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Old 2011-12-22, 14:57   Link #18601
Kokukirin
Shadow of Effilisi
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by sneaker View Post
You should consider a career in politics. A prosperous neighborhood is my interests, thus it's in my interest to pay my neighbor's bills.

Though you are correct: no one points a gun at Merkel, forcing her to sign the treaties. But the ECB measures (just a few days ago they pumped another 500 billion Euro into the market) can't be stopped by Germany, as it doesn't have any veto.
When your neighbour shares the same currency as you, and the said currency is on the brink of collapse. Saving your neighbour is surely in your interest. In terms of morals, Germany paying the bill for Greece is quite hard to stomach, but in terms of best interest for everyone, Germany still have to step in or everyone is in big trouble.

Everyone knows Germany is the only country that can pay. And thus it has the most say on all matters regarding the Euro and ECB.
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Old 2011-12-22, 15:02   Link #18602
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneaker View Post
You should consider a career in politics. A prosperous neighborhood is my interests, thus it's in my interest to pay my neighbor's bills.
If that's what it takes. I'm not aware of the extent of Germany's social safety net, but I'm pretty sure you pay for his kids' schooling, part of his healthcare, and so on.

Quote:
Though you are correct: no one points a gun at Merkel, forcing her to sign the treaties. But the ECB measures (just a few days ago they pumped another 500 billion Euro into the market) can't be stopped by Germany, as it doesn't have any veto.
They could withdraw from the EU altogether. They could refuse to transfer funds. There's a lot they could do. But don't, because, for now, they calculate that sticking it through will be less painful than jumping ship.
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Old 2011-12-22, 15:23   Link #18603
Bri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noctis Lucis View Post
As usual from the BBC, somewhat skimpy on details but very accurate.
When it comes to the Euro and EU, the BBC is just as opinionated as Fox News is towards American politics. The BBC is simply not able to escape strong bias against Europe in English journalist circles. The article doesn't mention the problems caused by deregulation of the financial industry nor does it mention the unique structure of the EMU which made Europe so vulnerable to contagion. So, it's a fairly one sided view of events.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mentar View Post
The Euro in itself was merely a stable currency, up to this very date, offering a level playing field. Germany simply worked harder and didn't let wages get out of control. This is where the diagrams were misleading, and the claim that the German unions held the wages "steady" is flat-out wrong. However, the gains in wages were modest, and usually close to the inflation rate, while they ballooned in other countries.
Wage levels affect unemployment but they are hardly the source of economic success. Wage reduction schemes work for a while but in the end the source of all economic growth is based on increased labor productivity. Which for the most part comes down to technological and organizational improvements. The working harder argument is complete nonsense. The Greeks make by far the longest hours in the EU. Several other EU countries have significantly higher productivity figures than Germany.

Main difference is that Germany's public finances are healthier and it's economy recovered faster than most from the 2008 economic crisis. The jump start of the economy is in part due to wage growth control schemes and strong global demand for German exports. Wage controls alone won't help a country get out of an economic crisis as it negatively affects domestic demand.

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Originally Posted by Mentar View Post
This "Germany broke it, they should pay for it" bullsh*t is seriously getting on my nerves. The rules were clear, and Germany abided by it. I refuse to apologize for being successful here. The European debt mess was caused by the American housing and "subprime loan" bubble caused by the fed's completely irresponsible "provide liquidity for free" policy paired with the disastrous lack of regulation resulting in a total meltdown of the financial sector world wide. It forced several European countries to "nationalize" otherwise bankrupt banks, and THIS is what sent the cart into the ditch. Ireland was completely peachy before the crap hit the fan. Spain was fine before the crap hit the fan. And now they have critical debt levels because of it.
Germany is definitely not to blame for the crisis. Financial deregulation is indeed at the heart of the problem but that was global development, not just American. Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs both have been at the forefront of lobbying for deregulation.

