A Nobel to the European Union - just a piccie

Started Oct 12, 2012 | Discussions thread
Cani
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Re: A Nobel to the European Union - just a piccie
In reply to amalric, Oct 13, 2012

First let me say that I believe the EU is a GREAT achievement, I can feel the benefits of it everyday, and I very much appreciate the decision of the Nobel committee.

amalric wrote:

I am surprised at the negative reaction. Couldn't have foretold it. The example of Iceland however is a counterproof. By *not* being part of the EU it could decide not to repay its debt. Instead the EU 'Solidarity Fund' which has just been launched avoids precisely that.

I am not sure wether you are referring to my reaction or others'. I am not negative. Iceland is a perfectly good example of the excesses of the (financial & banking) system. It decided to let its banks default and let the creditors take a very big hit. Maybe those creditors will forgive and Iceland will one day join the EU, maybe not. Estonia, Greece are another example but they are members of the EU and dealt with their problems differently.

Of course it costs money and sacrifices, so people protest in a downturn. I understand them completely, but the downturn is here. It was started by the subprime crisis and exported to the EU. Differently from the US, which has a reserve currency, we cannot make 'quantitative easing' without having the speculation at our gates, but at least the system of guarantees is getting in place and a Euro default is avoided.

I disagree that the crisis was imported from the US. Ok, the loss of confidence started with the subprime crisis and spread from there, but our debt crisis was bound to happen one day. We had (and for some countries still have) our own bubbles. To me it all started in the 80's : we made huge mistakes, both individually at the state/country level, and at the EU level, mistakes that only became obvious in the latest years.  Unlimited faith in debt and in the financialization of the economy, unlimited faith in free and fair competition inside the EU extended without precautions to the world, while at the same time edicting strict rules (environmental laws for instance) only applicable to our businesses, and leaving the system of mutualization of social risks and expenses (health, education, unemployment, retirement...) and fiscal competition within the EU virtually unchanged. It's easy now to see who benefited most from that situation (globalized elites). It's not just a downturn, it's the failure of a system, at least economically and socially. It's not equally true for every European country as some adjusted better or earlier than others. The Euro crisis is more specifically related to the failure to control certain member countries, a kind of naivety.

By the way, the ECB has eventually started some kind of QE (non conventional measures).

Once that unnecessary state expenses are phased out, it will probably be possible to lower taxation and thus relaunch the Economy. At least that's the policy here. It will happen in a coordinated way, in order to avoid hidden costs for the other states. To understand it better, think of it like the FED guaranteeing the single states in the US, but without making any deficit spending. It's tricky but it must work because the Fund is guaranteed by some 600 million people.

Hopefully. I am not expecting lower taxation in the foreseeable future (unless crazy inflation kills the debt) but hope we can expand production and wealth creation, so collect more in taxes to repay the debt, and balance revenues and expenses (through cost cutting). Inflation is one way to go, quite the opposite of the ECB doctrine and completely unfair to those who invested in and trusted the Euro, rewarding speculation rather than those who abode by the rules or did not put the economy/the money at risk, but who knows? "Heads I win, Tails you lose".

It's not an Empire though, but rather the opposite. A Republic by free consent. It requires a vision of Common Good, and this has been rewarded by Oslo. A v. original construction between sovereign countries  that has never been attempted before.

Visually it is quite a challenge to find an equivalent. But as IMF's Lagarde put it, we need more daring, not less. I suspect that this won't happen with conservative governments much longer, starting from Germany. With progressive governments, and less taxes, it will be easier to relaunch growth.

Germany made big efforts and maintained a competitive industry. I fully understand their not willing to pay for countries that spent much beyond their means without securing the resources. Mutualization makes sense a priori not a posteriori. However Germany's biggest client are other European countries so they are in the same boat and cannot let the others fall. BTW Germany partially built its strength on the softening competiveness of some of its neighbours (i.e., benefited from their mistakes). Same for the Netherlands, etc.

We need even more harmonization to make sure we all play by the same rules. I am fine when MS goes to Ireland, no harm to other European countries, but fiscal dumping within the EU is creating dangerous imbalances and tensions. Like when the UK disparages our governement in order to lure french entrepreneurs / young workers. We make a big collective financial effort to invest in education, a chunk of it benefits the UK. So far, so good, not a big issue, there are mutual benefits, but it could change. Competition is good and profitable to all up to some point.

One can think of new investments in Energy, and so solar farms, windmills and other renewables. A picture of a bike against a giant windmill?

Big failure of Europe so far. Think of Germany: it believed in renewables, highly subsidized solar (PV)energy, was able to build strong businesses at a huge cost... and now business is almost all lost to chinese companies. So who benefited from this investment?

Energy is problem n°1 in the EU. We need our own renewables industry. Not just resellers/installers.

One can think better schools, more goal oriented and dedicated to science. Don't underestimate the combined force of 27 member states. Majority voting is also part of the new treaties, so that decision might become more swift.  Unfortunately the UK can't have its cake and eat it too. The gravitational pull of the Union will become even stronger, as a big space station

Hiic Rhodus, hic salta.

Not underestimating. Diversity is a strength too. But big challenges ahead (energy, agriculture, environment, demographics). Great book you may read: Rise of the west

http://www.riseofthewest.net/dc/dc010.htm

BTW, we should really have a photographic challenge to document the Nobel. If naysayers  could only hold their powders dry

Great idea. People tend to find it difficult to get a global and comprehensive picture. I understand the bitterness of some. However, being democratic countries, we, as citizens, are all responsible, for the good and the bad.

Mind you, my piccie was made with a P&S, thus the blown highlights on top. A jump in technology would now be needed.

Am.

I started with a Canon Powershot S50. Great compact that a few years afterwards (had no GAS at the time) I heavily used in Rome. See : no blown highlights

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