Is this the Beginning of the End for the European Union?

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Ten years ago, in 2005, I wrote in War and Peace and War:

On March 25, 1957, in a spectacular Renaissance palazzo in Rome six European nations—France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg—signed the treaty establishing the European Economic Community, the precursor of the European Union. A glance at maps of Europe in 1957 and 800 shows that the combined territory of the six founding members traces almost precisely the empire of Charlemagne. The symbolism is heavy. It was in Rome, on Christmas day of A.D. 800 that the pope crowned Charlemagne as emperor. Is the European Union a new kind of empire?

charlemagne

In terms of its size, multiethnic population, and complex power structure the E.U. fits my definition. Furthermore, during the half century of its existence the E.U. has been aggressively expanding, adding most recently six central European and two Mediterranean countries during the writing of this book. The core state of the E.U., Germany, meanwhile gobbled up former East Germany in 1990. However, all expansion to date was accomplished entirely by peaceful and consensual means. Historical empires don’t always need to conquer new territories. I have pointed out above that there were voluntary admissions to the Roman and Russian empires. Many medieval European states grew by dynastic unions. Still, the entirely peaceful expansion of the E.U. is unprecedented in world history—ultimately, all historical empires had to counter external or internal threats with force. Member states have used armed force, as the United Kingdom in its 1982 war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, but the European Union as a whole has not done it—so far? The Europeans are moving in the direction of creating a unified military force, but we will have to wait and see whether the E.U. will prove capable of using the force when threatened. More importantly, how strong is the European asabiya? Will it motivate people to sacrifice their comforts, treasure, or blood for the sake of the unified Europe? So far, the main financial burden of empire has been born largely by the Germans. It is customary for core nations of empires to bear the main brunt of its costs, but how long will the Germans consent to this state of affairs? Will the years of slow economic growth and high unemployment, which as of the time of this writing show no signs of ending—will such economic hardship eventually sap the willingness of the Germans to sacrifice for the sake of the dream of a powerful united Europe?

Today’s news from Greece, and the reaction by the German-led group of the rest of the eurozone nations, answer this question quite clearly.

The European Union was a wonderful idea, but I am afraid that it is now dead. I place most of the blame on the European elites. I can’t help but think that if only the EU had stayed within the historical boundaries of the Carolingian Empire, the outcome would be very different.

eu_enlargement

(To make it perfect a match, though, the EU would have to shed southern Italy and add Catalonia and Austria).

charlemagnes-empire

Instead the EU expanded. And expanded. Greece should’ve never been part of the EU. I say that even though, or perhaps because, I like the Greeks a lot (full disclosure: my grandmother was Greek). Certainly, the latest round of expansion should have never taken place. It happened against any economic or geopolitical logic and, most importantly, against the wishes of the majority of the European population.

What accounts for this mindless drive for expansion? Is this because the EU is not that different from historical empires, which expanded until they collapsed? So now it is set to repeat their fate.

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radek

There are two things here though. European Union and the Eurozone. Out of the 28 countries in the European Union, 10 are not in the Eurozone. And it’s really the common currency, not the common market or the EU-specific institutions which bears most of the responsibility for the current state of affairs. If Greece had joined the EU but not the Euro, we wouldn’t be here today.

Along those lines, as long as Romania and Bulgaria aren’t stupid enough to join (or don’t get bullied into) the Euro, they should be ok and they won’t cause that much of a problem for the EU “core”. Yes, growth has been sluggish there but I don’t think joining the EU caused this – if Bulgaria and Romania hadn’t joined, while the EU still suffered the financial crisis which hit pretty much all developed countries, the repercussion for non-EU-joining Bulgaria and Romania would have been pretty much the same, if not worse. In Germany growth has actually been more or less on trend (a trend dating back to reunification, or even 1980 if you extend it with West German data). This means that the slow growth (and it’s not that slow, though not spectacular either, just… steady) in Germany is more or less going to continue with or without the costs of supporting Europe (Germany does get the benefit of being able to export and lend to rest of the EU for its troubles)

So the question really is, can you have an “empire” without a common currency?

DanH

The multi-leveled governing system of the Romans has often been credited as one of the main reasons for their success — meaning unification in certain key areas (mostly tax-collecting and military matters), but allowing disparate local systems for other matters (including some of its coinage). There was an interesting article written by economic historian Gilles Bransbourg a few years ago comparing the Roman Empire’s ‘currency zone’ with the EU (http://www.newsweek.com/what-ancient-rome-could-teach-about-euros-flaws-66341).

