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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A La the United States

  • BBC is running an article on Europe's economic troubles, titled Europe's Four Big Dilemmas," that is easier to negotiate than the usual reports on economic stuff -- at least to someone who is as economically-challenged as I am. (I have always had a very simple creed when it comes to economic matters, and I like to believe that it has stood me in in good stead all this time. Save whenever possible, don't lust too much over expensive things (for which it eventually becomes impossible to cook up a real need anyway), pay no attention at all to the idea of being rich, and neither a borrower nor a lender be. In that latter case every few years borrowing something nevertheless becomes unavoidable, while lending becomes necessary much more often, with the subsequent losses that that so often involves, depending on the person, though in the long run those losses have never done me any lasting harm, except in my attitudes toward the people involved.)
But if you read the BBC article too fast, you might miss what the "Four Dilemmas" are, because the author maybe a little too seamlessly runs one into the other, using headings that are easily skipped over, instead of setting each dilemma off by saying something like "the first problem is....," "the second problem is....," and so forth.

The four headings of the cited article read: "Borrowers vs Lenders," "Austerity vs Growth," "Discipline vs Solidarity," and "Europe vs the Nations." But I think that what the author, Laurence Knight, says all boils down to the fact that the European Union is still just a collection of 17 countries still holding on tight to their former independence instead of being a federation like the U.S. or one big country like China, Russia, or Brazil, in which it is easier to get the various regions to work together.

There's probably nothing that can be done about that, though a real federation looks to be the best way for Europe to go. The European countries have far too long a history and a tradition of going their separate ways.

Maybe the Africans had that difficulty in mind.

The late and unlamented M. Gadhafi had a dream of just such a "United States of Africa," but the various African countries would have none of it, even though almost any kind of union between them would be better than what they have now. There, however, the motives weren't pure. Gadhafi was interested mainly in feeding his ego by becoming the President of such a federation, while the leaders of the individual countries liked their prerogatives too much, including enriching themselves monetarily at the expense of the populace.

I guess Gadhafi just came along with his idea far too late, after the English, the French, and other Europeans had carved up Africa into various nations where only tribes had existed earlier. The upshot must be that when nations are formed and have time to congeal, it's all over for certain things that might have been more salutary.


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