Μεταγνώσεις

«Ηταν οι καλύτερες μέρες, ήταν οι χειρότερες μέρες, ήταν τα χρόνια της σοφίας, ήταν τα χρόνια της άνοιας, ήταν η εποχή της πίστης, ήταν η εποχή της ολιγοπιστίας, η εποχή του Φωτός και η εποχή του Σκότους, ήταν η άνοιξη της ελπίδας και ήταν ο χειμώνας της απελπισίας, είχαμε μπρος μας τα πάντα, είχαμε μπρος μας το τίποτε, πηγαίναμε όλοι στον Παράδεισο, πηγαίναμε όλοι στο αντίθετό του»
Ch Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

«Εσύ κι εγώ Ζόιντ, είμαστε σαν τον Μπιγκ Φουτ. Οι καιροί περνούν, εμείς ποτέ δεν αλλάζουμε…»
Τ Πύντσον, Vineland

«Οι άνθρωποι κάνουν την ίδια τους την Ιστορία, δεν την κάνουν όμως κάτω από ελεύθερες συνθήκες, που διάλεξαν μόνοι τους, μα κάτω από συνθήκες που βρέθηκαν άμεσα, που δόθηκαν και κληρονομήθηκαν από το παρελθόν.»
K Μαρξ, Η 18η Μπρυμαίρ του Λουδοβίκου Βοναπάρτη

«Αυτοί που ελέγχουν το Μικροσκοπικό, ελέγχουν τον κόσμο»
Τ Πύντσον,
Mason & Dixon

Κυριακή, 19 Αυγούστου 2012



Δυο ευρωπαίοι εξετάζουν την Ευρώπη (το 2006) και βρίσκουν ότι αν συνεχίσει στους ίδιους ρυθμούς, η πτώση είναι αναπόφευκτη. Alberto Alesina και Francesco Giavazzi, The Future of Europe, Reform or Decline, MIT Press, 2006).
Μερικά παραδείγματα που δίνουν:
·         Το μέσο ευρωπαϊκό ΑΕΠ αμέσως μετά τον 2ο ΠΠ ήταν ίσο προς το 42% αυτού των ΗΠΑ. Στα τέλη της δεκαετίας του 1980 είχε φτάσει στο 80%. Το 2005 έπεσε στο 70%.
·         To 1960 οι δαπάνες Γενικής Κυβέρνησης ήταν 29% του ΑΕΠ (όσο το σημερινό των ΗΠΑ), το 1970 ανήλθαν στο 37% και το 1990 στο 50%. Αυτό σήμαινε αυξημένη φορολογια και μείωση της ανάπτυξης.
·         Από το 2ο ΠΠ και μετά η Ευρώπη δεν επένδυσε στην τεχνολογική καινοτομία αλλά βασίστηκε σε αντιγραφές των αμερικανικών καινοτομιών (όπως και η Ιαπωνία και η Κορέα). Σήμερα που η καινοτομία και όχι αντιγραφή είναι η κινητήριος δύναμη της ανάπτυξης, η Ευρώπη έχει θέμα.

Αν και ξεχνούν δομικές ανεπάρκειες του όλου συστήματος τυφλωμένοι/καυλωμένοι από τον τότε καλπασμό του αμερικάνικου συστήματος που βασίστηκε σε φούσκες για να αντισταθμίσει την μόνιμη τάση του μονοπωλιακού καπιταλισμού προς στασιμότητα, γράφουν ένα ωραίο νεοφιλελεύθερο μανιφέστο και σε αρκετά έχουν δίκιο. Το όλον συμπυκνώνεται σε μια τους φράση: A market economy is a market economy: qualifications are misleading…

The Future of Europe
Reform or Decline
By Alberto Alesina and Francesco Giavazzi
Introduction
A recent poll taken in the European Union identified the
United States as the biggest enemy of world peace, after Israel
and North Korea, in that order. In the United States, anti-French
sentiments are widespread. Cross-Atlantic relationships have rarely
been at such a low point in the post–World War II era.
It would be superficial to attribute the cross-Atlantic animosity to
the European aversion to the current American president, George
W. Bush, or to the American irritation at the French and German
opposition to the war in Iraq. The truth is that Americans and Europeans
are different, think differently, and are becoming more
different.
Europeans work less, take longer vacations, and retire early.
