Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Greece

Greece Should Dump the Euro

The Greek government has decided to hold a referendum on whether or not to agree to the austerity and neoliberal reforms demanded by the troika (the IMF, the ECB, and the EU). The Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, has implied that if Greeks vote for austerity, he might resign. I’ve written about the negotiations between Greece and the troika in the past. Since then, events have unfolded and it’s now time for Greece to make good on its threat and dump the Euro. Here’s why.

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13 Terrible Tory Counterarguments

A few days ago, I wrote a post called Britain: For the Love of God, Please Stop David Cameron. I didn’t expect much out of it, because my usual audience is predominately American, and many Americans take little interest in the British elections. So I was pleasantly surprised when it went semi-viral in the UK, quickly becoming the most popular post I have written. Naturally, with a larger audience comes more critical (and sometimes just aggressively hostile) comments, and my usual policy of responding to every critical or interesting comment I receive is increasingly no longer practical. So instead, I’ve decided to write this all-purpose response to the most common bad critiques I’ve seen levied at my post. If you’re one of the wonderful people who read my post and deemed it worth sharing, I hope that this post will help you deal with any Tory supporters you may run across who may try to give you grief about it. So let’s get started.

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Syriza vs. The Troika: What’s Going on in Greece

With the recent election of Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left) in Greece, it’s time to revisit the Eurocrisis. I’ll be trying to answer several questions:

  1. What’s going on in Greece right now?
  2. What does Syriza want to do?
  3. What does the troika want Syriza to do?
  4. What happens if Syriza and the troika can’t agree?

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Misconceptions: “America is Like Greece”

The other day I found myself in conversation with one of my fellow students about whether or not the British government had too large of budget cuts too soon in the economic recovery. I argued that it was fairly self-evident that it had done so, considering the superior economic performance of most nations that had refrained from issuing cuts or embarked on a policy of stimulus. The response he gave me was an interesting one–he argued that the advantages being enjoyed by the stimulus countries were short term, and advised me to look at France, a country that had refrained from austerity and has recently had its credit rating reduced by Moody’s, is seeing stagnant growth rates, and has a host of other problems. I responded that Eurozone countries were in a different kind of economic crisis from countries like Britain and America, and that different rules applied–this was met with scepticism, as if I were trying to weasel my way out of the point. So today I would like to make the broad argument that the economic problems being experienced in non-Euro countries like America, Britain, Japan, and Canada are of a fundamentally different nature from the kind being experienced in France, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. So different, in fact, that comparing the former to the latter is intellectually useless.

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Dragging Behind the Horse: Making States Bigger

Though history, states have been getting bigger. From tribes, we expanded to city-states, from city-states to feudal states, and from feudal states to the consolidated modern states of today. This process has never been easy, however. There has always been resistance to the expanding, consolidating state. The unifications of Germany and Italy required extensive military campaigning, the United States fought the civil war over the south’s resistance to a strong federal government, the French monarchs struggled to break the back of the nobility for generations, and the British struggled with rebellions from Scots, Welsh, and Irish. Yet, in the end, all of these countries unified and centralised, because it was economically necessary–as more territories became economically interlinked, the same economic laws needed to apply to larger swathes of territory. There was no other way to keep the medieval guilds in line, to achieve coordinated economic policies in the interests of the whole of society, rather than for one region against others, to reduce the need of every town and region to be self-sufficient in every economic category. The economy is the horse driving the  cart of the enlarged state, but there are always people dragging behind the cart, and they’re usually the very sort of people behind setting up the previous, smaller state. But this is not merely an historical tale–states are getting bigger right now for economic reasons, impeded by people who are, once more, dragging behind the horse.

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