Peter I think makes a good point in these comments — we keep talking about these nations, but really what we want to assess is the (in)equality within them, so what is needed is more attention to how the elites of each EU country are faring and what their interests are vs. how the less well-off in each country are doing, more than the nation-wise view that prevails.

Great post!

Marcus Aurelius

You forgot Switzerland. Its territory, along with its population, was also part of the Carolingian Empire.

The dream of a European Empire has been cherished for so long and for so many people, and it’s been tried in a number of occasions… But it always ended in failure.

Clinton Reilly

You ask – “What accounts for this mindless drive for expansion?”

It is not just the Empire’s own desire to expand. When an Empire grows and reaches a critical mass a number of external parties are in fact drawn into it of their own free will due to the perceived attractiveness of being a member of the empire. The Empire then increasingly develops a kind of ‘mass’ and ‘gravity’ that attracts others.

For example the Visigoths originally petitioned the Emperor Valens to be allowed to join the Roman Empire. Their subsequent revolt was triggered by ill treatment by corrupt Roman officials. In this way the control of the empire passed out of the hands of the Emperor and developed a dynamic of its own that became a kind of cancer for the host Empire.

To survive the Empire would have to defend its borders against the seemingly innocuous groups who partition for membership. This requires a level of maturity that rulers do not normally have.

My two cents worth.

(BTW – I am a big fan of your work on Cliodynamics and have developed some small historical computer simulations as a hobby.)

Richard

Not sure that a smaller EU would have lasted. Note that Charlemagne reigned as king of all Franks from 771->814. 43 years. His son, Louis the Pious, had trouble keeping the whole empire together (with sons rebelling against him, taking various parts, etc.). It was finally formally split up in to 3 parts by his sons in 843 by the Treaty of Verdun. 72 years after Charlemagne became sole king of the Franks. 43 years after 1957 is 2000. 72 years after 1957 is 2029.

The endgame and split up of the EU could be as long, protracted, and ugly as the split up of the Carolingian empire, and it probably will play out over the next couple decades.

Richard

Yes, but the Han, Tang, Ming (as well as the Northern Song & Qing) each ruled over the core Han lands of the Yellow river valley, Yangtze river valley, Pearl river delta, and everything in between (excluding Fujian some of the time) for centuries.

Yet ever since Charlemagne (and even before), who has been able to rule over all of France, Germany, and Italy? Or heck, even only France+West Germany?
Napoleon for a short period of time. Hitler for an even shorter period of time. Pretty much those entire periods spent on a war footing.
Anybody else?

Juan Alfonso

Peter,

Thinking about Germany as the generous country which altrustically supports the financial and political burden of the EU development and maintenance is a fallacy shared by too many people. The germans are the most benefited form the existence and expansión of the EU. Do really people think that the motives for germans to propose and accept new members are altrusitic?…

No. In the fisrt place the germans know that their economy is firmly grounded in exports, and the EU greatly facilitates the expansión of these exports. But this is not the main reason for the willingness of the germans in order to finance and expand the EU. The main reason is that all economies (even China) depend above all things on domestic consumption.

In order to support economic growth based on domestic consumption countries need 1.producers of goods, 2. buyers and 3.tax payers. Until the advent of a kind of robotic revolution, citizens are expected to fulfill all three functions.

But citizens don´t grow on trees!… For a regular society it takes around 25 years to “create” a new citizen “de novo”. 25 years and a huge investment both from parents and from the state (education, health, etc).

However the existance of the EU makes it easier than ever for Germany to “create” new producers-buyers-tax payers. It takes them only 6 months: the time germans invest in teaching german to qualified foreign people. I think that, if we do the math, all the financial support made by the germans is very little compared to what they have saved in creating new producers-buyers-tax payers (A.K.A citizens)… and you can never borrow time: measures to raise birth rates will need 25 years to accrue benefits.

What I am saying is that germans use the EU as a “resource”. I am not saying that the germans exploit the poor countries. I think of this as a kind of mutualism, but a mutualism in which germany earns the best part. Germany greatly benefits from belonging to a community where there are some other countries, like Spain, with good public health, good education and high rates of unemployement. Countries like Spain are the “incubators” of a number of future german citizens that will increase Germany´s domestic consumption.

It is not chance that germany, and other northern countries similarly benefitted form the existence of the EU, are very near to full employment rates. This fact supports what I am saying.

