Veröffentlichung: Die Finanzkrise in der Eurozone

Meine Dissertation Die Finanzkrise in der Eurozone – Ursache und Wirkung aus der Sicht der kritischen Politischen Ökonomie  wurde 2014 im Shaker Verlag veröffentlicht (ISBN: 978-3-8440-3106-5).

Buchrückentext:
Die Finanzkrise zu überwinden setzt voraus, sie zu verstehen. So lassen sich mangelndes Verständnis für das Wesen der Krise und die relevanten Zusammenhänge politischer Ökonomie als Ursache für die Unfähigkeit ausmachen, mit ihr umzugehen.
Dieses Buch bietet eine Einführung in die Wissenschaft der Politischen Ökonomie. Es erklärt welche Entwicklungen der Finanzsektor im letzten Jahrzehnt durchlaufen hat und worin die Mängel der Währungsunion liegen. Dabei geht es auch um eine kritische Bewertung von vorherrschenden Deutungen und Diskursen.
Vor diesem Hintergrund werden relevante Ereignisse und wegweisende politische Entscheidungen im Rahmen der Finanzkrise von 2007 bis 2013 systematisch analysiert. Was bedeuten ESM und LTRO? Wie funktionieren der Fiskalpakt und die Anpassungsprogramme? Worin unterscheiden sich Finanzierungshilfen für Banken von denen, die an Staaten wie Griechenland und Irland gerichtet sind? Das Buch erklärt die Verträge und Mechanismen der Krisenpolitik in der Eurozone und zeigt auf, welche ökonomischen, rechtlichen und demokratisch-legitimatorischen Konsequenzen sie haben.

Report October 2014 (Nobel Prizes and Decline)

France a Nobel Laureate and yet in Decline?

France, 09 Oct – 22 Oct 2014

Government: „reforms are no courtesy, but simply the right thing“ ++ Nobel Prize surprise for Frenchmen ++ Right-wing intellectual in doubt about French virility.
by Matthieu Choblet

Government: „reforms are no courtesy, but simply the right thing“

The French government is pursuing its intention to implement decisive changes in the French economic and social framework. Its latest concerns: the unemployment insurance fund is in deficit of 3.8 bn. Euros in 2014 and the national budget is deep in the red as well, despite of renewed budget cuts. As a consequence, the European Commission is pressuring France to reduce its unemployment benefits. New Minister of the Economy Emmanuel Macron took this opportunity to announce a new reform, notwithstanding that the unemployment benefits were already overhauled in July this year. “No taboos!”, insisted Macron, who joined the government in August and plans to minimise the length and scope of the benefits.

„Report October 2014 (Nobel Prizes and Decline)“ weiterlesen

Report September 2014 (Government Reshuffle)

Ministers’ Rebellion leads to Government Reshuffle

France, 14 Aug – 10 Sep 2014

Government reshuffle in midst of ongoing political trouble ++ President’s ex publishes nasty accusations ++ Freed hostages identify their tormentor.
by Matthieu Choblet

Government reshuffle in midst of ongoing political trouble

French President François Hollande asked Prime Minister Manuel Valls to assemble a new government following the departure of three ministers, including the eloquent if somewhat insolent Arnaud Montebourg. Opinions defer on whether it was more of a resignation – as the official line goes – or if the ministers were actually forced to leave. In either way, the divide between the head of the executive and the three rebels or frondeurs as they are called in France had been obvious for a while and became even clearer in the last weeks.

“It is not possible to have a proper discussion with François Hollande anymore. Discussion with him are friendly, but useless” claims Montebourg in an interview recorded in June 2014 but only published now. The final brake up occured after Montebourg’s renewed criticism of the prevailing economic policies in the Eurozone. Indeed, Montebourg, who had swapped the sober title of Minister of the Economy for a shiny ‘Minister of Industrial Renewal’ is known for his decided leftist and interventionist stance.

„Report September 2014 (Government Reshuffle)“ weiterlesen

Report July 2014 (Strike at Avignon Arts Festival)

Workers on Strike at Avignon Arts Festival

France, 03 Jul – 16 Jul 2014

Start of Avignon arts festival delayed as arts workers dread benefit cut ++ Sarkozy against the red judge: Is France being “berlusconised”? ++ French football team returns home after quarterfinals.
by Matthieu Choblet

Start of Avignon arts festival delayed as arts workers dread benefit cuts

The famous Avignon arts festival, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year started one day late on Saturday 5th July in the court of the city’s medieval Palais des Papes. The delay was caused by a strike of the arts workers due to government plans to cut back their unemployment benefits. Since many of the arts workers struggle to find a regular occupation in between major festivals, they have little chance to make significant contributions to unemployment insurance. Therefore, they benefit from a particular government scheme for arts workers involving temporary occupation (called intermittent in French) – at least up to now.

