lunedì 5 gennaio 2015

"Systemic importance", "radical parties", and democracy in the Eurozone

(la versione italiana è qui...)

In a previous post of this blog I published an email by Angelantonio Castelli, a physicist who happens to belong to my small virtual class (first blog in economics in Italy). He was so kind as to draw our attention on the meaning the words “systemic importance” have for the German government. Quite obviously, and fully legitimately, for the German government “systemic importance” means “risk for German owned banks”. Angelantonio’s graph showed that the exposure of German (and French) banks to Greece fell quickly over the last two years (not such a big discovery, of course, but something the Italian media will never show to their audience), which means that now Greece can leave, if it dares.

I produce here some further graphs, answering the following questions: what about Italy? And what countries are of “systemic importance” to Germany now? The data are well known. I will then draw a simple political conclusion, that will prove right. If it ever proves wrong, you know where I live: here!

Firstly, this is the exposure to Greece of Germany, France, and the Netherlands (I left aside Switzerland, which is important and interesting, but outside the Eurozone – and proud of it):

Netherlands pattern is about the same, on a smaller scale (but mind the many statistical breaks in the series: detailed information available on the BIS website).

Next, this is the exposure of Germany, France, and the Netherlands, to Italy:

Once again, we have a similar pattern: a very apparent trend reversal in bank lending since the onset of the crisis (mind the break in the Netherlands’ series!). However, in our (Italian) case, international lending stabilizes after the “whatever it takes” bluff at the mid-2012 (yes, it is a bluff, and you know it, and even Mario knows: let us see what happen in 2015, not just tomorrow!).

Then, I show you the consolidated lending by Germany, France and Netherlands to Greece and Italy, just for you to know that there is a small difference in size:

(I know you suspected that Italy was larger than Greece, and you are not too surprised, but believe me: many people ignore such simple details, and it is really worth providing them, if we wish democracy to work as it should, not as technocrats want – more on democracy below).

Finally, this is how the exposure of Germany towards its main partners evolved over time:

And, once again, no big surprise: Spain was the bigger problem, and this is the reason why it was (and still is) allowed to repeatedly break the European budget rules. Everybody knows that in a balance sheet recession public indebtedness is needed to favor private sector deleveraging (have a look at Boltho and Carlin’s paper, if you can). Basically, the German rule of the Eurozone was so kind as to allow the Spaniards to transform non-performing loans of German banks (private debt of Spanish firms and households towards Germany) into Spanish public debt (I suppose you remember that Spanish public debt was virtually zero before the crisis, don’t you?).

By the way, this is a clear illustration of the purposes of the “anti-austerity/pro-euro” frame adopted by the “left” all around in the Eurozone. You know, those silly guys who keep “threatening” Germany, asking it to relieve “its” absurd austerity rules? I call them “the appealian”, because they are so keen to write (and underwrite) utterly wise and spectacularly ill-timed “appeals” that nobody will read. If there was a political will to cooperate in the Eurozone, we would not be in such a crisis. Full stop. So, what is the point to write “appeals”, once it is so clear that nobody is willing to ever look at them? They are at best of no “systemic importance”, and at worst of some help to Germany, that in the present situation is already managing its “austerity” in a very flexible way (as the Spanish case demonstrate).

Finally, a few words about Hans Werner Tsipras.

Do you remember when the European “progressive”, open-minded people, in Europe and elsewhere, were so happy because they felt that Hollande was about to change the economic landscape of the Eurozone? Well, it turns out that they missed a little detail. Now they are missing a big one.

If you think that our worst problem is Eurozone economic predicament, you are grossly mistaken. Our first problem is democracy, for the reasons so neatly expressed by Axel Leijonhufvud five years ago. The Eurozone is the apex of the vincolo esterno (external constraint) political philosophy, well described by Kevin Featherstone. Central bank independence is the mean to a well-defined and openly declared end: subtract the governance of sovereign states to elected politicians in order to empower a non-elected transnational technocratic elite (please, have a look at Featherstone’s paper before starting your populist rants about the European dream). The euro embodies central bank independence through article 123 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It then follows that every people defending the euro nowadays, be it directly, like Mr. Draghi, or indirectly, like the "appealians" or Hans Werner Tsipras, is actually defending this political philosphy. Unfortunately, it turns out that this philosophy was (and still is) grounded on two very unsound bases: the naive confidence in the existence of a “purely technical” economic optimum, and the Machiavellian and paternalistic view that the “good shepherds” could lie to the sheep in order to push them in the right direction.

