REASONS TO LEAVE THE EU: three eminent women from varied backgrounds enumerate 4, 5, 6 & 7….

#4 Utopian rules that can never work #5 intentional destruction of Sovereignty #6 Corporatocracy is in the EU’s DNA #7Hates the localism most people would prefer

Anne Pettifor writes this plain-speaking critique of the Single Currency:

‘The plain truth is that the euro is a product of utopian neoliberal economists and their ambitions for a monetary system governed only by market forces, beyond the reach of any European state. It is this utopian vision and its embodiment in ‘rules’ that is the cause of economic failure, divergence, social and political instability across member states…That utopianism is why the euro is doomed to failure.’

Ann Pettifor is Director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME) and author of ‘Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance’, published by Commonwealth Publishing in January, 2014.

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Equally good is this one from Ellen Brown:

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is now being charged with treason for exploring the possibility of an alternative payment system in the event of a Greek exit from the euro. The irony of it all was underscored by Raúl Ilargi Meijer, who opined in a July 27th blog:

‘The fact that these things were taken into consideration doesn’t mean Syriza was planning a coup . . . . If you want a coup, look instead at the Troika having wrestled control over Greek domestic finances. That’s a coup if you ever saw one.

Let’s have an independent commission look into how on earth it is possible that a cabal of unelected movers and shakers gets full control over the entire financial structure of a democratically elected eurozone member government. By all means, let’s see the legal arguments for this.’

Were liquidity and insolvency problems intentionally generated in Greece’s case? Let’s review…writes Brown:

First there was the derivatives scheme sold to Greece by Goldman Sachs in 2001, which nearly doubled the nation’s debt by 2005.

Then there was the bank-induced credit crisis of 2008, when the ECB coerced Greece to bail out its insolvent private banks, throwing the country itself into bankruptcy.

This was followed in late 2009 by the intentional overstatement of Greece’s debt by a Eurostat agent who was later tried criminally for it, triggering the first bailout and accompanying austerity measures.

The Greek prime minister was later replaced with an unelected technocrat, former governor of the Bank of Greece and later vice president of the ECB, who refused a debt restructuring and instead oversaw a second massive bailout and further austerity measures. An estimated 90% of the bailout money went right back into the coffers of the banks.

In December 2014, Goldman Sachs warned the Greek Parliament that central bank liquidity could be cut off if the Syriza Party were elected. When it was elected in January, the ECB made good on the threat, cutting bank liquidity to a trickle.

When Prime Minister Tsipras called a public referendum in July at which the voters rejected the brutal austerity being imposed on them, the ECB shuttered the banks.

For a nation to regain control of its currency and credit, it needs a central bank with a mandate to serve the interests of the nation. Banking should be a public utility, serving the economy and the people.’

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 300+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com. Listen to “It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown” on PRN.FM.

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And here’s another belter from Helena Norberg-Hodge….I don’t buy into everything in the piece, but these extracts are bang on the money:

‘It is widely assumed that the European Union was formed in order to prevent conflict. This notion can be traced to the aftermath of the Second World War, when well-intentioned statesmen promoted the notion that economic integration was a path to peace and harmony. And until this day many idealists support the EU for this reason. However, for many in my network – particularly in Scandinavia – it was clear from the beginning that the EU was primarily about big business.Before countries were linked together into an economic union, Europe’s many regions were home to a great variety of cultures, languages and customs. But the Union erodes this rich diversity….None of these were obstacles to businesses operating within their own countries – in fact, the borders and cultural diversity helped protect the markets of domestic producers from the predations of mobile capital, helping to ensure their survival.   But for big corporations and financial institutions, diversity is an impediment, monoculture is ‘efficient’….the result was a form of economic development – based on debt, global trade and consumerism – that systematically favored corporate interests while hollowing out local economies worldwide….Neither the media nor academia has focused on the role of transnational banks and corporations in promoting this economic path….However, Greece reveals clearly where a centralized economy dominated by corporations and banks leads. In country after country, TNCs have been able to evade taxes by ‘offshoring’ their activities, and to bargain for lower tax rates and higher subsidies by threatening to move where even less in taxes will be demanded, and even more in subsidies provided…In the end, the economic problem in Greece is the product of a global system that puts the needs of corporations and banks ahead of people and the planet..

There is an alternative to starving our own people to enrich foreign banks: it involves moving away from ever-more specialized production for export, towards prioritizing diversified production to meet people’s genuine needs; away from centralized, corporate control, towards diverse, localized economies that are more equitable and sustainable. This means encouraging greater regional self-reliance, and using our taxes, subsidies and regulations to support enterprises embedded in society, rather than transnational monopolies.

