Eurozone_2012

The Eurozone is on the wrong side of evolution

There is a reason why I left Europe more than 17 years ago. I always despised socialism.

The socialism that is incompatible with finding the outliers of (any kind of) innovation that can encircle the world, and thus the source of placing artificial limits on the opportunity for Europeans to play a more prominent and respected role in the evolution of the world.

I wanted my life to have meaning, and left for the country the world looks for answers:

 

“An inventor is a man who looks upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees; he wants to benefit the world.” – Alexander Graham Bell

 

Yet it was with much more lighthearted thoughts in mind that an advisor to the Kingdom of Belgium (after a conference) in a cigar-bar in Washington, DC asked me about my thoughts about the Eurozone. In the same way many others (including my European friends) have asked me that question in light of Europe’s mounting problems, over the last six months quite frequently. Little did he know.

 

Economic merit

Before I dive in, I would hasten to say that I am not interested in downstream economics (of any economy) when its upstream logic does not make sense. I will explain.

Quantitative easings and the like are at best recipes to stave off economic fires, not to prevent economic disasters from happening in the first place. The economic geniuses who implemented a plethora of artificial modulations and modifications to the economic constructs over the last decennia, should simply be held responsible for fixing the unwanted economic outcome their modifications have caused, or get fired.

Yet, downstream economic optimizations are important to both Europe and the U.S., as both upstream and downstream are needed to drive the cycle of evolution, and – not unimportant – to keep the people’s confidence in check. Downstream economic optimizations should however not be sold as the fever-suppressing medicine that now magically cures the economic equivalent of cancer.

 

Undemocratic

The first problem I have with the Eurozone is a persuasive argument I borrowed from Nigel Farage, member of the European Parliament, whom I met with in person last September in London.

Nigel describes in no uncertain terms that the new leaders of Europe actually have not been voted on by public referendum (in fact: quite the opposite, by closed-door secret vote). That glaring omission, in my take, is roughly the highly undemocratic equivalent of The President of the United States being secretly voted into office by Congress only.

That is the excess of European socialism at “its finest”. My friends in Europe are now confronted with a plethora of laws they did not, could not, and many would not vote on, nor find relevant.

 

Contrary to unstoppable evolution

The second problem I have with the Eurozone is one that relates to the evolution of power and merit. And that evolution requires an understanding of the role of (any kind of) innovation and the entrepreneurs driving it. Or better yet, the evolution of evolution.

With the internet as the distribution mechanism for universally accessible knowledge, the merit of new ideas that produce tangible socioeconomic value will fundamentally shift from countries with stark geographic and economic borders – to companies with specific product and services, crossing borders freely – to individuals, defining their unique merit independently, no matter where they live – ultimately.  As that evolution is (already) taking shape, the global meritocracy becomes more granular, rather than concentrated in artificially constrained groupings of the outdated past.

The Eurozone is blissfully moving in the opposite direction, in which legislation deployed by (unelected) officials has torn apart the beauty, merit and capabilities of each individual European country into an artificially uniform mold, contrary to the evolution of mankind. It fails to recognize that the Brits (not a Eurozone member) are not like the French, nor like the Germans, nor like the Dutch (I should know), and worse ignores the fact that economic prosperity is dependent not on more compliance to socialism but a healthy defiance to it.

 

Repair upstream economics

The Eurozone therefore does not make sense macro-economically, nullifying its downstream implementation. The best way I can see Europe start to repair itself macro-economically is to:

  • Hold a public referendum within the next six months for each citizen individually to vote for the election of membership to the Eurozone and if so, to elect parliament and leaders from a ballot (like the U.S.), and simultaneously elect country leadership in the way we elect senators, in this case based on their allegiance to the Eurozone.
  • Implement Renewable Economics™ that drives a meritocracy designed to weigh the opportunity, needs and desires of each country to participate in a global economy independently, composed of the cumulative free-market powers of individual merit by its citizens.

 

Un-nobel

The right to greater personal independence will drive the pursuit of individual merit and prosperity, and thus the realization of freedom as more than just a state of collective moneys, but of freedom as a state of the individual mind.

Yes, the Nobel Prize has lost my full respect in appointing Eurozone’s undemocratically elected leaders Jose Manuel Barroso, Herman Van Rompuy and Martin Schulz the Nobel Peace Prize. For it demonstrates that the current Norwegian Storting (Parliament of Norway), that votes on the Nobel Peace Prize and has saliently elected not to join the Eurozone, really knows nothing about the evolution of freedom.

