Google+ Badge

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Στρατόπουλος : "Η ακτινογραφία του Ασφαλιστικού"

Η ακτινογραφία του Ασφαλιστικού | Protagon.gr

"Σε 14 ενότητες όλα όσα θεμελιώδη πρέπει να γνωρίζουμε για το Ασφαλιστικό μας σύστημα: οι δυσλειτουργίες και τα αίτια της κατάρρευσης, η ιστορική εξέλιξη των βασικών μεγεθών από το 1995, τα σημερινά οικονομικά και δημογραφικά στοιχεία, οι μελλοντικοί κίνδυνοι, η σύγκριση με άλλες χώρες. ...." 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Ethnographies of Austerity: Temporality, Crisis and Affect in Southern Europe

Ethnographies of Austerity: Temporality, Crisis and Affect in Southern Europe

Daniel M. Knight & Charles Stewart



We argue for the empirical study of crisis that captures the decisions or non-decisions that people make, and the actual temporal processes by which they judge responses. We conclude that modern linear historicism is often overridden in such moments by other historicities,
showing that in crises, not only time, but history itself as an organizing structure and set of expectations, is up for grabs.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

J.Baron & E.McCaffery :Thinking About Tax (pdf)

via Stian Reimers in Commentary : "When it comes to tax, how do we decide what’s fair?" 



Baron-McCaffery-2006.pdf

"This article reports the findings of several experiments about perceptions of various
aspects of tax-law design. The authors find that people are vulnerable to a wide
range of heuristics and biases in evaluating public finance systems, leading to
inconsistent judgments and evaluations. These errors in judgment are specific
instances of a more general isolation effect, whereby people respond quickly to a
decision or choice set, focusing on salient aspects while ignoring or underusing
logically relevant information that is not immediately before them. In tax and public
finance, this tendency to make decisions as if with blinders on is problematic. As a
result of it, skillful politicians can manipulate public opinion, and tax system design
can be volatile on account of the possibility of eliciting preference reversals through
purely formal rhetorical means. More troubling, the findings suggest a likely and
persistent wedge between observed and optimal public finance."

Friday, April 8, 2016

Peter Bofinger : "Two views of the EZ Crisis"

Two views of the EZ Crisis: Government failure vs market failure | VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal

Diagnosing the EZ Crisis is a critical first step towards developing a consensus on how the monetary union should be fixed. This column contrasts views that place the blame mostly on markets with those that place the onus on governments. The fixes necessary for the survival of the euro are – correspondingly – more ‘market discipline’ or ‘political discipline’ exerted at the European level. Neither is very attractive, but it should be clear that ‘market discipline’ is not a mechanism run by atomistic players. Global wealth is highly concentrated, so market discipline means, de facto, a regime of plutocracy.

See also Causes of the Eurozone Crisis: A nuanced view

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. In the midst of a crisis, it is of course very hard to understand causality. This column uses the benefit of hindsight to present a nuanced view of the causes of the Eurozone Crisis as seen by members of the German Council of Economic Experts. To prevent the same crisis happening again, the Maastricht Treaty needs to be revitalised to enhance the future stability of the Eurozone and relieve the ECB of its role as crisis manager. 

Thomas Palley : "Inequality, the financial crisis and stagnation: competing stories and why they matter"

Palley74.pdf

Abstract

This paper examines several mainstream explanations of the financial crisis and
stagnation and the role they attribute to income inequality. Those explanations are
contrasted with a structural Keynesian explanation. The role of income inequality
differs substantially, giving rise to different policy recommendations. That highlights
the critical importance of economic theory. Theory shapes the way we understand the
world, thereby shaping how we respond to it. The theoretical narrative we adopt
therefore implicitly shapes policy. That observation applies forcefully to the issue of
income inequality, the financial crisis and stagnation, making it critical we get the story
right.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Tsipras -> Lagarde -> Tsipras

