Thursday, 23 June 2011

Disappearing in a cloud of Athenian tear gas

They’re rioting in Greece because decades of welfarism has proved unaffordable.

They thought the post-war experiment with the welfare state guaranteed every Greek a living at every other Greek’s expense. Now they’re learning otherwise.

They thought their membership in the EU’s monetary union guaranteed Greece a living at Germany’s expense. Now they’re learning that was never possible.

They thought that a policy of borrow and spend would work forever—spending based not on necessities of production but on the siren-song of “need,” and borrowing based on an ever-expanding pyramid plan of debt.

It won’t. It can’t. It isn’t.  The bill is finally being presented, and the post-war welfare-state experiment that supposedly guaranteed everyone a living at everyone else’s expense is revealed for what it is: as unaffordable as cancer, and as destructive. For Greece as for every other welfare state.

“The state,” as Bastiat once said, “is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at everyone else’s expense.” The fiction is now disappearing in a cloud of Athenian tear gas.

The biggest clusterfuck in modern European history was as unavoidable as the collapse of welfarism will be in every other place—and a first taste of what it will be like when the reality hits home in every place, either with or without riots, that the welfare state experiment is unaffordable. That borrow and spend is over. That mortgaging your grandchildren’s future to pay for your welfare state today will impoverish their generation, and eventually bankrupt this one too.

And that lesson goes for us as well.

How long do you think we can continue borrowing a third-of-a-billion a week to fund middle-class welfare, especially when bond yields start turning—as they can do overnight.


  1. It's coming. Our very own riots and tear gas. Mark my words.

  2. Wasn't ancient Greece the cradle of Mathematics? A lesson now forgotten.

    Chris R.

  3. NZ tends to follow what other countries have done, even when it fails in those other countries.
    We still have time thou to turn it around. (if anyone will listen that is)

  4. I believe Steyn has reported many times that the U.S. is borrowing $144 million PER HOUR!

  5. NZ tends to follow what other countries have done, even when it fails in those other countries

    Not true as far as a comprehensive welfare state is concerned. Along with e.g. women's suffrage, this is another NZ first.

    We still have time thou to turn it around. (if anyone will listen that is)

    Nope. No we don't - or at least, not at the cost of scrapping almost everyone over about 25.

    That's the real reason why NZ will never change until the bubble bursts and the country smashes into bankruptcy: because basically every entrepreneurial Kiwi who cares about themselves and their families has already left the country

    Anyone left in NZ who isn't independently wealthy, with at least one passport from somewhere much less fucked than NZ --- who gives a shit?

    bludgers deserve to starve - and starve they will!

  6. bludgers deserve to starve - and starve they will!

    They do indeed, and so too the politicians who convinced them of bad math.

    Trouble is, they'll take you all with them.

    As the poverty rises, they will believe even more about have and have-not ideals. There will be increased property theft because they have all been raised to believe that they are deserving.



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