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I like the idea of the Euro, of the integrated fiscal policy.
I have always said this, and I always will.
What I dislike, however, is the sorry excuse that is the current arrangement. The stronger countries should have known that they would have to support the weaker ones, and the weaker ones should have known that they would be expected to get their act together to work in a more efficient manner. All of this should have been clear and obvious from the outset.
What do we have today? A group of countries, as disparate as ever, using a unified currency but with no fiscal cohesion whatsoever. A single market area where one country is offered loans at wildly different rates to their neighbour because the markets know that Europe won't help Europe.
The ECB is relatively powerless now. Sure, they set interest rates and such, but frankly this is becoming less and less relevant when it is those willing to lend who set the rates themselves, and with few alternatives, they can set whatever rate they like. The ECB is deliberately crippled by treaty thanks to the Germans, who are only starting to realise that screeching "austerity! austerity! austerity!" like a bad parody of Ballmer is, actually, a failed policy.
Okay, sure, you might feel that a few less 'crats and public service employees is no bad thing. I'm afraid I only see it as just another face on the dole queue.
What do Germany, and the ECB, plan to offer for all of those who are now jobless?
What to Germany, and the ECB, plan to offer for Europe?
When the hell will the politicians get it? That we are entering into the last-ditch era of Europe. The economic woes may have started in America, and the entire charade may be down to relentless greed all across the globe. The reasons, these days, are not so relevant as the solutions. In other words, what's done is done, so what is going to be done about it?
For countries hoping to remain in the Euro will need to get their act together.
But not in terms of relentless austerity, but in terms of managed cutbacks along with growth. Or to use a crap analogy, if your car needs to be repaired, you can't fix it by pulling the bad bits off and throwing them away.
There are opportunities. China is suffering increasing wages making it less competitive in the international market. If we, the consumers, are willing to pay a little extra instead of demanding everything at a rock bottom price, some of this manufacturing could return to Europe.
This will, however, mean a large shift in attitude, which is unlikely to happen. For I would want to be paid more (Sarko kept the low-end wages down for a variety of tenuous excuses) and the CEOs would need to be paid a little less. However something that is extremely clear to be about the company I work for is that there is little willingness to offer anything extra to the employees. The meal tickets are €6,50 - and have been for the three and a half years I've been elegible. The clocking in/out software is pathologically incapable of keeping a running tally of hours worked, they say it will cost €600 to fix SagePay (IIRC), and that's too expensive for a company with a claimed turnover topping €30 million. There's money being made, but little filters down to our levels. This is far from unique, for the disparity between the CEOs and shop-floor employees is greater than it has been in decades. The disparity between the rich and the poor is increasing, and now that there are millions more people than available jobs, an average non-specialised company does not need to even pretend to give a crap about its employees. Really, they could fire everybody tomorrow and be running with completely new employees by Monday. This gives them the leverage to do what they want within vague respect of the law. This gives us the advantage to do... nothing. Except stand there and take it. For it's that or nothing.
Why am I moaning about my job? Simple. It is because its like a microcosm of Europe. And without a massive shift in attitudes, things can't be repaired. Who is willing to give up their cash cow for the benefit of others? From my boss right up to the leaders of better-off nations, taking is better than giving. Giving, if it happens at all, comes with many onerous conditions.
And so, the integrated Europe plan will die. Part through greed, part through stupidity, and part because nobody was brave enough to see it through to the end. We, as a continent, could have arranged ourselves into a United States style zone, and we could have taken on the world. But with a system that works ridiculously slowly attempting to arbitrate between a group of countries where their own regions can't agree on stuff (never mind the countries themselves), all ring-led by a country who is willing to agree so long as it is in line with their plans and their plans only...
...I watch and wait and hope, but I think it is reckless optimism at this stage. I hope Monsieur Hollande can inject a useful wind of change into Europe, but is there time to repair the damage?
Bootnote: The question is, if Europe fails, what will the result be? The growing wave of insular opinion is understandable, but not conducive to a continued cohesion.
I hope that some day in the future, probably after my time, and after the civil wars to come, that we arrive at a place where the banking system and financial markets work for the people, not the other way around. It seems to me, for now, certain unelected organisations wish to call the shots without accepting the responsibility. This is indeed a part of the Euro problem. Certain organisations stand to do quite nicely if the Euro fails, others stand to do well if it succeeds. Both are pushing from their corners with us, the citizens of Europe, stuck in the middle of what is nothing more than a greed battle royale. I hope and pray for an economic system that pays a little less attention to what you are worth and a little more to what you can offer (in terms of skill set).
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|joe, 2nd June 2012, 07:18
When there is a chaos, like in Eurozone, everybody
is trying to steal as much as they can and as long as it
is possible, just look at these people, they just
think that the whole Euro is a big joke.
What I hate about Eurozone is the brainwashing, on one
side they say we are ONE on the other they screw you
at every possible corner - example - phone roaming.
The mobile phone company making killing, when you cross
the "border", WTF-ing border?
|Rick, 2nd June 2012, 07:41
Umm... Europe IS still a bunch of different countries, and mobile phone operators ARE still greedy bastards. It isn't anything as insidious as brainwashing, just a sense of every man/company/country in it for themselves.
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