Unquiet Thoughts

Espaço Llansol
Bragança de Miranda
Blogue do Centro Nacional de Cultura
Blogue Jornal de Letras
letra corrida
Letra de Forma
Revista Coelacanto

A Causa Foi Modificada
Almocreve das Petas
A natureza do mal
A Terceira Noite
Bomba Inteligente
O Senhor Comentador
Blogue dos Cafés
cinco dias
João Pereira Coutinho
Linha dos Nodos
Life is Life
Mood Swing
Os homens da minha vida
O signo do dragão
O Vermelho e o Negro
Pastoral Portuguesa
Poesia & Lda.
Vidro Duplo
Quatro Caminhos
vontade indómita
Arts & Letters Daily
Classica Digitalia
biblioteca nacional digital
Project Gutenberg
First Things
The Atlantic
El Paso Times
La Repubblica
BBC News
Folha de S. Paulo
Harper`s Magazine
The Independent
The Nation
The New Republic
The New York Review of Books
London Review of Books
The Spectator
The Times Literary...
The New Criterion
The Paris Review
Vanity Fair
Cahiers du cinéma
all music guide
Flannery O'Connor
Bill Viola

Destaques: Tomas Tranströmer e de Kooning
e Brancusi-Serra e Tom Waits e Ruy Belo e
Andrei Tarkovski e What Heaven Looks Like: Part 1
e What Heaven Looks Like: Part 2
e Enda Walsh e Jean Genet e Frank Gehry's first skyscraper e Radiohead and Massive Attack play at Occupy London Christmas party - video e What Heaven Looks Like: Part 3 e
And I love Life and fear not Death—Because I’ve lived—But never as now—these days! Good Night—I’m with you. e
What Heaven Looks Like: Part 4 e Krapp's Last Tape (2006) A rare chance to see the sell out performance of Samuel Beckett's critically acclaimed play, starring Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter via entrada como last tapes outrora dias felizes e agora MALONE meurt________

São horas, Senhor. O Verão alongou-se muito.
Pousa sobre os relógios de sol as tuas sombras
E larga os ventos por sobre as campinas.

Old Ideas