Publication Economic / Social Policy - International / Transnational - Europe / EU - Analysis of Capitalism - Europe - what's left The financedominated Regime of accumulation and the crisis in Europe

Analysis by Alex Demirović und Thomas Sablowski.

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Series

Analysis

Authors

Alex Demirovic, Thomas Sablowski,

Published

September 2013

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There is no consensus among the ruling classes on the correct way of dealing with the crisis or how to continue with Europe. Should the euro be defended? Would it not be better to split up the eurozone or give up the euro completely? Should the European Central Bank (ECB) buy unlimited amounts of government bonds or would this simply encourage irresponsible spending, policies that lead to debt and pave a direct path to inflation? Will austerity policies help us overcome the crisis, or would a more Keynesian policy of investment be more appropriate? How should austerity measures and measures that stimulate growth be balanced? Would it be better to return to the nation state and its  competencies, or move towards deeper European integration? How generously should competencies be transferred to the European Commission and the ECB? Should debtor countries such as Greece or Cyprus be rescued or would it be better to have an option for the insolvency of states and not only for banks?

The left cannot remain indifferent to this situation. Until now the left has maintained a (quite unsuccessful) defensive position based around the slogan: “We won’t pay for your crisis”. Many analyses have provided good and quite technical advice on how the crisis might be brought under control; not that the powerful and the ruling classes are likely to listen. Even if they were to listen, it is not clear whether this would bring the crisis under control. This leads us to the question of the emancipatory aspects of the crisis: crises always open up new possibilities; it is clear that what has been taken for granted cannot continue. Currently this emancipatory potential has been relegated to the background, because solutions to the crisis tend to provide momentum for nationalist divisions.

Left-wing analyses have also portrayed the problem as one between Germany and Greece; or between France and Germany etc. Merkel’s government appears as a taskmaster forcing austerity policies on other European states. Furthermore, the left also finds it hard to convey its criticism of European crisis policies in the light of Germany’s relatively stable economic and political situation.

In the following we analyse the current constellation through the lens of the finance-dominated regime of accumulation. The contradictions that emerge are specific to this regime and reproduce themselves at ever-higher levels because the regime itself is not called into question. This thereby extends the crisis to ever more social relations. It is against this background that we intend to assess the policies that have been developed by the left and the social movements faced with the current situation. (...)

Content

  • Simplistic visions of the crisis
  • The connection between industrial, interest-bearing and fictitious capital
  • The global, finance-dominated regime of accumulation and its contradictions
  • Characteristics of the crisis of the finance-dominated regime of accumulation
  • The crisis cycle and the multiple crisis
  • European crisis policies and their contradictions
  • Germany and the crisis in crisis management
  • What should be done?
  • Bibliography