There is an article by Donal Donovan in the Irish Times today. Here it is:
OPINION: After the failure of the softly-softly approach, ‘interference’ looks set to become a permanent feature
It runs to over a thousand words. You do not have the time to read this. Read my précis below instead, which runs to 430 or so words.
I used to work for the IMF.
Financial institutions don’t know where they’re going to get their profits from, and European politicians are searching for a solution. This means making Europe even more undemocratic. Economics is all about using the state to control populations in the interest of the ruling class, and using moralising language to do so.
Once you can impose the same undemocratic control mechanism on everybody, then the threat to ruling class interests can be kept under control. If you can limit countries’ borrowing in order to keep social spending to a minimum, you can abolish the idea of a social wage altogether. This is why I think the Euro is a good idea. Unfortunately, there is this persistent idea that social institutions are a good thing, and Maastricht did not do enough to abolish this.
The ruling class in Germany and France were really crap at imposing constraints on their populations and this gave other governments the idea that they could get away with the same crack. It is just not true that all states are the same: the runts of the litter can’t be held to the same standard as the industrial powerhouses. This is precisely why we need to impose the same constraints on all states. This, in turn, is why I used to work for the IMF.
To understand how the ruling class can control the population, we need to look at what remains of colonialism. The idea of former colonial powers acting with the IMF against the population in a sort of a tag team is a clever idea. But having the IMF as a permanent presence in Europe won’t wash with the European ruling class. The IMF, where I used to work, is based in Washington, after all. So there needs to be some deep-set arrangement that enforces a sort of colonialism, but one couched in an all-in-this-together warm-and-fuzzy EU thing. Basically, the European ruling class should get a free hand to ratchet down the living standards of the population so that it can continue to produce surplus wealth for itself, and some people, which is to say, most of the population, will just have to put up with this.
It might take a little time, a little tinkering with treaties (maybe including referenda where the views of the population are ignored) and stuff, but this sort of thing is likely to become a permanent feature. It is important for the public policy debate to recognise this and discus it openly, because there is no alternative and anyway it won’t make any difference.
PS, I used to work for the IMF.
Indeed he did.