The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > The fantasy of European integration is over > Comments

The fantasy of European integration is over : Comments

By Oliver Hartwich, published 17/5/2010

It has become clear that the problems in Europe are not just isolated to Greece.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All
Great article. All my thinking UK friends are on their knees thanking God that the UK did not join the Eurozone and so allowing the Bank of England to keep control over monetary policy. The social unrest that Eurozone is going to cause until its eventual collapse is going to be unnerving.
Posted by EQ, Monday, 17 May 2010 10:53:44 AM
Find out more about this user Visit this user's webpage Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Some good points in this article, but the entire world is in deep trouble, not just Greece and other European countries. This is particularly the case with the USA---and China too.

The 8 years of the previous Bush "administration" were easily the worst period in USA history.

In my opinion anyone who still admires those two great "communicators" Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, is seriously deficient in their understanding of what has been happening in the world altogether the last 30 years of so.

Boring as usual, but I much prefer the assessment of the Reagan years via this reference

Plus The Man Who Sold The World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America

Of course Oliver is a CIS/Hayek clone, along with all the other right wing think tanks, especially in the USA. Most notably the AEI and the "Heritage" foundation--lies, lies and more lies. Many of the hooligans at these stink tanks are/were openly supportive of the outfit criticized in this reference:

Such outfits via the manipulations of the Chicago Boyz (and Opus Dei too) helped to engineer the world-wide process of cultural destruction as described in great detail by Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine (a book with copious fact-checked foot notes).

The British social commentator John Gray also criticized this neo-"liberal" grand experiment in re-creating the world in the image of the market imperative, as the last and most destructive project in Western utopianism. Very much in the tradition of Marxism, except with more seductive language.

These hooligans were able to rewrite the laws of the countries they reconstructed in order to make their grand reforms "legal"---and thus almost impossible to reverse using legal means.
Posted by Ho Hum, Monday, 17 May 2010 12:00:21 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
I am in the process of reading a marvelous book titled Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt. It was reviewed in the Oz on the weekend.

It makes all the facile self-serving rubbish that CIS/Hayek clones write, seem like so much one-dimensional facile rubbish (hooliganism)
Posted by Ho Hum, Monday, 17 May 2010 12:39:10 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Dear Oliver, I agree with EQ, this is a good article. Whilst it paints a gloomy picture of Europe I think the problems are understated.

The EU to me seems to have degenerated into a great social experiment gone wrong. Having lived in pre-EU Europe I have seen my concerns of policy by committee turn to predictable appeasement and mediocrity.

The concept of the power houses of France, Germany and the UK investing their collective industrial and economic might into Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal seemed to have merit initially, especially as pan-European trade, tariff free logistics and a common currency offered something in return.

Sadly, with the formation of the European Parliament it all went horribly wrong as the EP tried to please everyone. The committee style legislature failed to improve the social or industrial infrastructure of poorer countries. Their corrupted elites simply sucked up the extra cash flow as they always had.

It also seems that in order to stabilize former Soviet states, EU countries paid a heavy social and economic price resulting from employment migration. The Poles are probably the “standout” beneficiaries. On my last trip (2006), I found the Poles I met in hospitality and retail, to be the most polite, industrious and service oriented. It was no surprise to learn that Poles, having educated themselves and learned trade skills, were migrating back to Poland at a rate of 65,000 per year.

There is no question that there exists a simmering resentment amongst many in Europe, not just at the level of petty, nanny state policies, but also at the fragile state of the economics. With 68% of EU GDP servicing debt, things seem unlikely to improve the short term.

I will be back in Europe for three months this year, grateful of course, for the sensational rate of exchange against the UK Pound and the Euro. No one would relish the collapse of the euro zone, or the global ramifications that might have however, I don’t see any relief without severe austerity measures, which in turn will likely cause civil unrest
Posted by spindoc, Monday, 17 May 2010 5:35:33 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
This is a timely and cogent piece, describing both the social and fiscal flaws in the European experiment.

At a social level, I recall my father's words, shortly after Britain joined what was then called the Common Market - "how dare they tell me what variety of potato I can and cannot grow". At the time, I found it a little amusing, and suggested he defy the proposed ban on King Edwards (which in fact never eventuated).

But the principle that a supranational body could concern itself with such trivia is the fatal flaw of such an organization. Every project, however apparently successful at the outset, contains the seeds of its eventual demise. This is the EU's, underlined by the author's pithy observation that it is "an institution in which even an agreement on the definition of chocolate can take 15 years."

So strangulation-by-regulation was always going to shape its destiny.

And unfortunately, the Euro was quite simply a project too far.

Tying together the fiscal fate of highly disparate economic regimes, through what was effectively an attempt at the homogenization of the financial profiles of German Mittelstand manufacturers and Greek olive groves, was always going to fail.

And so it has proved. National economies will always be shaped by national politics and national priorities. The European project's conceit was to pretend that, simply through its existence, these would dissolve into some form of blissful realization of international harmony, like the end of a Mills and Boon romance.

The Euro won't work. And it will be abandoned. And there will be tears before bedtime. This last is guaranteed by the Sarkozys of their world, whose idea of solving the problem can be summarized as "the patient is drowning; add more water".
Posted by Pericles, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 9:27:45 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
The Greek Odyssey which enthralled million's of Educators, students and Romantics has finally crashed, and sadly beginning to unravel. Immortalized by Homer, the mythical progenitors Heracles/Zeus/Ulysses have been given a rough deal, and been left holding the proverbial bunny of..profligacy ! The Hellenic Isles, birth place of Socrates, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Alexander etc resonates in epic glory. The Trojan War's. The victory at Thermopylae. Sparta..the things that bring so much joy and awe, to so many generations. Indeed, no Country in the World is blessed with so many luminaries from the past. Without doubt, the World is indebted to Greece for it's art, language, cuisine, culture, and self-indulgent values etc.

No one could not be impressed by the beauty of it's Architecture,history, beaches, medieval castles, hospitality, wild nightlife, and peaceful way of life. The majestic Aegean and Ionian Sea with it's 1400 isles, is a mecca for every hedonistic- bound tourist.It is bound to captivate , entrance and enrapture even the snobbiest of pleasure seekers. Over 15 million tourist attest to it's enviable lifestyle every year. No one in their wildest dreams would have believed four years ago, that a Nation steeped in ancient history, founder of the Olympic Games and Ideals; entrenched in idyllic poems and statues of heavenly Gods / goddesses, would be accused of nepotism, bribery, tax evasion, money laundering, boycotts, black markets, corruption etc. That it cooked the books to gain admission into the European Union (2001) falsified it's fiscal debt, and borrowed extensively to maintain a facade of Economic management etc is a travesty which will haunt " Acropolis now ", for Life. The Oracle's predictions have come to rue the past. The tragedy is stark reminder for those who are living beyond their means !

The motto: " faster, higher and stronger ", is as symbolic as Greece's deep seated excesses.

The Club Med, or acronym : " PIIGS " for Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain is a misnomer. In reality, there are others much worst off, including the United Kingdom, that are treading in the murky waters of Sovereign insolvency.

Posted by dalma, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 10:14:35 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy