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Who is really dismantling Europe?

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
Who is really dismantling Europe?

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for the renegotiation of the Schengen agreement, which guarantees the right to free movement between the signatory countries in Europe. Paired with some of his other statements, this demonstrates  how hypocritical France's head of state can really be.   The context   The European nations participating in the Schengen agreement are…

Global migration numbers refute the rhetoric of invasion

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Global migration numbers refute the rhetoric of invasion

The anti-immigration wave that has emerged over the last years on both sides of the Atlantic has contributed to spreading a number of mantras about the migration phenomenon on a global scale. I myself have tried to debunk some of the myths related to the economic impact of immigrants on host countries, pointing out that most claims are either false or overstated (e.g., here, here, or here).…

The Dutch-Albanian feud can be resolved by ending the war on drugs

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
The Dutch-Albanian feud can be resolved by ending the war on drugs

The Dutch parliament has asked their government to invoke the visa suspension mechanism for the Republic of Albania. The parliament in the Hague cites a worrying increase in crimes committed by the Albanian mafia as a reason for the move.   The visa suspension mechanism   Regulation (EU) 2018/1806 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 allows member states…

Rainer Wieland is right: a seven-year budget is ludicrous

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
Rainer Wieland is right: a seven-year budget is ludicrous

One of the European Parliament's senior members, Rainer Wieland (EPP-Germany),stated in an interview that long-term budgeting doesn't make a whole lot of sense. He's right. His conclusion, however, does not pass muster.   The EU budget   Five-year economic plans or seven-year budgets are the hallmarks of collectivist regimes. Stalin's first Five Year Plan came to…

The Brexit divide: region and identity

The Brexit divide: region and identity

Political scientist Matthew Goodwin, co-author, along with Roger Eatwell, of National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy, has called Brexit a “purple” vote, i.e. neither left or right but a melding of the two spectra, though often with differing or completely opposing agendas. A long-form piece by the BBC provides perspective on Goodwin’s assertion. The main…

A Visit to the Pinkas Synagogue and the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague

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A Visit to the Pinkas Synagogue and the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague

“Six million of our people live on in our hearts. We are their eyes that remember. We are their voice that cries out. The dreadful scenes flow from their dead eyes to our open ones. And those scenes will be remembered exactly as they happened.”…

What is Modern Monetary Theory? (III): A Critique

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What is Modern Monetary Theory? (III): A Critique

A widespread idea among MMT proponents is that governments can never go bankrupt. And to some extent, this is true. If a government has the capacity to print money, it can’t strictly default on its debt. Put differently, a government with monetary autonomy will always be able to print money to repay its debt in nominal terms. But at what cost? Imagine you buy a one-year government bond for…

How do you even "march for Europe"?

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
How do you even "march for Europe"?

Seriously, what does that mean?   Confident marchers   On March 24, 1,000 people marched in Brussels, urging pro-EU forces to remain united in order to tackle the rising extreme-right and halt the “Orbanisation” of European societies ahead of the May EU elections. Their fear: the right-wing, following the example of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, will turn…

What is Modern Monetary Theory? (II): A Critique

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What is Modern Monetary Theory? (II): A Critique

In the last months, the US political debate has revolved around a number of proposals (e.g., Bernie Sander’s Medicare for All or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal) that, if materialized, would send government expenditures through the roof. Most economists would tell you that, in the long run, these new programs must be financed either by increasing taxes or by trimming other…

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