Former member of European Parliament Steve McGiffen reveals what he sees as the true purpose of the uniting of Europe under the euro currency, via Spectrezine:
Where I differ from much progressive criticism of the euro is that I actually see [the current crisis] not as proof of massive incompetence, but, in fact, as [purposeful]. The euro’s purpose was not to facilitate the creation of a Europe of transfrontier love, peace, harmony, boosted trade and economic efficiency, but to attack the economic, social and political gains of working people, accumulated over two centuries in the most bitter struggles. What is happening in country after country, starkest of all in Greece, Ireland and Portugal, but also in Britain, is nothing less than the opening salvoes of a new, more intense and more dangerous phase of class war.
If governments and national banks give up the economic leverage they gain from an ability to determine their own levels of spending and borrowing, if they can no longer decide interest or exchange rates, they will have only one means left to maintain or enhance competitiveness: our wages, our pensions, our welfare rights, our children’s education, will all have to cost less – this is of course what has since been called ‘internal devaluation’. These predictions have of course been borne out since 2008, as the banks and their obedient servants in governments and in Brussels have dragged the whole of Europe into an unprecedented economic crisis.
I’m not an economist and can only quote the views of economists I respect, such as Weisbrot, but anyone can see from reading the debate that a range of alternatives exists. Yet every EU member state government has chosen, to one degree or another, the path of austerity. The question therefore is why? And for me, this is the real issue raised by this crisis. In the late 90s I was active in the campaign to stop the introduction of the euro. If you look at what I was saying, as well as material put out by Tom Megahy, the Labour Euro-MP for whom I worked until his retirement in 1999, or the Dutch Socialist Party, which I worked for after that, you’ll see that our predictions for what would be the single currency’s results were uncannily accurate.
Now I can’t really believe that all of those highly-qualified economists who advise the Commission and the ECB were simply too stupid to see what was obvious to our side of the argument. From this I can only conclude that they knew what would happen as well as we did, but saw this not as something to be avoided, but as an opportunity to complete the work of the neoliberal ascendancy. Austerity in this scenario is not something forced upon the political elite by previous mistakes or bad luck, but rather the latest stage in a plan to transform the European economy by destroying the welfare state.