Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | April 22, 2014

Poor Sweden

Three years ago Sweden was widely regarded as a role model in how to deal with a global crisis. The nation’s exports were hit hard by slumping world trade but snapped back; its well-regulated banks rode out the financial storm; its strong social insurance programs supported consumer demand; and unlike much of Europe, it still had its own currency, giving it much-needed flexibility. By mid-2010 output was surging, and unemployment was falling fast. Sweden, declared The Washington Post, was “the rock star of the recovery.”

Then the sadomonetarists moved in.

The story so far: In 2010 Sweden’s economy was doing much better than those of most other advanced countries. But unemployment was still high, and inflation was low. Nonetheless, the Riksbank — Sweden’s equivalent of the Federal Reserve — decided to start raising interest rates.

There was some dissent within the Riksbank over this decision. Lars Svensson, a deputy governor at the time — and a former Princeton colleague of mine — vociferously opposed the rate hikes. Mr. Svensson, one of the world’s leading experts on Japanese-style deflationary traps, warned that raising interest rates in a still-depressed economy put Sweden at risk of a similar outcome. But he found himself isolated, and left the Riksbank in 2013.

Sure enough, Swedish unemployment stopped falling soon after the rate hikes began. Deflation took a little longer, but it eventually arrived. The rock star of the recovery has turned itself into Japan.

So why did the Riksbank make such a terrible mistake? That’s a hard question to answer, because officials changed their story over time. At first the bank’s governor declared that it was all about heading off inflation: “If the interest rate isn’t raised now, we’ll run the risk of too much inflation further ahead … Our most important task is to ensure that we meet our inflation target of 2 percent.” But as inflation slid toward zero, falling ever further below that supposedly crucial target, the Riksbank offered a new rationale: tight money was about curbing a housing bubble, to avert financial instability. That is, as the situation changed, officials invented new rationales for an unchanging policy.

In short, this was a classic case of sadomonetarism in action.

I’m using that term (coined by William Keegan of The Observer) advisedly, not just to be colorful. At least as I define it, sadomonetarism is an attitude, common among monetary officials and commentators, that involves a visceral dislike for low interest rates and easy money, even when unemployment is high and inflation is low. You find many sadomonetarists at international organizations; in the United States they tend to dwell on Wall Street or in right-leaning economics departments. They don’t, I’m happy to say, exert much influence at the Federal Reserve — but they do constantly harass the Fed, demanding that it stop its efforts to boost employment.

And when I say that the dislike for low rates is visceral, I mean just that. While sadomonetarists may offer what sound like coherent analytical rationales for their policy views, they don’t change their policy views in response to changing conditions — they just invent new rationales. This strongly suggests that what we’re looking at here is a gut feeling rather than a thought-out position.

Indeed, the Riksbank’s evolving justifications for rate hikes were mirrored at international organizations like the Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements, an influential bankers’ bank that is a sadomonetarist stronghold. Just like the Riksbank, the bank changed its rationale for rate hikes — It’s about inflation! It’s about financial stability! — but never its policy demands.

Where does this gut dislike for low rates come from? At some level it has to reflect an instinctive identification with the interests of wealthy creditors as opposed to usually poorer debtors. But it’s also driven, I believe, by the desire of many monetary officials to pose as serious, tough-minded people — and to demonstrate how tough they are by inflicting pain.

Whatever their motives, sadomonetarists have already done a lot of damage. In Sweden they have extracted defeat from the jaws of victory, turning an economic success story into a tale of stagnation and deflation as far as the eye can see.

And they could do much more damage in the future. Financial markets have been fairly calm lately — no big banking crises, no imminent threats of euro breakup. But it would be wrong and dangerous to assume that recovery is assured: bad policies could all too easily undermine our still-sluggish economic progress. So when serious-sounding men in dark suits tell you that it’s time to stop all this easy money and raise rates, beware: Look at what such people have done to Sweden.

NYT article of April 20th 2014 — Sweden Turns Japanese — by Paul Krugman

Yours,

Pano

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | April 21, 2014

Putin’s Whore

Division…

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Economics, Sustainable Development, Health Policy and Management, and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, who is also Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals wrote the following piece…

Jeffrey Sachs says that the planned Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine would have a devastating impact on the Russian Economy itself.

The dangers of the crisis in Ukraine cannot be exaggerated. Russian President Vladimir Putin is overtly and covertly inciting separatism in eastern Ukraine, and has declared Russia’s unilateral right to intervene there, in complete contravention of international law. Russia’s provocative policies are putting it on a collision course with the West.

According to Putin’s explanation via television about his takeover of Krimea — he claims that Russia’s current international borders are provisional, determined by accidents of history, such as the transfer of Crimea from Russia to Ukraine in 1954, or the transfer of Russian territories to eastern Ukraine in the 1920’s. Putin claims that it is Russia’s right and duty to defend ethnic Russians in neighboring countries, especially in light of the arbitrariness of the existing borders.

If ethnic Russians call for a return to Russia, Putin asserts, then Russia must heed their call. Putin pointedly reminded listeners that eastern Ukraine was called “Novorossiya” (New Russia) in Czarist times, clearly implying that it could be Novorossiya again.

Evidently, Putin believes that relentless pressure and claims over neighboring states, designed to undermine their sovereignty and force them to accede to Russian demands, will result in a stronger Russia, better able to confront the West. In the recent past, Russia sharply opposed American and NATO military intervention in Libya, Syria, and Serbia on the grounds that the West was violating those countries’ sovereignty. Now Putin claims the right to ignore neighboring countries’ sovereignty on the pretext that Russia is merely defending the rights of ethnic Russians abroad, up to and including their right to secede and join the Russian homeland.

Putin no doubt hopes to create facts on the ground – as in Crimea – without provoking a severe Western reaction. Even without an invasion, Russia can use threats, displays of military power, secret operations, and heated rhetoric to destabilize its neighbors. That may be enough to achieve Russian foreign-policy aims, including its neighbors’ docility.

But Putin’s adventurism is likely to end very badly for Russia. Though the West is justifiably reticent to be drawn into any military confrontations with Russia beyond NATO’s boundaries, and is even reluctant to apply economic sanctions, Putin’s actions have triggered a strong and growing anti-Russian backlash in the US and Europe. The West’s response will intensify dramatically if Russia deploys forces across its borders, whatever the pretext; should Russia adopt subtler methods of political destabilization, Western pressure will build more gradually, but build it will.

Existing trade, investment, and financial relations between Russia and the West are already becoming severely frayed. New investment projects and joint ventures are being put on hold. Loans from Western investors to Russian entities are being called in. Russian banks and companies will face a growing credit squeeze.

In the short term, Russia has ample foreign-exchange reserves to offset capital outflows; but the reversal of capital flows will begin to bite within a matter of months. Following Russia’s forcible takeover of Crimea, it is almost unimaginable that normal economic relations between Russia and the West could survive Russian intervention, subversion, or annexation elsewhere in Ukraine.

In other words, if Cold War II sets in, as appears increasingly likely, Russia would be the long-term economic loser. The European Union can certainly survive without imports of Russian natural gas, even with a full cutoff.

Russia’s gas exports to Europe constitute less than 10% of the EU’s primary energy consumption. Russia, on the other hand, would suffer a major loss of revenues.

Putin seems to believe that Russia can offset any worsening of economic relations with the West by strengthening its economic relations with China. But technologies and business are too globally intertwined to divide the world into economic blocs. China knows that its long-term economic prosperity depends on good economic relations with the US and Europe. Putin seems not to understand this point, or even the fact that the Soviet economy collapsed as a result of its isolation from technologically advanced economies.

Russia’s future economic strength depends on its ability to upgrade technologies in key sectors, including aviation, high-speed rail, automobiles, machinery, and heavy industry. That can be achieved only if Russian companies are more closely integrated into global production networks that knit them together with German, Japanese, American, and Chinese firms that rely on cutting-edge technology and advanced engineering.

Of course, matters could become much worse. A new cold war could all too easily turn hot. Many in the US are already calling for arming Ukraine as a deterrent to Russia. But, while military deterrence sometimes works, the West should emphasize trade and financial retaliation, rather than military responses to Russian provocations. Military responses could provoke disaster, such as turning Ukraine into a Syria-type battlefield, with untold thousands of deaths.

There can be no doubt that NATO will defend its own members if necessary. But Russia’s belligerency and appalling behavior should not permit Western hardliners to gain control of the policy debate. Hardline approaches brought expanded conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, leading to plenty of deaths but not to meaningful political or economic solutions in the affected countries. War is not politics by other means. War is mayhem and suffering.

Putin is no doubt acting in Ukraine with domestic politics very much in mind, using his adventurism abroad to shore up his political base at home. The Russian economy is flagging, and the population is weary of repression, not to mention Russia’s pervasive corruption. Russia’s annexation of Crimea and threat to invade eastern Ukraine appear to be hugely popular. It remains a terrifying reality that politicians often perceive war to be an antidote to internal weakness.

Both Russia and the West have played fast and loose with international law in recent years. The West violated national sovereignty in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Russia is now playing the same card with shocking brazenness in its own neighborhood, often justifying its actions by pointing to Western precedents.

But Russia’s true long-term interests lie in multilateralism, integration into the world economy, and the international rule of law. Putin’s current path is strewn with grave hazards. He is undermining Russia’s economic prospects, while confronting the world with a growing threat of war. Our only hope is that all sides return to the principles of international law, which they have forsaken for too long.

Yours,
Pano

PS:
Thanks to Jeffrey Sachs for his insightful geopolitical analysis and support of Truth in International Politics and Economics.

Σημερα, 47 χρόνια από την επιβολή της στρατιωτικής δικτατορίας στη χώρα μας, βρισκόμαστε αντιμέτωποι με μια επίθεση προερχομενη απο την Ελληνικη κυβερνηση Υποτελειας — ενάντια στα βασικα δικαιώματα του ανθρώπων, ενάντια στα δικαιώματα των ανεργων καθως και των εργαζομένων, ενάντια στα δικαιώματα της νεολαίας και των συνταξιουχων, αλλά και ενάντια στην ίδια τη δημοκρατία και την ελευθερια.

Η σημερινη θυμηση πρεπει να είναι ενα καλεσμα γι’ αντίσταση ενάντια στη καταστρεπτικη λιτοτητα, εναντια στη μνημονιακή πολιτική της κυβέρνησης υποτελειας, εναντια στον αυταρχισμό της Γερμανιας, και εναντια στον περιορισμό της Ελληνικης Αυτοκυριαρχίας και Αυτοδιαθεσης.

Η σημερινη θυμηση πρεπει να είναι ενα καλεσμα γι’ αντίσταση ενάντια στην βαρβαρικη γερμανικη Διοικηση της Ευρωπης παραδομενης στους συγρονους Ναζιστες.

Η σημερινη θυμηση πρεπει να είναι ενα καλεσμα γι’ αντίσταση ενάντια σε καθε αποτυχημενη οικονομικη πολιτικη σχεδιασμενη στο Βερολινο, στη Φρανκφουρτη, και στις Βρυξελλες.

Η σημερινη θυμηση πρεπει να είναι ενα καλεσμα γι’ αντίσταση ενάντια στο βασανισμο του Ελληνα απο αλλη μια αποτυχημενη Γερμανικη ιδεολογια οπως αυτη που εφερε την Χουντα στην Ελλαδα καθως και την Κατοχη.

