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Catholic Sharia? You can't be serious. Besides abortion being banned in Poland under the pressure of the Church, to my knowledge, the two situations are anything but comparable.

You're right, they're not comparable. Poland has considerably more pronounced theocratic tendencies than, say, Egypt (which is better compared to a Latin American banana republic than to Mideastern theocracies).

So, North Africa is rich in natural resources and the EU needs to integrate this region so that we can avoid colonial expropriation of their natural resources. How noble!

So you're in favour of colonial expropriation of other people's resources? That's the sort of attitude that makes white people unpopular, y'know.

I have a simpler idea: the EU can enact a law which levies a 100% tax on all energy imports from North Africa and finance development projects.

It is possible that there are more moronic ways to encourage economic development in North Africa, but off the top of my head I cannot think of any.

Then everyone will vote for you because we'll all be paying 3 Euros a litre of gas instead of 1,50.

You believe that internal combustion engines will remain an economically viable option for the majority of our transportation needs?

That's cute. In the real world, however, internal combustion engines are between a half and a full order of magnitude less efficient per ton- or passenger-kilometre than electric vehicles, so internal combustion is only really justified in airplanes and heavy, independently operating machinery like agricultural combines and heavy earth-moving machinery. It is not a serious item on any retail budget in a sustainable political economy. (Not to mention the fact that said internal combustion engines will run on ammonia rather than gasoline, and I really don't want amateurs dicking around with an ammonia power engine...)

If I understand correctly, you're suggesting that the legal, political and religious system in these countries will have to adapt to EU norms before they can be admitted to the Union.

To an extent.

In other words: we're gonna tell them how to organise their governments and run their societies.

No, I'm telling them that if they do this, then they are welcome in the European Union. If they do not wish to do this, but wish to remain in a trade and economic development framework, then they are welcome in that sort of integration with the European Union. And if all they want is a mutual defence pact, then the EU should be open to that.

How far they wish to pursue integration is up to them. I'm just confident that the EU can offer the best deal on the table. But if they disagree, well, they're sovereign states.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 03:40:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I'm not in favour of colonial expropriation or slavery of any kind. And the point of my comment had nothing to do with combustion machines (which I see you have a mastery of). It was simply to say that the impact of the policy you recommend would be to increase energy prices. That's all.

Imposing a levy or tax on energy imports is from being a dumb policy. This is regular coffee policy in any government: Tax A to finance B through fund C. Plus, it's much much simpler than working on integrating 280M people and their government infrastructure into the EU. Really.

by vladimir on Wed Sep 1st, 2010 at 03:59:20 AM EST
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Should read: Imposing a levy or tax on energy imports is FAR from being a dumb policy.
by vladimir on Wed Sep 1st, 2010 at 05:22:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was simply to say that the impact of the policy you recommend would be to increase energy prices. That's all.

My policy will not cause energy prices to rise. Energy prices will rise when energy becomes a scarce resource. The only way you can prevent energy prices from rising is by making energy a non-scarce resource, and the only way to make energy a non-scarce resource is to suppress third-world demand. Which is one of the essential points of a colonial relationship.

Imposing a levy or tax on energy imports is from being a dumb policy.

I did not say that it was dumb policy, only that it was dumb policy if the objective is to industrialise North Africa.

Plus, it's much much simpler than working on integrating 280M people and their government infrastructure into the EU.

It would also have been much, much simpler to not integrate Eastern Europe into the EU. And it would have been even simpler to never expand it beyond the original coal and steel communities, since France and Germany would then not have to support underdeveloped countries like Spain and Great Britain. In fact, it would have been much, much simpler to never start the EU in the first place and just de-industrialise Germany along the lines proposed in the Morgenthau Plan. Of course, in that case we would probably be having another major European shooting war right about now, but at least we would have been spared the mental anguish of redefining what it means to be European...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Sep 1st, 2010 at 06:58:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only way you can prevent energy prices from rising is by making energy a non-scarce resource

I see you believe that supply and demand make the world go 'round. Viva free market economics! Are you denying that governments can have an impact on market prices of goods and services?

I did not say that it was dumb policy, only that it was dumb policy if the objective is to industrialise North Africa.

Are you suggesting that International Development Banks have had no impact on the economies of underdeveloped countries? EBRD, ADB, IFC, WB, etc. - not to mention all the bilateral funds that exist. They have, regardless of the fact that they're also used as political leverage by the West.

we would probably be having another major European shooting war right about now

Talk about a strawman... here it is.

by vladimir on Thu Sep 2nd, 2010 at 02:32:39 AM EST
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The only way you can prevent energy prices from rising is by making energy a non-scarce resource

I see you believe that supply and demand make the world go 'round. Viva free market economics!

No, I just believe that the laws of physics are not negotiable, and that economic rent follows the constraining factor of production.

Of course, another way to make energy a non-scarce resource is to artificially constrain the availability of another resource - typically money - in order to induce a general industrial depression. But somehow, I don't think that's what you were getting at.

Are you denying that governments can have an impact on market prices of goods and services?

Of course they can. But only within the limits set by physical reality - and physical reality imposes a lower limit on the real cost of the constraining factor of production.

I did not say that it was dumb policy, only that it was dumb policy if the objective is to industrialise North Africa.

Are you suggesting that International Development Banks have had no impact on the economies of underdeveloped countries?

No, I'm saying that punitive tariffs on the imports of underdeveloped countries do more harm to their industrial production than comparable development credits can compensate for. An economic policy proposal must be evaluated in full, and the net impact of the full policy you proposed is negative.

we would probably be having another major European shooting war right about now

Talk about a strawman... here it is.

At the moment, the US Navy controls Suez and Gibraltar. At some point in the not so far future, the US Navy will cease to be a reliable guarantor of European interests in the Mediterranean region, either because the US Navy ceases to be reliable due to a generalised economic collapse of the US, or because American and European interests diverge too greatly for the transatlantic alliance to remain viable.

The EU can secure Gibraltar, and there's not much anybody can do about it. But Suez can easily spark a shooting war.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Sep 2nd, 2010 at 03:32:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But Suez can easily spark a shooting war.
Nah. Most ships are too big for Suez nowadays, and instead go by way of Cape Town.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Sep 4th, 2010 at 12:18:23 PM EST
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