20 July 2011

The EU: a top-down, one-size-fits-all institution

Frank Furedi writes:
From its inception, the EU was an elitist managerial project that was able to construct and promote its agenda without having to respond directly to popular pressure. Decisions are never arrived at through public debate, and the majority of EU laws are formulated by the hundreds of secret working groups set up by the Council of the EU. Most of the sessions of the Council of Ministers are held in private, and the EU’s unelected European Commission has the sole right to put forward legislation. Why the EU is so clueless about the Euro crisis, 20 July
It's arguable that global crises require global solutions, and EU-wide crises require EU-wide solutions. But I would argue that solutions need to arise from below, rather than imposed from above. They need to be diverse and adaptive. Big government, while necessary to articulate our goals and to raise the revenue for achievement, is rarely best placed to achieve them. The decision-making bodies of big government, such as those that Mr Furedi writes about, might be well meaning and hard-working, and they might even perform adequately when a crisis requires a big, one-size-fits-all, top-down solution. But they tend to be remote, and unresponsive to local circumstances and changing events. The entire EU exercise and, in particular, the Euro, are the apotheosis of big, remote government. They might well be neither responsive nor diverse enough to go on for much longer.

It's too late for the EU, but a Social Policy Bond regime would distinguish between the (1) the articulation and revenue-raising part of government, and (2) the achievement of social and environmental goals.

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