Tuesday, October 16, 2012

European myths and real fears: Time to face the truth

Applying logic consistently can lead to some very hardcore argumentation in European Affairs. Especially when coupled with humanism.

Here we go (based on thoughts originally posted via my Twitter account, today):

Xenophobia and "paymasterism" are evidence of insecurity due to policy failures by mostly national policy-makers.

E.g. Angela Merkel and Co. blamed Greeks and other South Europeans to cover up for her own policy failures in 2005-2012. Except for very recently.

Plus,  the EU has always been used by national politicians as a scapegoat for their failures but not their successes.

So who should be in more fear of losing their jobs and who should lose them? People or policy makers. Desperate policy makers produce even more desperate policies. Not to mention desperate (for ratings hence ad revenue) media.

So, for voters, focusing at national and local level is in a way a natural reaction, whereas the wise reaction is to focus at Euro, EU level and beyond.

Instead of helping the man/woman in streets feel a tad of stability via their policies, policy makers have been doing the opposite.

Note also that 2 months of somewhat positive propaganda by Merkel and friends re Greece seems (see polls in Germany) to have managed to partly counter 2+ years of negative propaganda. Is that scary or good? Or both?

That is the real state of the EU in 2012. It is time we start discussing those things, not only the agenda the mainstream traditional media and social media set.


People in NW and North Europe are panicking and blaming foreigners because, imho, they know their national exceptionalisms are a hot air result of propaganda - narratives. They are in real fear. Because they feel/know that their economies are way more un-competitive and cruel than anyone would admit. They are scared of losing their accumulated privileges and fear more than South Europeans, because they know their societies are more cruel than in South Europe.

Yes what I am proposing, after roaming around the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands (NL) in the past 5 weeks and lots of talking with people from all walks of life, observing systemics and dynamics and lots of thinking, is that the real reason Dutch, Finns, Germans, Belgians, Brits are reacting the way they are is: they are scared. Even more scared than South Europeans.

Take a good look for example at the "streets" of any UK, NL or Belgian city. People are "bowling alone" (much more than Greeks or Spaniard are "bowling alone") and they know it.

That is I propose the main way to interpret eg the local results in Antwerp.

So whereas Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy need real policies badly, the NL, Belgium, the UK, Germany, Finland need real policies even more badly. And more humanism (and that is a matter/task for society and thought/opinion leaders, not policy makers per se).

On the other hand, imo what Greeks and Spaniards should really worry about is not labour market reforms but of having lost part of their traditional humanism. Because once that is lost, no laws or rules can after all restore that. And liberalism needs humanism in order to work. Every system does, but liberalism (in the European not US sense of the term) does even more (that is of course why Romney and Ryan should not win the elections in the US, the country where the term "bowling alone" was invented).

The Greek and Spanish labour markets are already a "Kaiadas" (see Ancient Sparta) even without labour market reforms, so what worse can reforms do than admit that reality?

Plus Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians should look at their national and local "champions" and elites and ask them: What have you done for me lately? In a way they are. In a way.

Being pro-EU doesn't mean being pro European Commission, pro EU Council, etc. It means being pro the common interests of 500,000,000. Because in the world systemics and dynamics of the epoch, mainly at continental and world level can effective solutions be formulated and implemented. But with a systems analysis approach that looks at the forest and at the trees at the same time. These are indeed testing times for policy makers.

The European media and social media should not focus on the symptoms (they do make for good copy, true) but at the diseases. I know it's hard.

Even more analysis on this complex topic and implications for policy makers, the civil society and economic operators at EU, Euro, national and local levels, is available upon request.

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