Sunday, May 16, 2010
European Union: A coalition of irresponsibility
May 16, 2010
When Chancellor Angela Merkel decided that Germany would pay part of Greece's bills, voters punished her party in elections in Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia. How appropriate.
The 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War, ratified Europe's emerging system of nation-states. Since the end of the Thirty-One Years' War (1914-1945), European elites have worked at neutering Europe's nationalities. Greece's debt crisis reveals this project's intractable contradictions, and the fragility of Western Europe's postwar social model -- omniprovident welfare states lacking limiting principles.
Greece represents a perverse aspiration -- a society with (in the words of Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan) "more takers than makers," more people taking benefits from government than there are people making goods and services that produce the social surplus that funds government. By socializing the consequences of Greece's misgovernment, Europe has become the world's leading producer of a toxic product -- moral hazard. The dishonesty and indiscipline of a nation with 2.6 percent of the eurozone's economic product have moved nations with the other 97.4 percent -- and the United States and the International Monetary Fund -- to say, essentially: The consequences of such vices cannot be quarantined, so we are all hostages to one another and hence no nation will be allowed to sink beneath the weight of its recklessness.
Recklessness will proliferate.
Posted by Yulie Foka-Kavalieraki at 11:19 AM