On the first point, I allow myself to point out to your attention that optimal inflation is not like optimal room temperature, which is well known to lie in a small range between 20 and 23 °C (68 and 73 °F), and which can be regulated by a technical device; there is no widely agreed-upon definition of an optimal inflation rate, the Sheridan’s approach of the ECB (the only good inflation is dead inflation) has pushed us beyond the verge of a complete disaster, and since inflation affects wealth and income distribution (as Leijonhufvud reminds us), you cannot have it regulated by the “thermostat” of a technocratic central bank: you need politicians, and a central bank obeying to them. Well, sorry, I was wrong. Not “you need”. You should, if you believe in democracy, which is something nobody can force you to do.

On the second point, it is well known that the disastrous consequences of “putting the cart before the horses” (in Dominick Salvatore’s words), i.e., of proceeding to monetary union before political union, were well-known not only to the profession, but also to the political elites. There is a huge literature in the political science field showing that the “federalist” approach to “Europeanisation” was based on the firm belief that proceeding the wrong way would cause crises, but those crises would have a positive outcome, because they would push the sheep (i.e., you) towards the right end: the United States of Europe, supposed to be the end of nationalism (much in the same way the United States is, or...). Italian readers may find it useful to have a look at Roberto Castaldi’s paper, “Single currency and political union”. Castaldi, a distinguished researcher in a reputed Italian university, explain us that:

Ma il fallimento del Congresso del Popolo Europeo mostrava che da sola tale crisi storica non permetteva di mobilitare i cittadini europei a favore della federazione. Ciò richiedeva l'emergere di crisi specifiche dei poteri nazionali, ovvero di problemi percepiti socialmente che non potevano trovare soluzione nel quadro nazionale. L'emergere di tali crisi costituiva la finestra di opportunità per l'avanzamento del processo di unificazione, e ne determinava la possibile direzione: una crisi economica poteva permettere avanzamenti sul terreno dell'integrazione economica... Le crisi costituivano opportunità per lo sviluppo di una "iniziativa" federalista.

which means (for differently European readers):

But the failure of the European People Congress showed that the historical crisis (of the nation States, translator’s note) did not allow the federalists to mobilize European citizens in favor of the federation. To this end, specific crises of national sovereignty were needed, i.e., socially perceived problems that could not be solved within the national framework. The occurrence of such crises was a window of opportunity for the progress of the unification process, and determined its direction: an economic crisis would favor developments towards economic integration... Crises were opportunities for the development of a federalist “initiative”.

In other words, the European elites knew very well that a crisis was ahead. In the Italian case, we have direct evidence of this (besides authoritative studies, like the one I just quoted). For instance, the minutes of the Italian Chamber still reports Giorgio Napolitano’s speech against Italy’s accession to the EMS. His word make it plain that he was fully and completely aware of the dangers that this process would bring about: de-industrialization of the weak countries and deflation all around (to the damage of the working class, which at that time he was supposed to defend, being a communist, and a former supporter of this unfortunate event).

Against this background, monetary unification was “sold” by those elite as a big deal for their constituencies. In Romano Prodi’s (in)famous words, Italian people “would earn as if they would work one day more, by working one day less”. This is what he told to his constituency in Italy, but he was lying, because at the same time he was releasing interviews to the Financial Times where he openly confessed that he was fully aware of the fact that Europe was not ready for the single currency, that this would cause a crisis, and that the crisis would force the European citizens to adopt the correct “political instruments” (e.g., labour market flexibility).

Needless to say, democracy cannot work if politicians (and the media system) purposely and consistently lie to their constituencies. You may have whatever opinion of the supposed Christian roots of Europe, but whatever you mean and whatever the God you believe in (if any), Jesus Christ’s words: “truth will set you free” (John, 8:32) are a political truth. Admittedly a long-run one, but still a truth. Lying to the European constituency has brought us to slavery (under the markets’ domination).

