On December 29 Irwin Stelzer wrote an article on wsj.com where he claims Euroland has gone from tragedy to farce. Dick Erixon says he is mean and complains that the Europeans don't work hard enough. It seems to me that the problem rather is that there are not enough jobs. In our highly technological society, the welfare state, it should not be necessary to work like slaves used to do. We are supposed to do brainy things. It is just that all people are not interested in brainy work.
The jobs, by the way, are in China and European investors and others earn lots of money there which is of course good or bad. Lowering salaries would be a solution to increase competitiveness and maybe the competition from China will induce this change in more than governmental services. But since Stelzer worries about Europe being taken over by China in the last paragraph of his article, it might be interesting to speculate on what people should be doing when there are not enough brainy people to keep people occupied. It might be a new challenge for the Western world.
Birger Schlaugh, a former party leader for the Greens in Sweden, argues for more free time for leisure for a healthier populace. However, I have a feeling that this kind of argumentation assumes that the human race would have to evolve to become more attuned to leisure or rather more noble pursuits. I don't see leisure as a problem. Most people do their thing and rather crave something to do.
Reading Niall Ferguson's Empire from 2003 where he describes the rise and fall of the Bristish Empire. He does a very social realistic narrative where you get the feeling that the Westerners, led by Britain, were quite inconsiderate since the viewpoint is from now to then. Slavery and annihilation of entire civilizations is an issue. Can't help thinking about the possibility that left over people in the West currently risk becoming slaves. In Sweden you talk about "the outside ship" which is the one tenth that are not employed. In Spain there are currently twice as many. The problem is if not so bright people feel they have to active this lot. This is a risk that David Cameron in the UK and Fredrik Reinfeldt in Sweden run when they talk about their "Big Society" and "work line", respectively.