The Euro

>> People hoped they were getting the strength of the German economy but got the weakness of the Greek instead.

Go alien, Can you offer any supporting evidence for this assertion?

>> The UK will eventually join the Euro, when a government finally wins a referendum after rigging the question and squandering taxpayers’ money in propoganda. Most people accept this, and despite a majority being against the Euro, also accept that the government will trick us into it.

It seems that democratic system you have in the UK is just awful. It allows all sorts of dirty tricks by the government, huh?

>> Joining the Euro means that the federal ambitions of unelected civil servants and failed politicians (the EU Commisioners) can be furthered.

Yes, I am sure this is the object they had in mind all along when they thought of the EU: furthering the ambitions of failed politicians.

>> There is no democratic control over EU policy.

Um, I guess you would not mind supporting this assertion as well? I may be wrong but I believe the European Parliament is directly elected by the people and other institutions are elected by the national governments which are, in turn, democratically elected. Or is it that in the UK you get to elect directly every last civil servant and dogcatcher?

>> The total lack of democratic accountability will, IMHO, manifest itself in civil unrest (cf French farmers) as the people feel helpless in the face of a European superstate with recourse other than to violence.

Gimme a break, French farmers have been acting like that since Asterisk and Obelix and they do it against their own government, not against the EU.

>> As the EU enlarges (another 10 states are under consideration) the situation will get worse.

Yeah, the situation is so bad other countries are lining up at the door asking for admission.
>> The real problem with the euro-fanatics is that they continually lie and try to shout down any real discussion.

cjb, you are kidding, right? In my experience the isolationalist nationalists are the less rational when it comes to discussing foreign relations and this is true in the UK, the US, China or France.

>> The most common argument I have heard from the euro supporters is ‘It’s going to happen’. This is no argument.

Agreed, rather it is a straw man. I see you are quite new here. Try searching the archives for discussions about the EU and see if anyone has made that argument. There are plenty of good arguments which have been put forward so you may try to address those.

>> Trying to force nations with a long history into an artificial conjunction is a very good way to get a war

Who is doing the “forcing” and who is being “forced” here?
Are you seriously saying the possibility of war between European nations has increased due to the EU? I can’t believe anyone can seriously believe this. What countries do you think may be at risk of war?

We await proof for this statement.

Then ‘most people’ must be very stupid. They know they’re going to be tricked, and yet fall for it? Seems to me that you must have a very low opinion of the public’s intellect. Or do you, perhaps, suspect what everyone’s known all along? That opposition to the Euro is not based on facts or sound economic differences, but rather primarily on emotive xenophobia that may falter?

That’s not to say that there aren’t things to be concerned about in adopting the Euro, but IMHO they are far outweighed by the benefits. Unfortunately most of the eurosceptic objections have so far pandered to the lowest common denominater. Even more unfortunately they have as a result been successful, convincing the majority of the public (who wouldn’t know an economic policy if it came up at and bit them) that the Euro is a dirty rotten trick hatched by foreigners specifically to bring old blighty down.

The biggest propaganda that I can see going on is coming from media conglomerates who would have their own reasons for hating the Euro and would much rather we adopted the dollar. (There is, after all, only so many times an Australian media mogul can change his nationality without starting to look silly.) The Government’s propaganda is almost invisible in comparison. In fact you hear more about it from the eurosceptics than from the Government itself.

What fantasy, misinformation and nonsense! The EU is controlled by politicians appointed by the public. It is not the EU’s fault if people

-don’t turn out to vote
-show a complete lack of interest
-send mediocre and past-it politicains to represent them.

One thing is sure; as soon as a country joins the Euro you find a corresponding rise in the quality of all of the above. This can only be a good thing.

There is a difference between being under consideration and joining. Do you honestly think that the EU will purposefully include nations that would destabilise its economy?

Perhaps. Do you not think that the Euro is a positive step in this direction?

Please explain why you think the EU is not democratically accountable. I think the facts say differently.

So-o-o, dug yourself out yet, Mambo? :smiley:
Man.

Despite what some people may think, I am not asking you to do my homework–my professor allows us to use any and all resources in preperation. I have to be able to answer questions about all these issues for about ten minutes.

I did not mean to offend any European Dopers with my point #3. I did not mean that Europeans were blood-thirsty, rather that war, unfortunately, has been a viscious cycle in European history and it is too soon to tell wether or not that cycle will continue in the future. Of course, there is no reason to expect a European war right now but there is no certainty of that as there is in America.

Because people are stupid.

Agent Jay: “Why the big secret? People are smart, they can handle it.”
Agent Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.

Mambo, just because ‘any’ source is accepted giving you those still constitutes helping you with your homework.

As for the war slur; there is no certainty of avoiding war anywhere in the world, except for the minor fact that almost no war - so far in history - has been fought out between functioning democracies, the EU is made up by 15 of those just like the US is made up by 50, is civil war in any of the two likely?