Juan Alfonso

I see your point, Peter. It is the elites who are interested in the maintenance and expansion of the EU. I agree. Nonetheless the growth of inequality is a domestic matter. Germany, like the US, can do very well as a country even though it is not benefitting everybody in the same proportion. In my opinión Germany is doing very well indeed, in part thanks to the existance of the EU. If birthrates are low this is a problem of short-sightedness and I think that they are trying hard to solve it. Spain has this same disturbing problem too. Again, the German elites may not be exploiting the commoners but they are benefitting more from the mutualistic relationship between them.

It seems to me that this is a case of the oldest problem of all: short-term benefits vs long-term benefits. It happened the same 40 years ago along all western society when women were strongly encouraged to join the labour market: economies greatly benefited from almost doubling the number of producers-buyers-tax payers in just a few years. Governments were delighted to collect more taxes and companies were delighted to adress a new kind of consumer. However the result has been a dramatic decrease in birthrates and an adjustment in the most relevant prices; In Spain house prices doubled, in my opinion, simply because now there were two people with income per family: two people per family able to pay for a mortgage loan.

radek

I don’t disagree with the notion that the drive for integration has reversed. I do question the implicit argument for why this happened. It wasn’t the expansion of the EU to the East. None of the 2004, or the 2007 expansion countries are the ones causing trouble for the EU currently. Yes, there is some fiscal burden from these being in the EU but it’s not as big as is made out and there’s a lot of offsetting benefits (for example, massive German exports). And yes, there was some financial problems in the Baltics but they more or less took care of it themselves. The real problems are being caused by countries which joined in 1973 (Ireland), 1986 (Portugal – that’s probably where the next big crisis will happen), and 1981 (Greece). You can throw Italy (which was the first one to start cooking the books, and Greece only followed their example) and Spain in there too. The Czech Republic looks like a sound EU candidate a lot more than Greece or Portugal. If the EU hadn’t expanded in 2004 and 2007 it would still have pretty much the same crisis on its hands as it actually does.

Notably, for the most part, these countries didn’t sign up for the Euro (time will tell what happens with those which just joined recently). So my conclusion is that it’s the imposition of the common currency that is jeopardizing the EU rather than historical/geographic precedents.

Richard

Great comments (which I agree with):

1.Germany certainly has benefitted from the Eurozone. Whether they are doing “well”/”very well”/”not well” is a different question, but somewhat besides the point. It’s not likely that Germany, if there was no no Eurozone or EU, would somehow have a higher birthrate or less inequality and I’m very certain that Germany would have been worse off with no Eurozone or EU.
2. Monetary union without fiscal (and likely political) union is unworkable.
But fiscal and political union of very different cultures is quite difficult. Heck, the US has tensions and fought a civil war because of different cultural mindsets between regions of the country about various issues.

Richard

And as I noted above, that is a rather iffy contention. Yes, you can argue that Benelux have characteristics of the Germans and French, but since the Carolingians, France and Germany have pretty much never been part of the same country (other than during brief conquests by Napoleon and Hitler). Same goes for France and most of Italy. Germany and northern Italy were united longer, but it’s safe to say that Germany and most of Italy haven’t been united for most of the past 1000+ years either.

And I find their cultures and civilizations to be very different. Besides language, those countries (or parts of them) have different religions, different histories, & different attitudes towards work.

Richard

I should add attitudes towards corruption as well:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_Perceptions_Index

Seems like the Germanic countries are much closer to each other than any of them are to the Romance & Slavic countries.

radek

There’s a lot of talk about how the Eurozone’s monetary policy is dominated by Germany. Most of this results from the fact that in many ways the ECB was modeled on the Bundesbank (but a good bit on the American Fed too actually) and is perceived as having inherited the Bundesbank’s anti-inflation focus. This was probably true in the early years of the Euro but it’s not so clear that it is still true today.

There is some indication that the monetary policy of the Eurozone is actually not the one that the Germans would choose if they pursuing their own narrow minded self-interest. Here’s one analysis

http://www.bruegel.org/nc/blog/detail/article/1151-15-percent-to-plus-4-percent-taylor-rule-interest-rates-for-euro-area-countries/

Basically what it says is that the monetary policy that the ECB has been pursuing between 1999 and 2013 is not the one that Germany (acting on its own) would have chosen, but the one which most closely matches… France. This makes sense even if you assume that it’s only German bankers who decide Eurozone’s monetary policy. The Germans like their inflation low and their money tight but they recognize that in order to keep countries like Greece or Spain in the Euro they have to give a little. So they choose their monetary policy as a weighted average of their preferred German low inflation/tight money goal and the “we don’t care about inflation/we need monetary stimulus” preference of Southern (Romance) Europe. France just happens to be right in the middle of that trade-off so it ends up with exactly the monetary policy it wants.

