Why ‘Working’ Americans Should Care About Eurozone ‘Problems’

posted by Ida B. Wells IV @ 17:45 PM
June 21, 2012

    Several factors have led to Europe’s seemingly intractable problems.  Perhaps the greatest of which are part-time work for full-time pay, short work weeks, early age retirements, extended vacations, etc.  And when such activities (or lack thereof) helped to lead to two world wars, there were always allies to help out.

In his article, “The European Farce:  Will the Continent Act to Avert An Economic Cataclysm?,” Niall Ferguson points out that in the midst Europe’s economic breakdown:  1) France just elected a socialist who promised to lower the retirement age even more; 2) The Greeks voted to have another election; 3) London transportation is still late because workers don’t show up; 4) The average German now works 1,000 hours a year less than the average South Korean, etc.

Anyone who has worked with overseas companies is familiar with offices in Germany where a boss may have two secretaries who work every other day, each at full pay.  And that person knows how difficult it is to fire any incompetent employee there, without paying out full salary unemployment benefits for years.

Such socialistic arrangements are difficult for Americans to understand as our economy is structured on more of a capitalistic system.  And the Protestant Work ethic––i.e. work hard at least 40 hours a week with two weeks annual vacation and retirement at age 65––has been our basic employment structure.

And with that structure, we have built the greatest country on Earth, winning two World Wars, sustaining an industrial base within a two-party democratic system, educating our kids, and establishing a strong Middle Class.

But, no matter, Europe still suffers from a sense of imperialism––i.e. their ‘work’ system is the inherited privilege of ‘superiority.’  Of course the colonies work harder and longer.  And, even if the United States is suppose to be an ex-colony, she will still serve when called upon.

Such thinking has already dragged us into two European World Wars.    And it is why our national budget is overburdened with military spending, while Europe spends much, much less, while calling upon us to protect their assets with our massive war machine.

As Nobel prize winner Thomas Sargent points out, “. . .  a collapse of the financial system in Europe will cause a massive global recession.  Once the global economy slides into another major recession, it is going to take years to recover.  The pain is going to be immense.”

World War II was started in the midst of economic depression. Only strong Christian messages, and true repentance can stop the next War.  But sometimes the strongest prayers can’t delay judgment.  As God told Jeremiah, “Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people (15: 1). Let us pray that it is not too late to stop the coming judgment of World War III.

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