"The Convention brought together a self-selected group of the European political elite, many of whom have their eyes on a career at a European level, which is dependent on more and more integration and who see national governments and parliaments as an obstacle. Not once in the sixteen months I spent on the Convention did representatives question whether deeper integration is what the people of Europe want, whether it serves their best interests or whether it provides the best basis for a sustainable structure for an expanding Union. The debates focused solely on where we could do more at European Union level. None of the existing policies were questioned."
~Gisela Stuart MP, The Making of Europe's Constitution, Fabian Society, London, 2003. ~

European Monetary Union: Crunch Time Approaches

Can a currency union exist independently of pooled political sovereignty? This has been one of the most contentious issues underlying the debate between Europhiles and euro-sceptics since the establishment of the European Monetary Union. But the question has been repeatedly finessed or ignored? that is, until now. More »
17-09-03 | 05:45 |

Sexing Up the Threat

“Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere, resulting from economic and demographic growth since the industrial revolution, are leading to potential­ly irreversible climate change. Human‑induced emissions of greenhouse gases[...] are changing how the atmosphere absorbs energy. The result is known as the enhanced greenhouse effect. Scientific evidence of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms that climate change is already taking place and that most of the warming observed during the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” More »
10-09-03 | 20:17 |

Eastern Eyes: How I Learned First-Hand About the Realities of Socialism

Soon after the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, I completed a six-month stint living and working behind the old Iron Curtain. During the fall of 1990 and winter of 1991, I was the first Western employee of a nuclear power plant project in southern Bohemia, my job being to teach English to the engineers and technicians there in expectation of a possible buyout by Westinghouse. I went to Czechoslovakia because I wanted to find out, first-hand, what it was like to live under socialism (the Czechs did not call their system communism but socialism; I came to appreciate their accuracy of language). I knew that by arriving in Czechoslovakia so soon after the revolution, I would be able to experience the imprint of forty-five years of totalitarian socialism, even though the dictatorship had been eradicated forever. More »
05-09-03 | 19:34 | 1 comment

PRE-CANCUN WTO MEETING REPORT SHOWS EU TRADE BARRIERS KILL ONE PERSON EVERY 13 SECONDS

6,600 people die every day in the world because of the trading rules of the EU. That is 275 people every hour. In other words, one person dies every 13 seconds somewhere in the world mainly in Africa – because the European Union does not act on trade as it talks. If Africa could increase its share of world trade by just one per cent, it would earn an additional £49 billion a year. This would be enough to lift 128 million people out of extreme poverty. The EU’s trade barriers are directly responsible for Africa’s inability to increase its trade and thus for keeping Africa in poverty. If the poorest countries as a whole could increase their share of world exports by five per cent, that would generate £248 billion or $350 billion, raising millions more out of extreme poverty. More »
05-09-03 | 17:55 | 1 comment

A New Road to Serfdom?

Recently, I was invited by the Ludwig von Mises Institute Europe to address an audience on what Friedrich von Hayek would have thought about the enlargement of Europe. I decided to reread his classic, The Road to Serfdom. Old hat, of course, because since Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man, we know that after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, capitalist liberal democracies are the end-state of the historical process. So there is nothing to worry about. Yet, even before finishing the introduction (by Milton Friedman) and the (three) prefaces of Hayek’s magnum opus, I realised that I was completely wrong. The Road to Serfdom still contains insights that today are as visionary and relevant as when they were published for the first time in 1944. More »
05-09-03 | 17:27 |

With Chinese Freegold from a reserve currency to a world standard

Until the birth of the euro, international trade was completely dominated by the US dollar. Since the end of the 19th century, the dollar was freely convertible to gold. Man had however since ages the craving to forge gold and to disconnect money from real gold. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first to accommodate this craving in 1933 and he retained this convertibility only for foreigners. Americans were ordered to hand in all their gold. President Nixon knew even better in 1971 and he put also an end to this convertibility, then $35 an ounce, for foreigners. More »
02-09-03 | 22:48 | 2 comments

"Nej till Euron" – Fighting the Evil Empire in Another Province

With Mrs Gabb, I am in Sweden for two reasons. The first is to address the summer conference of one of the main libertarian movements in Scandinavia. The second is to help strengthen the no campaign in the closing stages of the Swedish referendum on the Euro. It was my intention to write a long account of the things seen and done during this past week, together with observations on the Swedish people and their architecture and language. But I am presently short of time, and the glare of the television lights has dimmed all else but the events they illuminated. I will write at more length when back in England. For the moment, though, I will concentrate on the second reason for my visit. More »
02-09-03 | 22:45 |

A More Perfect Union

Europeans will soon consider a proposed constitution for the European Union that is very different from the U.S. Constitution. The United States is the oldest and largest surviving constitutional republic — a nation that has experienced a larger increase in area, population, and income; absorbing people of more diverse racial, ethnic, and language backgrounds than any other contemporary nation. So Europeans are well advised to understand and consider those characteristics of the U.S. Constitution that provided the political and legal framework for the American success story. More »
02-09-03 | 22:42 |

EU reforms to curb economic flexibility

The European Union’s draft constitution has profound implications for its economy and for the euro. On the one hand, it creates a much-needed political authority, capable of co-ordinating the budgetary policies of the countries of the eurozone. On the other, by elevating the EU’s social chapter – a list of good intentions – into a binding “bill of social rights”, it threatens to stall the liberalising forces that are making markets more competitive. The future of the euro hinges on how these tensions are resolved before the constitution is adopted. More »
02-09-03 | 22:41 |

The Violence of Central Planning

For today’s generation, Hitler is the most hated man in history, and his regime the archetype of political evil. This view does not extend to his economic policies, however. Far from it. They are embraced by governments all around the world. The Glenview State Bank of Chicago, for example, recently praised Hitler’s economics in its monthly newsletter. In doing so, the bank discovered the hazards of praising Keynesian policies in the wrong context. More »
02-09-03 | 22:38 |