What connects the protests/revolutions in Egypt and Wisconsin: a common enemy

Asking the right question over at Al-Jazeera English; the answer is: Yes!

A revolution against neoliberalism?

Two observations about Egypt’s history as a neoliberal state are in order. First, Mubarak’s Egypt was considered to be at the forefront of instituting neoliberal policies in the Middle East (not un-coincidentally, so was Ben Ali’s Tunisia). Secondly, the reality of Egypt’s political economy during the Mubarak era was very different than the rhetoric, as was the case in every other neoliberal state from Chile to Indonesia. Political scientist Timothy Mitchell published a revealing essay about Egypt’s brand of neoliberalism in his book Rule of Experts (the chapter titled “Dreamland” — named after a housing development built by Ahmad Bahgat, one of the Mubarak cronies now discredited by the fall of the regime). The gist of Mitchell’s portrait of Egyptian neoliberalism was that while Egypt was lauded by institutions such as the International Monetary Fund as a beacon of free-market success, the standard tools for measuring economies gave a grossly inadequate picture of the Egyptian economy. In reality the unfettering of markets and agenda of privatization were applied unevenly at best.

The only people for whom Egyptian neoliberalism worked “by the book” were the most vulnerable members of society, and their experience with neoliberalism was not a pretty picture. Organised labor was fiercely suppressed. The public education and the health care systems were gutted by a combination of neglect and privatization. Much of the population suffered stagnant or falling wages relative to inflation. Official unemployment was estimated at approximately 9.4% last year (and much higher for the youth who spearheaded the January 25th Revolution), and about 20% of the population is said to live below a poverty line defined as $2 per day per person.

Earlier in the article they define neoliberalism, too:

What is neoliberalism? In his Brief History of Neoliberalism, the eminent social geographer David Harvey outlined “a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterised by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade.” Neoliberal states guarantee, by force if necessary, the “proper functioning” of markets; where markets do not exist (for example, in the use of land, water, education, health care, social security, or environmental pollution), then the state should create them.

Guaranteeing the sanctity of markets is supposed to be the limit of legitimate state functions, and state interventions should always be subordinate to markets. All human behavior, and not just the production of goods and services, can be reduced to market transactions.

What connects the protests/revolutions in Egypt and Wisconsin: a common enemy

Greece, more Lies and still more Clues

It is surprising that those who are “managing” the economy are still sticking to the same formulas even though it has been shown that they are failures.  They are tightening their seat belts as they drive the bus off the edge of a cliff.  Much better plan would be to get of the bus!

May 6, 2010, 6:11 am <!– — Updated: 3:52 pm –>

It’s Not About Greece Anymore


The Greek “rescue” package announced last weekend is dramatic, unprecedented and far from enough to stabilize the euro zone.

The Greek government and the European Union leadership, prodded by the International Monetary Fund, are finally becoming realistic about the dire economic situation in Greece. They have abandoned previous rounds of optimistic forecasts and have now admitted to a profoundly worse situation. This new program calls for “fiscal adjustments” — cuts to the fiscal deficit, mostly through spending cuts — totaling 11 percent of gross domestic product in 2010, 4.3 percent in 2011, and 2 percent in 2012 and 2013. The total debt-to-G.D.P. ratio peaks at 149 percent in 2012-13 before starting a gentle glide path back down to sanity.

This new program is honest enough to show why it is unlikely to succeed.

Daniel Gros, an eminent economist on euro zone issues who is based in Brussels, has argued that for each 1 percent of G.D.P. decline in Greek government spending, total demand in the country falls by 2.5 percent of G.D.P. If the government reduces spending by 15 percent of G.D.P. — the initial shock to demand could be well over 30 percent of G.D.P.

ITS NOT ABOUT GREECE ANYMORE. Well, duh was it ever? The riots in Greece were all about the oppression of people by an unjust economic system, and if you don’t believe these words of mine, just look at the pictures in this post from 16 December 2008:  Greece, Clues and Lies

Greece, more Lies and still more Clues

Who links to eee_eff?

Here are some links, also some tumblrs have started to link into eee_eff. And everyone is giving attribution, too. Thank You!

I am intrigued by how fast things spread on tumblr, and how quickly images get posted and reposted, with comments being added in many languages. Clearly an auto-translate feature would be good on tumblr.  Note that even sizenotes tumblr maintained my link to wikipedia article in English, although the blog is all in Japanese:





Who links to eee_eff?