The European Project is dead

When the GFC emerged and confirmed what Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) proponents had been predicting for more than a decade, I initially thought that this might be the ‘paradigm-shift’ line in the sand with respect to economic theory and policy. The OPEC oil price hikes in the 1970s provided the ‘space’ for Monetarism to usurp Keynesian thinking – not as a triumph of evidence and facts but as an ideological shift in thinking. The ideological battle had been going on for three decades in the academy but the oil crises exposed policy flaws in the Keynesian orthodoxy that were exploited by the Monetarists to allow them to reintroduce ideas (and policies) that had been completely discredited during the Great Depression of the 1930s. In the same that the dominant paradigm collapsed in the 1970s, I thought the GFC would so destroy the public credibility of Monetarism’s latest iteration, which we call neo-liberalism, that we could find intellectual space to restore rigor to economic policy and the way economics was taught in the universities. I even thought that the pragmatic and dramatically successful use of fiscal stimulus in most advanced countries would provide the empirical reinforcement necessary to repudiate and expunge neo-liberalism forever. I was wrong. But what the GFC has achieved as neo-liberalism hangs onto the reigns of power in policy making circles is a major breakdown of the so-called ‘European Project’. The creation of ‘Europe’, which was conceived after World War 2 as a means to maintain peace and create prosperity among previously hostile nations, was a major human achievement in the C20th. That vision is now in tatters as the neo-liberals, blinkered by their own Groupthink, steadily dismantle the meaning and application of that great Post WW2 experiment. Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman would be turning over in their graves to see what their ‘Project’ has become under the domination of Wolfgang Schäuble and his lackeys in the Eurogroup. So we might see the demise of neo-liberalism after all as it destroys the grand European political project

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