-down policymaking agendas and ‘business friendly’
policies while at the same time refinancing the state and
recognising the limits of government as we know it.
The third and final section takes us to next steps and argues
that everyday practice can begin to make hope practical. In
the world as it is, change will not begin with some miraculous
alignment of our four preconditions. But radical change does
not wait for this kind of utopia. We do not have to ask permission to start a local foundational experiment tomorrow, from
which can come learning and political mobilisation that
The well-being of Europe’s citizens depends less on individual consumption and more on their social consumption of essential goods and services – from water and retail banking to schools and care homes – in what we call the foundational economy. Individual consumption depends on market income, while foundational consumption depends on social infrastructure and delivery systems of networks and branches, which are neither created nor renewed automatically, even as incomes increase. This historically created foundational economy has been wrecked in the last generation by privatisation, outsourcing, franchising and the widespread penetration of opportunistic and predatory business models. The distinctive, primary role of public policy should therefore be to secure the supply of basic services for all citizens (not a quantum of economic growth and jobs). Reconstructing the foundational has to start with a vision of citizenship that identifies foundational entitlements as the conditions for dignified human development, and likewise has to depend on treating the business enterprises central to the foundational economy as juridical persons with claims to entitlements but also with responsibilities and duties. If the aim is citizen well-being and flourishing for the many not the few, then European politics at regional, national and EU level needs to be refocused on foundational consumption and securing universal minimum access and quality. If/when government is unresponsive, the impetus for change has to come from engaging citizens locally and regionally in actions which break with the top down politics of ‘vote for us and we will do this for you’.
Greece’s borrowing rose
to 8.1%, from 6.5% 20 days earlier. According to the newspaper Ta Nea,
the decision to have recourse to the support mechanism was taken on the
afternoon of Thursday 22 April subsequent to the agreement reached between
the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, and after a telephone call
from the latter, Giorgos Papaconstantinou, to the US Secretary of the Treasury,
Timothy Geithner. Geithner warned ‘that if one more day were lost it could
prove catastrophic’ and that Greece ‘had no reason to wait’.3 It is difficult
to understand why the
to secure foundational revenue and capital investment; and,
finally, create hybrid political alliances for change to drive
public policy on the basis that government is not always benign
These conditions indicate a clear direction of travel and
the good news is that radical change does not wait upon
perfect alignment of political preconditions to deliver the four
shifts. The chapter ends with a proposal for local and regional
experiments which would make the foundational visible,
debatable and actionable, and which can gain momentum
and scale if
for waiting, a ‘return for abstinence’. Such claims could gain some theoretical foundation in the early marginal utility theorists’ understanding that future utility is discounted against the present (see e.g. Fisher 1907 ). To save is to forgo current utility and reap its equivalent reward. But, amongst other things, Keynes’s views on uncertainty undermine any such calculus. The future is unknown and unknowable, and the more distant the future, the more uncertain it becomes. Most fundamentally, waiting cannot be generative. Interest cannot be a reward for waiting
Sarkozy, and the Chancellor of Germany,
Angela Merkel, met on 9 October in Berlin to develop a mutually acceptable
solution to these concerns. No substantive progress was made. In a common
statement they indicated they would continue discussions aimed at achieving an
3/13/2014 1:56:42 PM
More hitches 141
all-encompassing and sustainable strategy for the recapitalisation of European
banks and the fiscal union of the Eurozone. As to the Greek problem, both
sides agreed to wait for the Troika’s report on the sustainability of the debt
before taking any
ominous precedent, which
might encourage other nations to seek a comparable solution to their sovereign
The Greek government did not appear to hold a clear position. It neither
defended the existing agreement of 21 July, nor advocated a deeper haircut.
Either it did not want to antagonise the Greek banks, or else it was waiting
for information on the wider ramifications of any such proposal, for instance
on how the recapitalisation of the banks would be financed. On the Prime
Minister’s return from Brussels, on 14 October, the newspaper Ta Nea
introduced, it did not fulfil the
grandiose claims previously made and it had virtually no impact. Most retail
businesses refused to acquire the special terminals for the tax card to work, and
most citizens realised that they were encumbered with processes and waiting
time when they used it. Taxpayers feared that the amount of their purchases as
registered through the tax card could be used against them as proof of income
higher than what they had declared. Thus the tax card fell into disuse.
Criticism of the government was dealt with by assigning responsibility for
their immediate pleasure, entrepreneurs can be reckoned to suffer a loss of utility for which they are entitled to an equivalent return, a ‘reward for waiting’. For Marshall, costs include this ‘rate of remuneration for waiting [which] … is an element of cost as truly as effort is’ ( 2009 : 291, 4). With this sleight of hand, the very real rabbit which is profit is pulled out of the theoretical hat of the marginalists’ own fertile imagining.
Any idea of exploitation would be anathema, but Marshall does seek to integrate production and exchange, insisting on a
more time, most probably up to the end of 2011,
provided the Greek side takes measures that the Commission finds convincing’.
This is indicative. The crisis did not wait for 2011. It had arrived, dramatically, in
9 See D. Mitropoulos, ‘How the deficit sank us’, Ta Nea, 17–18 March 2012.
10 Vasilis Zeras, Economiki Kathimerini, 29 November 2009, p. 3.
11 During the period of preparation for the 2004 Olympic Games it fluctuated around
45% of GDP, despite increased expenses. Average expenses from 1990 to 2007 were
around 44.6% of GDP.