“Moroni style”


The painter’s best-known work, Portrait of a Man, which is in London’s National Gallery and is informally known as The Tailor—it shows someone with shears in his hand and a bolt of cloth before him—stands out in part because it is the rare Moroni where the sitter is actually doing something. (It doesn’t hurt that the man is good-looking, and the way he leans over a little, and turns to face us, gives the portrait a kind of inner spring.) But this London picture, which has the generally bare appearance of many Moronis—he doesn’t, like Holbein, make something luxuriant out of the space surrounding his sitter—conveys little about what it was like to be a tailor at the time. It presents if anything the idea of being a tailor (or of being a cloth merchant), and Michael Levey, in his 1987 The National Gallery Collection, astutely saw that the sitter, with his appraising look, might as well be taking “the spectator’s measure.” This is Moroni’s tone in his portraits in general: his people scrutinize us. What also feels fresh and modern—and capable of making earlier commentators believe there was something obdurate or lacking in Moroni—is the unusually straightforward, almost anonymous, nature of his realism.

more from Sanford Schwartz at the NYRB here.

Friday Poem

When the Shoe Fits
Ch'ui the draftsman
Could draw more perfect circles freehand
Than with a compass.
His fingers brought forth
Spontaneous forms from nowhere. His mind
Was meanwhile free and without concern
With what he was doing.
No application was needed
His mind was perfectly simple
And knew no obstacle.
So, when the shoe fits
The foot is forgotten,
When the belt fits
The belly is forgotten,
When the heart is right
“For” and “against” are forgotten.
No drives no compulsions,
No needs, no attractions:
Then your affairs
Are under control.
You are a free man.
Easy is right. Begin right
And you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
Is to forget the right way
And forget that the going is easy.
by Chuang Tzu
from In the Dark Before Dawn
trans. Thomas Merton

Drone Court Advantage

An incisive piece by Charles Davis in The New Inquiry:

DronesTritely declaring President Obama no different from George W. Bush, these nominally left-wing suppressors of the vote even adopt the same bigoted, “pro-life” language one would expect to find outside an abortion clinic in Kansas, proclaiming our commander-in-chief a “criminal” and “baby killer” all because he has killed a few regrettable babies as part of wars that much of the world considers criminal — a privilege, mind you, never denied any of his white predecessors. They even attack the president because he has had the temerity to protect the lives of American servicemen and women through the record-breaking use of drones, ensuring the greatest threat they face is carpal tunnel, not a bullet from an angry savage.

…Talking about innocent men, women, and children killed by our way of life isn’t going to bring them back, but it will undermine support among President Obama’s left-wing base. Indeed, while some pacifists confuse their personal beliefs with politically viable policy solutions — thinking, as blogger Adam Serwer puts it, that America should stick to “using banana creme pies or wifflebats in its defense” — President Obama is compelled to live in the real world. And there he must confront real threats, like a potential GOP takeover of the Senate, that require an active and politically unassailable foreign policy. Instead of dwelling on dead foreigners and arguing and bickering over which president killed which child, the left would do well to remember the huge advances in progressive rhetoric we’ve made these last four years. Instead of bashing the man who saved us from Sarah Palin, we ought to rededicating ourselves to addressing the most pressing problem the planet faces right now: defeating Mitt Romney.

After all, if you don’t like that Barack Obama possesses the unilateral ability to decide who lives or dies, imagine how insufferable that power would be in the hands of the former Massachusetts governor.

Read the rest here.

Does Quantum Physics Make it Easier to Believe in God?

From BQO:

QuantNot in any direct way. That is, it doesn’t provide an argument for the existence of God. But it does so indirectly, by providing an argument against the philosophy called materialism (or “physicalism”), which is the main intellectual opponent of belief in God in today’s world. Materialism is an atheistic philosophy that says that all of reality is reducible to matter and its interactions. It has gained ground because many people think that it’s supported by science. They think that physics has shown the material world to be a closed system of cause and effect, sealed off from the influence of any non-physical realities — if any there be. Since our minds and thoughts obviously do affect the physical world, it would follow that they are themselves merely physical phenomena. No room for a spiritual soul or free will: for materialists we are just “machines made of meat.”

