John Grahl – England

Linked with our german presentations of Der Euro bringt Deutschland Vorteile, and of Aufholjagd im Rückwärtsgang, and also of Euromemorandum 2005.

John Grahl has taught international economics and European integration at London Metropolitan University since 1998. Prior to that he was Reader in European Integration at Queen Mary and Westfield College. His research is centred on the political economy of advanced capitalism and takes the EU as its empirical base. Current research interests are financial change in EU countries and the financial dimension of globalisation. (See on ISET Institute for the study of European transformations).

John Grahl – England

Professor John Grahl is a distinguished academic and professor of Human Resources Management at Middlesex University. He is a member of European Economists for an Alternative Economic Policy in Europe and author of ‘European Monetary Union: Problems of Legitimacy, Development and Stability’ (Kogan Page, London, 2001), and more famously ‘After Maastricht: a Guide to European Monetary Union’ (Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1997). He has published numerous articles on economics, including in the established left wing journal ‘New Left Review’ and in the French monthly publication ‘Le Monde Diplomatique’. Previously John has been a lecturer at Queen Mary and Westfield College, and London Metropolitan University. (Read more about him on wikipedia).

He writes in Le monde diplomatique of July 2005: IN THE member states of the European Union, the alternation of parties in government can sometimes reverse unsuccessful interventions and legislation, or repeal them. But in the EU itself the past is always acquis, to be affirmed and protected against criticism, however justified that criticism. The control of monetary policy by the European Central Bank (ECB) is insulated from all political control.

Long before this regime came into force critics of every political orientation pointed out its dysfunctions. The structures were deeply undemocratic, depriving the elected, at both national and EU level, of any purchase on macroeconomic policies. Its priorities and objectives were unbalanced, so the ECB pursued price stability regardless of consequ-ences in unemployment, financial distress or disorganisation of the productive system.

Budgetary policies within the stability pact sacrificed every other goal to meet the targets for public sector borrowing. The methods of the ECB, an exact copy of those developed in different circumstances by the Bundesbank, were said to be of guaranteed efficacy, regardless of the evidence. There was a dogmatic insistence on the value of monetary aggregates as a guide to policy, a decade after these indicators had been abandoned as useless by other central banks. Six years of experience with monetary union has confirmed every criticism, yet the whole design remains sacrosanct to official Europe.

Over the past four years the average annual growth rate of the EU has been about 1.5%, much less than was achieved in the late 1990s and less than half that envisaged in the Lisbon strategy (1). The level of economic activity is not enough even to stabilise unemployment, which has risen in the 15 old member states from 7.4% in 2001 to 8.1% in 2004. Although slightly higher growth rates have been achieved in the new member states, they are struggling with much higher rates of unemployment: 14.4% over the past four years (2).

(1) The “ Lisbon strategy”, adopted at the European council meeting of March 2000, aimed to make the EU the world’s most dynamic and competitive economy.

(2) Beyond Lisbon: Economic and Social Policy Orientations and Constitutional Cornerstones for the European Social Model, Euromemorandum, 2004.

(Read the rest of this long article in Le monde diplomatique of July 2005, english edition).

He writes also: … In the clash between different conceptions of labour market reform, one importantissue is the nature and the use of “active employment measures.” In general theseconsist of programmes of work experience or training which are meant to complementor replace the mere (“passive”) allocation of unemployment indemnities. Althoughthe deliberately ambivalent language used in the employment guidelines disguises thefact, “active” policies follow two completely different logics. On the one hand thereare the types of intervention found in the Nordic countries (for example in theworking of the Swedish labour market policy as far back as the 1960s. These might bedescribed as solidaristic interventions in favour of the unemployed and disadvantaged.They aim to widen the range of possibilities open to those affected by the misfortuneof unemployment. They are often highly redistributive.On the other hand there are measures which derive from the notion of “workfare” andfrom the experiments conducted by many of the US states following PresidentClinton’s dismantling of the key Federal welfare programme, Aid to Families withDependent Children. These are primarily modes of social discipline, or even of socialpunishment: constraints on unemployed benefit claimants, or on sub-groups, such assingle parents, are tightened in order to induce a return to employment even when thisis on terms which would otherwise have been rejected. The view taken of individualautonomy and wellbeing is quite different in the two approaches. The first maycertainly involve elements of discipline, but seeks in general to widen opportunitiesfor the unemployed. The second focuses on the removal of existing entitlements … (read more of this article on Euromemorandum … ).

He writes also in Industrial Relations Journal, Vol. 35, No. 6, pp. 557-573, November 2004:
Abstract: The German high-skills/high value-added economy has long been the Mecca for supporters of the European social model. So long as Model Deutschland was thriving the notion of Social Europe was a plausible political project. But Germany is facing a range of economic problems – the aftershock of reunification, high unemployment and internal and external pressures to reform its stakeholder system of economic organisation. Some of these developments strike at core assumptions of the German model. This article reviews the extent to which the German model is in danger and teases out the implications for the wider European economy.

He writes: Defining a new Democracy, Madeleine Bunting (No retreat in Doha, November 5) says that the military response to September 11 means that “the anti-corporate movement can no longer convincingly bemoan that the governments of the western democracies are simply puppets of corporate interests”. It is true that they are not “simply puppets” – they never were – but surely the Afghan adventure only underlines the corporate agenda. The military industrial complex has been in the doldrums since the Gulf war. The US is facing a severe economic recession. What better than a good war to revive the economy and divert people’s minds from domestic concerns? The clear evidence that US oil interests had been avidly working to secure Afghanistan for its oil pipelines from the oil-rich republics of the former Soviet Union is not unconnected to the present bombing campaign.
The fact that it is states and national armies doing the dirty work in Afghanistan does not absolve the corporate powers from responsibility, it merely reveals how malleable so-called democratic governments are, and how easily corporate agendas can be masked by “altruistic” military crusades. John Green, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, in (The Guardian, November 6, 2001).

books of John Grahl:

AddALL;

All Bookstores;

book search;

links:

New Left Review;

After Maastrich;

Central European University;

MetraNet;

Middlesex University Business School;

Academy Of Third World Studies;

Euro-Memorandum 2003.

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