Yves here. As much as John Weeks covers important ground in explaining how the Eurozone’s fiscal orthodoxy produces right wing policies, he overstates the commitment of the ruling Italian coalition’s interest in leaving the Eurozone. The first candidate for finance minster, Paolo Savona, walked back a great deal of his firebrand talk even after he was muscled out of the role. His replacement, Giovanni Tria, has gone to some lengths to tell Mr. Market that the Italian government has no plans to ditch the Euro.
By John Weeks, Professor Emeritus of the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and author of Economics of the 1%: How Mainstream Economics Serves the Rich, Obscures Reality and Distorts Policy. Originally published at Triple Crisis
There seems some disagreement as to whether Nero played the violin or the harp as Rome burned in AD 64. Whatever happened 1554 years ago, there was considerable complacent fiddling in Brussels after the 4 March Italian election. To replace the centrist government of neoliberal Matteo Renzi Italian voters cast 60% of their ballots for two anti-EU parties, the aggressively xenophobic coalition of Lega neo-fascists and the anti-immigrant 5 Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle, M5S).
Confounding the hope and expectation of the EU elite, this pair formed their misbegotten government in Rome in April. The anti-EU rhetoric of these two parties, plus their promise to breech EU budget rules – end fiscal austerity – ended the fiddling and set off alarm bells.
The EU elite quickly moved to prevent this anti-establishment government from rocking the