Now, have a careful look at Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Hans Werner Tsipras in Greece, and Podemos in Spain, are fighting their political battle with the same weapons as the European elite did: by lying to their constituencies. They refrain systematically from pointing out the nowadays universally recognized source of our troubles (the euro), and they keep making promises they will never be able to keep: banging their little fists on the big European table in order to “force” Frau Merkel to do what they want.

Here in Italy we had a recent example of where this course of action brings: to failure. The Five Stars Movement of Grillo, which was supposed by everyone in Europe (except me) to be anti-euro, has actually refrained to take any definite stance on this issue, on the basis of the assumption that too definite an attitude would frighten their “median voter”. It was better to elude “hot” topics, in order to reach the power, and only afterwards do the “right thing”. Following this approach, they ran a populist, "anti-clique", “anti-corruption” (i.e., anti-government intervention in the economy) campaign, which proved successful the first time (in 2013 political elections), but self-defeating immediately afterwards (in the local elections of June 2013, and even more in the European elections of May 2014).

Much in the same way, Hans Werner Tsipras is not mentioning the euro, supposedly because he think this would frighten the Greek “median voter” (in full Stockholm syndrome), Podemos in Spain is running an “anti-corruption” campaign, and both are focusing on public debt issues, while even the ECB has long recognized that the problem lies elsewhere: in private lending from the North to the private sector of the South (do you remember the graphs above? That was private debt. And please have a look at Constancio’s speech and slides).

It is worth noting that the two supposedly “radical-left” parties in Europe owe their success to a full endorsement of the frame put forth by the European technocratic elite: namely, that the crisis was determined by public debt, whose abnormal growth (well, it as actually a decrease) was engendered by the public sector inefficiency and corruption. 

This implicit endorsement will of course favor their accession to the power, for two reasons: it does not disturb the elites (that are really happy to have the supposed opposition endorsing their Weltanschauung!), and it does not disturb the constituency, which hears a familiar story. At the same time, this endorsement does not contradicts too much their supposed “anti-austerity” stance. Once again, the opposition to austerity is not such a bad deal for Northern creditors (as the graphs above should prove: it allowed them to transfer their NPL’s to the balance sheets of the stressed governments!), and it is of course favored by the “progressive” constituency. Yes, indeed what the “appealians” want is at the same time less State, and more State. But this in principle is not a contradiction: everybody wants less (corrupted) State and more (efficient) State. Me too, for sure! However, in countries like Italy (just to quote one), corruption (which of course needs to be eradicated) was always widespread, even when the country grew at a 3% pace. So, why are we not growing now? And why are other, equally corrupted, countries growing?

Summing up, these “radical” approaches will fail, because they are as anti-democratic as the elite approach was.

It is high time to tell the truth. If you keep repeating that the problem is “corruption”, public debt, austerity, or whatever, and not the euro, you will have the median voter, but the final result will not be the expected one (use your power to force Germany to do what you want), but the opposite one: you will be crushed (as Beppe Grillo was in Italy) by the blackmail of the median voter, who will never understand where the problem is (because you never did something to inform him) and will therefore ask you to destroy the remainder of the (corrupted?) State, which according to the elite’s journals is the culprit, giving more way to the elite you were supposed to fight!

Not such a huge success for supposedly left-wing movements, is it? In fact, chances are that they will fail. But should they win, both the above graphs, and political intuition, show that they will never be able to change the course of our crisis. Just let us imagine how this would happen: Hans Werner, or Podemos, reach the power, then they appear on a balcony and tell to the people: “Countermand, comrades: the euro and private finance, not the clique and public debt, was the problem!”. Well, I will not say that this will never happen. But should it happen, they would immediately lose a large share of their constituency: snakes and ladder, you know?

Remember the words of that ancient blogger: truth will set you free. Any political movement that really intends to change things in Europe should never ever do the same political mistake as the criminal elite that carried out the European project so far: become trapped in its own lies.

Just to give you an exemple: Alessandro Di Battista (a Five Stars MP) statement a few days ago was a wonderful piece of dadaist policy: "If there is no toilet paper in our schools, blame corruption". Well, after having experienced the troika (if we ever do, which is likely, with such statesmen!), I think we will put corruption in perspective...

