Tag Archives: Troïka

The Troika: Why not take its destiny in our own hands?

This is an English translation of my column Troïka : Il va peut-être falloir s’en occuper nous-mêmes ! of February 27 2015. Thanks to Ioana-Noemy Toma for her kind help !

Jean-Daniel Magnin sends me a newspaper clipping that tells about the actress Emma Thompson stating she will not pay income tax – which she’s in the habit of doing, so long as all those who don’t pay it – and are in the habit of not doing so, remain out of jail. This is civil disobedience for you: a way of taking matters into your own hands, should the government or governments fail to do so. Food for thought here!

Zebu wrote something on the Arte documentary about the Troika and a very good thing he did. Right now I’m watching that same film, and believe me there is a lot of stuff in there. Many things which, if true, should send many of these Troika people (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) straight away into jail.

Instead of for instance pestering Dominique Strauss-Kahn, as French justice has recently been doing, about peccadilloes, it might be a very good thing to hear what he may have to say about a statement made there by one of the talking heads (Philippe Legrain, a former adviser of Manuel Barroso at the European Commission) that he deliberately pushed the head of the Greek people under water in order to release 20 billion euros for the French banks, to make this the dowry of the French presidency’s prospective candidate that he was at the time.

Is this true or untrue? God knows it might not even be true! How would you know? Well, actually, as a matter of fact we would precisely like to know what Mr. Strauss-Kahn thinks of the assertions of an insider such as M. Legrain. This is why the idea of a public opinion tribunal to judge the heads of the Troika may not be a bad idea after all – you know, just as the Russell-Sartre Tribunal on war crimes in Vietnam.

Mind you, the corpses are much less conspicuous with the Troika; but with millions, as in Greece, having lost access to health insurance, people are likely to croak out of sight.

Just as Emma Thompson is saying: let’s have the scoundrels indicted! That they are our leaders is a lame excuse for not doing so.

What’s your feeling, you people here, the readers of PJ’s Blog, about such an idea as a “Russell tribunal” for dragging to the court of public opinion the Troika crowd, those I affectionately call “priests of a ferocious creed”?

Le Vif/L’Express, « There is ALWAYS an alternative », June 22, 2012

This is an exclusive preview – in English! – of my column which will be published in the Belgian weekly Le Vif/L’Express this coming Thursday

The phenomenon is the way in which things manifest themselves to us, and this can be real – either with things appearing as they really are; or it can be deceptive – with things appearing other than they really are – such is the case for optical illusions for example which suggest a false reality. Where the Greek language said phainomenon, latin said apparentia, appearance, with the same two nuances as for phenomenon – either an appearance faithful to the nature of things, or, on the other hand, an appearance which is deceptive.

Why this talk about epistemology? Because of the Greek elections last Sunday, and the European political class which has fallen victim to an appearance which is deceptive: it thought that encouraging the Greeks to vote for the right-wing party New Democracy was a way of saving the Euro, fearing that a vote for the left-wing coalition Syriza, would signal the end of it. Whereas in fact the opposite is true

Why? Because the formula adopted so far to try to save the Eurozone has been a spectacular failure. To persist stubbornly with the same policy following the principle of ‘TINA’ (There is no alternative, the infamous words of Margaret Thatcher), is to be sure of pursuing the hellish spiral descent which was triggered at the end of 2009. The Europeans who are roped together like a climbing team (let’s not pull the wool over our eyes) are in spiritual turmoil. The ropes of its members are working loose one by one: Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus…. whilst the number of them looking to have a secure foothold – burdened by the weight of those already dangling in mid-air which is growing heavier and heavier – is reducing dangerously.

Continue reading Le Vif/L’Express, « There is ALWAYS an alternative », June 22, 2012

A WAIT DESTINED TO LAST, by François Leclerc

Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell.

The European Commission in Brussels is getting ready to unveil a project aiming to prevent and cure the banking crises, destined to enter into service in 2014, certain procedures being foreseen for 2018. There is a certain sense of timing, but certainly not a sense of urgency.

The Spanish are now appealing for help, admitting that they have been cut off from the markets, ready to sell off whole swathes of their banking system to save it, calling for direct aid so as not to fall into the clutches of the Troïka. At the end of the G7 finance ministers’ conference call only one important piece of news could be gleaned: the Europeans are committed to a ‘rapid response’ to the crisis, revealed the Japanese finance minister, Jun Azumi. All the other participants endeavoured to play down its importance, which indeed had led to nothing concrete in the short term.

The rest is in keeping. There will be plenty of time to analyze the Commission’s propositions in detail – as long as there are some. What has already come to light, however, is without ambiguity: the project carefully avoids tackling any of the difficult questions. It leaves great latitude to national regulators, in spite of them being suspected of all kinds of leniencies, and it clearly avoids tackling all the financial aspects. Its vagueness allows us a glimpse of the possibility that under cover of relieving states from the costs of banking bail-outs, it leaves the door ajar which will allow them to be asked to contribute in future.

Continue reading A WAIT DESTINED TO LAST, by François Leclerc