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I believe money is really a secondary issue here. The primary issue is political.

Because the EU is egalitarian, there is a strong political inertia which prevents going forward on practically all issues. Pick any topic you like, and you'll find some states willing to go forward, yet other states within the EU will block the move.

The solution has been known and opposed for many years: break up the egalitarian constraint, and introduce a multi-speed Europe. Let some countries integrate more quickly, and thereby become stronger and more influential than others as a consequence. The differential will break the balance, and allow some policies, any policies, to be followed.

Note that I'm not suggesting Franco-German hegemony over Europe, which is the obvious fear for some. I'm rather suggesting a kind of break-up of the EU into a small handful of larger groupings, and each of those groupings splitting again into smaller groupings, down to the level of individual states. The point is that policies are always easier to implement or to try out in smaller groups, and it is more efficient to coordinate and argue among a few larger hierarchical groupings, than among many equal and atomic states. This is no different than the way individual countries are structured.

I see the NATO issue similarly. With the exception of the US, which can impose its will for obvious reasons, NATO has no clear hierarchical structure, which is funny for a military organization. There are no countries which are more important than others, and therefore there is no credible policy direction other than US policy to follow.

The first step should be to elevate some countries in NATO as senior members, with power over junior members, and the ability to control local and global policy to various extents. How seniority is computed is not clear. Article 5 has got to go, replaced by a gradated response which favours the senior members over the junior members (salami tactics), just like in a real military structure.

Again, the point isn't to make some more equal than others for racist or nationalist reasons, but rather the point is to break the egalitarian deadlock among non-US states, to allow the organization's policies to be shaped by members in ways which fit their own aims better.

Needless to say, both these ideas would lead to making various members rethink whether they truly want to remain in these organizations, and

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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 09:24:31 PM EST
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