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One Response to “It pays to be prudent -- but not all of us at the same time”

  1. Arijit Banik

    Stephen, convincing people of "the paradox of thrift" argument (no matter how correct you are and sympathetic I am) is always a tough sell --especially in light of the propaganda on the other side calling for oxymoronic expansionary austerity-- and judging by some of the ignorant arguments on the Independent website, ignorace remains blissful stupidity. The people of Ireland are being asked to bite the proverbial bullet thanks to the lack of leadership of the political class and as they are willing to stick with the EMU experiment the next step would be to convince Ireland's citizens that one nation's exports are another's imports; aka "we can't all be Germany" and not just any nation has the historical concession from labour and industrial capital endowments to successfully execute a mercantilist strategy with its EZ partners as their target markets.Unless there is more than monetary unification (i.e. "the idea of Europe") there will be more of the very long term economic pain that Marxists believe is inevitable within capitalist systems. Markets have found "The Draghi put" wanting. The establishment argument remains that we live in a "supply constrained world" and we can solve matters by cutting indefinitely: cut labour costs, cut government services, cut the social contract-- and we know that within the straitjacket of monetary union absent a grand fiscal bargain this means grinding deflation and massive slack. This is counter to the notion of economic growth that ultimately heals many wounds. Hopefully the people of Ireland can be re-engaged with "the idea of Ireland" and understand that democracy isn't something to be enacted during national and European Union elections; it is something that requires constant engagement from the grass roots funneling up to the tables of the powerbrokers. People always ask "where is the money going to come from?" In a world that is in reality demand constrained the people should understand that democratic re-engagement is the place to start; we musn't let the political class sell old wine in new bottles lest we face two more decades of stagnation.

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