Tag Archives: Germany

Ella

 

Ella was born on the 31st March, in Germany. She shares her birthday with Henry II of France, Rene Descartes and Olli Rehn. She has a claim for citizenship of Australia, Austria, Germany, Ireland. She could live and work in over thirty countries, without impediment.

She has relatives in Germany, China, Australia, Austria, England, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola. She has close personal connections in another ten countries.

She will likely speak four or five languages, have friends and colleagues spread throughout the world. She can expect to travel widely and have the benefits of a liberal democratic upbringing. She will face the perils of social unrest, health issues, personal problems, and Acts of God, but she will be well equipped for these, having many personal, family and governmental resources to assist her.

Ella

Ella

Excepting war and plague, she will have a very good chance of living to the 22nd century, when her grandparent’s youth will have slipped from Modern to Ancient History. Her life will be measured, calibrated, photographed and recorded in every moment. Distance will not impede her communications, and location will not define her. Privacy and solitude will be art forms for her.

She already carries the heavy responsibility of the promise that we as a society vest in her. The promise of a brighter future and a better world.

The world ahead will be exciting, challenging ever-changing and totally unpredictable. The rapid and accelerating societal changes of the last twenty years will be multiplied exponentially. The society she will grow old in would be as strange to us, as New York would be to Amazonian Indians.

But there will be stability as well. While we cannot fathom the technological, medical or societal changes to come, we can see in retrospect that the spirit of humanity, personal values and the basis of personal relationships have not changed over the centuries, and are unlikely to in the future.

What we have to hope for and strive for is a society that bases it’s policies on human values, and not on material or totalitarian values. What she needs is a society that will allow her freedom, and the ability to achieve her potential. These are values held as self-evident in the American Constitution, but realised in their fullest in Europe today.

This is a Europe that strikes the balance between materialism and liberalism. A Europe that allows material entrepreneurship without oppressing personal freedoms. A Europe that declares high aspirations, and strives to achieve them. A Europe that defines itself in the 21st Century by aligning itself constantly with democratic ideals and rejecting oligarchic values, wherever they are found.

Ella is a child of Europe. She represents the best of what we are as a continent, and as a society. She represents pan-nationalism, tolerance, social justice and personal freedom. She represents that highest of emotions that the human spirit can aspire to – hope for the future.

 

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Someone’s on the phone for you, dear……

English: United States President Barack Obama ...

English: United States President Barack Obama and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny participate in a bilateral meeting in the Dining Room at Farmleigh, an official Irish state guest house for visiting heads of state and dignitaries in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am sure that the NSA have good ways of weighing through the rubbish that they glean from  the millions of European and worldwide phones/data and emails that the syphon off into their data banks. At least I hope so. They have a very mixed record at actually stopping terrorist incidents to date, and one fears that they are a bit like old fashion stamp collectors, building up a large collection, without ever posting a letter!

And what damage they are doing ….!

In a world built on alliances and trust, here are these spooks undermining any trust, any sense of camaraderie that they have available to them, by listening into the phone calls of ordinary citizens of Europe and elsewhere, while  it is illegal to do the same to their own citizens! How bad is that for allies???

This is not to mention listening into the calls of the Chancellor of Germany, and saddest of all, possibly even our own Enda Kenny. What a threat to democracy he is likely to be! Not to be outdone, Enda sidestepped this embarrassing faux pas by saying diplomatically, that he just assumed that his phone was tapped, and never said anything of note! What a shock…!!

I might suggest that if he wants to get his message across, he need no longer rely on the diplomatic channels. It would be far better to ring up his wife, or a friend, and discuss his views over the phone. Surely the NSA will pick it up, and provide a hotline to Pennsylvania Avenue!

It really is time the US woke up to the fact that there are other people on this planet, and they need to start treating their allies as equals, or they will indeed end up on their own.

Security is one thing, ignorance is another.

P

On a lighter note – check out below!

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Jurgen Habermas

Jürgen Habermas during a discussion in the Mun...

Jürgen Habermas during a discussion in the Munich School of Philosophy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The politico-social disaster that will evolve with the breakup of Europe, has been referenced by the German Thinker and Philosopher Jurgen Habermas.

Habermas is a noted intellectual in Germany, and he has added his voice to the cacophony of thinkers pleading for a new enlightenment in political thinking, to avert the dissolution of the Union. It must be a truism, that an inability of our politicians to think beyond their local and national agendas is prescriptive for dissolution. Survival of the Union can only happen when there is integration oriented leaders, and visionary statesmen or women. It is the current pity that we do not seem to have anyone of stature at this stage to lead the continent. The sapping of political will is a key ingredient of the current crisis.