Tsipras ' letter to Lagarde

Oh c'mon, it's just a little gentle arm-twisting | World News |Axisoflogic.com



Lagarde;s letter to Tsipras:
IMF: Press Release No. 16/149 April 3, 2016

Jim Brunsden and Kerin Hope cover the story for the FT




Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, has hit back at Greece over claims that the IMF is seeking to push the country towards default, describing the idea as “nonsense”.
In a terse letter to Alexis Tsipras, Greek prime minister, Ms Lagarde defended IMF staff who have found themselves at the centre of a furore over a leaked transcript of a teleconference where they discuss difficult bailout negotiations.
Mr Tsipras has argued the leaked transcript of the mid-March call, which was published by WikiLeaks, raised the question of whether Athens can continue to deal with two officials on the call, Poul Thomsen, head of the IMF’s European bureau, and Delia Valculescu, who oversees the Greek programme for the IMF. But Ms Lagarde said her team “consists of experienced staff who have my full confidence and personal backing”.
Ms Lagarde falls short of accusing Athens of being responsible for spying on her officials, but she warns Mr Tsipras that “it is critical that your authorities ensure an environment that respects the privacy of their internal discussions”.
The row was prompted by comments recorded in the transcript where the IMF officials express frustration about the EU’s slow progress in granting debt relief to Greece. They mention that eurozone governments have in the past left important decisions until the Greek government was on the point of bankruptcy.
Greece has publicly interpreted the remarks as a plan by the IMF to prolong negotiations on whether to take part in eurozone’s latest bailout of the country until July, when the Greek government is faced with its next big debt payment. The logic would be that the impending deadline would give the IMF more leverage, allowing it to extract concessions out of a reluctant Germany on the debt relief that the IMF believes is essential for Greece’s long-term recovery.
The episode prompted an emergency meeting of senior Greek ministers on Saturday, and led Mr Tsipras to write to Ms Lagarde the same day to express his “deep concerns”. In his letter, he says that what is at stake is nothing less than “whether Greece can trust, and continue negotiating in good faith” with the IMF.
Ms Lagarde, in her reply, warns that the Greek reaction to the transcript has itself damaged mutual trust.
“This weekend’s incident has made me concerned as to whether we can indeed achieve progress in a climate of extreme sensitivity to statements of either side,” she writes. “On reflection, however, I have decided to allow our team to return to Athens to continue the discussions.”
In a further swipe at Greece’s handling of the affair, Ms Lagarde writes that the IMF “conducts its negotiations in good faith, not by way of threats, and we do not communicate through leaks.”

In depth



A logo of the Euro in front of the European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt
News and analysis of the single currency bloc’s fragile recovery as it attempts to regain competitiveness in the wake of the sovereign debt crisis and its struggles with austerity

Further reading
Despite the competing interpretations over the transcript of the teleconference, it remains the clearest sign to date that the fund wants to leave Greece’s €86bn rescue to the EU alone and wash its hands of a programme that has led to a torrent of criticism.
According to the document, Mr Thomsen at one point suggested confronting Angela Merkel, German chancellor, to either agree to debt relief or allow the IMF to exit.
Ms Lagarde confirms in the letter that, in her view, Greece is “still a good distance away from having a coherent program that I can present to our executive board.”
“The real fight here is between Germany and the IMF; Greece is a mere spectator,” said Mujtaba Rahman who heads European analysis at Eurasia Group. “As no IMF means no more bailout, Germany will ultimately support debt relief, it really has no other choice.”
Several observers in Athens said they suspected the Syriza government could be behind the leak of the transcript.
“The government’s reaction suggests it’s trying to manufacture a crisis to make the fund pull out of the Greek programme, hoping to make a deal on easier terms with the EU,” said Miranda Xafa, a researcher with the Centre for International Governance Innovation.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

"In Search of the Perfect Health System" by Mark Britnell

EUROPP – Book Review: In Search of the Perfect Health System by Mark Britnell

Mark Britnell is one of the UK’s most knowledgeable health management professionals, with boundless enthusiasm for healthcare and a mission to encourage countries to collaborate for the benefit of patients and citizens in general. In Search of the Perfect Health System is a series of essays based on his observation of health systems around the world, from which he distils the global challenges that we face. This is an admirable objective, and Mike Pym argues that this practitioner’s perspective is both a timely and accessible study for anyone with an interest in the healthcare field.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

WikiLeaks - IMF Internal Meeting Predicts Greek 'Disaster', Threatens to Leave Troika

via TO ΒΗΜΑ: Wikileaks: Αποκαλυπτική συνομιλία Τόμσεν-Βελκουλέσκου για την αξιολόγηση

WikiLeaks - IMF Internal Meeting Predicts Greek 'Disaster', Threatens to Leave Troika

Tim Worstall at Forbes thinks that "Wikileaks Release Is Pretty Much What We All Knew Anyway"

