Posts Tagged ‘austerity’
Tags: austerity, Big Pharma, cartoon, corporations, Fed, Main Street, monetary policy, profits, Thanksgiving, Wall Street
Tags: austerity, cartoon, Congress, healthcare, insurance, military, Obamacare, poor, United Kingdom, United States
Tags: austerity, Greece, protest, strike, workers
Greek workers have shut down the country today as a demonstration against austerity measures imposed by the government and foreign lenders, whose inspectors were in Athens to review the country’s performance under its bailout.
Tags: Alain Badiou, Antonio Gramsci, austerity, communism, inequality, Left
I’ve long been saying to friends and public audiences that much of what is occurring in the world today—from the imposition of Draconian austerity policies to growing inequality—is a symptom of the failure of the Left. (It’s a hard truth, which, at least in some quarters, hasn’t won me any new friends.)
Writing about the anti-fascist protests in Greece, Alain Badiou [ht: ke] appears to agree.
For what is striking – in Greece above all, but elsewhere as well, particularly in France – is the manifest impotence of the progressive forces to compel even the slightest meaningful retreat of the economic and state powers that are seeking to submit the people unreservedly to the new (though also long-standing and fundamental) law of thoroughgoing liberalism.
Not only are the progressive forces making no headway, and failing to score even a limited success, but also the forces of fascism have been growing and, against the illusory backdrop of a xenophobic and racist nationalism, now claim to lead the opposition to the European administrations’ decrees.
The question is, how do we balance this justified pessimism of the intellect with an optimism of the will?
Tags: austerity, happiness, political economy, surplus, unions, workers
My colleague Benjamin Radcliff, author of the Political Economy of Human Happiness, argues happier people live in countries with strong social safety nets and labor unions.
The relationship could not be stronger or clearer: However much it may pain conservatives to hear it, the “nanny state,” as they disparagingly call it, works. Across the Western world, the quality of human life increases as the size of the state increases. It turns out that having a “nanny” makes life better for people. This is borne out by the U.N. 2013 “World Happiness Report,” which found Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden the top five happiest nations.
Conservatives may be equally troubled to learn that labor unions have a similar effect. Not only are workers who belong to unions happier, but the overall rate of happiness for everyone — members and nonmembers — increases dramatically as the percentage of workers who belong to unions grows, reflecting the louder political voice that organization gives to ordinary citizens.
Take it a step further and we can conclude that people will be able to have richer and more rewarding lives when the social surplus is used to support the welfare of the majority of the population and when workers have a democratic say in how that surplus is produced.
The United States will truly deserve the distinction of being exceptional when it rejects the austerity agenda that continues to be peddled as the solution to our current economic and social problems and embraces a more generous future.
Tags: austerity, cartoon, corporations, food stamps, France, Germany, politics, Republicans, unpaid internships
Tags: austerity, diet, food, Italy, unemployment
The latest victim of austerity is the once-healthy Mediterranean diet [ht: sm]. As unemployment has soared and real incomes fallen, Italians have been forced to adopt a new diet—an unhealthy austerity diet.
At her surgery in central Milan, nutritionist Francesca Noli is concerned by her fellow countrymen’s steady move away from the healthy Mediterranean diet.
“Since 2008 Italians are eating a lot more pasta and a lot more rice,” she tells me, explaining that such carbohydrates, which are cheap, fill you up quickly.
“But people here are eating far fewer fresh vegetables and fresh fish and meat – and when they do they buy discount food which is poor quality.”
She shakes her head. “I’m worried now,” she says, “but I’m very worried for the future.”
Today, one in three young Italians is obese and some 20 million adult Italians are overweight. Obesity is more prevalent in the poorer south of the country and nutritionist like Francesca Noli warn that cheap, calorie-packed fast foods and ready meals are largely to be blame.
Tags: austerity, benefits, cartoon, corporations, education, Great Britain, healthcare, layoffs, military, Obamacare, prisons, profits, United States
Tags: austerity, capital, chart, Europe, European Union, growth, labor, poverty, wages
The European Trade Union Institute [ht: ra] has produced a very useful “wage infographic,” which compares wage developments between the year 2000 and 2012 for the European Union’s 28 member states. The majority of countries (15 out of 27) record falling real wages. The most dramatic decline of real wages since the onset of the crisis took place in those countries that were subject to financial bailout programs.
If you are interested in more detailed data on one particular country, you can open an info-sheet by clicking on that country. Here’s what Greece looks like:
As you can see, the effects of Draconian austerity measures include a dramatic decline in real wages, the wage share, real hourly wages and economic growth and a consequent increase in total and long-term unemployment.
Finally, if you are interested in how one country fares compared to other countries, you can click on the white writing of the various indicators in order to open a graph with the comparative information for all 28 member states. Here’s what happened to the adjusted wage share for the two periods before and during the austerity crisis:
The result: a large majority of countries (23 out of 27) record falling wage shares between 2009 and 2012.
As we can see, in the majority of EU countries, unemployment is still increasing, wages are still falling, a growing part of the European population faces the risk of poverty and growth has not been restored. In other words, the only sense in which austerity is working in Europe is by transferring income from labor to capital.
Tags: austerity, Greece, protest, strike, workers
Tens of thousands of Greek workers walked off the job today and rallied in front of parliament to protest government plans to fire public sector employees in an attempt to satisfy foreign lenders.
The reforms that have most angered the unions are plans to put 25,000 civil servants, including teachers and municipal police officers, into a so-called mobility plan by the end of the year, docking their wages ahead of forced transfers or dismissals. Another 15,000 workers are to be laid off by the end of 2014.
Local government employees have been occupying city buildings this week to protest the changes which, the unions say, will aggravate a deepening recession and add to the ranks of the unemployed who already account for more than 27 percent of the population.
“We will resist all those whose wrongheaded and dead-end choices have led the Greek people into poverty and wretchedness,” said the main private sector labor union, Gsee, which called the action with the civil servants’ union, Adedy.