European citizens are adults, they deserve and can afford to hear the truth. And the technical truth is that we need a nominal realignment now: we need to overcome the euro, that was a huge historical mistake, and restore flexibility among European currencies. Have you ever dropped a crystal and a plastic glass at the same time? Which one broke? And why? Yes, right: because it was not flexible enough.

Think of it.

If you don’t believe me, nor Jesus Christ, believe your eyes. This will avoid us the painful need to remove the shards of the Eurozone.

P.s.: all the above implies that the victory of Syriza (or Podemos) will have no real impact. If it does, you will remember my words. If it does not, you will forget them. So is life...

49 commenti:

  1. OT - TTIP o EAEU?

    Quale area di libero commercio converrebbe di piu' agli Europei?

    Sembra una domanda dalla risposta (oggi) scontata, ma se gli scacchisti hanno fatto la proposta alla EU forse ne sanno qualcosa di piu'.

  2. As simple as data evidence is. Thank you Prof. You did it... you told us it... you spent your words... (scusatemi... non saprei tradurre efficacemente in inglese): l'esercizio responsabile del potere (sovrano) democratico (dall'elettore all'eletto) e' quanto di piu' elevato attenga all'opera dell'Uomo, e' il suo potere piu' grande... ma anche il piu' facile da perdere e disperdere So is life.

  3. Clear, simple, biting. Don't you know when you write other languages, you seem simpler? Think about, it needs :-). You growing as the audience of the blog!
    You're making me seriously analyze my etherosexuality ahahahahahah.

  4. Io sono terribilmente scoraggiato, e non oso mettermi nei panni del Prof, dopo 3 anni di letture maledette ho intravisto la verità (cit.) ma all'epoca ero ottimista sul fatto che i media non avrebbero potuto continuare a mentire a lungo, invece dall'elettore mediano sento sempre dire le stesse identiche cose che ormai sappiamo a memoria; questa follia dell'Euro dura da 15 anni, più della seconda Guerra Mondiale, Goebbels ne sarebbe stato fiero, il suo esempio ha fatto scuola

    1. Non so se si faccia ancora, ma a me per spiegare la teoria dell'elettore mediano hanno fatto vedere una curva di Gauss ('na distribuzione ordinaria, Normale). Considera che sei nella codina bassa bassa di sinistra.

    2. Intendi questo?

    3. No, perDio, potizzandola come una distribuzione di un carattere quantitativoI continuo tra destra e sinistra. Capovolta. A me piacerebbe trovarmi a sinistra di qualsiasi curva, per attitudine mica per altro...nella meritocrazia non sono a mio agio per ovvi motivi :-)

  5. When "the" prof writes in English, it is muuuuch simpler to understand. Is it a language "bias"?
    I am waiting for "voci dall'estero"to translate this post into Italian! ahahahaha

    1. I have already asked them through Mr. Black. We will try to establish an agreement, such that when I write in English, I entrust them with the translation, and I put the link to their blogpost on my blog.

    2. Man in Black told us and we agree with much pleasure! Finally we can translate the voice by which we learned more in these years (and against all self-racism... is a voice from Italy!)

  6. "Putting the car before the horses"
    Right ?

  7. Mentire.. se dico una verità su 10... è dura vederla a parte da qualche anima pia.

  8. Questo è un post molto tanto triste quanto vero. Ciò che Alberto dice su Tsipras e Podemos è ahimé incontrovertibile. Come mi è capitato altre volte, dato il contesto storico, preferirei parlare più che di "sindrome di Stoccolma" di "sindrome Portiere di Notte" (dal noto film di Liliana Cavani). Al di là poi di tutte le considerazioni politiche ed economiche sacrosante svolte da Alberto, c'è una terribile verità "umana", di cui quasi nessuno sembra accorgersi. Un popolo che continua a subire mentendo a se stesso guadagna solo il disprezzo altrui, cioè di chi lo opprime. E niente è peggiore del disprezzo.

