By Sundeep Waslekar
They say European economies are failing – Greece, Italy, may be Spain. They are bound to fail when their growth rates plunge. Whatever is there in the economy is reflected in national accounts. It is not like rising economies where official accounts are hardly relevant. Whether the growth rate is 1% or 10%, rising economies have huge unaccounted cash with which they can carry on. What is good for future of the world – a transparent failing economy or a rising black economy?
They say that the failure of two and half southern economies heralds collapse of Europe. Are Greece, Italy, and to some extent Spain worse off today than Poland, German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, and Estonia were before joining the EU? What is good for the future of the world – a continent that enriches millions of people by integrating them on the basis of a common value framework or a continent that fails because two and half of its 25+ members mishandled their finances?
They say that the failing European economies signify political malaise. The prime ministers of Greece, Italy and (soon) Spain have quietly quit because of their mistakes. In rising economies, government leaders sit pretty in their seats amidst urban slums, dying farmlands, broken infrastructure, dirty streets, and crowded hospitals but of course, booming stock markets, enlarging political compounds and tall towers. What is good for the future of the world – economic failure that forces responsible politicians out of power or economic success that enables political and business leaders to enjoy unlimited power through polarisation?
They say that European economic failure will turn its factories into museums. It is in Europe that some of the advanced original research in physics, medicine, biology, computer science, engineering, renewable energy, nanotechnology, and other sectors takes place in the 21st century. What is good for the future of the world – a society that empowers young and old scientists and entrepreneurs to foster original research or a society that enriches businessmen who know how to deliver thousands of low cost labourers from far away villages or use educated software engineers for low level computer systems maintenance and businessmen who know how to manage their media and government relations?
They say Europe has no future at all. Have they asked if Europeans warmly welcome Turkey and Ukraine, whether the latter will join Europe? Have they asked if Chinese warmly welcome Japan and Korea, whether the latter will join China? (Japan and Korea are too far; will even Taiwan happily rush to join Chinese confederation?) Have they asked if Pakistan and Nepal will join India, even in an EU type confederation? Have they asked if Zimbabwe and Mozambique will join South African Union? Have they asked if Argentina and Chile will join Brazilian dominated Latino Union? Isn’t proof of the pudding in eating? What is good for the future of the world – unions of nations that their neighbours aspire to join despite economic failure or unions of nations that their neighbours want to keep distance from despite economic success?
They say Europe is over. Their ancestors said exactly a century ago that Europe was rising. Within a few years Europe was devastated in a war, again ruined in another war and caused lot of harm to other countries by exporting wars. Now Europe does not get involved in too many misadventures except Libya here and Côte d’Ivoire there – if we accept for a moment that Labour is sincere in repudiating Tony Blair’s Iraq Folly. What is good for the future of the world – a group of nations that feel economically and militarily so strong that they go on annihilating one another and innocent millions or a group of nations whose military misadventures are increasingly questioned by their own people?
The ancestors of their ancestors said that Europe was rising in the fifth century when the society was divided between lowly and ultra rich classes. This was the Roman Empire that ended in pieces, followed by a thousand years of dark ages. What is good for the world – economic success of extreme polarisation that is bound to be followed by an era of darkness or economic failures of a few miscreants in a society cherishing core human values that is bound to follow a self correcting course and recover from its stumble to walk again?
They, the experts, are very funny. They say that Europe was at its pinnacle during last days of Roman Empire and Second Industrial Revolution. The history of terrorist and tribal attacks on Rome and the two World Wars is known to us. Now they, the experts, say that Europe of values is declining and others mired in poverty, inequity, repression or manipulation are rising. Are they, the experts, trying to fool us or are they not only funny but also foolish?