The interesting question is what happens if you remove the Southern European countries which want loose monetary policy from the equation. Then Germany wouldn’t have to worry about keeping them in the currency zone anymore so monetary policy would shift more towards reflecting its low inflation preferences. Which would mean that France would no longer get the spoils.

Now, I think Peter is actually right about the core countries consisting of Germany, France and Benelux, although I think this is limited to the desirability of the Euro, not the European Union. I also don’t think France would leave the Euro even if it had to accept purely German monetary policy (they made their peace with that long time ago). Italy on the other hand… There’s a potential for unstable dynamics here; one country leaves, that changes the monetary policy, that causes other countries to leave, etc. Part of the reason why the Troika actually has gone to great lengths to accommodate Greece (people forget that a lot of the debt has already been written off, rescheduled etc.)

Having said all that, I want to reiterate that in terms of “empire building” or “integration”I think this is a problem of a “flaw in the original design”; the Euro being pushed on countries which have no business playing with it, rather than one of “empire over reach” (in this case being the extension of the EU, but not the Euro, to Eastern Europe)

Juan Alfonso

Peter, in my opinion western Europe civlization is divided differently than you think. There are the nothern countries and there are the mediterranean countries. Italy, Portugal, Spain and also France are among the mediterranean countries.

I have full intention in emphasizing that France is a mediterranean country and in the same cultural axis than Spain and Italy. I am afraid that modern french people suffer from the same “cultural viri” that affect spaniards and italians: corruption, low levels of cooperation (even though frenche people are chauvinists), etc. In my opinion the reason why France seems to be in the northern culture axis is that they benefit from being between the two prosperest northern countries in their own right: UK and Germany. And they are also the conection between northern and mediterranean sub-civilizations!… France is in the center of everything and benefits form its privileged position.

My point is that France current apparent belonging to the northern europe cultural axis derives from geographical advantages.

As a spanish citizen I have sometimes wondered why Portugal, which is full of hardworking and ethical people, fares much worse than Catalonia (the northeastern mediterranean spanish region whose political elites are trying to separate from the rest of Spain). Catalonian citizens are not very different from Portuguese citizens. In my opinion the difference in prosperity comes from the vast geographical richness of the catalonian region: it is the nearest point of the iberian peninsula to the most important centers of the rest of Europe. It has some of the best sea ports of the mediterranean sea and a huge potential for turism: culture, sea, mountain… you name it. Portugal has nothing like this!

What I am saying is that I would exclude France from the carolingian nucleus of Europe.

Richard

Juan,

I would say that France is a mix of Mediterreanean and northern European.

“Core” Western Europe (the Carolingian nucleus as you call it), definitely includes northern France (and Germany). England, Eastern Europe (west of Russia), southern France, northern Italy, and northern Spain on the periphery.

As for the differences between Portugal and Catalonia, I believe you’ll find that Catalonia has a noticeably more educated population than Portugal. That would make a big difference.

Juan Alfonso

Sure, Richard. Of course: there are big differences among regions in France, in Italy and in Spain. As Edward and you point out the differences between north and south are also based on religion differences: protestant vs catholic. Irish people, for example, are very different from English people but very similar to spaniards and italians for this reason!… They are happy folk who sing and dance and joke. May it be that the catholic confession sacrament gives us catholic people the chance to misbehave a bit? a little of corruption here perhaps? A small theft there? As long as they are not mortal sins we can always confess and do penitence…

As for Portugal I am not so sure education there differs much from the level of education in Catalonia or Madrid. It is simple that Portugal has not geographical richness: it is very similar to the spanish region called Extremadura (the homeland of most of the glorious Conquistadors) and the poorest region in Spain. Portugal and Extremadura have similar numbers of population density. Catalonia is in another realm regarding almost everything because of its geographical richness. And, in my opinion, so it is France.

Richard

In Europe.

edwardturner

Richard,

I think there is something to the shared civilization idea.

Different peoples do not need to be part of the same country to be part of the same civilization. A civilization is a level of similarity at a higher scale than country. Don’t look for what unites them, look at the shared descent of the differences that separate them.