„Report July 2014 (Strike at Avignon Arts Festival)“ weiterlesen

Report May 2014 (European Parliament Elections)

European Elections: Chilly prospects, anger and division

France, 08 May – 21 May 2014

Little enthusiasm before European Parliament Elections ++ Manuel Valls’ government programme takes form ++ Cannes: disappointed love and cheap soft porn.
by Matthieu Choblet

Little enthusiasm before European Parliament Elections

France is warming up for the European Parliamentary Elections, but some may end up being chilled to the bone if polls should translate into real votes on Sunday 25th. Indeed, the major French parties fear to be beaten by either the far-right party Front National (FN) or abstention or both.

„Report May 2014 (European Parliament Elections)“ weiterlesen

Report April 2014 (Manuel Valls, Jacques Le Goff, Rwanda)

Manuel Valls emerges victorious from Municipal Elections

France, 27 Mar – 09 Apr 2014

Election results mark a turn to the right ++ Death of an ogre: Jacques Le Goff passed away ++ Rwandan genocide: France not prepared to ‘face the truth’?
by Matthieu Choblet

Election results mark a turn to the right

President François Hollande proceeded to reshuffle his Cabinet following the debacle of the French Socialist Party (PS) at the municipal elections. An alteration of the Cabinet`s structure had been awaited for a couple of months, but Hollande finally waited till after the second ballot of the elections to apply the symbolic measure. Indeed, the second round largely confirmed the results of the first (see French Report March 2013/2). While the municipalities have no direct influence on government politics, the elections still mean a severe loss for the PS, which heavily relies on a network of regional safe-havens in times when its politics prove to be unsuccessful on a national level.

Former Interior Minister Manuel Valls, a man well known to Cosmopublic readers, will replace Jean-Marc Ayrault as Prime Minister. Valls is popular among voters, but not necessarily among voters of his own party. A right-wing man within the PS, he makes no secret about his penchant for economic liberalism and social democracy. In a survey among conservative voters last year, Valls proved to be more popular than the leading figures of the conservative party UMP.

The main task of the new government will be to apply the so-called pact of responsibility. The pact offers 20 billion euros in tax subsidies to the industry plus an additional 10 billion euros tax cut on other employment related expenses in exchange for a vague promise by entrepreneurs to create new jobs. Also, the new Prime Minister is expected to lead the cabinet with more authority than his unlucky predecessor, making an end to inter-ministerial squabbling. Profiting from the Green Party’s withdrawal from the government, Valls’ first act was to downsize the number of ministers from 20 to 16.

„Report April 2014 (Manuel Valls, Jacques Le Goff, Rwanda)“ weiterlesen

TTIP: What is a trade deal for if it doesn’t even create trade?

by Werner Hager and Matthieu Choblet

a follow-up article on our previous publication on TTIP, originally published on ttip2014.eu

 

European integration has many purposes, among which maintaining peace is certainly the most valuable. Yet, the main incentives for integration by means of the European Community and the European Union were the growing economic ties between the many states of Europe. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which the Commission is currently negotiating with representatives of the US government and the industry on both sides of the Atlantic, is similar to the project of European integration, to the extent that it aims at creating a transatlantic single market. The underlying assumption of such a project would be that it leads to the creation of additional trade, which in turn would strengthen the transatlantic relationship.

Last year a couple of economic studies have been produced which focus on quantitative assessments of the potential economic effects of TTIP. The numbers we find in these studies, though they are to be used with some reserve, show disconcerting results. Basically two scenarios can be identified: In the first case, TTIP has no significant impact on the economy at all; in the second case and taking into account a ‘comprehensive liberalization’ scenario, the alteration of economic growth remains mediocre, but trade relations are significantly affected. It would appear however that TTIP is not fitting mechanism to create trade, but rather something that would significantly divert it.

Diverting trade to elsewhere is not the same as growth

In economic sciences it is common to differentiate between ‘trade creation’ and ‘trade diversion’. The first one is obviously the desideratum of a liberal trade-policy. Conversely, ‘trade diversion’ denominates the phenomenon of new trade relations simply substituting the existing ones without achieving a net gain in trade volume. The respective data brought forward by the IFO-Institute and the Bertelsmann Foundation has often been quoted and is easily accessible online. To name but a few: US-British trade would increase by about 60 percent, US-German trade would gain up to 94 percent. At the same time UK-German trade would decrease by 41 percent and UK-Irish trade would even lose roughly 46 percent.

The outcome is clear: while trade between individual European countries and the US would increase, trade within the EU would sharply decline. If we work on the premises that intra-European trade is an essential constituent of European integration, the latter would lose much of its importance. The financial crisis in the euro area is already giving us a foretaste of what it means when the European project becomes a vague and ephemeral idea. It is already a fact that the markets of the Euro-periphery are losing their relevance for exports from core countries, which lead many citizens to believe that mutual support isn’t worth the effort. Having said that, the authors of this article do not wish to see European integration as a project which exclusively relies on the craving for business and profit. However, trade diversion through TTIP does not just affect European identity, but it also endangers the protection of environment and labour legislation.

„TTIP: What is a trade deal for if it doesn’t even create trade?“ weiterlesen

Europäische Integration: Überstaatlich, zwischenstaatlich oder einfach nur undemokratisch?