One of the key problems in the EU is that we still have banks that are tied to a specific member state. The US' Federal reserve system protects banks from being judged by the public finances of their home states. For example Italian banks saw their risk premiums increase alongside of that of their country, while no American bank will suffer from being situated in California. That state is as bankrupt as Greece. It's a design flaw in the EMU/ECB system partially caused by this incessant need for national sovereignty.

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Originally Posted by Mentar View Post
If you have to blame Germany to be happy, do it for our reluctance to allow the easy US way out: Printing money. Oh, excuse me, that's called "quantitative easing". Guess what, we STILL think that money should be EARNED before it's spent, at least a little bit. If we had said "screw it, let the ECB buy government bonds ad infinitum" (illegal! but advocated by 90% of the same "experts" who caused the financial meltdown in the first place), we possibly wouldn't have that much problems now. But then, economy would be meaningless, and it would result in even bigger problems down the road. Want to see which? Let's see how the US is dealing with their 1-trillion-per-year deficit. It's the same.
Bailing out governments who can't get their public finances in order is a bad idea and just leads to moral hazard. However currently there is an extreme liquidity shortage in the financial system. The interbank market has been dead since the summer of 2011 and it's starting to affect the real economy. Perfect financially sound firms and individuals have trouble getting loans simply because the banks are strapped for cash. The ECB would be at fault if they let the intermediation function of the financial system break down.

Last edited by Bri; 2011-12-22 at 15:37.
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Old 2011-12-22, 15:39   Link #18604
sneaker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
They could withdraw from the EU altogether. They could refuse to transfer funds. There's a lot they could do. But don't, because, for now, they calculate that sticking it through will be less painful than jumping ship.
There's also inner political reasons: no one wants to be the politician responsible for the end of the Euro or the EU. Everyone's crossing their fingers, hoping that any disaster will at least be postponed until after their own terms.

About the calculations: well, the same people that implemented the Euro, saying it will be as good as the DM, promising that never, ever will one Euro member bail-out another, are now the ones advocating the rescue operations, arguing it will be the cheaper option in the end. Also a lot empty words are being tossed around when it comes to justify transferring German money on EU matters: "preserving the hope of a stable, prosperous EU", "peacful EU", etc.. Not really hard economical numbers, i.e. what I regard as "calculations". And even if transferring money is in our interest, politicians present us no numbers as to which extend this holds true. 100 billion? 500 billion? 2 trillion?
Maybe you think your neighbor should work harder for his kid's insurance, so you can keep more money to yourself.

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Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
When your neighbour shares the same currency as you, and the said currency is on the brink of collapse. Saving your neighbour is surely in your interest. In terms of morals, Germany paying the bill for Greece is quite hard to stomach, but in terms of best interest for everyone, Germany still have to step in or everyone is in big trouble.
California went bankrupt not very long ago. The other states did not bail them out. Still we have the US Dollar. How does the bankruptcy of one member destroy a currency?

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Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
Everyone knows Germany is the only country that can pay.
Germany is highly overestimated. We couldn't even save Greece, and we can most certainly not save Italy or Spain.

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Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
And thus it has the most say on all matters regarding the Euro and ECB.
Wrong. It only has a very small voice in the ECB, it simply got overruled in all bond buying decisions by the PIIGS and France, the latter being most involved in Greece and Italy and thus being the strongest supporter of the bail-outs. Germany opposed them in 2010 but gave in eventually. The ECB president was French until a few weeks ago, now he's Italian. The new and old IMF directors are both French.
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Old 2011-12-22, 16:14   Link #18605
Kokukirin
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Quote:
California went bankrupt not very long ago. The other states did not bail them out. Still we have the US Dollar. How does the bankruptcy of one member destroy a currency?
Greece alone will not destroy Euro, but if Italy defaults, it almost certainly will.

Quote:
Germany is highly overestimated. We couldn't even save Greece, and we can most certainly not save Italy or Spain.
Europe had the chance to make a bigger and complete rescue package from the start, but Germany did not want to go too far with it. So what we had instead was a series of half-hearted attempts which failed to give confidence to investors. The crisis continued to deepen and the cost to resolve the crisis mounted.

