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Introduction: Too much welfare? Some European countries, namely the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) have lived beyond their capabilities. Too much welfare and too many social expenditures led to an increasing public debt. It is now time to impose some discipline over these “spendthrift” states, in order to force them to tighten their belts and put order into their public accounts. Markets, objective and impartial, are the best judges. The spread therefore becomes the benchmark for evaluating the reliability and the effectiveness of public policies.
The last paragraph could roughly sum up the vision of the European crisis provided by the Troika (European Commission, ECB and IMF). In order to verify the exactness of such interpretation, let’s observe the trend of public debt in recent years. . . .

Contribution to the 3rd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Venice in 2012.