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Depicting Europe / Perry Anderson - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
September 24th, 2007
08:46 pm

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Depicting Europe / Perry Anderson
This long article in the London Review of Books, called Depicting Europe by Perry Anderson, was a fascinating read. It was mostly news to me, being as I am mostly uninformed about the EU. I found the main conclusions, especially about the undemocratic governance, disappointing and disturbing. I wonder if the EU has a chance at all.

If, perchance, you have read it, and/or have a different view on the EU, I'd love to hear it.

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From:guygrobler
Date:September 24th, 2007 08:37 pm (UTC)
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Hmm. I usually read about the EU in the Economist which i highly recomend.

Regards the EU, I think a number of points need to be made:
1. the Euro is still only in the beginning, one of the reasons it didnt do as well as everyone thought is that no one predicted the side effects of abandoning old currancies, translating to the new EURO in aspects of price and wage and then also trans-continental price differentions.

2. Constitution wise - the people of europe as still twitchy about it, not only the English (that dont want the Euro for now, and rightly so - the pound is strong on its own),but also the French and the Dutch. National Parliments also oppose taking power away from them and giving it to Brussels.

3. One Big Political bloc - not for now, differing opinions, but i cant see it in the near future.

4. Assimilation of Demographics/Immigration - this is a big thing, whole age groups are migrating within the EU in search of work (half a million young Poles in London for work, so now the Poles are recieving migrating young people from Romania and Bulgaria to work in the cheap labour jobs)

5. Islam - Unlike the USA which is more succefull in its assimilation of minorities, the Europeans have not done as good a job, so more problems coming here - some problems already seen - british made terrorists and riots in paris... this is only the begining.

All in all, I dont see EU turning into a US of Europe... maybe in the distant future. I dont even see it turning into a loose confederation. A continent that was for centuries in internal competition between nations wont unite overnight. Its birth is different from that of other Unions such as the USA.

I think that for now they will stick to the concept of united economy (and EURO will rise in the future) and we will also see more coordination in various "global concerning" matters such as the Environment, Immigration, and Security and Foriegn affairs (for that matter, lately the nations of EU have been coordinating efforts and negotiatians with Russia, as one theyre own they couldnt really deal with the resurgent Russia... russia has been using the fact that EU is dependant on it for energy to squeeze more out of them...)

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From:orlop
Date:September 27th, 2007 07:07 am (UTC)
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in the words of Emanuel: "I know nothing"
but
"USA which is more succefull": I find this a bit iornics, since quite a few "African American's" who got lost in thier ways or got pissed at the white ppl. making them slaves converted to Islam...a) this is not a succesful assimilation b) it was Islam that sold them into slavory in the first place. Most famous converty: Kasios Klay [sp?] the boxer...Muhamed Ali.

The EU as a concept of unity sounds like a sound idea. something that would help confront the $

...but to me at least all it's doing is making it so much harder to travel anywhere, as now all of Europe is simply too expensive.
I understand why the migration, but I have to wonder if it's that brilliant...does England really need more immigrents!?
From:gamahucheur
Date:September 27th, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
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No, America has not only been more successful; it has been hugely more successful. The share of American blacks who are even poseurs about separatism is tiny, and the typical advocate of separatism not only doesn't much act on his or her professed believes, but abandons such professing after a few years.

Muhammed Ali (né Cassius Clay), whom you mention, visited Africa, and then came back saying Thank G_d my granddaddy got on that boat!

For some decades, Europeans have failed to recognize the consequences for America of heterogeneïty, and attributed various social problems in America to other characteristics, real and imagined, which Europeans did not see themselves as having. Now that European homogeneity is in marked decline, Europeans find themselves increasingly confronted with the very same problems, often writ much larger.[1] To apply what might be applied from the greater relative success of America in functioning as a heterogeneous society, Europeans need to acknowledge that relative success.