Η σημερινη θυμηση πρεπει να είναι ενα καλεσμα γι’ αντίσταση ενάντια στη βλακεια της Γερμανικης λιτοτητας, μια οικονομικο-πολιτικη θεωρια που εφερε την Ελλαδα ξανα στην κατοχικη πεινα. Σημερα που η κατοχη ειναι αοσμη και αορατη και που εξασκειται ανετα απο τουσ ντοπιους κοντζαμπασηδες για λογαριασμο των Γερμανων κατακτητων, πρεπει να θυμηθουμε την χουντα και την κατοχικη πεινα ξανα μπας και ξυπνησουμε… και δουμε την αληθεια.

Η σημερινη θυμηση πρεπει να είναι ενα καλεσμα γι’ αντίσταση ενάντια στη Γερμανικη κατοχη που εφερε τη πεινα και λιμοκτονισε τραγικα και ασκοπα πανω απο ενα εκατομμυριο Ελληνικες ψυχες. Ενα εκατομυριο Ελληνες πεθαναν απο πεινα την τελευταια φορα που μια υποτελης Ελληνικη κυβερνηση συνεργαστικε “καλα” με τους Γερμανους, 73 χρονια απο σημερα…

Η σημερινη θυμηση πρεπει να είναι ενα καλεσμα γι’ αντίσταση των πολιτων διοτι αυτη ειναι η μονη ελπιδα για τη επαναφορα της δημοκρατίας στην Ελλάδα αλλα και στην Ευρώπη.

Δυστυχως, η Ενεργη Αντίσταση σημερα είναι ο μονος δρομος Ελπιδας, μεσω της Αληθειας, και της Δικαιοσυνης. Ειναι ισως ο τελευταιος δρομος, που ακομα υπαρχει για τον Ελληνα, διοτι κανα-δυο δεκαετιες απο σημερα δεν θα υπαρχει καν Ελλαδα, καθως οι Γερμανοι θεωρουν τους Ελληνες απλα σαν υπανθρωπους [Untermensch] και οχι σαν συμπολιτες στην Ευρωπαικη Δημοκρατια.

Δυστυχως, η Ενεργη Αντίσταση σημερα είναι ο μονος δρομος για τον Ελληνα ν’απελευθερωθη απο τους τωρινους κυβερνωντες πολιτικους που οι ιδιοι οι Γερμανοι που σκοτωνουν τον Ελληνικο λαο, τους επαινουν ως καλους πατριωτες.

Δυστυχως, η Ενεργη Αντίσταση σημερα είναι ο μονος δρομος για ενα μικρο βημα στην κατευθηνση του Δικαου, καθως αντιπροσωπευει ένα μήνυμα αλληλεγγύης, ένα μήνυμα αξιοπρέπειας, και μια υπενθύμιση των αρχαιων καθως και των νεων αγώνων του ελληνικού λαού για δημοκρατία και ανεξαρτησία.

Δυστυχως, η Ενεργη Αντίσταση σημερα είναι ο μονος δρομος για να ξαναβρουμε τη δημοκρατία που πολέμησαν και πολεμούν και παλι σήμερα οι νοσταλγοί του φασισμού και του ναζισμού, καθως και οι ντοπιες υποτελεις κυβερνησεις.

Δυστυχως, η Ενεργη Αντίσταση σημερα είναι ο μονος δρομος για να θυμουμεθα και για να τιμούμε τους ανθρωπους που πρωταγωνίστησαν στον επτάχρονο αντιδικτατορικό αγώνα καθώς και όλους τους αγωνιστές της δημοκρατίας, που υπερασπίστηκαν την ανθρώπινη αξιοπρέπεια, τη δημοκρατία και την ελευθερία απέναντι στην Γερμανοκίνητη χούντα καθως και αυτους που δωσαν τη ζωη τους στον πολεμο εναντια, και κατα την διαρκεια της προηγουμενης Γερμανικης κατοχης το 1940 – 1945.

Δυστυχως, η Ενεργη Αντίσταση σημερα είναι ο μονος δρομος για να θυμηθουμε οτι οι αγώνες των προηγουμενων αγωνιστων της Ελευθεριας, μας δίνουν δύναμη σήμερα και ελπιδα για το αυριο. Οι ανθρωποι αυτοι που θυσιασαν ολα τα δικα τους “Αυριο” — ειναι για εμας οι σημερινοι οδηγοι στον αγώνα μας για τη δημοκρατία και την ελευθερία. Ενας καινουργιος αγωνας επίκαιρος και άρρηκτα συνδεδεμένος με τον αγώνα για τα Ανθρωπινα Δικαιωματα και την Ισονομια, καθως ειναι ενας ιερος αγωνας εναντια στο σαρακι της Διαφθορας που ριχνει την χωρα στον γκρεμο και φερνει τις εκαστοτε Κυβερνησεις Δοσιλογων στον τοπο μας. Κυβερνησεις αιςχους και υποταγης οπως αυτες που σημερα εχουμε μονο και μονο για να εφαρμοζουν τις αποτυχημενες ιδεολογικες πολιτικες του Βερολινου που οδηγουν τον Ελληνικο λαο ξανα σε μια νεα λιμοκτονια της ελπιδας…

Δυστυχως, η Ενεργη Αντίσταση σημερα είναι ο μονος δρομος που απομεινε για μας και χρειαζομαστε “φαρους” να μας οδηγουν σ’ αυτο το δυσκολο και σκοτεινο μονοπατι. Γι’ αυτο ας θυμηθουμε τον Αθανατο κι Ανίκητο, Αλεκο Παναγουλη απο το ποιημα του που γραφτηκε με το ιδιο του το αιμα, στη φυλακη βασανιστηριων στα μαυρα Χρονια της Χουντας, το 1971, οταν μια αλλη ομαδα κυβερνοντων μαριονεττων, υποτελων στους Γερμανους ρημαζε την φτωχη χωρα μας.
Εγραφε τοτε με αιμα ο Αλεκος Παναγουλης οτι «Αυτούς που αύριο θα φτύνει ο Λαός εμένα φτύνουν»

Ας θυμηθουμε σημερα ξανα οτι αν κάποιος πάλεψε περισσότερο από οποιονδήποτε άλλο για την πτώση της δικτατορίας, αυτός ήταν ο Αλέκος Παναγούλης.

Σήμερα την ημερα της 47ης επετείου από την εγκαθίδρυση της Δικτατοριας του στρατιωτικού καθεστώτος της 21ης Απριλίου 1967, πολεμαμε για την ενθύμιση του ΑΓΩΝΑ μεσ’ απο το παρακάτω ποιήμα του Αλεξανδρου Παναγούλη, το οποίο γράφτηκε κυριολεκτικώς με το αίμα του στην απομόνωση των στρατιωτικών φυλακών Μπογιατίου, το 1971.

«Δεμένος χειροπόδαρα
στο σιδερένιο το κρεβάτι
κι οι αλυσίδες
το σώμα ακίνητο κρατούν

Κοράκια γύρω μου
ζητούν να με σπαράξουν
Δούλοι τυράννων
κι έχουν ανθρώπινες μορφές

Χτυπάνε τις πατούσες μου με ξύλα
σβήνουν τσιγάρα στο κορμί
στο ματωμένο πρόσωπό μου
στηρίζουν κάνες πιστολιών
και ξεφωνίζουν ασταμάτητα
Με βρίζουν και ξεστομίζουν απειλές

Αυτοί που λιποτάχτησαν
εμένα λένε λιποτάχτη
Αυτοί που πρόδωσαν
προδότη με φωνάζουν
Αυτούς που αύριο θα φτύνει ο Λαός
εμένα φτύνουν
Με λένε πρόστυχο
ανήμποροι να δουν
τη δύναμη που κρύβεται και την αλήθεια
στου αλυσοδεμένου τις βρισιές και την οργή
Με λένε πρόστυχο
κι ο βούρδουλας
χαράζει στο κορμί
λαβωματιές καινούριες
λαβωματιές που χάσκουν απορώντας

Στο σάρκινο πουκάμισο
οι αιμάτινες λουρίδες
το χρωμ’ αλλάζουν
Μα συνεχίζουν να χτυπούν
και κάθε τόσο
με νέους τρόπους προσπαθούν
τον πόνο ν’ αυγατίσουν

Τα χέρια που μου φράζανε
τη μύτη και το στόμα
τα δάγκωσα
Μα τώρα
σε μια κουβέρτα τυλιγμένο το κεφάλι
κι ο ουρανός
κατέβηκε στα μάτια
γεμάτος άστρα
Στο στήθος μου
σωριάστηκαν βουνά
παράξενες σειρήνες
στ’ αυτιά βουίζουνε

Άδικα σπαρταράει το κορμί
για λίγο αέρα
Μεσ’ στον ιδρώτα βουτηγμένος
για λίγο αέρα
για λίγο αέρα μοναχά…

Φωνές και χάχανα
φτηνά και πρόστυχα αστεία
Και το κατόρθωμα;
Πασπατεύουνε τ’ αρχίδια του Δεσμώτη
Χωρίς να βιάζονται…

Μου περιγράφουνε τι πρόκειται να πάθω
χωρίς να βιάζονται…
Ανοίγουνε κουτιά
βγάζουν βελόνες
χωρίς να βιάζονται…

Ανάμεσά τους κάποιος
(όπως πάντα)
με… συμβουλεύει
(παίζει το ρόλο του καλού)
Μα δεν τον άκουσα και πάλι
κι έτσι αρχίζουνε

Περνούν μεσ’ στην ουρήθρα μια βελόνα
(πολύ λεπτή – μετάλλινη)
ανατριχίλα σ’ όλο το κορμί
την άλλη άκρη της βελόνας
τώρα ζεσταίνουν…

Τις οιμωγές
τις πνίγουνε τα γέλια
Τα γέλια ακούστε
τα γέλια τους…

Βράχνιασαν, ίδρωσαν, κουράστηκαν
χωρίς πια σύστημα αρχίσαν να χτυπούν
Όλοι μαζί
ουρλιάζοντας…
Μια μηχανή παράμερα μουγκρίζει
και μια ανθρώπινη φωνή
μέσα στο σάλο ακούγεται
Ένα ραδιόφωνο
Λες και τρελάθηκαν
με χέρια και με πόδια με χτυπούν
Όλοι μαζί…
Στους τοίχους και στο πάτωμα
φωτιάς λουλούδια ξεπροβάλλουν
Φλόγες αλλόκοσμες
Χορεύουν ξέφρενους ρυθμούς
όλα γυρίζουν
κι ύστερα χάνονται…

Σ’ άλλο δωμάτιο βρίσκομαι
μικρή η διαφορά
οι αλυσίδες πάντα συντροφιά μου
τα πρόσωπα θολά
σκυμμέν’ απάνω μου
αγκάθια μίσους
Και ανεβαίνει ο τόνος της φωνής

Και νέα πρόσωπα μαζί με τα γνωστά
Μα ίδεις όλες οι μορφές
Και οι στολές τους ίδιες
τι κι αν βρίσκεται στο πέτο της στολής
κάποια παράσταση παλιά;
Του Ιπποκράτη τώρα
τον ξεχάσανε τον όρκο…

Σκηνές ζωής
Μαύρες σκιές
Σκηνές που έζησα
Μα ποια να πρωτοθυμηθώ;
Η μνήμη πόνος
Η μοναξιά;
Πόνος κι αυτή
Πόνος με πόνο συντροφιά
ειν’ η ζωή μας».

