Article Category: Economics

The Implosion of Solidarity: A Critique of the Euro Zone Crisis

The post-2007 global financial crisis was, fundamentally, an ethical crisis.1 This crisis and its aftermath presented in a distinctive way within the euro zone. What distinguishes the euro zone crisis has been the collapse of ‘solidarity’, considered both as a social virtue and as an integral part of the Schumann–Monnet model of a new European order, a renewal of Europe from the ashes of World War II. Unless and until the true meaning of solidarity is rediscovered and reanimated within the political leadership of the EU, there is unlikely to be economic stabilisation and recovery. In other words, a failure to move the Franco–German dominant consensus away from the hegemony established in the wake of the euro zone crisis, and towards a rediscovery of solidarity, will result in the serious risk of the ‘Balkanisation’ of Europe within a generation.

Economics    

where are the jobs

The Social Impact of the Economic Crisis in Europe

What is happening in Greece is dramatic; the IMF/EU plan for saving the country is destroying the country; the Greek people are more aware than a year ago that the remedy is killing the patient. It is destroying any kind of solidarity at European level. It can happen to Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Belgium. The question is not about our public sector or our corrupt government or about the Greeks that are lazy … The question [is] is the IMF changing the actual character of our European social model [?] … there is impoverishment of our middle class, a return to the countryside, and emigration of our youth. There is a support network at neighbourhood and village level, because public sector formal social support networks have collapsed … People day by day are not any more fighting poverty; they are fighting for survival.

Economics    

european central bank

Where Do We Want the Euro to be in 2020 and How Do We Get There?

European Monetary Union (EMU) was supposed to be a harbinger of growth and stability for its member states, yet the euro zone debt crisis is now in its fourth year and continues to rumble on, in a seemingly endless cycle of crises, summits and false dawns. The currency union creaks under the deficiencies of the euro zone’s fundamentally flawed design, while its survival and capacity to prosper depend on its ability to fix these design flaws. The stakes are high.

Economics    

euro

European Monetary Union in Historical Perspective

Economic historians are well used to writing essays on historical parallels with current economic problems, and drawing lessons from the past. In the case of European Monetary Union (EMU), however, there are no historical precedents. To be sure, we have examples of currency unions that have broken up, but these unions typically existed in the context of multinational empires, such as the Soviet Union. When the empires collapsed, so did the currency unions, and it is not surprising that they did so in circumstances of conflict and economic chaos. To ascribe these conditions to the collapse of the currency unions involved, rather than to the breakup of the empires themselves, as some banking analysts have recently done, is clearly unconvincing.

Economics    

The Way Forward for Ireland: A Values Added Tax Policy?

Eugene Quinn, April, 2011 Introduction The maintenance of a low tax regime was a key tenet of national policy during the years of Ireland’s economic boom. However, there were also demands from many quarters for improved public services and for greater protection for the most vulnerable. For a time, Ireland appeared to achieve the impossible… Read more »

Economics    

anglo

Irish Banking: Rediscovering Values for Rebuilding and Renewal

This article explores the deconstruction of the Irish banking system. It discusses the ‘pressure points’ which are reshaping this system, and how these are likely to impact on the wider banking and financial community. This is an important issue in its own right because the constitutive purpose of banking is to support the wider economy, and especially job creation. But it is particularly timely to critique recent events and policies which in combination have served to subvert the development of modern Ireland.

Economics    

A New Economic Paradigm? In the Concrete

Towards a New Model A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at … (Oscar Wilde) It is good to remember that utopia is nothing but the reality of tomorrow and that today’s reality is yesterday’s utopia. (Le Corbusier) Politics left to managers and economics left to brokers… Read more »

Economics    

Social Enterprise – An Untapped Resource

Across Europe, social enterprises are making a significant impact on communities, particularly those blighted by high levels of unemployment, poverty and disadvantage. According to the European Commission, there are 2 million social enterprises in the EU (representing 10 per cent of all European businesses) and they employ over 11 million people (the equivalent of 6 per cent of the working population of the EU).  In EU Member States, social enterprises are present in almost every sector of the economy, including banking, insurance, agriculture, crafts, various commercial services, and health and social services.

Economics    

waste-small

Enough: Foundation for a Moral and Ecological Economics

Introduction How can we live in harmony with nature? How do we stop global warming, the associated climate change and the destruction of ecosystems? How can we eliminate poverty, provide security and create sufficiency for all the people of the earth? How do we restore an ethic of care for people and for the earth?… Read more »

Economics    

tree in hand

A New Economic Paradigm?

Introduction The virus of global recession, with its virulent manifestation in Ireland, has raised the question of what antidotes are possible. What lessons can we learn from the past, in order to plot a more secure way into the future? In particular, the question arises as to whether we need to consider a new, more… Read more »

Economics