Germans are typically protestants and the French catholic but they’re both Christian.

The French and Germans (Holy Roman Empire) have held and constantly intervened in Northern Italy and between 1309-1378 the Papacy moved to Avignon in France. This dynamic arguably goes as far back as the Roman Empire.

Where is Germany and where is France? There are many Frenchmen with German surnames in west of France which shows the French-German border has been historically contested. Squabbles among children.

Look at a map of medieval monasteries and early universities they are all highly concentrated in this region of Europe. The best intellectuals and poets Europe produced moved from court to court here. This region was the core of civilization level movements such as what has been called the renaissance and enlightenment.

As for the corruption perception index, it also measures how effective the media is at managing perceptions of corruption, and it does not adjust for complexity of corruption. Man on the street cannot really imagine something like the Libor fraud even though it is a magnitude beyond all other corruption – just doesn’t have the intellectual tool kit. Even I don’t really know what happened except it was massive. It’s just a name to me. Police taking bribes to let you off a ticket for speeding – that’s easy to grasp. It’s a worthless index.

As for future of European Union, I generally consult EU Referendum blog, which I recommend. Last I read, Richard North says there’s going to be a new treaty. Will that be managing disintegration or increased integration, concentrated in core EU states?

Richard

OK. And Germans and Poles and Serbs and Croats and a bunch of other Eastern Europeans and Western Europeans are also Christian of some stripe.

Here’s a map of major monasteries with a library in medieval Europe:comment image

Looks to me like Eastern Europe & England were just as dense with them as France+Germany+Italy. So if go by that, the expanded EU (but not including Greece) mostly encompasses 1 civilization.

edwardturner

Richard, that is an interesting map which shows that Latin civilization did extend into parts of Europe well beyond Germany, France, Northern Italy and Benelux. However, that map does not show all monasteries and universities and it does not show their relative size, importance and influence.

If you have a core / periphery model of a Latin civilization, the areas outside Germany, France, Northern Italy and Benelux surely would form the periphery. The periphery is an area where you would expect different civilizations to overlap. I certainly would not expect the data to form hard lines and different measures will produce differently-shaped maps.

For example, I am looking in a recent book that has a map of major bishoprics c1250 and there are very few in Eastern Europe. They are concentrated in Northern Italy, Germany, Benelux, France, and also Spain and England. Another map in the same book shows important monasteries in Medieval Europe (Benedictine, Cluniac, Cisterian), these are concentrated in the four core areas plus England. However, while France and Germany have many of the three types England and Italy have mostly one type.

All the measures of Latin civilization – if there is such a thing – taken together should form an imprint, the densest part of which should be about the shape of the four core areas of the European Union.

This, of course, is something not just to state “as fact” but to test with real data. This will soon be possible with large historical datasets, like Seshat!

edwardturner

*I meant to say “England and Spain have mostly one type.” However, I’ve done an actual count and here are the very rough results (map doesn’t have political boundaries).

England 13 Be, 3 Ci, 1 Cl
Spain 2 Cl, 1 Ci
Italy 5 Be, 2 Ci, 1 Cl
Germany 14 Be, 2 Ci, 1 Cl
France 10 Be, 7 Ci, 5 Cl
Benelux Be 4

Germany and England overlap!

Richard

But by almost any measure of civilization, the difference between northern Italy and southern Italy is greater than that between northern Italy and Germany.

Since I don’t see Italy splitting up soon, I think that any “core” EU that includes Italy will be problematic.

O.Voron

Juan Alfonso,

You made a good point.

‘… citizens don´t grow on trees!… For a regular society it takes around 25 years to “create” a new citizen “de novo”. 25 years and a huge investment both from parents and from the state (education, health, etc).’

Exactly. Raising citizens is a long term huge investment. It looks like the German elites made a choice not to invest in raising their own citizens but instead to get ready-made ones from elsewhere. They threw open the country to economic migrants, and now Germany receives about a million newcomers annually. Which is more than one percent of the total population.

Concerning birthrates, I am not sure what you mean by “they are trying hard to solve it.” I have not heard about any meaningful programs introduced in Germany recently.
What I know is that Ursula von der Leyen, the current Minister of Defense, who
served as the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs and as the Minister of Senior Citizens, Women and Youth in previous Merkel’s administrations, was trying hard for years to introduce in Germany some programs similar to ones that France and Denmark have. Yes, expensive, but successful.
This energetic woman, herself a mother of seven ( seven) succeeded only partially. She met much resistance, particularly from her own party.
The elites were not interested. Obviously immigrants come much cheaper.

