The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Perhaps the Only Thing Cameron Will Ever Do That I Agree With

was to tell Merkel to take a long leap of a short pier, and refusing to sign on board for European control of member state’s fiscal policies.  Such control in the current context (forced austerity) is a recipe for outright, extended depression.  Cameron may be throwing Britain into depression all on his own, but not signing away control to Germany (and be clear, in this context, European means German) was the right thing to do, even if he did it for what appear to be all the wrong reasons.

As a friend of mine quipped, who thinks Europe should have a common currency.  “By common currency, however, I don’t mean everyone using the EuroMark.”

The insistence on policies which everyone knows, and which even straightforward macro-economics shows clearly, will throw Europe into a semi-permanent depression is rather remarkable.

Oh well.


Why MF Global Collapsed


There’s a hardly a “progressive” alive who isn’t a moron or a sellout


  1. Celsius 233

    The only thing/s that give me solace are Iceland and the rest of most of the world; they’re fed up with our bullshit and aren’t taking it any more……………………..maybe………………..hopefully…………..

  2. “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

    And once again England stands alone against Europe conquered by Germany. The world waits with bated breath, will America come to the rescue?

    Okay, I know that was silly, but I couldn’t resist.

  3. Tom Hickey


    See my post EU lesson on impact of currency sovereignty on national sovereignty at MikeNormanEconomics for context.

  4. 😉 I s’poze it’s no coincidence that your name is Welsh and you’re agreeing with a (not-so-great) Briton! Ian, I miss your posts. They’re so infrequent these days. I hope it’s because you have a real life outside of this blog, and not that you’re so disconsolate about the world economy (my circumstances) that you can barely manage getting out of bed every morning.
    Stay with us!

  5. mike

    In order to validate the theory that the Euro has something to do with recessions or depressions one would have to prove that: 1) there were no recessions or depressions in Europe prior to the Euro, and 2) that nations that do not use the Euro have not experienced any recessions or depressions. In point of fact, there is no evidence to support either of these suppositions. Both the US and the UK, to take two examples, have their own currencies, yet their economic circumstances are just as bad, if not worst, than the countries in the Eurozone. Despite having its own currency the US is in a serious depression that will almost certainly last longer than the European recessions. And Cameron is leading the UK into economic armageddon, to put it mildly, with things getting worse by the day. The reality is that national currencies, in particular the pound, franc and mark, have a very well documented history of instability that has often contributed to recessions and depressions. A simple review of the economic history of the 1930s would make this very clear. The stability of the Euro during this economic crisis contrasts most markedly with the instability of the national currencies during the 1930s, and has certainly significantly ameliorated the current situation. The danger of a lasting depression in Europe is primarily associated with the possibility of getting rid of the Euro and returning to the instability and chaos that has long been a hallmark of national currencies.

  6. Ian Welsh

    No, you wouldn’t have to prove either of those things. The rest of your comment consists unsupported assertions which are wrong or inapplicable (this isn’t equivalent to the 30s yet, for example and stability of the currency per se is not the point), and I don’t care to waste time on them. I’ll agree that Cameron is leading the UK into economic disaster, but that has nothing to do with this decision.

    This also isn’t just about the Euro, England isn’t part of the Euro and wasn’t going to join it, it is about giving up fiscal policy control. This is a pact whose explicit end is to force countries not to run deficits beyond a certain level. In the current economic circumstances, that is bugfuck insane.

  7. Linda

    Hopefully The Brits are keeping a close eye on P.M. Cameron. Cameron is under the control of P.M. Harper. They have been meeting regarding, the dirty tar oil going to England.

    People should read: Harper is a Reformer, and founded the Northern Foundation Party. They said, the skinheads assisted Harper to, organize his fascist party. This was in 1989.

    Canada’s young boys, fought for England so we wouldn’t have any fascist dictators in our country’s. Six members of my family were in that war Mr. Cameron. Harper is a low life snake in the grass. His favorite henchman, ex BC Premier Gordon Campbell, has the dirtiest, most corrupt and foul political record in Canadian history. Because Campbell has no morals nor ethics either, he is the High Commissioner to England. Both Harper and Campbell, are conning England into the dirty tar oil. We can fully understand the British views, that Cameron has no backbone. Both Harper and especially Campbell, are well known for their, very dirty tactics.

  8. Mike, please tell me you are a troll, because I can’t believe such ignorance is not intentional. If you are sincere, I suggest you take some lessons in basic logic before you apply your limited intellect to economics.

  9. beowulf

    “Both the US and the UK, to take two examples, have their own currencies, yet their economic circumstances are just as bad, if not worst, than the countries in the Eurozone…”

    This is just cartoonishly wrong. The Eurozone countries are far worse off because they’ve given up control of their fiscal, monetary and exchange rate (i.e. international trade) policies. The US and UK are badly governed true, but they can change course. The Eurozone just threw its steering wheel out the window.

