Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mark Blyth to the Social Democrats

Jacobin magazine has Mark Blyth's thought-provoking speech to the German Social Democrats, in which he encourages them to act like social democrats:
When you ask for the content of what structural reform means, it seems to be a checklist of lower taxes, deregulate everything in sight, privatize anything not nailed down, and hope for the best. But are these policies not disturbingly American, if not Thatcherite? Indeed, isn’t this everything that the SPD is supposed to be against, and much of which the German public would never put up with?

"Structural reform" means lots of different things - some good and some bad - and whether "austerity" is appropriate depends on the circumstance, so I'm wary of blanket statements about either of those concepts, but I think he is broadly correct in the context of what is going on in Europe right now. The existence of the Euro, in conjunction with ECB policy, prevents necessary monetary and exchange rate adjustments that from taking place, and misguided moralism about debt may make a political settlement impossible.  It is this last point which is his target.

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