WBEZ | austerity http://www.wbez.org/tags/austerity Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A return to European tribalism? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/return-european-tribalism-99443 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/turkey china.jpg" title="Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan review an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony in Beijing in April. China’s and Turkey’s growing geopolitical influence is challenging Western European and American hegemony. (AP/Vincent Thian)" /></div><p>Editor&#39;s Note: Worldview<em> contributor Robert L. Price was at this weekend&#39;s NATO summit and will blog throughout the week on the summit and sustainability issues. Here, Price observes a new form of European tribalism that may accelerate the</em><em> paradigm shift of</em><em> geopolitical hegemony from the West to the East:</em></p><p>What exists to halt the disintegration of the European Union other than NATO and U.S. patronage?</p><p>As the EU Summit commences Wednesday in Brussels, two of Europe&rsquo;s economic hegemons, France and Germany, did not have their traditional mini-summit ahead of the big meeting. New French President Francois Hollande instead chose to meet with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Paris. But if the European Union is to have a future, its mission must look beyond &ldquo;Smart Defense&rdquo; and a &ldquo;Missile Shield&rdquo; and be an organization that unifies its members.</p><p>European history was once described to me as &ldquo;one tribal region battling another tribal region.&rdquo; But there was a respite once: the economic expansion in the Americas, the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonial unification. This respite unified tribal Europe and sent old world battles to be fought abroad. But in today&rsquo;s post-colonial world, there is no frontier and Europe may be heading back to the tribalism of its past.</p><p>Trends indicate a Europe and America in economic decline. By contrast, Europe&rsquo;s old colonies &ndash;&nbsp; Africa and Asia &ndash; are slowly realizing the wealth of their human capital and natural resources.&nbsp;While these former colonies rise, the European Union has become a contradiction in terms. It can&rsquo;t agree on its boundaries, it can&rsquo;t agree on its members and it won&rsquo;t even pay for its own defense.</p><p>There may be cracks in the wall. In an impassioned plea before the EU Parliament earlier this month, British representative Nigel Farage compared the EU to the Titanic hitting the iceberg. He warned of mass civil unrest, revolution and the re-emergence of Nazism. Farage fears economic disaster could be imminent unless Europe abandons integration. Nigel, a known Euro-skeptic, has been accused of being alarmist. But this time, his comments found resonance with common citizens and became viral on the web. The most iconic moment of his speech came as Farage pointed to the EU&rsquo;s blue flag and said, &quot;I owe no allegiance to that flag, and nor do most of the people in Europe either.&quot;</p><p>Greece&rsquo;s neo-fascist party won seven to eight percent of the vote in recent elections and the country can&rsquo;t seem to form a new coalition government. Neo-fascists and left-wing parties want Greece to follow the British example and return to its sovereign currency, the Drachma. Governments in Spain and other neighbors near economic collapse hear increased cries for a return to sovereign currency. Most troubling is a parallel trend; neo-tribalism fed by increased anti-immigrant fervor.</p><p>Britain&rsquo;s neighbors accused it of &ldquo;tribalism&rdquo; when the country decided to not abandon the British Pound for the Euro. If Europe doesn&rsquo;t get its house in order, the continent will return to tribalism. Past European tribalism was based on human and natural exploitation. The next time around, we don&rsquo;t know.</p><p><em>Robert L. Price is an architect and interior designer based in Shanghai, China. He is Worldview&#39;s arts and architecture contributor and a Global Cities co-contributor. Price also serves as Senior Associate and Technical Director for Asia at <a href="http://www.gensler.com/">Gensler</a>, a global design firm.</em></p></p> Wed, 23 May 2012 10:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/return-european-tribalism-99443 Former U.S. Ambassador J.D. Bindenagel outlines the top 3 issues on NATO summit agenda http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/former-us-ambassador-jd-bindenagel-outlines-top-3-issues-nato-summit-agenda-99295 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NATO%20headquarters%20Flickr.jpg" title="(Flickr/European Parliament)" /></div><p>Thousands of eyes will be on the city of Chicago this weekend as visitors from around the globe gather for the NATO summit&mdash;but few people will get an inside look at the actual meetings. Former U.S. <a href="http://www.depaul.edu/about/administration/Pages/bindenagel.aspx" target="_blank">Ambassador J.D. Bindenagel</a> has been behind the scenes at several NATO summits over the years. And he says that while protesters absolutely help to shape the larger public discussions in the media, they will not impact what&rsquo;s happening around the summit table.</p><p>This summit, Bindenagel says, is about deliverables&mdash;how will the allies implement and execute the strategic concept outlined at the 2010 summit in Lisbon? The strategic concept very clearly outlines NATO&rsquo;s values and strategic objectives for the next decade. It very clearly identifies the alliance&rsquo;s essential core tasks as collective defense, crisis management and cooperative security so that the alliance is able to equip itself, both politically and militarily, in &ldquo;today&rsquo;s transformed security environment.