«Τα Ποιήματα,»

–Αλέκος Παναγούλης

Greek Junta 1967-4-21_greece01

Yours,
Pano

Time to stop following defunct economic policies now…

By Anatole Kaletsky
April 19, 2014

Can economists contribute anything useful to our understanding of politics, business and finance in the real world?

I raise this question having spent last weekend in Toronto at the annual conference of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, a foundation created in 2009 in response to the failure of modern economics in the global financial crisis (whose board I currently chair). Unfortunately, the question raised above is as troubling today as it was in November 2008, when Britain’s Queen Elizabeth famously stunned the head of the London School of Economics by asking faux naively, “But why did nobody foresee this [economic collapse]?”

As John Maynard Keynes observed in 1936, when he challenged the economic orthodoxies that were aggravating the Great Depression: “The ideas of economists, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist.”

This remark is as relevant today as in 1936. Joseph E. Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate, asked rhetorically in Toronto: “Why are central banks and governments still trying to predict the effects of their policies with an economic model that is manifestly absurd?”

His answer was that the economic models studied in universities and published in leading academic journals are still largely based on a simplifying concept, known as the Representative Agent, which effectively assumes that “everyone in the economy is the same.”  So these models have nothing to say about lending or borrowing, ignore the existence of banks and treat bankruptcies as unimportant because “when the borrower does not repay, he only defaults on himself.”

Amazingly, these economic models with no banks are still the main analytical tool used by most central banks. Peeling away further layers of the theoretical onion reveals something even more bizarre: an inbuilt assumption that the economy is self-stabilizing. This means that virtually any policies the central bank may choose to follow will lead automatically to full employment — in the forecasts, if not in the real world.

The pernicious effects of such stilted thinking are most visible in Europe. As Adair Turner, former chairman of Britain’s Financial Services Authority and now an INET Senior Fellow argued, the rules for the eurozone agreed in 1991 were based on the belief that “economists had cracked the problem of macroeconomics  – that low and stable inflation was not just necessary, but sufficient for economic success.”

Making matters worse for Europe, this hubris among economists was combined in the Maastricht Treaty with the German concept of “ordo-liberalism,” which asserted that government’s only legitimate role was to set clear rules for competition and price stability and then strictly enforce them.

“This was why the Bundesbank’s legal department became as powerful as its economic department,” Turner noted, “and why Germany has been so unbending in its interpretation of the euro rules. We now know that ordo-liberalism does not work in macroeconomics. But the entrenchment of these old economic ideas, even after they have been proved wrong, is so great that any change will be very slow.”

As a result, Turner concluded, Europe “could look remarkably like Japan in the 1990s, with many years of very low growth — but probably much greater social tension, because Europe’s immigration-based societies are much less uniform and consensual than Japan’s.”

How could economists break this pernicious grip of old ideas? The obvious answer is by developing new ideas and many were presented at Toronto: Forecasting currencies with a new technique called Imperfect Knowledge Economics developed in New York and Copenhagen; understanding the role of government in technological innovation through work in Cambridge and Massachusetts; analyzing the role of self-fulfilling “reflexive” expectations in boom-bust cycles; applying the mathematics of complex systems to economic problems ranging from financial instability to housing and the competitiveness of developing countries in Oxford and Rome; funding work in Paris and Berkeley on income distribution that is attracting worldwide attention; researching the economics of education and childhood development through a global network led from Chicago; developing new undergraduate courses on subjects neglected by the traditional curriculum with an international team of professors run from University College London and Bangalore; restoring the study of economic history through workshops in Italy and the United States.

But despite such initiatives, the “old ideas that have been proved wrong,” including inflation targets, self-stabilizing markets, and rigid separation of monetary and fiscal policy, remain dominant where they are most dangerous — in the macroeconomic analysis of finance ministries and central banks. Overcoming these old ideas will require new thinking about politics and not just economics.

As Michael Sandel, the Harvard philosopher, told the conference: “Over the past three or four decades, the public life of our societies has been animated by a faith that market mechanisms can answer all questions and solve all problems. This era of unquestioned faith in markets coincided with the time when political life lost the sense of morality or public purpose. Market reasoning seems to offer a non-judgemental way of allocating goods and incomes, but in many cases we have to make moral judgements. The new economic thinking that is now required has many affinities with old economic thinking. Classical economists, going back to Adam Smith, did not view economics as a value-neutral science or even as an autonomous discipline. They all understood economics to be a sub-field of moral and political philosophy.”

In other words, economics always operates in a specific political context. Market mechanisms must be judged by social outcomes, government and business must work in concert, not in opposition. As a new phase of global capitalism emerges from the 2008 crisis, these are the key ideas that economists will have to discover — or rediscover.

Anatole Kaletsky is chairman of INET’s board of governors, which developed  many of these economic ideas.

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | April 18, 2014

My Friend Gabriel Garcia Marquez died…

Now my friend,

Be calm…

Be calm cause God waits for you at the door…

Yours,

Pano

PS;

Your words.

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | April 15, 2014

Is Europe a Democracy?

A question has been gnawing at me for a while…

As we are facing another European Parliamentary election we need to ask ourselves the following:

What is the European System Today, and is it a Democracy?

A thinking European Rousseau said  that “All men are born free, but everywhere they are in chains…”

And today the scientific consensus in an observation of the amorphous mélange of institutions that comprise the European Union as it stands today, may lead one to believe that is true today just as much – if not more – as the day Rousseau spoke thus.

My thoughts are also along these lines: In Europe today, indeed, we have some kind of a quasi-democratic form of government led by the economic power of Berlin and Frankfurt — but not a Democracy. Far from it…

Because in Europe today we seem to be having a giant Deficit of Democracy. Indeed we have some kind of Bureaucratic and Institutional Corruption of Democracy that is akin to a Dictatorship of the Northern tribes. Still I like to believe that we have freed ourselves from the limits of conventional national and parochial interests after the Second Great War — but in doing so we have enslaved ourselves to an Institutionally prescribed way of being that is again led by Berlin’s deep state interests.

An artificial arteriosclerosis has set in Europe today stifling Democracy and General Freedom. This is the purpose of the system. The Germanic system that is keen to restrict all freedoms and democratic functions and instead direct them to convergent and predictable ends.  Thus the European Project is no different than the Fourth Reich in the hearts and minds of the Germans who don’t trust democracy and people’s rights. But what is it in the hearts and minds of all the other freedom loving Europeans?

That question is the one we have to answer together…

Today, though we appear to have more freedom, and far more choices, than the time of the Third Reich of old, we are actually far more contained and severely confined to a few minor iterations of institutional freedoms, always hampered by the Orwellian Bureaucracy and steady Loss of Democracy.

The Democratic Deficit of Europe today is so large that we can hardly speak of Democracy when both Van Rompuy and Barosso are appointed puppets of the powerful puppet masters in Berlin and Frankfurt.

True Democracy requires eschewing the infinite salamization of our Liberty and revolting against the islamization of our right to the Pursuit of happiness. We need to stand up and fight against the Colonization of our Hopes and Dreams that is currently done through the German and Northern European Uniformity Doctrine and through the unyielding Cartesian ideology…

We best rebel and fight for our ideals and shed blood for our Democracy because are all in this together and right now we are experiencing just the tip of the iceberg and only a small portion of the infinite variety of truly repugnant terrors this Crisis of Leadership of Europe has wrought.

It’s now time to rethink and refashion our Democracy because our future hangs from it and because it is only through discovering the essence of our Principles by going back to our ROOTS — we can hope to be free. Free from the shackles of the total German uniform that looks like a straight jacket to most of us who are not inclined to march in lockstep every time a crazed yet charismatic leader orders us so.

The current drive towards sameness, orderliness, efficiency, uniformity, and towards the management of Peoples as industrial assets, always leads to bloodshed and terror. And this certainly is not a Democracy no matter what distance you go to, and what pains You suffer to call it so. Doublespeak was never so sweet as when coming from the mouths of European bureaucrats and assorted Berlin lackeys…

Instead we should think as Free Peoples of Europe, as Democratic economic agents, and as human beings, and thus celebrate our uniqueness and originality. We can exercise this code of conduct by enjoying our freedoms, as we respect the rights of others. and then we can all come along to fight for a Democracy and a Demos greater than ourselves.

Yours,

Pano

PS:

The Democratic Deficit must be cured before we can have any kind of European Integration.

And it is only through the Federalist ideals and a European Federation of independent nations that we will come out of this deep dark wood we’ve lost ourselves into these last few years since the inception of the European project.

It is only through this Freedom of Belief, Liberty of Will, and Independent Thinking & Action, that we can develop the vital perspective to understand all, respect all, and embrace the differences — thus finding the ability to create a Europe worthy of sharing.

President Vladimir Putin has sternly warned the European Leaders to not mess with his backyard Ukraine and to stop meddling in what he views as his very own sphere of influence.

These delusions of Grandeur that the petite dictator is voicing are a pre-amble to war… as always such vexing Napoleonic pronouncements have been.

The little man whose churlish behaviour nobody takes seriously anymore, is threatening to cut-off Russian gas supplies to Europe. He is claiming that European gas delivery will be disrupted when Moscow cuts-off the flow of gas to Ukraine over unpaid bills.

But not taking seriously the small man with the big oversized ego, and the tender nipples, might lead us to a terrible nosebleed. mainly because it appears that Putin is now not only the richest man in the world but the most bloodthirsty one too.

Pocket sized dictators with oversized egos have launched Europe into the Dark Ages before; so this time we cannot underestimate the seriousness of this strategic Russian initiative because it’s a well thought out strategy and a flawed, yet well-executed plan. When you want to understand he subtext of this messy geopolitical Ukrainian pastiche — you can read this explanation: The king of illegality, the gay man who annexed illegally the whole of Crimea, Mr Nipples, is now threatening a complete gas shut-off to Europe, seemingly over the Ukrainian unpaid bills. The fallacy that this threat poses, cannot be lost to other humourists around the world, because the gas station attendant gayboy, threatens and bullies his traditional friends [Ukrainians], so they can keep on playing with him. He wants them to keep him in the team even though He is a terrible bully. He want to be in their company and threatens them if they don’t take him out for a bit of slap and tickle — come Saturday night. That’s all. A girlish gay temper tantrum that can throw Europe into another bloody war, is what this whole Ukrainian episode is all about.

Fighting over unpaid gas bills of unilaterally and illegally increased gas prices, is what Putin is all about. The gas price hikes that Putin created fictitious by doubling the price of gas to Ukraine retroactively, are now the “Causus-Beli” Russia uses to go to war…

Oh dear … how we long for the alcoholic bear of yesterday.

