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United States of America Amsel_
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14 Aug 2019, 11:49

Does anyone else remember how poor and miserable the United Kingdom was under the old WTO rules? Thank goodness the EU was kind enough to lift them up into first world status, and now they're experiencing such incredible wealth and prosperity. I hope that Brexit is canceled, so that the UK can match the economic juggernauts of Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, and Greece! It's incredible how much better Europe has gotten in the past twenty or so years, and it's all thanks to the EU.

Brexit would be such a disaster. It's a nonsensical suicide-pact. The same reactionaries who voted for Brexit are the ones who repealed Net Neutrality here in the U.S. And all the nightmares came true. I have to buy access to websites like YouTube individually or in packages. (ESOC was strangely was in the porn package) Together we need to vote Labor and Democrat to oust the racist old white males who are scared that they aren't going to be as important as they were in the past. Don't feel bad for them, they built their privilege on the sweat and suffering of workers, women, and minorities. Let's give 'em a taste of real democracy, folks. Together we can take to the polls and bring about an amazing Post-National, Libertarian-Socialist paradise!

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Romania Dolan
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14 Aug 2019, 12:10

You know lots of things changed in terms of how the economy works since the early 1970s, right?

The UK still had their own carmakers owned by British capital (so they wouldn't just be able to decide to pack up and leave), they depended less on services than today, they didn't have a trade deficit like today, the pound was stronger, their agri businesses weren't so dependent on foreign workers because people weren't so obsessed with working in the services sector, etc etc.

So yeah sure the UK was still a wealthy country back then, but those weren't the times when their consumers needed fresh imported vegetables from Spain or cars from Germany. Or access to the European market to sell their paper services (aka financial services).

The world and the UK have changed so much since then. Where were India and China back then? Where are they now? What global clout does the UK still have 46 years later, when the world is now fractured between a few geopolitical plates: USA, EU, China, Russia, India, Middle East? Things were a lot more simple in 1973.
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Germany duckzilla
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14 Aug 2019, 12:33

Well the UK tried to get into the EU for some years and were blocked by Charles de Gaulle. They had a reason for their desire to become part of the european market. Now of course you can bash the European Union for not significantly improving the standard of living in the UK over the last 40 years. But that just distracts from the real problems. A mix of suboptimal politicians and the expectation of everlasting imperial grandeur are a strain on the economy.

Let's not forget that the UK is still one of the richest country in the world. It is just that it is not designed to be very nice for everyone, comparable to the US. In the UK the political system derives from a mix of aristocracy and plutocracy and nowadays got a more democractic touch. Nevertheless the actual politicians are still made up of people born into the elite (Eton, Oxford, Cambridge) and the election rules are far from what would be called a fair democratic standard, again comparable to the US.

@Amsel_ : you might not be able to see it from across the lake, but Europe has gotten much better over the past 20 years. Of course not everywhere, especially considering places which were already advanced then. But the European Union expanded a lot and has the major task of uniting and democratising a continent historically filled with hatred, autocracy and underdevelopment. In my opinion it yields massively. The EU Is not just a bunch of countries put together, but the cooperation and integration of the most splendid and culturally significant countries on earth.
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No Flag umeu
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14 Aug 2019, 12:57

Amsel_ wrote:Does anyone else remember how poor and miserable the United Kingdom was under the old WTO rules? Thank goodness the EU was kind enough to lift them up into first world status, and now they're experiencing such incredible wealth and prosperity. I hope that Brexit is canceled, so that the UK can match the economic juggernauts of Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, and Greece! It's incredible how much better Europe has gotten in the past twenty or so years, and it's all thanks to the EU.

Brexit would be such a disaster. It's a nonsensical suicide-pact. The same reactionaries who voted for Brexit are the ones who repealed Net Neutrality here in the U.S. And all the nightmares came true. I have to buy access to websites like YouTube individually or in packages. (ESOC was strangely was in the porn package) Together we need to vote Labor and Democrat to oust the racist old white males who are scared that they aren't going to be as important as they were in the past. Don't feel bad for them, they built their privilege on the sweat and suffering of workers, women, and minorities. Let's give 'em a taste of real democracy, folks. Together we can take to the polls and bring about an amazing Post-National, Libertarian-Socialist paradise!




