Zoe Lefkofridi at Greek Debt Talks – Is another Europe still possible?

Zoe Lefkofridi, Joint Jean Monnet – Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute, invited speaker at our Summit on the economization of the political project of a European Union, was invited to “The Debate” on FRANCE24 TV station on 9 July 2015.

Among the participants was economist James K. Galbraith, son of John K. Galbraith. He co-authors books with Yanis Varoufakis. He was connected by videoconferencing from the USA.

Watch the videos here: part 1 | part 2

See here her recent articles: Exclusive Solidarity? The Radical Right & the Welfare State | Transcending or Descending? European Integration in Times of Crisis

Zoe is pointing at the consequences of a birth defect of the EU. It started as a region in economic terms, while the political integration has remained an issue quite underexposed. Jürgen Habermas writes that the crux of the problem is that politicians in Brussels and Berlin refuse to encounter their colleagues from Athens as politicians. They look like politicians but speak only in their economic role of creditors. The purpose of this transformation into “Zombies” – Habermas’ own words – is to make the protracted insolvency of a state appear as a non-political issue, an issue to be disputed before the courts under private law (http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/europa-sand-im-getriebe-1.2532119). Whereas the sociologists of the 60s and 70s talked about “state-embedded markets”, the neoliberal paradigm conjures up “market-embedded states” (so Hauke Brunkhorst in: Weil Europa sich ändern muss, Springer 2015). Democracy has to conform to the markets, as Angela Merkel put it, and not the other way round. This dogma has proven conducive to a reanimation of nationhood within the EU, as Gesine Schwan, presidential candidate of the SPD in 2004 and 2009, concluded in an interview (https://www.freitag.de/autoren/jan-pfaff/politik-wird-durch-zwang-ersetzt).

In the showdown around the Memorandum with Greece the German government has demonstrated its ugly face. Economist Paul Krugman calls it a “coup” (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/killing-the-european-project/?_r=0) and he is in good company: other Nobel prize winners such as Joseph Stiglitz or Amartya Sen share the assessment that the dictate of austerity is counterproductive to economic growth and democracy.

If social information processes are distorted to such a degree that essential issues easy to understand can’t be resolved in a co-operative manner, the collective intelligence is not mature enough to usher in an information society worth its name. And the question is: Is another Europe still possible?

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