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June 04, 2012

George Soros Provides A Glimpse Into How Political Power Is Concentrated

Soros gave a speech recently that's gotten some coverage because he blames Germany for try to kill the Euro Zone and predicting if things don't change in the next 3 months, the Euro will be dead.

I think the more interesting part is where he lets the mask down and demonstrates how trusting "the experts" can lead to disasters like this.

I contend that the European Union itself is like a bubble. In the boom phase the EU was what the psychoanalyst David Tuckett calls a “fantastic object” – unreal but immensely attractive. The EU was the embodiment of an open society –an association of nations founded on the principles of democracy, human rights, and rule of law in which no nation or nationality would have a dominant position.

The process of integration was spearheaded by a small group of far sighted statesmen who practiced what Karl Popper called piecemeal social engineering. They recognized that perfection is unattainable; so they set limited objectives and firm timelines and then mobilized the political will for a small step forward, knowing full well that when they achieved it, its inadequacy would become apparent and require a further step. The process fed on its own success, very much like a financial bubble. That is how the Coal and Steel Community was gradually transformed into the European Union, step by step.

Germany used to be in the forefront of the effort. When the Soviet empire started to disintegrate, Germany’s leaders realized that reunification was possible only in the context of a more united Europe and they were willing to make considerable sacrifices to achieve it. When it came to bargaining they were willing to contribute a little more and take a little less than the others, thereby facilitating agreement. At that time, German statesmen used to assert that Germany has no independent foreign policy, only a European one.

The process culminated with the Maastricht Treaty and the introduction of the euro. It was followed by a period of stagnation which, after the crash of 2008, turned into a process of disintegration. The first step was taken by Germany when, after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, Angela Merkel declared that the virtual guarantee extended to other financial institutions should come from each country acting separately, not by Europe acting jointly. It took financial markets more than a year to realize the implication of that declaration, showing that they are not perfect.

The Maastricht Treaty was fundamentally flawed, demonstrating the fallibility of the authorities. Its main weakness was well known to its architects: it established a monetary union without a political union. The architects believed however, that when the need arose the political will could be generated to take the necessary steps towards a political union.

A massive reorganization of societies was organized by a "small group" who knew that their promise of limited but important integration (a shared currency) couldn't work on its own. They were patient enough to wait for the inevitable collapse that would create the conditions to allow them to do what they really wanted to do but knew they couldn't say out loud...usher in a massive political integration of Europe.

Now for a guy like Soros, this is a feature not a bug. It's far easier to exert control over "a small group of far sighted statesmen" then the restless rabble of 20 something countries bitterly clinging to their traditions, national identities and sovereignty.

He's actually annoyed the Germany may not cave and ruin the whole game. Who in the hell is Karl in Munich to say he won't work harder and pay more so that Demetrius in Athens can have his Euro and early retirement? Damn Angela Merkel and he effort to save Germany from Europe (which in turn might just save most of Europe in spite of itself).

This is the danger someone like Barack Obama (you can keep your plan if you like it but not really) or less ambitious authoritarians like Michael Bloomberg. They will sell you up front a bill of goods that sounds nice (to some ears anyway) and promise you a free ride, well except for a little bit of your freedom but don't worry, you won't miss it. When it turns out that actually to make it work they're going to need just a little bit more of your freedom but just a bit, you won't notice, plus here's a shiny thing to look at and make you feel better.

In short, these "far minded statesmen" are just well dressed drug pushers. They give you a little taste of something (FREE Health Care! Early Retirement! Fairness! etc) but then when the high wears off and the bill comes due as it always does, then they start collecting their fee.

This isn't conspiracy crap, it's simply the way the incremental ratchet works in the modern welfare state. Soros just had the honestly to admit it.


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posted by DrewM. at 11:49 AM

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