Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Euro Crisis or War on Welfare?

France 24's half-hour documentary on Holland may be the first in a series designed to reconcile Europeans to their Union by focusing on each country in turn.  Today, equal time was reserved for Holland’s mainly Moroccan immigrants and for the royal family.

But however much Europeans may be justified in resenting the Brussels bureaucracy's overreach, they are truly powerless with respect to the international financial system.

Television anchors across the board announce the failure of the European project, even as they identify banks as the main culprits. None, however, follows that information to its logical conclusion: the worldwide financial crisis was created and is maintained by a world financial system based in the United States.

In the feature on Dutch society, a Moroccan immigrant referred to the Holland of the sixties as a paradise. I happen to have spent the year 1969 in Amsterdam, and knew he was right.  How did this state of affairs - not very different from that of the other Western European countries - degenerate into a nightmare?

Since those happy days, the United States has transformed the world financial system into a high stakes game for the very few.  The 1% are not on the minds of bankers and fund managers, but Europe’s successful welfare society is very much on the mind of American politicians: notwithstanding a complicit media that never mentioned the stark difference in philosophies between Europe and the United States, well-read Americans were beginning to wonder why Europeans could afford free health care while we could not. By the turn of the century, as the gap between the top ten percent and the rest grew all out of proportion to their respective contributions to society, it was no longer enough to discredit the European welfare state: clearly, it had to be done away with.


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