The EU is heading towards the nightmare society envisioned by Ayn Rand in ‘Atlas Shrugged’

On Ayn Rand’s birthday it seemed apt to quote in full on Orphans of Liberty, a posting made on 11th April 2011 at Ironies Too, I hope it still strikes a note:

Many thanks to Muffled Vociferations Blog for alerting me to Vaclav Klaus’s recent speech in South America, linked here, from which comes this quote:

The second reason for the European economic problem is the quality, productiveness and efficiency of its economic and social system. A seemingly friendly and non-demanding, excessively paternalistic and, as a consequence, not sufficiently productive economic and social system, called “die soziale Markwirtschaft” (or social-democratism), dominates in Europe. This system with its generous social benefits weakened motivation, shortened working hours and life employment, prolonged years of studying, diminished the supply of labour (both at macrolevel and structurally), created bottlenecks and shortages.

Europeans prefer leisure to performance, security to risk-taking, paternalism to free markets, collectivism (group entitlements) to individualism. They have always been more risk-averse than Americans but the difference continues to grow. Also freedom seems to have a very low priority there. It seems that Europeans are not interested in capitalism and free markets and that they do not understand that their today’s behavior undermines the very institutions that made their past success possible. They are eager to very intensively defend their non-economic freedoms, or better to say the easiness, looseness, laxity and permissiveness of modern, or perhaps post-modern European society, but when it comes to their economic freedoms, they are quite indifferent.

The inefficiency and unsustainability of this system was later “reinforced” by the gradual acceptance of green ideology, of environmentalism. This process started in the 1970s, but reached its peak, and its economic devastating effects now, in the era of global warming (or climate change) alarmism.

Another good discussion of the problems in Portugal and Spain comes from Michael Jennings on Samizdata, linked here, with a very pertinent closing sentence. Or as Ayn Rand said in her book:

The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it.

4 comments for “The EU is heading towards the nightmare society envisioned by Ayn Rand in ‘Atlas Shrugged’

  1. February 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    As usual, Vaclav Klaus describes the problem perfectly.

  2. john in cheshire
    February 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Hear Hear.

    And my conclusion, which I have imparted to my nephews is that the Europeans are inherently socialist in their outlook. Hence the origination of such abominations as Marx, Lenin, Sartre and the rest. We, on the other hand, in England, in the USA, in Australia and Canada and New Zealand and all other places where we, the English, established a civilisation (until it was virtually destroyed in the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s) were most certainly not socialists. What we were produced the most advances to civilisation that the world has ever known. And now, we are virtually throwing it away thanks to ignorance of our past and the devious nature of the European socialists and their traitorous cohorts in our midst. I think your analysis of the situation, especially with regard to Ayn Rand, is apposite. The only solution, in my mind, is that we have to begin teaching our children of the evils of socialism. It’s not enough to have defeated the USSR in the Cold War, because socialists, just like muslims, don’t accept defeat. We have to continually teach our children and ensure that they are armed to meet the onslaught that will be brought to bear with every generation of like-minded people, intent on our destruction.

  3. Lord T
    February 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    John,

    The problem is they are bombarded at school and taught that you are wrong. Enough listen to make a difference.

    It is ironic that an ex USSR citizen is now emulating the West while the West goes over to what he escaped.

  4. February 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Wonder how close we are to global cooling? I’ve been reading a bit on that lately.

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