Monday, October 20, 2008

Austrian Chancellor: Anglo-Saxon economic model has failed

There are, according to Alfred Gusenbauer, Federal Chancellor of Austria, 'valuable lessons to be learned from the failure of the neo-liberal economic model’. And so he generalises that apologists for neo-liberalism ‘assume not only that states should be run like companies, but also that, as far as possible, they should not intervene in the economy’. He refers to the infallible primacy of ‘the market’, insisting that those who worship such an entity assert its immutability and its infinite capacity for self-regulation.

And he bemoans a ‘distributional quandary’ that ‘lies at the heart of the capitalist system’, which he defines as ‘never-ending competition fueled by the drive to maximise profits’. In such a world, he pontificates, there is no room for a social conscience.

And his solution is the State, which, like the Word in the Gospel of St John, becomes the author of not only all that is good, noble, right and true, but of everything. It is the State which must ‘fill the gap’, for while the market creates the wealth, only the State can ensure social justice. And so the Roman Catholic Chancellor of Austria lauds the social doctrine of ‘Europe's social-market economies’ (by which he means ‘continental’ Roman Catholic social doctrine) and decries the Protestant ‘Anglo-Saxon neo-liberal model’, which has failed badly, manifestly for want of a social conscience.

According to Chancellor Gusenbauer, only states may resolve this crisis, and these in turn need to be guided by cross-border regulation, which must itself be subject to the global government of ‘the international community’. He says: “A start needs to be made at the European Council meeting of the heads of state and government in Brussels in mid-October. It is crucial that the European Union accepts the challenge of the financial crisis at the highest level, draws the appropriate conclusions, and takes the logical next steps.”

As he lauds the EU – the mother of states - as our saviour, he states unequivocally that stronger regulation means ‘legally binding, globally applicable rules and standards. While important areas of economic policy are subject to rules that allow penal sanctions, the financial sector has a special status that is no longer acceptable’. Central banking in the UK (and in other ‘Anglo-Saxon’ nations) is a servant of the market. In continental Europe, however, central banks have a much more political function; they are centres of power and not mere facilitators for private markets. There was no doubt that the European Central Bank as defined by Maastricht would be the sort of beast that would need to override any ‘inconvenient’ oscillating electoral preferences. It had to be in the controlling hands of powerful financial philosophers.

All of which shows the absurdity of the Chancellor’s calls for ‘a democratically legitimised world finance organisation’. He does not articulate how his global system would ever be democratised, and he conveniently forgets that not only does the EU lack such legitimacy, but the ECB itself is immune from the inconveniences of democratic accountability. He refers to the need to expand ‘public financing for pensions, nursing care, and health insurance’ through a ‘European economic stimulus program’ because ‘Europe's nations (must) act in concert’.

This is global Socialism – unadulterated, unrelenting, unaccountable and undemocratic. It is the global advance of the continental notions of autocracy, cohesion, and corporatism, which are antithetical to the Anglo-Saxon right-wing philosophy of free markets, liberty, tolerance, and a sovereign legislature. Corporatism is an expression of Roman Catholic social doctrine, advocating enforced co-operation between employers and workers, with the State overseeing wages, working conditions, production, prices and exchange. It has been a recurrent theme of continental leaders that the eradication of the ‘dog-eat-dog’ world of Anglo-Saxon competition and the ‘selfish’ Protestant work ethic will promote social justice and order.

Catholicism and interventionist statism dominate on the Continent. The Conservative Party, which developed out of and alongside a Protestant Christian ethic, deliberately eschews denominational links and espouses free-market liberalism. When Disraeli referred to the Conservative Party as the National Party, it was essentially because of its defence of the nation state. If Britain ceases to be a state, the Conservative Party would be deprived of its raison d’être. This is the philosophical tension which lies at the heart of David Cameron’s promise to remove his MEPs from the EPP. While both may be ‘right wing’, they are separated by a religio-political gulf.

We see in the Gusenbauer plan a certain Euro-introspection, and this is defined - as the EU has ever been - by an antipathy towards some ‘other’; more by its antagonisms to the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ world than by its structures for advancing the interests of member nation states. François Mitterand confirmed this when he said: ‘France does not know it yet, but we are at war with America. Yes, a permanent war, a vital war, a war without death. Yes, they are very hard, the Americans, they want undivided power over the world.’ His successor, Jacques Chirac, similarly stated: ‘The object of a European defence identity is to contain the United States.’ The theme was picked up by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who said: ‘Whining about US dominance does not help, we have to act.’ These comments lend serious weight to the perception that the EU project is about the creation of a new state – not only adorned by anthems, flags and mottos, but conscious of the need to forge a distinct cultural identity which can be defined only in terms of what it is not; that to which it is antithetical.