Yeltshin’s tea wallah Mr Putin, is what we are faced with today and that is what he have to confront, because we all know that cry-baby Putin wants control over Ukraine and it’s foreign policy by making Ukraine a part of, or a puppet state to Kremlin. That much is clear. What is not clear is that generalissimo Putin’s naked aggression over Crimea is just a prelude to further dismemberment of the country, starting with Donetsk and Luhansk and the Eastern half of the poor country.

Now the mini-dictator is using the artificially jacked up prices of Gas “sold” to Ukraine as leverage to get the Ukrainian people to capitulate and adhere to his demands over unpaid bills, drawing a US accusation that it is using energy “as a tool of coercion”.

In a letter to the leaders of 18 European countries, Putin made clear that “his patience would run out” over Kiev’s $2.2 billion gas debt to Russia unless a solution could be brokered urgently.

Russia has nearly doubled the gas price it charges Ukraine, whose economy is in crisis, since pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovich was overthrown two months ago. Russia then annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea, provoking the biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War.

Putin said Russian fossil fuel exporter Gazprom would demand advance payment for gas supplies to Ukraine and “in the event of further violation of the conditions of payment will completely or partially cease gas deliveries”.

That could have knock-on effects for European Union countries, much of whose Russian gas flows in pipelines across Ukraine. “We fully realise that this increases the risk of (Ukraine) siphoning off natural gas passing through Ukraine’s territory and heading to European consumers,” the letter said.

Russia supplies 30 percent of Europe’s natural gas demand and more than half of this gas goes through pipelines crossing Ukraine.

The United States accused Moscow of using its vast energy reserves to pressure the former Soviet republic. “We condemn Russia’s efforts to use energy as a tool of coercion against Ukraine,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

State-controlled Gazprom stopped pumping gas to Ukraine during price disputes in the winters of 2005-2006 and 2008-2009, leading to reduced supplies in European countries.

Russian officials say gas dealings with Ukraine are purely commercial and they were forced to move after Kiev failed to meet a newly imposed price hike deadline this Monday; to pay for its March supplies.

In Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists occupying old KGB official buildings and old Soviet bases in the eastern cities of Donetsk and Luhansk; rejected a government offer of an amnesty in exchange for laying down their weapons.

That raised fears that the authorities could follow through on a threat to use force to clear the buildings which have been occupied since the previous weekend.

Kremlin’s special spetsnaz units acting as agent-provocateurs and masquerading as patriotic protesters — have taken over the old KGB buildings and the old Soviet bases, in Eastern Ukraine.

However we all know that the so called protesters are the same “green-men of Crimea”. They are the same well armed military Special Forces men, “Spetsnaz” who are well armed, dressed in green, loaded with cash and cashes of Kalashnikovs, fitted out with night vision scopes and grenade launchers, and who are deployed in the former KGB headquarters in Luhansk and Donetsk. They have also taken over old Soviet bases of Eastern Ukraine and have said they would lay down their weapons only if Kiev agreed to hold a referendum on the future of the largely Russian-speaking region. Sounds like a red herring to me — but I may be mistaken…

We have seen this movie played out once again — in Crimea. We saw the play unfold when Crimea “voted” last month for union with Russia in a referendum held under occupation. A vote that took place after Moscow’s forces had already taken control of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea… And of course in a country under occupation, the occupier declares any electoral results they want to see. Look at Russian elections. It’s not an innovation when seen in the light of History as it was the case when the German Nazis occupied Ukraine and so many others during the Second World War.

Of course the proper government of Ukraine in Kiev has rejected holding a similar vote in the eastern part of the country, rightfully calling this naked aggression and openly saying that the “Special Forces military occupations” are part of a Russian-led plan to dismember the country.

“We are trying to find a compromise, but the demands put forward by the occupiers are unacceptable. Our aim is to avoid the use of force, but that option remains in place,” Deputy Interior Minister Serhiy Yarovy told journalists.

Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk is to travel to Donetsk on Friday to discuss the crisis.

NATO raised Moscow’s ire by publishing satellite pictures it said showed a Russian military buildup on the Ukrainian border. Moscow’s elastic truth telling Foreign Minister Mr lavrov fumbled further, when he said that the satellite images had been taken last year.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a carefully worded statement: “The alliance is trying to use the crisis in Ukraine to rally its ranks in the face of an imaginary external threat to NATO members and to strengthen demand for the alliance”.

In response, the NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, visiting Prague, said the threat was real. “Russia is stirring up ethnic tensions in eastern Ukraine and provoking unrest, in order to dismember the country. Russia is using its military might to dictate that Ukraine should become a federal, neutral state. That is a decision which only Ukraine as a sovereign state can make” Rasmussen told the Prague news conference.

In further escalation news, the US Pentagon representatives confirmed that the destroyer USS Donald Cook arrived in the Black Sea on Thursday for exercises with ships from Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. This ship is to later join the US nuclear Aircraft fleet that is already patrolling the region of the Black Sea.

US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told his Russian counterpart on Thursday that the United States stood ready to impose additional sanctions on Russia if it continued to step up tensions, according to a Treasury representative.

“Lew stated that the United States continues to believe that there is an opportunity to resolve the crisis through diplomacy,” the US representative said, adding the secretary encouraged Russia to participate further in an international effort to restore Ukraine’s economic health, “especially as it relates to the free flow of energy and trade”.

Yours,
Pano

PS: President Barack Obama discussed the Ukraine situation in a telephone call on Thursday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but the Methodist priest’s daughter was depressed over the current developments and unable to contribute… any sort of European leadership.

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | April 7, 2014

Causarum Cognito

Philosophy is Causarum Cognito above all else;

“Seek Knowledge of Causes”, “Divine Inspiration”, “Knowledge of Things Divine”, “To Each What Is Due”.

Philosophy is to question and to dispute the existing “knowledge” in order to find the real truth out of limiting ‘facts” and define the proper path of Action. Philosophy is Leadership and leadership is service to all.

Questioning Everything is the key to finding your own path and leading people to follow in your footsteps. And you can’t do this from behind. You’ve got to be upfront. Because knowing your Truth and living a Life of merit and moral, also indicates that you are on the front of each battle.

But you can’t take someone else’s view of the world and your experiences as the way to lead your Life and lead your People. You’ve got to carve your own path. You’ve got to cross the rivers and the bridges that sometimes seem a bridge too far. You’ve got to be always out of your comfort zone and do things that really scare you in order to lead. You’ve got to find your own moorings and undo them. You’ve got to cut your umbilical cords. Loosen the fetters that keep you tethered in other people’s limiting realities, limiting beliefs and limiting world views. In sort You’ve got to cut your own Gordian knots to move ahead. Cut them with your swift sword or munch them with your teeth and gnaw at them, or simply solve them — because to untie the fetters that keep you in bondage to today’s reality unleashes you from the Cave of Ignorance. You’ve got to do this – at a minimum – because you’ve got to experience tomorrow as a Free Human Being, since this is the default state of our species and the only way to become a True Leader.

Free yourself from preconceptions, assumptions, and conveniences. Dispute and question everything. Free your mind from the shackles of intellectual bondage, thus “Disputa” [Disputation] is the principle according to which the leading figures that exemplify Philosophy, Poetry, Music, Theology, and Law lived. They lived as free human beings, free thinkers, and leaders in their own realms. Innovators, pioneers, and instigators are leaders first and foremost in their respective fields and they are always disputing widely accepted “facts”, comfortable “truths”, society’s limitations, and the Status Quo. Leaders are shaking up prior knowledge, by innovating, and improving upon it thus furthering our progress and widening humanity’s horizons.

Prior knowledge is false even by virtue of being yesterday’s news. Three days old newspapers are ony good to wrap fish in. Same goes for the flat earth theories and the Luddites.

In the Academy of Plato — the first University of this world — the people who entered had to observe a simple thing. They had to have an understading of Mathematics, Geometry, Algebra, and all the sciences because that was the common language spoken there. Therefore there was a stone inscription on the perimeter wall that read thus: A person that doesn’t understand Geometry cannot enter this place…”Let no one ignorant of geometry enter here”

Plato’s dictum at the Academy was simply a cautionary tale that to seek new knowledge you’ve got to climb onto the shoulders of the giants and of the science that preceded us. So let’s seek the fresh unfettered knowledge by knowing the basis of scientific thought and reason. That is what Geometry reprrsented for all ancient Philosophers. New Ideas and New Realities come into existence each and every moment, but to harvest and built upon them — we need to be able to synthesize scientifically.

That is why I also share the dictum: “Let no one ignorant of geometry enter my doors” because proper “Learning” and proper “Schooling” is actually “Philosophy”, which by all means is learning to think as “Causarum Cognitio” which tells us what kind of learning and furthering of knowledge we desire to unleash — fully steeped in the “prior knowledge”.

Problem Solving is paramount, as it appears to echo Aristotle’s emphasis on wisdom as knowing why, hence knowing the causes, hence knowing which are the correct decisions and what course of Action the leader of Men has to take.

The Academy of Plato otherwise known as the School of Athens, is not only the very first University in the World but is also the Greatest Philosophy school. And from the ancient world to this day we consider to have the Brain Software that guides us as it was started by Socrates who was the original tree that gave us the most branches…

The Platonic Academy, was the first one of the sort of schools that actually spoke of the Geometry of the Soul. A heady concept today but a loaded one back then. A serious departure from Physics to metaphhysics but we are all Philosophers like this. And Plato thrived in stretching out our brains way too much. So those of you who live by the rules of an examined Life — You can tell that the sacred Geometry of Pythagoras is far more than mere calculation but is steeped in the Divine Geometry of the Soul.

Later Plato officially inaugurated the Athens School of philosophy located inside what is today known as Plato’s Academy to formalize the knowledge that back then all of Socrates’ students lived and taught. This was the sacred Geometry, or the Gospel of Righteous Living, Morality, Ethics, Law, and the Socratic Dialogue. This Dialectic is the key to the observation of “Nature & Experience” that leads to philosophical understanding and wisdom.

Still all Philosophy today is defined in relation to Socrates. Pre-Socratic, Stoic, Aristotelian, Platonic, Zenonian, Epicurean, Meta-Socratics, Experientalists, Existentialists, Sophists, Sufis, Socratists, Skepticists, Solipsists, Sophists, Speculativists, Realists, Spiritualists, Structuralists, and so many others — that are defined by some direct or indirect association with Socrates.

The leaders and founders of this river of thought were all somehow eager to embark on the journey of knowledge and were either students of Socrates peripatetic school of philosophy or were seen as branches of his thought-tree, along with the many others defined by the degree of closeness with the simple “Old Man of Kynosargous” Athenian and uniquely Democratic existence, mores, and thoughts.

No other man has ever affected the world as much as Socrates did and none other ever defined our world in the same terms. He distinctly echoed the voices of his “daemon” [=genius] by living a life free of want and full of wisdom and teaching the virtue of Correct living. Alkiviades and all the other students such as Aristotle and Plato led lives that depict distinct branches of knowledge in thought and action. Still today each philosopher is identified by the phrase: “Seek Knowledge of Causes”, “Divine Inspiration”, “Knowledge of Things Divine”, “To Each What Is Due”. Plato and Aristotle are both Academicians in the Academy where Socrates taught when he was not walking around the Agora with his students or when he wasn’t reciting ancient verses and teaching at the vast ancient cemetery of Athens in Keramikos. Socrates was pointing to the heavens, and down to earth as a Philosophical dilemma of our Origins, an explanation of our seeking the Meaning of Life, and of our Existence. And so did his student Plato for he is the leading indicator in the historical tradition of the western world, which holds that direct experience has got to be found as inspiration for the actual writing. Eventually I
understood why it said above Plato’s door that geometry is necessary to understand the soul, or the metaphysical cosmos, or the all and everything.
It does not give you the understanding, but it’s one of the most important tools to get an understanding. It certainly was for people in Plato’s time and remained so up to a certain point when the tradition disappeared but the thought [Brain Software] was firmly embedded in our DNA and thus holds sway today above all else.

