EU: the neoliberal union

David Cameron has signalled that the long-awaited referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union could be held early as the summer of 2016. This is big news for Britain, its Europhiles and its Eurosceptics. Not only does it demonstrate that the Conservative Party is still looking to settle old scores. The Tory government is looking to play both cards at once. Cameron does not really want a ‘Brexit’ – the portmanteau for a British exit from the EU. But he does want to increase the distance between Westminster and Brussels. Once again, the government is looking abroad to … Continue reading

Will Putin fall?

Opening Plenary of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2009: Vladimir Putin

The Russian economy faces crises on multiple fronts: currency devaluation, crashing energy prices, and Western sanctions. This is very bad news for Vladimir Putin, who has straddled the imbalances of post-Communist society for over fifteen years now. His only recourse has been to appeal to Soviet nostalgia and chauvinist nationalism in equal measure. Market stabilization under Putin depended largely upon the long-term growth of the energy industry. Not just fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, but mineral resources as well. As economist Paul Mason has emphasized, the Russian strongman hoped that this would provide the basis for the reconstruction … Continue reading