&rdquo; So this weekend is not about mission or strategy, it&rsquo;s about applying the Lisbon plan to pressing global issues.</p><p><em>Afternoon Shift</em> asked Ambassador Bindenagel to take us inside the summit&mdash;and to outline the top three items on the agenda.</p><p>Topping his list, and everyone else&rsquo;s it seems, is the endgame in Afghanistan&mdash;the when and the how. There has been recent confusion surrounding the withdrawal. The alliance committed to maintaining reduced combat force on the ground until the end of 2014 in Lisbon. But Defense Secretary Leon Panetta surprised allies in February when he told reporters that the administration wanted to hand off the lead in combat operations to Afghan security forces by late next year. The change in tune raised more than a few friendly eyebrows, especially since the United States provides nearly 70 percent of the 130,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan.</p><p>Beyond the how and the when, Bindenagel says there are other questions the alliance will be asking themselves: &ldquo;What&rsquo;s next? Are we actually going to be there for stability and reconstruction? What countries will participate?&rdquo; Bindenagel said.</p><p>Second on his list is Smart Defense. NATO&rsquo;s spending strategy is all about building security for less money by working together and being more flexible. But the austerity debate is ramping up in Europe; meaning growth is henceforth reduced and defense budgets are squeezed, which some fear may lead to the demilitarization of Europe&mdash;something Sec. Gates has warned against. And the U.S. definitely does not want to be left with the check at this particular table: Our country spends more than 4 percent of its GDP on defense; the average amongst European countries is just 1.6 percent.</p><p>I was having a bit of trouble understanding &ldquo;Smart Defense.&rdquo; Ambassador Bindenagel told me I wasn&rsquo;t the only one and suggested I check out a recent episode of <em>The Daily Show,</em> featuring his friend and the U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Ivo Daalder. Host John Stewart asked the ambassador how the Smart Defense initiative contrasted to the other defense initiatives we&rsquo;ve used in the past that &ldquo;we didn&rsquo;t think to name as &lsquo;smart.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" height="340" style="font:11px arial; color:#333; background-color:#f5f5f5" width="512"><tbody><tr style="background-color:#e5e5e5" valign="middle"><td style="padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;"><a href="http://www.thedailyshow.com" style="color:#333; text-decoration:none; font-weight:bold;" target="_blank">The Daily Show with Jon Stewart</a></td><td style="padding:2px 5px 0px 5px; text-align:right; font-weight:bold;">Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c</td></tr><tr style="height:14px;" valign="middle"><td colspan="2" style="padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;"><a href="http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-may-8-2012/ivo-daalder" style="color:#333; text-decoration:none; font-weight:bold;" target="_blank">Ivo Daalder</a></td></tr><tr style="height:14px; background-color:#353535" valign="middle"><td colspan="2" style="padding:2px 5px 0px 5px; width:512px; overflow:hidden; text-align:right"><a href="http://www.thedailyshow.com/" style="color:#96deff; text-decoration:none; font-weight:bold;" target="_blank">www.thedailyshow.com</a></td></tr><tr valign="middle"><td colspan="2" style="padding: 0px; text-align: center;"><embed allowfullscreen="true" allownetworking="all" allowscriptaccess="always" bgcolor="#000000" flashvars="autoPlay=false" height="288" src="http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:413986" style="display:block" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="512" wmode="window"></embed></td></tr><tr style="height:18px;" valign="middle"><td colspan="2" style="padding:0px;"><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" height="100%" style="margin:0px; text-align:center" width="100%"><tbody><tr valign="middle"><td style="padding:3px; width:33%;"><a href="http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/" style="font:10px arial; color:#333; text-decoration:none;" target="_blank">Daily Show Full Episodes</a></td><td style="padding:3px; width:33%;"><a href="http://www.indecisionforever.com/" style="font:10px arial; color:#333; text-decoration:none;" target="_blank">Political Humor &amp; Satire Blog</a></td><td style="padding:3px; width:33%;"><a href="http://www.facebook.com/thedailyshow" style="font:10px arial; color:#333; text-decoration:none;" target="_blank">The Daily Show on Facebook</a></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table><p>The third and broadest item on the list has to do with building global partnerships. What role can and should the alliance play in global crisis? Does its commitment to humanitarian efforts supersede its original purview?</p><p>To expand on the final point, <em>Afternoon Shift</em> host Steve Edwards brought Jobi Cates, director of the Chicago and Midwest office of <a href="http://www.hrw.org/chicago" target="_blank">Human Rights Watch</a>, into the discussion.</p></p> Fri, 18 May 2012 12:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/former-us-ambassador-jd-bindenagel-outlines-top-3-issues-nato-summit-agenda-99295 Alfredo Sfeir Younis visits 'Occupy' movement and calls for societal change http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-20/alfredo-sfeir-younis-visits-occupy-movement-and-calls-societal-change-95 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-19/alfredo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chilean economist <a href="http://silentpeacemeditation.com/about-alfredo/">Alfredo Sfeir Younis</a> spent more than 30 years at the World Bank. There he focused on the rights of indigenous peoples, poverty eradication and international trade. &nbsp;</p><p>Along the way he’s also became a Mayan priest.