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Wrong. It only has a very small voice in the ECB, it simply got overruled in all bond buying decisions by the PIIGS and France, the latter being most involved in Greece and Italy and thus being the strongest supporter of the bail-outs. Germany opposed them in 2010 but gave in eventually. The ECB president was French until a few weeks ago, now he's Italian. The new and old IMF directors are both French.
I didn't say Germany can order ECB around, but as the biggest contributor to ECB, Germany still have a big say in its decision making. If Germany were a small voice in ECB, we would have had larger rescue packages or even a new Eurobond like the French wanted.
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Old 2011-12-22, 16:25   Link #18606
Jinto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
They could withdraw from the EU altogether. They could refuse to transfer funds. There's a lot they could do. But don't, because, for now, they calculate that sticking it through will be less painful than jumping ship.
The problem is... if you were in a political party that is historically a strong supporter of the Euro zone. How much credibility loss could be expected from a U-turn? This would imply Merkel's party was wrong to support the Euro zone... and all their promises of security and so on were wrong too... lets just call it political escapism.

Well, I suppose after the nuclear energy U-turn nobody would really care anymore.
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Old 2011-12-22, 16:37   Link #18607
sneaker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
Greece alone will not destroy Euro, but if Italy defaults, it almost certainly will.
Let me rephrase: how does a currency get destroyed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
Europe had the chance to make a bigger and complete rescue package from the start, but Germany did not want to go too far with it. So what we had instead was a series of half-hearted attempts which failed to give confidence to investors. The crisis continued to deepen and the cost to resolve the crisis mounted.
If others are the ones putting all their stakes in, giving tips and making demands is easy. I find the idea of an earlier bail-out preventing all this amusing. We now had gigantic bail-outs and ECB interventions, even more of that is coming. The effects were disappointing - as disappointing as an early bail-out would've been. You can't bail-out against these huge deficits, and you can't even prevent them as budgets are sovereign matters.

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Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
I didn't say Germany can order ECB around, but as the biggest contributor to ECB, Germany still have a big say in its decision making. If Germany were a small voice in ECB, we would have had larger rescue packages or even a new Eurobond like the French wanted.
The ECB pumped 500 billion into the market just a few days ago. It does not have the power to implement Euro bonds - that has nothing to do with the ECB council's majorities.
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Old 2011-12-22, 16:49   Link #18608
Jinto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
I didn't say Germany can order ECB around, but as the biggest contributor to ECB, Germany still have a big say in its decision making. If Germany were a small voice in ECB, we would have had larger rescue packages or even a new Eurobond like the French wanted.
I think there is only one reason (and Merkel knows this very well) why this is never going to happen when Germany is part of the Euro zone. Our constitutional court would make such decissions void in an unilateral way... with all the consequences (Germany's exit from the Euro(zone)).
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Old 2011-12-22, 16:57   Link #18609
sneaker
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Originally Posted by Jinto View Post
I think there is only one reason (and Merkel knows it perfectly well) why this is never going to happen when Germany is part of the Euro zone. Our constitutional court would make such decissions void in an unilateral way... with all the consequences (Germany's exit from the Euro(zone)).
I'd bet that the court will not be a hindrance. In the past it has always allowed such things, with only small conditions. The Euro implementation itself has been allowed by it, with pointing out that the "no bail-out clause" satisfies the constitution. Now it has allowed bail-outs. In the end it will always allow transferring power.
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Old 2011-12-22, 17:04   Link #18610
Jinto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneaker View Post
I'd bet that the court will not be a hindrance. In the past it has always allowed such things, with only small conditions. The Euro implementation itself has been allowed by it, with pointing out that the "no bail-out clause" satisfies the constitution. Now it has allowed bail-outs. In the end it will always allow transferring power.
I have to admit that the court was a little bit soft in that regard. However, I think that the Eurobonds are that last straw that is needed to make a fully constitution-conform decission.
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Old 2011-12-22, 17:08   Link #18611
sneaker
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We'll see.
Though with all the negative press about "Euro bonds" Merkel will try to avoid them as long as possible. Maybe through the back door and with a different name. Hopefully not in return for "strict" rules and lost sovereignty.
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Old 2011-12-22, 17:09   Link #18612
DonQuigleone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bri View Post
When it comes to the Euro and EU, the BBC is just as opinionated as Fox News is towards American politics. The BBC is simply not able to escape strong bias against Europe in English journalist circles. The article doesn't mention the problems caused by deregulation of the financial industry nor does it mention the unique structure of the EMU which made Europe so vulnerable to contagion. So, it's a fairly one sided view of events.
In my lifelong experience of British Journalism, the BBC is considered pro-EU. Now The Telegraph, they'd have a clearer bias.

