No, the pursuit of tax avoiders is not motivated by economic insight, but moralising ire. And as such it is indicative, not to mention an indictment, of the pre-political impulse which has prevailed throughout the response to the economic crisis. There has not been an attempt to get to grips with the systemic reasons why the economy is in the grip of a seemingly interminable malaise. Instead, there has been an eagerness to find individuals to blame, motives to single out, behaviour to condemn. It’s the bankers, it’s greed, it’s risk-taking… the litany of blame is so familiar now that some even think it’s true. As Brendan O’Neill has argued, this tendency to blame individual behaviour for social and political crises has a long history, from Nero’s fiddling and grape-eating self-indulgence as Rome burned to Marie Antoinette’s cake-eating as absolutist France collapsed.
The hunt for a scape goat, while human, is not helpful in finding a good path to travel, and will create frustration and anger amongst disoriented people across the continent. The long-term way out of mountains of public debt must surely lie in wealth-creating reforms; finding ways to improve economic growth is paramount. And yet, we hear very few of those claiming to be fit for leadership talking in those terms. Instead, they rail against greedy banks, corrupted and lazy southern Europeans, or insensitive and heartless Germans.
That truly is a reason to be pessimistic.
Tags: ekonomi, eu, ledarskap, politik, skuldkrisen
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