Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Canada's message: "We're all right Jack!"

Expectation of economic recovery in Europe is replaced now by talk of double dip recession — even depression. Nevertheless, Canada is lecturing nations there to institute the policies of economic neoliberalism favoured by Stephen Harper.

Chris Williamson of financial information services company Markit commented:
"Austerity in deficit-fighting countries is having an increasing impact on demand across the region. Even German manufacturing output showed a renewed decline, attributed by many firms to weak demand from southern Europe.

"As such, it is hard to see where growth will come from in coming months, unless export demand picks up strongly from countries outside of the Eurozone.

"The ECB's latest forecast of merely a slight contraction of GDP this year is therefore already looking optimistic."
The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) directed by Mark Weisbrot and Dean Baker wrote in March:
"The Eurozone crisis is being used to justify the erosion of workers' rights and the implementation of policies that would increase unemployment and have devastating ripple effects on the global economy for years to come.

"The conventional wisdom of key international institutions holds that European governments’ excessive spending on social safety nets created unsustainable levels of debt that ultimately brought about the crisis. But the crisis was precipitated, in large part, by the same institutional failures that caused the financial crisis in the United States, including lax regulations on reckless bankers and a housing bubble.

"The current failure of the European Central Bank to guarantee countries’ debts, combined with austerity policies demanded by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, have created a downward spiral that merely exacerbates the crisis."
Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says Europe must get "on a path to sustainability" and stop "pursuing sideshows such as the financial transactions tax."

Flaherty's own country is about to feel pain from following the path to so-called sustainability. The words are code, of course, for celebration of globalism where business and capital dominate unions and labour and holdings of wealth become concentrated, where law and order supersedes civil rights, where corporations rank above people, where environmentalism, with concern for the land and its people, is subservient to greed and objective science is abandoned, even suppressed.

There is no better example of this new order than what Air Canada demonstrated when it decided that a small group of insiders will split a windfall of $300 million — bringing ex-President Robert Milton's take to $100 million — while newly unemployed maintenance workers hit the pavement in search of jobs. Air Canada's jets can be maintained more cheaply in South America. (See Accusations Mount over Aveos Crash Ousting 2,600 Workers at The Tyee)

The Harper Government has already decided that Europe is not prepared to to follow their advice and Flaherty states,
"...we have decided not to provide additional resources to the IMF for the eurozone."
In other words, we've got oil and gas, forests, metals and minerals to feed export markets for two, three, maybe four decades to come, so fuck you, we're all right, Jack!

FURTHER READING: There is an alternative to austerity, Ryan Avent, The Economist, May 1, 2012
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  1. Growth has slowed? We definitely need to convince the CEO's of this world to purchase at least one house in every country and have it lavishly renovated. They could step from a private elevator in the tower, to a limo, to one of their private jets, to another limo (or yacht), and hang out in one of hundreds of hideaways.
    The crumbs just don't seem to be falling fast enough.....please, sir, can I have some more??

  2. Seems to me I just read the Canadian banks were given Billions, I said Billions. I thought we were in good shape according to the minister? Another deception by the regime in power.
    Hold on folks, we're in for a trying time.

  3. I think that governments look to growth as the only way to escape growing debt. This idea only works when it is possible to grow.

    I'm glad that our tax money is not going to be pissed away into the EU financial ponzi sinkhole.

    We need that money for fighter jets and 5-star hotels for MPs!

  4. The true enemy of Canada is Harper. Not only does he give billions to banks..he gives billions to mines, gas and oil corporations and big business. He also gives them huge tax reductions. Some time back, this was seen on the House of Commons TV channel. Harper has stolen from us, to give to the wealthiest corporations in the world. Harper now sneaks secret meetings behind closed doors, to do his dirty deeds.

    Harper only cares about Harper, and to hell with the people. He thieves from us with impunity, to fill his own coffers. Harper is every bit as hateful as, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini. All of them have the same typo personalities.

  5. scotty on DenmanMay 2, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    Flaherty's attitude towards Europe is similar to that which prevailed through the two World Wars (or was it really just one with a lunch-break?) and the Great Depression (the baby-shit sandwich) that attached them. Some have noted it was this kind of aloofness that precipitated the second course. The war-hawlk economists of yesterday credited WW II
    for ending the Depression, and this was, in an awful way, true to some extent. The story of the massive mobilization of plant and capital is incomplete without that of Keynesian economics, the equally massive government intervention(s) in repairing the destruction (we mourn those who could not be"repaired" by having their lives restored.)

    While government economic intervention became so commonplace as to dispense with Keynes' moniker, society became complacent, perhaps even smugly so, that we would never again subscribe to seemingly natural cycles of economic growth and stagnation dying in war and reborn in repair. But the dispensation of periodic catharsis, by necessity destructive, implied growth, to whatever purpose, that could be sustained indefinitely. Our dilemma is now the environmental wall toward which we are hurtling, economic growth, however guided, looking more like the problem, not the solution and the evolution of strategic detente so horribly destructive as to be rejected out of hand completely. Viewed as conundrum, the circumstance suggests the end of history.

    If one cannot see economic tumult soon mounting to the point when massive mobilization of plant, capital and human resource will be warranted, or if one is blind to the environmental destruction, already in greater need of repair than all that of the Great Wars, then one probably cannot see the need for, and appropriateness of, massive government intervention(s) to turn our energies to this purpose.

    North American economies are still flush with resource and, in comparison with Europe, as yet immature. However, taking the "I'm alright, Jack" approach to Europe's economic problems is retrogressively like that of yesteryear and willfully blind to the environmental repair needed today.

    1. Excellent comment that reminded me of how economic "experts" throughout every historical period have been certain that the day's conventional wisdom is infallible, despite evidence that it is generally not so. I've read numerous reports recently of how young economists are pushed away from positions of influence if they don't embrace conventional thinking, which generally involves the neoliberal demand that ordinary citizens give up their share of national wealth in the name of sustainability. The aim of course is for today's rich and powerful to sustain their riches and power.



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