</p><p>These days Alfredo uses his &nbsp;<a href="http://silentpeacemeditation.com/">Zambuling Institute for Human Transformation</a> to combine spirituality and public policy issues.</p><p>Currently he’s on a tour of the U.S. After talking with a range of the “Occupy” movement protestors, Alfredo thinks we must challenge some fundamental values.</p><p>There's no doubt that after our current global economic strife, movements like <a href="http://occupywallst.org/">Occupy Wall Street</a>, the anti-austerity protests in Europe and the Arab Spring present a form of a pushback.</p><p>On this edition of Worldview, we spend the hour with Alfredo to talk about our changing times.</p></p> Tue, 20 Dec 2011 18:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-20/alfredo-sfeir-younis-visits-occupy-movement-and-calls-societal-change-95 Worldview 12.20.11 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-122011 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2011-december/2011-12-16/alfredo1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chilean economist Alfredo Sfeir Younis spent more than 30 years at the World Bank tackling the rights of indigenous peoples, poverty eradication and international trade. Today, Alfredo leads a slightly different life: He's a Mayan priest and president of the <a href="http://silentpeacemeditation.com/" target="_blank">Zambuling Institute for Human Transformation</a>, an organization that works on the connections between spirituality and public policy. On his current tour of the U.S., he's meeting with "Occupy" protesters. Alfredo argues, in order for humanity to thrive, the world must challenge some fundamental ideas of how we order, value and measure our society.</p></p> Tue, 20 Dec 2011 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-122011 Proposed European credit rating agency set to give American “big three” competition http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-21/proposed-european-credit-rating-agency-set-give-american-%E2%80%9Cbig-three%E2%80%9D-com <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-21/german.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>American credit ratings agencies recently downgraded Greece, Portugal and Ireland’s debt to junk status, making it harder for the EU to avoid an economic meltdown. In Europe, there’s growing discontent over these agencies’ unchecked power. Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the creation of a new European credit ratings agency.</p><p><a href="http://www.rolandberger.com/expertise/experts/expert_profile/rbsc-exp-Markus_Krall.html" target="_blank">Markus Krall</a>, an economist at Roland Burger in Germany who's leading the effort, tells us how it would work.</p></p> Thu, 21 Jul 2011 15:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-21/proposed-european-credit-rating-agency-set-give-american-%E2%80%9Cbig-three%E2%80%9D-com With motherland in crisis, Greek-Americans plan visits http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-07/motherland-crisis-greek-americans-plan-visits-88846 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-07/Sklavos.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Lawmakers in Greece this week have passed bills clearing the way for international financial aid crucial to solving the country’s debt crisis. As the Greek parliament has debated austerity measures this week, thousands of protesters have poured into central plazas across the country, sometimes clashing with police. In the United States, many Greek-Americans have watched the turmoil with dismay — wondering what, if anything, they can do to help.<br> <br> Greek-Americans say they have all kinds of feelings about the financial crisis.<br> <br> DAVROS: From resentment to sympathy to embarrassment to anger.<br> <br> Michael Davros is the author of a book called “Greeks in Chicago.” This area is home to as many as 200,000 people of Greek descent.<br> <br> DAVROS: I think that the Greek problem is so monumental that it’s very difficult for any one person to wrap their minds around it.<br> <br> But some Greek-American leaders say they have a way for their community to help out.<br> <br> CHIAGOURIS: Visit Greece.<br> <br> George Chiagouris promotes Greek culture through a fraternal group called the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association.<br> <br> CHIAGOURIS: That is the one way that we can help — by showing [up] there, by spending our money. And have some fun. Visit the sites. Visit the Acropolis, visit all the things that the Greeks have given us for 2,500 years.<br> <br> Chiagouris and his wife have tickets to Greece for next month. And, in an enclave of Chicago restaurants and bars known as Greektown, many others say they’re planning trips.<br> <br> SKOUFIS: My name is Vasilios Skoufis. And I’m working at the Greek Islands restaurant as a maître d'. I’m supporting the country also. I’m leaving the 28th of August. I’m going to go down there. I’m going to spend some money. I’m going to bring some money into the country.<br> <br> Greece’s tourism chief in the United States says his country expects a 10 percent boost in income from American visitors this year. That’s after a slump during the recession. It will take a lot more than tourism to deal with Greece’s debt. The government is planning big spending cuts, tax hikes and sales of state assets. And Maria Sklavos is not convinced so many Americans will flock to Greece. She manages Pegasus Restaurant in Greektown.