"When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals.
We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues"

( JM Keynes, "Economic Possibilities for our Granchildren" 1930 )

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Europe is Heading the "Right" Way

The landslide victory of the Conservative “Popular Party” in Spain ( a couple of weeks ago ) should be analyzed not only from a national context but from a rather wider perspective . In other words, I claim that the Spanish return to the Right is just another brick in an almost completed Conservative European wall . The following paragraphs will try to show that this is not just a mere “feeling” but an almost unprecedented event.

I’ve run a very simple test to understand the magnitude of the Right wing European orientation:
I´ve calculated the share of European population being governed by a Center /Right Wing Head of State along the last from 1960 (50 years). The test includes only Western Democracy countries (i.e. former Soviet bloc until the 90 and Right wing dictatorships such as Franco’s Spain were excluded) in order to avoid any misrepresentation of the “Democratic” vote. The results are described in the following graph:

The results are amazing. As can be seen from the graph, as of January 1st December 2012 95% of the 502 M EU 27 citizens are governed by the Right. …. Only Austria, Denmark and Slovenia still maintain some sort of progressive government. The last time when the right dominated the European political arena was in the 60, the days of Giant figures such as Adenauer or De Gaulle, the days of the peak of the Cold War, the days that the fresh memories of WWII and the Fascism forced the European Elites to concede concessions to the working class in the form of the Welfare State.

Moreover, if we consider not only the Democratic countries but the Eastern Block ( in the 60 under Communist Regime) , the recent dominance of the right is without precedence since WWII .

What can be told about that? From an historical perspective it's an interesting phenomenon, as Europe was considered for the last centuries the spearhead of Progressivism , the Continent which gave birth to the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, Civil Rights , Enlightenment and Illustration, Democracy…. .

However from a closer perspective, the rise of the Right should be seen as a prelude to an even more “austere” economic policy in the midst of a deep economic and financial crisis. Needless to say that austerity, on my humble opinion is a disaster for the economy and society . We still consider the actual financial crisis as a result of deficient demand, which is a direct result of a skewed and unfair income and wealth distribution. Therefore “ Austerity” (a code name for regressive policies , less fairness, more income disparities) means the withdrawal of the State, as a mediator of the society from many traditional distributional role. A recipe for disaster that could lead to the disintegration of the actual social and political edifice. Wait and See.

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