Quantum mechanics, however, throws a monkey wrench into this simple mechanical view of things. No less a figure than Eugene Wigner, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, claimed that materialism — at least with regard to the human mind — is not “logically consistent with present quantum mechanics.” And on the basis of quantum mechanics, Sir Rudolf Peierls, another great 20th-century physicist, said, “the premise that you can describe in terms of physics the whole function of a human being … including [his] knowledge, and [his] consciousness, is untenable. There is still something missing.”

More here.

Explosive backpacks: Termites explode to defend their colonies

From Nature:

TermitesA species of termite found in the rainforests of French Guiana takes altruism seriously: aged workers grow sacks of toxic blue liquid that they explode onto their enemies in an act of suicidal self-sacrifice to help their colonies (see video).

The “explosive backpacks” of Neocapritermes taracua, described in Science today1, grow throughout the lifetimes of the worker termites, filling with blue crystals secreted by a pair of glands on the insects' abdomens. Older workers carry the largest and most toxic backpacks. Those individuals also, not coincidentally, are the least able to forage and tend for the colony: their mandibles become dull and worn as the termites age, because they cannot be sharpened by moulting. “Older individuals are not as effective at foraging and nest maintenance as younger workers,” says Robert Hanus, who studies termite biology at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry in Prague, and led the study. But when the workers are attacked, he says, “they can provide another service to the colony. It makes perfect sense to me because theories predict that social insects should perform low-risk, laborious tasks such as housekeeping in the first part of their life and risky tasks such as defence as they age.”

More here.

Dmitri Nabokov: His Father’s Best Translator

Lila Azam Zanganeh in the New York Times:

ScreenHunter_12 Jul. 27 12.10As an adolescent in Paris in the 1990s, I had listened as my mother, an Iranian exile, read English excerpts from “Speak, Memory,” Vladimir Nabokov’s memoir of his early years in Russia and his life after the Bolshevik Revolution, in Crimea, Germany and France. Dmitri appears in “Speak, Memory,” both as an infant in Berlin, his tiny hand placed “starfish-wise” on his father’s, and as a 6-year-old at the port of St. Nazaire, on the last page, about to catch sight of the enormous yellow funnel of the Champlain, the ship the Nabokovs would embark on to seek refuge in America. When my mother read this passage to me for the first time, I recall clinging to its final image: “something in a scrambled picture — Find What the Sailor Has Hidden — that the finder cannot unsee once it has been seen.” A secret trapdoor had suddenly opened. Reading was a matter of capturing a detail in a scrambled picture, which, once perceived, unveiled a new story, often richer and stranger than the one first imagined.

This, in my eyes, would prove to be true of Dmitri himself. Véra Nabokov was Jewish, which was why the family had been compelled to flee Europe in 1940 aboard the Cham­plain. This would be a second exile for the Nabokovs — in a space of two decades, they had escaped both the Bolsheviks and the Nazis, each time by a matter of hours. Thus, Dmitri was the child of a revolution and a war.

More here.

Tom Friedman as Midwife

Belén Fernández in Jacobin:

111In the aftermath of Pulitzer champ Thomas Friedman’s latest New York Times offering, “Syria Is Iraq,” commentators have begun to question whether Friedman himself has not discovered the joys of Friedman-parodying.

As Matt Taibbi remarked at Rolling Stone: “This column today is so crazy I have to think Friedman is kidding.”

To put it in Friedman-speak, this is a Friedman column on steroids, a distilled cornucopia of his signature journalistic maneuvers.

More here.

The United States is the deadliest wealthy country in the world. Can science help us explain, or even solve, our national crisis?

Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries blog at Scientific American:

ScreenHunter_11 Jul. 27 11.41While everyone agrees the blame should ultimately be placed on the perpetrator of this violence, the fact remains that the United States has one of the highest murder rates in the industrialized world. Of the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the U.S. ranks fifth in homicides just behind Brazil (highest), Mexico, Russia, and Estonia. Our nation also holds the dubious honor of being responsible for half of the worst mass shootings in the last 30 years. How can we explain why the United States has nearly three times more murders per capita than neighboring Canada and ten times more than Japan? What makes the land of the free such a dangerous place to live?

There have been hundreds of thoughtful explorations of this problem in the last week, though three in particular have encapsulated the major issues. Could it be, as science writer David Dobbs argues at Wired, that “an American culture that fetishizes violence,” such as the Batman franchise itself, has contributed to our fall? “Culture shapes the expression of mental dysfunction,” Dobbs writes, “just as it does other traits.”

