Ireland’s recent €85bn bail-out package negotiated with the IMF and the EU is discussed in terms that verge on the apocalyptic. The rescue was supposed to serve as a break against the wildfire of market bondholder panic. And yet the upward trend in Portuguese bond rates has scarcely been slowed. Beyond Portugal  is the much larger Spanish economy. Portugal, like Greece and Ireland, could probably just about be rescued within the terms of the current emergency scheme. It is becoming increasingly possible that the bond markets may make it too difficult for the Spanish government to refinance its loans and to raise new money on government bonds. If this were to happen, the European Financial Stability Fund would come under extreme pressure. And worse, if it is not possible to restore confidence in the stability of the Euro, there seems little reason why other countries may not also be in trouble. Spain is now where the line in the sand must be drawn. But we have heard this before. If Spain is vulnerable, why not Italy; and if Italy, why not Belgium, perhaps even France. Little wonder that the imagery of contagion, of financial plague, is brought into play.

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Blogging the Irish Crisis

by Henry on December 1, 2010

As I mentioned a few days ago, the best paper I’ve read on Ireland and the economic crisis was “this one”:http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1642791 by Sebastian Dellepiane Avellaneda and Niamh Hardiman. I’m happy to say that Niamh has agreed to do some guest-blogging for us over the next several days on the Irish crisis as it continues to unfold, and its implications for the EU. Niamh is a “senior lecturer”:http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/politicsintrelations/drniamhhardiman/ at University College Dublin’s School of Politics and International Relations. She has written extensively on political economy and public policy in Ireland and the EU. We’re grateful and lucky to have her. Her first post will be up shortly.

While the humanities are under siege (in the UK; possibly all over Europe; or perhaps even in the entire world if Nussbaum is right in her book Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities), the Dutch Research Council decided last year to fund two large programs which would add to a strenghtening of the humanities. That said, our new right-wing government immediately decided to cancel their future additional investment in the humanities (whereas under the last government there was some talk that the humanities would ‘catch up’ with the other sciences, since it was clearly demonstrated that they suffered from underfunding relative to the social&behavior and the natural sciences).
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