41 thoughts on “How Europe Sees Itself”

  1. I was at the Gstaad Palace hotel recently and was told that the basement of the building was used to store gold during the second world war. The Swiss had thoughtfully reached an agreement with the Germans so the hotel was never sacked.

  2. How the citizens see Europe would be a challenging but interesting survey to conduct.

    From where I am standing, it develops into a besieged by Lobbies, ‘cash for laws’, totalitarian bureaucracy that acts on behalf of too powerful vested interest groups, and not the idea of a European society at large. The unhealthy and overwhelming power of the essentially right wing EPP, European Peoples Party, that dominates since years the political landscape top down in Europe, and leads all three, Council, Parliament and Commission, is a reflection of this totalitarian bureaucracy. For example:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parties_in_the_European_Council

    The disconnect of ‘politicians’, a very mediocre cicvil servants quality at best, to the electorate is extreme and the global financial heist hast unmasked the political forces at play.

    The ‘system’ itself is crumbling on all fronts, the social fabric quickly dissolved in the acid of immorality and laws that serve the few and not the many. The enemy number one…. the citizen.

  3. I don’t get the Darth Vadar one. The Markets see Germany as some kind of all powerful jackboot? I thought they see it as the pot of gold beneath the rainbow?

  4. so the Dork and David O’Donnell are one and the same (and often having conversations with yourself too…)

  5. @ ObsessiveMathsFreak

    I think that it’s supposed to signify that the markets see Germany as the evil leader of an empire that is in danger of collapsing due to pesky rebellious Jedi forces threatening to overthrow it.

    That’s my professional analysis of the diagram anyway! It’s not just that Germany is powerful, but that the markets don’t like Germany’s policies when it comes to dealing with the euro area’s fiscal crisis.

  6. “Oh wad some power the giftie gie us
    To see oursel’s as others see us!
    It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
    And foolish notion”

    ..ah if only!

  7. @Peter Stapleton
    nice but who is the yellow flag at the boyyom right.
    @Dork
    Just in case you missed it Peters link also contains a Venn diagram illustrating the shared etc chracteristics of nerds, geeks, dweebs and yes dorks! I found this interesting comment on that one (in some disagreement with the diagram):

    “….First of all, there are plenty of geeks that are stupid as all hell. Nerds I can respect, because at least they’re smart and I can connect with them on that level, but geeks, god-damn, all you need to be a geek is a lack of social skills and an obsession with anime- right where “dork” happens to be. Geeks are the most rampant of the subspecies, visible everywhere- cities, suburbs, malls (not farms, you’ll notice. Nothing that requires actual practical skills.) Wheras dorks, from my point of view, are at least kind of charming and lovable because they’re so… dorky. Dorks do have social skills, sort of, they’re just of a different flavor than most- but they’re inoffensive and non-threatening, while the B.O. or shrill voice of your typical geek is enough to threaten an entire restaurant. Hearing a dork go on and on about some subject can be cute; hearing a geek go on and on about anything makes you want to swallow arsenic… “

  8. @Sarah
    I didn’t think we even started.
    Maybe we turned the corner 4 times and are back where we started.

  9. @AMcGrath
    Amazingly accurate………………
    I would recommend the greimas semantic rectangle incorperating the Greek Humors (choleric; melancholic; sanguine; phlegmatic). & adding extrovert-introvert and stabile-labile types as seen on this Geeks manual – Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.
    Scroll down near the bottom of this blog and you should see the diagram.

    emptypath.wordpress.com/2008/06/
    It pretty much describes all personality types in my opinion – although It was damn hard to find the diagram – which is a shame – it should be more wildly known.

  10. Ben Goldacre has an excellent weekly column in The Guardian, ‘Bad Science’, which I’m sure lots of contributors read.

    This week he explains Benford’s Law, and looks at research using it on European countries’ economic data.

    Any of the number crunchers here care to put Benford’s Law to use on any other Irish economic data?

    ‘The special trick that helps identify dodgy stats’

    http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2011/09/16/how-europe-sees-itself/#comments

  11. Off topic…but here’s a really neat Vox article on EU debt. It suggests to simply create a feel floating mutual fund for all EZ countries, which at least would insulate against future debt problems. I’m not entirely sure how it would work in practice, as for the substituent sovereigns to be priced individually, would seem to require a significant proportion of their debt to be issued solo, outsisde the fund.

    http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/7001

  12. (Guardian) “…but a decision on releasing the next tranche of cash would not be taken until October. The move was met with incredulity by Greek officials. ”

    Er, what the Greeks did/do is met by incredulity by the rest of Europe. Greece is the new Eurotrash.