As Margaret Thatcher observed, the EU is about Socialism ‘by the back Delors’. It is a tragedy that the front door has now been opened to it, and that it finds a warm embrace in a country which is not only now ignorant of centuries of Protestant liberty and reform, but has so quickly forgotten the imperative of the relatively recent Thatcherite reforms also.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

lord deliver us from such awful 3rd rate politicians. Surely anyone can see that both systems have merit and there is much to be gained by having different systems which are sometimes competitive and sometimes complimentary operating in the world?
Why do these dunderheads insist on world domination for their own half baked theories?

20 October 2008 at 09:58  
Blogger Christian said...

I find it odd, Archbishop, that you seem to conflate Catholic Social Doctrine with socialism. It is an oft forgotten point that Socialism is, in fact, a condemned system with Leo XIII stating in 1901 that:

"At the very beginning of Our pontificate We clearly pointed out what the peril was which confronted society on this head, and We deemed it Our duty to warn Catholics, in unmistakable language, how great the error was which was lurking in the utterances of socialism, and how great the danger was that threatened not only their temporal possessions, but also their morality and religion."


"For Christian Democracy, justice is sacred; it must maintain that the right of acquiring and possessing property cannot be impugned, and it must safeguard the various distinctions and degrees which are indispensable in every well-ordered commonwealth."

Many, many other popes have said similar things and though the new catechism may say some deeply dodgy things it is important to note that, unlike encyclicals, the catechism has no doctrinal authority what so ever it is merely a teaching aid (this is a defined point).

Let us not forget that the admirable new book "The Plan" inadvertently (or purposefully, I do not know) fall right into line with true Catholic social teaching. Its emphasis on local government, decentralisation etc is really the principle of subsidiarity under a different name. I need not point out that the afor mentioned principle is a cornerstone of the Social Doctrine.

Do not be fooled by the names of the parties these people belong to, in reality they are not really Catholic at all. They are in no way in favour of restoring Catholic Europe, on the contrary the principles of 1789 are deeply held by them all. The secular Republics that dominate Europe are an abomination in Catholic eyes. Failure to recognise a legitimate sovereign and the secularist consensus have both condemned repeatedly.

Britain on the other hand has a established Church, state sponsored religious education and a legitimate sovereign. Though the country is not a Catholic one the structures that exist here (much undermined by Labour since 1997) are, objectively speaking, fantastic. I swell with pride when I think that I have the luck to have been born and Englishman.

Any of these continentals who attack our wonderful system and say they do it for religious reasons (and I include not a few prelates in this) are just using religion as a vehicle for their own ends and if they honestly believe that they are not they need to knuckle down and read some encyclicals.

20 October 2008 at 11:42  
Blogger Damo Mackerel said...

As a Roman Catholic I don't see any benefits in RC social doctrine. I'm all for the Celto-Anglo-saxon democratic model.

20 October 2008 at 12:24  
Anonymous JamesW said...

The irony is that modern market economics was founded and continued by Austrians. To name the prominent ones: Carl Menger, Eugen von Boehm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Their successors are often critical of Anglo-American 'monetarism' but they regard 'socialists of all parties' (Hayek) as deluded or self-serving. They emphasise, however, that capitalism cannot exist in a legal and moral vacuum: strong support is required in these areas to avoid degeneration into a free-for-all.

20 October 2008 at 12:27  
Blogger Unitalian said...

Historian Lisa Jardine pointed out we developed the idea of Britain in opposition - to the French.

Christian is right - the Catholic politicians are no socialists, they are - horror - Catholic politicians. The EU model is the Catholic model (the French Republic's supposed secularism is only skin deep). The Anglo-Saxon model is the Protestant.

They're just different versions of capitalism, for good or ill.

Interestingly, despite its apparent failings, the Catholic Church seems considerably healthier than what - in a rational world - should be the more "progressive" CofE. Perhaps the same applies to economics?

20 October 2008 at 13:13  
Blogger Christian said...

Unitalian, Thank you for your kind words. I would, however, ask you to note that I go on to say that the 'Catholic' politicians of Europe are not that at all and are in fact a sort of centrist, secular liberal group.

I will re-emphasis my point that the British system of government and politics chimes in perfectly well with Catholic Social Teaching - in fact it chimes in BETTER than the European models as we do have some (though not excessive) market regulation, we have provision for the welfare of the poor, we have an established Church, a recognised aristocracy, a legitimate monarch and provision for the peoples views to be aired. This is clearly much better than any of the socially Marxist, secularist, republics of the so called 'Catholic' nations.

I say all this as a practicing Catholic.

20 October 2008 at 14:11  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

Socialism is a murky word. I would say Statism instead, but that doesn't sufficiently emphasise the socialistic aspect of the fascist corporatism..

20 October 2008 at 14:40  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

Its the 'state 'that has caused the problem by.

1.Spending far to much wealth.

2.Taxing the earners of wealth far to much.

3.Failing to regulate the bankers in the correct way.

Its governments that are the problem not the solution.

20 October 2008 at 15:39  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

I agree with the points made by
Christian and Unitalian, who have summed it up better than I can.

