March 1, 2013

USSR Redux: Top Eurocrats Indicate Europe's Recovery Will Be Centrally Planned and Green

Europe's Green Recovery ... BRUSSELS – The need for clean energy has returned to the top of the global economic agenda ... In his second inaugural address, US President Barack Obama discussed climate change more than any other issue, saying, "We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries." At the World Economic Forum in Davos, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim surprised business and government leaders with their warnings that genuine economic recovery would be impossible without serious action on climate change. And, at the most recent EU summit, leaders agreed to commit at least 20% of their entire common budget to climate-related spending. – Project Syndicate

Dominant Social Theme: Our centrally planned economic recovery will be just as rigorous Pre-War Germany's or the USSR's but it will work much better because it will be "green."

Free-Market Analysis: It is no accident that people refer to the EU as the EUSSR. In a not very noticeable but nonetheless breathtakingly arrogant statement, a top EU Commissioner has just served notice that EU commissars intend to subject Europe to a massive amount of environmental central planning.

Central planning doesn't work as it is essentially price fixing on a grand scale. As those who run these programs are cynically aware, people will pursue their own self-interest regardless of state-mandated regulation. What these mandates provide, therefore, are a recipe for intentional impoverishment and continued social unrest.

And presumably that, too, is part of the plan. Out of chaos, purposefully inflicted, comes a new kind of order, one shaped by those who are helping generate the chaos and are thus in position to provide pre-calibrated and increasingly globalist solutions.

The article in question (see excerpt above) is written by Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, and provides us with a new and disturbing direction for the European Union's recovery.

The article, posted to the elite-leftist Project Syndicate among other places, makes the case for a "green" European recovery – one that is to be managed to meet certain goals, in other words. The thrust of her argument is encompassed in this statement:

Beyond the global economic crisis, the world is experiencing a social and employment crisis, as well as a climate and resource crisis. And none can be resolved without addressing the others.

This is a breathtaking announcement of bureaucratic central planning. Europe's "recovery," which surely has not even begun to take place, is to be managed comprehensively.

This is, in fact, what appears to be the second stage of a two-part process to reshape Europe not just into a unitary political union but into a unified society that accepts – however reluctantly – the entirety of a controversial elite sociopolitical and economic paradigm.

There is no consensus on global warming, environmental solutions (or problems) or alternative energy facilities, but Ms. Hedegaard is indicating in this article that there will be no argument, either. Out of the ashes of an "old Europe," a new Europe will emerge, one shaped around an elite "green" agenda implemented out of Brussels and designed by Money Power itself. Here's more from the article:

Europe's main commercial competitors have begun to recognize that pursuing short-term development policies, while ignoring long-term threats to the global economy, is both irresponsible and a strategic mistake for those who aspire to global leadership in the twenty-first century. Although Europeans have known this for decades, in the wake of the recent economic crisis, immediate goals took priority over – and often at the expense of – long-term objectives.

With the European Union's economy growing more slowly than those of its major competitors, its leaders must take a more far-sighted approach to restoring – and preserving – its members' growth potential. They must begin by identifying not only what is undermining Europe's competitiveness today, but also those factors that are putting its long-term prospects at risk.

Analysts often point to Europe's costly social-welfare systems, high labor costs, and increasing tax rates as a drag on competitiveness. But other, less widely discussed factors must be considered – particularly the costs of delayed action on climate change. For example, Unilever CEO Paul Polman reported that extreme weather cost his company $250-300 million in 2012. Once considered an issue for the future, action on climate change has become increasingly urgent, as the outlays required to mitigate its negative effects have grown ...

Meanwhile, China – the world's leading investor in renewable-energy projects – is undergoing a transformation from the world's low-cost factory to a global leader in green innovation and a major exporter of clean technologies. In the contest for this global market, Europe cannot compete on price alone.

But Europe does have options. EU leaders can build an economy that is less dependent on imported energy through increased efficiency and greater reliance on domestically produced clean energy. At the same time, they should tackle other major threats to Europe's long-term competitiveness, including low productivity, an incomplete internal market, and insufficient innovation.

Ms. Hedegaard has done us a favor by explaining clearly and succinctly just what is in store for the EU and its suffering citizens. Whatever recovery is to be tolerated will be shaped along certain lines – and highly inefficient ones. It is authoritarianism with a green face: Jettisoned is any notion that the Invisible Hand of marketplace competition should choose what people are comfortable and wish to use in their personal and professional lives.

Marketplace competition is democratic and empowering. Central planning is intolerant and brutal. Ms. Hedegaard is not asking permission when it comes to implementing her assertions. She is merely giving us notice.

It gets even worse, however. Later in the article, she states that "Europe's high environmental standards are crucial to its future competitiveness, and should therefore be actively promoted, particularly in trade agreements."

Not content with imposing questionable industrial policies on Europe, Brussels Eurocrats have in mind exporting their errors throughout the world. This is not hypothetical, either. It is happening now.

While trade deals have often come at the expense of stronger domestic climate action, the EU's new trade agreement with Singapore aims to boost trade and investment in clean-energy technologies and promote green public tendering. This should serve as an environmental benchmark for future agreements – including with the US, despite some American constituencies' expectations that EU standards could be relaxed in a bilateral trade deal.

The idea, we are told, is that by being a leader in environmental standards, Europe can support the growing global market for clean-energy technologies." For Eurocrats it follows logically that once a market has been established, it can be cultivated and expanded.

The green-technology market is set to triple in value by 2020 – so the article explains – and thus Europe could "regain competitiveness and secure its role in the future global economy" by focusing its industrial policy on the green solutions.

In reality, trying to force billions of people to use questionable solutions to seemingly non-existent problems, the top elites behind these campaigns are wasting resources and lowering living standards. Again, from our humble point of view, they implement these schemes on purpose, and for just these reasons.

Conclusion: There is an active campaign underway to lower Europe's living standards and weaken its middle classes. Creating and imposing a pan-European "environmental economy" on Europe's suffering masses will likely promote both of these goals.


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