The End of European Socialism?

Discussion in 'Economy' started by PoliticalChic, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    1. "The Commission of Brussels, and later the Central European Bank, were determined to keep faith with the original spirit of freedom in opposition to constant pressure from national governments to “socialize” Europe: the Commission has been a consistent force for deregulation and competition. The euro, moreover, was created to force states to balance their budgets, just as free-market monetary theory prescribed.

    2. Unfortunately, the national governments thought it possible to reap the economic benefits of a free Europe and the electoral delights of socialism. By “socialism,” I mean the unlimited growth of the welfare state—the accumulation of entitlements and jobs protected by the state. This de facto socialism, this sedimentation of electoral promises and acquired rights, grew in Europe at a much faster rate than did the economy or the population.

    3. The result was a remarkably homogeneous indebtedness in all the countries of Europe, on the order of 100 percent of national wealth—ranging between Germany’s 91 percent and the Greeks’ 133 percent (a relatively modest difference), all reflecting a common socialist drift. All European states are run socialist-style, in contradiction with the European Union’s free-market principles. Some will be more able than others to deal with defaults, but all have drifted off course.

    4. The true cause lies in ideology. Socialism dominates minds across Europe, whereas liberalism—which has retained its original free-market meaning in Europe [classical liberalism, i.e. conservatism] —is under attack in the academy, in the media, and among intellectuals generally: to support the market against the state, to recommend modesty on the part of the state, is taken for an “American” perversion.

    5. t’s almost impossible for a non-suicidal politician to win election without promising still more public “solidarity” and still less individual risk. These welfare states, through their financial cost and the erosion of ethical responsibility that they foster, have smothered economic growth in Europe."
    End of the European Siesta? by Guy Sorman, City Journal 25 June 2010
     
  2. william the wie
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    william the wie Gold Member

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    Sounds right to me but there are several caveats to this assessment:

    1) Is there sufficient population base for recovery from the current mess? Automation can replace workers in the production of most goods and some services but certainly not all and the birth dearth has to be reversed about 17 years prior to an effective recovery. I doubt that it is possible for Europe to stave off collapse for 17 years. Japan prepared much better for this problem but has spent the last 17 years in the toilet.

    2) Is there the will to recover? I see no sign of that. Europe will ride socialism right down to collapse in my opinion becoming a continent wide Argentina.

    3) Is there a ready means of making the transition to freedom? Possibly but I don't see it.

    I think the OP is wildly optimistic.
     
  3. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    I appreciate the thoughtful analysis...

    very possibly sad and true.

    You're probably familiar with Gresham's law...
    "observation in economics that “bad money drives out good.” More exactly, if coins containing metal of different value have the same value as legal tender, the coins composed of the cheaper metal will be used for payment, while those made of more expensive metal will be hoarded or exported and thus tend to disappear from circulation"

    I've always felt that in terms of human nature, a similar axiom applies: if one can support either a government that will give, unearned, whatever one wishes, or a government that calls for personal responsibiity, and the older virtures of hard work and planning, most folks will close their eyes to the future and opt for the former.
     
  4. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    If a government doesn't SERVE the needs of the people, why on earth should anyone support it?

    Now obviously, government can go overboard and try to do too much.

    Also conditions can change and force governments to do less or go broke trying to provide services it can no longer afford, too.

    What any of this has to do with socialism, I surely do not know.

    Not unless you want to call everything any government EVER DOES a kind of socialism.

    That means that our military is an arm of the US socialist govement, then, too, though doesn't it?
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  5. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    My friend, often, there is a fine line between 'reasonable,' and 'fence straddling.'

    The definition of socialism herein is spelled out in #2 above.

    If you'd like to argue over definitions, then the term under discussion should be NEEDS, as in "If a government doesn't SERVE the needs of the people."


    As in 'if emergency rooms satisfy needs, then why a $ trillion for socialized medicine."

    To what degree does serving the 'needs' of one group mean confiscating the fruits of anothers' labors?

    Perhaps one should consider that question before this: "What any of this has to do with socialism, I surely do not know."

     
  6. william the wie
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    william the wie Gold Member

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    The welfare state was developed to protect the interests of the aristocracy in Europe. In the US the Progressive/Plutocrat alliance was made explicit by the first Roosevelt. Although less well organized for the country as a whole a fairly European model of welfare statism in generally seen in most of the northeast quarter and west coast here in the US.
     

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