    1. Qualcosa c'è. Ad es.
      "Un popolo che continua a subire mentendo a se stesso"

  9. Dear Prof. Bagnai,
    some considerations:
    - Syriza and Podemos are over-estimated by mass-media coverage. They won't win. They will do the same ending as M5S in Italy at the last political elections.
    - I allow myself to suggest this article by italian political scientist Nadia Urbinati, that I think shares with you many positions, but proposes a different view on the use of "truth" in the democratic political arena
    Best regards

  10. Una postilla marginale, che non è necessario che sia resa pubblica: in inglese "meglio tardi che mai" si traduce in modo più correttamente idiomatico con "better safe than sorry".

  11. Vedo però che esiste anche "Better late than never"
    so why bothering, after all.

  12. Che bella cosa l’eurodemocracy, anche se l’intento della Merkel mi sembra più in stile mafia & co. : “stai attento a come ti comporti perché potresti avere un incidente!”.
    Secondo me la dolce cancelliera ha semplicemente fatto sapere al “condottiero” greco che, se mai gli venisse l’idea (“so benissimo bravo figliuolo che non è il tuo caso, ma non si sa mai”) di un eurexit, si scordi sin da subito una levata di scudi della Germania (“niente forza politica che ti potrebbe venire da tale battaglia”) che anzi aprirà semplicemente la porta di uscita (“ tanto ora il grosso lo abbiamo sistemato”) e quindi la scelta e la responsabilità sarà sua e solo sua e considerando che nel medio periodo (“le prossime elezioni se non ti fai male prima”) si passerà dall’austerity della troika ai tempi di austerità che vi toccheranno comunque ( “sai ti rimane ancora un piccolo debito con noi e fino ad allora soldi nisba da parte di nessuno e non saranno orde di nuovi turisti o vagonate di yogurt esportato a salvarvi”) forse sarebbe il caso di stare un po’ più attenti a come ci si comporta e di portare più rispetto ai propri cravattari di fiducia.
    Comunque vada la Merkel può mettere in cantiere un altro frame di grande appeal, infatti dopo “la Grecia il più grande successo della troika” (per ora messo silenziosamente e anonimamente nel cassetto) potrebbe senz’altro optare per “ve lo avevamo detto che uscire dall’euro si può, ma vedete i risultati ?!? volete anche voi cari cittadini italiani/spagnoli/ecc. passare dalla pentola alla brace?” (ogni sera su tutti i tg e il primo che sostiene che l’Italia non è la Grecia subito in esilio a vita su una Meteora a scelta).
    “Felice” anno.

    1. La Merkel bluffa. Se la grecia esce l'euro collassa in poche settimane.

    2. Non credo sia un bluff ma piuttosto che la Merkel abbia tirato una pietra nello stagno per vedere cosa succedeva. Penso che ormai tutti coloro che hanno tratto vantaggio dall’euro abbiano da tempo diverse strategie (azzeccate e/o utili si vedrà) pronte all’uso per quando il bengodi finirà e tra queste ci sarà sicuramente il come comportarsi se un piccolo decide di uscire dal recinto (sia se lo scavalca sia se gli si lascia il cancello aperto).
      Il danno sarebbe marginale (non vedo la fila di governi pronti a seguire la Grecia a cascata), poi se ci sarà interesse a farlo diventare catastrofico si vedrà (anche il problema iniziale della Grecia era “marginale” rispetto ai numeri dell’UE ma è stata poi la volontaria scelta di risolverlo in un certo modo a farlo diventare una catastrofe per la Grecia e per molti altri).
      Secondo me la Merkel e tutti coloro che hanno interesse sono già semplicemente preparati a far passare l’eventuale grexit come modello negativo per tutti gli altri che avessero desiderio di uscire.
      La Grecia in 3/5 anni difficilmente farà faville e se poi volessero anche dargli una spintarella (nello stile Deutsche Bank -BTP=+spread come hanno fatto con noi) vedrai che bel quadretto metteranno di fronte a tutti, ovviamente dicendo che quello è il risultato dell’uscita dall’euro (e non che è il risultato per la Grecia).

  13. "which means (for differently European readers)"

    Oh my, what a beautiful simmetry!