Although the localization path is not yet visible in the media, more and more economists, environmentalists and social activists are embracing it. Awareness is growing, as people around the world recognize this simple truth: “we are all Greece.”’

Helena Norberg-Hodge is founder and director of Local Futures (International Society for Ecology and Culture). A pioneer of the “new economy” movement, she has been promoting an economics of personal, social and ecological well-being for more than thirty years.

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29 thoughts on “REASONS TO LEAVE THE EU: three eminent women from varied backgrounds enumerate 4, 5, 6 & 7….

  1. that’s all well and good but exactly what political power do these three women have, I aint a communist but i will quote one ” political power comes out of the barrel of a gun. . . . So what for Greece now?? the people have just been terrorized by the banksters, and the means to feed themselves without buying food abroad seems to be absent so what now??

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  2. A most thorough and reasoned post as usual JW.
    O/T
    I saw a collapse of the stock market coming and moved my savings into cash;
    I imagined how QE would bring rampant inflation and invested in inflation linked savings;
    I believed that gold coin would be a safe haven and bought some;
    I assumed that all my research made me savvy.
    Result:- Stocks up, no inflation, gold down 20%.
    Never give a sucker an even break.

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  3. In any nation state, the people elect their government, face the consequences, and, next time round, reelect them or put in place an alternative. In the EU, however, the nation state is subordinated to another body, which is completely beyond the control of the electorate of a member country. If, perchance, your country has entered into the EZ, you find yourselves with no central bank, whose sole purpose is to ensure the functioning of your country’s banking system, upon which your economy depends.. The ECB’s deliberate sabotage of Greek banks, by refusing liquidity, in the full knowledge that this would wreck an already fragile economy, is an act of of economic and political vandalism without precedent anywhere in the democratic world. Uncontrollable immigration is one issue, as being part of this superstate, which ignores the wishes of the electorates in its constituent countries ,but is second degree compared to the ability of the ECB to render insolvent a nation state.

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  4. Excellent ……while reading the post I imagined you as the character played by Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times attempting to alter the gears of a giant machine.

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  5. “and the means to feed themselves without buying food abroad seems to be absent so what now??”

    “Greece thankfully is self-sufficient in food. However because of the EU and CAP there are a single market distortions: overabundances in some areas, insufficiency in others. Since the euro for example, the greek sugar industry closed down (we produced sugar) and we now buy German sugar. To rebalance food needs – as with Russia since it defaulted – we would need to invest in enlarged herds for beef and pork, and replant for sugar and wheat.

    Meanwhile, a price for joining the EU [like the UK and its fisheries] was to close down our tobacco industry. We are the only EU country that has the correct soil and conditions for tobacco and previously this had accounted for 20-25% of Greek GDP

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  6. The European Union was created to allow the financial criminals to steal state assets, and syphon off any real hard cash/gold floating around said victim.

    Off course the EU project was also there to turn disparate Amerikan vassal states into a single unity that could take on Russia/China. Lets see how that turns out.

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  7. With their economic destruction of Greece, and consequent hardships inflicted on the population, it must be obvious to even the most dense, that the EU has gone the way of all tyrannies. It is now just another form of SOVIET UNION.
    All decisions,economic , bureaucratic and political, come from an unelected Commission. Members of the EU PARLIAMENT in most cases just rubber stamp policies, regulations and laws.
    We have sleepwalked into the means of our own destruction and enslavement.
    Rule Brittania ,my arse

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  8. elenits I have never visited Greece but I am familiar with the former Yugoslavia – Croatia and Montenegro. I have noted the abandoned farming terraces in Croatia where olives used to grow. Could these be pressed into food production if similar exists in Greece?

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  9. In fact, if we look back, they were actually used for holding up
    women’s stockings. Gone are the days were majority of men use typical pull-over sweaters or the polo-typed ones with zipper,
    or those dull colors of plain blue, gray and black sweaters.

    If you’re not trying to be sexy; hey, whose to know what you’re wearing under that woolen homespun. What
    they wore above this garment largely depended on their class.
    Those are different styles that are tighter fitting.

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  10. JW – promises.

    Agree with you on what you have expressed and we are now moving into the age of tyranny if we are not there already.

    Our societes are about electing leaders who make promises to get elected. The society breaks down when they continue to break promises with no accountability. Negotiation is worthless because they know by broken promises all new agreements will be broken also. So how do you deal with this kind of situation and it is the single seed that allows all bailouts, wars, starvation, market manipulation, economic exploitation come from.