I'd like you to show me any case of yellow journalism on the BBC's part that can at all compare to what Fox News shovels out. I don't think the BBC has any outright agenda, beyond the fact that they have a broadly liberal culture. British liberalism has generally been pro Europe over the years.
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Old 2011-12-22, 17:58   Link #18613
Mentar
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
In my lifelong experience of British Journalism, the BBC is considered pro-EU. Now The Telegraph, they'd have a clearer bias.

I'd like you to show me any case of yellow journalism on the BBC's part that can at all compare to what Fox News shovels out. I don't think the BBC has any outright agenda, beyond the fact that they have a broadly liberal culture. British liberalism has generally been pro Europe over the years.
I have no problem with BBC coverage of Europe, but I'd say it's a stretch to call them "pro". Rather that the overall bias within Britain is so drastically anti-Europe that a fair "neutral" coverage (which I'd attribute to BBC) feels "pro". But maybe it's that I don't read normal everyday coverage too much. If someone wants to point me to gushing articles on BBC explaining why Europe is the future, I'd be curious to hear about them.

But yea, BBC is no Foxnews, not at all. Foxnews is mean-spirited propagandistic garbage, a true bile tap. It's no coincidence that people watching Foxnews are informed _worse_ than people who don't watch TV at all.
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Old 2011-12-22, 18:10   Link #18614
Darkbeat
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Join Date: Oct 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mentar View Post
I have no problem with BBC coverage of Europe, but I'd say it's a stretch to call them "pro". Rather that the overall bias within Britain is so drastically anti-Europe that a fair "neutral" coverage (which I'd attribute to BBC) feels "pro". But maybe it's that I don't read normal everyday coverage too much. If someone wants to point me to gushing articles on BBC explaining why Europe is the future, I'd be curious to hear about them.

But yea, BBC is no Foxnews, not at all. Foxnews is mean-spirited propagandistic garbage, a true bile tap. It's no coincidence that people watching Foxnews are informed _worse_ than people who don't watch TV at all.
Maybe not so much the BBC website, but BBC News is notoriously pro-Europe (and left wing in general).

I read an article in a paper that when Cameron vetoed the Merkozy legislation recently, BBC News at 6 spent the first 10 minutes with several dissenting voices acting as if it was a sign of the apocalypse. They then allowed a 2 minute interview to a low-rank government lacky to explain Cameron's rationale before moving on.

Actually come to think of it, didn't the previous DG of BBC all but admit they weren't exactly "fair and balanced" when it came to Europe?
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Old 2011-12-22, 18:34   Link #18615
Kokukirin
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Originally Posted by sneaker View Post
Let me rephrase: how does a currency get destroyed?
A more accurate saying is a Euro "break up". If big economies like Spain and Italy default and exit from Euro, then eurozone is effectively broken up. It may return to individual currencies. Or it may end up with a smaller common currency among the healthier economies. But the Euro as we know it would be gone.

