German government, stop destructive anti-Greek austerity, economist Piketty says

This video is called Thomas Piketty: New thoughts on capital in the twenty-first century.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

German conservatives are destroying Europe with austerity, says economist Thomas Piketty

The French academic says Germany has failed to learn from history

Jon Stone

German conservatives are on course to destroy Europe with their commitment to continent-wide austerity, one of the world’s most influential economists has said.

Thomas Piketty, a French academic who published a bestselling book on capitalism, said the likes of Angela Merkel had failed to learn the lessons of the past.

“This is neither a reason for France, nor Germany, and especially not for Europe, to be happy,” he told German newspaper Zeit Online, when asked about the dominance of austerity in policymaking.

“I am much more afraid that the conservatives, especially in Germany, are about to destroy Europe and the European idea, all because of their appalling failure to remember history.”

Mr Piketty said Germany’s past history of having its debt forgiven by other nations should inform its approach to the current Greek crisis.

The eminent economist is director of studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, a professor at the Paris School of Economics and Centennial professor at the London School of Economics.

In contrast to the widespread support for austerity amongst politicians, most macroeconomists say the policy is damaging.

A survey by the Centre for Macroeconomics released in April this year found that two thirds of macroeconomists believed austerity had not had a positive effect in the UK.

The French government has in recent days softened its stance on Greece’s debt, in contrast to Germany – whose stance has hardened after the announcement of a referendum on a deal offered by creditors.

France’s economy minister Emmanuel Macron took a similar line to Mr Piketty’s last night, warning against re-enacting the ‘Treaty of Versailles’.

“Whatever the outcome of the vote, we’ll have to resume political talks tomorrow,” Mr Macron said in the aftermath of the vote. “Let’s not re-enact the Treaty of Versailles.”

The ‘Treaty of Versailles’ was the draconian deal imposed on Germany in aftermath of the First World War.

The resentment and economic damage is believed by many historians to have directly contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the start of the Second World War.

Merkel, Greek prime minister Tsipras, austerity and democracy, cartoon

Greeks celebrate No vote victory in referendum

Britain: FRENCH economic superstar Thomas Piketty has joined Labour as an economics adviser, vowing to “expose austerity.” The Capital in the 21st Century author is the biggest coup for the new six-strong gender-balanced economics advisory committee unveiled by Labour yesterday. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has also been recruited by shadow chancellor John McDonnell to help him set out a credible alternative to austerity: here.

18 thoughts on “German government, stop destructive anti-Greek austerity, economist Piketty says

  1. Labour movement figures say bloc must respect result

    THE FUTURE of the European Union rests on whether its leaders respect the Greek people’s rejection of further austerity, labour movement figures said last night.

    British activists celebrated the result of Sunday’s referendum on the troika’s punitive bailout proposals with a rally at the TUC’s Congress House in London.

    An overwhelming 61 per cent of voters heeded the Syriza government’s call to vote No to a VAT rise and pension cuts.

    But TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady told them: “Greece — indeed the whole of Europe — now stands at a crossroads.

    “And what happens in the coming days and weeks will shape our continent’s future generations to come.”

    Ms O’Grady said “ideologically driven austerity” had meant cuts to wages and pensions, 25 per cent unemployment and collapsing public services. “Enough is enough,” she said.

    “As even the International Monetary Fund now seems to recognise, Greece needs a fresh start.

    “It was greed and corruption at the top that got Greece into this mess. Ordinary Greeks must not be made to pay the price.”

    Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn and Labour London mayoral candidate Diane Abbott also addressed the rally.

    At the GMB leadership hustings last month, Mr Corbyn said he would not campaign for Britain to remain in an EU based on “free-market positioning.” And last night he called on EU leaders to change course, saying: “Democracy has spoken in Greece. The people must rule, not the financial markets.

    “The democratically elected Syriza government must now be given the breathing space to build a stable and just economy in Greece.

    “This is an opportunity too for the European Commission to come to its senses and embrace a Europe of solidarity and end the human suffering in Greece.”

    Their calls came ahead of the first meeting of eurozone finance ministers since the referendum in Brussels today. RMT general secretary Mick Cash welcomed the rejection of their austerity demands, but warned that efforts to save the EU were misplaced. He said: “The idea that the EU is in any way pro-worker and pro-public services is a myth which needs to be exposed and challenged by the entire trade union movement.”

    Labour shadow chancellor Chris Leslie said the EU faced “its most fundamental test for a generation” and called on George Osborne to “reassure British tourists whose travel arrangements may be affected by the turmoil in the Greek economy.”


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