Americans choose to work long hours. In August, Paris is a ghost
town, except for the tourists, and Milan is a ghost town, period; in
August, New York does not look very different than in any other
month except for more European tourists. Europeans view job security
and stability as a fundamental right and a ticket for happiness.
Americans are willing to endure the ups and downs, the bankruptcies,
and the unemployment spells as a necessary part of a market
economy. Europeans tend to hold the same job for most of their life,
Americans change jobs frequently. Europeans view any cut in
the size of the welfare state as unacceptable. Americans view tax
increases as an evil to be avoided at all cost. Europeans view
inequality as a major problem. Inequality in the United States is on
the rise, but Americans appear to be willing to live with it. Europeans
believe that the use of force in international relations should
almost never (read “never”) be used. Americans believe in the relatively
frequent use of force. Europe is relatively closed to foreign
immigrants. America is a country of immigrants. Europeans believe
that society determines much of an individual’s fortune; Americans
believe that individuals are responsible for their own fate. Americans
believe that competition is critical for economic success and
embrace it. Europeans are prompt to emphasize the benefits of a
Soziale Marktwirtschaft (a social market economy), a model invented
by Germany, which means putting restraints on market forces
through government regulation.
These differences are becoming more, rather than less, deeprooted.
In the recent debate in France, ahead of the vote on the European
constitution, both camps promised they would prevent the
country from adopting a social system resembling the despised
Anglo-Saxon “ultra liberalism.” The American form of capitalism
was the universal enemy; the disagreement was on the best way to
fight it and be different. Any discussion about economic reform in
Europe is prefaced by a disclaimer about the superiority of the
European model compared to the American one. In the German
election campaign of 2005, the conservative candidate, Angela
Merkel, promised profound change but committed not to touch the
basic characteristics of the German social model. All that her opponent
had to do to avoid defeat was to scare German voters about
the risks of market liberalism. By doing so, he engineered a phenomenal
last-minute electoral turnaround. Americans, on the other
hand, show no inclination toward changing their welfare system
and making it more similar to the European one.
In this volume we discuss the problems that confront Europe
using the rhetorical device of a comparison between Europe and the
United States along different dimensions. But this is not an academic
book, and we are not shy in taking sides on the issues we analyze.
We are very critical of many aspects of the European model. But
let us be clear. We do not argue that European countries should
simply copy the United States and adopt identical policies. America
is far from perfect; on the contrary, it has very serious problems. For
instance, the American health care system is explosively expensive
and many Americans do not receive adequate health care. American
inner cities are an embarrassment, and the correlation between
poverty and race is disturbing. America has a lot to learn from
Europe. Some aspects of the European welfare state can ensure
social solidarity and, when well designed, at relatively low efficiency
cost.
Are we then saying that there is a “third way” in between the
American model and the European model? No, or at least not in the
common way in which this is understood. Those who argue that
there is a third way—and talk about European reforms but in the
next sentence emphasize that Europe should be different from the
“American free market”—are simply fuzzy thinkers, the typical
example being the German notion of a social market economy. A
market economy is a market economy: qualifications are misleading.
But, quite apart from blank and somewhat superficial endorsements
of one model or another, our view is that Europe should
adopt very large scale reforms that would make its markets and its
institutions (such as universities and banks) look much more like
those of the United States than they are now; of course, these
reforms do not require the adoption of every aspect of, for instance,
the American welfare system. The most important lesson that the
United States can give to Europe is a belief that people respond to
incentives and most of the time markets work, or at least they work
better than any other mechanism.
Without serious, deep, and comprehensive reforms Europe will
inexorably decline, both economically and politically. Absent
profound change, in twenty or thirty years the share of Europe
in the world economy will be significantly lower than it is
today, and perhaps more important, its political influence will be
much trimmed. Europeans seem to be living in the dream that
their past splendor and their current prosperity cannot be lost.
This is a mistake. A major European decline is indeed a serious
possibility.
Think of Britain. It took the British people twenty years of economic
and political decline to realize that their country was about
to disappear from the world economic and political scene. In 1960,
Britain’s GDP per capita was 78 percent of US GDP per capita. By
1980, the ratio had fallen to 67 percent. Eventually Britain’s decline
was stopped by the policies adopted by Margaret Thatcher: by the
beginning of the 1990s, the ratio of UK to US GDP per capita had
stabilized to around 68 percent, although, relative to the United
States, Britain never recovered the losses it suffered in the 1970s.
