France braces for further labour unrest … The French Parliament passed President Nicolas Sarkozy's (Left) pension bill to increase the minimum retirement age as labour unions prepared for a new day of strikes and protests today. The bill, under which the minimum pension age will go to 62 from 60 and the full-pension age to 67 from 65, was passed by the National Assembly by 336 votes to 233. The Senate passed the bill yesterday. While Mr. Sarkozy wants to enact the law on Nov. 15, France's Constitutional Court may need more time to review it. "Some will say Sarkozy won because he has passed a tough reform," said Jerome Fourquet, a deputy director at Ifop, a Paris-based polling company. "But the reform caused so much pain, it has created resentment and with any future reform, social unrest can be sparked again." – Financial Post (Canada)
Dominant Social Theme: Got to believe it's getting better! Getting better all the time.
Free-Market Analysis: In our extra-large conference room sit 1,000 elves in various stages of disarray with battered, colorful, conical hats, many of them refugees from the misery of St. Nick's disintegrating manufacturing processes. It is a "close" environment, to be sure but better than conditions where they have come from. The North Pole is melting after all (so the UN tells us) and it is very difficult to make toys for free these days. As capitalists, to be sure, we have taken advantage of this situation and have been on a hiring spree, replacing employees (some of whom have been dropped from the tops of Swiss Alps as longtime readers of the Bell know). We welcome the fresh blood and exploit these "shorties" as best we can. It is nonetheless a form of charity. Where would they go if we didn't take them in?
Ordinarily, we keep them supplied with pitchers of water gathered from the melting snow outside. Reading material, too; and one task is to read mainstream publications and take notes. We have noted some trends as a result. When it comes to the EU, the collective thrust of these notes from most of the past week and the week before (the ones we can read) is that the mainstream media seems to believe that Europe may be past the "worst of it." Greek strikes are subsiding and in France, despite massive protests, pension reform has been passed. In Iceland, all the members of Parliament escaped when they were chased out the back door by an angry group of homesteaders and presumably haven't returned since. Ireland remains sullenly quiescent. Spain and Portugal are dour but not yet eruptive.
Of course, late in the week things took a turn for the worse with the German/French proposal for a new sort of bailout fund that would require institutional investors (banks) to bear some losses. (Much Sturm und Drang regarding this proposal!) The Financial Post article excerpted above also indicates that talk of a calmer EU may be premature. In fact, from our perspective (and it is a drum we beat as often as we can) that while it is the current financial crisis that has galvanized much of this unrest, it is the Internet that has crystallized it and educated and informed people about the underlying causes.
This is why, in fact, we have written that Europe is now consumed by a growing class war. You can see the article here: EU Gripped by Growing Class War. It is the information on the Internet that makes the difference. Back in the 1960s, we believe that the riots and strikes that consumed Europe were in part the work of American and European intelligence agencies (see Operation Gladio). But we have every reason to believe that the EU and the powers-that-be generally do not welcome the unrest this time round. This time round, we read over and over in the mainstream press, EU citizens are stepping up and taking personal responsibility for their nations' profligate ways. They understand the international banking system must not under any circumstances take a haircut, or not more than it will under Frau Merkel's new proposals.
Actually, this narrative has already been comprehensively rebutted by what has occurred in Europe. As we have pointed out, Europeans who occupy the Southern PIGS are not in our view merely angry about pensions and bonuses. They are generally angry about what they perceive as a corrupt bargain by their elite business and political classes and the EU that has left them to pay for the pilfered wealth obtained by their leaders.
Basically, the EU poured billions into the Southern PIGS, ostensibly to ensure that the PIGS state finances were bolstered and made ready for the stricter EU monetary and fiscal discipline. But in fact, the money poured from the EU into the pockets of those who led these countries – and these individuals were then motivated to ensure that their nations joined the EU. Basically it was a pay off. The pay off was further enhanced when chosen EU banks extended further questionable loans to these PIGS. The amount of money that poured through the PIGS was incredible. And now it is gone. And PIGS' citizens are told they must adopt austerity.
This is the crux of the matter. Because the EU is a political enterprise and not a trade treaty. The EU is meant to extend the reach of the power elite and make global governance a more achievable goal. Without placing the many stubborn tribes of Europe under one-roof, this long-held elite goal of world government was a good deal harder to achieve.
This of course is the real reason why the Anglo-American power elite is fighting so hard to maintain a unified Europe, even in the face of its obvious dysfunction. The point is not pay off Western banks (necessarily) and certainly not to ensure a harmonious trading entity. No, the real reason is because a unified Europe is a steppingstone to a more unified planet (politically anyway). The powerful familial interests that help run the Western elite conspiracy are always interested in control. Wealth is a side effect. They already, apparently have trillions. Control generates money.
But in our view, the stubborn tribes of Europe have realized much of this, intuitively if not explicitly. We think the truth-telling of the Internet has played a big part in this and will play a bigger one as time goes on. The Internet is a process not an episode, we often write. Much the same sort of enlightenment is taking place in the United States as well. Britain is lagging, but we expect that to change. There is no stopping the illumination that has occurred, in our humble view. The New Enlightenment is spreading because of a new information technology (the last one being the Gutenberg press). No longer does the power elite have a chokehold on information as it did in the 20th century.
The ramifications are tremendous and ongoing. In our view, people need to step back and constantly remind themselves of the "big picture." The mainstream media is not helpful in this regard, treating the gradual unraveling of the 20th century's "dark age" as a series of unrelated episodic intervals. But in fact, we believe that in the near future, more and more will perceive that the free-market thinking now taking hold throughout the West is not an aberration but the "new normal." The best way to follow this evolution of course is via alternative news sites on the 'Net itself.
For years we have predicted (along with some others) that the EU was not a realistic endeavor. We also predicted more recently that when the EU hit a hard patch, the various tribes of the EU that constitute the regions "nations" (and most of them are distinct peoples quite aware their various heritages) would not merely acquiesce but would pursue their own collective self interest within the larger parameters of human action. And this is exatly what has happened.
It could be that with winter coming on and the EU elites insisting firmly on austerity plans that European unrest subsides for a while. But the underlying issues – presented by the Internet itself – will no doubt remain current and credible. It will not help if the EU continues to pass resolutions binding nation-states more tightly together via parliamentary maneuvers rather than direct votes.
During the good times, EU citizens for the most part ignored the anti-democratic impulses of Brussels' Eurocrats. But in the current painful environment, continued authoritarian actions will only reap more resentment. Unless the EU economy springs back to life quickly and comprehensively, we would predict that the discontent presented by Europe's unruly tribes this summer will in one sense or another continue and even deepen.
Those who run the EU (and the Anglo-American axis for that matter) still seem to believe that they can simply declare their wishes via regulatory and legislative channels. But they have in the past years begun to abandon the fear-based promotions that served them so well during the 20th century (in the sense that they seem not to be preparing them nearly so deliberately or clearly.) More than that, the elite seems to be rushing toward some sort of one-world with a good deal of haste; and as a result they are gradually leaving six billion people behind. It is not a good idea to get too far out in front of such a large population in our opinion. Meanwhile, the Internet consistently informs people of alternative viewpoints and serves as an organizational vehicle as well.
Edited on date of publication.
Over the next months, doubtless, we shall continue to find media reports treating what is going throughout the West today as merely a series of unrelated incidents – a rise and fall within the context of new events. But what is going on is far larger than that, in our view. It involves entropy on a large scale; ironically the future of the world may feature subsidiarity rather than ever-increasing enlargement. Could it be as unstoppable as an elvish emmigration?