Systemic “Alternatives”: On Ordoliberal Rule in Europe and the Corruption of the Left
Published in Spazio Filosofico
This essay is an attempt at assembling readers in an ambitious and perhaps even problematic undertaking, namely that of critiquing systemic, pro-capitalist alternatives, without proposing in detail any alternative, whether systemic or anti-systemic/anti-capitalist. It starts by defining the concept of “alternative” via a debate within the Italian Left; then, it moves on to examine Keynesianism and ordoliberalism – a peculiar form of neo-liberalism – as two systemic alternatives, the first applying mostly to Anglo-American contexts and the latter to German-Austrian ones. The focus is on how Germany, by having the strongest economy in Europe, managed to transplant its own ordoliberal model of capitalism in the EC/EU via the Treaties, binding all EU members to an ordoliberal economic/normative constitution – the so-called acquis communautaire. By combining historical and theoretical narratives, we also explain how the social democratic, pro-Keynesian European Left has been corrupted by ordoliberalism adopting all of its major policy tenets, the result being loss of legitimacy in times of crisis and the rise of the xenophobic, extreme Right. We conclude by arguing that a genuine anti-systemic alternative must start from home, by way of regaining, among others, what Antonio Gramsci used to call “popular-national”.
Γιατί η πατρίδα είναι μία
September 17, 2020
In this debate with George Ekonomakis of Patras University over the Greek-Turkish crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean, Vassilis argues that the concept of “homeland” pertains to an ontological-historical unity and criticises Ekonomakis that, drawing from Lenin, sees “two homelands”, that of labour and that of capital.
Neoliberalism and Ordoliberalism: One or Two Critiques? An Introduction
Authors: Vassilis K. Fouskas, Shampa Roy-Mukherjee
Published in Critical Sociology
This special issue addresses principally, but not exclusively, two themes: first, the differences and similarities between two stylised and separable, but not separate, class policies – that of Anglo-American neo-liberalism and German-Austrian ordoliberalism; and second, whether or not European Union Treaties and actual policies have been driven by German-Austrian ordoliberal principles. By way of examining these two themes, the contributions also tackle other important questions and puzzles, such as the wider impacts of those policies on society, or the tensions created between theoretical postulates and the practical implementation of them, or why neo- liberalism proved to be so resilient after the global financial crisis of 2007–2008. They also endeavour to place these discussions in wider, global contexts. Our introduction provides a comprehensive summary of the arguments developed by the contributors and poses some further questions setting out a new research agenda in the field of critical sociological and economic studies.
Neoliberlaism and Ordoliberalism: A Critique of Two Forms of Imperialism and Authoritarianism
Author: Vassilis K. Fouskas
Published in Critique
Imperialism is primarily driven by a combination of public policies and accumulation regimes taking place within the domestic environment of the imperial state itself. As an international policy, however, imperialism aims at transforming other states’ socio- economic and political orders, especially in the global periphery and semi-periphery, by way of transplanting its own class model prevailing in the metropolitan home. The two most important stylised and separable, but not separate, public policies of our times are that of Anglo-American neo-liberalism, which drives post-Bretton Woods globalisation/ financialisation, and that of German-Austrian ordoliberalism, which guides the process of European ‘integration’. The argument advanced here is that (Anglo-American) neo- liberalism and (German-Austrian) ordoliberalism are not stand-alone domestic policies, but are instead consubstantial with imperial undertakings. The former project is wider and truly global in scope, whereas the latter is dominating the EU/Eurozone and its immediate periphery (the Balkans/Eastern Europe and the MENA region). In this context, the article puts forth a qualitative critique of both public policies as imperial policies of domination, transformation and exploitation, buttressing regimes of permanent austerity and authoritarianism at home and permanent war and devastation abroad.
Austerity and Growth in Europe: Germany’s Impossible Mission
Authors: Vassilis K. Fouskas, Shampa Roy-Mukherjee
Published in Croatian Political Science Review
This article provides a critique of neo-liberal, supply-side austerity policies as they unfold asymmetrically in the EU/Euro-zone and beyond. The main argument advanced is that, contrary to claims by the European Commission and Germany’s elite, growth and austerity are incompatible policy magnitudes. The Euro-zone constitutes the worst form of Gold Standard from which countries cannot escape and advance the imperative of domestic growth as external devaluation and import-substitution are no-options. The article shows neo-liberal austerity is currently being implemented via authoritarian forms of governance from above while cultivating racist and xenophobic movements from below.
The Greek Workshop of Debt and the Failure of the European Project
Authors: Vassilis K. Fouskas, Constantine Dimoulas
Published in Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies
Much has been written on Greece’s sovereign debt crisis and the disintegrative tendencies of the EU in conjunction with the global financial crisis that hit the West since summer 2007. This paper reviews the most important contributions to the debate and advances an original analysis as to what the sources of the Greek debt crisis are and what steps should be taken in order to get out of it. The argument put forth is that responsibility for the country’s debt should be placed squarely on Greece’s two main parties ruling the country since 1974 (New Democracy and PASOK) in conjunction with the Euro-Atlantic political elites, the inter-section of which is straddled by a comprador-cum-financial oligarchy Greek-style. In addition, as the two ruling parties pick up their pieces from political and electoral debacles, the urgent political task of the Greek and the European Left is a policy of socialist seisachtheia.
Περιγράμματα μιας αγγλοσαξονικής κρίσης
Authors: Vassilis K. Fouskas
Published in Θέσεις (Positions)
This article focuses on the global financial crisis of 2007-10. Written in Greek in 2009 and published in the journal Θέσεις in 2010, the article views the crisis as a continuation of the stagflation of the 1970s since the (average) rate of profit in western economies failed to recover under the new regime of neo-liberal globalisation, gradually introduced in the wake of the collapse of the Bretton Woods system.