“Every continent on the globe is growing … except Antarctica and Europe”
The Free Market Road Show, the travelling event that toured across Europe, made its last stop in the Czech capital.
This magnificent city in the heart of Central Europe offered a superb venue for the closing event of this year’s FMRS. There an absolutely full house comprised of journalists, politicians, business men and women and students followed avidly the program.
It was from a Popperian and Hayekian point of view that Erich Weede, member of the Mont Pelerin Society, launched his assault on the European Union. For Weede, knowledge is dispersed across the entire society and every attempt to centralize it will be doomed to fail. “Power is the opportunity not to learn”, Weede said. The more centralized decisions are, the greater the threat. It is only the proper mechanism of markets that allows a discovery process via trial and error. This task should be carried out by individuals, entrepreneurs. This means that “correction is more likely if powerless actors are concerned, because powerful actors can resist learning and the correction of their errors”. On the contrary, when social engineers fail, consequences are always terrible.
Weede also alerted about the moral crisis that the EU is going through: “Brussels promotes the decline of Europe when it allows Greece to be bailed out by poorer Slovakia. The irresponsible are saved at the expense of the responsible and hard-working”. Is there a way out of this? He believes “if Europe is to prosper, we desperately need capitalism”.
Along this line Barbara Kolm, Director of the Vienna based Austrian Economics Center, continued by arguing that “only individuals think and act. We have to take our fate in our own hands again”. She thinks that European countries have long stopped doing their homework and being responsible. Her solution: “we must live within our means and undergo severe structural reforms”.
On the current state of Europe, British MEP Daniel Hannan left a shrewd one-liner: “Every continent on the globe is growing … except Antarctica and Europe”.
More photos from Free Market Road Shows 2014