(The percentages cited here are from Penn World Tables, compiled
by the Center for International Comparisons of the University of
Pennsylvania.)
Europe emerged from World War II with a level of per capita GDP
that was less than half that of the United States: 42 percent. In the
first thirty years after the war, Europe reduced that distance to
one-half. By the end of the 1980s, its GDP per capita was 80 percent
of the US level. Since then convergence has stopped. As a matter of
fact in the last twenty yeas Europe has lost ground: GDP per
capita today is about 70 percent of the US level, the position Europe
had reached at the end of the 1970s. One is reminded of Britain in
the 1970s, but we fail to see a new Mrs. Thatcher appearing on the
European scene.
The prospect of an economic decline comes out sharper if one
looks at individual countries. By 1970, Italy had reached a level of
GDP per capita equal to 68 percent of the US level, a big achievement
for a country that had started from 30 percent in 1950. By 1990,
the ratio had reached 80 percent. Today, it is back to 64 percent, the
level of the mid-1960s. In the same period, from the mid-1960s to
today, the South Korean GDP per capita has risen, relative to the
United States, from 12 to 50 percent. If the Korean GDP per capita
keeps growing, relative to the United States, at the same rate it has
grown over the past twenty-five years, by 2030, Korea will be richer
than the United States. It is unlikely that this will happen: the
Korean growth rate is, at least in part, the result of economic catchup.
The growth will inevitably slow down as Korea gets richer. But
there is nothing that can automatically stop Italy’s decline relative
to the United States. If the relative decline continues at the current
pace, in twenty-five years Italian GDP per capita will be one-third
that of the United States. Relative to the United States, Italy will
return to the conditions of the early 1950s. This doesn’t mean Italy
will be a poor country. The living standard of its (by then rather
aged) citizens will continue to be good.
This raises the issue of whether relative economic decline is really
so bad. In absolute terms, Europe is rich and it will not become poor
overnight: the decline will be relative to other countries. Should
Europeans care? To be concrete, why should a middle-class Frenchman
be bothered if a middle-class tourist from Korea in Paris will
soon be able to afford items out of reach for the French themselves?
We believe that this hypothetical Frenchman should and would care.
First of all, relative economic power matters in the area of international
relations. Second, and perhaps more important, a host of economic
and psychological research shows that individuals’ happiness
depends not only on their own income but also on their income relative
to others; it also depends on the growth of individual income.
Third, societies that stop growing develop a “culture of stagnation,”
which can have a host of negative social consequences, a theme
explored in a recent book by Harvard economist Benjamin Friedman.
Sure our hypothetical Frenchman will enjoy his longer vacations and
may criticize the hard-working Korean, but leisure increases happiness only to a point. In addition we should not forget that poverty has
not been completely eradicated from Europe and a sustained rate of
growth is the best cure for poverty. Generous welfare provisions
become difficult to sustain in a slow growing economy.
In fact relative decline can turn into absolute decline. The experience
of Argentina stands as a specter over Europe. At the beginning
of the last century Argentina was among the richest countries
in the world, twice as rich as Italy and about as rich as France. Then
the world changed, but Argentineans kept thinking that exporting
corn and beef was enough to remain rich. For a long time, until the
crisis of 2001, most Argentineans were unaware of—or refused to
recognize—the depth of their problem. When the crisis broke out
all at once, Argentineans found themselves poor.
Are Europeans aware of these unpleasant possibilities? In our
view, not entirely. But could they be right in not worrying? Certainly
history suggests caution in making long-run predictions about
winners and losers. In the late 1970s Japan was the model country
and many thought that the United States was doomed: eventually
exactly the opposite happened. In the same decade pundits were
talking about the American decline, pointing to the TV images of
long lines at the gas station, American hostages in Iran, and to the
“irreversible” decline in American productivity. Today all of this
seems far away—except, unfortunately, for hostages, although not
in Iran. Will we be saying the same thing in twenty years about
wrong predictions of European doom and gloom made in 2006?
May be, but lacking comprehensive reforms, these gloomy predictions
are likely to become true.
What happened to Europe? In the 1960s Europe looked like a
model for the world. With rapid growth and cohesive societies,
Europeans were among the happiest in the world. Why did the
miracle abruptly come to an end?
