Thursday, May 2, 2013

Europe As A Warning

Richard Fernandez discusses the collapse of Europe and, with it, socialism. He starts off by citing the latest unemployment statistics from the Eurozone from the Economist, which reports:

Greek joblessness topped 27% in January (the most recent month for which data there are available), while Spanish employment has risen to 26.7%. Joblessness in France rose by slightly more in the year to March than it did in Italy. And did you know that Dutch unemployment rose by 1.4 percentage points over the past year? German unemployment, of course, has held steady at 5.4% since last summer. 
It is the youth figures that are most remarkable, however: 59.1% of those under 25 are unemployed in Greece, 55.9% in Spain, 38.4% in Italy, 38.3% in Portugal, 26.5% in France—3.6m youths in all.
The Economist story goes on to blame the situation on the European Central Bank (ECB)--specifically, it failure to follow the footsteps of the Fed of providing a de facto negative interest rate. Apparently, if only Europe punished savers even more, it would prosper.

Fernandez points to a different problem--socialism:

 Yet that [the unemployment figures] would not appear remarkable to anyone who understands what state-controlled economies really are. Hope and Change economies are crony capitalist systems which pick winners and losers. They maintain the status quo at all costs — and reward those who have captured government over those who innovate. Thus the Reuters headline “Banks saved, but Europe risks ‘losing a generation’” is perfectly comprehensible. 
What else would happen but that? 
Naturally this plight is explained to the desperate voters as the consequence of the remaining vestiges of capitalism. The growing impoverishment, we are told, is occurring because socialism hasn’t gone far enough.  Only give the government more power and all will be well. And so the low information voters turn out in the streets offering to exchange what little freedom they have left for some low paying jobs and a little welfare.  The poorer they are the more eager they become to trade their last liberties for one more benefits check.
However, as Glenn Reynolds points out, something that cannot go on, won't. Fernandez predicts:

 ... The impulse for freedom never dies simply because, as I pointed out in the post Freedom, free societies are more information rich than collectivist, statist hives. There is no escape from poverty, stagnation and tyranny except through the information, technology and innovation that liberty brings. So  however much they march, however many Penny Pritzkers they nominate the only way the Lost Generation will ever see a job again in their lifetimes is to repudiate the Mayday nonsense.
Freedom is the only way out. The last exit. 
The Left has now set the fuse for its own demise. Like Kim Jong-un of North Korea it can do anything but produce. The bureaucracy it generates can do everything but govern. And therefore the poverty will deepen. 
Democracy may have had its day, but tomorrow eventually comes, and when the sun rises the Left will have had its day. Ironically the public will never see the shift coming until it is right upon them. Until almost the end the acolytes of the establishment in the media will push the Narrative until it finally goes up in smoke. 
The great hope for America, ironically, is Europe. It is further along the glorious road that President Obama seeks to tread than America. And its fortunes — or misfortunes —  will serve, just as in the 1940s, as a kind of tragic morality play to illustrate where certain tendencies lead. Truth comes hard, but it comes.
 I have my doubts. While we live in "information societies," that information is buried and obscured. Hence, the low information voters, and the ideologues that rule (yes, rule) over us. There is also the issue of whether the end of socialism will be peaceful. Its rise was not peaceful (e.g., WWII), and I don't think its end will be either. As Fernandez points out, the European entrepreneur has inherited the mantle of the Jew, and we all know what happened to them. In actuality, it is not just the entrepreneur, but almost anyone that stands against the socialistic ideal--the entrepreneur, the small businessmen, the politically incorrect and religious.

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