<br> <br> SKLAVOS: People here that do have money, I think they do travel and they try to find the time to travel to Greece every year. Most of them do have houses. They have property. I don’t think spending money on vacation is going to help the economy of Greece. Financial crisis or not, they’re already going to go.<br> <br> Davros, the author, points to ongoing unrest in the country.<br> <br> DAVROS: There are not going to be too many people traveling to Greece if they see Athens going up in smoke. Riots have a deleterious effect on tourism. It’s just kind of natural.<br> <br> Tourists willing to brave any protest could face other issues, including work stoppages. Visitors this week have had to contend with a general strike honored by everyone from ferry drivers to air-traffic controllers.</p></p> Thu, 07 Jul 2011 19:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-07/motherland-crisis-greek-americans-plan-visits-88846 Former IMF official says Greece should default and drop the Euro http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-07/former-imf-official-says-greece-should-default-and-drop-euro-88838 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-07/greece1.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Eurozone finance ministers and economists from around the world now argue over the best solution to Greece’s spiraling economic crisis. Some want more rigorous austerity measures, while others believe Greece should default on its debt and abandon the Euro. <a href="http://www.aei.org/scholar/72" target="_blank">Desmond Lachman</a>, former deputy director at the International Monetary Fund in its Policy Development and Review Department, tells us why he favors the latter. Desmond is now Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. His most recent article on the Greek debt crisis is <a href="http://www.american.com/archive/2011/july/a-tale-of-a-euro-exit-foretold" target="_blank">“A Tale of a Euro Exit Foretold”</a> in <em>The American</em>.</p></p> Thu, 07 Jul 2011 16:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-07/former-imf-official-says-greece-should-default-and-drop-euro-88838 With motherland in crisis, Greek-Americans plan visits http://www.wbez.org/story/motherland-crisis-greek-americans-plan-visits-88603 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-30/Sklavos.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Lawmakers in Greece this week have passed bills clearing the way for international financial aid crucial to solving the country’s debt crisis. As the Greek parliament has debated austerity measures this week, thousands of protesters have poured into central plazas across the country, sometimes clashing with police. In the United States, many Greek-Americans have watched the turmoil with dismay — wondering what, if anything, they can do to help.<br> <br> Greek-Americans say they have all kinds of feelings about the financial crisis.<br> <br> DAVROS: From resentment to sympathy to embarrassment to anger.<br> <br> Michael Davros is the author of a book called “Greeks in Chicago.” This area is home to as many as 200,000 people of Greek descent.<br> <br> DAVROS: I think that the Greek problem is so monumental that it’s very difficult for any one person to wrap their minds around it.<br> <br> But some Greek-American leaders say they have a way for their community to help out.<br> <br> CHIAGOURIS: Visit Greece.<br> <br> George Chiagouris promotes Greek culture through a fraternal group called the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association.<br> <br> CHIAGOURIS: That is the one way that we can help — by showing [up] there, by spending our money. And have some fun. Visit the sites. Visit the Acropolis, visit all the things that the Greeks have given us for 2,500 years.<br> <br> Chiagouris and his wife have tickets to Greece for next month. And, in an enclave of Chicago restaurants and bars known as Greektown, many others say they’re planning trips.<br> <br> SKOUFIS: My name is Vasilios Skoufis. And I’m working at the Greek Islands restaurant as a maître d'. I’m supporting the country also. I’m leaving the 28th of August. I’m going to go down there. I’m going to spend some money. I’m going to bring some money into the country.<br> <br> Greece’s tourism chief in the United States says his country expects a 10 percent boost in income from American visitors this year. That’s after a slump during the recession. It will take a lot more than tourism to deal with Greece’s debt. The government is planning big spending cuts, tax hikes and sales of state assets. And Maria Sklavos is not convinced so many Americans will flock to Greece. She manages Pegasus Restaurant in Greektown.<br> <br> SKLAVOS: People here that do have money, I think they do travel and they try to find the time to travel to Greece every year. Most of them do have houses. They have property. I don’t think spending money on vacation is going to help the economy of Greece. Financial crisis or not, they’re already going to go.<br> <br> Davros, the author, points to ongoing unrest in the country.<br> <br> DAVROS: There are not going to be too many people traveling to Greece if they see Athens going up in smoke. Riots have a deleterious effect on tourism. It’s just kind of natural.<br> <br> Tourists willing to brave any protest could face other issues, including work stoppages. Visitors this week have had to contend with a general strike honored by everyone from ferry drivers to air-traffic controllers.</p></p> Wed, 01 Jun 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/motherland-crisis-greek-americans-plan-visits-88603