Some wisdom on Europe from 1972!

Euro Crisis In 2012John Pinder, “Economic Growth, Social Justice and Political Reform,” in Richard Mayne (ed.), Europe Tomorrow: Sixteen Europeans Look Ahead (1972):

“… the European Community appears to be moving towards a repetition of the old centralizing errors of the nation-states, by making economic policy instruments uniform over the whole area without considering whether this will allow the peripheral regions to be prosperous or not. For the thrust of the Community’s development has been towards free trade, uniform agricultural prices, uniform tax systems and rates, and now a common currency, rather than towards common action to abolish poverty, unemployment, and regional depression. … [A]mong the first casualties, if the new European economic system is constructed [along these lines], will be the regions outside the golden quadrangle [between Milan, Paris, the Midlands, and the Ruhr]. For they will find themselves bound to that golden Moloch by Community rules of fiscal and monetary uniformity; and this, because the Community’s economy is bigger and its institutions still more remote than those of the existing nation-states, will make their predicament even worse than it is now.”

HT: Tommi Uschanov

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paul frijters
paul frijters
6 years ago

Wow, they were so far sighted and, if you take the grand sweep of things, so right! No wonder that Western Europe lost the cold war and Polish divisions now patrol the streets of Madrid. No wonder that North Africa has had to build a Mediterranean wall to keep out the poor and starving hordes from the unemployment wastelands North of them. No wonder that the piles of dead from the many recent wars in Europe make the second world war seem like a pick-nick. If only we would have listened to those pioneer thinkers of 1972, Europe would be a welfarist haven now, enjoying decades of peace and relative prosperity with millions trying to get in! If only….

John walker
6 years ago
Reply to  paul frijters

Could it be that the centralising went ahead without much in the way of checks against the tyranny of the economic majority and also without enough checks on the technocrats who had such a influence. It could be said that this resulted in the more ‘culturally different’ parts of Europe becoming invisible “off the books” for the powers that be,for years ,and therefore what is currently shattering is but an illusion?

6 years ago

So, Nicholas, some deep wisdom from Pinder many years before the Krugman cohort stated their warnings about a common currency in a non-united federation.

I also like Paul’s comment – he’s a really happy little libertarian, isn’t he. But then, perhaps what he’s trying to say is that “… free trade, uniform agricultural prices, uniform tax systems and rates ,,,” is the way to “… abolish poverty, unemployment, and regional depression.” After all, there’s no part of the EU/Eurozone that experiences any poverty, unemployment or regional depression, is there.

6 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Gruen

I’ll take your word for it Nicholas since you know him much better than I do. it’s just that he was exhibiting a lot of the ‘Stigler Conviction’ that is so characteristic of libertarians … and of Tea Partyists too, I guess.

But I thought I’d just post this for you:
“At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge, … it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”
“Are there no prisons?”
“Plenty of prisons…”
“And the Union workhouses.” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
“Both very busy, sir…”
“Those who are badly off must go there.”
“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”
“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
So it seems that no matter what ‘great changes’ are required for being “on the Left”, no change at all is required for being “on the Right”.