The people of the Eurozone should demand their right to have a vote. A vote to freedom that signifies their readiness to partake and compete globally. Not as a uniform nation of mediocrity, but as a nation that is called home by some very skilled individuals.

 

8 replies
  1. Dimitris
    Dimitris says:

    I am in full disagreement. But that’s probably our European way of living. The biggest market by GDP, the longest and hardest peace project in the world does not give publicity to guys like Farage or the Eurosceptics like you do. Plus, you are never afraid someone will come shooting your kids in school around here.

    Outliers can outlay, but when the black swans become too many where you live, come to soon-to-be federal Europe – the powerhouse of sustainable energy, organic food, normal working hours and a small gap between rich and poor.

    Oh, and let me not forget where Skype, Prezi and a few more household names by now were invented. No winners in Europe? Hm.

    Reply
    • Georges van Hoegaerden
      Georges van Hoegaerden says:

      Dimitris,

      I appreciate your comments, even though you did not make a case against which of the two arguments you disagree. Do you not agree that people in Europe should have the right to vote for their leaders? Do you not agree that the merit of individuals is where the power will shift to?

      I am against socialism, not against a democratic elected Europe in which the people of Europe would have their voices heard. The people of the Eurozone simply have had their democratic rights stripped from them.

      Only two referendums in Europe were held about the so called European Constitution in 2005/6 and the French and the Dutch peoples rejected it massively. They changed the name of it and a few paragraphs and then implemented it anyway.

      “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
      – Goethe

      The people of Europe have the same potential of merit as every other person on this planet. As I say: “Not everyone can become an entrepreneur, but an entrepreneur can come from anywhere”. The arbitrage deployed (as economics) by European leaders will determine the development of a culture of innovation, and how much of that is renewable in generations to come.

      Economics that are in violation of a democracy, let alone free-market principles, have a hard time breeding the free-thinkers needed to induce upstream and disruptive innovation (including economic innovation) that can reinvigorate this world.

      Yes, there are countries and people in Europe who will benefit from the Eurozone. The weaker will become less weak, but the strong ones will become less strong as a result of that equalization and commoditization.

      Yes, the U.S. has its share of problems, as I am the first to admit on my blogs here (I am not letting us off the hook). In most cases because the “amplitude of risk taking” is significantly higher than Europe. Meaning, the assets we derive (as the innovation the world benefits from and copies feverishly) are arguably as large as our deficits. Such is the price we pay for the relentless pursuit of prosperity and freedom.

      But we aim to raise the bar of freedom each time we arrive at a point of economic contention, not lower it. The Eurozone without democratic elections of their leaders has lowered the bar in the evolution of freedom and democracy, and as a result I predict the Eurozone will become a farce majeure, not a force majeure.

      Not because I want it to be, but because its evolution is in violation of the democratic rights of its people, let alone the development of their individual freedoms, their propensity to think out-of-the-box, and thus their ability to renew themselves.

      Dictatorship (from the denial of a democracy) cannot be in the path of progress to freedom, the resistance of our grandparents (or at least mine) against it should still be clearly visible in our rearview mirrors.

      The people in the Eurozone should revolt against the refusal to grant them their democratic right to vote for their leaders, in the same way our grandparents fought hard against the impending dictatorship by the Nazis. If they don’t, they simply get what they deserve.

      Yet, we in the U.S. do not have the right to dictate the way Europe should be run, so by all means have at it. But we do have the right to remind you of the regression of evolution, the same one we rescued you from 60 years ago. Courtesy of pattern recognition.

      We, in the U.S., may lose some of our freedom defined as a state of money (nebulous GDP), but we will move forward in the evolution and refinement of freedom defined as a state of mind.

      Reply
  2. James Ferguson @kWIQly
    James Ferguson @kWIQly says:

    If you could stop fawning at the feet of Nigel Farage for long enough you might realise that to claim he is someone “who you have met in person” is not the highest accolade known to man , your views might be taken somewhat seriously.

    To realise later that this is a man who would corrupt all his principles at the expense of what he pretends to despise (but lives rather comfortably from) might do you a greater service.

    Our company is european to the core and stronger for it. This blog post simply rules you out at as a credible investor anywhere – thank you for saving me time.

    Reply
    • Georges van Hoegaerden
      Georges van Hoegaerden says:

      Only a true socialist would attach more merit to a man’s past than to his position for a better future. Argue for or against the two arguments listed, if you are brave enough, and that will determine if you have any merit (in whatever you endeavor).

      I am not suggesting Farage is “God” in the temple of holiness, I don’t know him that well to confirm or deny his reputation. And frankly, I care less if he happened to come out of jail yesterday.

