Conspiracy theories suggest powerful making most of the crisis

THERE is a conspiracy theory gaining ground in Brussels these days on what the Greek debacle and its fallout is really all about.

The Bilderberg group with its annual private meeting of over 100 guests influential in the world of politics and business from Europe and the US is being credited with masterminding it.

It would help explain how the leader of the largest EU country could be apparently so silly as to give investors and credit rating agencies control of the economic destinies of whole countries. But whatever the truth of this theory, it is increasingly believable that powerful actors are taking advantage of the situation.

The situation has become so serious that finance ministers last week allowed themselves to be signed up to a range of measures the experts in the euro working group prepared.

If agreed by the euro country prime ministers at this Thursday’s summit, they should influence the fate of the taxpayers of Ireland, Portugal and Greece in battling their individual crisis.

People are asking why it is taking so long. Is it really about domestic politics? Could Germany and the other Triple A rated countries be so silly to think that beggaring their fellow eurozone states will improve their prospects?

People are asking why EU leaders have handed so much power to the credit rating agencies. The public debate on whether Greece may be allowed to default has upset even those investors who may pay little attention to the ratings agencies.

It seems a strange economics that cuts the ability of the majority to purchase. But its also part of the rationale in the austerity programmes for Ireland, Greece and Portugal. Competitiveness is defined in terms of cutting wages and then of social welfare payments for the unemployed. It’s being currently echoed by Labour party ministers talking about the dole being a lifestyle choice.

At the same time the countries have signed up to increase the sustainability of pensions, health care and social benefits. Nobody questions that a country must be able to afford these benefits. But it appears to place all the responsibility on workers and none on the corporate world.

It is increasingly looking like Europe wishes to end up where the US is now where as Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz points out that the top 1% control 40% of the nations wealth and that almost all those in the Senate and the Congress belong to that 1%.

Looking at this situation through the prism of economics, psychology and history he concludes it is not a good idea either for the increasingly alienated 99% or eventually for the privileged 1%.

Thursday could be a turning point in the eurozone taking control of its economic destiny but the shape of ordinary people’s lives will still be an issue to be decided.

Paul Craig Roberts — a former Reagan economist who has some harsh things to say about the US economic model now — says that conspiracy theory is a term applied to any fact, analysis or truth that is politically, ideologically or emotionally unacceptable — and so a synonym for unbelievable.

Which is to say that a conspiracy theory that suggests those in power are making use of the current crisis to shift more power and wealth away from the masses might not be entirely wrong.

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