:love: wow, the first good amsel post, who woulda thought?
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United States of America Amsel_
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14 Aug 2019, 13:09

@Dolan Is it not the EU which caused these changes, these dependencies to begin with? Why cheer on the insulin, if you have a cure to the diabetes?

@duckzilla I've spoken to Europeans, and people who lived in or visited Europe, and they all seem to agree that it was better in the past. I presume that this is why even you saw it necessary to mention already advanced countries. But if you look at a large portion of these countries, they have miserable tax rates, double-digit unemployment figures, and an overall stagnation. And I am being fairly generous here, the people I spoke to didn't just say stagnation; they said that Europe has gotten much worse.

What I find most interesting is how you say "the European Union expanded a lot and has the major task of uniting and democratising a continent historically filled with hatred, autocracy and underdevelopment." Because these are largely political, they are based in a certain worldview. (underdevelopment should be classified as political too, as it almost certainly means underdevelopment in other countries) So if you yourself support the EU because it aligns with your worldview, aren't you giving legitimacy to people who are anti-EU because it contradicts their values?
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Romania Dolan
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14 Aug 2019, 13:26

@Amsel_
Not quite. How did the existence of the EU make UK capital sell their carmaking businesses to Indian capital like Tata motors? How did they manage to sell a huge pillar of their manufacturing sector to capital that is not even EU-based? When you do that, you lose control over the future of that sector. Every rich country has a strategic interest in having major car manufactureres and the UK lost that advantage and is now at the mercy of those owners.

Of course, a significant portion of trade was created between the UK and the EU as a result of zero tariffs and being in the same customs union. This has made it possible for British consumers to eat fresh vegetables, fruits and meat from EU countries at lower prices, compared to if they imported from far away places like Australia or the USA.

Also, the fact that both the UK and Ireland were in the same economic union has made it possible to conclude an agreement that has pacified Northern Ireland and stopped the wave of IRA terror attacks in Britain.

The UK services sector has also been able to sell lots of financial products across a huge market, for decades. How is that a bad thing in any way?

UK employers have been able to have access to cheaper labour from poorer EU countries, which has kept their agri businesses still afloat. Agri businesses in the UK are in a very precarious state, they're barely viable even right now, when they still are able to sell in the EU and benefit from cheaper Eastern European workers. What will happen after Brexit takes place? They will have to import workers from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus. I want to hear those rabid Brexiteers who used to rail against "Eastern European criminals", how will they react when they see "less risky" Ukrainians and Russians being given temporary visas to work in the UK? I thought they had a problem with those damn foreigners coming to take their jobs. Because British workers would ask for much higher pay if they were asked to do actual physical labour, compared to Eastern European workers.

So where is the EU's fault in this situation? You realise the EU is just 28 states making decisions together on common interests. Also, there is a huge number of EU regulations that have been initiated by British people working within EU institutions. And ironically now they complain about EU regulations being dictated to them by some "unelected bureaucrats". When many of those regulations were their own initiative.
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No Flag umeu
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14 Aug 2019, 13:32

Amsel_ wrote:@Dolan Is it not the EU which caused these changes, these dependencies to begin with? Why cheer on the insulin, if you have a cure to the diabetes?

@duckzilla I've spoken to Europeans, and people who lived in or visited Europe, and they all seem to agree that it was better in the past. I presume that this is why even you saw it necessary to mention already advanced countries. But if you look at a large portion of these countries, they have miserable tax rates, double-digit unemployment figures, and an overall stagnation. And I am being fairly generous here, the people I spoke to didn't just say stagnation; they said that Europe has gotten much worse.

What I find most interesting is how you say "the European Union expanded a lot and has the major task of uniting and democratising a continent historically filled with hatred, autocracy and underdevelopment." Because these are largely political, they are based in a certain worldview. (underdevelopment should be classified as political too, as it almost certainly means underdevelopment in other countries) So if you yourself support the EU because it aligns with your worldview, aren't you giving legitimacy to people who are anti-EU because it contradicts their values?


