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Geography Archives: Hungary

GroKo Politics: No Change of Key in Germany

Some suggested the German “Word of the Year” should be “whistleblower” — in the Denglish language here breezily called “Neu-Deutsch” (“New German”).  But chosen instead was “GroKo,” headline shorthand for “Grosse Koalition,” a term used constantly during three months of wrangling between Germany’s two biggest parties, once seen as “irreconcilable foes,” to form a nice […]

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The Resistible Rise of a New One-Party System

Conversation in Germany these days, when not about soccer, dealt often with beef which was part horsemeat, high-priced organic “bio” eggs which weren’t all they claimed to be, or, in thrilling, moving detail, the last weeks, days, and hours of the one and only German Pope (since 1058 A.D.). Also under often heated debate was […]

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Do We Oppose the Anomalies of Capitalism or Capitalism Itself?

  Q. Can you comment on increased public outrage regarding acts of corruption and strivings towards achieving what is considered normal functioning of the capitalist system? A. The question is: Do we oppose the anomalies of capitalism or capitalism itself?  Corruption is vastly overrated.  Of course, it can reach proportions in which even the normal […]

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Democracy Instead of the Fiscal Treaty!  We Need a Different Approach to Tackle the Crisis, and a Different Europe

  Spring 2012.  Merkel and Sarkozy rush from summit meeting to summit meeting, in order to save the euro.  The yellow press smears the people of Greece.  The struggle over a solution to the crisis is intensifying dramatically: by early 2013, an authoritarian-neoliberal alliance of business lobby groups, the financial industry, the EU Commission, the […]

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Tough on Euros, Weak on Nazis

Hurray!  Merkel won the day!  It took a long night of backroom bargaining, but except for that Tory, David Cameron, all European Union members agreed to save the euro, save the economy, save the world!  It had been on the brink of disaster, Sarkozy warned on the eve of the meeting: unless we reach agreement […]

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The Mystery of Invisible Terrorists

“Ten murders traced to neo-Nazi terrorists!”  More and more ugly facts splashed through the German media, with echoes around the world.  Politicians from the “respectable” parties expressed shock and surprise.  In 2007 a German policewoman had been shot to death and her colleague badly wounded.  The murder weapon was now found in a partly burned-out […]

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Before October: The Unbearable Romanticism of Western Marxism

Most Western Marxists suffer from a deep resentment: they have never experienced a successful communist revolution.  For some unaccountable reason, all of those successful revolutions have happened in the ‘East’: Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, China, Vietnam and so on.  And none of the few revolutions in the ‘West’, from Finland to Germany, […]

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Germany’s Euro Trilemma: Interview with Yanis Varoufakis

Yanis Varoufakis is a prestigious economist who heads the Department of Economic Policy at the University of Athens.  From 2004 to 2007 Varoufakis served as economic adviser to George Papandreou.  Author of several books on Game Theory, Varoufakis is also a recognized speaker and often appears as guest analyst for news media such as the […]

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Standard and Poor’son Riskiness of US Debt

On April 18, Standard and Poor’s (S&P), one of three “rating companies” that control that industry, revised its outlook on the safety of long-term US debt from “stable” to “negative.”  There are only two reasonable reactions to this announcement, although the usual business and political leaders are promoting their usual spins. We may dispense quickly […]

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Is There a Tahrir Square in Washington?

Egyptians are celebrating the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, as I write.  Inshallah they will celebrate for a long time to come.  But leaderless crowds are not well placed to govern.  The triumph of the Egyptian people leaves the military in control.  Let us hope that Egyptians will find no reason to share the complaint of […]

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The C-word in Germany

Once again it was the annual big weekend for German leftists of every conceivable persuasion.  It was also a weekend with tons of slush, the result of weeks of cold and snow now ending in thaw weather, but, in the eyes of most participants, also provided by most of the media. As every year, Sunday […]

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Speaking of Islam: An Orwellian Story

A few metres from my office at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury area is the Senate House of the University of London, a remarkable neo-classical colossus of a building which functioned as the headquarters of Britain’s ministry of information, where George Orwell worked occasionally during the second […]

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The IMF and Economic Recovery: Is Fund Policy Contributing to Downside Risks?

Introduction The IMF’s most recent World Economic Outlook (WEO) projects world economic growth will slow, from 4.8 percent in 2010 to 4.2 percent next year.  Throughout the report, there are numerous concerns expressed about the “fragility” of the global economic recovery.  The Acting Chair of the Executive Board states that “[t]he recovery is losing momentum […]

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Wilhelm Weitling, the First German Communist

‘The founder of German Communism’ is how Engels describes Wilhelm Weitling (Engels 1975 [1843], p. 402).1  It is not a name that comes immediately to mind when considering the origins of modern communism, but he, a diligent student of the Bible, was an early comrade of Marx and Engels and deserving of greater recognition for […]

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The Enigma of Capital and the Crisis This Time

Paper prepared for the American Sociological Association Meetings in Atlanta, August 16th, 2010. There are many explanations for the crisis of capital that began in 2007.  But the one thing missing is an understanding of “systemic risks.”  I was alerted to this when Her Majesty the Queen visited the London School of Economics and asked […]

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Distribution of Voting Rights among World Bank Directors in 2008

How Does the World Bank Function?

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) was established at Bretton Woods in July 1944, at the initiative of forty-five countries that had come together for the first monetary and financial conference of the United Nations.  In 2010, it had 186 member countries, with Kosovo its latest addition (it joined in June 2009). The […]

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