Monday, April 18, 2005

Command Economy is Answer to Germany's Problems, Says Government

The blog wrote last Thursday about the Chairman of Germany's ruling SPD party, Franz Müntefering, who had blamed capitalism for unemployment and for being a threat to democracy.

Central planning by the State, Müntefering said, should create jobs and guarantee democracy against the threats of the capitalists.

One would have expected a deluge of protest to have come to the aid of businesspeople and other capitalists, so shamelessly traduced and scapegoated by this pillar of social democracy.

But the opposition parties have been strangely silent. No political capital has been wrung from Müntefering's antiquated stance, and the implications of his aggressive polemics - which could hardly be better calculated to deter foreign investment in Germany - have been largely ignored.

Over the weekend, Müntefering expanded on his views. He admitted that he did not like capitalism.

His dislike is visceral. And although it is aimed primarily at asset strippers, interventionist international fund managers and suchlike predators - for people of Müntefering's ilk, that covers all the possible bases of capitalist endeavour. He is averting to it at this stage (the crucial Nordrhein-Westphalen elections are on May 22nd) to appeal to all the "little people" who have been hurt by his government's incompetence, and to the right-on leftists who have never had any truck with business, or money-making, to begin with.

Obviously Müntefering calculates that there's votes in it for his party. And the absence of a strong response from the opposition supports his calculation. No-one can be bothered to point out that capitalists tend by and large to be law-abiders, or that capitalists are great job-creators and innovators. To set out positives like that just seems too much of an uphill struggle (in Germany as in much of the EU). No-one, even in opposition, believes there's any votes in taking that line, so they're happy to hang the capitalists and their shareholders out to dry.

As a result, Müntefering is being allowed to tar all capitalists, all businesspeople, all shareholders with his libellous rhetorical brush.

And no-one in Germany appears particularly concerned by any of it. It's no surprise, in this climate, that the German government is pushing for a lifting of the Chinese arms embargo. If voters have no sense of shame, why should the government? And the Chinese government, with its centralised system and unlimited power, holds a mystical appeal for Germany's ruling coalition. So much easier to cut capitalists down to size over there (even if China's current economic explosion is down to the capitalists).

A command economy is the ultimate prize for these clueless antediluvians, as it is for champions of the European Constitution, who think similarly about the respective roles of business and government. Only occasionally can this truth be as clearly discerned as it can today. For this, if nothing else, we should be grateful to Germany's leftist rulers and their snivelling evasion of responsibility for Germany's sad decline.

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