Perhaps the push arrived with the collision of other factors, as veteran journalist Bill Moyers maintains, when the dark side of human nature encountered political allies who nurture our destructive impulses? “Violence is our alter ego, wired into our Stone Age brains,” he says. “The NRA is the best friend a killer’s instinct ever had.”

More here.

The Checkpoint: Terror, Power, and Cruelty

Naaman_37.4_checkpointOded Na’aman in Boston Review:

One morning, when I was about four years old, I proudly announced from the back seat of my family’s car, “Mother, I want you to know that I am the first kid in my whole kindergarten to think inside my head rather than out loud.” The car slowed to a standstill as we waited for the light to change. My mother turned to me, smiled, and said softly, “How do you know you’re the first?”

I was speechless. With one brief question, she had made the world a stranger to me and made me a stranger in my own world. She unveiled a universe of goings-on, a whole new brand of human activity that everyone I knew—the friends I played with, my sisters, even my parents—was engaged in, which I could have no access to. I sat on the staircase that day in kindergarten, observing the other kids play. Using my recently acquired skill, I wondered silently, with unmistakable trepidation, “Who knows what they are thinking?”

I soon regained my trust and grew up believing in the people around me. I knew there were dangers, but I felt certain I was not alone and therefore not helpless in facing them.

Fourteen years after my big kindergarten discovery, I was conscripted into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). At the West Bank checkpoints, the terror of other minds took over again. It occupied my soul.

Masters of Surface: Roy Lichtenstein in Chicago, Mad Men on TV

Banana Republic Mad MenAnna-Claire Stinebring over at Critics at Large (Mad Men Collection by Banana Republic. Photograph by Tom Munro):

I found myself thinking of Mad Men: its popularity and all the mixed messages that go along with its good-looking façade. Mad Men, of course, is about advertising men in the 1960s. It explores but also glamorizes the world that produced the material for [Roy] Lichtenstein’s most famous paintings. The Mad Men full circle – from television show that allegedly tells us about another time to something we want in our own time – is exemplified by the simpering ad campaign that went along with the very successful Banana Republic Mad Men-inspired line.

What disquieted me about the image above is that it embraced the gender dynamic of the show’s world with a kind of visual shorthand (the confident man, studied by the adoring woman) as well as the style. Fashion is about taking on roles, it implies, and perhaps even misogyny is fun to try on for a little while. I’m relying here on Daniel Mendelsohn’s inspired take-down of the show in the New York Review of Books (Feb. 2011; after season 4), which also pinpoints why the show is so alluring. Watching stylish, emotionally stunted characters smoke and drink and torpedo their marriages, we get the double reward of living vicariously through them while feeling good that we are (surely) more enlightened. Mendelsohn goes on to say:

In its glossy, semaphoric style, its tendency to invoke rather than unravel this or that issue, the way it uses a certain visual allure to blind rather than to enlighten, Mad Men is much like a successful advertisement itself. And yet as we know, the best ads tap into deep currents of emotion. As much as I disliked the show, I did find myself persisting. Why?

Glossiness, “the tendency to invoke rather than unravel”: much of Mendelsohn’s description of Mad Men stands true for Lichtenstein’s oeuvre as well. Yet for me there can be a sense of foreboding and even nausea to Lichtenstein’s ad-inspired images. With the prominent use of a shade-towards-sickly yellow, this isn’t the feel-good world of advertising.

More Takes on The Dark Knight Rises

The-dark-knight-rises-teaser-poster1First, Aaron Bady in New Inquiry:

The Dark Knight Rises is not about Occupy Wall Street, even though it does have a five month anarchist occupation of New York City, which lasts into the winter until a huge phalanx of NYPD officers flood into lower Manhattan and pound the crap out of them. It is a movie that works very hard at not being about Occupy Wall Street, in fact: it fills the screen and narrative arc with all sorts of bells and whistles, bloating its running time way beyond necessity, and generally wearing you down with all sorts of things that are not Occupy Wall Street until you don’t notice anymore that it’s all the fuck about Occupy Wall Street. I mean, for fuck’s sake, Bane and a bunch of his goons literally Occupy Wall Street at one point, and then they lead a leaderless revolution of wealth redistribution and general assemblies, that they apparently hope will by example (mediated through mass media) be replicated across the country. I think Batman even subpoenas Malcolm Harris’ twitter feed at one point.

