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The UK establishment, and much of the population, fundamentally doesn't understand the theory or the practice of Europe.

As a trading partner - yes. As an ideology or aspiration - no.

The natural trend on the playing fields of Eton, and on MBA courses is to ape the US, because their reformist free-market yadda yadda is so much more glamorous than anything Europe can produce.

What Europe needs, and the UK needs especially, is an academic and intellectual push back against free-marketism.

Someone needs to start telling different, and more accurate, stories about how the world works. Because at the moment, in both the City and in government, it's the freebooting capitalist model that's captivating hearts and minds.

The only reason that we're in this mess in the first place is because academics took their eye off the ball and let the Chicago Schools of both business and economics in the 70s set the tone for the rest of what happened. Once the rationalisations about markets were in place, and with a handy short sharp shock from the oil crisis, it was easy to start re-engineering the discourse away from populism back towards aggressive economic oligarchy.

Nothing much is going to change until that story loses credibility and is replaced with a different and saner collective value system.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Oct 16th, 2006 at 08:24:43 PM EST
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