There was an extraordinary article (unfortunately not online) in the weekend Financial Review discussing the latest EU developments – the departure of George Papandreou and Silvio Berlusconi as Prime Ministers of Greece and Italy and their replacement by econocrats acceptable to “the markets”. The article dwelt at great length on the sufferings of the thrifty and efficient Germans at the hands of Italy and Greece, and made the incredible observation that Mario Monti was “so rational he is almost a German”. The EU, it was suggested, was imperilled by the antics of “hand waving Mediterraneans”.
Such is the (racial) logic of neo-liberal European integration laid bare.
At Crooked Timber, Henry Farrell cites the Financial Times:
Instead, it is as if the crew of the Starship Enterprise had concluded that Captain Jean-Luc Picard is no longer the man for the job and that it is time to send for the Borg. Efficient, calculating machines driving through unpopular measures across the eurozone with the battle cry “resistance is futile” are apparently the order of the day. Faced with a deep crisis, once-proud European nations are essentially preparing to hand over power to Ernst & Young.
And Will Davies writes at Potlach:
Under the new circumstances, the description of economics as a ‘social science’ becomes less tenable. Economics has undergone various mutations in its time (though of course this would be the last thing that would be discussed in an economics class), from a branch of political theory in the mid-18th century, to something approaching economic sociology in the mid-19th century, to a professional academic discipline by the early 20th century, before descending into mathematical formalism by the late 20th century. The new technocrats, on the other hand, do not – and importantly can not – abide by Milton Friedman’s Popperian vision of economics, as the generator of falsifiable predictions. In the face of an uncertain future, the technocrats do not use economics to produce models of risk, but to shape and control it via sovereign powers.
In the crisis of neo-liberalism, Davies suggests, “economics and sovereignty are merging”.
Previous LP discussion of the contest between democracy and plutocracy in the EU is here.