  14. Oggi Mario Pirani, su Repubblica, ci invita a dare un'occhiata ad un interessante (?) saggio di S. Biasco pubblicato sul numero di Gennaio del Mulino; il titolo dell'articolo per i lettori del prof. Bagnai è una domanda retorica: " E' possibile uscire dall'euro ?" . Lo scenario dipinto da Pirani in caso di uscita è la solita apocalisse (inflazzzione, fallimenti a catena.....manca solo l'invasione delle cavallette) che comunque - e questo è un trentaduesimo di passo avanti - avrebbe come alternativa un nostro probabile "lento soffocamento" ..... non molto allettante come prospettiva . Il finale è suggestivo dato che il saggio di Biasco ".....propone una serie di valutazioni sugli obbiettivi unitari che si dovrebbe porre la sinistra .....". Che dite, gli mandiamo l'utlimo post del prof ?

    1. Io gli manderei un bell'invito a farsi un giro in grecia per assaporare il ritorno alla durezza del vivere.

  15. Non fa neanche più ridere...

  16. Not sure I dare to question the wise considerations, in English, of the professor. I have more of a question that led him to externalize in Anglo-Saxon: I do not think that naming some of the characters in Italian appointed by him can bring them no advantage.
    But in any case we are coming to the point, or, to put it to the Florentine, "we are at the gates with stones".
    For the first time since the euro came into circulation, there is the serious possibility that a country eurozone face their bags and go back to their national currency.
    The consequences are serious, nothing but talk: as reported good this article:

  17. What goes around, comes around... when the push comes to shove, what they will say about the systemic relevance of "the hole with Germany around" (AKA the jerks in Dusseldorf) ?

  18. Dal libro "Le guerre del Duce" di Denis Mack Smith, pag. 213

    "Il dr. Schacht, l'uomo di cui il ministro italiano Guarneri parlava come del "terribile presidente della Reichsbank", era un consumato maestro quanto alla capacità di sfruttare accordi bilaterali con un partner più debole. Sotto il suo "clearing system", l'Italia si trovò a disporre di GROSSI CREDITI, ma senza altro modo di esigerli che non fossero ulteriori IMPORTAZIONI DALLA GERMANIA."


  19. @Tullio Padovese,
    chi è Biasco? Non lo trovo tra i top 25% IDEAS, e non trovo nulla di interessante sul suo conto tranne tranne questa robaccia!.
    Queste sono le questioni che pone questo Biasco ma si tratta di roba a mio avviso talmente mediocre che credo non valga la pena rispondere; tutta robaccia trita e ritrita, più volte qui affrontata.

  20. Professore (o chiunque abbia la bontà di rispondermi)
    ma dove sono "andati" i soldi "rientrati" da Italia, Spagna, Grecia, Irlanda?
    (dal momento che non li avranno bruciati o messi sotto al materasso, suppongo)
    A gonfiare bolle da qualche altra parte? Dove?
    Se la domanda è scema, mi perdoni, ormai conosce i miei limiti, è solo curiosità.

  21. La nostra Cina è la Germania (OT)

    Devo cambiare gli elettrodomestici in cucina.
    Vado in un negozio locale serio e ben fornito.

    LUI "Se vuole passare all'induzione, Neff è il migliore, bla, bla, bla, bla... lavastoviglie Miele, bla, bla, bla, frigo di una marca che non avevo mai sentito, bla, bla, bla... cappa Bora che aspira in basso, da piano cottura bla, bla, bla"

    IO "Sì, belli, ma vorrei vedere prodotti italiani e poi mi piace il frigo Smeg"

    LUI " Gli Smeg sono belli ma i tedeschi funzionano meglio.
    Gli Alpes sono di ottima qualità, ma i tedeschi sono meno costosi."
    E così via: a parità di prezzo i tedeschi hanno più qualità e a parità di qualità i tedeschi sono più economici.

    IO "La ringrazio per i consigli, ma per favore vorrei qualcosa di italiano"

    LUI "Ma i ted..."

    IO "E se io andassi a comprarli a Berlino? O all'Ikea? O all'Euronics?"

    Attimo di sbigottimento

    LUI "Certo signora che ha proprio buon gusto (sì, e te hai una bella faccia da culo, ndr). Il design della Smeg bla, bla, bla, la qualità Alpes bla, bla, bla, Foster, bla, bla, bla".

