Thursday, June 6, 2013

Learning German Neoliberal Edition

German is a difficult to learn, in my opinion, there are more exceptions than words that follow rules. But learning neoliberal (or ordo-liberal) speak is pretty simple. Anybody can do it. It is based on putting together random words in a way that does not make sense, plus adding in one the few actual vocables that exist in that language at any spot in the sentence where one wants it. Here is an example by Graf Lambsdorff:

Die Strohfeuer staatlicher Konjunkturprogramme bringen mittelfristig wenig bis nichts - außer weiter steigenden Schulden.
Translated it says: Straw fire stimulus= more debt = bad. That sentence is basically the whole mantra of neoliberal thinking in the crisis. But to be really good at it a few more sentences help:

Erhöhter Reformdruck ist dabei unerlässlich.
The word by word translation to this is "increased reform pressure is therefore essential" what it actually is, is an excuse for every bad outcome:
  • Youth unemployment increases? Acceptable since it increases reform pressure.
  • High risk premiums? Excellent sign of direct reform pressure.
  • Stagnating industrial production? Increased reform pressure is necessary.
At the same time, it also shows your moral high ground. Those lazy Southerners need pressure to get anything done. One more:

Und es geht nicht nur um Sparen, sondern vor allem um die Freisetzung des Potenzials unserer Volkswirtschaften durch Strukturreformen.

Structural reforms liberate the potential of economies... stuff.. yadayada. See?  We already have reached the point where you don't even have to try to make sense. You can, knowing the above two sentences, start uttering gibberish, that isn't based in reality. Your policies have lead to a worse long term performance than during the great depression? Potential! More?

Dass dieser Ansatz Früchte trägt, zeigt sich am Beispiel der hoch verschuldeten Mitgliedsländer Irland, Spanien und Portugal.
Portugal, Spain, Ireland -> SUCCESS of neoliberal thinking (I am not making that up!)

Auch Industrieproduktion und Exporte kommen wieder in Fahrt.

Do I even have to translate that? It is pretending that complete stagnation for 13 years (perhaps that is a bit unfair, they can only be made directly responsible for the aweful last 3 years) is positive since in Spain the first derivative is up (the decrease in industrial production has decreased HELL YEAH!), and Portugal saw the first positive month  yoy in one and a half years.
 So, let's recap. Remember the above sentences and you are just the following words away from becoming either a very well payed member of the European parliament or perhaps even Bundesbank president:
  • Strukturreform
  • Reformdruck
  • steigende Schulden
  • Privatwirtschaft
It doesn't matter if one knows any other words. The whole believe system is not based in reality, so nobody will look at You funny if you say something like

Kratzs drruff die Struckturreform krum. Moar Reformdruck zack steigende Schulden. Privatwirtschaft fritz gut.

because there is no great neoliberal thinker out there that makes any more sense than that. Today the ECB corrected the already bad outlook for the euro zone down form -0,5 % GDP "growth" to -0,6 %, the German new orders were abysmal, and just that day some FDP politician comes along and tells us about the "success" of the policy responsible for that. Thanks. Next up: the European Commission applauds itself for 13 years of stagnation stability in industrial production.

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