There are two possible explanations. The first points to politics
and the other to technology. We begin with politics. In the 1950s and
1960s Europeans worked very hard. Many European cities had been
leveled during World War II. Factories were destroyed, and human
capital was depleted by war casualties. This was not the time to
think about leisure and consumption. Europeans had to dig in their
heels and start to rebuild. By the end of the 1960s their resolve had
success. Europeans could now raise their thoughts to the quality of
their lives. Also the late 1960s was a period of political turmoil.
From universities to factories, Europeans demanded less work
with equal pay, labor regulations against firings, free education
and free health care for everyone, and generous pensions to be
enjoyed earlier in life. In the end, governments delivered what
the people asked. European economies had been growing fast,
and there seemed to be enough resources to accommodate all
demands. Then came the oil crisis and at the same time, at least in
some countries such as Germany and Italy, the fight for change
became tough. To prevent students and workers from being lured
by the call of the extreme left—these were the years of Bader
Meinhof and the Red Brigades—governments kept accommodating
even after it had become clear that the resources were no
longer there. In the 1970s the welfare state was paid for through
inflation and in the 1980s by building up public debt. From those
years Europe inherited large governments and the high taxes
needed to pay for it. In 1960, total government spending (the
average for the pre-enlargement EU 15 countries) was 29 percent of
GDP (the level of the United States today); in 1970, it was 37; in
1980, it was 47; and in 1990, it was 50 percent of GDP. The accompanying
increase in taxes depressed growth. Some other factors, the
oil shock in particular, contributed as well and compounded the
fiscal deficiencies.
Had Europe continued to grow as in the 1950s and 1960s, the
welfare demands of the 1970s could have been accommodated with
more limited increases in tax rates. But in the 1970s the engine that
until then had provided growth stopped working, and this is where
the explanation based on technology comes into place. As economists
Daron Acemoglu, Philippe Aghion, and Fabrizio Zilibotti
argue in their academic work, European growth in the 1960s was—
as Japan and Korea experienced later—largely of the catch-up type.
Europeans started off, after World War II, far from the technological
frontier: imitation of the best US technologies was enough for a
fast pickup. As we will discuss later in the book, imitation works
well with large incumbent and entrenched firms, a bank-centered
financial system, long-term relationships, a slow turnover of managers,
stable ownership of firms, and a hands-on approach by the
government. Industrial policy did work in the 1960s in Europe, as
it did later in Korea and Japan. But when Europe came closer to the
technological frontier, and innovation rather than imitation became
the critical factor for growth, Europe found itself ill prepared. The
very institutions that had been responsible for the success of the
1960s became an obstacle to growth after the 1970s. Rather than
speed up the destruction of old firms and favor the creation of new,
innovative enterprises, Europeans kept on protecting incumbents
and dreaming up industrial policy.
It is hard to see how Europe can turn around if it does not
change profoundly, but we do not see enough energy for
reforms. Germany has 5 million unemployed, the highest number
since the Weimar Republic, but we see acquiescence rather
than change. Italy and Portugal are falling behind even relative
to Germany: exports are falling and productivity growth has
virtually stopped. In both countries the political system is incapable
of delivering reforms. What we see instead of reforms, are the
attempts of insiders to protect themselves from the effects of economic
integration and the globalization of markets. France is
moving in a protectionist direction, that of the French fortress,
the Asterix village. French farmers are heavily protected from the
competition of farmers from developing countries. In Italy many
believe that only tariffs can save their country from Chinese competition
especially in the textile sector. These protectionist tendencies
are worrisome.
The reader should be aware of oversimplifications. To begin with,
we say Europe but we really mean continental Western Europe. In
many dimensions Europeans have, vis-à-vis the United Kingdom,
reactions that are similar to those elicited by the United States. The
French veto on the proposed new European constitution was partly
a vote against Tony Blair’s alleged plans to reform the European
social model along Anglo-Saxon lines. In Central and Eastern
Europe some countries are adopting models quite different from
those of continental Western Europe and closer to the Anglo-Saxon
type. Even within Western Europe there are many differences. The
Scandinavian countries, after suffering a deep crisis in the early
1990s, have been able to combine a far-reaching welfare state with
market flexibility and decent growth. It is too early to say whether
their current performance will be a long-lasting success. Hailing
Nordic countries as an example of the superiority of the European
economic model over that of the United States—an argument one
often hears in Europe—is at least premature, but no doubt something
very important is happening there. Unfortunately, the larger
European countries—France, Germany, Italy, and Spain—do not
show the political will and capability of adopting Nordic policies.
