Monday, June 4, 2012

The EU, the US and the Peter Principle

Have you seen what George Soros said this weekend?
I contend that the European Union itself is like a bubble. In the boom phase the EU was what the psychoanalyst David Tuckett calls a “fantastic object” – unreal but immensely attractive. The EU was the embodiment of an open society –an association of nations founded on the principles of democracy, human rights, and rule of law in which no nation or nationality would have a dominant position. 
Bubbles are exhilarating as they inflate. But it's only after they pop that it becomes clear they were fed by illusion and fantasy. An open society sounds great until you see that in pursuing it, the more stable frameworks of Western Civilization have been gutted or discarded.

When governments and central banks created or allowed entities to become what they deemed too big to fail, they seem to have overlooked an eponymous management law that first became popular in the late '60s.

Remember the Peter Principle? Laurence Peter explained "in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." Perhaps we've now moved to the next step where incompetent politicians and bureaucrats are so firmly entrenched, they've succeeded in replacing society's formerly functioning political and economic infrastructures with new or modified ones better matching their own incompetent perspectives.

It hasn't just happened in Europe. American politics and government have wildly taken their own unsustainable paths. And no one seems serious about correcting the imbalances. Instead, when troubles arise, another dose of stimulus or quantitative easing is prescribed or another government entitlement is proposed.

When dysfunctional reforms collapse under the burdens created by own faulty designs, many of their champions will still insist the path to prosperity lies in doubling down on the insanity. But it can't go on forever. Amazingly, only a handful of people seem to realize many of today's events are being driven by systemic flaws of relatively recent creation.

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