    October is not a very long kick of the can (must have been a Johnny Sexton kick). It has now become obvious they weren’t going to meet the conditions over the next couple of weeks so they are desperately buying time in the hope that someone can come up with an idea about what to do next. Having introduced a property tax payable via the electricity bill last Sunday I wonder what stunning announcement awaits us tomorrow.

    Of course, they could get their own back by introducting a sun-lounger tax if they really wanted to get back at the Germans – and double payment for anyone who puts their towel on the sun-lounger before breakfast!

    Greece is toast by November or will the ‘social fabric’ of the country unravel before then?

  13. Great idea, the sun lounger owners may charge the tax but I seriously doubt they’d pass it on. I stayed in a lovely little place on the island of Paros this year, I asked for a reciept one day for the craic and the propriter, with a checky grin, explained he generally only gives them out one week of the year, the week he expects a visit from the tax man. Speaking of the islands, I wonder how much you’d get for one, they have plenty and the Germans are already there.

  14. @PR Guy
    You could bright about the sun lounger tax.

    (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou canceled a planned visit to the United States on Saturday to deal with a deepening crisis at home, days before international inspectors arrive to go over fiscal shortfalls.

    Papandreou was in London, en-route to attend United Nations and IMF meetings, when he decided to turn back after discussing developments with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, government officials said.

  15. A pity there’s now image of how Europe sees Italy.
    How would you the incumbent Prime Minister – as a whoremaster?

  16. Should have read:
    A pity there’s no image of how Europe sees Italy:
    How would you envisage the incumbent Prime Minister – as a whoremaster?

  17. @ceterisparibus
    My understanding is the finance ministers in Poland today agreed to include the possibility of a sovereign default in bank stress tests.

    Greece is toast.

    Sent from my iMoan

  18. WSJ:

    “Despite the recently announced property tax, aimed at collecting some EUR2 billion, Greece’s creditors, particularly some of its EU peers, are pushing for more sustainable measures that include immediate cuts in the number of public-sector employees and faster steps on its privatization plan, according to a source.

    Meanwhile, Greece’s public servants are preparing for a showdown with the government. They announced Friday a 24-hour strike on Oct. 6 to protest planned cuts in special benefits and entitlements to supplement the basic salaries of the country’s 750,000 civil servants.

    Earlier Saturday, Venizelos warned of “catastrophic” consequences for Greece if economic governance doesn’t improve, adding that meeting budgetary targets and securing the viability of public debt isn’t enough to get the country through the crisis.”

    This can be viewed as writing on a computer screen – or on a wall.

    It looks as though the hard-line tendency in German politics have looked at the property (or is it electricity) tax and said:

    “We are not falling for that, get real.”

    What this does to German politics is beyond my competence. Where is DOCM?

  19. My favorite is Greece on Greece – martyr yeah right – grow up Greece – you’ve spend your future – now buck up – pay your taxes and dig yourself out of the hole you got yourself in

  20. @Sarah Carey

    What’s your view of the Greek PM returning to Greece mid-flight (well, in transit in London anyway) yesterday Sarah?

    I’m not sure they’ve got any rabbits left to pull out of the hat.

  21. @PR Guy

    I’m a believer in the “worse is better” approach.

    It’s the car crash that is Greece that will force the EU to act, ultimately in our interest. And they are bigger than us…..

    Erratic behaviour from people with bigger debts than us makes us look rational and may force Merkozy’s hand.

    But I do feel like door-stepping Noonan and saying “Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaase don’t pay those bonds!”

    We’ve got the IMF on our side. It’s got to be worth a try.

  22. @Sarah Carey

    Yes, recent activity certainly seems to suggest they are considering ways to make Ireland/Portugal’s debt more ‘sustainable’ (rate cuts etc.). If you’re going to have to have the car crash that is Greece, best to do what you can to contain the possible contagion affects and to do that before you ‘engineer’ it happening – which is what the past couple of weeks appear to have been leading up to.

    Agree with you Sarah – paying these bondholders is nuts and I will make a contribution to the new thread later about who on earth are the evangelists (they defend bondholders, banking, etc. with the most incredible zeal and it seems to go against the laws of capitalism and acceptance of risk) in the ECB doing everything in their power to defend the indefensible and why they are doing it.
    The word ‘captured’ comes to mind.

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