So the Eurozone is on the brink of slipping back into Recession. The latest growth figures indicate the growing inequality that the single currency is causing between Europe's countries. The quaterly rates of growth range from -1.3% in Hungary to +1.3% in Finland.Meanwhile, annual rates of growth in 2012 compared with the same quarter in 2011 are truly shocking. Greece is showing a contraction of 6.2%, while the Portuguese economy contracted by 2.2%. The Netherlands shrank by 1.3%, while the UK is registering at zero. In the case of Greece, Spain and the countries that are showing disturbing rates of contraction, the austerity measures are the key cause of this. The failure to understand this appears to be wilful stupidity.
Why is it so easy for politicians to convince voters of this mistaken view of how an economy works? I think the answer lies partly in people's unwillingess to think systemically, and in this it is related to the problem we face as Greens of persuading people to think about ecological systems. As far as the economy is concerned, I have produced two graphics, which I hope help to explain how Osborne and his ilk have the economy completely wrong. We need to encourage people to stretch their minds to seeing the economy as a system, not as a linear series of transactions.
This is not a complicated argument, and it requires only a short application of mental effort to realise that the first model is simplistic and wrong. It is some combination of mental laziness and ideological perversion that prevents the majority of European citizens from grasping this - and demanding economic policies that respond to it.