Saturday, July 7, 2012

Alexander Hamilton is no Guide for Europe (part 1)

Oh dear. I came across this today ( ) and thought it needed an immediate commentary. It seems that some European policymakers/ deep thinkers are trying to use the plan Alexander Hamilton created to unify the 13 former colonies into the United States as a way to solve Europe's debt crisis.

This is fatally flawed plan, for several reasons.

Let me start by saying Alexander Hamilton is my favorite Founding Father, by far. His vision of the United States as a strong, unified nation that earned it's income from commerce and manufacturing, with the whole economy bolstered by a strong public sector and robust financial system, is the vision that we have fulfilled (as oppossed to Jefferson's ideal of an agrarian republic). And his plan in 1789 that the Federal government would assume the debt of the individual states in return for the states' granting the Federal government more power of their affairs was undoubtedly crucial for the development of the US and was a visionary plan.

But a modern corrollary is an inappropriate step for the Eurozone. For the individual nations of Europe to cede power to some kind of Federal institution as yet to be created in return for German money to meet their debt obligations will end in ruination. Here's why the plan is doomed to fail, in several sections.

1. The path to unification is a rocky road. Think I'm wrong? How did it work for the United States? The Federal government began legislating for all the states in 1787, after the Constitution was ratified. Immediatley, disagreements between north and south emerged over tariffs, taxes, military spending, and shall we say.. labor policy, among other things. The whole "disagreement" lasted about 70 years and eventually devolved in a bit of a tiff featuring guys who looked like this:

Can you imagine Germany having similar disagreements with Italy, Spain, et al? Because I sure as hell can. Think it wouldn't devolve into a civil war? Its unlikely, but then again such outcomes always seem to be. 

No comments:

Post a Comment