Skip to main content

Wheels Off the Greek/EU Deal

Image result for greece wallpaper

The back-and-forth over whether Greece (1) wants to stay in the Eurozone, or (2) if it doesn't, whether it will be able to leave, and (3) if it does, whether it will be able to stay, continues, and indeed intensifies.

Back in April I wrote here:

The problem seems to be that there is no 'clean' way for Greece to leave the Eurozone. Bringing back the drachma would require at the least an extremely complicated period of transition, one with which the rest of Europe would have no incentive to co-operate.

So the Eurozone is like the roach motel of yore. Roaches check in, but they can't check out.

Yet there is no
a priori reason to believe that the single monetary policy maintained by the European Central Bank and related authorities is best for all the countries involved. So one might naturally hope that thought will be given to an orderly exit mechanism.

--------------------


I still believe that statement, though brief and simplistic, is roughly speaking a sound one.

Part of what is new is additional evidence since late April that Greece does want to exit, insofar as one can speak of a collective entity such as a nation state 'wanting' anything.

Another bit of news is the existence of a Plan B that a small team of Greeks working for the finance department were writing even as I was writing those words, a blueprint for a re-creation of the old drachma.

Former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis admitted the existence of "Plan B," soon after he departed from that post  early last month. The admission came in a supposedly confidential (but recorded) interview. Of course, such confidences do have a way of leaking out, and the world started reading transcripts of Varoufakis' statements on Sunday, July 26th. The immediate reflex of much of Greek's officialdom was to deny the truth of these statements, in effect to call Varoufakis a liar.

Things have gone beyond that, though.

Click here: Tsipras defends Varoufakis.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

England as a Raft?

In a lecture delivered in 1880, William James asked rhetorically, "Would England ... be the drifting raft she is now in European affairs if a Frederic the Great had inherited her throne instead of a Victoria, and if Messrs Bentham, Mill, Cobden, and Bright had all been born in Prussia?"

Beneath that, in a collection of such lectures later published under James' direction, was placed the footnote, "The reader will remember when this was written."

The suggestion of the bit about Bentham, Mill, etc. is that the utilitarians as a school helped render England ineffective as a European power, a drifting raft.

The footnote was added in 1897. So either James is suggesting that the baleful influence of Bentham, Mill etc wore off in the meantime or that he had over-estimated it.

Let's unpack this a bit.  What was happening in the period before 1880 that made England seem a drifting raft in European affairs, to a friendly though foreign observer (to the older brother…

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…

Francesco Orsi

I thought briefly that I had found a contemporary philosopher whose views on ethics and meta-ethics checked all four key boxes. An ally all down the line.

The four, as regular readers of this blog may remember, are: cognitivism, intuitionism, consequentialism, pluralism. These represent the views that, respectively: some ethical judgments constitute knowledge; one important source for this knowledge consists of quasi-sensory non-inferential primary recognitions ("intuitions"); the right is logically dependent upon the good; and there exists an irreducible plurality of good.

Francesco Orsi seemed to believe all of these propositions. Here's his website and a link to one relevant paper:

https://sites.google.com/site/francescoorsi1/

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/3

What was better: Orsi is a young man. Born in 1980. A damned child! Has no memories of the age of disco!

So I emailed him asking if I was right that he believed all of those things. His answer: three out of …