Bankers and the United State of Europe

Chris Burford cburford at
Sun May 20 16:12:57 PDT 2001

At 19/05/01 18:47 -0700, you wrote:
>So do we trust these bankers?

Only to the extent that we can rely on them fairly consciously to pursue their class interest!

Their class interest is that of finance capitalism, not of industrial capitalism or even medium capitalism.

They are not opposed to some degree of monopoly and some degree of state regulation of capitalism so long as it is in their interests.

It is the smaller and medium capitalists who have been backing Hague's Little England type of Conservatism. Although the majority of people in England are against joining the Euro, Hague cannot get anywhere in the current general election campaign by banging on about national sovereignty.

His share of the opinion polls seems to be stuck at a bare one third, and perhaps even lower than that. There is a wide perception that his party no longer represents a serious party of government.

Chris Gent, head of Vodafone, Britain's biggest mobile telephone company, has expressed his concern about Hague's refusal to enter the Euro on principle for the life of the next Parliament. And Gent was the former head of the Young Conservatives.

The article Ian quoted, correctly puts its finger on the problem of rational capitalist planning - what to do about the economic irregularities in a large market and the effect of transport costs. A key feature or the European Union was that is has explicit policies for pumping capital out from the centre to the periphery. This was severely shaken by German unification when the German economy had to divert massive sums of money to the "new" federal states, ruined by a currency union at parity. Still there is some regional policy.

The problems of Britain joining the Euro are small by comparison with a number of countries of Eastern Europe joining. Nevertheless even though certain forms of economic union may be unequal, they can still be more beneficial than competition. This problem is faced with every issue of workers solidarity.

As for states, that zealous Marxist, Lenin, himself noted "From their daily experiences the masses know perfectly well the value of geographical and economic ties, and the advantage of a big market and a big state." (1914 The Right of Nations to Self Determination) [I quote Lenin and Marx particularly in order to get my retaliation in first against left opportunists who cripple our ability to use marxism intelligently and practically in present conditions.

As for trusting bankers, of course not!

But "Only those who are not sure of themselves can fear to enter into temporary alliances even with unreliable people." ("What is to be Done?")

The overall reason for backing a United States of Europe, is that it is in the interests of the people of the world to have a counterweight to the hegemonism of the USA. It is essential to break that hegemonism, and ironically the fall of the "communist " bloc provides an opportunity for doing so.

True, Europe cannot but act in an imperialist way, but on its own it cannot impose a new hegemonism. Under certain situations it may therefore unite with more progressive global forces to weaken US imperialism, so long as this is not too conspicuous.

We need to call the Old World of Europe into existence to redress the balance of the New.

And to look for opportunities for further advance....

Chris Burford


>... Or the economists who claim to have all the answers on whether to
>join, asks Faisal Islam
>Observer Election Special
>Guardian Unlimited Politics
>Sunday May 20, 2001
>The Observer
>Politicians have long been able to fish out the appropriate economist
>to back any position they want to sell to the public. Nowhere is this
>more apparent than in the debate over the euro.
>The arguments for British membership relate chiefly to the cost of
>dealing with fluctuating exchange rates. Supporters also say that if
>you rule out the euro for the next Parliament, as the Conservatives
>propose, multinationals will look abroad, inward investment will dry
>up and thousands of British jobs will be lost.
>Alternatively, how can a one-size-fits-all economic policy work across
>the eurozone's 12 countries? France and Germany are tugging it in
>different directions. This could remain an issue even if Labour's five
>economic tests for joining were met.
>But what evidence do we have that these imbalances would be any worse
>than the impact of Bank of England's decisions on Merseyside
>shipyards? In the jargon, Europe may not be an 'optimal currency
>area', but to some degree, neither is the UK.
>What makes the difference in the UK is that people are more likely to
>get on their bikes from depressed areas to booming ones such as
>Cambridge than they are to seek work in Cologne. And if there are
>serious regional imbalances, the UK government has the power to spend
>proportionately more money on the needy regions - as it does in
>Northern Ireland.
>That is the nub, say anti-euro campaigners. For the euro to work,
>Europe needs such transfers of spending, which eventually means
>stronger European government. The prospect of a United States of
>Europe may fill you with dread, or strike you as a wise response to
>globalisation. Either way, it is a political question. Accordingly,
>none of the main parties would take Britain in without a referendum.
>But two economic wild cards have now entered the equation: the
>performance of the European Central Bank and, surprisingly, the state
>of Britain's public services. The ECB would take over the job of
>setting UK interest rates. Its operations have been a success, despite
>a few presentational shortcomings.
>Markets were confused after officials hinted at imminent rate cuts
>that failed to materialise. Only after cuts finally came did it emerge
>that eurozone inflation had jumped to 2.9 per cent a year, well above
>the ECB's target.
>So would you trust these bankers? Perhaps it's just a matter of time
>before the ECB proves its credibility. It is damned if it doesn't act
>like the US Federal Reserve in the short term, but it would have no
>credibility at all if it followed the Fed blindly.
>Lastly, the issue of spending on public services may help explain the
>Chancellor's lack of evangelism for the euro. Gordon Brown's ongoing
>spat with the Commission shows to what extent the single currency
>could be a fiscal straitjacket. If Britain were to join today,
>Labour's attempts to bring the UK's transport, health and education
>infrastructure up to European standards could be restricted because of
>tough rules limiting budget deficits.
>Britain could suffer a permanent competitive disadvantage and low
>productivity growth compared with, say, Germany and France, thanks to
>its relatively poor record on capital spending. Hi-tech clusters in
>those two countries, for example, already have the transport links to
>accommodate rapid growth. That cannot be said of the UK just yet.
>Perhaps 'infrastructural convergence' is the Chancellor's tacit sixth

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