Friday, August 5, 2011

I've had this question ...

For a long time. I ask my European friends and family members and all I get is the blank look, mouth agape. One little question:

"Why did you create the EU to begin with?"

I mean, it sounds like a good idea, a common currency, open borders, and one big trading bloc as opposed to 20 - 30 little ones. On paper, it looks great but everybody I talk to now thinks it's a bad idea.

They all bitch about the open borders. All saying that the people from the poorer countries of the EU come to ____________* and take ______________** jobs and use up resources and the social safety net meant for ____________** people.

They all bitch about the economy. My _______________** friends say that ____________* is far more productive than the ____________*** and the ____________** economies are always being looked to for money to keep ___________**** afloat.

They all bitch about "multicultualism". We are losing our _____________** identity because all these people from ________________**** are coming here, not speaking the language, changing our way of life, and looking for a handout. Either that or the ___________*** come to ______________* and steal everything they can't get for nothing from Brussels/Strasbourg.

They also have no use for the central government in Brussels/Strasbourg. I hear Brussels/Strasbourg thinks they can make the rules and decisions for _____________ * when they have no idea of how they hurt business in ____________* in order to help ___________****.

I ask this question again in light of Dr. Krugman's post yesterday:


The US 10-year bond rate is now down to 2.5%. So much for those bond vigilantes. What this rate is saying is that markets are pricing in terrible economic performance, quite possibly a double dip. And it also says that Washington’s deficit obsession has been utterly, totally wrong-headed.

Meanwhile, Italy’s spread against German bonds is soaring even further. What are markets pricing in here? Default as a real possibility; maybe even euro breakup. The latter certainly sounds a lot more plausible now than it did a few months ago. [my em]


So if, as it seems, a number of countries are going to abandon the Euro and move back to their old currency so they can manipulate themselves out of debt, what was the point in the first place? Didn't anyone take the differences between cultures into consideration before they all jumped on the bandwagon?

I never put much faith in the longevity of the European Union, though I thought I wouldn't see the end of it in my lifetime. Yes, they looked West after World War 2 and saw a pretty good system. What they didn't get is that the people who founded the United States were basically all in the same boat. They were mostly disaffected Englishmen wanting to break the hold of King George on the colonies. It never seemed to me you could do the same with diverse cultures (with ingrained biases), all millennia old. Maybe, in a century or two, we might be enlightened enough to move to worldwide governance, but old habits die hard. The EU might live on in some form or another, but if the economy keeps tanking, it's gonna be every man for himself over there sooner rather than later.

*Insert: Germany, France, England, Holland
**Insert: German, French, English, Dutch
***Insert: Spanish, Italians, Greeks, Polish
****Insert: Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland


CAFKIA said...

I'm going to have to part company with you on this. I think that the EU was/is inevitable. I also think that of the coming African Union and the South American as well as the North/Central American Union and the last to happen, the Asian Union.

For an area/people to be a nation, there must be defensible and defended borders.(among other things) As we move into a future wherein the primary things that are sent and received are information and energy, the borders that could matter have already been obliterated by the internet. The 3rd or 4th generation of 3d printer technology will kill the useless crap manufacturing base and with it, the need to ship useless crap. Base materials may be shipped but that may well look like open rail cars filled with dirt. Solar, geothermal and (hopefully) new clean tech energy will be highly localized wherever possible with central sources to fill in the gaps. Those central sources will insist on being able to sell to whoever offers them money.

Local food is being pushed hard around here and is indeed on the upswing. Gardens, urban chickens, canning, and such are all ever more in vogue. We are clearly on the way, not necessarily close to but definitely on the way, to that future where energy and information are the primary things traded and borders appear only on maps.

"Natural borders", oceans for instance, will be used to define areas of economic cooperation. Perhaps there will still be goat herders in the Kush willing to shoot or stab you over some territory, but for the most part, we(they) will lose cultural identities. But in truth, that was gone with the advent of television, especially satellite broadcasts.

Your friends are swatting at the mosquitoes that are biting them while the unseen large animals are preparing to consume them whole.

Oh well, I suppose everyone needs a hobby.

Fixer said...

I think that the EU was/is inevitable. I also think that of the coming African Union and the South American as well as the North/Central American Union and the last to happen, the Asian Union.

I agree but, like I said, it will be the better part of a century before that happens. There will be resource wars for a while before that until they all figure out they'd better stop fighting and get it together.

That's if climate change doesn't kill us all first.