Το βίντεο της Ημερίδας της ΠΕΝΕΝ με θέμα «Το θεσμικό πλαίσιο της ποντοπόρου Ναυτιλίας, η σχέση του εφοπλισμού με την χώρα, η συμβολή του στην οικονομία, τα προβλήματα του Ναυτεργατικού κόσμου και η εναλλακτική ριζοσπαστική επιλογή», Σάββατο 4/3/2017
Παρέμβαση στην εκπομπή ΤΑ ΛΕΜΕ, στη ΒΕΡΓΙΝΑ TV, 20-10-2016 για την οικονομική και κοινωνική επικαιρότητα
The main points of my intervention are the following:
The refugee crisis is caused by the collapse of several states and economies in Asia and Africa. This collapses certainly have internal causes but the Western powers played also a crucial role through their interventions. Prominent among them are the ‘regime changing’ policies of the US.
Europe, as the nearest safe heaven that offers superior living standards, is the main recipient of the refugee influx from these areas. Greece is at its forefront as one of the main entry points in the EU.
EU’s elites and dominant powers play a double game regarding the refugee crisis. On the one hand this influx helps them downsize wages and fend the demographic crisis of many European economies. On the other hand, it cannot afford an uncontrollable influx as these strains the already curtailed and burdened welfare system. Also the abrupt downsizing of wages foments social tensions and popular hostility and anger against the EU.
So the EU tries to manage the problem. Part of it management is turning certain euro-peripheral countries into ‘refugee concentration camps’ before filtering who and how many refugees it will admit to euro-core countries.
This is disastrous for this euro-peripheral economies as they are already terribly strained by the economic crisis, high unemployment, dismal wages and shrinking economies.
So the euro-peripheral eonomies are called to pay the price for Western interventions in Asia and Africa.
Following is the transcript of my intervention in today’s News in Press TV (that was marred by connection problems):
PRESS TV NEWS item:
Greece says it cannot comply with labor reforms demanded by the IMF as a condition for a third bailout.
Greek Labor Minister George Katrougalos said his government considers the IMF’s demand as a ban on the right of workers to negotiate wages and conditions on a collective basis. Katrougalos noted that a breakdown with the IMF on the issue could jeopardize its financing of the 96-billion dollar bailout and could undermine overall confidence in the deal. The labor Minister said however that Greece can no longer tolerate the deterioration of its workers’ state. Talks are set to be held on Wednesday between Greece and an EU-IMF mission over the country’s bailout future.
This whole affair is a masquerade. It is a cheat game between IMF, EU and the SYRIZA government. The sad thing is that Greece and its people are paying the cost of this masquerade.
Let us decipher this cheat game.
The IMF, which primarily expresses the geopolitical and economic interests of the US, pressurizes
The IMF blackmails the other two that, unless its conditions are being met, it won’t participate in the third bailout and austerity programme for Greece that the SYRIZA government signed.
The EU wants a strict implementation of the austerity programme without a debt haircut. It considers only the case of an insubstantial debt reprofilling and that after the forthcoming German elections. It does not object in principle to more barbaric labour relations deregulation. But, on the other hand, it is more sensitive than the IMF to the possible disastrous political repercussions of such a move. Especially, it worries that such a bold move might rekindle social resistance – that is dormant after SYRIZA’s betrayal of the anti-austerity movement – and lead to uncontrolled political changes.
Finally, the terribly incompetent and untrustworthy SYRIZA government is the underdog in this cheat game. It simply tries to save its skin and cling as long as possible in power (given its already very low popularity). It might accept another wave of labour relations deregulation if it goes together with even an insubstantial debt reprofilling (that they think that they can ‘sell’ to the Greek public). Their problem is that they have no real power (either economic or in the form of popular support) to press their own objectives. So they are simply trying to find room to play between the positions of the two other big players. On top of that the SYRIZA government and particularly its Minister of Labour are habitual liars. A recent example of this is their public declarations that pensions will not be cut at the very same time that they literally ‘massacre’ them. So the minister’s supposedly intransigent declaration against the IMF’s demands does not hold much water.