Beitrag für ADLAS – Magazin für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik
Reihe: Die Welt und Deutschland

 

Der europäische Integrationsprozess steht immer wieder in der Kritik. Dabei zielt die Kritik zumeist auf supranationale Organe der EU, wie die Kommission und die Europäische Zentralbank (EZB), die im Laufe der Krise neue Kompetenzen erlangt haben. Allerdings sind auch inter-gouvernementale Verfahren nach wie vor von Bedeutung für die EU. Der Nationalstaat hat also immer noch eine starke Stimme. Das Problem ist, dass demokratische Legitimation in beiden Fällen bedroht ist.

„Europäische Integration: Überstaatlich, zwischenstaatlich oder einfach nur undemokratisch?“ weiterlesen

Report February 2014 (Panthéon, Nantes, Serge Dassault)

New Entries in the Panthéon – France pays Tribute to her Female Heroes

France, 13 Feb – 26 Feb 2014

French government honours heroes of the Resistance ++ Strong resistance of airport opponents ++ Former mayor and tycoon in custody over vote-buying
by Matthieu Choblet

French government honours heroes of the Resistance

Last week, François Hollande made use of his presidential prerogative to name new entries in the Panthéon. The Panthéon, a former church close to the Sorbonne University in the famous Latin quarter of Paris, is the French nation’s monument to worthy historical figures. There lay the remains of Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Marie Curie, to name but a few.

The announcement of the new entries had been awaited with much anticipation. For long, feminist groups had urged the government to include more women in the list of honour. Indeed, until last week, of the 73 people honoured in the Panthéon, 71 were men. Hollande finally named two women and two men, who were all members of the French Resistance during Nazi occupation. By doing so the President also followed the advice of the National Monuments Centre.

These are the four nominees: Ms Germaine Tillion, an ethnographer who also campaigned against the Soviet gulag system. Ms Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz (yes, she is related to the General) who joined the resistance at 19 and worked to fight homelessness in France after the war. Both women survived the concentration camp of Ravensbrück in Germany. The two men are the lawyer Jean Zay and the former Education Minister Pierre Brossolette.

The four ‘embodied the values of France when the country was beaten to the ground’, said Hollande on a visit to a martyrs’ memorial outside Paris. Tillion, de Gaulle-Anthonioz, Zay and Brossolette will soon be buried close to another important figure of the Resistance in the Panthéon, Jean Moulin.

Strong resistance of airport opponents

A heavy clash between riot police and protestors occurred in the western French city of Nantes. Shop windows were broken, bus stops destroyed, at least three police officers injured and fourteen protesters detained. The bone of contention is the government’s plan to pursue the building of the massive international airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDL), which will replace the relatively small regional airport of Nantes. NDL is also a pet project of today’s Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who was Mayor of Nantes before joining the government in 2012.

This is not the first incident of violent protests against the new airport. However, most demonstrations had been located on the building site, far outside the city. The most recent clash in the city centre drew much more attention and alienated the government.

Among the protesters are farmers, environmental activists and committed citizens who criticise the extremely expensive project, as its usefulness is disputed. According to a survey, a 56 percent-majority of the respondents is opposed to the airport project, surpassing the 24 percent in favour.

Meanwhile in Paris, the Socialist Ayrault made serious allegations against his Green colleagues inside the coalition-government. As members of the Green Party they oppose the project, yet the government officially supports the building of a new airport. Facing Ayrault’s accusations, Green politicians distanced themselves from any acts of violence but kept an ambiguous stance on the so-called Ayrault-port.

Former mayor and tycoon in custody over vote-buying

Serge Dassault, billionaire, arms manufacturer, senator and former Mayor of Corbeil-Essonnes, a suburb of Paris, has turned himself over to the police. Previously, investigations had been delayed as the French senate initially refused to lift his senatorial immunity. Last week, 88-year-old Dassault finally agreed to an interrogation by the police’s anti-corruption agency in order to ‘prove his innocence’ as he said. ‘What I did in Corbeil-Essonnes is a marvellous thing’, stated a proud Dassault. He was referring to his accomplishments for the suburb’s economic infrastructure during his mandate from 1995 to 2009.

However, the successful entrepreneur and politician is suspected of setting up an extensive system of vote-buying during the mayoral elections in 2008 – already invalidated by the court – in 2009 and 2010. All these elections were won either by Dassault or by his successor, Jean-Pierre Bechter, who is also facing charges. At the core of the alleged vote-buying scheme was a secret staff of local petty criminals, whose duty was to steer the electorate of Corbeil-Essonnes.

‘Don’t forget that Dassault is paying for your traineeship and driving license,’ is what young potential electors claim to have been told. Whether all accusations are true remains to be proven. What is clear is that it was a marvellously profitable system for at least one of the involved. Investigations uncovered a transfer of 18 million euros to a Lebanese bank account which probably served to disburse Dassault’s special campaign staff.

* first published on Cosmopublic.eu *