P2P Movement of the Day: The Manifesto for European Common Goods

A commons movement is growing in Europe, this is one of its expressions:

“The crisis affecting the global economy and consequently the Euro during these months requires a radically different response from those actually envisaged and carried out. The way Europe and European governments and electors will handle the Greek crisis will set an important precedent for the next crises and their entailed risks of sovereign defaults.

The probable decisions by the Greek government, practically left alone as other governments in similar deficit crises, are based on the massive sale of public goods to unspecified buyers in order to raise the money necessary to guarantee the next loans.

This is not only a wrong decision in political terms, but also in practical terms. Politically we have had ample experience in the past quarter of century that deregulations and privatisations were not synonymous with efficiency, investments, modernisation and competition. On the contrary, there is a long list in Europe and around the world, of resounding failures and actual destruction of value by the same market forces that were extolled as the long lasting solution to any national and international economic problem.

The last financial, market and economic global crisis has shown beyond any doubt that markets alone are not capable to rule themselves, that there is no invisible hand balancing the different interests and that public money has rescued the same oligopolies that were supposed to not to exist in a healthy competitive environment, fostered by a deregulated market. There is no free lunch and there is no unregulated market oriented to a common good.

We believe strongly on ethical and political grounds and on practical experience that public policies are not just to regulate a neo-laissez-faire, nor just to support private interests in the name of a supposed national competitiveness, nor just to redistribute a dwindling income.

Public policies have to work for public interests, under democratic oversight, which means that they have the task to foster public goods and long-term investments, supported by an efficient management and by a meaningful taxation for the good of society.

Instead of letting Greek goods be sold at a ridiculous price either to major power that have a strong interest in controlling markets in order to strengthen their competitiveness (at the fatal expense of our interests) or to private investors that are totally irresponsible to societies, electors and national interests, we propose to use in a more effective way the public money we already spend in EU/ IMF loans and in ECB support measures.

Greek public goods, as those of other possible critical countries, should be sold to a European economic conglomerate, either public or participated by a majority public stake, in order to raise directly from governments and international institutions the necessary money.

This allows to preserve two vital interests both at European and national level:

• the goods are redeemable by the interested country in due time and at reasonable conditions or they can produce proportional profits to the governments, but they are managed taking into account both economic and social needs. If sovereign funds are available, we do not see why public-owned enterprises are unfeasible under appropriate management and oversight.

• the goods are preserved as European economic and industrial assets, instead of being dispersed and exposed to a very uncertain future. Europe has created a formidable integrated entity, especially at the economic level, so it would be suicidal if, in times of top emergency, Europe would refrain from carrying out a no-nonsense industrial policy. “

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