Opinion (Anders Aslund, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC ): “Europe’s response to the strategic challenges it is facing – Russian aggression in Ukraine, refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East, disorder in North Africa – leaves the impression that its leaders have no idea what to do. And indeed, they may not – a reality that needs to be acknowledged, not papered over.
“Simply put, the European Union’s stagnant economy is conditioning its response to the external pressures it confronts; internal crisis has left EU leaders little room for maneuver. Fortunately, Europe has the means to address this crisis, if it can summon the wisdom and the political will.
“The origins of the EU’s problems lie in its response to the 2008 global financial crisis: two years of large-scale fiscal stimulus. While this did little for growth, it resulted in crippling public debt. Seven years later, EU output per person is no higher than it was at the start of the crisis. Meanwhile, average public debt has soared to 87% of GDP, leaving little space for policy flexibility or innovation….
“Little has changed since Italian economists Alberto Alesina and Francesco Giavazzi noted, nearly a decade ago, that, ‘Without serious, deep, and comprehensive reforms, Europe will inexorably decline, both economically and politically.. They warned that, ‘Absent profound change, in 20 or 30 years the share of Europe [in world output] will be significantly lower than it is today, and, perhaps more important, its political influence will be much trimmed.’
“Indeed, a World Bank report on European growth in 2012 summed up the situation as follows: ‘Aging Europeans are being squeezed between innovative Americans and efficient Asians.’ …
“The EU will continue to flounder until it recognizes its mistakes and begins to carry out the reforms its economy needs. Only by putting the continent firmly back on the path of growth will Europe’s leaders be able to address the external challenges they now confront.”
My Comment: The solution to the crisis is not in the implementation of “comprehensive reforms,” but only in a transition to another type of society, to unite, like nature, which provides us with an example of its union and universal dependence. We are in a system of natural forces and cannot discount this.
The growing differences in our strife-torn society causes a strong contrast of humanity from nature in general, from the system in which we exist. This difference, which is due to the influence of forces on us that are returning us to resembling nature and balance, is felt by us as suffering.