You always hear people saying it was better in the past. If you're inclined to believe them, we'd have to go back to how things were around 2,000 BC

Trump ran on make america great again, implying that it's no longer as good as it used to be. It's a message that sells, but not necessarily rooted in truth, and above all it depends on your socioeconomic position. It may have gotten better for bob, but worse for tom. Did the EU cause that decline as well?
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United States of America Amsel_
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14 Aug 2019, 14:14

@Dolan Thank you for spending so much time on a reply. If you did so out of desire to have a discussion with me then I am very flattered.

When I blamed the EU for causing these changes, I meant the dependency as a whole. But if I'm not mistaken the EU handles all external trade deals on behalf of its members, and the UK isn't allowed to make them on its own; so if this sell-off of British industry happened after the UK joined the EU then it seems fair to point out that the EU wasn't as protective of manufacturing as the UK might have been. Here in the U.S., for instance, the government can veto foreign acquisitions of companies they deem strategic. If Britain wasn't allowed to block that acquisition because of the EU then the EU is to blame. If Britain was allowed to block it, but didn't do so on its own initiative, then that is a fault of their government, and not related to the topic at hand.

On the topic of agriculture: I see no reason for the UK to not simply provide subsidies, so that its own citizens can earn a living wage doing honest work in a now stable agricultural sector. There's nothing shameful in outdoors work, and it's unfortunate that the West has adopted a bourgeois view of labor wherein financial services need to be protected from harm, while farm-work is so déclassé that only virtual slave-laborers can do it. Personally, I'd prefer more working-class jobs to some finance jobs. Most of that finance money just gets stuck at the top anyways. But this is rather hypocritical of me, since I've chosen an extremely office-oriented field of work. I also don't know how much arable land the UK has, so if it is unsatisfactory then consumers may well have to deal with increased prices. It would be up to the government to make up for that. From the perspective of sectoral balances, they should be able to do so, because of the "increase" in foreign sector profits enabling/necessitating further public sector deficits.

@umeu Progressive views of history were scarce prior to the enlightenment. You'll have to find another audience if you wish to appeal to that perspective.
No Flag umeu
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14 Aug 2019, 14:25

what does that even mean...
Germany duckzilla
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14 Aug 2019, 14:36

umeu wrote: and above all it depends on your socioeconomic position. It may have gotten better for bob, but worse for tom. Did the EU cause that decline as well?

This here cannot be overestimated. I don't know the people you talked to. But I guess they were not from Eastern Germany, rural France, Andalusia, Northern Wales or Poland. And honestly, I also cannot imagine someone from Berlin saying anything got worse recently because of the EU.

Of course e.g. Italy has its problems, which (to be fair) it pretty much always had and which are not rooted in EU membership.

The "old white man" from the US is a similar story. If I was ~50-60 years old and a white, male American, I would also be quite nostalgic about the past. From a socioeconomic point of view, living as a white male in the US of the 80s and 90s must have been awesome. These would have been the prime years of my life, being on top of the global food chain. Women and people of color were marginalized and I would have had the opportunity to do pretty much whatever I want. I would also have been taught by my dad how to behave like a man and how I am supposed to support the family.
Today is different. White people today have much stronger competition at the job market by women and people of color. I do not stand as firmly in the middle of the world as my father used to do or as I used to in the past. There was a black president who symbolizes that I lost the preeminence that was promised to me. Quite possibly, I am not able to yield to the ideals I was taught on how to behave like a man, how to support the family, etc.
I would be pissed too.
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Germany duckzilla
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14 Aug 2019, 14:43

Amsel_ wrote:When I blamed the EU for causing these changes, I meant the dependency as a whole. But if I'm not mistaken the EU handles all external trade deals on behalf of its members, and the UK isn't allowed to make them on its own; so if this sell-off of British industry happened after the UK joined the EU then it seems fair to point out that the EU wasn't as protective of manufacturing as the UK might have been. Here in the U.S., for instance, the government can veto foreign acquisitions of companies they deem strategic. If Britain wasn't allowed to block that acquisition because of the EU then the EU is to blame. If Britain was allowed to block it, but didn't do so on its own initiative, then that is a fault of their government, and not related to the topic at hand.

You are mistaken. While trade deals between governments are usually handled by the EU institutions, any EU member can still apply industrial policies at will. UK could easily have been more protective towards its manufacturing by just blocking single trade deals on the level of companies.

