Saturday, June 16, 2012


So the ECB's agenda is pain. What about our agenda?

One positive thing about the crisis in Europe is that, unlike many earlier occasions on which neoliberalism has been imposed by financial coercion, this one is calling forth a serious response from the left. Hopefully, we'll see a victory for Syriza in tomorrow's elections in Greece. In the meantime, check out their economic program. Good stuff.


UPDATE: Well, that was disappointing. The Guardian says it was moral victory; perhaps we'll get a Greek perspective here in the next week.

In the meantime, the question has been raised, what do I specifically like about this program? Well, let's be honest, beside the tone of it -- which is wonderful -- it's not everything one might hope for. But it's a small party in a small country, putting together its program in a short time under extreme conditions. That said, I think the focus on tax reform, and on taxing the rich -- including the Church -- is important. Unlike Spain or Italy or Ireland, Greece does have a genuine fiscal problem. Resolving that in a progressive way is important. And if it does turn out that GReece leaves the Euro -- I won't guess how likely that is -- capital flight is going to be a huge problem. Putting in place the institutions now to capture the wealth of that fraction of the Greek elite that abandons ship strikes me as very worthwhile.


  1. Wow, a wealth registry -- onshore and off, real and financial. I'm likin' it. I wonder if they can pull it off.

  2. I'm sure people will be shocked by a wealth registry (as they are by Norway's public tax database) but we pretty much do that in the US already. Regular people have much of their savings in their housing, and property tax records are super easy to look up online now.

    I read the PDF and I didn't find anything about how's they're going to get to full employment. Tying debt repayments to growth and employment sounds good.

    1. "Tying debt repayments to growth and employment sounds good."

      That caught my eye too as a good specific measure, one I've heard before (but only recently, actually),

      JW, other specific measures you liked?

  3. Reading the PDF it was a hoot googling the names in there. SYRIZA's tone is "come on guys, we've been talking about getting this shit done since 1831. Let's get on with it." I was hoping they'd get to the part where Stavros makes a FileMaker Pro database for tax records.

    I'm sure PASOK has a similar PDF supporting egalitarian and ecological goals. It's actually policies that matter: Kurzarbeit, Plan Jefes, Scandinavian workfare, something original, whatever. Just fixing the tax db isn't going to put people back to work.

    As far as I can tell Greeece's PASOK and ND are going to kick the can down the road for a while, and then the whole thing will fall apart again. SYRIZA could be in power in just another Friedman Unit. I want them to win and I hope they can get the job done.