Monday, 6 May 2019


At the end of WW2 much of Europe lay in ruins.  The Germans implemented a 'free market' philosophy which encouraged innovation and efficiency.  This resulted in a rapid economic recovery.  Meanwhile the UK adopted a strategy of centralized planning taking major industries into state ownership and control. 

Germany eventually combined with France, Belgium, Holland, Italy and Luxemburg to form the European Economic Community (EEC).  This economic integration resulted in a further increase in collective wealth through the removal of trade barriers and other economic restrictions. 

Meanwhile; despite borrowing more from the USA than Germany under the post WW2 Marshall Plan; the UK was the 'sick man' of Western Europe.  Centralized planning, state control, tariffs and quotas had proven to be an economic disaster. 

The UK was eventually able to join the EEC and start a rapid economic recovery.

Meanwhile the EEC was transforming itself into the European Union, expanding to take on new members.  The overwhelming objective was now political union ahead of economic prosperity. 
One of the key rules of the 'club' is that individual members have a veto over external free trade agreements.  Effectively this requires 28 members to collectively agree to the negotiated arrangements.  Reaching this type of agreement is like herding cats.  EU Free Trade Agreements can take years, ask Canada who waited through 16 years of negotiations as the EU both negotiated with them and within their 28 members. 

Since its inception the EU has adopted a protectionist attitude towards its internal market.  External trade is frequently subject to tariffs and quotas in an effort to protect its own producers and manufacturers.  To support this philosophy the EU has created a huge bureaucracy that develops reams of regulations.  It appears to me that the EU has been moving towards a similar path adopted by a post WW2 UK.  That is; the EU seems intent on economic protectionism whilst simultaneously  regulating (ie, creating laws) every aspect of European citizens lives.    

Let me give you an example.

Your average European citizen is woken by their digital alarm clock (11 Regulations) with their head resting on their pillowslip (5 Regulations).  Of course the pillowslip covers their pillow (109 Regulations).  They are kept warm by their sheets and duvet (50 Regulations).  Rising from bed they head to the bathroom (65 Regulations) where they have a shower (91 Regulations) and shampoo their hair (118 Regulations) before drying themselves with a towel (454 Regulations -   obviously towels terrify EU bureaucrats) and comb their hair in the mirror (172 Regulations - mirrors can be dangerous).  A quick brush of the teeth (toothbrush 31 Regulations and toothpaste 47 Regulations).   It's then off to the kitchen for breakfast.  Out comes the toaster (52 Regulations) and the bread (1246 Regulations).  Opening the fridge (84 Regulations) they remove the milk (this stuff is highly toxic at 12,653 Regulations) before taking a bowl (99 Regulations) from the cupboard and a spoon (210 Regulations) from the cutlery drawer.  Oops... forgot the orange juice (202 Regulations).  There's just enough time for a coffee (625 Regulations) and to pat the dog (556 Regulations.  Dog obviously aren't quite as lethal as coffee) before heading off to work.

So why have all these regulations?


Carol said...

The answer to your question at the end ... to keep a lot of people in very expensive jobs who can claim extraordinary benefits for doing very little.

Can I share this Tom on facebook?

Tom and Jan said...

Carol you're not supposed to answer my next post prior to it being written! LOL

You can post it on your Facebook. Just get the name spelt correctly. It's George Palin. :-)

Mike Griffin said...

Interesting, but bear in mind the Uk was heavily bombed during the WW2 conflict, all our manufacturing machinery was clapped out, the Railways were in a parlous state due to lack of maintenance and the coffers to repair/replace this were empty.

Germany was in a very poor state possible worse and the Americans ever aware of the real threat of creeping Communist take over, poured money into Germany, and new manufacturing machinery, so the Western section was up and running quickly.

Meanwhile Britain was saddled with war debt payments........and a preening DeGualle running Europe and controlling the EU......shame we could not pass some of the war debt onto him.

Tom and Jan said...

Mike, yes much of Europe was destroyed and there was little money for rebuilding. The Marshall Plan was designed to prevent a repeat of the conditions that led to WW2 and prevent the spread of communism.

Marshall Plan borrowing by countries
UK 26%
France 18%
West Germany 11%

The UK spent poorly having received more that twice what West Germany borrowed.