In Germany, there were huge discussions recently on blocking Chinese firms from acquisitions in Germany. It is the minister for Economic Affairs who can simply veto any mergers/acquisitions, e.g. to protect competition or strategic industries.

EU members have lots of freedoms, but it is comparably easy to blame the EU on one's own inactivity.
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Romania Dolan
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14 Aug 2019, 15:25

Amsel_ wrote:@Dolan Thank you for spending so much time on a reply. If you did so out of desire to have a discussion with me then I am very flattered.

No probs, I am very interested in this subject, I've been following Brexit and UK politics very closely for a few years already. So I could talk about this for days. And it wouldn't be time wasted, because I understood so much about politics and economics by just following this subject.
When I blamed the EU for causing these changes, I meant the dependency as a whole. But if I'm not mistaken the EU handles all external trade deals on behalf of its members, and the UK isn't allowed to make them on its own; so if this sell-off of British industry happened after the UK joined the EU then it seems fair to point out that the EU wasn't as protective of manufacturing as the UK might have been. Here in the U.S., for instance, the government can veto foreign acquisitions of companies they deem strategic. If Britain wasn't allowed to block that acquisition because of the EU then the EU is to blame. If Britain was allowed to block it, but didn't do so on its own initiative, then that is a fault of their government, and not related to the topic at hand.

That's true, the fact that the EU negotiates trade deals for the whole union is a double edged sword, it has its trade-offs. On one hand, you are represented by a huge bloc that has a lot more negotiation leverage than one single member, but on the other hand, you don't get deals which are customised to your very specific economic needs. So the EU would surely try to protect your interests too while negotiating a deal (they're forced to do that, because the EU is actually run by its members, not by some aliens teleported from outer space), but in the end, there would be a compromise between them and another trading partner and that compromise may not match your economic interests perfectly.
Because, for example, if the EU negotiated a big quota for exports of cars to South America, in exchange for letting them have a big quota on European markets for exporting beef, then you as an EU country that doesn't produce cars but has a significant beef production sector, you get increased competition from their cheaper products without gaining anything. That's pretty much the worst case scenario for having such an arrangement. On the other hand, other quotas might come in your favour and so compensate you for your potential loss from competition on the beef market. Such as a substantial export quota for steel products.

It's probably similar in the US, where the federal government has a monopoly on closing trade agreements that may not perfectly match each state's economic interests, because they're going for an arrangement that strikes the optimal compromise for the whole federation.

On the question of blocking strategic acquisitions, as far as I know, the EU does not have any rules that make its members unable to block capital from outside the union from controlling huge strategic chunks of their economy. The EU only has rules concerning internal competition on its common market. It's up to each national state to protect their strategic interests in the face of hostile acquisitions coming from outside capital.
I know that recently this topic has become prominent on the EU's agenda, as they have been talking about adopting a framework within which each state would report how they plan to screen or block foreign capital from making strategic acquisitions in their countries. (See: https://globalcompliancenews.com/eu-con ... -20170920/) Under such a framework, the EU wouldn't be able to block companies from making such acquisitions, but it would create a forum in which member states could discuss with each other the implications of one country blocking certain acquisitions.
So, I really doubt that the EU could have had any say in what happened in the UK. I think the UK was free to protect their strategic sectors in any way they saw necessary.
On the topic of agriculture: I see no reason for the UK to not simply provide subsidies, so that its own citizens can earn a living wage doing honest work in a now stable agricultural sector. There's nothing shameful in outdoors work, and it's unfortunate that the West has adopted a bourgeois view of labor wherein financial services need to be protected from harm, while farm-work is so déclassé that only virtual slave-laborers can do it.