[1]For example, when the same statistical techniques are used in both jusrisdictions, one finds that the rate of almost all crimes, including almost all violent crimes, is higher in the UK than in the US. And something like the case of Ilan Halimi — whereïn a neighborhood was aware and did nothing for three and a half weeks as a man was held and tortured to death — would be unthinkable in even the very worst of American neighborhoods
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From:orlop
Date:September 28th, 2007 05:51 am (UTC)
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I guess you watched the movie, huh? I only saw bits...got bored.
Funny how it was so succesful though, considering the racism that went on there for years in the some states, if not still. They were 'freed' long ago in England. Also, what about the social problems...so it is heterogenic...but what is the % of African American living in poverty, going to crime...you know all the socio econonomical stuff vs...the non African American ppl. is this because of the USA or is this because of thier own cultur...
ie. Oriental will put a strong emphasys on educatation, so will jewish ppl.
Do I even ponder what it would mean for a heterogeneous society in Europe with so many Muslim...can Muslims live in a heterogeneous way? thier I said it :-O
You know a lot of ppl. want to live in American...I'm not one of them. Sure I love shopping. I also love all the options you have there the plenty. But it's not for everyone...to me the USA is just a place to visit. It's SCARY...not only the vilonece...it's lot's of things...I would be a small little tad pol in the USA.
[appologies in advance for my spelling, I don't have a speller handy]
From:gamahucheur
Date:September 28th, 2007 06:49 am (UTC)
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I'm not sure to which movie you refer.

Racism goes on everywhere, not just in the United States. But whereas, for example, we had our George Corey Wallace in 1968, France has its LePen now, and can only suppress him by simply not allowing him on the ballot.

But, yes, it is interesting that America has been so successful at functioning heterogeneously, in spite of the heritage of slavery. But Europe's failure could be understand even without the contrast. They didn't reälize the significance of homogeneïty, nor how much they implicitly depended upon it.

African-Americans whose ancestry passes through the Caribbean face the same racism as do other African-Americans, and also endured slavery, yet, statistically speaking, they are more affluent than whites. The difference lies within their subculture. Of course, the subcultural pathologies that result in black American poverty are largely exogenous — consequences in part of slavery, and in part of more recent programmes intended to provide relief. (Amongst other things, the structure of each decoupled effort and benefit.)
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From:orlop
Date:September 28th, 2007 07:23 am (UTC)
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Movie I refered to: M. Ali [w/ Will Smith in the lead]
Why do you think Europe failed to realized this? to much turmoil and bad choice of leaders in it's history? It seems to be a far more socialistic place then the USA, something that I for one appreciate...you would think heterogeneously surely goes along hand in hand with socialism ?

interesting points.
From:gamahucheur
Date:September 28th, 2007 08:04 am (UTC)
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I did not see that film, and I can only guess about whether it were historically accurate.

Nations in general do not recognize the significance of homo- and heterogeneïty, because most people are, more generally, almost absolutely clueless about the real coördination problems of society. Homogeneïty implies a greater shared infrastructure for avoiding and resolving conflict.

(Part of the reason that Europe did not learn by contrasting itself with (heterogenous) America is that Europe had a predisposition to find fault with America. But Americans who did not share this predisposition also didn't recognize the significance of homo- and heterogeneïty.)

Indeed, Europe was and remains far more socialistic (something that no one who understands the problem of resource allocation will applaud unless wishing ill upon Europe), and homogeneïty meant that socialism wouldn't prove to be as immediately disasterous for its nations as would be for heterogeneous nations. On the other hand, having established deeper socialistic traditions means that adjusting to heterogeneïty will be all the more painful.
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From:orlop
Date:September 28th, 2007 09:54 pm (UTC)
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well, the acting was good...but hey it's hollywood, so I'm sure some poetic lisence was used.
oh, so you are for capitalism? I never studied economy, heck I never studied! but 'resource allocation' isn't to hard to figure out, it's why now they are trying to push out retirement age...I know quite a few European countries are finding it diffecult to meet benefits some of thier senior citizens now deserve.
I live in Israel...and well, I know we never seem to have enough money to go around...but that's another issue...called 'security' anyway, before I digress furthur...
I don't like capitlsm...b/c I think it's nuts what is going on in the USA with all the ' money, money, money ' ppl. not having health insurance...everything costs there and it's also polorizing...only affluent ppl. can seek a higher education...thier has to be a middle line between capitalism and socialism...
Israel a "well fare state" and I use the term loosely...well, it's becoming more and more capitalistic and it worries me. I'm already saving for my son to be able to go to University [he is smarter then I am :-)], he is only 4.8 but I truely don't know how much it will cost when he is 18...

is your point about Europe, that not all people get the same benefits ?
From:gamahucheur
Date:September 29th, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
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Before I declare myself for-or-against capitalism, I'd have to know what the H_ll you meant by that word — it has never had a useful standard definition.

