In today’s Europe, the people are no longer in control. Instead, politicians have become slaves to financial institutions and the markets. We are partly to blame — and changes are urgently needed to nurse European democracy back to health.
We are doing well. In fact, we’re doing splendidly. The economy is booming, with 1.5 percent growth in the first quarter. We are as prosperous as we were before the crisis, which has finally been overcome. Congratulations are in order for everyone.
The banks, Deutsche Bank above all, deserve particular congratulations. In the first quarter, it earned €3.5 billion ($5.1 billion) in pretax profits in its core business, and by the end of the year the bank will likely report a record €10 billion in pretax profits, its best results ever. That number is expected to rise to €11 billion or even €12 billion in two or three years.
Less than three years after the peak of the crisis, it seems as if it never happened. That is true of the economy, but it is also true of us as economic subjects. But is that all we are?
No, we are also citizens and participants in a democratic society. As such, we have no reason to be celebrating. Instead, we ought to be sad and outraged. Democracy, after all, is not doing splendidly, or even well. It is gradually becoming a casualty of the financial crisis.
The four points outlined in detail;
- Escaping the Clutches of the Financial Markets
- Greed and a Dissolute Lifestyle
- Dangers to Democracy
- Humility and Dignity
Lawrence Summers, nowadays, writing academic research, on how we can avert a lost decade by recognising economic reality. After having departed from his prestigious job, advising Obama while at the same time he was collecting millions of USD advising hedge funds, is outlaying basically the same message all over again. If there is not another package, the first to QEs, have propped up the stock market, but done nothing more, USA will have a lost decade. Slow preparations of QE3? From FT,
Even with the 2008-2009 policy effort that successfully prevented financial collapse, the US is now halfway to a lost economic decade. In the past five years, our economy’s growth rate averaged less than one per cent a year, similar to Japan when its bubble burst. At the same time, the fraction of the population working has fallen from 63.1 per cent to 58.4 per cent, reducing the number of those in jobs by more than 10m. Reports suggest growth is slowing
Beyond the lack of jobs and incomes, an economy producing below its potential for a prolonged interval sacrifices its future. To an extent once unimaginable, new college graduates are moving back in with their parents. Strapped school districts across the country are cutting out advanced courses in maths and science. Reduced income and tax collections are the most critical cause of unacceptable budget deficits now and in the future.
You cannot prescribe for a malady unless you diagnose it accurately and understand its causes. That the problem in a period of high unemployment, as now, is a lack of business demand for employees not any lack of desire to work is all but self-evident, as shown by three points: the propensity of workers to quit jobs and the level of job openings are at near-record low; rises in non-employment have taken place among all demographic groups; rising rates of profit and falling rates of wage growth suggest employers, not workers, have the power in almost every market.
A sick economy constrained by demand works very differently from a normal one. Measures that usually promote growth and job creation can have little effect, or backfire. When demand is constraining an economy, there is little to be gained from increasing potential supply. In a recession, if more people seek to borrow less or save more there is reduced demand, hence fewer jobs. Training programmes or measures to increase work incentives for those with high and low incomes may affect who gets the jobs, but in a demand-constrained economy will not affect the total number of jobs. Measures that increase productivity and efficiency, if they do not also translate into increased demand, may actually reduce the number of people working as the level of total output remains demand-constrained.
Before you take that sushi for lunch. Just because mainstram media doesn’t report on Fukushima, the problem is still there, and it sure is not diminishing.
Recent readings taken roughly 19 miles out to sea from the Fukushima nuclear power facility in Japan have revealed radioisotope levels ten times higher than those measured in the Baltic and Black Seas after the massive Chernobyl disaster. Because Fukushima is much closer to water than the Chernobyl plant is, the ongoing fallout there is shaping up to be far worse than Chernobyl, at least as far as the world’s oceans are concerned, and time will tell just how devastating this massive disaster will be on the entire world as radiation continues to circulate around the globe.
“Given that the Fukushimanuclear powerplant is on the ocean, and with leaks and runoff directly to the ocean, the impacts on the ocean will exceed those ofChernobyl, which was hundreds of miles from any sea,” said Ken Buessler, Senior Scientist in Marine Chemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, several months back. Since that time, it has been revealed thatFukushimareactors 1, 2, and 3 have all experienced “melt-throughs,” which are considered to be the worst possible outcome in anucleardisaster (http://www.naturalnews.com/032657_F…).
Various atomic experts are now in agreement that the unfolding situation inJapantruly is “as serious as it gets in a nuclear disaster.” Even the Japanese government itself is now admitting the grave reality of the situation, having recently announced it will submit a report to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) explaining the details of the melt-throughs, which basically mean thatradioactivefuel appears to have burned through the outer containment vessels of the reactors and have gone directly into bare earth.
“Dangerous levels of radioactive iodine and cesium have already contaminated the sea, the soil, groundwater, and the air,” said reporter Mark Willacy of the Australian Broadcast Corporation in a recentLatelineinterview (http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/cont…). “This week plutonium was detected for the first time outside the stricken plant, and Strontium-90, known as aboneseeker because it can cause bone cancer and Leukemia, has now been found as far away as 60 kilometers (37+ miles) from the facility.”