…..Historically, the body of theory that now represents neo-liberal
economics was first developed in the late 19th century as an antidote against the rising influence of Marxism, particularly in Europe. Marx’s message that profits were the reward for ownership of capital, not a reward for any contribution to production, resonated strongly with workers. The capacity of owners of capital to take the surplus labour of the workers for nothing was an inflammatory idea. Workers considered this essential feature of capitalism to be patently unfair and increasingly violent protests threatened the capacity of capital to maintain its elite position relative to the vast bulk of the population. Clearly a solution was needed. Industrialists recruited economists to develop theories that made capitalism look as though it was fair and rewarding productive input in proportion to its contribution to final output. Later this was refined as attacks on government policy aimed
at redistributing national income. Yet all the time, the interests of those who owned or served capital were being advanced at the expense of the less advantaged. Which leads us to the second reason why the Altman case is of interest to anyone seeking to understand why the EMU is in such a mess. The neo-liberal Groupthink, which dominates economic policy making in Europe, is a case of denial on a grand scale. It not only created economic structures and policy frameworks that spawned the crisis, but has also led to a policy response which has ensured the massive costs will endure for generations while the problems remain unsolved. It was obvious that the Eurozone was doomed from the start and now the same neo-liberal ideology is masquerading as the solution…..
…..The third option considered in detail is the so-called exit option. This is the preferred option, since it accords with the historical and cultural realities of Europe. It would be ideal if the Eurozone nations agreed to an orderly dismantling of the common currency and a restoration of the individual currency sovereignty for each nation. In lieu of such an unlikely turn of events, exit remains the superior option for an individual nation such as Greece or Italy, acting unilaterally. In fact, given the size of the Italian economy in relation to the overall Eurozone economy, Italy should demonstrate leadership by finalising a negotiated exit with Brussels that minimises the damage for all parties. This would provide the blueprint for other nations such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and others to follow……
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