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European finance lessons
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-03-22 08:32:44
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So this is it, now we know that the European leaders didn’t really understand anything from the new air that blows from Washington and didn’t get anything from what Barack Obama said about economy, it is like an old record player that is stuck in the same place and they are playing the same song that with a lot of help from the Bush administration led to the recession and all that followed.

In the United States Barack Obama and his advisors realized early that the only way to help the economy is to help the middle class, the small businesses and the households. After all they know that these are the ones who really make the money go around and that for them money have a real mining and they are not just numbers in a virtual world. Mr. Obama’s anger with AIG might looked populist but he felt exactly the same the people feel and he saw behind their move to give high bonuses despite the fact that the very same company needed - I’m trying to avoid the word demanded because it makes me more angry – the help of the state to survive the damages; but the truth is that these money would be better invested in the people who urgently need them instead of companies that waste them.

The same time the leaders of the European countries meet and meet again and again with one and only result, to increase tax for the people, talking if they should increase VAT and let the ones who really hold the money free and untouched giving up in the blackmail, if you touch us then we will let more people unemployed which means political cost. I find many handicaps in the American democracy but this is a very serious handicap on our European democracies, the governments are prey of their own bulimia for power and a system that can drive a government out of the office far earlier before the end of their term.

This is good and has stopped a lot of times corruption and overpowered governors but this minute we see the negative side of the case, it looks like the banks and the industry has more power than the state to the stage that they can manipulate decisions, critical as those regarding the necessary measures to fight recession. Barack Obama gone one step further to stimulate the American economy and I’m going to say it very simply but the fact remains the same, he printed money! Yes that might cause a small raise of the inflation but isn’t that better than the bankruptcy? And this moment whole states endanger bankruptcy, don’t forget the example of Iceland that collapsed from one day to the other.

But the best came from Sweden, a country that one more time excuses very well that yes they are members of the European community but they don’t follow everything. Of course the American MG owners of the car industry SAAB did the usual trick demanding with their usual blackmail with the unemployment from the state to fund them and help them go out of the difficulties. The answer was that we were elected to build school, hospitals and take care of the people and not to fund failure car industries and greedy directors and share holders. I think this was the perfect answer and it should become a dogma in the EU in this fight for the recession. You see this is a very weird capitalism, when they make money they don’t want the state to touch them and check their profits but when they have damage they expect from the state to save them! In Greece we say they want the dog and the pie full, well it’s impossible!

The leadership of the European Union today is the shadow of all the hopes that built the idea and people like Barroso will stay in history as the example of the complete failure in every single level. He proved his inability during the Iraq crisis in foreign police, he did it again during the European constitution or treaty call it what you want crisis and he definitely has failed regarding the reputation and dignity of the Union out of the European borders. Actually during his time the EU has lost face, power and influence in every single situation and now when the European Union had the chance to prove that it is an institution that protects its citizens Mr. Barroso failed to coordinate and he is too small to deal with the situation. Of course he had a lot of help from Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and the European jester Berlusconi. That’s the reality of the European Union in front the crisis and these are the responsible not only for the failure to deal of the crisis but their failure to serve the people who elected them. Of course Mr. Barroso is not elected but appointive which makes him a danger failure!

The same time the number of unemployed in Europe continues to rise, the number of homeless continues to rise and the number of homes in danger of a bankruptcy reaching sky-high! But it seems that the only problem the European leaders have is the year of the Champagne, their personal political future and the only thing they want from the American president is a memoir photo!

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Alexandra Pereira2009-03-22 13:57:24
Nice photo :)
The fact that the European Work Ministers gave up their meeting where they were supposed to agree common policies to deal with unemployment, create new jobs and stimulate the economy was kind of shocking... and, as they decided that each member would do it (or not do it) its own way, it proved once again how the EU is separated in fundamental moments, about fundamental issues. Each member country by itself, or just a few together, that's the official policy.

Alexandra Pereira2009-03-22 14:07:05
...Besides, it shows absolutely no concern for "European citizens" and much concern for particular interests. It's pretty shameful, they should be forced go go back to the meeting table and not rise their butts from those stuffed chairs to go and eat any oysters with honey and ginger sauce at any nouvelle cuisine restaurant until they reach a common agreement and decide for proper measures to protect their citizens!

Emanuel Paparella2009-03-22 18:40:13
And here is a quote that can well be interpreted as a prophecy of sort by Klaus Held:
"A European community grounded only in political and economic cooperation of the member states would lack an intrinsic common bond. It would be built upon sand."
The inquisitive reader may wish to read Held’s essay (which appeared in 2002) titled “The Origins of Europe with the Greek Discovery of the World.”

Emanuel Paparella2009-03-22 18:43:35
P.S. The essay was also commented and discussed in the pages of Ovi. Open to this link:


Alexandra Pereira2009-03-22 22:22:32
Mr. Paparella, haven't you understood yet that there is no political and economic cooperation - only when it's convenient?

Emanuel Paparella2009-03-22 23:13:26
Indeed, Ms. Pereira Claus Held and I too have understood it long ago and therefore that quote unfortunately stands even after seven years; it is in fact in times of crisis that the foundation of a union are revealed as solid or unstable. One needs more than common banks in time of prosperity and soccer games to create a real cultural-political union. Bread and circus simply will not do, as even the mighty Roman Empire found out eventually.

Alexandra Pereira2009-03-23 02:45:37
...and America lately. EU didn't find out yet.

Emanuel Paparella2009-03-23 04:45:43
In America we have had a civil war provoked by the misguided notion that one can declare ideals on a piece of paper called a Constitution and then dishonor them in practice. Nevertheless, it happened because those principles were considered important, albeit violated. Correct me if I am wrong, but if I read Klaus Held correctly, building upon sand means that the union has no foundations and therefore nobody will care a fig when it comes apart, for it was never such to begin with. To say, we all in this together as long as things go well and the uncle from oversea plays the world’s policeman and subsidizes or prosperity, but when prosperity and good times end it’s everybody for themselves, is a mere delusion of a union. To have a union one needs common ideals, a common culture and tradition as the late Pope John Paul reminded the European Parliament in 1978. I am afraid that precious few of the “enlightened” parlamentarians listened and reflected on his words. One begins to wonder if they even understood what he was talking about. That cultural cement which is now alien and foreign used to be called Christianity and it functioned as a centripetal force for Europe as a whole.

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