Posted by: CS | July 11, 2012

The Zombification of the West

By BRET STEPHENS The Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2012: When is an economic crisis more than just an economic crisis? When is it also a political crisis? And when is it something else altogether: social, demographic, institutional, moral, intellectual—in short, civilizational?

The euro zone’s troubles shouldn’t be difficult to understand: Pair overspending governments with over-regulated economies and sooner or later the Continent was bound to lose the confidence of the markets.

Normally, such a crisis could be resolved by slashing corporate and marginal tax rates and red tape in order to encourage investment, enterprise and risk-taking. Instead, European policy makers have pursued every conceivable fix, from serial bailouts to a banking union, in order to circumvent having to address the core problems. As a result, the crisis continues to worsen: In Spain, for instance, bank-deposit flight has only gathered pace since last month’s $125 billion bank bailout. …

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  1. Related:Has the One Percent Already Won This Thing? Yes, Mr and Mrs America! You SHOULD hate unions and live out of your car so the rich can be a tiny bit richer.

  2. I'm all for the workers, but I'm skeptical of the power of unions to boost incomes. And they can easily destroy jobs, as did Britain's Trotskyite unionists who did much to wreck the indigenous car industry — although the remarkably inept management would probably have done so on its own if it had been left to its own devices. An honest union can serve workers by providing research, legal and other services to prevent exploitation, unfair dismissal, etc. I doubt, however, if they do much to raise incomes. Employers in the US and Europe have already outsourced tens of millions of jobs to low-wage jurisdictions, while compelling governments to open the door to mass immigration of people happy to work at almost any price. A union that could actually raise wages would likely soon cause its members' jobs to be off-shored, out-sourced to local contractors employing malleable immigrant labor, or automated away. Resentment of unions is understandable in that most strong unions today are public sector unions, which so far as they raise their members' incomes, are seen to do so on the backs of the mostly non-unionized private sector workforce who pay the taxes that pay the public sector workforce.The key to fairer income distribution is competition for labor, which can be only be achieved by killing the globalization project, with tariffs and immigration restrictions, plus other measures to promote investment in the domestic supply of goods and services.

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