    IO "Ero certa che in questo negozio avrei trovato quello che cercavo".

    Spero che questo incubo finisca prima che gli italiani non possano più permettersi di scegliere i prodotti che producono.

    1. Marie Antoinette, beato il tuo Louis XVI...

    2. Veramente questa sera non ero Maria Antonietta; forse può sembrare il discorso delle brioches ma non voleva esserlo.

      Era più legato al fatto che si comincia col comprarsi la Merceders anche per dimostrare il proprio status, poi si fa di necessità virtù: si diventa oculati e si compra la Neff. Quindi si passa alla LIDL e la storia finisce alla Caritas in un paese mezzogiornificato (o migranti).
      In parallelo (e di conseguenza) la strada da commerciante (o da imprenditore, ma anche da dipendente giustamente tutelato e remunerato) a fallito (o disoccupato o precario sottopagato) con l'euro e la fallimentare politica mercantilistica tedesca che stiamo finanziando e molti connazionali contribuiscono a propagandare, è diventata breve.
      Insomma il paradosso per cui si deve sudare per produrre centinaia di ottime mozzarelle di bufala per l'esportazione in modo da ricavare il necessario per acquistare quattro pessime mozzarelle blu di importazione.

      Comunque forse mi esprimo male perché penso che neppure il commerciante abbia capito davvero quello che intendevo: ha cambiato litania con me per non perdere la vendita, ma sono certa che continuerà a spingere coi prossimi clienti le marche tedesche (almeno finché avrà il negozio).

      ps di M.A.
      Se non fosse che poi ci tocca mangiarla anche noi, la mozzarella blu se la meriterebbe.

    3. le brioches, vogliamo le brioches coi crauti ed i mini würstel dentro, a mo' di panzerotti XD

  22. Dal sito

    L’altra Europa con Tsipras. La proposta per la creazione della lista è stata pubblicata sul Manifesto: segno che doveva restare un segreto. Il motto del suo leader è “La sinistra si unisca per cambiare l’Europa”. Calma Alexis, un’utopia alla volta.

  23. “La dichiarazione di pochi giorni fa di Alessandro Di Battista (deputato M5s) era un meraviglioso pezzo di politica dadaista...”

    Alessandro Di Battista è diversamente intelligente, possiamo dirlo?

    Poi non è da scartare l'ipotesi che se la Grecia potesse uscire dall'EZ avrebbe solo da guadagnarci, visto che da alcuni anni la multinazionale cinese Cosco si è insediata nel porto greco del Pireo ampliandone sensibilmente il volume dei traffici: «nel 2008 i container in transito dal Pireo erano 433.582 l’anno, nel 2013 sono arrivati a 3,16 milioni, l’80 per cento grazie a Cosco». Il che significa che il Pireo potrebbe ben presto divenire più grande porto del Mediterraneo per traffico merci dall'Asia (un altro “grande successo dell'€”), e che tutti coloro che per anni hanno utilizzato l'equazione eurexit=disastro per spaventare le popolazioni europee andrebbero incontro ad uno – si può dire? - sputtanamento di proporzioni ragguardevoli.
    Inoltre la Grecia riveste un interesse strategico anche per Mosca nella prospettiva (relativamente remota per ora) di stanziare unità della propria marina militare nel Mediterraneo, andando con ciò a rafforzare il ruolo dell'unica base extra territoriale di cui dispone a Tartus in Siria. E siccome al momento attuale c'è una forte corrispondenza di obiettivi ed interessi tra Cina e Russia, mi sa che a Berlino (e, soprattutto, a Washington) l'indifferenza verso il futuro della Grecia sia solo apparente e che in certi ambienti stiano lavorando freneticamente per scongiurarne l'uscita dall'EZ con ogni mezzo.
    Certo è che in questo 2015 non ci annoieremo.