Plato’s Timaeus is a rendition of a Socratic dialogue written as a sophisticated treatment of space, time and change, including the Earth, which guided mathematical sciences for over a millennium. It is on this basis that modern computer languages were written on. All the software that runs our world today traces it’s origins in the Socratic Logic and the Reason that guides Timaeus.

Socratic software was Aristotle’s meaning as well, with his four elements theory, that held that all change on Earth was owing to the motions of the heavens. And earth was just one of these celestial objects too…

Yet Aristotle carries his Ethics in his heart above all else, because Ethics being the one book, which could not be reduced to a mathematical science — was his magnus opus.

Ancient philosophy, offers guidance on what we might have had from people such as Socrates or Aristotle and whether the Morality outside of religion as interpreted today is an exhortation to philosophy and, in a deeper way, a visual representation of the role of Love in elevating people toward upper knowledge.

However, it is quite wrong to attempt interpretations of the ‘School of Athens’ as an esoteric school or a secret society of sorts. Anyone who respected science and REASON could enter in order to develop their brain Software and their lives.

The all-important thing in the Philosophical school of Athens is the motive which expresses a physical and spiritual state, of elevating human beings to a higher state: “Yperipsoute O Laos” [Ancient Greek = "Elevate My people"]

Thus in the real Socratic Dialogue, the name of the teacher / person / philosopher, is a matter of indifference in which a great variety of human figures, each one expressing “mental states by physical actions”, interact, and are grouped in a “polyphony”, in the ongoing dialogue of Philosophy that the Academy of Athens or School of Athens brought forth. The Head of the Academy was elected for life by a majority vote amongst all the Philosophers. The first few to lead the Academy were: Plato, Speuisppus, Xenocrates, Polemon, Crates and Crantor. But Socrates was undeniably the Leader of the Academy always and forthe thousand years the Academy lasted — well after his death.

Cicero, writing in the first century BC, traces the Academy back earlier than Plato and gives its leaders up to 265 BC as: Democritus, Anaxagoras,
Empedocles, Parmenides, Xenophanes, Socrates, Plato,
Speusippus, Xenocrates, Polemo, Crates, and Crantor. The rather comprehensive list of the Leading Lights of the World’s Philosophy is this: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Diogenes, Zeno, Antisthenes, Aeschines, Anaximander, Epicurus, Alcibiades, Xenophon, Timon, Euclid, Archimedes, Ptolemy, Protogenes, Empedocles, Hypatia, Heraclitus, Xenophon, Parmenides, Plotinus, Alexander the Great, Averroes, Strabo, and Zoroaster

Socrates is channeled excellently through Plato, in his Theory of Forms, and through Aristotle’s empiricist views, with an emphasis on concrete particulars. But all of the above great leaders, men of distinction and honour, and primarily men who lived the Philosophy they espoused as a way of Life — they were all influenced by Socrates greatly.

Plato studied with Socrates for twenty solid years before his teacher obeyed his inner God and moved to live in eternity. All organized systems of thought that lead to an examined Life and proper leadership in our Western Civilization, stem from Socrates Agora teachings and are clearly detailed renditions of the “Old Man of Kynosargous” gray matter pronouncements.

However, Plato’s “Timaeus” was always seen as a unique form of Socratic Enlightenment, and even in the early European Renaissance, it was accepted as a very influential treatise on the cosmos, and the basis of Scottish and European Enlightenment. That is why Computers and Software owe their existence to Plato’s Timaeus and his analytical scientific thought as the early Brain Software that defined LOGIC.

Plato’s influence on mathematics was not due to any mathematical discoveries he made, but rather to his enthusiastic conviction that the study of mathematics furnished the finest training for the mind and, hence, was essential for the cultivation of philosophers and those who should govern his ideal state. This explains the renowned motto over the door of his Academy: ”Let no one unversed in geometry enter here”.
Because of its logical element and the pure attitude of mind that he felt its study created, mathematics seemed of utmost importance to Plato; for this reason alone, it occupied a valued place in the curriculum of the Academy.

All the knowledge authorities agree that Plato made a study of Algebra, Logic, Reason, Arithmetic, Geometry and to some extent Trigonometry and Pythagorean principles of math problems along with some exact science — an indispensable preliminary schooling to that of philosophy. The inscription over the entrance to his Academy that ran “Let none ignorant of geometry enter my door,” was real and applicants who knew no geometry are said to have been refused admission as students to Plato’s Academy. This is the oldest recorded entrance requirement of a University this being the oldest known University College anyways, and Plato to have spoken of God as the great geometer — is the culmination of knowledge. [Greek = Μηδείς άγεωμέτρητος είσίτωμον τήν στέγην.] “God eternally geometrizes,” [Greek = Άεί θεός γεωμετρεΐ.] This second phrase is not in Plato’s works, but is stated by Plutarch as due to him. So Plato is the patron Saint of Computing, Robotics, Software development and Modern Science as well as Proper Governance and Political leadership.

But contrast this to Aristotle who insisted that the purpose of ethics is “practical” rather than “theoretical” or “speculative” — not knowledge for its own sake, as he considered cosmology to be; and you find Socrates drinking the conium willingly right in the center of it.

Still the Age of Philosophy in Athens about 2,500 years ago brought about the birth of “Brain Software” that we have rekindled so many years later, through my book “Brain Software”. And as the ancient Silicon Valley existed in the lush valey outside Athens that the Academy occuppies it follows that we are the progeny and the inheritors of that great Brain Software and all it’s evolutionary variables.

So let’s live up to it.

And here You can read all of it Gratis to further your own ambitions and intellectual pursuits. Go get it here:

Yours,
Pano

PS:

Pre-Socratic thought is revealed strong in the East but the origins and the age are uncertain.

Yet here is Zoroaster — Zarathustra, who defined the school of thought that Socrates embodied well before the man albeit in a distinctly Eastern form of fatalism and destiny that are unavoidable and lacking Free Will. It was this Free Will that defined Socratic thinking above all else and it was the same that defined Jesus of Nazareth teachings as well.

A great gap has to be forded to cross from East to West because in the Gathas, Zoroaster sees the human condition as the mental struggle between aša (truth) and druj (lie). The cardinal concept of aša—which is highly nuanced and only vaguely translatable—is at the foundation of all Zoroastrian doctrine, including that of Ahura Mazda (who is aša), creation (that is aša), existence (that is aša) and as the precursor and an ancient precondition for the evolution of the Socratic and subsequent Christian Free Will.

To Zoroaster, the purpose of humankind, like that of all other creation, is to sustain aša. For humankind, this occurs through active participation in life and the exercise of constructive thoughts, words and deeds.

Elements of Zoroastrian philosophy entered the West through their influence on Judaism, Socrates, and even through middle-Platonism, and have been identified as one of the key early events in the development of philosophy. Among the classic Greek philosophers, Heraclitus is often referred to as having been heavily inspired by Zoroaster’s thinking.

Zoroaster or Zarathustra emphasized the freedom of the individual to choose right or wrong and individual responsibility for one’s deeds but not as Socrates adn me define Free Will. This personal choice to accept aša or arta (the divine order), and shun druj (ignorance and chaos) is one’s own decision and not a dictate of Ahura Mazda and out of that cardinal choice your fate in Life emanates…

Still it is a direct line to Godhead, because for Zarathustra, by thinking good thoughts, saying good words, and doing good deeds (e.g. assisting the needy or doing good works) we increase this divine force aša or arta in the world and in ourselves, celebrate the divine order, and we come a step closer on the everlasting road to being one with the Creator.

Thus, we are not the slaves or servants of Ahura Mazda, but we can make a personal choice to be his co-workers, thereby refreshing the world and ourselves.

Methinks, this is still a Great Percept to live by today.

Go at it my friends — go at it.

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | April 1, 2014

Russia’s Putin Stock In Trade Devalued…

Oil & Gas prices have been plummeting across the world…

But nowhere gas prices have fallen as suddenly and as swiftly as they have in Greece this February. Yes, you heard this right: Greece’s gas prices have fallen overnight by a whooping fifteen percent.

It is not an accident nor a coincidence that early this March Russia invaded Ukraine an integral part of Europe, and took away Crimea. What is a major “accident” is that all of Europe stayed silent about it…

Of course it was not accidental that Greece got the Gazprom discount of 15% in order to keep Europe silent since the European Presidency is held by Greece for the first half of this year. Nor is it just a reflection of global reality or Goodwill towards the bankrupt country that the long term negotiated gas prices to Greece have fallen so far bellow the price Russia sells gas to all others…

It is rather the simple arithmetic of power, that Kremlin tallied up on how much Greece’s and by extension Europe’s quiet over Ukraine is worth. That is the only reason why Greece has been given a cool 15% discount “at-the-pump” for it’s fuel bill. This concerns all it’s imports of gas from Russia’s Gazprom — the defacto Russian State Fuel monopoly, controlled by Mr Putin — and is a clear tit-for-tat exchange for Greece’s European Presidency keeping mum about the Crimean Invasion and annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia.

A cheap trick, and a horrible trade indeed…

And even if it was a simple trading calculation in the back of an envelope, that allowed Russia to go and invade Ukraine’s Crimea overnight without any objection, let alone any fanfare and fuss from Europe — it appears now to have been a miscalculation for both. Maybe it was an easy trade for the two sides because Greece held the European Presidency for the Six month period commencing at the beginning of this year. And maybe the “gas gift” to the impoverished country that was heralded as a boon to it’s fortunes, in reality was a simple Judas trade. Putin didn’t say to the Greek PM: “Betray your European ideals, betray your own laws, customs, norms, and identity, and further betray your allies for 30 silver coins” but in essence this is what Greece did. Because Greece was called to crucify Ukraine, and thus become Putin’s convenience whore for a pittance of gas. All in all it’s a mutually slippery slope, garden slide into the bush for a quick romp with the Gas station attendant that Mr Putin has become.

Russia offered Gas price reductions to anyone passing through the neighborhood and deemed useful enough and so it attempted to offer China the same trade through gas price discounts; but the exchange sought was refused — even though the long term gas prices were renegotiated downwards for the Sino-Dragon’s vast & fiery appetite. Putin failed to realize that he was undercutting his own feet by cheapening the world wide gas supply and thus driving his own resource economy into a downward spiral that will lead him to be unable to meet the annual budget needs. These are signs of imminent collapse and failure of a highly corrupt Russia. A Russia that is ready to implode, given the personal Putin junkets like the esoteric dictatorship, the platinum Sochi Olympics, and the Crimean takeover Paralympics.

And as a result we now hear cavalier talk of a possible “nuclear war” between the United States, and Russia; and it has become fashionable in the mainstream media as the Ukraine matter continues to escalate without end on sight.