Yeah, I agree, a country definitely needs to encourage more people to get involved more in agriculture and physical jobs. It's a pathetic situation when a country pays its agri producers to simply not produce anything, because it's cheaper for them to subsidise non-production. On the flipside, this happens also because if you subsidise production to a significant degree, it becomes profitable to just produce as much as you can (and get more subsidies), even if that leads to overproduction and having to basically throw away a huge quantity of products for which there simply is no demand. So that's why this subject of agriculture is such a touchy one in the EU and elsewhere and why it enjoys a protected status. Lots of jobs are involved, food security is involved and overproduction and massive strikes can lead to some serious social unrest. So governments have simply preferred to buy their producers' silence with handouts.
I also don't know how much arable land the UK has, so if it is unsatisfactory then consumers may well have to deal with increased prices. It would be up to the government to make up for that. From the perspective of sectoral balances, they should be able to do so, because of the "increase" in foreign sector profits enabling/necessitating further public sector deficits.

I'm no expert in the UK agri sector, but I know that the country has a high population density and most of its GDP is generated in services. Also, I know that they are unable to secure their food necessities from internal production. So they import a lot of agri products from Ireland (dairy, beef), Spain (fruits and vegetables), Italy (cheese) etc. And this kind of dependency won't be changed overnight. The only food sector from the UK that has been truly negatively impacted by EU rules is the fishing sector. They haven't been allowed to fish coastal waters as much they wished, because of environmental concerns of protecting the fish stock. And that has led to economic decline on UK coastal areas and British fishermen holding a long-lasting grudge against the EU for that. But then, again, other economic sectors have thrived thanks to being able to do business on the huge Common market (like financials). Win some, lose some.
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No Flag fightinfrenchman
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14 Aug 2019, 16:29

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Great Britain Horsemen
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14 Aug 2019, 17:34

Dolan wrote:You know lots of things changed in terms of how the economy works since the early 1970s, right?

The UK still had their own carmakers owned by British capital (so they wouldn't just be able to decide to pack up and leave), they depended less on services than today, they didn't have a trade deficit like today, the pound was stronger, their agri businesses weren't so dependent on foreign workers because people weren't so obsessed with working in the services sector, etc etc.

So yeah sure the UK was still a wealthy country back then, but those weren't the times when their consumers needed fresh imported vegetables from Spain or cars from Germany. Or access to the European market to sell their paper services (aka financial services).

The world and the UK have changed so much since then. Where were India and China back then? Where are they now? What global clout does the UK still have 46 years later, when the world is now fractured between a few geopolitical plates: USA, EU, China, Russia, India, Middle East? Things were a lot more simple in 1973.

Let's not perpetuate any myths. The UK was a shithole back in the 1970s. It's much better now.
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Argentina Riotcoke
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14 Aug 2019, 17:56

Horsemen wrote:
Dolan wrote:You know lots of things changed in terms of how the economy works since the early 1970s, right?

The UK still had their own carmakers owned by British capital (so they wouldn't just be able to decide to pack up and leave), they depended less on services than today, they didn't have a trade deficit like today, the pound was stronger, their agri businesses weren't so dependent on foreign workers because people weren't so obsessed with working in the services sector, etc etc.

So yeah sure the UK was still a wealthy country back then, but those weren't the times when their consumers needed fresh imported vegetables from Spain or cars from Germany. Or access to the European market to sell their paper services (aka financial services).

The world and the UK have changed so much since then. Where were India and China back then? Where are they now? What global clout does the UK still have 46 years later, when the world is now fractured between a few geopolitical plates: USA, EU, China, Russia, India, Middle East? Things were a lot more simple in 1973.

Let's not perpetuate any myths. The UK was a shithole back in the 1970s. It's much better now.

Maggie fixed everything :chinese:
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No Flag umeu
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15 Aug 2019, 00:26

Maggi definitely made your food less bland.
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16 Aug 2019, 16:44

Amsel_ wrote:@Dolan Is it not the EU which caused these changes, these dependencies to begin with? Why cheer on the insulin, if you have a cure to the diabetes?

@duckzilla I've spoken to Europeans, and people who lived in or visited Europe, and they all seem to agree that it was better in the past. I presume that this is why even you saw it necessary to mention already advanced countries. But if you look at a large portion of these countries, they have miserable tax rates, double-digit unemployment figures, and an overall stagnation. And I am being fairly generous here, the people I spoke to didn't just say stagnation; they said that Europe has gotten much worse.

