Toward a Common European Corporate Tax and Full EU Fiscal Capacity: Four Scenarios

March 18, 2017

Corporate tax has fallen dramatically (tens of percent) in most countries. In addition, large multinational companies engage in aggressive tax planning, which further reduces tax revenues by at least a hundred billion euros a year in the EU. The EU has not been of any assistance in overcoming the tax war between member states. If anything, the tax “competition” has been more severe in Europe than elsewhere or globally. At the same time the EU itself is in a legitimation crisis and its disintegration threatens to continue. The EU would need full fiscal capacity and proper fiscal policies in order to improve economic developments and make a real and positive difference to the lives of its citizens. A common European corporate tax could be an opportunity to hit two birds with one stone.

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Plan B in Copenhagen in November 2016

November 26, 2016

Each of the three Plan B “summits” in 2016 has echoed the viewpoint of its organizers. In Paris in January 2016, left-wing parties favouring euro-exit dominated the discussions. In Madrid in February 2016, also DiEM25 and many other non-governmental organizations and movements such as Attac were a visible part of the main programme (my report in Finnish here and talk in English here). As a result, conversations in Madrid were more diverse than in Paris, often involving the development of mixed and complex ethico-political positions. Madrid was also by far the largest of these events.

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Anwar Shaikh’s Capitalism: A new foundation for economic theory?

July 30, 2016

What follows is a short review of Anwar Shaikh’s (2016) Capitalism. Competition, Conflict, Crisis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 979 p. Shaikh’s book attempts to provide a radical alternative framework for understanding modern economies, covering systematically the main topics of both orthodox and post-Keynesian heterodox economic theory. Given the ambition and scope of the book, my review is limited to describing and assessing Shaikh’s undertaking as a whole, bearing in mind the mutual dependency of parts and whole, and the related hermeneutic circle. A text can only be understood through its parts and against our horizons of understanding, which should stand open to fusion and change in the process. It goes without saying that I have learnt a lot by reading Shaikh’s magnum opus.

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The European Union at the crossroads

June 24, 2016

The euro and EU austerity policies have turned out more resilient than I expected (to use ironically a term that is so much part of the dominant discourse). During the euro crisis, free market policies and the principles of austerity have tightened their grip over member states. Challenges to neoliberalism and tendencies towards disintegration have been contained by the unity of the elites in Brussels, by various ad hoc rescue packages, and by tactics that come close to divide-and-rule. Following the open but failed rebellion of Syriza, Greece was turned into a de facto protectorate.

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