I appreciate and hail your retraction though.

I might have been overtly offensive in my first reply to the OP, but I think you saw what idiocy followed, as I expected.

Therefore I emailed you some tips as to how you might want to argue your debate, although I vehemently disagree with whatever I said in that mail.

Sparc

Certainly, though I would add I’ve tried to keep out of debates as best I can because they’re so time-consuming. I’ll do my best to contribute something creditable.

Twisty – I doubt the general public pays any greater attention to those people with regard this particular issue than they do at any other time. Not as sure about their better attired brethren such as Murdoch and his lackey’s.

Congratulations to Sparc, sailor and Futile Gesture for taking the time to ask some posters to justify their humble opinions whilst in Great Debates.

I am perhaps taking my life in my hands by disagreeing with Sparc for the first time, but…

As far as I can see, Euro membership hasn’t “balanced” anything in Ireland: it’s exacerbated the problems. The Irish economy has indeed enoyed an enormous upswing due to the last decade’s fiscal policy, largely unrelated to Euro membership. The economy has also gone inflationary for the same reason (IIRC hovering around 10% p/a at last count). Ordinarily, the main method any government has to control inflation is to leave interest rates as is, or even increase them. However, because of ECB control, interest rates have in fact dropped to favour larger Eurozone economies, in the wake of 9-11. Public sector workers are finding it hard to get by on current salaries. The government either has to stand its ground re. salaries, which will create an imbalance between private and public sector workers, and will probably lead to industrial unrest, or it will force the government to into increased public sector salaries (something that’s happening at the moment) - thus further fuelling inflation. This will have to be paid for either by a higher taxation regime (thus discouraging inward investors), or larger government borrowing, which is against the rules of the Eurozone. The Irish government appears to be caught in a cleft stick, due to its inability to regulate interest rates.

I am actually pro-Euro, and would imagine that these are teething problems that will only last a few years, but currently they are a big worry.

Can either side here provide any sources at all?

As an American, I watch the EU with interest and suspicion, but it is your choice. Then again, I sometimes worry about certain things I see going on over there: for example, the attempted forcible entry by Irish politicians into the EU despite referendus against it. I don’t like it when any government does that.

At the moment, I haven’t seen much change for good, but not so much for bad, either, in Europe. Of course, both sides of the Atlantic would be better off if some FREAKIN EXECUTIVES HADN"T DECIDED TO LIE ABOUT THEIR FINANCES!

Ahem

Sorry.

It wasn’t veiled at all, thinly or otherwise.

I presume you mean the Nice Treaty? That, IMO, comes down to the issue of Irish neutrality, which isn’t an economic consideration.

I have no information about Irish politics so, **smiling bandit
** can you explain to me about “the attempted forcible entry by Irish politicians into the EU despite referendus against it”. I would like to know more about this.

I have already said many times that I disagree with those who say European politicians are doing things against the will of the people. All European nations are functioning democracies and to say the governments are acting against the will of their peoples is disingenuous. I would not accept that claim about China and I am not ready to accept it about any European country.

In any case, it is not the function of politicians to follow the people. It is the other way around. A politician should be a leader with a view of what he wants to do and convince the people to vote for him and support him and follow him. As someone said about Bill Clinton, “you cannot lead by following”. A country whose politicians are at the level of the guy on the street is in bad shape indeed. A country does not need populism and demagoguery, it needs responsible leadership. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were leaders when they went against popular opinion in ending racial segregation. It took some pushing and arm-twisting but history has shown they were right.

European leaders have a vision of an integrated European Union and they are leading their peoples along that path. History will judge if they are right or wrong but it is ridiculous to say European governments are taking their peoples into this against their wills. If it is so unpopular why are they not voted out of office?

Another tangential point about democracies not making war on each other. This has been discussed in past threads and it comes down to how you define democracies and how you define war. I do not believe it is democracy which prevents war at all and, even if it was, you can have democracy and no European Union. What I believe makes peace inevitable is the economic and political integration. If the economy of two countries are deeply linked and interdependent it is more likely they will search for peaceful ways to resolve any problems. I think the construction of airplanes, tanks etc is distributed in the several countries of the EU. Good luck declaring war on a country you need to build your arms.

Well jjim, you are not disagreeing with me so I guess you’re safe. (Am I really that vicious?)

As I said in the paragraph you quoted my formulation was simplistic at best. I don’t think that I was very clear as to how I meant that it balances things out. The balance referred to the interrelation of the Euro Zone economies. Through the problems created in Ireland you give a good example of how it has done just that. By taking away interest regulation capacity, Ireland’s benefits from gearing fiscal policy within a relatively small and manageable economic sphere has been eroded.

I don’t want to come across as cynical, certainly not since I applaud the Irish model and supported it all the way through, but I have a vague suspicion that this balancing effect is not cried over much outside Eire given how unpopular the Irish investment bait program was with some of her larger sisters, especially on the left flank.

