Needs Must

Needs Must
Credit: Gregory Bastien

Using “must” does not help you express yourself. In this Eurozone crisis, simply expressing strong opinions is the rhetoric device of choice for presidents, economists, and inane commenters alike. “Must” disguises arguments that provoke fear; it zig-zags around complexity and the idea that alternative solutions are valid and viable. “Must” reveals how shallow your argument is, instead of making it persuasive. Appeals to severe consequences are weak—the Latinate form of this logical fallacy is henceforth ad mustard. Adding such fiery spice ruins the dish.

When they say “must,” the commenters quoted are trying to say that any other course of action is dumb, because the one they’ve proposed is better. Instead, they aren’t saying anything at all.

Europe must work backwards from a vision of where its monetary system will be several years hence. We must accept that austerity measures, necessary to avoid a fiscal train wreck, have recessionary effects on output. Does [Geithner] not know that the U.S. is sinking under its own debt crisis? This man must be living on a different planet.

Greece must change course to avoid a grim future for its people: it must default on its debt and exit the eurozone. [Greece] must be expelled from the Eurozone or put under the financial control of a responsible country. The EU’s member countries, and not only those in the eurozone, must accept that a new treaty is needed to save the euro. That logic is clear.

We must learn the lessons from this series of crises. The status quo is no longer possible. We must improve the governance of the Eurozone. Everything which needs to be done to keep the euro stable, needs to be done. Everything that goes against this aim must be avoided. The leaders in Europe must meet and take a decision on how to coordinate monetary integration with more effective coordinated fiscal policy.

I have made my position very clear that everything must be done to keep the Eurozone together politically. There must be no Denkverbote (bans on thinking) for the stabilisation of the common currency. China must both play the role of a responsible major power, but must also make security a precondition for investing.

Countries must first put their own house in order. Together we must silence those who doubt us.

The quoted parties, respectively: Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard; Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics, Stern School of Business, New York University; Mark Alexander, commenter; Costas Lapavitsas, professor of Economics at SOAS, University of London; Cityman, commenter; George Soros, businessman and philanthropist, French Minister of Finance Francois Baroin; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; U.S. President Barack Obama; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; German Economic Minister, Deputy Chancellor and leader of the German Liberal Party, Philipp Rosler;  Li Xiangyang, foreign policy researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao; Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.


TMN Editor Mike Deri Smith is no gourmet, he just has an abnormally large stomach. He lives in London. More by Mike Deri Smith

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