Fears EU Could Self-destruct Over Euro Crisis




Before heading for your groceries in the local French hypermarket, pause at the latest attraction,  the itinerant gold assayer’s stall — he’s offering cash for old gold tooth fillings or any other little surplus bits of the metal you care to dispose of.

Historical gold price in USD and inflation adj...

Gold price off the charts. Image: Wikipedia

(Read more online French News here)

Tempting? Well ask yourself why are gold hounds out in force on national TV and in the media, or haunting town fairs and markets and urban shopping centres around the country? What do they know that we don’t.

Gold has been enjoying a massive bull run thanks to New York and London banksters who have destabilised the globe. A recent report from the World Gold Council said major banks in the Eurozone were net buyers of gold, and they expect the trend to continue in 2012.  Frankfurt in Germany and some airports in the US now  have vending machines that dispense small gold bars or coins in exchange for your Euros or  US dollars. Something similar recently made its appearance on the London High Street where machines offer punters who fear for the future of their currencies, slivers of gold ingots at 49 pounds each.

In a recent edition of Le Monde Harvard University professor and Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen warns that the Greek crisis is threatening European democracy itself, “manifesting itself insidiously by the priority given to financial imperatives”. This in turn is an echo of what he earlier wrote in London’s Guardian newspaper. Greece, he said illustrates the danger of allowing rating agencies, despite their abysmal record, to lord it over the political terrain.

The Harvard economist is not alone in his concerns. As pictures of Greek rioters continue to fill TV screens and news headlines there is deepening concern in European capitals about whether the European Union might collapse.

“It is time to make Europe the Cause” writes sociologist Ulrich Beck in Die Zeit as reported by the Presseurop.eu network. Beck, whose writings deal with globalisation and social change, is a lecturer in Munich, London and at Harvard and one of Germany’s best-known thinkers. “The process of European unification after the Second World War had a clear justification: ‘Never again.’  The goal was simple: to turn enemies into neighbours. (Now) … a new basis for the EU is urgently needed, because three self-destructive processes across the continent are overlapping and reinforcing each other: ‘xenophobia’, ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘hostility to Europe’. The critics of ‘Islam’, which allegedly encroaches on Western values ​​of freedom, are able to combine enlightenment with xenophobia. Suddenly, in the name of the Enlightenment, you can even be against immigrants. Linked to the bail-outs for the southern European countries, a new nationalist resentment has developed an inflammatory logic of carve-up and conflict. The donor countries must push through austerity programmes and for that reason keep the political thumb-screws clamped onto the Greeks, already well over the pain threshold. The Greeks see themselves as folk suppressed by the ‘dictates of the EU,’ which violate their national independence and dignity. Both of these responses are stoking hatred of Europe…”

Meanwhile Black Swan economist Nouriel Roubini is reportedly far more pessimistic: “…things that brought the Eurozone together originally are no longer valid; there is no convergence, no reform, no fiscal or political union. In (Roubini’s) mind, debt restructuring is an eventuality, but will be insufficient to restore the Eurozone’s competitive and growth. In the absence of that, member states may some day question the benefit of remaining a member state.”

In the May/June edition of the US publication Foreign Affairs Magazine, Henry Farrell and John Quiggin publish a long essay on how to save the Euro and the EU. Read it below the ‘Related Articles’ links thanks to Scribd.

Story: Ken Pottinger
editorial@french-news-online.com

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CFR MAGAZINE MAY/JUNE 2011



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