Until there is a consensus on fiscal policy, or even federal fiscal governance, I suspect that we will continue to see negative effects like that. My biggest fear is that when this backlashes, which it will, the Council reacts with its usual subsidizing plaster package instead of doing the reasonable thing, which IMHO would be to streamline fiscal policy across the Zone and drive the tax pressure down while protecting the interest rates. In other words, instead of pushing Eire down, lift the others. But that’s a rather huge undertaking and as long as we are under the current dominion, not very bloody likely to happen.

As you said there are still many problems with the Euro, much of which I suspect comes out of the relative recession that so unfortunately timed in with its inception. Right now the biggest problem is of course that it is getting too strong to the US Dollar impacting import revenue negatively, then again that has a somewhat positive effect psychologically – which should never be underestimated.

To other little matters…

I take for granted that this was posted in jest, yes? Or is policing this thread a new hobby?

On the off hand chance that anyone else might agree that there were no cites provided: Sailor, Futile Gesture and myself countered what was unfounded opinion not with hard to prove theories, but readily available facts re the EU. Vaguely on the opposite end London Calling delivered economic facts that you can read about in any serious newspaper, which obviously some of us do not have at hand. You want a cite? Well how about surfing over here and reading up on the facts a little?

In some cases I was pointing towards more complex arguments that were cited through a previous thread since I in no way feel like playing EU class school teacher more than once every quarter. The thread I linked to previously is so shock full of cites that you can have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner if you feel inclined to switch over to a diet of reason.

Thank you, I’m glad you feel that we are to be left a democracy.

Perhaps you would like to explain the problems with the Treaty of Nice to us? I am also looking forward to a full commentary on the decision process in Eire as well as the inherent problems with treaty ratification within the EU.

I am glad that your vantage point high up there in the west affords you a scope and overview that we down here in the muck of reality and fact can never hope to attain.

In some ways the EU has benefited from your current plight, but I agree that we would all be better off without it… but what on earth does this have to do with monetary policy in the Euro Zone?

Don’t bait me or do take it where it belongs.
Sparc

Nope. We have been very pro EU in past refs. The Nice Treaty is a different animal. As jjimm has said the reason this failed here was over concerns about Irish neutrality. Some of these concerns are valid some are not but it’s not really a anti-EU thing. It’s a Irish thing.

looks around to see is ruadh anywhere near

You’re safe for the moment. Run you fool Run :smiley:

[sub]search for ruadh and Eire for a explanation[/sub]

Aye aye sailor, right you are. I might add that this was the whole idea with the Union back in 1948 when Winston Churchill first proposed his ‘United States of Europe’. Our raison d’etre if you like – which is why a federalist like myself takes deep offense at things like the now clarified war slur.

Sparc

Did not know that! I thank both yojimbo and ruadh for eliminating my ignorance - and I shall not do that again except when posting in Irish.

Sparc

Don’t worry Sparc, we’ll forgive you :wink:

Sir, I do believe that you know not of which you speak.

This really isn’t an example of a lack of fiscal discipline; instead it’s an example of a foolhardy bit of political grandstanding intruding on fiscal policymaking.

It’s pretty much orthodox economics these days that the maintenance of a governmental budget balance or surplus is preferred or even all that desirable. There is the concept of “automatic stabilizers” - during recessions, for example, unemployment compensation, welfare and some other payments automatically go up, thus mitigating the recession, while tax receipts go down, again mitigating the recession by keeping more funds in private circulation. All other spending remaining unchanged, this means that the budget will go into deficit.
During expansion, UC, welfare and similar payments automatically go down, as more people work, while tax receipts go up as more people make more money. All other spending unchanged, this means that the budget will go into surplus.
The goal should be that budgets balance over the business cycle.

But the Germans insisted on a “Growth and Stability Pact” when the Euro was launched, requiring that budget deficits remain lower than a set limit in every year, regardless of the business cycle. This was pure idiocy, and was mainly put in to satisfy the fears of the German people, who were petrified that their glorious mark was going to be sullied by association with the currencies of such spendthrifts as Italy.

As it turned out, Germany, whose economy has been basically stagnant for the past few years, is one of the first countries to bump up against the deficit limits. Petard, meet hoist.

Sua

Well there are a bunch of different political parties so one party’s idea of prudent fiscal discipline is another’s road to ruin. I posted that in response to tracer’s question about what is to stop a country from just printing money.

Is 2% of GDP for a deficit which I think is the standard set in the treaty to low? What is the US deficit historically vs. GDP? I would think that there needs to be some kind of limit. It is not like they are getting rid of deficit spending for use in the down business cycles.

>> what is to stop a country from just printing money

I hope this is a figure of speech and not your really thinking the money supply in the economy is limited to “printed” money. So, assuming you do understand a bit more about money supply I would say a European country cannot “print” money for the same reason California cannot just print money. They have not the authority to do it. Link to the European Central Bank.