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Dangers of a sluggish Europe

There was an interesting piece earlier this week in the UK’s Independent newspaper by one of its main economics correspondents, Hamish McCrae. He argues – and this won’t be a surprise to you, gentle readers – that the economic weakness of Continental Europe, especially the highly-taxed, highly-regulated bits such as France and Germany, poses a long term problem not just for the citizens of those nations but for the wider world. A good, thoughtful article. Read.

The piece is all the more telling for being written by someone who hardly qualifies as a rabid free-marketeer. Parts of the liberal-left are beginning to understand that the supine foreign policy stance of the French and German political class is in many ways a reflection of those countries’ relative economic decline versus the Anglosphere nations, especially the US and Britain.

Oh, and while I am in the mood to plug interesting places of economic wisdom, take a look at this site, The Capital Spectator, which is a broadly free market blog focussing on economics and official policy. It has a particularly sharp piece on the Bush tax cut and the reputation of US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. I have even got my work colleagues to bookmark it. (Ideological subversion in the office. Heh).

5 comments to Dangers of a sluggish Europe

  • There’s an old saying, and I can’t remember who said it first, but it applies here:

    Nothing will stop an idea whose time has come.

    Sooner or later the people of Old Europe are going to figure out that centralized economic planning is the opposite of liberty, and countproducitve to its intended ends. As more figure it out, critical mass will eventually be reached.

  • Hamish MacRae has always recognised the role of the marketplace and should be viewed as required reading for anyone who wants to digest thoughtful speculation every Friday.

    His book, “The World in 2020”, now outdated, was quite good, as well.

  • Lovely lucid article, thanks!

    For some years I’ve been trying to understand the French view of economics better. Was surprisingly hard in the mid 90s, even in Paris with a French friend to help me, to find a book in French about their influential early-18th-century economist Quesnay, for example.

    While in many ways free-traders, Quesnay and other French ‘physiocrats’ had an intriguing land-based view of national income. They saw it as a kind of circulating, almost ecological, model of national wealth originating from agricultural output being successively re-invested by the other sectors of the economy. I’ve long suspected that it is the power and elegance of this model that haunts modern France’s stateist imagination, and makes them forget Quesnay’s additional free-trade sentiments.

    If anyone can recommend a good collection of writings about Quesnay and his colleagues in French, Dutch or English, please let me know!

  • Trent Telenko

    I commented on the same article at the link below if you are interested.