What I find most interesting is how you say "the European Union expanded a lot and has the major task of uniting and democratising a continent historically filled with hatred, autocracy and underdevelopment." Because these are largely political, they are based in a certain worldview. (underdevelopment should be classified as political too, as it almost certainly means underdevelopment in other countries) So if you yourself support the EU because it aligns with your worldview, aren't you giving legitimacy to people who are anti-EU because it contradicts their values?


The "I've spoken to Europeans line" is quite ignorant and using hearsay as line for debate normally doesnt hold up. If you are talking to the older generations which I am assuming as they are the ones to have seen the "past" then their vision is hugely skewed. In the case of brexit the older generation went to school with teachers who colonised the world which comes with obvious arrogance in the way history is taught and self belief. Furthermore they are part of the baby boom generation where opportunities were plenty and so unemployment was almost impossible with half the working population
having perished from war. A large proportion of countries in the EU as you say are miserable, were also miserable 50 years ago. You have communist states and all kinds of countries with terrible standards of living and as an American I would have thought that you would think the fall of communism and a unification of democracies would be a fantastic thing. The main complaint from the younger generations of brexit voters was that immigration was not being controlled. So in general terms people who had worked hard and were perhaps better educated and prepared to work harder for less shouldnt be allowed in the country because jobs were being taken. Some people and of course economists and some politicians would say that is a good thing. It promotes competition and improves the economy of the UK. However at the end of the day the people who felt like they deserved jobs more than others because of their birth certificate have a large say and made their opinion clear in the vote.
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Romania Dolan
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16 Aug 2019, 23:51

@Amsel_

Just look at the data, if you have time, bro. Check how purchasing power evolved in each EU state in the last decades. As someone from a former communist, Eastern European country, that has joined the EU in 2007, I can guarantee you that purchasing power has increased substantially here. Of course, compared to the most developed parts of Europe, it's still quite far, but that's because despite Romania going through a lot of catch-up growth (very high rates of GDP growth during the last decade), richer EU states haven't been stagnating either. Recessions are the exception rather than the rule, most of EU countries have been steadily growing ever since the union was formed.

What you are hearing is typical complaints created by generational differences. And some of them are specific to certain EU countries. For example, in Spain, there is a certain establishment culture: older boomers have been accumulating power and wealth and keeping their grip on the most important jobs in the country. Since they refuse to retire and let younger people take over, this has resulted in high levels of unemployment among the young. A similar situation can be found in Italy. It's also because lots of them work in public institutions and have a legal status which makes them almost impossible to remove or retire. So there are certain institutional and cultural differences between different EU countries which have lead to these issues you are hearing about. It's a very complicated subject that can't be properly dealth with here. You realise how complicated can the history of one single country be in terms of its institutions, laws, economic development, etc.

Don't forget that individual EU states have the power and freedom to make their own choices in terms of economic policy. And some of them have kept accumulating debt, have run high public deficits for decades, just because they have had a certain institutional compromise, which allowed their populations to have certain social services, public goods, welfare rights, and so on. It's hard if not impossible to roll those things back, people have grown accustomed to having them. And so, some habits die hard. How do you tell Italians it's time to stop dodging paying their taxes? It's a national sport. :biggrin:
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17 Aug 2019, 06:42

Dolan wrote: And so, some habits die hard. How do you tell Italians it's time to stop dodging paying their taxes? It's a national sport. :biggrin:

During the debt crisis, there were propositions to send German civil servants to Greece (and Italy) to teach them how to properly tax people and how not to do corruption :oops:
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18 Aug 2019, 05:55

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No Flag fightinfrenchman
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19 Aug 2019, 20:24

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/prot ... -xpxv5bmrj

Sure, you'll be living under martial law and won't have any food, but at least you'll have your sovereignty
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United States of America Amsel_
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20 Aug 2019, 10:43

Stay in the EU or else you'll have riots and martial la-

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Great Britain Black_Duck
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20 Aug 2019, 17:03

Amsel_ wrote:Stay in the EU or else you'll have riots and martial la-

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Norway iwillspankyou
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25 Aug 2019, 15:26

hmm, I told you this prolly would happen with a no deal Brexit @Dolan
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Poland pecelot
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25 Aug 2019, 20:21

I like Bo-Jo's charisma, I think he might do a better job than Theresa May, but he might not be able to get too much done due to having his hands tied by the EU bureaucrats :!:
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