Monday, June 06, 2005

Off Topic: Generation '68: Voting against Globalisation 

The generation '68 in Europe is very intellectual, but had some blind spots. Studies such as journalism, political and social science, etc, where very popular, whereas technical studies (they where too cumbersome) and especially economics where less popular. This causes over the years the falling behind of Europe in technical and economic know-how.

The technical backlog has somewhat improved now by the new eastern countries having excellent trained technicians, but in these countries there is also by history a backlog in economics.

This leads to the fact that e.g. the proponents and ideas of the famous "Austrian School of Economics" (Mises, Hayek) and others are better known in the US than at the University of Economics in Vienna. BTW, Schumpeter is missing on the "others" page in the Wiki.

The lack of knowledge on basic economical facts and how markets work leads to the impression, that politics and here especially local politics may have a large impact on the economy of a country.

Note: in reality politicians have no or only little influence on the markets. This has also some benefits: if they cannot improve much, they also cannot f*ck up too much.

The politicians in opposition foster these ideas by always blaming the current government for not reacting properly and telling the people that IF they will be in charge, everything will improve.

Note: A typical example was Germany, when the socialist opposition blamed the conservative government being responsible for 3,5 Mio unemployments, and promised that they will immediately lower this figure if they where elected.

People trusted once and the figures went up to 4 Mio. I basically have no idea why the Germans trusted them again. Now the figure is well above 5 Mio.

This in turn leads to two wrong assumptions:
  1. people (and even worse the politicians themselves) start to believe that you can influence global economic markets with local decrees, and
  2. because the politicians never deliver, people get the impression that politicians of all directions are morons, idiots or corrupt.
The best example was Lisbon 2001: The European politicians recognized that Europe was lagging behind the US and Asia economically and solved the problem by declaring that Europe will overtake these two economies within ten years by declaring Europe the most competitive region in the world. Done. Problem solved. Everybody was happy.

Last year somebody must have recognized that here something is going slightly wrong by saying: "Eh, excuse me, have you looked at the recent economic figures?"

The politicians reacted immediately by installing a commitee led by Wim Kok, with gave some trivial recommendations that something has to be done. Problem solved.

They only result if such activities is that people start to believe the problems of globalization can be solved by decree. And they also started to believe that
Europe could be the most competitive region of the world and at the same time keeping up all benefits of a social welfare state.
In election campaigns you have to use simple arguments, so the opponents did not discuss the articles of the constitution, they reduced the discussion to: If you do not want (the bad effects of) globalization: vote NO. That they will loose the good effects also, they where not told.

There is only one problem or benefit (depending how you see it): globalizations does not care about votes, globalization does not step down, globalization (shift) happens.
You can only vote on issues you can influence. This is like making a referendum if next month the weather should be better.
The German phrase for this is: "Dumm gelaufen", in Austria we say: "Eigfoan".

And I promise: the next post will be about FCC and E911 (I have finally read it)

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