Friday, 4 January 2013

What is the matter with Europe?

Tom Healy: It is time to think deeply about the European project especially as Ireland assumes the Presidency for the coming six months. While I don't necessarily share all of the premises and conclusions in this article(written in mid-2012) by Prof Ray Kinsella and Maurice Kinsella the reader has reason to pause and think and think again. The authors assert that there is an alternative to current economic orthodoxy with a 'new economics based on solidarity'. They are trenchantly critical of the move away from the founding principles of European solidarity, subsidiarity and respect for fundamental human rights including economic and social. I was particularly struck by the following:
"The policies offend against justice in that in Spain, to take one example, almost 50 per cent of those under twenty-five are now unemployed. No amount of economic sophistry based on 'flexible labour markets' can detract from the reality that this generation has been cut off from the right to work, and to give expression to their talents and their capacity to support a family. Whole new segments of society have been cast into poverty and this offends against justice and the shared values which once animated the European ideal."
Incidentally, the same edition of Working Notes (produced by the Jesuit Centre for faith and Justice) has very interesting articles by economist historian Kevin O'Rourke, TASC economist Tom McDonnell and Robin Hanan of the European Anti-Poverty Network

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