My two replies to Finn du siecle (@FT) . Old Socialist

As Yanis Varoufakis once observed ‘you don’t negotiate with the EU’ ! The Financial Times writers have a chance to repeat, and admire, in their own way, Variety’s review of the Movie Version of ‘Adults in the Room’ directed by Costa-Gavras. To say the least, Variety is not Cahiers du cinéma, or even the utterly pretentious American publication Film Comment!

In the midst of Boris Jonson’s manufactured crisis about Brexit, and its attendant political melodrama, played out in this newspaper: that has enlivened the comments section of its various ‘news stories’ on the vexing questions raised by Boris’ demonstrable incompetence- but Brussels Briefing supplies the reader with inner workings of the EU, while remaining fully vested in the Financial Times’ fealty to the highly evolved and rationalized Coal and Steel Cartel, founded by technocrat supreme Jean Monnet’s Neo-Liberalism before the fact.

Note too the use of photographs, and those evocative graphs, that drive those argumentative points home: technocrats, actual and just the pretenders, find this irresistible. See Deirdre McCloskey’s ‘The Rhetoric of Economics’ chapter 3 ‘Figures of Economic Speech’, for the hold that these explanatory devices have in economic reasoning.




To The Posh Boys @FT

Printed the Spectator essay by Ivan Rogers, and read its eleven pages! Oxford and ENS:

Rogers was educated at Bournemouth School in his hometown, the south-coast town of Bournemouth in Dorset,[2] at which his father taught history.[2] After a gap year in Bremen, in north-western Germany, he studied History for three years at Balliol College at the University of Oxford, followed by the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. This was followed by another three years at Balliol, at which he pursued doctoral studies in the history of socio-biology and eugenic thinking on the political left, though he did not finish his degree.[2]

Establishes his credential as apologist for the Technocracy’s fealty to the Coal and Steel cartel: that ‘evolved’ into an ersatz Federalism. Although Mr. Rogers isn’t above a bit of hysteria mongering, of an almost genteel kind:

But if that is where we end up in a few weeks time, there is no politically credible path afterwards to where the Prime Minister says he wants to get. And the eventual outcome would be much worse for the UK, the EU and the entire West than it needed to be. Future political generations would excoriate this one for having let it happen – indeed in many cases for having worked assiduously to deliver, and celebrated delivering, this failure.

This era perhaps now bears more similarities with the gold standard era – with its free capital mobility, its open trade, and its staggering complacency – than any other. That era came to an abrupt and violent end with world war one and its key features could not be resuscitated for decades. Many sage figures bearing considerable similarity to our current political leadership confidently pronounced in the early 20thcentury that conflict was now completely impossible between developed democratic states, given their economic interconnectedness. We know how that turned out.

The voice of the Eurocrat is heard:

Deep integration inevitably requires that we eliminate the transaction costs that traders and investors face in cross-border transactions, and end regulatory discontinuities at borders. To enforce, police and adjudicate this, by definition, requires supranational legislation and a supranational Court. And those necessarily undermine national autonomy in decision-making.

We used, across party lines, to be in favour of all that because we thought – and a massive extension of qualified majority voted to deliver it, supported by Margaret Thatcher – it a price worth paying for building a much larger and more open ‘home market’. The British were notorious, from Thatcher on, as the biggest enthusiasts for the Single Market.

Have we heard this before? The advocates for TPP, one being Barack Obama, recited from the Corporatist Hymnal. And Rogers is fluent in patois of the Eurocrat, and their concerns about the blessing of ‘deep integration’ and other conundrums of the European Mythology. The Greeks were the telling object lesson of the bankruptcy of the EU! Read your own newspaper:

Headline: A debt to history?

Sub-headline: To some, Germany faces a moral duty to help Greece, given the aid that it has previously enjoyed

For a couple of minutes Friedman then offered a brief review of western financial history, highlighting the unprecedented nature of Europe’s single currency experiment, and offering a description of sovereign and local government defaults in the 20th century. Then, with an edge to his voice, Friedman pointed out that one of the great beneficiaries of debt forgiveness throughout the last century was Germany: on multiple occasions (1924, 1929, 1932 and 1953), the western allies had restructured German debt.

So why couldn’t Germany do the same for others? “There is ample precedent within Europe for both debt relief and debt restructuring . . . There is no economic ground for Germany to be the only European country in modern times to be granted official debt relief on a massive scale and certainly no moral ground either.

Let me interject that what needs to happen, in tandem with Brexit, is a remaking of Britain into a revitalized Social Democratic State, with the welfare of its citizens and revitalization of its economy, and a renegotiation of trade deals with its partners,as hard as that may be is the wake of Brexit.






About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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