Quote:
If others are the ones putting all their stakes in, giving tips and making demands is easy. I find the idea of an earlier bail-out preventing all this amusing. We now had gigantic bail-outs and ECB interventions, even more of that is coming. The effects were disappointing - as disappointing as an early bail-out would've been. You can't bail-out against these huge deficits, and you can't even prevent them as budgets are sovereign matters.
When I said rescue packages, I meant bailouts AND austerity measures. Of course bailout money alone is not going to solve the problem. But the overall efforts were too little at the start, and investors remained lacking confidence. If a more complete package was implemented from the start, the market would have stablised much easier. Italy's bond interest would not have risen to an unaffordable level, which triggered more panic and another round of rescue package.
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Old 2011-12-22, 19:10   Link #18616
sneaker
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Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
A more accurate saying is a Euro "break up". If big economies like Spain and Italy default and exit from Euro, then eurozone is effectively broken up. It may return to individual currencies. Or it may end up with a smaller common currency among the healthier economies. But the Euro as we know it would be gone.
So, going back to your original statement: why should Germany care about Spain or Greece leaving the Euro? Why is the Euro better than the DM for Germany? And if it is, how much money is it worth to keep the neighbors alive?
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Old 2011-12-22, 19:41   Link #18617
Mentar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
A more accurate saying is a Euro "break up". If big economies like Spain and Italy default and exit from Euro, then eurozone is effectively broken up. It may return to individual currencies. Or it may end up with a smaller common currency among the healthier economies. But the Euro as we know it would be gone.
Well, the British Pound as we knew it is also gone (once upon a time 12 Deutschmarks). If Spain and Italy default and exit, the Eurozone will still exist, it will merely be smaller. And when Croatia or others join it, it will be bigger again.

I shake my head at the hysterical nonsense which is spouted in various anglophile media. I could perfectly well imagining Greece dropping out eventually, yet noone will really care (but the Greek themselves, but sorry folks, you brought this upon yourself). And I see absolutely no NEED for Italy or Spain to contemplate it, because the ECB will eventually purchase their government bonds anyway when necessary. But even if they do, it's going to remain the currency of the European core. It would make no sense to change that for Germany, France, Austria, or the Benelux countries.

I'd also like to point out that all the handwringing and ohmygawding, the Euro stays still stable up 30% compared to the US dollar since its inception, and with an inflation rate of below 3%. At the peak of the terrible terrible crisis. And that all his earlier yelling and screaming notwithstanding, George Soros has recently invested 2 billion in Euro bonds (below market price due to the Corzine bankruptcy).

Yea, I'm totally in panic over here.

Quote:
When I said rescue packages, I meant bailouts AND austerity measures. Of course bailout money alone is not going to solve the problem. But the overall efforts were too little at the start, and investors remained lacking confidence. If a more complete package was implemented from the start, the market would have stablised much easier.
Yes, and it would have immediately deflated ANY efforts by Club Med to get their budgets in order. Screw "the market", getting the numbers back where they belong is much more important. Because once this happens, "the market" will eventually follow suit anyway. But pleasing "the market" isn't going to make structural deficits go away. Look at America as an example.
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Old 2011-12-22, 20:01   Link #18618
Ithekro
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Back around 1999, our social science teachers were predicting that sometime in the next five years (2015 I guess) that the US Dollar and the Euro would be about balanced and about the only things, collectively, blocking the Yuan. I'm not sure what they were basing this off of, but I think it was precentage of the global economy, with China at 20% and the European Union and United States at 15% each keeping China in check.

But it has been 12 years since I was in that class, so my memory is a little fuzzy.
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Old 2011-12-22, 20:28   Link #18619
Kokukirin
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Originally Posted by sneaker View Post
So, going back to your original statement: why should Germany care about Spain or Greece leaving the Euro? Why is the Euro better than the DM for Germany? And if it is, how much money is it worth to keep the neighbors alive?
Eurozone members cannot devalue their currency to make their products more competitive, and the more competitive German exporters reap the most benefits. And there are other benefits for having a common currency with trading partners.

Quote:
I'd also like to point out that all the handwringing and ohmygawding, the Euro stays still stable up 30% compared to the US dollar since its inception, and with an inflation rate of below 3%. At the peak of the terrible terrible crisis. And that all his earlier yelling and screaming notwithstanding, George Soros has recently invested 2 billion in Euro bonds (below market price due to the Corzine bankruptcy).
Euro has not devalued much against USD because USD has also devalued in the same time period. Inflation is below 3% because Europe is in a recession and Euro has not devalued too much. They are not signs of healthy economy in any way. But feel free to ignore the structural problems in certain European countries, the risk of insolvency and bank failures, unaffordable sovereign bond rates, and the likely long term stagnation in part of Europe.