Actually, resource allocation isn't complete misunderstood by most people, and neither begins nor ends with issues of retirement. The questions are of how to coïrdinate the resources of a community — land, labour, physical capital, skill, information. So far, people who are sure that this job is easy have managed to kill several tens of millions of people (generally by starvation).

Israel's economy has issues beyond security.

Until you've defined what you mean by capitalism, it remains tto be seen what you don't like (or at least think that you don't like). However, what socialists ought to have the intellect and integrity to recognize and admit is that in the United States there has long been heavy state intervention in education, health care, and insurance, and the explosion of costs folowed that intervention and increased as the intervention increased. One might want to claim that there is a better socialism than what is being practiced here, and I'd agree with that much; but, in any event, it's a socialism that is failing in these areas.

There doesn't have to be a middle between two things. There isn't a middle between poison and non-poison. But there is certainly a name for combining elements of a market economy with those of socialism: fascism. People who got behind men such as Mussolini were exactly looking for a third way. And that brings us back to such things as education, health care, and insurance, which are all third way systems here.

No, my point is that institutions established int the context of homogeneïty impose extraordinary costs when that homogeneïty disintegrates.
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From:orlop
Date:September 30th, 2007 06:53 am (UTC)
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I did not know Capitalism hasn't been defined.
To me: capitalism = USA. or everything has a price. the Government does not help you out. (regardless of taxes)
Socialism = the opposite...we all pay taxes that go in to one big 'piggie bank' so when we need aid from our government we can have it.
I know it doesn't work that way...which is why I mentioned the middle line between the two.

I don't like people not being able to afford to go to seek a higher education because they need to go to work to help put food on the table.

I don't like old people not being able to afford the medicine they need because they live of social security which is pittence [sp?] but no one told them when they were young they should have a pension fun, heck I don't know if we had those funds here when they were young.

I don't like dr's taking advantage of dying ppl. saying if you want "so on and so" do to the surgery on you, b/c otherwise it's just a matter of luck which surgeon you get, then you will have to make a 'contribution' to the hospital.

I don't like certain medicins being prescribed b/c dr's get benefits from that pharmesutical company.

and so on.

btw, I'm begining to feel sorry for Ijon,...perhaps we should take this off journal?
you can write me at now2350@yahoo.com

Okay, and I must ask...where is here? where are you? England ? they practice a form of socialism? and I know the Health Care...is eh...wanting.

I'm begining to be confused. I'm not for fascism. When I say a 3rd way, I mean that not eveyrthing needs to be provided by the government, but some elementry things. to allow people equality.

back to on topic...at least I understand your point now, I think.
btw, I was thinking about the USA and homogeneity...and when you think about it never really was homogetetic as it was made by lots of immigrants from all over the world, though at first European countries. I also think about it's decleration of independance which already indicated it's hetro nature as well as I'm sure the constitution.
From:gamahucheur
Date:September 30th, 2007 07:53 am (UTC)
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You generally shouldn't use words without first finding out their defintions.

Everything has a price in every system — a price is what the system will surrender to get, or will not give unless it gets. The only question is by what means prices are decided.

The United States doesn't operate under laissez faire, and never has. The state provides a variety of goods and services directly, mandates their provision in other cases, and regulates the provision of virtually all other goods and services.

Socialism does have a reasonably clear definition: It is the ownership of the means of production by the community as a whole, and the adminstration thereöf in an attempt to reälize an aggregate benefit. The differences amongst varieties of socialism are of who is regarded as in or out of the community, and of how it is believed that collective benefit might be measured. For example, the Nazis had a narrow conception of community and even within that conception didn't value people equally, whereäs other socialisms have included all human beings and avoided weighting them differently in their aggregates.