But the truth is that middle-class Germans can no longer afford to have a woman stay home and raise children.
Moreover, in modern Western societies educated women choose a career over children if the society can not accommodate those who want children and a career.

I also noticed recent headlines about abysmal German birthrate.
Indeed, the Future belongs to those who show up for it.

‘Germany passes Japan to have world’s lowest birth rate – study’

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32929962

the Future belongs to those who show up for it

A study says Germany’s birth rate has slumped to the lowest in the world, prompting fears labour market shortages will damage the economy.
..
Arno Probst, a BDO board member, said employers in Germany faced higher wage costs as a result.
“Without strong labour markets, Germany cannot maintain its economic edge in the long run,” he added.

Mr Probst said the country would need young immigrant workers to fill the significant skills gap. And more women were needed in the workforce to avoid economic problems.
Germany has one of the highest migration rates in the world

Juan Alfonso

Thank you, Voron, for sharing the point. The truth is I have mistaken Germany with other northern countries which, as you say, are making efforts to increase their birthrates. Not enough most probably…

The problem for Germany is that a low birthrate today will bring shortage of producers-consumers-taxpayers in 25 years. Even though they have that same problem today apparently they are not wiiling to put a solution! That is because they have the EU: free circulation of goods, capitals and persons. Just what they need… in the short term…

The biggest problem,along the wetern societies, is that women are fully incoporated to labour market and market prices have fully adjusted to this state of affairs. Aditionally a couple does much better if both partners earn, lets sey, 30.000€ than if only one of them earns 60.000€. This is a tax management issue and also the récipe for demographic disaster. Governments should rethink their tax policies to eliminate this arbitrary difference. It would be simple: couples with a common son (or daughter) below 6 year-old should be allowed to pay taxes as if the income were divided equally between husband and wife. Wouldn´t this be a nice way of stimulating having children? What do you think, Voron?

Richard

Juan Alfonso, that’s the way taxes work in Europe? They don’t have a tax category for married couples?

O.Voron

Juan Alfonso, I am not familiar with the Spain’s tax code, but what you describe looks to me as a clear way to penalize families where the woman is a housewife and an incentive to drive women into the job market. What sense does it make when youth unemployment is as high as it is? Working women tend to have less children, of course.
At the same time it is a disincentive to marry because it is not to your financial advantage.
Crazy tax policies, I have to admit.

Juan Alfonso

That´s exactly how it works in Spain, Voron and Richard. By your comments I induce it doesn´t work that way in your countries.

Here is Spain we don´t have taxing benefits whatsoever for married couples. We do have the slightest benefit for having one child. From 19,11% to 17,38% for a 30.000€ income and from 28,5% to 27,39% for a 60.000€ income. This means between 1,73 and 1,11 percentual points of difference (or 9% and 3,9% of relative difference) respectively as “help” from the state.

That is all. Spanish taxing system sees each partner as a separate unit. It doesn´t care if only the husband earns 60.000 and the wife stays at home and raises the children or both partners earn 30.000€ each. Therefore couples are incentivized to earn 30.000€ per partner and not to have any children; That way the “help” form state is 9,49 percentual points or 37% relative difference.

Surprisingly for me no politic parties, not even the new left-winged ones, seem to have perceived this problem. I am afraid they are more concerned with the freedom to abort (which I also endorse) than with helping families to raise new citizens.

edwardturner

I don’t like the concept of citizenry. This implies the individual is owned by the state in which they are a citizen.

It very inflexible when it comes to enabling movement between regions. The property of State A needs to get the permission of State B before they can travel, live, work in State B.

One thing about the European Union that most people like – at least in purely personal terms if not for the consequences of immigration – is the freedom of movement throughout the region.

A British citizen is also a European citizen. The individual is still the property of State A but the dual-citizenry within the EU gives the individual more freedom of choice and this weakens the hold State A has over this individual.

Ideally every individual should be a dual citizen of the whole world. That dilutes the hold State A has as far as possible.

Of course, most people won’t want to move. If there was greater equality there would be less “forced” economic migration. The point is I think the concept of “citizen” while integral to a single polity is also barrier to equality and so we should think outside of this concept.

Again, this freedom is the biggest selling point for the European Union.

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