Via.This vacillation, ambivalence, even insistent disavowal is what seems to me to be, by far, the most interesting thing about the movie, and precisely the thing that so many “political” readings of it must almost bend over backwards to miss, as they struggle to claim it for various political persuasions. Take, for example, the honorable conservative Ross Douthat who tut-tutted yesterday — from his blog at the NY Times — against the “extraordinary overreactions from ideologically-inclined movie writers” like Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir, who he quotes as arguing:

“It’s no exaggeration to say that the “Dark Knight” universe is fascistic (and I’m not name-calling or claiming that Nolan has Nazi sympathies). [It has a] vision of human history understood as a struggle between superior individual wills, a tale of symbolic heroism and sacrifice set against the hopeless corruption of society. Maybe it’s an oversimplification to say that that’s the purest form of the ideology that was bequeathed from Richard Wagner to Nietzsche to Adolf Hitler, but not by much.

Second, Henry Farrell in Crooked Timber:

I saw Batman: The Dark Knight Rises on Saturday (I was a little nervous about copycat shootings). It has some excellent set-pieces, but is not a great movie. If the standard is ‘better than The Godfather Part III,’ it passes muster, but by a rather narrower margin than one would like. It wants to be an oeuvre, saying serious things about politics and inequality, but doesn’t ever really get there. This Jacobin piece by Gavin Mueller argues that it’s not a pro-capitalist movie, but a pro-monarchist one. I think that’s wrong. It’s a pro-aristocratic movie, which isn’t really the same thing. Mueller’s observation that:

There is barely any evidence of “the people” at all – it’s all cops and mercenaries battling it out. So instead of a real insurrection, the takeover of Gotham functions via Baroque conspiracies among elites struggling for status and power.

is exactly right – but a movie about “elites struggling for status and power” without some master-figure, however capricious, who can grant or deny them recognition isn’t actually about monarchy. It’s about the struggle between the elites themselves.

Mueller has lots to say about the movie’s take on Occupy, inequality and so on, all of which is right. But even if The Dark Knight Rises didn’t have this explicit political message, its politics would still be creepy.

A Know-It-All’s Guide To Olympic Music

Tom Huizenga snarkily shares some interesting tid-bits on over a century of Olympic theme music in NPR's Deceptive Cadence:

Ceremony-OlympicsA little closer to our own time, don't forget about Czech composer Josef Suk, whose soul-stirring Toward a New Life was written for the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and won him a silver medal. Bonus points for interjecting, particularly among classical music pretenders, that Suk was the son-in-law of the great Czech composer Antonin Dvorak.

Philip Glass is hip in almost any context. The prolific and expeditious composer (who once worked as a cabbie and plumber) was tapped to write something for the torch lighting ceremony at the 1984 Los Angeles games. He came up with a five-minute piece called The Olympian (below), and later commented: “I can think of no event to compare with the Olympic Games which makes us so conscious of our shared humanity, our common fate.” Glass also composed music for the 2004 Greek Olympics. The overly ambitious Orion featured collaborations with seven other composers including Ravi Shankar and Gambian kora player Foday Musa Suso.

More here.

‘The Dark Knight’ is no capitalist

A brilliant piece by Gavin Mueller in Jacobin:

BatmanWayne has no interest in profit, in accumulation, in investing his wealth to produce more wealth. If you don’t see M-C-M’ you don’t have capitalism. Now, the character of Bruce Wayne has always been imbued with noblesse oblige, but let’s not get that confused with what a capitalist does. Wayne funds orphanages and renewable energy in distinction to the actual capitalist, Daggett, who is trying to pillage Wayne Enterprises, Bain-Capital-style. Daggett is pointedly dissed at a party full of rich people because he’s only interested in money. Those silly noveau-riche, so gauche, am I right?

…[T]his is a class struggle all right, but it’s not between Bane’s pseudo-proles and Gotham’s elite with their cop army. That’s a sideshow. The struggle is within the ruling class itself, between the capitalist Daggett and the aristocratic Wayne. Wayne is far more feudalism than finance: heir to a manor complete with fawning manservant, unconcerned with business or money-making, bound by duty and honor even if it makes him a recluse.

