Friday 10 July 2015

Perspectives on Greece

This brings us to the crux of the matter: Tsipras and the former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned on 6 July, talk as if they are part of an open political process where decisions are ultimately “ideological” (based on normative preferences), while the EU technocrats talk as if it is all a matter of detailed regulatory measures. When the Greeks reject this approach and raise more fundamental political issues, they are accused of lying, of avoiding concrete solutions, and so on. It is clear that the truth here is on the Greek side: the denial of “the ideological side” advocated by Dijsselbloem is ideology at its purest. It masks (falsely presents) as purely expert regulatory measures that are effectively grounded in politico-ideological decisions. 
Europe is a big place, and there are a lot of interesting policy issues that European policymakers could be talking about. There is Russian aggression against its neighbors, for example. There's demographic stagnation in Germany. There's youth unemployment in France. There's what to do about Swiss tax havens. There's trying to form a trans-Atlantic free trade zone with the United States.
But it's hard to focus on anything other than Greece as long as Greece's old debts are perpetually throwing the continent's financial arrangements into turmoil. 

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