(Before the fascists came to have much power, other socialists acknowledged them as fascistic socialists. But the historical significance that fascism developed creäted a crisis for Marxist theory, and the repulsive results of fascism creäted a PR crisis for socialists more generally; so they tortured their taxonomy to insist that fascism were somehow not socialism.)

Again, the United States is in the middle between thorough-going socialism and pure reliance upon the market. That middle has been disasterous in one way, and more thorough-going socialism has proved to be megacidal. Time to be reasonable, then.

Not many people do like the thought of people having to forgo things such as college simply because they cannot afford them. There are, however, two questions: First, what costs are acceptable to send people to college? Second, what wil actually work. As I've already noted, in America the state is heavily involved in the provision of education and health care, which has become incredibly expensive during the period of that involvement, and more expensive as the involvement has grown. In many countries, it is socialism that puts things out-of-reach for so many people, though just what gets thereby put out-of-reach is different under different forms of socialism.

(BTW, after Castro dies and the Cuban system becomes more open, there will horrifying revelations about how their hospitals really have been.)

You could see that I am in America either from my profile page, or by logical inference from my comments. Yes, America pracitces a form of socialism; our socialists don't like to call themselves socialist nor the system socialism; the policies would not have been accepted had they been honestly advertised. Socialists who are sure that a system which produces results that they don't want must not be socialism; but the fact that a system produces ugly results doesn't mean that it's thus shown not to be socialism.

Perhaps you should make a careful reading of the writings of the early fascists and of the proto-fascists before you confidently say that you're not for it. In any case, the point of fascism was to find a middle-ground between the market economy and thorough-going socialism, and the actual results of that attempt should be instructive to anyone still looking for middle-ground.

Yes, America has long been heterogeneous.
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From:orlop
Date:October 1st, 2007 08:26 am (UTC)
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how do you know all this stuff? (as in Castro and Cuba)
so you are saying the USA, is the middle way...College there is terribly expensive...and my Sister in Law is a teacher in the California elementry school system and well I can't see how the system is heavily involved if she is the one who has to buy out of her money the study books for the kids in her class.
I guess, when I was thinking socialism, I was thinking more about the Kibbutz...which is also a form of Communism and has proven to have failed in Israel.
ooh, I did think to look in your profile...drat this Pregnancy is draining my brain matter, but I am enjoying our conversation, regardless how stupid I feel.
My Father in Law is an American. he did study some Economy...he is a democrat also and you are right I don't think he has ever referred to America as a socialistic country. he both defends American practice and complains about it. He lives in Israel now. According to his daughter he decided to leave after he lost a lot of money because he stupidly got 2 mortgages...one house that took too long to sell and another house they had moved to...anyway, I never said anything about this to him...to me he explains he's reasons to moving here as zionism.

Who are teh early fascists? and proto-fascists?... I wish I did spend more time reading. I do enjoy reading...it just takes me ever so long to get through a book and I'm so easily distracted.

I'm btw, born, raised & live in Israel, paraents came from England...so I consider my self both. Married to an American who came here when he was 15 with his paraents.
From:gamahucheur
Date:October 1st, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
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I know about Castro and Cuba because (1) photos and eye-witness reports have been smuggled out of Cuba; (2) this is perfectly in keeping with the historical relationship between reports by communist regimes of their own performance, and the under-lying reälity; and (3) I'm an economist who understands the problem of economic calculation.

Yes, the United States is an example of the middle way. (Here, it is called a mixed economy.)

Who owns the school in which your sister-in-law teaches? Where does the school get the money with which it pays her salary, the utility bills, &c? In fact, the various levels of government of America spend more per pupil than do many overtly socialist countries. The fact that your sister-in-law ends-up paying for things from her own pocket that should come from the school doesn't show that the system isn't socialist; rather, it shows that it is yet another socialist failure.

You lived in the San Francisco area, so you should be able to tell me who owns UCSF and UC-Berkeley. From where do you think that they get most of their funding? Meanwhile, virtually every accredited private college and university receives a huge direct share of its funding from the federal government, and an even greater indirect share in the form of grants and loan-subsidies paid to students.

