The crisis of the euro currency zone is an excellent example of how flagrant lies can successfully be converted into accepted wisdom. Almost every generalization about the crisis found in the mainstream media is false. As a result, the mainstream punditries on the crisis are ideological polemics masquerading as analysis. Further, often progressive critiques of the reactionary "austerity" policies by the euro zone governments accepts the mainstream faux-facts about the crisis, fuelling the There-Is-No-Alternative (TINA) syndrome.
(...) The common response of European progressives to this narrative it that the vast majority of Greeks, Italians, etc, have struggled long and hard for their social benefits, and it is a crime they, the majority, must pay for the greed of a tiny financial oligarchy. To put the mainstream narrative succinctly, in the European South especially, people are paid too much, work too little, receive excessive public benefits and retire too early; and progressives respond that these are legitimate rights forged in struggle.
(...) There is a problem with this diagnosis of the euro crisis. It is false on all counts, left, right and center. To begin with the most obvious lie, the retirement age for the state pension is the same for men in Germany, France and each of the PIGS, 65, though in Italy and Greece women can take the pension at 60. Pension programs allowing for earlier retirement can be found in the PIGS, and that is also true in Germany, the United Kingdom and France, where accusations of labor fecklessness do not dominate discussions of economic policy (except, perhaps, from the employer associations).
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