Published in COUNTERPUNCH
September 15, 2016
This is the video of my comment in Press TV News 19-7-2016 on IMF’s recent update of World Economic Outlook (WEO) report
The main points are the following:
IMF has cut its projection for world economy’s growth in 2017. One of the main reasons offered for this cut is Brexit.
This report is another proof of IMF’s cunningness. IMF is a shrewd organisation that serves predominanty the US and Western imperialist interests but at the same time tries to show a respectable face. Thus, it does not want to be grossly disproved by facts as it already has such a dismal record (that is it has erred considerably in the past in its forecasts).
Now, the IMF tries to foment positive expectations about the future course of the world economy. This attitude follows from the Mainstream economics’ mandra about expectations being the main driver of the economy. In other words that if economic agents have positive expectations about the future then the world economy would fare better. Of course this is ‘bullshit economics’.
On the other hand, IMF fears a ‘triple dip’ after the global economic crisis of 2007-8 but does not want to admit it openly. The world economy is still in shambles as the main structural reasons behind the crisis has not disappeared. They have just been pushed under the carpet. So the IMF takes a guarded position.
However, IMF’s argument about the Brexit is pretty ideologically-driven. IMF was against Brexit and now, after the referendum, wants to portay this move as a negative one in order to discourage any other similar move. But IMF’s projection is simply an artefact. There is nothing materially significant in the current situation that we can measure so as to make a verdict about the negative impact of Brexit. It is indicative that before the referendum IMF trumpeted that Brexit would trigger a UK recession. However now it expects UK to grow by 1.7 % this year and 1.3% next year. That is weaker than the 1.9 and 2.2 per cent growth forecasts before the referendum, but the UK is still set to be the second-fastest growing economy in the Group of Seven industrialised nations this year – behind the United States – and third-fastest next year, behind the US and Canada.
So IMF’s argument is simply a political facade.
The main points of my comment are the following:
The imposition of sanctions by the EU on Spain and Portugal for failing to stick to the required economic targets is definitely counterproductive for these countries. It will certainly worsen their already bad economic situation.
The increasing economic problems of Spain and Portugal are symptoms of the continuing and deteriorating crisis of the EU and its Eurozone.
The case of Portugal is particularly significant as it has been touted as a case of successful implementation of an EU austerity adjustment programme. The threat of sanctions and of a new austerity programme are proofs of the failure of the previous one.
These problems go together with the newly emerged banking problems in Italy. And Germany’s own banking problems (e.g. Deutche Bank) lurk behind. And of course there is the continuing for seven years Greek tragedy.
All these are signs that EU is a failed economic and political structure, serving the interests of its dominant countries at the expense of its subservient ones but becoming more and more inoperative nowadays.
EU’s dominant elites are before a conundrum. They have to discipline Portugal and Spain for being ‘bad pupils’ and they want to do the same for Italy; but this is more dangerous both economically and politically. By guess is that they discipline the Iberian duet and they will try to find a compromise with Italy.
In any case the crisis of the EU will continue unabatingly.
A Comment in Press TV News 28-6-2016 on the tug-of-war between UK and the EU regarding Brexit
Brexit threatens EU’s fragile foundations because (a) it foments the widespread popular dislike of EU’s anti-democratic structure, its pro-capitalist policies and its austerity conditions and (b) it also exacerbates the contradictions between the UK elite and the EU elites.
David Cameron does not want to be the prime minister of the Brexit and he does not have also the political mandate for this.
The Tory Brexiteers – Boris Johnson and the likes – want a velvet divorce with the EU. That is something that would not endager the economic structure of the UK and its relations to the EU and also wont endager the neoliberal policies both in the UK and the EU.
For these reasons UK does not invoke immediately the article 50 but wants to begin the disengagement process later, in September.
EU is oscillating between two opposite position.
The one is confrontational: to punish UK for its decision to disengage from the EU. THis works also as a threat against any other country that might consider following UK’s course. It has been expressed in the declaration of the meeting of the 6 founding the EEC countries.
The other is conciliatory: it wants a velvet divorce that will keep the majority of bilateral ties intact and also would not anger the US. It has been expressed by Merkel’s declaration about patience.
The role of the US is crucial as a tough approach by the EU is contrary to its interests.
So for the immediate future this tug-of-war will continue so long as the EU has not decided which course to follow.