While the US is focused on its own domestic dramas, Europe as the Economist puts it, “is bleeding out”. Silently, exsanguinating below the fold, but bleeding all the same.
It is a car crash of a data release. One simply can’t look away. Hard to know precisely which part of the euro area’s latest unemployment report is the most grimly compelling. …
Individual country numbers inspire their own brand of horror. Greek joblessness topped 27% in January (the most recent month for which data there are available), while Spanish employment has risen to 26.7%. Joblessness in France rose by slightly more in the year to March than it did in Italy. And did you know that Dutch unemployment rose by 1.4 percentage points over the past year? German unemployment, of course, has held steady at 5.4% since last summer.
It is the youth figures that are most remarkable, however: 59.1% of those under 25 are unemployed in Greece, 55.9% in Spain, 38.4% in Italy, 38.3% in Portugal, 26.5% in France—3.6m youths in all.
Yet that would not appear remarkable to anyone who understands what state-controlled economies really are. Hope and Change economies are crony capitalist systems which pick winners and losers. They maintain the status quo at all costs — and reward those who have captured government over those who innovate. Thus the Reuters headline “Banks saved, but Europe risks ‘losing a generation’” is perfectly comprehensible.
What else would happen but that?
Naturally this plight is explained to the desperate voters as the consequence of the remaining vestiges of capitalism. The growing impoverishment, we are told, is occurring because socialism hasn’t gone far enough. Only give the government more power and all will be well. And so the low information voters turn out in the streets offering to exchange what little freedom they have left for some low paying jobs and a little welfare. The poorer they are the more eager they become to trade their last liberties for one more benefits check.
It wasn’t supposed to be that way.
The ability of young people to study and work anywhere in Europe as part of the EU’s single market ideal was also supposed to deliver vastly improved opportunities for all.
But instead, as a result of the banking and debt crisis that has cast a shadow over Europe since 2008, those sunny prospects never materialized for millions of young people.
“Greece, Spain and Italy have perhaps the best educated generations they have ever had in their countries, their parents invested a lot of money in the education of their children, everything they did was right,” said Schulz.
“And now they are ready to work the society says, ‘No place for you’. We are creating a lost generation.
May Day rallies erupted all over Europe with a single resounding message: end “the excesses of reckless capitalism”, put a stop to the abuses of the “laissez-faire parties on the European right” and in their place implement more “tax and spend”. And whatever the shortcomings of that approach, the Left will surely insist on that solution. They will insist on even more progressives being appointed. And when these numerous icons of the left worsen the plight of the “lost generation” it will still be capitalism’s fault.