2015 July 05 Sunday
EU Lacks Asabiyyah And This Does Not End Well

Charts at fivethirtyeight.com attempt to portray Greece as the extreme economic outlier of Europe. Extreme outlier, sure. But what's notable about those charts: Southern Europe in general is in trouble. In the Euro currency zone only Ireland (barely), France, and Germany have surpassed their Q1 2007 GDP (at least of the several listed countries). Italy is still declining, especially south Italy. Scott Sumner has taken a good look at Italy as the soft underbelly of Europe.. GDP 7% below peak with the south 15% below 2007.

I think Europe is being hit by the same "winner take all" changes in the economy which are happening in America. The most skilled and productive make far more. The most affluent are leaving less successful areas making those areas even more dysfunctional. But with Europe when the most skilled go north and abroad the less skilled are left in separate countries. Membership in the EU and Euro Zone are not absolute. There is no national bank deposit insurance agency. The differences between the peoples of the various European countries are greater as are their tendencies toward responsible or irresponsible voting and government policy making. Language is a big barrier, especially for the less intellectually able. So the same economic forces tear at the fabric that holds together Europe much more than those economic forces are tearing at the fabric that holds together America (so our crisis comes much later).

The rising debt as percentage of GDP in several Euro countries (France included) spell big trouble for the Euro zone. Ed West says the EU lacks asabiyya (in Wikipedia Asabiyyah), which Arab writer Ibn Khaldun described in the 14 century as social solidarity or the will to engage in collective action. Ibn Khaldun's term has become quite popular of late in certain intellectual circles of a less ideological bent. Commenter Lady Magdalene hits the nail on the head.

This is a very long-winded way of saying "there is no Euro Demos." There is also "no EU Demos."

The EU has not inspired a European Demos. All it has done is bound together 28 Nation States in a dictatorial treaty organisation. And 19 of those Nation States were foolish enough to sign away their Sovereignty in order to join a flawed currency union.

Immigration is draining Asabiyyah in Europe and the United States. This does not end well.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2015 July 05 08:42 PM 

Jim said at July 6, 2015 12:14 PM:

Asabiyyah is not something that can be brought into existence by laws or institutions or eloquent speeches or for that matter by physical force. No one knows how to create it if it does not exist. Europe is not a community nor are the Europeans a people and pretending doesn't work. So either Europe is held together by force or it disintegrates.

The Ottomans held their empire together for awhile by force but they never created asabiyyah.

Wolf-Dog said at July 6, 2015 3:09 PM:

Excellent points. In fact, the Ottomans ruled even the Sunni Muslim Arabs with an iron fist even though the Islamic law was supposed to guarantee equality for all Muslims, and this is why during World War I these Arabs not only revolted but they actually cooperated with British agents in a desperate effort to overthrow the Ottoman rule.

Separately, Europe is a blood-soaked continent, and until 1945 it had been that way for thousands of years. And if the EU experiment to create shared prosperity fails, then there will almost certainly be a lot of intolerance again. Only because France, UK and Germany are all nuclear-capable states, a major European war might be avoided due to the doctrine of mutually assured destruction.

Kent Gatewood said at July 7, 2015 9:34 AM:

How much cash does Greece need from the rest of the world annually to maintain its life style?

15 billion?

Should be a crime in most countries to loan money to Greece. (Does open the question as to which other countries would be on that list)

Paul A'Barge said at July 12, 2015 12:40 AM:

This might be helpful:

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