    How do you change it? When all diplomacy and negotiation tactics have no worth anymore.

    It leaves only a violent struggle in the end, against those in power who break promises and carry out all foul acts, there is nothing more now. You can also add they are not going to return all they have stolen neither, like reparation for commited acts and if you want it you will through the violence have to take it.

    That last point is why we need to deal with those who break promises the rest follows of its own accord.

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  11. +1
    The only solution is not to join the EZ, keep your own currency and equally important your own national Bank, which is what Sweden and several Central European countries are doing. See the wikipedia article on Sweden and the Euro.

    There is another problem, which needs discussion and that is the Germans have quietly made non-EZ countries cough up a part of the cost of supporting the Euro. Cameron has said “no way”, but can he do anything about this, which is just an admin matter of using a non EZ country’s money to support the Euro that otherwise Germany would have to find? This happened in the latest support of the Greeks. When Stefan Löfven was asked about this he waved his hand and made some comment about it being a trifling amount. Which of these two are right? More important, this is typical euro-creep, small decisions become big issues when the next slump arrives. The Germans have established on the quiet a principle. Quite shameful.

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  12. In response to Anne Pettifor: If ‘rules’ are to be imposed, you need an authority to do so. The question is not whether there is an authority, but what is its nature. (One of AEP’s criticisms of EMU was historical experience – no monetary union has ever succeeded without a political union, something that the Germans pointed out in the early to mid 90s). What the neoliberal economists probably envisaged was a ‘democracy’ that was bought by the highest bidder, probably with the USA as their model. The absence of any ‘rules’ in a currency union would lead to ‘beggar thy neighbour’ policies (which are happening anyway) and the devaluation of the currency, of which the Germans are only too aware. In explaining the failure of the Euro in terms of ‘rules’, look not to the presence of rules but to them having been broken even when the Euro was created. I refer to Italy and Belgium running government debt at around 120% of GDP, twice the Maastricht limit, in 1998. If you want rules to be respected, don’t let them be broken from the start.

    The cause of the divergence of economic performance is prosaic. Different European countries have different structural inflation rates. The difference may only be 2% per annum. However, over 20 years that means 40%, explaining why Club Med now has an overvalued currency. Then there were the different capital markets existing prior to EMU. In northern Europe in general and the UK in particular, companies found it easier to finance themselves directly through bond and share issues or at least through the banks. They were better placed to take advantage of the opportunities to expand due to the introduction of open markets. In Italy, in contrast, household savings were channelled to finance the government. Companies were in any case dominated by private owners, who were reluctant to expand too fast in case raising finance meant that they lost control of their companies.

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  13. In response to Helena Norberg-Hodge: there is one aspect of ‘monoculture’ that multi-national corporations do not want to see and that is uniform corporate taxation. The corporations sue different tax rates in different countries to reduce their tax payments.

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  14. In response to Ellen Brown: I simply do not believe that back in 2001 anyone thought of a plan to create the current situation in Greece, a plan that would take 14 years to implement. A more obvious explanation is that the banks wanted to make obscene amounts of money and that, when their plans to make obscene amounts of money were shown to be flawed, they wanted someone else to take the losses.

    Goldman Sachs sold their derivatives scheme to Greece to make money. Apparently, one of the conditions was that Greece did not go to any of GS’ competitors to see if they could get better terms. My guess is that, had Greece done so, the Greek Government would have realised how much money GS was making and how much they were losing. The money paid to GS to hide their true debt was always going to turn up in Greece’s financial stats eventually.

    The credit crisis of 2008 did not occur because the banks wanted it to do so. They didn’t. They would have preferred for the economic bubble not to burst and for the banks to continue making ‘profits’ and paying large bonuses. The bubble bursting made the banks vulnerable to politicians who questioned an economic model based on ever-expanding bank credit. Fortunately for the bankers, they found that the politicians in power were as worried as they were of this economic model being exposed. Gordon Brown didn’t bail out Lloyds and RBS for the sake of the British people. He did so to save his own reputation and whatever chance he stood of being re-elected in 2010. That does not mean that the bankers did not make the best of the situation in which they found themselves. They saw that the craven and probably corrupt politicians were prepared to transfer their losses onto national accounts regardless of the long-term consequences for national finances, in much the same way that British Governments used PPPs to finance infrastructure spending. Hence the Greece bailout. (GS also used its political contacts to reduce its competition.)

