Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Europe and the Future

As usual, Mark Steyn writing in the Telegraph "My virility doesn't matter - the EU's does" brings us great wisdom laced with a glittering wit. He speaks of the great European tragedy, a prolonged suicide of a whole civilization, which to my mind may well be unprecedented in history. Well worth a read.

Every day you get ever more poignant glimpses of the Euro-future, such as it is. In East Germany, whose rural communities are dying, village sewer systems are having a tough time adjusting to the lack of use. Populations have fallen so dramatically that there are too few people flushing to keep the flow of waste moving. Traditionally, government infrastructure expenditure arises from increased demand. In this case, the sewer lines are having to be narrowed at great cost in order to cope with dramatically decreased demand.

There's simply no precedent for managed decline in societies as advanced as Europe's, but the early indications are that it's going to be expensive: environmentally speaking, it's a question of sustainable lack of growth. Listen
to the European political class defend the status quo on the Common Agricultural
Policy, and then tell yourself these are the folks you want tackling the real crises just around the corner.

For Britain and Ireland, two relatively dynamic provinces of a moribund continent , there are only two options: share the pain and expense and societal upheaval, or decide that you're not that "European" after all and begin the process of detachment or at least semi-detachment. When the Continentals bemoan "Anglo-Saxon" capitalism, they have a point. Of the 20 economies with the biggest GDP per capita, no fewer than 11 are current or former realms of Her Britannic Majesty.

Admittedly, some of the wealthiest turf is the pinprick colonial tax havens - Bermuda, Guernsey, the Caymans. But, if you eliminate populations under 10 million, the GDP per capita Top Five are, in order, America, Canada, Australia, Belgium and the United Kingdom. And if you make it territories with over 20 million, the Top Four is an Anglosphere sweep.

In other words, the ability to generate wealth among large populations does indeed seem to be an "Anglo-Saxon" thing. That being so, which is more likely? That Blair will transform a Europe antipathetic to Anglo-Saxon ways? Or that Europe will drag its Anglo-Saxons down with it?

I recommend you go read the whole article and I recommend that, if you have not aready done so, you make Mr. Steyn a regular read.


At 10:16 am, July 13, 2005 , Blogger Linda said...

I sure hope the Brits show their backbone and detach from the whole Euro-mess. It'll only drag them down into that under-utilized sewer Steyn talks about...


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