Friday, November 18, 2011

More than cuckoo clocks

Anyone who has seen The Third Man recalls Orson Wells' remark that, "In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare. terror, murder, bloodshed -- they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy, and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock."  Not the best history, but suggestive of some of the continent's riddles. 

The Euro and the Euro-zone were supposed to end the rivalries that had led to the most awful wars and conflicts.  But it's unraveling.  Here is David Brooks slamming the Brussels bureaucrats.  Here is Nigel Farage doing the same (H/T Walter Grinder).

Make trade, not war, is a great idea.  But can they make trade without a Euro and a Euro-zone?  I think they can.  Doing it with a Euro and a Euro-zone gives us the sort of poaching we are now witnessing.  Politicians who could not say "no", are looking for bailouts from those who ran a tighter ship.  The public choice model wins again. 

The Swiss, of course, did much more than produce cuckoo clocks.  They avoided horrific wars and they also sidestepped the Euro.