Meanwhile, Daggett represents the rapaciousness and self-destructiveness of unfettered acquisition, stooping to working with terrorists to edge out Wayne’s position on the board of directors. And so we’re presented with a choice, which like with so much ideology is a false one: be ruled by the chaotic profit motive who holds out empty promises of liberation, or by an unaccountable violent lord who nevertheless promises to look out for our best interests. Using the French Revolution for inspiration, the Nolans have restaged the question of bourgeois revolution, but in reverse. They want you to stand with the monarchists.

Here’s where the renewable energy plot comes in. Wayne invested heavily in fusion power, which was apparently successful. However, he shuttered the project at great personal cost because he was worried about it being weaponized. This is why we can’t have nice things, world! Your betters have constructed cheap, clean, renewable energy, but it could be turned into a weapon by evil people (Russians of course, those reliable tragic mullatoes of global cinema – so white and so good at science, yet so ethnically other that things always go badly). So Wayne mothballs it “to keep it out of the wrong hands.” He alone determines the fate of the realm – in the name of the people, of course – as he hobbles around his mansion.

Read the rest here.

The Astronaut Bride

From The New Yorker:

Sally-ride-465Five months after Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in outer space, she put on a white dress, with a puffy skirt and a veil, and married Andrian Nikolayev. The wedding was in November, 1963, in Moscow, and Nikita Khruschev was there; by some accounts, he had also pushed for marriage. Nikolayev was also a cosmonaut; to many people, it seemed romantic, and, more than that, like the logical destination for Tereshkova, a former factory worker who came to the space program by way of a parachuting club. Circle the world: land at the altar. She and Nikolayev had a daughter by the next summer, the first child on earth with two parents who’d left the planet. The marriage effectively fell apart soon afterward, although legally it lasted almost twenty years. As it happens, that was almost exactly the same interval as that between Tereshkova’s journey and that of Sally Ride, the first American woman (and third overall) in space, who died on Monday, at the age of sixty-one. Ride travelled on a space-shuttle mission in June, 1983. A few months earlier, about the same time as Tereshkova’s divorce, she, too, married a fellow astronaut, Steve Hawley, without any world leaders present. A brief story in the August 15, 1982, Times (“TWO ASTRONAUTS TELL FRIENDS OF THEIR MARRIAGE LAST MONTH”) included this line: “ ‘We didn’t want to make a big deal of it,’ Mrs. Hawley said. ‘We only told a few friends.’ ” Luckily, by the time she went into space, the Times had figured out that “Mrs. Hawley” was still Sally Ride.

And that is when she truly became Sally Ride—not just a scientist and athlete (she’d considered being a professional tennis player) but an icon. That meant more discussion of her personal life. A June 19, 1983, “Woman in the News” story in the Times said Ride and Hawley “were quietly married, making them the first astronauts to do so”—meaning, perhaps, the first Americans (or the first to do so quietly)—and that their house was “laced with mementos of the space age,” including “shuttle dishware.” Ride’s 1982 marriage is mentioned in her Times obituary, as is her divorce, in 1987. (The space decor comes up, too.) Then, at the end, there’s this: Dr. Ride is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy; her mother, Joyce; and her sister, Ms. Scott, who is known as Bear. (Dr. O’Shaughnessy is chief operating officer of Dr. Ride’s company.) Bear Scott, Ride’s sister, and her company, Sally Ride Science, confirmed to reporters that no one should mistake “partner” for business partner: “We consider Tam a member of the family,” Bear Scott told BuzzFeed. She, too, is a lesbian (and a Presbyterian minister) but more open than her sister ever was. The listing of O’Shaughnessy as Ride’s partner was apparently the first time the relationship had been in the public record. Bear Ride talked about her sister’s “very fundamental sense of privacy.”

More here.

The Wisdom of Not Being Too Rational

From Science:

CrowMany children (and adults) have heard Aesop's fable about the crow and the pitcher. A thirsty crow comes across a pitcher partly filled with water but can't reach the water with his beak. So he keeps dropping pebbles into the pitcher until the water level rises high enough. A new study finds that both young children and members of the crow family are good at solving this problem, but children appear to learn it in a very different ways from birds.

Recent studies, particularly ones conducted by Nicola Clayton's experimental psychology group at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom have shown that members of the crow family are no birdbrains when it comes to cognitive abilities. They can make and use tools, plan for the future, and possibly even figure out what other birds are thinking, although that last claim is currently being debated. A few years ago, two members of Clayton's group showed that rooks can learn to drop stones into a water-filled tube to get at a worm floating on the surface. And last year, a team led by Clayton's graduate student Lucy Cheke reported similar experiments with Eurasian jays: Using three different experimental setups, Cheke and her colleagues found that the jays could solve the puzzle as long as the basic mechanism responsible for raising the water level was clear to the birds.

