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It's not so much the Anglo-Saxon mind as missionary work for the Anglo-Saxon class system.

The current crises seem tailored to ensure there is no alternative to this political model.

Since most Anglo-Saxons are either indifferent to the model (if they assume it's part of the political background noise) or hostile to it (if they've been paying attention) it's only a race issue in the sense that one particular tiny caste has been promoting it aggressively across the world for the last couple of centuries.

It's usual to compare it to the Catholic Reformation. I don't think that's a bad analogy at all.

It also explains why certain classe in Germany and France support it uncritically. They're closer to it ideologically than they are to any local tradition of democracy or dissent.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 09:32:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  Funny you mentioned that.  I just read this from you, having posted, meanwhile, the comment here:

   http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2011/5/30/133913/924#111

  so, clearly, we're thinking very much alike about this--unless I've missed your point.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 09:38:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's interesting that none of the PIIGS are protestant states, while the ECB does very much seem to be dominated by Calvin's humourless spiritual heirs.

Max Weber already covered this ground, but it's a surprise to find it taking its current form.

Perhaps the EU should have aimed for religious uniformity before attempting economic, social and political uniformity.

Of course the PIIGS are not only profligate but lazy, so they deserve to be punished - but it seems no one expected the Serious Inquisition.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 12:09:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If ECB doctrines may be characterised as "Austrian"... Austria is overwhelmingly Catholic. Germany has equal proportions of Protestants and Catholics. The Netherlands has more Catholics than Protestants. It has been suggested here that France, if you scratch its secular paint-job, is deeply Catholic - in any case, it isn't Protestant.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 12:45:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its all the fault of the Anglos again! - except even the Church of England has a large Anglo-Catholic wing - and church going Catholics in England are more numerous that their Church of England equivalents.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 12:50:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Austria was overwhelmingly Catholic numerically, but there's an excellent chance that Hayek's noble ancestors were Lutheran hold-outs rather than fervent Papists.

In any case, most "Austrian" economists are now British and American.

France is somewhat tangential to the ECB. Germany and Protestant Scandinavia are in the driving seat, and Merkel is certainly Protestant.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 03:21:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
France is somewhat tangential to the ECB. Germany and Protestant Scandinavia are in the driving seat, and Merkel is certainly Protestant.

Germany is half Protestant, Denmark and Sweden are not in the Eurozone and Norway is not even in the EU.  So how can Scandinavia be in the driving seat?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 03:28:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]

  It's a Pope-mobile?

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge
by proximity1 on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 03:34:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay - I was thinking about Finland's contribution to the debate, while trying to finish four thousand words about servers at the same time.

The point was more that the Finnish outpost certainly is in the EU, is certainly Lutheran, and is part of a shared Scandinavian/Northern culture.

I'm not suggesting the PIIGS crisis is a literal replay of the Thirty Years' War, and Europe is set to explode because of underlying Christian tensions.

But I do find it interesting that the periphery and the Northerns have distinct religious histories, and I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that contributes to the "they're not like us" rhetoric.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 04:39:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I look forward to your four thousand words... I think your point is a bit of a stretch given the size of Finland (which is not normally considered part of Scandinavia) and the unlikehood of it dominating the ECB.

I think Weber's point about the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism was more applicable at the time when the Catholic Church was more like a feudal construct. In the intervening years the "Catholic ethos" has had no difficulty in transforming its loyalties to a corporate ethos...  The democratic (state) ethos, on the other hand, has been a little more problematic for old style Catholics...and democratic reforms may be a little more associated with the Protestant Ethos and its emphasis on the responsibility of the individual...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 05:16:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thinking about this, I'd see the ECB/IMF and the Austrians as the natural heirs of joyless Calvinist morality blended with dogmatic Catholic Scholasticism.

So you get an unfortunate mix of the crippled seriousness of one with the quaintly anti-rational and hierarchic pseudo-academicism of the other - backed up with inquisitorial economic persecution of heretics and infidels, and painted with a bit of rationalist gloss to make it appear more modern than it really is.

Anything with this kind of pedigree can only be reactionary.

The point isn't that there are explicit Catholic or Calvinist policies, but that historical Catholic and Calvinist attitudes are the root and excuse for modern "serious" values.

As for Finland -

The politico-cultural location of Finland is a moving one. It has shifted from being a province in the Swedish Empire to an autonomous unit in 'Eastern' Europe, then to an independent state in 'Northern' Europe or 'Scandinavia'. After joining the European Union, Finland has recently been included in 'Western Europe'.

Since I'm not talking about very recent history, I think it's fair to include with the other blonde Northerns.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 06:04:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 06:17:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The word these days is 'Nordic', which sometimes also includes the states around the Baltic, other than Scandinavia + Finland. If you want to refer to Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia as a bloc, then it's the Baltics. The long term Nordic grouping is Hanseatic - it includes N. Germany and Russia.

There's obviously a language element to the description of Scandinavia, but culturally I don't see Finland as any less homogenous with Sweden as either Denmark or Norway. There is a cultural gap between Russia and the rest of the Nordics in religion, but I've not seen it manifested in any kind of cultural conflict. There are far more socialistic connections to outweigh that difference.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 1st, 2011 at 02:38:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The religious roots of Socialism, if there are any, is a different - interesting - topic.

In the UK you'd have to name check the Quakers, but I don't know if there are deeper roots or other influences elsewhere, and I've never seen anyone try to follow Weber with a parallel review.

It may exist in academia, but I suspect this kind of analysis isn't very fashionable among the Critical Theory types.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 at 09:48:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Hayek's ancestors are relevant, let me point out that Merkel is quarter-Polish, i.e. Catholic....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 03:35:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We've gone from politics to economics to religion and now genealogy.  Is there any sphere of human knowledge we can't cover in the course of one conversation?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 04:19:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  Yes.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_boxing

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge
by proximity1 on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 04:27:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Wikipedia, Hayek was "nominally catholic but nonpractising". He hailed from Austrian nobility.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 04:38:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  "It's interesting that none of the PIIGS are protestant states, while the ECB does very much seem to be dominated by Calvin's humourless spiritual heirs."

   Actually, I think that there is no paradox here.  We shouldn't "expect the Spanish Inquisition" in Protestant states, should we?  By the same token, there is something ideologically consistent in the PIIGS nations being more Latin, more Catholic, in tenor.  Thus, the Calvinist strictures fall not on those who profess (or pretend to profess) them but on those who not only don't profess them but also see no reason to keep up an other-than-rather flimsy window-dressing.

   Now, I think that the so-called believers in the Calvinist strictures are also phonies; but they have one or more advantages going for their efforts to seem to be respectable up-holders of it. Though, for crying out loud, one would have thought such pretenses would be showing blatant cracks in the foundations or that the cracks, being clearly obvious now, would start to bring the orthodoxy into very dangerous and persistent question.  That this hasn't happened suggests to me that the Left is still smoking dope and not in possession of its faculties--such as they are.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue May 31st, 2011 at 03:05:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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