Sven Böll and Maria Marquart:
Will the election of right-wing populists in Finland derail the euro rescue package? A Helsinki veto would indeed be expensive for the rest of the euro zone, particularly for Germany. Experts are also warning that other European countries may follow suit if Finland decides to pull out of the euro bailout.
Across the 17-member euro zone, government heads had a hunch April 17 might not be a very good day for the future of Europe. The strong ballot box performance of the euroskeptic True Finns means it is very likely the party will be part of the next government. It appears that a country long seen as an EU anchor may soon become a source of irritation for Brussels and in capitals across the bloc.
During the election campaign, True Finn party head Timo Soini lashed out repeatedly against the European Union and bailout plans for debt-ridden euro-zone members. Bolstered by an election that saw the party more than quadruple its standing, with 19 percent of the vote, an emboldened Soini remained vocal on Monday, saying it was unacceptable that Finland “must pay for the mistakes of others.” And that “the content of politics must change. We have been too soft on Europe.”
Global capitalism isn’t working for the American middle class. That isn’t a headline from the left-leaning Huffington Post, or a comment on Glenn Beck’s right-wing populist blackboard. It is, instead, the conclusion of a rigorous analysis bearing the imprimatur of the U.S. establishment: the paper’s lead author is Michael Spence, recipient of the Nobel Prize in economic sciences, and it was published by the Council on Foreign Relations.
Spence and his co-author, Sandile Hlatshwayo, examined the changes in the structure of the U.S. economy, particularly employment trends, over the past 20 years. They found that value added per U.S. worker increased sharply during that period – 21 per cent for the economy as a whole, and 44 per cent in the “tradable” sector, which is geek-speak for those businesses integrated into the global economy. But even as productivity soared, wages and job opportunities stagnated.
The take-away is this: Globalization is making U.S. companies more productive, but the benefits are mostly being enjoyed by the C-suite. The middle class, meanwhile, is struggling to find work, and many of the jobs available are poorly paid.
Pro crony-capitalism is different than than pro market.