Greece is facing front, looking towards the new year and the upcoming January elections. But it would be foolish not to learn from a look backwards, as well.
If you have any spare cash laying around and need of a vacation, Chevy Chase would probably recommend that you go to Europe. The euro currency has dipped to a nine-year low against the dollar. That is good for tourists going to Europe, but is not good for European economic prospects in the long term. Why?
Europe is right on the edge of another downward lurch into prolonged deflation. GDP growth is hovering right around zero. Germany, as an export powerhouse, continues to thrive, but at the expense of the rest of the continent. The euro, which keeps sinking against the U.S. dollar, is now trading at just $1.20, its lowest level in four and a half years. Unemployment outside prosperous Germany remains stuck at over 12 percent. All of this weakens the political center that supports the EU, and increases the appeal of far-right parties. So what does Europe have left? It is a mark of the delusion of Europe's leaders that the EU is putting its chips on a trade deal with the U.S. -- the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. TTIP is not really a trade deal at all but a series of measures intended to promote further deregulation of economic, financial, health, labor, safety, privacy, and environmental protections on both sides of the Atlantic.
Faced with the deterioration of the situation in which Spanish citizens live, it is necessary to find monetary and fiscal policies, and structural reforms, which are different to those applied so far. It is necessary to use the public sector for economic stimulus.
An international dialogue should begin now. It might open with an invitation to the Troika: Explain why Greece should not start a jobs guarantee policy today.
Achieving financial stability will continue to require risk management skills, good governance, personal ethics, and, above all, courage to act to prevent further deterioration of finance.
Last week, the Prime Minister of Portugal announced the end of the third intervention of the International Monetary Fund in the country since 1978. But the challenges Portugal faces in building a flexible economy will continue.
Fast-forward to 2014. There is a contradiction and an absurdity at the heart of the SNP's economic claims regarding a currency union and, ultimately, the party's case for independence.
Restoring domestic demand needs to be Greece's economic policy emphasis. Despite any downsides, a parallel currency that supports an employment guarantee program would be a U-turn towards rebuilding the population's purchasing power -- and rebuilding Greece's ravished economy.
I ask European citizens to bring forward their own concerns about how the EU may become even more efficient, to resume its place at the global stage and, thereby, to secure prosperity for the generations to come.
While the problems of differing belief systems, cultures, and building common political institutions are real and fascinating, what really makes all these problems immensely more difficult right now is that the European elite is trying to impose very regressive and unpopular changes on their citizens.
How are we to explain these differences? The United States was, after all, the epicenter of the world financial crisis and recession in 2008. But U.S policy-makers responded to the recession with different policies. Most important was monetary policy.
We are failing to use all the productive resources available to us and, as a result, over 200 million people are unemployed around the world. On the other hand, we live beyond our natural limits because we use more natural and finite resources than is sustainable. A huge opportunity thus presents itself.
Greece has been a country hit hard by austerity measures, and no city more prominently than Athens. Curious to see how residents in the capital viewed these issues, I walked the streets of Athens and spoke to two locals -- same day and same questions.
The euro has happened. But is it a bad idea? Will it last? Despite the reality of the full-blown depressions in Southern Europe and pauperization of the middle and working classes there, European economists have not changed their tune.
The reality is that the "austerity," imposed by elites and governments, has led us to an untenable macroeconomic situation.