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Both Germany and the US seem locked into unsustainable models. The Alternative Economic Policy study group has been publishing memorandums for 20 years urging a radical change of course: from quantitative growth and environment destruction to qualitative growth, expansion of the public sector, shriveling of the financial sector, reducing working hours, infrastructure investment and higher taxation of the super-rich. What are the motors, models and myths that must be overcome or replaced?
By ebo in Lost in Europe
[This independent EU-blog from Brussels published on November 21, 2013 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://lostineu.eu/neoliberales-rollback/.]
In Brussels business as usual slowly returns. The Euro crisis seems repressed. New EU laws can hardly be expected on account of the expiring legislation. Nothing happens without the new government in Berlin. No, that is wrong. Brussels is the showplace of a gigantic rollback.
In the Cold War (“rollback” described the West’s attempt to push back the influence of the Soviet Union and to blaze the trail for western “freedom.” Something similar is now underway in the EU. The welfare state is today what the Soviet Union was in the past. An alliance of neoliberals today replaces what the West was earlier. The rhetoric has not changed. Removing bureaucracy and the “planned economy” are still emphasized along with pioneering “freedom” – naturally only economic freedom. The neoliberal rollback takes place on three planes:
1. Eurozone: massive social cuts occur in the name of “consolidation” and “competitiveness.” After “only” crisis countries were impacted in the past, all Euro countries should not believe Merkel’s “reform agenda.”
2. Free trade: The US and the EU want to tear down all “unnecessary” barriers in the names of “competition” and “growth.” Investor agreements endanger democracy, not only social standards.
3. Bureaucracy dismantling: British Premier Cameron started an initiative stylized by the EU as a “pro-business agenda” in the name of “freedom.” The EU social laws (inadequate anyway) are the main target (see Social Europe ado).
All this happens behind the backs of the national parliament and citizens. Nothing of this is up for debate or vote. Everything happens with the help and explicit encouragement of chancellor Merkel.
Before the European election in May, Cameron, Merkel & Co. created facts. Facts were created in a great hurry with free trade. In the spring there should be a neoliberal agenda. At the end a worldwide deregulation is planned.
Who or what opposes the EU delegates? Damn little up to now! They approved an austerity budget for the EU. That was the greatest triumph for Cameron up to now.
Both Germany and the US seem locked into unsustainable models, jobless growth, stagnant wages for 20 or 40 years, exploding inequality and “post-democratic” government that care for the bankers and speculators, not those whom they should represent. Myths of the Schwabian housewife and “trickle down economics” (cf. John Kenneth Galbraith’s horse-sparrow theory: feeding the horse so the sparrow can live). What are the motors, models and myths that must be changed?
The Alternative Economic Policy study group has been publishing memorandums for 20 years urging a radical change of course: from quantitative growth and environment destruction to qualitative growth, expansion of the public sector, shriveling of the financial sector, reducing working hours, infrastructure investment and higher taxation of the super-rich.
To read the 2013 and 2014 Memorandums of the Alternative Economic Policy study group in Bremen, Germany, click on
Euro-Memorandum 2014, 54pp