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George Soros

George Soros, billionaire

George Soros, billionaire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One can almost get encouraged when wise council abounds. However wise council is ignored, and partisan political interests prevail. Germans can see no further than their forthcoming elections, and are busy claiming the high ground as the tsunami of European Disintegration approaches. To quote Yeats “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”. The crisis becomes more acute by the day, and the political inertia seems to deepen.

George Soros, has put forward a succinct analysis of the situation in The Guardian. He is saying what anyone with a brain has been saying since Cyprus. He has, however, put his mind to finding good constructs for the remedy of the situation. His options are the issuance of Eurobonds, or alternatively Germany leaving the Euro. Again, this is the choice between integration and dissolution, which has been a theme here at Paddyspiigs.

If Germany did leave the Euro, who else would go with them,- Austria? Denmark? Holland? This would lead to a two speed Europe with the separation of the Northern nations from the indebted nations. A natural consequence of the current political atmosphere. This is a solution that totally ignores the political, social, and strategic aims of the European Union. It would be a sad message to send out to the world at large.

Soros’s analysis does however make a significant contribution to the current debate. Hopefully someone will listen to him!

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Simple Choices

Helmut Kohl - Chancellor of Germany (1982–1998...

Helmut Kohl – Chancellor of Germany (1982–1998) and architect of German Reunification – M.A. 1956; Ph.D. 1958 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well Oscar Lafontaine is talking the talk again. Having brought Europe together in one if the greatest social experiments in modern history, he is now set on dismantling the euro, in what would be an equally brave experiment. Hopefully he won’t turn around in 15 years time and want to reverse again. Isn’t it great to have leaders with such flitting vision!

Germany has been a big winner in Europe and will continue to be going forward, for a host of political, social and economic reasons. It is true to say that Germans have managed their affairs prudently, and have not over-borrowed, like many of their EU partners. However, Germany has not been a passive spectator in the entire fiasco that has unfolded. It was the chief designer of the Euro and it impressed on the EU/ECB a standard of rigorous inflation control, that was ill suited to the peripheral countries. German investors were happy to invest in the periphery when the gains to be made exceeded the more modest gains in their homeland. Germany was at the forefront of insisting that Ireland not “burn the bondholders” in the appalling Anglo Irish Bank scandal, – an insistence that has done more to destroy the Irish state than any other single issue in the current crisis.

Germany also gains substantially from the current low inflation, recessionary environment, which sees capital flows into German bonds, and German Funds. Germany as a major production driver of the EU gains more than most by the tariff-free environment that it can sell its goods and services into.

By contrast, if Mr Lafontaine gets his (new) way, and the Euro breaks up, the German exports are likely to be the first casualty, as the peripheral markets are lost to the stronger Deutschmark. So no one escapes. We all sink or swim together.

In some ways the breakup of the Euro, will be the answer to the problems of the periphery. The peripheral countries will be allowed to devalue, and a certain amount of relaxed inflation targets, will help deal with the debt problems. Debt will be nominalised in the new devalued currencies as there will be no Euro as standard. This alone will do what Governments failed to do when the crisis hit. The periphery will have hopefully learned the lessons of the last few years in respect to fiscal control.

The subtitle of this blog “The Living History of the Breakup of Europe”, is more of an observational title than an aspirational one.  We need to get some straight thinking if Europe is to stay together, or indeed even if its not. What we are going through is a transformational change that will either make us stronger or our continent will succumb to partisan nationalism again.

There are only two ways to proceed, and those are integration or dissolution.

If we are to proceed along the integrationist strategy then we need to deal with all the sovereign debt and deficit funding in the system. This cannot be done with pure austerity, which is an attack on the viability of nations, but rather with a program of development akin to the Marshall Plan

First page of the Marshall Plan

First page of the Marshall Plan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

, which provided vision beyond the pure economics, or even the unification program for Germany, which did likewise.

If Europe is to integrate then it should do just that. To see the issue as purely economic and fiscal will ensure the breakup of Europe. There is no leader in Germany the equivalent of Helmut Kohl, who was prepared, on both Europe and on German unification, to grasp the hand that history had dealt him, and play it with vision. The only vision we see now is accountancy, and the longer this visionary stupor persists, the more the spectre of nationalism will rise and the more inevitable will be the break up of Europe.

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