Tuesday, March 6, 2012

We, the Europeans?

When drawing a dress, a designer faces the choice to draw the dress first and then think about the body of the model or the other way around. In designing the European Union, we have the same problem. We chose the first approach and now we wonder why the dress does not fit. Most of the issues exposed by the crisis were already there before it - the EU just tried to avoid them praying they would go away by themselves.

The first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one. The second step is finding the CAUSE. This takes a lot more courage and honesty. We prefer to cure the symptoms of financial crisis by "bailing out" and "quantitative easing" because actually looking at the roots of the problem can expose that the system needs changing, that our understanding of how the economy works needs a radical rethinking and that there is something rotten and corrupt in the wall street controlled main street and city hall. It is always easy to say - well, it just happened, it is an aberation, a statistical mistake!

Guess what - miracles do not happen. If the Greek debt crashed it is for a reason. If the Netherlands is in a recession, it is for a reason. The cause, however, are never the foreigners, the different. Just ask the Germans what good brought to them believing a mad man that the Jews were the problem. I fear we have forgotten the lessons of the past. The young people nowadays do not remember the Second World War and the Cold War. They do not remember there was an Iron Curtain and a concrete wall separating the east from the west. They do not respect the victims of the past, not the mistakes of the past.  

In time of crisis, the Europeans are losing hope. While during the Great Depression there were two ideologies for those that lost hope, nowadays there is only one. Communism was exposed for the inhuman utopia it is, and one would think the same should have happened with fascism. It did not, it is sneaking back into the hearts and minds of the Europeans, convincing them that the OTHERS are the problem: i.e. the Muslims, the Poles, the Bulgarians, the Romanians.

The great idea behind the EU is that it is about "us, the Europeans" and not about 27 countries connected by an "and." As long as good people in Western Europe allow crazy conservatives/neo-Nazis to convince them there is "us&them," Europe is in danger: the danger to go back to how it was during the last Great Recession. We all remember how badly the things ended for ALL of US back then, do not we?

If you liked this post, check also my other posts on economy: Economy and Math and The Recession: Volatility and Positive Feedback.

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