Moreover the social cohesions and “social capital” so diffuse in
Nordic countries and that greatly help their systems work well are
lacking in southern Europe.
Interestingly, while Americans and Europeans have different
views, they both seem happy with the societies in which they live.
A recent poll asked people how they felt about their quality of life:
eight European countries rank above the United States and seven
below, with no clear pattern: Italy and Spain rank 8th and 10th,
the United States 13th, France and Germany 25th and 26th. This
suggests that Americans and Europeans pretty much get what they
like: they are unlikely to want to switch sides of the Atlantic. By the
way, even in Argentina most people claimed to be happy right up
to the day of the crisis!
So is there no problem? Well, yes and no. It is certainly true that
by and large European policies reflect the will of the electorate,
as they should in democracies. Europeans are certainly not free
marketers trapped by interventionist politicians. However,
the Europeans’ aversion to market liberalism is often strategically
fostered by groups of insiders who benefit from market
protection. This is indeed one of the major themes of this
book.
In recent years numerous signs of dissatisfaction (still not well
channeled politically) have been arising in France, Germany,
and Italy. In all three cases one perceives frustration with an inability
to implement reforms that are urgently needed. More important,
lack of concern for serious reforms may simply reflect a failure
to understand what is coming. The European decline is a slow
process, and this makes reforms more difficult politically to
accomplish. Crises often generate the impetus for reform, a
slow decline less so. In Latin America, for instance, certain countries,
and especially Chile, emerged from a near catastrophic crisis
in the 1970s and a period of dictatorship with a new vigor. The
reforms in Chile have turned its emerging economy into one of the
most successful in Latin America. From the 1950s onward Europe
had no big crises, no hyperinflation nor hyper recession. An old
saying goes, if you put a frog in cold water and start warming the
water slowly until it boils, the frog dies. If you throw a frog in hot
water, it jumps out and lives. Europe is that frog in slowly warming
water.
Look at the facts. Partly because of high taxes, generous pensions,
high unemployment benefits, and unions’ insistence for fewer
hours of work and partly because of attitudes, Europeans work less
and less. Italian “kids” leave college at age 27; then they spend a
couple of years looking for a job, they work 30 years, and eventually
they retire at 60 and live until they are 90. The French have
obtained a 35-hour week and in May and August very few are at
work in France. In Germany peak hour traffic on a Friday is 2 pm.
You can’t grow very fast if you work fewer and fewer hours per
person, unless your productivity grows at extraordinary rates. For
this to happen, you need research and development and competitive
universities, not to mention truly competitive product markets
that promote the quick adoption of new technologies. Europe is
deficient in all these dimensions. Rather than building upon its most
talented young people, it does very little to stop them from migrating
to the United States, tempted by US universities and US hightech
firms. About one-third of Harvard’s economics department
is Europeans who have fled their countries’ troubled universities.
Western Europe, instead of trying to attract the most talented
youths from India, China, and Eastern Europe, restricts migration.
The immigrants allowed are not the smart people who in the United
States have created the many innovative start-ups. The best
educated Central and Eastern Europeans are flying over Western
Europe and going to the United States. “Wait ten years to open your
borders to my fellow citizens,” recently said the then Romanian
foreign minister, “and every smart Romanian engineer will have
migrated to the United States: what you’ll get will be our uneducated
peasants.”
Europeans are growing older. Fertility rates are exceptionally
low. Europe won’t thrive if only a few people work to support an
increasing number of retirees. The closed borders and irrational
immigration policies promise to make the European aging populations
amid low birth rates harder to sustain. These two demographic
trends will seriously strain European budgets.
Economic decline and political decline go hand in hand. Because
of its large social spending and the low growth rate, Europe cannot
support a powerful military. Sooner rather than later Europe will
lose its powerful role in international organizations. Already today
people around the world, especially in Asia, are wondering why
France and Britain should have permanent seats in the UN Security
Council. Countries like China and India with population sizes
orders of magnitudes larger than France, Britain, and Germany
combined will soon demand and obtain more power in world
politics, and rightly so. At the moment these countries are determined
to work hard and become rich. Pretty soon they will succeed
and call for more recognition at the political tables of world organizations.