Putin succeeded in rekindling the Cold War. An imminent Russo-American war appears to be all the rage today but we tend to forget that this looming war will be fought on European soil; and it’s effects will be felt throughout Europe. Same as Chernobyl nuked the food supply and spread cancer all over the European continent instead of limiting it’s nuclear cloud over Ukraine — this coming limited nuclear war will probably affect the innocents and the non combatants the most. Imagine adding a couple of kilotons of nuclear war into the European leaders diplomatic agenda, right next to European Energy Security and the fule prices talk…

Now to learn a valuable lesson let’s see how the Chinese leadership responded to the Crimean Invasion: Of course the gas price drop for China’s Russian import gas was offered along the lines of the deal given to Greece. Gas subsidy and price reduction long term, for China’s silence — but the outcome of these talks was vastly different. Naturally there is a faction within China’s National Security Council that wishes to “line up with Russia” over Ukraine, hoping to exploit the crisis to gain even better terms on gas, food, and raw materials exported by Russia across the border; but they are a woefully old fashioned minority and considered senile in their attachment to the old red rule book.

And as it turns out these voices have been strongly overruled by China’s unquestioned and surprisingly strong leader Mr Xi Jinping. He is a cool cat, because he knows and he plays on a far more sophisticated geopolitical strategic stage. Mr Xi plays three dimensional chess to Putin’s barely flat and chipped wooden children’s checker board…

By all accounts China, same as the EU have remained eerily quiet. Of course in the case of the European Union, with the Greek Presidency being paradoxically complacent about the dismemberment of a sovereign state in the center of Europe — one has to wonder what will be her response if the Turkish speaking people of Western Thrace were somehow joined by their compatriots in a Crimea-like invasion?

“How do you like them apples” is not a mute question after all…

Losing Crimea and perhaps losing Eastern Ukraine or the whole of the country — is just as vital for Europe as it was losing the eastern half of Poland to Stalin back in the days before the Second World War. A war that was largely sparked because of it.
And today it is because Ukraine sits geographically all around the very centre of the geographic map of continental Europe. Kiev is the midway point between the Atlantic ocean and the Ural mountains. Granted it’s not western Europe but Kiev and Ukraine is very much European territory and allowing it to slip further East is not a tectonic change but an all too seismic human Leadership failure.

Yet before one rushes to judgement against Greece’s Presidency of the European Union, and the European Union as a whole because of the all too human selfish malady of being “every man for himself” and “every Haus Frau for herself” — please remember this: In European politics, we are all ONE and the dream of a United Europe is our daily dose of reality. Otherwise we lose the boat to the very existence of Europe and we will launch into another bloody European war.

And even though the focus of a Wide-Europe as a United Europe is very much on the agenda since 1949 and the time of Robert Schuman — still in European politics today things are seldom what they appear to be, nor what they are voiced for.

So is the case here and now with the Ukrainian crisis… Many around Europe think that all is well that ends well. Except that nothing has ended. Only the can of worms has been spilled open again.

Greece’s disquieting quiet, is not entirely unwanted. Nor is it treacherous or treasonous towards the other Euro-allies, because the EU was informed ahead of time of the Russian tricky trade through the Prime Minister’s talking club — the European Council. This is where it was decided that Europe was unprepared, and unable to respond to Russia’s Crimean invasion at all. The European Council and the assorted Prime Ministers were not able to neither arrive at a consensus, nor were they able to respond forcefully, so it wouldn’t make any difference even if they had the gumption and the resolve to stand up for Ukraine. Therefore Greece was allowed to make the trade for cheap energy that is a boost to it’s economy after all. Of course everybody who is anybody — already knows this. Only Sarah Palin hasn’t gotten wind of this arrangement and wants to nuclear bomb Greece in order to teach Putin a lesson. By the way; here is where the April’s fool caveat about the year-round fool Sarah Palin, applies…

Still the EU presidency under the weakling and all too willing, and accommodating Greek Presidency is troubling; because it ensures Europe’s silence until the end of the first half of this year when the EU Presidency passes on to Italy for the remaining six months of 2014. And if you were hoping for a firm response then — You should know how loud the Italian stallion can be when his belly is full of cheap gas…

And next year Latvia is scheduled to ascede to the Presidency of Europe for the first half of 2015. Latvia which gets a cold shudder before Russia even sneezes, isn’t likely to stand up to Putin. Then tiny Luxembourg is following on the second half of the EU Presidency — so don’t expect a firm response in 2015 either. Thus the gambling assumption that Greece sold out for a pittance of Gas — the proverbial 30 silver pieces — is either false or not entirely true. It might have been a good trade for Greece and Europe to be quiet as they belly-ache and navel-gaze searching for a response; while they simply accept fait-accompli, and Realpolitik, in order to appease the alcoholic Rus.

These facts are sometimes hard to stomach — but with a leaderless Europe, a Europe without a common defense policy, let alone a common defence force; Who is to stand up to Putin’s ruthless criminality?

Mr Van Rompuy?

Mr Barosso?

Or Frau Merkel?

You’ve got to be joking…

Thank God for Nato, the Transantlantic relationship, and for the American warship fleet with the nuclear airplane carrier and their umbrella air cover and missile defence system, that are now stationed on the Black Sea — that the rest of Ukraine is not singing Mama-Russia at school in the morning already.

[ Photo: How do you like them warships? ]

Only because NATO ships have entered the Black Sea, right after Russia’s invasion, led by the United States that sent to the Black Sea a super-carrier USS George H.W. Bush because of the invasion by the Russian army of Crimea. The vast US aircraft carrier battle group has everything needed to respond to further developments in the Ukrainian invasion and the resultant crisis. The US nuclear super-carrier fleet is accompanied by 17 other ships and three submarines, comprising a battle group, which on March 3 passed through the Dardanelles channel steaming to the Black Sea; and have been patroling there since. It is widely known that US Warship George H.W. Bush is a forward attack airplane carrier, carrying 90 aircraft, including helicopters of various types, and several squadrons of F/A-18 Hornets. The accompanying submarines have each twenty four missile silos, with each silo housing a missile armed with eight separate nuclear warheads which operate as MIRV’s (Multiple Independent Re-Entry Vehicles) that can be independently targeted.

So Now What?

Well — Mutually assured destruction is now on the table because of a silly Russian gambit to wrestle Crimea away from Ukraine and destabilize Europe. Playing Russian Roulette Mr Putin attacked Ukraine so he can look less like a pussy-riot and more like a warrior from Mars.

So Putin rides again…

Putin Riding a Space Rock

[ Photo: How do you like them nipples? ]

Yet it is now same as it was forever — it is Europe’s gamble to hold on to, or to lose Ukraine.

Make no mistake: Ukraine with Crimea or not, is vital to Europe.

The stakes are high. Lose Ukraine to Russia’s bellicose mini-czar and no respect is going to be given to any of us Europeans.

And what’s a Europe without international respect and no healthy self-respect, but another loose alliance of bazaar merchants ready to fall on each other’s thinly concealed blades for another round of a bloody civil war.

A civil war in Europe is simply that: It starts as a territorial dispute on the edges and then catches fire due to appeasement that gives petty Dictators the illusion of Grandeur. It is the same like the first and the second World Wars that paried at the edges before they became conflagrations that consumed the centre of Europe and then destroyed the western world as a whole, before spilling over all the rest of the world.

Yet in this case today, Ukraine is not all lost. Not even Crimea and the Eastern part even though it appears a lost cause, because Russia’s Vladimir Putin has committed a grave strategic blunder by taking over a sovereign nation’s territory without speaking and achieving the nod of

The old wise heads of Peking are rather miffed that the upstart coffee boy to the mayor of St Petersburg and current era Minnie-me Mr Putin, erred gravely when he started burning up the international relations amongst nations rule book without a green light from China’s politburo standing committee. And now it’s too late to ask because his breach of protocol and the resultant loss of face by the Chinese — destroyed any hope of recruiting Beijing as an ally to blunt Western sanctions. Now his goodwill enterprise towards Peking and his offering gas price discounts looks doomed from the start, and with it the Kremlin’s chance of a painless victory, or any worthwhile victory at all in Crimea.

His international standing in tatters — the emperor really has no clothes this time around regardless that Putin loves to show his nipples for all to see. A rather gay image for a rabidly anti-gay man but there You have it. the problem with small men is not just Napoleon complex but a strange sense of self identity. Either the man is gay and there is nothing wrong with it; or he is a Buddhist believing that he needs to embrace that which he dislikes the most: Being gay and practicing it willy nilly all the while forbidding it to all others. He is not alone in these endeavours. One has to wonder about his sidekick Mr Medved because together they look very much like gay caped crusaders Batman and Robin but with a definite bend for the criminal enterprise instead of the straight homophobic air of Edgar Allan Hoover of the old days of FBI, who was similarly antigay before he returned every night home to the ministrations of his male lover in the comfort of his hosiery and feathered slippers.

And although the “Pussy Riot” is presently mostly out of jail, Mr Putin was careful to thank China’s Politburo for its alleged support in his victory speech on Crimea. Lies and misdemeanors never sounded so false. Putin’s foreign minister Mr Sergei Lavrov has been claiming with his usual elasticity that “Russia and China have coinciding views on the situation in Ukraine.”

This is of course a desperate lie.

China did not stand behind Russia in the UN Security Council vote on Crimea, as it had over Syria. It pointedly abstained. Its foreign ministry stated that “China always sticks to the principle of non-interference in any country’s internal affairs and respects the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

We don’t know exactly what China’s Xi Jinping told President Barack Obama at The Hague this week it clearly had nothing in common with the deranged assertions of the Kremlin. The US deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes appeared delighted by the talks, claiming afterwards that Russia could no longer count on backing from its “traditional ally”.

If so, Mr Putin is snookered. He cannot hope to escape financial suffocation by US regulatory muscle, should he send troops into Eastern Ukraine or even if he tries to stir up chaos in the Russian-speaking Donbass by means of agents provocateurs.

Nor can he hope to turn the tables on the West by joining forces with China to create a Eurasian bloc, a league of authoritarian powers in control of vast resources. Such an outcome is the obsession of the ‘Spenglerites’, the West’s self-haters convinced that the US is finished and that dollar will soon be displaced by the Eurasian Gold Ducat — odd though that may seem at a time of surging oil and gas output in the US, and an American manufacturing revival.

The reality is that China is breaking Russia’s control over the gas basins of Central Asia systematically and ruthlessly. Turkmenistan’s gas used to flow North, hostage to prices set by Gazprom. It now flows East. President Xi went in person last September to open the new 1,800 km pipeline to China from the Galkynysh field, the world’s second largest with 26 trillion cubic meters.

It will ultimately supply 65 BCM, equal to half Gazprom’s exports to Europe. Much the same is going on in Kazakhstan, where Chinese companies have taken over much of the energy industry. The politics are poignantly exposed in Wikileaks cables from Central Asia. A British diplomat is cited in a 2010 dispatch describing the “Chinese commercial colonization” of the region, saying Russia was “painfully” watching its energy domination in Central Asia slip away.

