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About Starcrossed

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  1. It's much bigger than that - the confluence of politics, finance, economics and international affairs is potentially toxic. I hope I'm wrong.
  2. It is possible for one part of a currency union to be richer than another. But in order for the inequality to be sustainable in the long run, the political and legal structures must be strong enough to withstand the pressures from within, alongside provision of some redistribution of wealth. The mission statement of a nation state in fact. I don't want the European project to fail, being sympathetic towards the post-war rhetoric about avoiding another war. But the inexorable logic of the single currency is proving more likely to drive people apart than to bring them together.
  3. Let's remember that the Reformation started in what is now Germany. The Lutheran emphasis on individual responsibility and the corresponding emphasis on sin and personal salvation go deep in not only the German soul but also countries with a similar faith history such as Finland and Sweden. A further observation about the Reformation is that it originally loosely followed the boundary of the Roman Empire. Which, perhaps not coincidentally, also foreshadowed the economic and political split in the Euro area. France is an interesting case because while Gaul was resolutely part of the Roman Empire, the French Revolution brought rationalist philosophy into this Catholic country giving the French a dualistic mindset which may help explain why France flits between the 'North' and 'South' and can't quite decide it's own identity in the economic debates. This may seem like a crude yardstick to apply to the way nations behave but ideas have deep roots and make people and history what they are.
  4. Watching all this play out I wonder whether the inability to hate and blame the USA post-Bush has played a part in Europe turning on itself instead. European countries are increasingly seeing 'enemies within' from whichever side of the fence they sit on debt. Dangerous trends and times that will take a generation to play out.
  5. Really excellent article. It has changed my opinion on this whole mess.
  6. The Syriza bluff has been called. Really I think it is as simple as that. If they were playing supreme game-playing strategy they wouldn't be in such confusion about what to do after the referendum. They are out of their depth, having assumed that by blackmailing the creditors with the threat of contagion they would win the game. Utter fail on their part. And now they claim they are being blackmailed by Merkel...well it takes one to know one.
  7. The key words here being 'pure science' and 'belief'. Both loaded terms at the best of times and difficult to handle in an environment when every word is micro-analysed and judged. Being human almost everything we say is somewhere between the two extremes but we aren't good at forgiving other people for having the same traits as us.. And that's particularly true in academic disciples where ego and competitiveness appears to rule.
  8. Well possibly, but the choice is that either the libertarian rhetoric is a total sham or it is real and has paradoxically given us an even more dependent society than we had before.
  9. A curious paradox about the philosophical shift towards 'personal responsibility' since the 80s: The State gives freedom to individuals to make their own decisions. To enable this the State promises ever greater safety net provision. This confers ever-greater moral hazard. The end result being that the State is needed more than ever before - for instance, bank bailouts, increased deposit guarantees, QE, guaranteed universal state pension etc etc.
  10. Sanctions, an energy war and the threat of Putin's expansionism may perversely be a good thing for long-term strategic thinking in Western Europe (esp. UK) Energy independence, a more balanced economy and structural improvements would all be sensible priorities in the current environment. Oh, b*gger, just remembered, that isn't going to happen.
  11. Fair enough, I've read enough Chomsky to have a theoretical sympathy with your opinion. But in practice I also grew up with an instinctive hatred of the jackboot. And that's where I'm coming from here.
  12. Going by his own principles, then, as shown in The Crimea, is Putin going to withdraw from his Moscow palace and go and live somewhere he is 'wanted' like the Siberian steppe? No, of course not. He operates by the logic of power which is get what you want however you can get it, whether it is by controlling the media, suppressing dissent, using military force and everything in between. Of course 'stability' and appealing to national pride gets him some votes but it is not a free country. Nowhere near.
  13. Good work sir, bringing back to house prices. I salute you
  14. I agree that we should not (and anyway don't have the capacity to) intervene militarily. But I don't agree with the moral equivalence being shown by some here and elsewhere. Russia is invading another country and if I was Poland or Finland with their histories and Russian speaking minorities I would be very worried indeed.
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