More here.

Thursday Poem

Questions by the Lake

When, after two years you returned to Solentiname,
pppppp already a child of five, Juan,
I remember very well what you said to me:
“You're the one who's going to tell me all about God, right?”
And I who all the time
pppppppppp have come to know less about God.
A mystic, that is, a lover of God
pppp called God NOTHING,
and another said: all that you say about God is false.
And if you were to have knowledge of God it was better
perhaps I didn't talk to you of God.
But once,
ppppppp I certainly spoke to you
of God by the lake,
on the dock,

ppppppp during a twilight all pink and silver:
“God is one who's within all of us,
within you, within me, within everywhere.”
“And God is within that heron?” “Yes.” “And within the
“Yes.” “And within those clouds?” “Yes.”
“And within that other heron?” “Yes.”
A tiny Adam naming all your small paradise.
“And God is within this dock?” “Yes.” “And within the waves?”
Why do children ask so many questions?
And I
pppppp why do I question why
pppppppppppppp like a child?
“And God is also within my dad and my mom?” “Yes, God is.”
And you told me:
ppppppp “But God doesn't get to the island of the bad ones,
Now, 12 years old,
you're in the Association of Sandinista Children.
You go to the rallies. You take part in voluntary work.
You take watch turns for the revolution. You're in the militia.
pppppp (Now the bad ones have left their island.)
“And God is also within the little stars
the tiny little stars that are so big, right?”
The numbers measuring littleness
pppppp are as large as those for bigness.
Where did you come from?
And I was shocked, not only by your questions
but also because I thought that
of three hundred million spermatazoids
pppppppppppppp it was only you, Juan,
of the three hundred million Juans
distinct from the Juan that you are
but twins of you
it was only you, once.
And like you
three hundred million asked me from their nonexistence
pppppppp where is God,
telling me I should tell them all about God,
ppppppp and if God is also within them?
(And with them the whole infinity of nonexistents
infinitely greater than the existent.)
As if all at once I were interrogated
by three hundred million stars that didn't exist.
Although among all those millions,
ppppppppppp within which God also is,
you were the only one, Juan,
the one who questioned me that day by the lake.
ppppppppppp The one who one day believed that I would tell
him all about God.

by Ernesto Cardenal
from Flights of Victory
translation: Marc Zimmerman
Orbis, 1985

A Saturday in Majdal Shams


The scenery heading north to Israel’s border with Syria in the Golan Heights is both dramatic and serene, with giant lopping trees hanging over winding roads that run through country rich with volcanic rock, leaving the land slate gray amid the green. Every few feet, though, your eye catches a warning sign that the hills are alive with landmines, in terrain that makes it hard for Israelis to clear them out. Unlike in the West Bank, which Israel occupied in the 1967 war but did not annex, there is no movement to settle the Golan with a significant number of Israelis, aside from the scattered villages, moshavim, kibbutzim, and industry that already dot the landscape. Additionally, there are 20,000 Druze who lived (or descended from those who lived) on the land when it belonged to Syria and who still consider themselves citizens of Syria today. The largest village, with half of the Golan’s Druze population, is Majdal Shams, at the foot of Mt. Hermon, Israel’s only ski resort.

more from Jo-Ann Mort at Dissent here.

euro disaster…


Europe is “sleepwalking towards disaster”, according to the 17 experts, who warned that over the past few weeks “the situation in the debtor countries has deteriorated dramatically”. “The sense of a neverending crisis, with one domino falling after another, must be reversed. The last domino, Spain, is days away from a liquidity crisis,” said the economists. They include two members of Germany’s Council of Economic Experts and leading euro specialists at the London of School of Economics, all euro supporters. “This dramatic situation is the result of a eurozone system which, as currently constructed, is thoroughly broken. The cause is a systemic failure. It is the responsibility of all European nations that were parties to its flawed design, construction and implementation to contribute to a solution. Absent this collective response, the euro will disintegrate,” they added in a co-signed report for the Institute for New Economic Thinking. The warning came as contagion from Spain pushed Italy’s borrowing costs to danger levels, with two-year yields rocketing 40 basis points to more than 5pc.

more from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at The Telegraph here.