Peter Spiegel 's column at CNBC  and his FT Column

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights.http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a1da4afa-f8b8-11e5-8e04-8600cef2ca75.html#ixzz44ggIXciQ
The International Monetary Fund is considering forcing Germany’s leadership to quickly grant wide-ranging debt relief for Greece or allow the Fund to exit Athens’ bailout programme after six years, according to a transcript of an internal IMF teleconference published by WikiLeaks.
The teleconference, between the head of the IMF’s European operations and its top Greek bailout monitor, is the clearest sign to date that the Fund wants to leave Greece’s €86bn rescue to the EU alone and wash its hands of a programme that has led to a torrent of criticism.
During the call, which occurred just two weeks ago, Poul Thomsen, head of the IMF’s European bureau, notes that Berlin is under intense political pressure because of the refugee crisis and suggests confronting Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, to either agree to debt relief or allow the IMF to exit.
German officials have repeatedly said they could not participate in Greece’s bailout without the IMF on board, and senior members of the Bundestag have warned Ms Merkel they would reject new eurozone loans to Greece if only EU authorities were monitoring the programme.
“Look, you Ms Merkel, you face a question, you have to think about what is more costly: to go ahead without the IMF? Would the Bundestag say, ‘The IMF is not on board’?” the transcript quotes Mr Thomsen as saying to his staff. “Or [does Ms Merkel] pick the debt relief that we think that Greece needs in order to keep us on board? Right? That is really the issue.”
The IMF said it would not comment on “supposed reports of internal discussions.” But it noted that it has long pushed for “a credible set of reforms matched by debt relief from [Greece’s] European partners.”
One official involved in the talks said the transcript accurately reflected Mr Thomsen’s private and publicly-stated views, albeit in “more direct and colourful language.” Many of the points raised by Mr Thomsen in the call have been made publicly on his IMF blog.
Greek officials, however, reacted angrily to the revelation, arguing it was evidence the IMF was “blackmailing” Germany on the debt relief issue. 
“We will not allow anyone to play with fire and blackmail Greece or Germany or Europe,” said a senior Greek official. Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, was meeting with his cabinet on Saturday to decide how to respond and was expected to talk to Christine Lagarde, the IMF managing director, later in the day.
The IMF teleconference came just days after Wolfgang Schäuble, the powerful German finance minister, publicly said he was opposed to Greek debt relief — despite the fact eurozone leaders agreed to restructuring last July at a high-drama EU summit that agreed to a third bailout programme.
In the past there has been only one time when the decision has been made and then that was when they were about to run out ofmoney
- Poul Thomsen, IMF
The transcript shows IMF officials fretting that despite public claims, eurozone leaders wanted to move quickly to agree debt relief — which has long been an IMF demand, since Mr Thomsen believes Greece cannot survive economically without a large-scale restructuring — a decision will probably be delayed until July, when Greece is faced with its next big debt payment.
“What is going to bring it all to a decision point? In the past there has been only one time when the decision has been made and then that was when they were about to run out of money seriously and to default,” Mr Thomsen is quoted as saying. “And possibly this is what is going to happen again. In that case, it drags on until July.”
But Mr Thomsen notes that in addition to causing instability in Greece, a drawn-out deliberation on debt relief is politically dangerous for the EU because it will coincide with strife prompted by the refugee crisis and play out at the same time as Britain’s June 23 referendum on EU membership.
“Clearly the Europeans are not going to have any discussion a month before the Brexit [vote] and so, at some stage, they will want to take a break and then want to start again after the European referendum,” Mr Thomsen says.
Olga Gerovasili, a Greek government spokesman, said the statement showed Mr Thomsen was pushing for a Greek default before the British referendum in June.
"The Greek government asks the IMF for explanations whether pursuing the creation of bankruptcy conditions in Greece, just before the British referendum, is the Fund's official position,” Ms Gerovasili said.
A spokeswoman for Ms Merkel declined to comment. Berlin is likely to play down the reported remarks and avoid inflaming the political tensions surrounding the Greek rescue. The government is expected to remain very sceptical about deep debt cuts for Athens: it has repeatedly argued that these do not have to be on the immediate agenda as Greece has already been granted debt relief for the next few years.
Berlin will however be keen for the IMF to stay involved in the rescue, as the Bundestag’s support for the package depends on continued IMF financial backing.
Ms Merkel is also concerned to avoid undermining support for the EU in the UK in the run-up to the referendum. She has said that British membership is not only in UK’s interest but also Germany’s and the whole EU’s.
Although much of the transcript reiterates well-known IMF positions on Greece, it lays out in clear detail the profound differences between Mr Thomsen and the European Commission, and highlights the IMF’s belief that Brussels no longer has any credibility in judging Greece’s fiscal and economic performance. The IMF and the commission are the bailout’s two leading monitors and have clashed for months over how to proceed with the programme.
Delia Velculescu, who oversees the Greek programme for the IMF, is quoted showing frustration with the European Commission’s backsliding on reforms required by Athens and says eurozone finance ministers should be forced to decide whether to accept the IMF’s pessimistic view of the bailout’s likelihood of success or a more optimistic view from Brussels. 
“They need to take a stand on whether they believe our projections or the commission’s projections,” Ms Velculescu says.
Despite Greek anger over the disclosure, the transcript also shows the IMF arguing on Greece’s behalf, saying it wants to ease off tough budget surplus targets and grant Athens significant debt relief — both policies Mr Tsipras has long asked for.
“I hope for the sake of the Greeks we are going to find a solution soon,” Mr Thomsen says.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Κώστας Μποτόπουλος : "Τι διακυβεύεται" | Μεταρρύθμιση

Τι διακυβεύεται | Μεταρρύθμιση

...εμφανίστηκε καθαρά η εξής αντίληψη για τους θεσμούς και το Κράτος: ή μας υπηρετείτε, ή σας κάνουμε να μας υπηρετείτε. Αντίληψη απέναντι στην οποία η θεσμική και πολιτική αντίσταση συνιστά χρέος.