By proto-fascist, I mean those whose views informed the distinguishing views of those early fascists — largely syndicalists such as Georges Sorel. Michele Bianchi, Agostino Lanzillo, Robert Michels, and Edmondo Rossoni, were syndicalists who became fascists. Margherita G[rassini] Sarfatti would be another example of an early fascist.
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From:orlop
Date:September 28th, 2007 05:57 am (UTC)
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Oops...I just read your [1 example]...after posting my reply.
Who's Ilan Halimi ?
From:gamahucheur
Date:September 28th, 2007 06:50 am (UTC)
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From:orlop
Date:September 28th, 2007 07:30 am (UTC)
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilan_Halimi

Oy vey! It came back to me now. I knew of this, didn't recall the name (I try not to read news too much it's distressing)
poor guy, ...I didn't realize he was tortured for 3 wks...
From:gamahucheur
Date:September 28th, 2007 08:13 am (UTC)
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Well, the immediate point is that, whereäs every nation has monsters who would do such things, in America some of the neighbors would call the police as soon as they learned that something such as this were happening — not matter what the ethnicity of the neighborhood and of the victim. Europe was — and largely remainsgrossly deluded about handling issues of ethnicity better than does the America. They got along when there wasn't actually anyone else with whom it get along.
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From:orlop
Date:September 28th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
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well, you would be the first to say this of American...I guess it depends who your neighbours are or which nighberhood you live in.
Israeli's take price in helping out one another it times of crises. Someone falls on the street a few will rush to help them get up, etc., we are a warm people.
However, we have always been shocked at home in American someone can get shot in a middle of a busy city and none would run to help...because they don't want to get involved. They are worried aobut getting hurt themselves...and on some level, I can understand that...as it's scary.
When I visited SF back in 1994 something like this took place...I belive thier was a body on the pavement and everyone just kept walking by...or something like that...come to think of it, don't remember seeing any police.
From:gamahucheur
Date:September 29th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
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No, I wouldn't be the first to say such a thing. It's a simple fact that we have no cases in America comparable to that of Halimi in France, and I'd wonder about the insane level of anti-Americanism that would lead people to fantasize about such things happening here.

Pay Attention: The distinguishing feature of the Halimi case is not that neighbors failed to directly act on his behalf; it is that they wouldn't so much as even call the police as he was tortured for three-and-a-half weeks.

(The case in San Francisco that you mention is more comparable to that of Israelis driving around the body of a crash victim. Not the sort of thing about which to feel any comfort, but hardly behavior peculiar to Americans.)
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From:orlop
Date:September 30th, 2007 07:05 am (UTC)
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well you are helping me focus and understand better why I wasn't a brilliant student in school...though I have to wonder if reading comprehenstion or attention issues. Of course with bad teachers, that doesn't add.
Point taken...calling the police would probably not have overly involved them, they could have done it annonemsly [sp?] also I suppose.

gosh, I wish I had babylon on this computer [I'm at home]
From:gamahucheur
Date:September 24th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC)
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I think that the pending process of ratification for the Reform Treaty is going to reveal much of the future of the EU.

If national pressures for referenda are not sufficiently resisted, then the Treaty will fail; dreams, hopes, and expectations will collapse. For the foreseeable future, any development of the EU would be modest.

If referenda are avoided (and other than by rejection of the Treaty by cabinets or by parliaments), then the next question is of what can really be found in it. If it can be interpretted as the US Constitution has been interepretted, then the EU will develop as a multi-national super-state. If it cannot successfully be so interpretted — if it will just operationalize to change the balance of power amongst states and expedite the process of making decisions of the sort already made — then grander plans — to be effected by subsequent treaties — will probably come to little.

If the EU develops as a multi-national super-state, then it will not ever be republican for essentially the same reasons as the UN is not republican. These are not alliances of a people nor even amongst nations, but amongst states, amongst rulers. Some few of these rulers are given to moments of idealism, but those few rarely consciously let those ideals threaten their hold on power.

The result, then, will not be a true republic. Nor can it become overtly oligarchic without offending the sentiments of the European people. So it will be bureaucratic. Decisions will be the outcome of struggles between corporatists and liberals or quasi-liberals.
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