CURRENT ACCOUNT IMBALANCES IN THE EUROZONE
What caused the widening of current account between north and south of Europe? This work tests two explanations of the current account imbalances accumulated before the Eurozone crisi views using a Global VAR estimated for 8 EMU countries between 1996 and 2007. Different shock simulations to the level of real wages are performed and little support is found for both narratives, as the current accounts do not strongly react to increased labor cost. Different explanations are proposed and the evidence presented suggests that non-price factors such as specialization and export structure weaken the effect of labor cost on the current account and determine to a greater extent the success and failure of European countries’ trade.
SOLIDARITY IN THE EMU
The paper argues that the concept of solidarity can be meaningfully applied to regulate the interdependences and define the obligations that exists between European Member States (MS) as participants in the EMU. Following a practice dependent approach, the work will contribute to the existing literature on the obligations European countries have among each other by defining the specific solidarity actions that will make the EMU reach its point and purpose. It will therefore be argued that European countries have a duty to: coordinate their economic policies, pool risk against asymmetric shocks and provide assistance to less- developed MS.
EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY OR OUTCOMES?
In this essay I propose some reasons why the equality of opportunity project may conceal and overlook society’s structural constraints and power relations. I will then claim that affirmative action programs can alleviate these problems and actually increase market efficiency. I will then show that that meritocratic equality of opportunity as applies to labour market is not fundamentally different from state-imposed equality of outcomes, as soon as one recognizes the democratic character of the market. Even after taking into account this latter argument and the efficiency one it is still not possible to confidently affirm the superiority of equality of outcomes over equality of opportunity, since the former applies to the limited case of labour market arrangements and the latter only proves that the two kinds of equality are very similar in some respects. What these two arguments show, instead, is that certain policies aimed at equalizing outcomes can help the cause of providing equal opportunities.
WHY DO WE VALUE DEMOCRACY?
To which extent does the value of democracy rest on the quality of its substantive outcomes? In this essay I claim that democracy should be required to bring about some basic outcomes whose quality can be unequivocally assessed and agreed on by all citizens. The desirability of democracy hinges upon the successful provision of, for instance, internal peace and the avoidance of civil wars. At the same time, I am going to argue that democracy should not be judged by its capacity to bring about other types of outcomes, whose quality are subject to thick reasonable disagreement. Democracy has intrinsic value, which I will identify in its ability to express relations of non- domination between individuals in their assessment of what is just.
MILLER'S CULTURE-BASED ARGUMENT AGAINST OPEN BORDERS: A CRITIQUE
Does the right to control ones borders obtain its legitimacy from the morally justified interest in controlling the national culture? David Miller thinks it does. He argues that people have a right to democratically decide which elements of their public culture deserve to be protected from the inflow of immigrants with different cultural backgrounds.
I will argue that this argument is not convincing by looking more thoroughly at the connection between a national culture and the right of self-determination, thus criticizing the democratic part of Miller’s argument. I will claim that cultural consideration cannot be ascribed to the list of acceptable public reasons. The justification of this claim will highlight that cultures cannot be thought of as fixed list of characteristics to be agreed upon as Miller conceives them. In turn, this more descriptively accurate account of culture will be used to claim that it is wrong to believe that there must be one fixed fundamental source of cultural identity and that this is the national one.