Yet more revealing is a cable quoting Cheng Guoping, China’s ambassador to Kazakhstan, warning that Russia and China are on a collision course, and China will not be the one to yield. “In the future, great power relations in Central Asia will be complicated, delicate. The new oil and gas pipelines are breaking Russia’s monopoly in energy exports.”

Mr Cheng not only expressed “a positive view of the US role in the region” but also suggested that NATO should take part as a guest at talks on the Shanghai Cooperation group — allegedly the Sino-Russian answer to EU/NATO — in order to “break the Russian monopoly in the region.” That word “break” again. So there we have it in the raw, what really goes on behind closed doors, so far removed from the pieties of a Moscow-Beijing axis.

There was much anguish about such an axis in the 1960s, then based on Communist fraternity. Henry Kissinger saw through it, suspecting that the two hostile cultures were at daggers drawn along their vast borders — “Four Thousand Kilometres of Problems” to cite the title of a 2006 opus by Moscow writer Akihero Ivasita.

George Walden exposes deep roots of this mistrust in his superb little book “China: A Wolf in the World?”. As a diplomat in Russia and then in China — one of the tiny handful of Westerners in Beijing through the Cultural Revolution — he saw first-hand how the Marxist brotherhood had come to loathe each other. Indeed, they came close to nuclear war. The CIA and State Department were dumbfounded by his accounts at a debriefing in Washington. They had no sources on the ground in Mao’s era.

Mr Walden says the Chinese have never forgiven Russia for seizing East Siberia under the Tsars, the “lost territories”. They want their property back, and they are getting it back by ethnic resettlement across the Amur and the frontier regions, much as Mexico is retaking California and Texas by the Reconquista of migration.

The population of far Eastern Siberia has collapsed to 6.3m from over 8 million twenty years ago, leaving ghost towns along the Trans-Siberian Railway. Russia has failed to make a go of its Eastern venture. With a national fertility rate of 1.4, chronic alcoholism, and a population expected to shrink by 30m to barely more than 110m by 2050 — according to UN demographers, not Mr Putin’s officials — the nation must inexorably recede towards its European bastion of Old Muscovy. The question is how fast, and how peacefully.

Mr Putin must realize by now how fatally isolated he has become, and how dangerous it would be to go a step further. Even Germany’s ever-forgiving Angela Merkel has lost patience, lamenting an “unbelievable breakdown of trust.” Enough of Europe’s gas pipelines have been switched to two-way flows since 2009 to help at least some of the vulnerable frontline states, if he tries to pick off the minnows one by one. Eight EU countries have liquefied natural gas terminals. Two more will join the club this year, in Poland and Lithuania.

The EU summit text last week was a call to arms. Officials have been ordered to draft plans within 90 days to break dependence on Gazprom. Even if this crisis blows over, Europe will take radical steps to find other sources of energy. Imports of Russian fuel may be slashed by half within a decade. For Europe is not even a gambit. What’s to lose? In the event of conflict in Ukraine they will be shut off overnight…

Capital flight from Russia reached $70bn in the first quarter. Russia’s central bank cannot defend the rouble without tightening monetary policy, driving the economy deeper into recession in the process. Russian banks and companies must roll over $155bn of foreign debts over the next twelve months in a hostile market, at a premium already over 200 basis points.

Mr Putin is discovering that global finance is more frightened of the US Securities and Exchange Commission than Russian T90 tanks. Any sanction against any oligarch linked to any Russian company could shut it out of global capital markets, potentially forcing default. Creditors in the West would be burned. But nobody cares about them once national security is at stake, something markets have been slow to grasp.

Putin has not chosen a good moment for his gamble because Europe’s gas tanks are unusually full and the price of oil is poised to fall — ceteris paribus — as Iraq’s output reaches a 35-year high, the US adds a million barrels b/d a day this year from shale, and Libya cranks up it’s fuel exports all over again. The International Energy Agency says global supply jumped by 600,000 b/d last month. Deutsche Bank predicts a glut. So does China’s Sinopec. Mr Putin needs prices near $110 to fund his budget. He may face $80 before long.

At the end of the day he has condemned Russia to the middle income trap. The windfall from the great oil boom has been wasted. Russia’s engineering skills have atrophied. Industry has been hollowed out by the Dutch Disease: the curse of over-valued currency, and reliance on commodities.

Russia’s Putin jumped the gun in Ukraine, striking before the interim government had committed any serious abuses or lost global goodwill, a remarkably sloppy and impatient “Putsch” for a KGB man.

He took Germany for a patsy, and took China for granted.

He has gained Crimea but turned the Kremlin into a pariah for another decade, if not a generation, and probably lost Ukraine forever.

It is a remarkably poor trade.

Yours,
Pano

PS:

So as Putin becomes irrelevant, China is the one to watch here…

For China’s dragon is as elusive as ever.

He is likely to deftly walk a tightrope, “hiding its brilliance and biding its time” as the saying goes.

This of course will becomes a harder as the Ukrainian crisis escalates and Sino-Russian border becomes more porous, for then Beijing may have to publicly choose.

One thing is certain that it is highly unlikely that imperious Xi Jinping will throw away the great prize of G2 Sino-American “condominium” and economic cooperation for a third world prize or to rescue a squalid and incompetent regime in Moscow from its own grandiose folly.

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | March 31, 2014

Thrive

We are all political animals…

And we are also economic animals….

And we live in Societies so we are Social animals too.

And we are always subjected to myths, theories, fads, fashions, trends, and assorted social, economic, political and ideological applications in our lives.

One such major myth we’re told; is that of having to bring Austerity in all of our Economic Policies lest the economic marauders, the fund pirates, and the bond vigilantes, will strike and therefore we must impose austerity in order to defend against them.. Yet methinks that the Barbarians are already inside the gates. And they are the economists of Europe that are struggling with their beliefs in false “Idols” and fake “Gods” and are constantly crucifying people in the altar to appease them.

Back in the day, I believed that important people took positions and made Policy based on careful consideration of all the options. Now I know better. I now know that much of the so called Leaders, German and International Economists, Finance Ministers, and Brussels bureaucrats’ belief system rests on ideology, prejudice, and convenience. It is all economic theology, black magic mambo-jambo incantations, and anything else — but it’s certainly not an orthodox product of scientific analysis. And yet these faulty people’s beliefs run Europe as we know it today. In other words: We are Screwed. Or as Mark Twain used to say: “Sometimes I wonder if the world is run by smart people who put us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it”
The fact is that — whether imbeciles or smart — these folks are prejudiced ideologues and human beings prone to ideological belief, personal convenience and habit. They are subject to seasonal fads, vogues du jour, and ever changing fashions.
Trust me on this because for the last few years, I have watched, with amazement and horror, the emergence of a consensus in European policy circles in favour of immediate, permanent, and vicious fiscal austerity against anything that ails our economies. And this idiocy has become accepted by everyone. A consensus of Power has developed around this idea. This fallacy has become conventional wisdom. Somehow Prime Ministers and Economic Ministers all across the EU think that now is the time to further slash spending, despite the fact that Europe’s major economies remain deeply depressed. And of course this policy is led by a certain major European Capital that once was a city divided. A once divided Capital of a divided state that was split between opposing economic systems: A system that created an economic miracle through the largesse of an expansionary stimulus led and growth orientated Economic Policy and a Marshall plan offered by the victors of the war … and it’s counterpart of an austerity led endless sequence of five year plans of everlasting belt tightening and sacrificial economic policies. The results of the differing economic and financial system’s approaches to the two parts of the country are well known to everyone today.

And yet it is this European Capital city’s deep state economic powers that dictate today’s Austerity policy throughout much of Europe. Sadly this is the very same State that has benefited mightily from exactly the opposite of this Policy. It was the Capitalist largesse and expansionary stimulus that was used in order to recover Western Germany to the point that it was able to absorb the wholly unemployed Eastern German bankrupt state, without blinking an eye.

But today the “Eastern Approach” is the way Berlin is forcing Europe to tread. It is this faulty yet conventional economic wisdom, that isn’t based on experience nor natural observation. In short it is neither scientific nor prudent economic thinking.
Yet the successful application of economic policy based on evidence, or careful analysis — evades Europe today. Instead, this “Eastern Approach” to Germany’s Foreign Economic Policy is a convenience that rests on what we might call sheer madness, or in Realpolitik call it: “political hegemony speculation” and less charitably call it, figments of the European Policy elite’s imagination.

Yet methinks we need to call it by it’s proper name: Debt Colony Politics. Because it works wonders in keeping people divided. Especially and specifically, the German old style colonial belief that enslaving independent nations through the “invisible” bonds of debt slavery is the way to go to control Europe and provide hegemony. Of course this belief is based in the confidence that the bound-up nation’s governing idiots will act as Slaves so long as they are placed and kept in positions of Authority to collaborate and further enslave all of their subjects.

Yet the old adage still holds: A divide Europe, a divided nation, a divided family falls…

But this divisive economic assumption of austerity for growth — still holds sway in the Euro land. And the house of cards that has been built on this fanciful and illogical imagination of treating citizens of Europe and whole democratic Peoples, as Debt-slaves to powerful Aryan Armies of “investors” is still the preferred fantasy of Euro. Now the belief in the tooth fairy is about as real as the belief in powerful investors who can pull the plug on any government they perceive as unable or unwilling to pay their debts. They are both just useful fairy tales. And their visual effects are just a Mirage.
A useful Mirage of Debt-Colonies that have to suffer, and suffer, and suffer … before some remedy and succour is applied to allow them to find jobs to feed their families. It is eerily similar to the Holy Inquisition that burned people at the stake to prove that they were witches or heretics; before “forgiveness” can be granted posthumously.

Of course there’s no question that countries can suffer crises of confidence as Greece has had numerous times due to the rot that runs through it. Of course the unending riot of corruption in Greece, with it’s scandalous banking, runaway public and private corruption, and Soviet style public sector employee machine — has to be axed. The cancerous tumour of corruption has to be excised. The Greek public sector that eats away Greece’s children, through it’s overblown bankrupt public employee pension funds, and the resultant sovereign debt has effectively made the country a Debt-colony to Berlin and Frankfurt. Surely reform here has to be swift and radical.

That much is clear.

We need change. And CHANGE is imminent.

Because what the advocates of austerity for the newly reclassified “Emerging Economy” nation with slave status want for the small country is simple: They want a RULE by FEAR, rule by DIVISION, and SLAVERY by INTIMIDATION. And fear is what they have unleashed upon the Greek populace. Greeks same as battered people elsewhere have taken to the streets except those who simply got too depressed and jumped out of the windows. More than 10,000 in all Greek citizens have jumped to their death because of the economic Austerity programs enforced by Berlin and railroaded by Brussels. Unceasing doses of fear have been unleashed emanating from Berlin and from the assorted bureaucrats from Brussels who always claim that the End is Neigh — and if we don’t heed their warnings, some anonymous bond vigilantes are about to attack; and that spending anything more than tokens on stimulus and economic growth policies, will set them off to lay siege on our cities and take over the citadels, and rape our women and pillage our homes…

Fanciful talk — but we are intelligent people here and not likely to scare easy. Because we know that whatever the reasons for going into bankruptcy — Greece and the European “P.I.G.S.” do not have to be Slaves to Berlin and the Northern races. We live in a Democracy with Human Rights, and debt slavery has been abolished since the Age of Emancipation and Enlightenment. Sadly the Minister of Economy has not been brought up to speed on these earth shattering developments of Civilization and Justice…

Seriously now: Do we have to believe that in the year of the Lord 2014, in the third millennium after Christ, we have to believe that we can be enslaved due to debt and be thrown into the gaol for 7 years as a Nation? Do we have to believe in Slavery through fear? Do we have to believe that Berlin and it’s Economic Holy Inquisition know what they are doing, and what they are recommending to the rest of us? Do we have to believe in any of this crap?

