Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ship of Tools Adrift at Sea and Longing to be Heard

This man is indicative of why Europeans generally don’t get the global economic crisis, or Europe’s own debt crisis. There has been so much babble, spin, and talking in circles, that he doesn’t realize that there was much of a “French-German Axis” to begin with. It was the case that the two conferred because they were the only large economies remaining who were marginally serious about dealing with the EU’s issues within the EU.
One may think that in these difficult times, the renewed Franco-German axis is a good thing. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Today, it is the “total collaboration” between Merkel and Sarkozy that is driving Europe into the catastrophe.
Really? What’s the alternative? Who’s coming forward? You guessed it: no-one.

In fact the other large economies in the Eurozone as well as the small ones, when they aren’t begging special deals of one kind or another from France and Germany, have become inept enough to believe that they could just punt for some kind of politically CYA freebies from the IMF and Washington, and somehow remain a union.
Sarkozy’s opponent François Hollande has become the lone challenger to Mrs. Merkel. “Socialists live in Europe” he has declared and he has vowed to re-negotiate the fiscal pact by which Merkel hopes to germanify Europe. This fact explains why the German Chancellor has thrown her weight behind Sarkozy, the conservative candidate; even if her foreign minister was quick to point out that party support was not in the interest of the German state. It will be harder for Merkel to dominate a socialist government in France than a weakened Sarkozy.
And no, the entire world, let alone the western Europeans, do not believe that everything that happens is a form of palace intrigue. Nor are the charged exchanges between the Europeans genuinely serious for the outside world or even the rest of Europe for that matter.
Where does that leave France and Germany? National identities have a long shelf-life. Fois gras and Schweinshaxe will not disappear; nor will the different models of organising the welfare state. What is needed is a new political consensus that allows citizens to assume responsibility for their common affairs, and both France and Germany can contribute to making it happen.
Which is being expressed HOW exactly? What is being proposed or volunteered in the hinterland other than pot-banging, destroying property, and rioting? Zip.

The dramatization and personalization of the whole thing gives me a sense that those who indulge in it have such a shaky understanding of economies and markets, that it appears to be a defensive act – one meant to let one hear the sound of ones’ own voice and pretend to have a grip on things. It’s no wonder most of it comes from either leftists who wish private markets didn’t exist (possibly out of an inability to understand why prices can’t be controlled and fixed), and the neo-fascist “far-right”, the one with leftist platitudes when it can come up with economic pronouncements, one of which was this pointless pearl free of the burden of prescience or even tolerance for his fellow Europastani tribesmen:
Is Germany a normal country?
...and other rude assumptions made just before uttering the obvious about the political behavior of national government heads. Remember, that kind of callous crap is supposed to offer the already intelligent an even more-super-special insight.

Typical of the high quality and informative commentary in the continent available these past 4 years, it even pretends that you haven’t heard the pathetic theories based on one nation or another’s “national persona” which even among Europeans inevitably devolves into a Russ Meyer style German she bitches, cartoon Italians playing the accordion, and a beret-clad lout canoeing a unfiltered cloc that’s stuck to his lower lip representing the citizens of the republic.
Where does that leave France and Germany? National identities have a long shelf-life. Fois gras and Schweinshaxe will not disappear; nor will the different models of organising the welfare state.
As opposed to, say, a saucisson or Eisbein, which a twit unfamiliar of whom he speaks might pretend to know, if they can’t find a real sporting of real lifestyle analogy that post-dates the 19th century.

So beware the idea that you can understand economics by trying to force it through the cheesecloth of politics or culture, especially the politics and culture or what you THINK YOU KNOW. After all, through the fog and muck, there is a little voice saying to all of us something we don’t want to hear: you’re all broke, you filthy moochers.