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Piketty Interview Inadvertently Shows How Centralization Fails Europe

Tags Global Economy

07/06/2015
The much-hyped Thomas Piketty has given an interview to Die Zeit in which he lambastes Germany as hypocritical on the issue of Greek debt repayment. 
 
It's fascinating and astonishing to witness. The great centralizers seem surprised that yoking together wildly different nations, economies, languages, and cultures doesn't work. This is what Mr. Piketty and his brethren fail to understand: political projects that are at odds with human nature are doomed to fail. If the Eurozone keeps lending to Greece, for example, Greece will keep borrowing. And please, no fighting when it becomes apparent that this process cannot continue forever.
 
European integration supposedly represented the end of nationalist tensions—and the dawn of a new era for a continent still deeply shaped by two wars. The Eurozone supposedly bolstered economic power and prosperity, harnessing the trading power of several nations into one competitive superstate. And the Euro supposedly created a currency that would rival the dollar as a global force. 
 
Instead, political and monetary centralization has inflamed nationalist tensions, yoked the entire European economy to its weakest links, and substituted a political project for a currency. And now we see it has absurdly dredged up old WWII hatreds between Greeks and Germans.
 
Political centralization creates the opposite of prosperity, free markets, peace, and (real) diversity. In Brussels, Frankfurt, or Washington DC, the results are always the same: centralized political and economic decision-making makes us poorer, less free, and more inclined to war.
 
It is the Pikettys of the world who forget the history of 20th century Europe, and its dire warnings against collectivism.
 
Let the Euro fail. Let the future of Europe be highly decentralized.
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Jeff Deist is president of the Mises Institute. He previously worked as chief of staff to Congressman Ron Paul, and as an attorney for private equity clients. Contact: email; Twitter.