I thought the Nobel Prize committee couldn’t top their 2009 peace prize, awarded to Barry the Bomber, for choosing the profession of droning Middle Eastern children into eternal peace.
But they doubled down indeed. May I present this year’s winner: TaDaaa, a non existing mental fiction called the European Union.
Yes, come into the spotlight dear Ms. Union, don’t be shy. Tell us all about how you’ve been bringing peace to the streets of Madrid, Athens, and London.
And while you’re at it, do elaborate on the successes of some of the world’s most prolific top 10 arms dealing governments, namely your own Germany, France, UK, Italy, and Sweden, proudly delivering to governments in some of the world’s bloodiest basket cases all over Africa and the Middle East.
So long as people give moral justification to organized aggression, namely the concept of government, there will be governments. So long as there are governments they will grow and grow until they completely cripple the economy they are leeching on or until they become unable to meet obligations entered into, triggering a reset.
In the long run, government power always tends towards centralization, with more and more power consolidated with fewer and fewer people, with less and less representation of the governed in the process.
It is true that, prompted by public ire from past failures, bureaucrats have throughout history devised methods to try and limit and balance state power through things like constitutions, bills of rights, balance of powers, parliaments, etc. What these measures have accomplished has been to slow down the growth, centralization, and overreach of the affected governments, but they have happened nonetheless, and with catastrophic results in many respects one could argue (1.4 million dead Iraqis might agree with me, just to bring up ONE example).
This is why even a limited government is so dangerous, because all the wealth and economic growth it brings about simply supplies more potential tax loot and thus sets the stage for more and more taxation and indebtedness, and an all the more gigantic and imperialistic state. (This is, by the way, why in the long run, after having suffered from repetitive government depredations again and again, at some point people will have to accept the validity of voluntaryism.)
These are the theories that I have been working with for years now, and there is plenty of historical evidence over the past millennia to corroborate them. The most prominent current example is of course the federal government in the United States, which has grown from a tiny government (about 7% of US GDP back then with lots of sovereignty for individual states) to the largest, most powerful, and most imperialistic government in the history of mankind, with more and more power being centralized in Washington, with Democrats and Republicans complicit in skillfully supplying their respective reasoning in their respective areas of public policy in order to consolidate power in the fields of social and military policies, respectively.
Another contemporary example is of course the European Union. Brussels represents what Washington has been in US history. Each individual crisis has been supplying and will continue to supply Brussels bit by bit with ammunition to expand its powers over member states in their endeavor of building a European Empire.
The ESM that is being discussed now fits right into this pattern and you can find out more about it in this informative clip:
Regardless of what you or I may think, that question is where European voters come in. From that standpoint it does not look pretty.
German Chancellor Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, and Greek President George Papandreou will all be gone after the next set of elections.
French President Nicholas Sarkozy may bite the dust as well, and if he does it may be to a vehemently anti-Euro candidate.
All it takes is one government to say “to hell with this” and the whole mess unravels.
The current set of politicians all want to “save the Euro”. But what did the Euro buy Greece, Ireland, Spain, or Portugal except misery?
Even German and Finland voters wonder what it bought them.
Eurozone Breakup Inevitable
Merkel’s half-baked proposal raises more questions than answers. The market (and voters) will not possibly wait for details of her proposal to get hashed out. If this is the best Merkel can come up with, a Eurozone breakup is inevitable.
I think that a complete political breakdown of the European Union would be the best thing that could happen to Europeans. Ditch all European political institutions, but maintain the free mobility of persons, capital, and goods across countries, really the only positive aspect of the Eurozone project. Oh, and you want one unified currency that actually works? I know I’ve been saying this over and over again, but … how about a gold standard? Anyone?
With a formidable yield of over 16 percent on their government bonds, way ahead of such shining beacons of economic stability as Pakistan and Colombia, Greece sure is a good example for how you can act like a third world country and get paid like an industrialized nation for a while if only you are lucky enough to find a pool of greater fools who would conceive of a deranged and imperialistic project such as the European Union.
With a $1 trillion bailout package for Greece and the other sick men of Europe, the EU and IMF spurred a huge global rally in stocks Monday, with the Dow rising 405 points, its biggest gain since March 2009.
The massive bailout prevented “another systemic seizure of the global financial system” and, “in the short run, markets are happy we’re not going to have another global meltdown like Lehman,” says NYU professor Nouriel Roubini, co-author of Crisis Economics.
But in the long run, Europe has just “kicked the can down the road,” Roubini says, agreeing with our earlier guest Richard Suttmeier.
Even $1 trillion isn’t enough so solve the “fundamental questions” facing Europe, the economist says, citing the following:
* — Even in Europe, There’s No Free Lunch: All of the bailout money is conditional on countries approving what Roubini calls “massive fiscal consolidation,” i.e. big austerity packages like Greece’s parliament just passed. Such measures mean fewer public sector jobs (and lower salaries for those who remain) and higher taxes in countries where a lot of people work for the government and already pay relatively high tax rates. “Politically can they do that…or will there be riots and strikes that are going to limit” fiscal austerity measures, Roubini wonders.
* — Tough Love Hurts: Raising taxes and cutting government spending should help alleviate the short-term debt crisis in Europe’s so-called PIIGS but will also likely lead to recession, if not outright deflation. “That will make it harder to force austerity” on the public, he says. There’s already violence and rioting in the streets of Athens. “The question is: Will we see the same thing in, for example, Lisbon, Madrid [and] throughout the euro zone?”
* — No Easy Way Out: One reason the European Union is in this mess is because few of its countries are able to compete in a global economy, especially since they lack the ability to deflate their currency, the economist says. Considering it took Germany 15 years to restructure its private sector so unit labor costs came down low enough to compete globally, nations like Greece, Portugal and Spain face a long, hard slog even if they embark upon such painful programs immediately.
So what does all that — and the political pressure against more bailouts in Germany — mean for the future of the euro and the EU itself?
In late April, Roubini said “in a few days, there might not be a euro zone for us to discuss,” at the Milken Conference.
In the accompanying clip, the founder of Roubini Global Economics says he was “just joking” about that dire prediction, which potentially contributed to the recent rout in Europe. But expect “volatility in economies and markets” is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, Roubini says, offering cold comfort (and an odd sense of humor).