      Neither do I know the reputation of Van Rompuy and cohorts. Farage’s argument that the Eurozone is absolutely undemocratic in the way it has avoided the engage in a public referendum, and thus not any less dangerous than any previously attempted dictatorship of The People of Europe, despite what each of us may think of him or the Eurozone leaders, remains spot on.

      But your lack of arguments (either way) is the same lame-duck position many Eurozone citizens have deployed to forego their right (either way) to elect who governs them.

      You Eurozone members should all be very ashamed of that, and be ready to face its many ugly consequences, courtesy of hindsight.

      Reply
  3. Georges van Hoegaerden
    Georges van Hoegaerden says:

    All,

    From the vitriol I get on LinkedIn and other platforms to the tune of some 40 comments I can only surmise I hit a painful chord. Yet my two key points remain unchallenged.

    When you read my blog article carefully you ought to observe that it is not meant as a comparison of Euro versus U.S., but that the sole purpose of it is to pinpoint (without comparison) 1/ the denial of democratic rights and 2/ the wrong direction of the evolution of a meritocracy we all should strive for. Hence I will only entertain in discussions that include well-reasoned arguments on those two fronts.

    Now, I could go into the comparisons but as long as I have lived in both the U.S. and Europe (unlike many commenters) I recognize the assets and deficits of either, and learned that making brush stroke comparisons often don’t characterize the outliers on each side of the pond. The other articles on my blog are quite critical to the issues we face here in the U.S., and the higher standards we need to comply to knowing full well that many countries in the world have and will simply copy our systems (including its fallacies). That criticism and fix is exactly what my book will be about.

    The bottom-line is that we, The People, are responsible for electing the governments that allow us to reach the best of our abilities and prosper. And despite the attempts to derail the discussion on the Eurozone here, I have not heard a single argument (here and on other forums) as to why the two aforementioned points I made in my blog related to the Eurozone are wrong.

    And that fact alone, the refusal to criticize oneself that turns into misplaced attempts to shoot the messenger, makes me wonder how many people in Europe are truly asleep at the wheel of economic destruction.

    Best,

    Georges

    Reply
  4. lopez
    lopez says:

    There are major roadblocks on the economic development in Europe but those limitations have not so much to do with socialist ideology and/or the fact that europeans leaders are not elected at universal suffrage (to be frank, universal suffrage never guarantees to have the best team in charge !).

    Root causes for relative “stagnation” have more do to with a lack of leadership (as it did exist at the very start of european community in the 50s, although the leaders in those times were no more democratically elected than now) and the difficulties to find a powerful “common denominator” to such diverse countries (let alone the language diversity which is probably still not a trivial problem).

    Fiscal harmonization remains a key issue that was identified early in the process of economic convergence but left aside for pragmatic reasons.

    Reply
    • Georges van Hoegaerden
      Georges van Hoegaerden says:

      Lack of leadership is the outcome of debilitating socialism. And no, before the Eurozone, the citizens of its individual members voted for the government that deployed its laws. Not the case in the Eurozone as I describe in the blog.

      Economic convergence is the wrong strategy, because it lays unjust claims to the merit of artificially created groups, rather than to its people. Hence it is against the evolution of evolution (see “the evolution of innovation”), and the internet as the unstoppable distribution mechanism for universal knowledge and trade will bestow on the evolution of a global meritocracy.

      Reply
  5. APietralla
    APietralla says:

    Dear Georges,

    I too have left Europe and am now happily residing North of you in Canada. My reason for leaving had less to do with a graspable moment in time, or an event I could decidedly pinpoint. It had mostly to do with the growing feeling that despite all the hard work ( averaging 60 hours/week) and the stress that goes with it, there was not much left and it became harder and harder to reach financial goals. If it was not for my wife, a Canadian Citizen, the notion that this state of being or equilibrium was somehow the norm would have never been questioned by myself alone. One is and does as ones peers are and do.

    Watching from a distance, and I too have watched Nigel’s fight for a more democratic Europe, I feel worried where Europe is going – a technocratic dictatorship is the last thing the people of Europe deserve after all this fighting the last 200 years. Yet I sense a lot of this is engineered only to serve the real powers that be – the private, central banks of the world and the endless fight for the supremacy of the US Dollar as the world reserve currency.
    My hope resides and remains in the borderless Power of the Social Media and the instant ability of millions of people to decide for right or wrong, a thumbs up or down, within seconds. Unleashing Innovation and knowledge on a massive scale is a very powerful notion and idea.
    Thanks for the blog, I will keep looking in from time to time.

    Reply

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