09:30 – Hmmm. The (French) head of the IMF now says that the rest of world has to bail out the eurozone if a world-wide 1930’s style great depression is to be avoided. Fortunately–with the exception of Russia, which has agreed to kick in a few billion–the rest of the world has basically said NFW. The UK’s share was to be about $40 billion, and the UK has already announced that isn’t going to happen. Same for the US and China, which have ruled out paying to bail out a group of nations that’s perceived as being capable of paying the costs itself if only they were willing to do so.
What’s unavoidable is that standards of living are going to be going down in Europe. Way down. The eurozone nations have been on a borrowing and spending binge for many years. What’s worse is that their current debts, as horrendously high as they are, pale in comparison to their unfunded liabilities for pensions and medical care. All told, Europe is looking at a real debt load of something like $100 trillion. With a T. As I’ve said, we’re watching the collapse of the European welfare state. That won’t be pretty, as people who expected to retire in their 50’s or early 60’s with full pensions and free health care learn that those pensions won’t be paid–or, if they are, they won’t buy a cup of coffee–and that free health care won’t be available. The riots and firebombings we’ve seen so far will seem mild compared to the social unrest we’ll be seeing over the next decade or two. It’s not exaggerating to predict a coming Europe-wide revolution as the EU breaks up.
The UK would do well to distance itself as soon as possible and as much as possible from the EU, starting by withdrawing from the EU itself. The cost of doing so would actually be negative. Any additional trading costs involved in imports from and exports to the EU under WTO rules rather than EU rules would be much more than offset by the elimination of the net direct subsidies the UK pays to the EU, not to mention the indirect and largely invisible subsidies that result from EU regulations that are not in the interests of the UK. The UK is in terrible shape economically, but it’s nothing compared to the terminal economic condition of the rest of the EU. Cameron and his Tories need to get the UK out of the EU before the EU drags them further down. And he has the support of British voters, the majority of whom now favor withdrawing from the EU.
10 Comments and discussion on "Friday, 16 December 2011"
Christopher Hitchens has passed away at age 62.. I wonder if he was right, or is he back pedaling furiously, even as I type this?
That sounds an awful lot like “If you don’t pass my stimulus bill, unemployment will rocket to 8%.”
I seldom agreed with Hitchens, but I really respected his rebel fidelity.
“Cameron and his Tories need to get the UK out of the EU before the EU drags them further down. And he has the support of British voters, the majority of whom now favor withdrawing from the EU.”
The trouble is that Cameron is shackled to the British Liberals, who are very keen on staying in. Why anyone wants a seat on that impending train wreck is a bit beyond me though.
“I seldom agreed with Hitchens, but I really respected his rebel fidelity.”
He wrote some really good books a decade or two back about “Mother” Teresa, Henry Kissinger and the Clintons. Since then, ummm,…
[i]de mortuis nihil nisi bonum[/i]
Hitchens was an occasionally entertaining and amusing scribe but who was very angry about some things, many of which had occurred much earlier in his life. His younger brother Peter makes much more sense.
Merry Christmas to them both.
A summary of some of his comments are at
Amazingly, I agree wholeheartedly with this one:
“Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.”
Begins to sound like the ‘dark side’ of the Desiderata…
Beware canned bromides, aphorisms, and lifetime advice, particularly from someone who has so little respect for their own.
And the United States is only 20 years behind Europe.
That timeline is about right, I think. There are some who say we will hit the skids here in about a year, others say five to ten. Depends on a lot of factors, and I know Robert is fairly optimistic about North America compared with the rest of the world, but I am not. I think that in twenty years we will look a lot like some combination of Europe between the wars, our own Great Depression, and some version of the Blade Runner and Mad Max movie sets.
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