When I was much younger I could not understand the Roman Catholic Church's suspicion/ hostility to socialism, but I was thinking in terms about the dear old British Labour Party, supported then by most working class Catholics.

Since the 60's however, the Labour Party has drifted steadily into secularism and social engineering.

Today, I cannot see how any Roman Catholic could vote for the Labour party and the things it stands for.

20 October 2008 at 20:44  
Anonymous Sebastian Weetabix said...

There's always been a strong strand of pragmatism in the Catholic church. I forget which Pope said it (Leo X? Theologians can correct me) but I've always loved the expression "we must guard against enthusiasts". I'm a cradle Catholic & I've never known a priest to be remotely complimentary about socialism or state control, unlike a few pinko vicars I've met.

20 October 2008 at 20:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today, I cannot see how any Roman Catholic could vote for the Labour party and the things it stands for.

The sentence 'its a funny old world', comes to mind. Even though the world is anything but a funny place right now.

The Roman Empires Church has never been what it claims to be. It is in reality a criminal organization, that has been manipulating governments and the minds of the common people all over the entire world, in excess of 1500 years.

We are brainwashed/mind controlled into believing that the state and the powers that control much of the capitalist system are now, or were in the past, separate and independent entities. THEY ARE NOT, and he surly must know this.

The international banking system lends money to governments of all types. From the partially free market USA, to the partially socialist USSR. To them it makes no difference who pays the interest as long as it gets payed, one way or another.

As John Major and Norman Lamont found out the hard way, you cant control the people that control the system. They can break any economy they wish, anytime they wish to break it.

The greatest enemy of the people is all forms of MONOPOLY. Only competition and private wealth in the hands of the ordinary people serves to protect the common interest.

However it is not in the interests of government or business owners that monopolies are controlled or eradicated. All business men, including myself, dream of waking up one day to find all their competition has gone bankrupt. Even though they know sure as eggs is eggs, that this situation is extremely bad for the ultimate consumer.

Virtually all politicians, and certainly the most evil and self serving among them, also dream of having a monopoly of power. This type of government is usually described as a dictatorship.

One example of a criminal monopoly that the Roman Empires Church greatly helped to create in the twenties, was the prohibition of alcohol. They did the same in the sixties with the prohibition of drugs, which the mafia and others including the Popes Jesuit orders have been busy corrupting every aspect of civil society with ever since.

Of course capitalism needs strict rules as does everything that involves money and power. Our problem is the laws already exist but are ignored by high ranking criminals , in conspiracy with government. This of cause has long since been the case, and is even more so now then ever before.

We can not trust government, our religious leadership, their bought and sold media, or the international banking system.

IMO they are either crooks or dead men walking. The sane ones in higher office, self apparently know this as a fact of life and death. A fact of life and death the likes of Robin Cook, JFK, and David Kelly, as well as countless others, found out the hard way.

The truth, however unsavory, still remains the truth. So it is best we deal with it as best we can, while we still can.


Why should it surprise anyone that followers of the Roman Empires Church support the overtly fascist policies promoted by the EU and fascist political parties such as our own New Labour Party?

Have we forgotten already that the Roman Empire was fascist in all but name. Also that The Roman Empires in its later form namely the Roman Catholic Church helped Hitler's plans for European Hegemony in every way it could hope to get away with? Get real people even the current pope himself was in the past and still is now a NAZI.

Atlas shrugged

20 October 2008 at 22:03  
Blogger Christian said...

"One example of a criminal monopoly that the Roman Empires Church greatly helped to create in the twenties, was the prohibition of alcohol. They did the same in the sixties with the prohibition of drugs, which the mafia and others including the Popes Jesuit orders have been busy corrupting every aspect of civil society with ever since."


That is one of the silliest and most ahistorical things I have ever heard! You are aware that St Thomas Aquinas (leading Catholic theologian of all time) said that NOT drinking on a feast day was a SIN. You are aware that an alcoholic substance is that which Catholics think is turned into the blood of Christ...

Plus, the Catholic Church played a very very minor role in the prohibition of drugs (which happened years before the 1960's). Your Grace, I advise strongly that you delete this absurd post as it is seriously reducing the usually excellent level of debate on this blog.

PS: If you do please delete this post too as I doubt it would make much sense on its own!

21 October 2008 at 01:20  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

"One example of a criminal monopoly that the Roman Empires Church greatly helped to create in the twenties, was the prohibition of alcohol..."

What would Father Jack say to that?

The stereotype of the Catholic priest in the 50's was of a drunken Irishman preaching hell and damnation. Now he's accused of prohibiting alcohol...

I can't understand why Anonymous didnt accuse the Opus Dei of various nefarious deeds. Surely they are the bogeypersons de nos jours

21 October 2008 at 13:40  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

Well we know from history waht kind of government they want.

Freedom does not come into it.

21 October 2008 at 15:13  
Anonymous ukipwebmaster said...

Another Neo-Com comes out of the closet.

21 October 2008 at 22:35  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older