    1. questo è quello che temono gli americani, che come nella guerra fredda i russi(e ora anche i cinesi) si insinuano in quei gruppi di potere scontenti della politica anglo-americana tedesca in Europa. Basta vedere il supporto a Le Pen e altri movimenti no euro in Europa. Il problema è che i russi e i cinesi stanno giocando con gli stessi mezzi degli americani ovvero il capitalismo e non con l'utopistica ideologia comunista. Inoltre gli USA a dispetto del 5% di crescita trimestrale sono una nazione in decadenza dal punto di vista economico e demografico e in caso di crollo dell'euro vedrebbero svanire il loro sogno di un unione monetaria con messico canada e eurozona, l'unica ancora di salvezza per la carta straccia verde. Ho paura che se la grecia si stacca dall'euro e finisce nell'orbita russo-cinese insieme a Italia e compagnia cantante, gli americani che applicheranno il teorema "Muoia Sansone e tutti i filistei" scateneranno una guerra regionale combattuta con armi militari nel mediterraneo settentrionale oppure piazzeranno governi dittatoriali fantocci, stile Ucraina

  24. Un doloroso pensiero va in questi giorni alla Lituania. Dopo essere stata sospinta nella gabbia, avrà a che fare con lo scudiscio della domatrice Merkel, col ruggito della BuBa e dovrà ballare alla musichetta dell'organetto sfiatato di Draghi

  25. We totally agree. And not since a short time. Even in political detailed analysis.

    And also, more or less, in historical long term premises.

    On the other hand, I never considered as realistic and viable a down-up or "on popular basis" resolution to this crisis: never. And for many indisputable and insurmountable reasons.

    But, having to ANSWER an unbiased and truthful answer to other people QUESTIONS about what we, Italians, THEORETICALLY need, I'd keep on saying: collective and widespread awareness and a real democratic unity in this attitude.

    This substancial democratic conviction is a personal "best wish" for all italian people. But never was to criticize or hinder the viable and more practical roads to realistic resolutions that pass through different and forced-by-facts directions of action.
    So I don't wish you any "Buona sconfitta"; quite the opposite!. I'd deem this simple words pointless and inconsistent and reject them as totally strange to my vision,
    so, best wishes

    1. Wise words as usual. My point is very simple (and I will explain it in a later post): we do really not know what we are doing and where we are moving. I mean: think to the MMT-Donald story. If I was a plot theorist, I could say: "Economists very close to the establishment of a major superpower interested in keeping the euro (for TTIP reasons) lent their credibility to a fool whose only purpose was to ridiculize an alternative vision of Europe". Just to give you an example. I do not think that things went really this way, but... who knows? Therefore, I think that our first duty is to be very careful. Our first tactical advantage so far was to be invisible. Now we are visible. If we ever become dangerous, Strauss-Kahn is just around the corner. Needless to say, this raises another question. How should we interpret the role of the intellectual? We know that Spinelli and the like, the ideologues of the modern fascism, had a truly paternalistic attitude: "People do not understand, let us guide them towards (our) truth". I would like to state very clearly that when I am skeptical against the "Podemos" approach it is not because I am an elitist, but because I think (as you do) that the right way to empower people is to spread awareness. This is what we have kept doing for years, and I am sure that we will continue. It would be a pity if such a huge work would be spoiled by the contact with insane people. Don't you think so?

    2. Actually, there's no need whatsoever to engage and, worse, to keep any contact with insane people.
      It's already difficult to manage a normal life (or even a "real" one) leading a mere infomation-blog-lectures activity.

      But insane people may unavoidably come across a public oriented activity, whether you like it or not (obviously not).
      Being in mid-stream (beyond a certain threshold..and not "main-stream"), it's difficult to tell "a priori" what is the line between due and undue contacts, anyway.
      You can only learn by some mistakes and regrets.

      I realize that even the price of such a thing like "being on twitter" is too high for a scholar and on ordinary private person.
      I really don't have (anymore) a solution.

      These "in command" are VERY bad people.
      And you're right: Strauss-Kahn is always there as a reminder.

      But what I'm more and more sure of, is that there are still too many people, and I mean those who know or can undertand and "speak" and stand up for democracy, that are silent, and waiting for things to evolve, while standing (cunningly) at the window.
      And such behavior to me is tantamount to collusion.
      But perhaps the're right and we're wrong in a practical terms.
      But who cares by now?

  26. Ma non era Αλέξης Κουίσλιγκ?


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