    As for the problems of liquidity experienced by Greek banks, that was down to the flawed design of EMU that encouraged savers to transfer deposits from one country to another even though there was meant to be one Eurozone. Once the Greeks started to withdrawing funds from Greek banks, the ECB was in a position where it would be criticised whatever it did.

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  15. Pardon me for pointing this out, but there seems to be something of a relevance deficiency in this comment. Even if I do find it intriguing.

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  16. Couldn’t disagree more, chris.

    Are you seriously suggesting that the banks didn’t know lending hundreds of thousands of pounds and dollars to the unemployed was going to end badly? I worked in the UK mortgage market up until 2010 and it was insane. Companies sent their reps round to tell you how to avoid their systems picking up problems with an application. It was obvious, even to a schmuck like me, that it would end very badly.

    And do you think the government tripling private debt in 10 years whilst at the same time running deficits in a boom wasn’t an obvious route to oblivion? One thing these people are not is stupid. Liars, corrupt b*st*rsds, yes, stupid, no.

    And as for Greece. Well the ECB has a mandate to keep ALL EU banks solvent…not just the one’s they decide they want to ,keep solvent. The ECB has been the cause of the Greek financial crisis. It is their single priority to be lenders of last resort to the banks. They failed…well, the failed in what they were supposed to do but succeeded in what they palnned to do.

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  17. Alan .. yes it is clear that the financial crisis was fore-seen by plenty of people , most of whom ( unlike Paulson) were unable to take advantage of their knowledge . The regulatory authorities , governments and investors themselves are all to blame . But the real killer was the systemic nature of the markets : everyone had the same trade on ( or a version of it) et the same time . This problem has not been dealt with , indeed as I have already said , coming bank regulation will make systemic markets are near certainty , So the next Crisis will be worse than the previous one . Sub-prime started und Bill Clinton and was started with the seemingly noble ( and socialist) intention of enabling poorer people to buy property .
    No-one in the markets fore-saw the damage that the € would cause the PIIGS ( and France ) but now it is clear that only the US and Germany ( and anyone holding PIIG or French debt ) have any valid reason to protect the Euro ;

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  18. I saw her in the flesh in the Ladakh Ecology Centre she founded back when. I own her book “Ancient Futures”.

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  19. Read this somewhere yesterday
    “Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those
    entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
    Thomas Jefferson
    Says it all from a man with a realistic view of his fellow man.

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  20. @Alan

    Even today, 7 years after the last financial crisis, the political and economic consensus remains that consumer led growth based on more bank lending and rising house prices is just fine. This has been the consensus for the last 30 years, even if ‘schmucks’ like you and me question it. As for what people believe deep down, it is always hard to say. There are however several explanations that are more feasible than suggesting that the banks wanted a financial crisis to occur. Some bankers assumed they could get out with their bonuses before the sh!t hit the fan. Others believed that the medicine for every financial crisis was ever lower interest rates. Human beings are also very capable at justifying doing what is in their own self-interest. Even in the extreme example that you quote, lending to people on very low incomes so that they could buy property, there was a justification – the loans were collateralised and the value of the collateral would continue to rise.

    Corbyn’s main attraction to his supporters is that he intends to ignore government deficits and debt levels and just keep on spending. To the people flocking to him, Corbyn’s policies are no more ‘an obvious route to oblivion’ than were Gordon Brown’s policies before him.

    The ECB does not have a mandate to keep all EU banks solvent and for good reason. If a central bank were to have such a mandate, the banks would be free to embark on whatever lending policy they chose, safe in the knowledge that they would always be bailed out. This would lead to even more of the behaviour that you yourself have criticised. It is not the ECB’s ‘single priority to be lenders of last resort to the banks’. The ECB itself states that: ‘We in the Eurosystem have as our primary objective the maintenance of price stability …’

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  21. If a person were cynical enough he or she might think the Northern European Countries are putting into action a plan to protect themselves from ‘immigrants’ based on destroying the Southern European Countries economies so thoroughly that no ‘immigrant’ would dare enter therein lest they be eaten alive by starving cannibals.

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  22. @ Alan. Are you confusing responsible Govt debt increases with irresponsibly loaned non govt bank debt.

    Whether the misinformed anti Govt debt types like it or not. Debt increases are essential to keep the capitalist system ticking over. We need debt increases to back savings (needed as we all age) and OVERALL company profits (otherwise companies profits would have to be matched by other companies losses = a major depression)

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  23. Or to put it another way, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. We’ve already reached the latter part of this quote since there is no effective oppositiion and the present Govt. can do as it likes (and it does!)

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