European countries will have to move over.
The organization and allocation of power in international organizations,
from the UN to the IMF and the G7 (now G8) meetings,
still reflects a post–Second World War equilibrium that has become
obsolete. At that time Germany and Japan were the defeated aggressors;
the Soviets were a threat, Germany was divided and a wall
was about to be built. Much of the then-called Third World was
either recently independent or a colony but still very poor. Times
have changed: there were 74 independent countries in the world in
1945, and there are 193 today. Communism outside of China, Cuba,
and North Korea is popular only in Parisian cafés; Germany is
reunited; the Third World is growing faster than the First World.
Computer software is now mostly developed in Bangalore; graduate
programs in the United States, including business schools, admit
thousands of smart Asian students. Times have changed; France
and Britain continue to have permanent seats on the UN Security
Council and Italy, not China, is part of the G7. Not for long.
Europe’s lack of military spending also affects growth directly,
since much of cutting edge technology is developed in military
contracts. In the United States many high-tech firms, if they are
really good, thrive thanks to contracts with the Pentagon. In Europe
instead of military contracts firms often receive state subsidies,
which is a much less efficient way of stimulating research and innovation.
Europe could prevent its rapid military and political decline
by pulling together resources (political and military) with a true
foreign policy through the European Union. But recent experience
suggests that European countries are very far from reaching any
resemblance of this, and in fact they are walking away from any
further political integration.
So is the Untied States of Europe a way out of Europe’s decline?
Yes and no. As an economic area the European Union has worked
relatively well. As a form of political union, however, the rapid
annihilation of the proposed constitution has shown the severe
limits of this process. The idea of a European political union that
balances the United States in the international arena seems less and
less realistic every day.
The hurdles that stand in the way of a United Europe also stem
from one of Europe’s main advantages: its diversity—diversity of
language, of culture, of historical experience, and of lifestyle. Diversity
may prevent Europe from exploiting the potential of unity, but
a diverse society could be in a better position to adapt to change.
In a rapidly changing world this could be Europe’s most important
asset. Europe should embrace diversity both within its ranks and
with reference to non-Europeans. Instead, Brussels’ insistence on
coordination and uniformity is in sharp contrast with the “Let a
thousand flowers bloom” view of the world. In the area of diversity
Europeans could learn from the Unites States. Americans have
had a history of dealing with racial and ethnic diversity, and it is as
both an asset and a liability. It is an asset because being a successful
melting pot is what has made America great. It is a liability
because many of the social problems in the United States are associated
with race relations. Europe has the opportunity to learn from
this experience, or it can sit back and pontificate about American
failings. The view of French youths of African descent rioting in
Paris in November 2005 shocked the same Parisian intellectuals
who led the May 68 riots. Troubling as these riots seemed, they are,
unfortunately, the wave of the future.
Europe is at a crossroad. It can continue with business as usual
and accept a slow but permanent decline. Or it can initiate reforms.
Change is difficult, of course, where attitudes and institutions have
deep roots in history and in political and intellectual traditions. But
change is needed if an economic decline is to be avoided. Today the
choice is still readily available; another decade of decline may
foreclose this option.
Often the Europeans who worry about Europe’s problems
respond by proposing a long list of very detailed policies. Often
they call for more public spending on infrastructure, education,
industrial policies, and support for depressed areas. Our view is
different. Europe does not need more public money in a myriad of
programs. Europe needs reforms that create incentives and make its
people willing to work hard and longer, take risks, and innovate.
Europe needs more competition, not more public infrastructures.
European universities need more “market incentives,” not more
public money. European firms need lower taxes, less heavily regulated
labor markets, and better functioning product markets, not
more subsidies and protection. This does not mean that Europe
simply needs to adopt the entire US model. Indeed there are aspects
of the European welfare state that are efficient and should be preserved.
But too often the benefits to overprotected insiders get
precedence over the needs of the general public and, in particular,
at a cost to the younger generation.
Some observers are talking about the twenty-first century being
the European century, the same as the twentieth century was the
American century. We take a more skeptical view: there is as good
a chance that the twenty-first century will be the century of European
decline. We hope to be proved wrong.

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