Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The terrifying threat to Europe

Although the economic problems of Greece and other “recent developers” in Europe (e.g. Ireland) are well-known, Russell Shorto in the New York Times has provided a terrifying account of what life in Greece today is really like. Titled “The Way Greeks Live Now”, it presents a horrifying picture of a country torn apart by its population's selfishness and envy and in the case of Vargas Llosa, a country with no history of efficient financial management.

The revelations of Aris Hadjigeorgiou are stunning. He says that people in Greece’s economic meltdown are now simply not even paid, and that, as Humberto Fontova argued in Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant, people in Greece want to escape from what they view as a tightly repressive economic system to such an extent that twelve thousand - about 0.15 percent of the total population - attended a seminar on migrating to Australia. Moving companies and shop closures - common enough here in Melbourne - are widely advertised on anything possible - and people are rapidly moving most money out of bank accounts. It is popularly thought that foreign companies want to turn Greece into a Florida-like resort for the wealthy of Northern Europe because of its warm climate, and the collapse of indigenous businesses would make this much more probable.

However, it is not only in hotter parts of the Enriched World that this type of multinational takeover is a threat to both culture and potentially to their economies. Although Austrian economists argue that in a free market every country will specialise in whatever it is most efficient in, in reality the entire Enriched World with its generally short growing seasons, steep topography and poverty in lithophile minerals is forced into specialising in advanced technology or manufactured goods. Moreover, the latter is only an economic specialisation for an Enriched World nation as long as it has a large supply of cheap labour, which no Enriched World nation has maintained for more than thirty years following the start of its industrial development. One sees this process very clearly in Japan and Taiwan, where their advantage in labour costs for industrial development declined steadily from the beginnings of industrialisation. Major industries such as motor vehicles are thus “nomadic” within the Enriched World searching for the cheapest labour. Under this condition, long-term job security is almost impossible for most workers, except possibly for those in industries so specialised they depend on a tradition of work in this field, of which the best-known is watch-making.

That possibility, however, has in not one Eurasian nation proved adequate for the maintenance of traditional culture, respectable fertility rates and limited government. Problems with public debt are widespread in the Enriched World, not confined to “poorly managed” nations like Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Thus, one can expect that, regardless of what does happen in southern Europe, that  northern Europe still possess the risk of a similar collapse and drain of enterprise and emotional “heart” - people with the caring ability to nurture families for the future.

Another alternative possibility to allow the Enriched World to cope with the upheavals of industrialisation and the reversal - a precise one indeed - of resource distribution is radical political unity. The trouble is that, under the present state of big government, the costs of administration, as with Stalinist Russia, lead inevitably in territories that unlike Australia are not naturally united to a behemoth which never tends to break down, as I know very well from Front Porch Republic. Only by challenging materialism, really, is there any hope that the overextended governments of the Enriched World can potentially be broken down, but there is no prospect of the working masses ever allowing that. The consequences for governments that become more and more indebted, however, are terrifying:
  1. a collapse of much of the world’s major academia and infrastructure, and
  2. mass migration to already overpopulated Australia
  3. potential loss of great cultural treasures as government debt accelerates
Radical unity under a more limited government may work for the Enriched World, but the question is how to achieve it??

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