    Back to reality… Cameron did the right thing and its astonishing that the rest of Europe was surprised that he did. A political leader obeying the wishes of his electorate over that of Angela Merkel? Scandalous!

  10. Formerly T-Bear

    The Prime Minister of Britain Cameron is an elite twit. It appears that the EMU (European Monetary Union) was placing a tax on financial transactions (understand high velocity trading) as a means to contain and control the financial markets. Cameron owes his position (as does Obama) to the financial “industry” and pulled his veto snit. Granted there is no other opposition to the Merkel/Sarkozy attempted political coup to direct the common currency and impose austerity upon the economies of Europe, a la “The Shock Doctrine” where the banks, glutted with bailout cash will be buying every public asset in sight. Max Keiser’s take on Cameron is about as unvarnished as it can get, worth the 4 min 40 sec of the link:

    all of which opinion can likely be supported. Cameron sold out British interests to protect his banker owners. Evil means to evil ends remains unavoidably evil.

  11. Nav

    The only thing/s that give me solace are Iceland and the rest of most of the world; they’re fed up with our bullshit and aren’t taking it any more……………………..maybe………………..hopefully…………..

    The whole point of the American military machine is to make sure that they put up with it whether they want to or not. ‘Oderint dum metuant.

  12. Ian Welsh

    Cameron did the right thing. He did it for the wrong reasons, but it was the right thing.

  13. Katherine Calkin

    Am I the only one who thinks that it’s crazy for a country to sign any binding treaty at a time when the entire global economy is suspended over a pit of alligators? Any disasterous outcome we could imagine might well happen. I think countries should be nimble now and not chained to carrying out someone elses solutions.

  14. Celsius 233

    Ian Welsh PERMALINK*
    December 11, 2011
    Cameron did the right thing. He did it for the wrong reasons, but it was the right thing.
    Thanks for the link:

    Nightmares of a one world government; we humans just can’t seem to grasp anything just out of our sphere of influence; thus the impotency of all of the “Springs”.
    We think our revolts and occupy movements will make a difference; but they won’t. It’s all happening within a framework defined by our rulers; sort of like a child throwing a tantrum in it’s playpen. Who cares what happens in there? So far nobody’s gotten outside of the playpen.
    The future is no future at all unless we wake up from this self-deluded construction/contraption of our own making; and, we’re nearly there.
    Slavery, on a scale not witnessed in our own stupid, short, and destructive history.
    I’m glad I’m old; but when I can step back and look, truly look; it’s fascinating.
    We really think we’re smart…

  15. Mark G

    Want to echo Celius233 (and Ian in earlier thread’s), Iceland points the way of people and government’s taking control. Interesting interview today on CBC’s Sunday edition with PM of Iceland and that country’s recovery in the face of the IMF (and English & Dutch blackmail):

  16. Celsius 233

    December 11, 2011
    The whole point of the American military machine is to make sure that they put up with it whether they want to or not. ‘Oderint dum metuant.
    “Let them hate so long as they fear”.
    Yes, but I like;
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn;
    “Don’t believe them, don’t fear them, don’t ask
    anything of them.”
    We’re still looking for the 2nd coming. Klatu or Christ; take your pick…

  17. Formerly T-Bear

    There is a fabulous line from fiction that applies to these comments:

    What we have here is a failure to communicate

    except the failure is not of sight but of language, the effect of babel where ability to be understood is constrained by the individual perception of not only the writer but that of the reader as well. Sometimes it helps to find other sources outside the immediate framework of the discussion that present tangental, parallel or contrarian points of view that illuminate what is usually a complex if not multidimensional subject being discussed. Where I may agree with the need for some contrarian position to the enforced uniformity presented by the Merkel/Sarkozy economic juggernaut, I do not agree with exempting the financial services of The City (or Wall Street) exempt from taxation and control as the veto by Cameron provides. It is a position that neither position is supportable in any rational sense. If this makes for further misunderstanding, what may be occurring is a fundamental failure of language to function (as would be expected after decades of assault by propagandists and merchandisers) in conjunction with the dysfunction of education.

    An interesting parallel can be found in The Independent this morning:

    A map of political Europe over time was linked in a prior post. That comment indicated that only two second tier european economies were still in the hands of contrarian mindsets (this case Socialist) that had small influence over the direction of any political or economic affairs, all other possible contrarian positions were either removed by coups (Greece) or reactive elections (Spain) or obstacles to effective takeover (Berlusconi in Italy) also by coup. No effective resistance to neo-capitalist political suzerainty over governmental powers now exists in either Western power edifice (U.S. or European Union). Cameron only shows the underlying fissure in an otherwise consolidated monolithic ideology. That too will change.

  18. This is a case where suspect motives lead to better outcomes. Cameron’s motives were bad: he wanted to protect the City of London from long-overdue limits. The outcome was still the better one, since signing sovereignty over to not-so-closeted “Austrians” is in many ways worse than simply letting things drift.

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