Let me just ask You this: Do You believe in your heart of hearts that any of this is true?

Do You feel like a slave?

Do you answer Yes, to any of the above?

Greece, Italy, Spain, and Europe in general — all have had long-run budget problems, but what we can do on stimulus and economic growth Policy over the next couple of years will make all the difference. And if we stimulate growth and create jobs and opportunity for the people this will have the maximum effect on serving our Peoples and liberating them from the complete darkness and the bondage that economic slavery brings. And that barbaric slavery is called poverty. Greece is now by far the poorest country of all European countries and helping her grow out of this hole is a must. And we can easily do this because the Stimulus Finance will have almost no bearing on our ability to deal with the European level budget’s long-run problems and it will in essence alleviate all of the Greek economic pressures and the imminent need to feed the people through philanthropy and through the efforts of USAID and the UN antifamine programs…

Yet Europe was not created to be a Salon for some and a Concentration camp for some others.

At the signing of the first Common Market founding statutes and the predecessor documents of the European Union Treaties that brought the Council of Europe to life — at St James’s Palace, in London, the 5th of May 1949 — the founding States through the founding fathers agreed to define the frontiers of Europe based on the principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Fundamental Democracy, Transparency, Integrity, and Human Rights were the principles and ideals that were enunciated there by Robert Schuman as the Ancient Greek Democratic ideals fit for a United Europe. These ideals as espoused by all Democratic citizens participating, in the vast United European Republic functioning under the Rule of Law. In London that particular day in 1949; was announced without much fanfare — the coming supranational union for Europe. An upcoming Union that first saw the light as the European Coal and Steel Community and other such Communities within a Union framework of common law and democracy, that came to our days to be a United Europe project as the European Union and the Eurozone clearly define.

It is in this context of a United Europe where is clearly evident that there is an intrinsic interest in pursuing Intelligent Economic Policy amongst intelligent European Leaders for the benefit of all the Peoples and the people of Europe. This wide vision is what is needed for a Europe wide House of Hope and Opportunity to rival the American Dream. Europe has to be the land where intelligence and science reigns and where leaders are intelligent enough to understand that providing great fiscal stimulus and Economic Policies that create jobs and opportunities for all Europeans will in turn provide opportunity for the people, capital gains for the tax rolls, and Democratic reforms for our European Society as a whole. It will not only fill the coffers of the States but it will also measurably improve the standard of living for all the people of Europe. And along with these it will improve the lives of the people of Greece and the rest of the “PIGS” of the South in particular.

Trust me on this because the incoming tides lift everyone’s boat, and thus we can all sail collectively to pursue our dreams beyond the Horizons of our own personal lives…

And that is how the Western and predominantly European Civilization was built over time. It was built by people with large dreams. European people with paramount dreams. Dreams that filled their sails with the winds of ambition and success reserved for those risk takers amongst us. Especially those leaders through dint of grit and optimism led their people to conquer the world…

How things change. Because today we have shadow boxing bureaucrats afraid of their own shadows and walking on eggshells after leading us astray through fear, division, and intimidation.

We need leadership. We need leaders. And we need unreasonable and XXL  DREAMS. We need economic growth and jobs to offer opportunity to our people to reach their full potential.

We need stimulation to trigger Forward Movement. In other words, our battle cry is: “Give us Stimulus or Give us Death.” We do not ever want to accept the slow painful Death by boredom and despair as offered today by our House Frau and the Brussels minions. Europe is not for the weak of heart. It wasn’t built that way.  Wide Vision is what Europa means, and she was a lady with an extra large heart filled with courage.

We now have to revolt and demand our birthright. We simply need to unleash a Great Fiscal Stimulus and we need to do this now while the unemployment rate is as high as 30% throughout Europe [European Union Average figures]. And now that far too many factories, industrial concerns, service companies, and professional offices are shuttered, and all of our intelligent labour force and professional classes are underused — is time to bid for growth. It is clearly not the time to impose further fiscal restraints, after several years of real contraction, depression, and hopelessness, in many countries of the European Union. We all know that the European Union went through the severest Recession in it’s history and has not come out of it yet. No matter what the bean counters tell you — in Europe recession is still with us and it threatens the very fabric of Democracy. Neo-nazis and neo-fascists are everywhere sporting their true colours of hate and fury against anything that is human in us. The barbaric economic policies of the North threaten to send us back to the Dark Ages of “Religious-Economic” belief system that thrives in “burning people” at the stake of Austerity, just because the Holy Inquisition has decreed it so… Ten Thousand Greek Suicides attest to this. Ten Thousand people driven to an early unjust grave speak volumes about the need to re-evaluate our Economic policies.

Ten Thousand Suicides speak to me. They say that we sacrificed both our Democracy and our Human Rights throughout Europe, in the altar of false economic Gods. And they also scream to all of us that: If enslavement of other nations is a convenient way for Berlin to rule — then perhaps Berlin doesn’t belong within a Democratic European Union.

So let’s WAKE-UP and smell the spring flowers because from now on we have to understand that Austerity is finished. It is not just bad — it is also completely out of fashion. It is outmoded and very much a vintage religious belief that needs to be mothballed. We might come to revisit this, on carnival and Halloween nights, or when our GDP grows, and our output and employment will probably be close to their full potential.

But we need to shelve them until then.

So don’t believe those who tell you not to worry: “spending cuts may hurt, but the confidence fairy will take away the pain”

Hear now the flying queen Fairy Mother of them all saying it: “The idea that austerity measures could trigger stagnation is incorrect,” declared Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank, in a recent interview. Why? Because “confidence-inspiring policies will foster and not hamper economic recovery.”

What’s the evidence for this belief besides the fairy-dust that Jean-Claude inhales regularly through a rolled up Euro, is the crazy belief that “fiscal contraction is actually expansionary”
It must be this way because apparently when one hallucinates or is high on crack — one believes that Austerity improves Consumer Confidence. I have no explanation for this person speaking this much rubbish. Maybe this man has never gone shopping in a public market or in a super market in his entire life and is sheltered in an insane asylum. Or maybe his Mother dropped him on his head when he was little…

By the way, this “Austerity builds consumer confidence” economic doctrine found inside “Cuckoo’s Nest” is precisely the doctrine expounded by Herbert Hoover in 1932 that launched the US and the rest of the World in the worst Depression we have ever known. Well Done Mr fuckin Hoover. Why somebody vacuumed up your scattered brains and repackaged them as the European Economic policy of today is beyond me.

Well intentioned economists still believe this baloney but reality does not bear out this Policy as anything but insanity. Current examples of austerity are anything but encouraging. Ireland has been a good soldier in this crisis, grimly implementing savage spending cuts. Its reward has been a Depression-level slump — and financial markets continue to treat it as a serious default risk. Other good soldiers, like Latvia and Estonia, have done even worse — and all three nations have, believe it or not, had worse slumps in output and employment than Iceland, which was forced by the sheer scale of its financial crisis to adopt less orthodox policies.

So the next time you hear serious-sounding people explaining the need for fiscal austerity, try to parse their argument. Almost surely, you’ll discover that what sounds like hardheaded realism actually rests on a foundation of fantasy, on the belief that invisible vigilantes will punish us if we’re bad and the confidence fairy will reward us if we’re good. And real-world policy — policy that will blight the lives of millions of working families — is being built on that foundation.

And as for the Good German Minister of Economy is concerned — it all makes perfect sense… Naturally he is wheeling himself around like Dr Strangelove with his finger on the nuclear button of Europe’s annihilation.

And he loves that fashion of riding the nuclear warhead like his dreams of riding a wild pig at the rodeo…

Am sure he is happy — but the rest of us are not so keen on this man’s folly and not on those of his Saxon Hausfrau lording it over the natives, either.

SO BE CAREFUL WHAT FADS YOU BELIEVE OUT THERE.

Because fads are not facts.

So neither believe nor observe them.

Just resist them.

Resist.

Honour the Law but flout the faulty Austerity regulations and replace the slavery of this errant and inhuman Economic Policy with Human Rights Observance of Civil Disobedience.

And practice Civil Disobedience in all of your Economic affairs in order to prove your wish to be alive.

Take heart. Organize, get out the vote, and create Community for Change.

And above all else — PLEASE KEEP HOPE ALIVE.

We go through trials all the time and the end of difficulties is not going to happen by tomorrow — only we will fight together as European to rectify this horrible situation and provide leadership to a rudderless Europe.

We all despair sometimes…

But we also know the sky is blue somewhere back of the cloudstorm of Austerity.

Truly the Sun is hiding behind the clouds and the Blue Skies will show up again…

Believe this and in God’s name — Don’t suicide…

Because, each one of you is a wonderful gift of God to us, to your family and to all of the world. Remember it always, especially when the cold winds of doubt and discouragement fall upon your life.

Be not afraid…

Be unafraid of anyone or of anything when it comes to living your life.

And trust in Democracy.

We’ve got your back.

Trust that we are working to make a better Europe.

We are harbingers of change. We will lead Europe to a better place. And by making a better Europe, and a more inclusive European Democracy we will be making a far better Greece and a far better life and family for each and every ONE of you.

And we promise you that You will strengthen your own communities by sending more representatives of the EUROPEAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY to the European Parliament this Spring. We will certainly fight and lead in order to restore JUSTICE AND HUMANITY and bring upright our faltering European Democracy.

Come join us and share our community because we fight for you and your lives, and we don’t tolerate Human Right abuses. We want you to live your Lives more fully and we want you to help bring our numbers to twenty-four members of the European Parliament; from throughout Europe. That represents an 100% increase from the twelve European Parliament Members that we presently have. Come along and be counted as a future MP or as a volunteer or even as a Candidate in these European Elections.

Together we will pursue your hopes and your dreams no matter how difficult or different they may seem to others. Far too many people in Europe limit themselves and don’t do what they want, or should do, because of what they imagine others may think or say. This is truly the case of European mediocrity today. Remember, if these people don’t give you bread to eat, a job to call your own, hope and opportunity for your family to THRIVE, and they forget to bring you chicken soup when you’re sick, or stand by you when you’re in trouble — these so called European Brothers don’t matter.

So avoid those sour-souled Austerity policy pessimists who deny you hope & opportunity, and in effect kill your dreams.

Deny them cause they are wrong…

TEN THOUSAND SUICIDES IN GREECE PROVED THEM WRONG.

Come heed our call. Join EDP and be counted as a warrior against Austerity and come believe that we are Limitless and Boundless Human Beings.

So COME and… VOTE

Let’s Vote for Life — Vote EDP and yours truly for the European Parliament this Spring of 2014

Yours,
Pano

PS:

By the way, please remember:

“In this Europe of ours, we are all ONE”
-Robert Schuman

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