Quote:
Yes, and it would have immediately deflated ANY efforts by Club Med to get their budgets in order. Screw "the market", getting the numbers back where they belong is much more important. Because once this happens, "the market" will eventually follow suit anyway. But pleasing "the market" isn't going to make structural deficits go away. Look at America as an example.
I need a translator.
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Old 2011-12-22, 20:40   Link #18620
DonQuigleone
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Originally Posted by Mentar View Post
I have no problem with BBC coverage of Europe, but I'd say it's a stretch to call them "pro". Rather that the overall bias within Britain is so drastically anti-Europe that a fair "neutral" coverage (which I'd attribute to BBC) feels "pro". But maybe it's that I don't read normal everyday coverage too much. If someone wants to point me to gushing articles on BBC explaining why Europe is the future, I'd be curious to hear about them.

But yea, BBC is no Foxnews, not at all. Foxnews is mean-spirited propagandistic garbage, a true bile tap. It's no coincidence that people watching Foxnews are informed _worse_ than people who don't watch TV at all.
I don't think British journalism (outside the Daily mail and it's ilk) is as radically anti-europe as you make it out to be. There's a decent healthy skepticism among the more sophisticated publications.

I can't point you towards gushing articles on the BBC about how Europe is the future, mostly because the BBC doesn't tend to express itself so overtly. They tend to do a good job of restricting themselves to the facts. They may have guest commentators on, but their opinion is always their own, not the BBC (they don't have Fox style "pundits".)

They may not print articles particularly favoring Europe, but they don't print anything labeling it a disaster either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkbeat View Post
Maybe not so much the BBC website, but BBC News is notoriously pro-Europe (and left wing in general).

I read an article in a paper that when Cameron vetoed the Merkozy legislation recently, BBC News at 6 spent the first 10 minutes with several dissenting voices acting as if it was a sign of the apocalypse. They then allowed a 2 minute interview to a low-rank government lacky to explain Cameron's rationale before moving on.
I wouldn't say the BBC never goes wrong, but they do seem to piss almost everyone off equally. I've heard a fair number of left wingers say the BBC is conservative.

Quote:
Actually come to think of it, didn't the previous DG of BBC all but admit they weren't exactly "fair and balanced" when it came to Europe?
I don't know about that, but they Andrew Marr(one of their more noted reporters) was once quoted as saying that the BBC is "inherently liberal". I wouldn't construe that as an inherent political bias, more a cultural bias within the BBC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mentar View Post
I shake my head at the hysterical nonsense which is spouted in various anglophile media. I could perfectly well imagining Greece dropping out eventually, yet noone will really care (but the Greek themselves, but sorry folks, you brought this upon yourself). And I see absolutely no NEED for Italy or Spain to contemplate it, because the ECB will eventually purchase their government bonds anyway when necessary. But even if they do, it's going to remain the currency of the European core. It would make no sense to change that for Germany, France, Austria, or the Benelux countries.
I think you're a little harsh on Britain's media. It has it's faults sure (news of the world...), but I doubt I could name a country with as consistently high a standard of journalism.

I will admit that the BBC's coverage of the Euro "crisis" does seem a bit more on the hysterical side, but to be honest, that's pretty rare for the BBC. Last time I heard that kind of language was 2008 (for obvious reasons). Prior to that...

Anyway, on the scale of journalistic hysteria Fox would be a 10, and BBC would be a 2 or 3. During the London riots, Fox would have been "America is coming to an end, our youth have lost their morals!!!", BBC was "what's going on?".

You also have to be sure to separate the BBC from the Op-eds and commentators they may invite on their shows or website. Those commentators do not represent the BBC, and represent a fairly diverse set of opinions.
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