Requiem for a Scheme

Dalrymple has written a piece for the new National Review that summarizes the problems of “the giant Madoff scheme that is the European social model“:

For years it has been clear that there is no means by which the state can meet its increasing self-assumed obligations without large-scale borrowing. The cost of meeting the obligations has stifled the economic growth that is the only way they could have been met without a Madoff scheme. France, by no means the worst offender, has managed to balance its budget three times in the last 40 years. In other words, borrowing is our way of life, and in some cases (that of Greece, for example) it might even be said to be our livelihood.

Read it here (purchase required).

8 thoughts on “Requiem for a Scheme

  1. David

    For much of Northern Europe, the European social model seems to work fine – far better than the kind of reckless capitalism that America and Britain have pioneered. But I don’t suppose one as biased as Dalrymple is likely to see it that way.

  2. Clinton

    Northern European countries have very small, racially homogenous and relatively unambitious populations. You simply cannot compare them to countries like Britain and the US – especially the US, which is a massive, continental nation of 300 million highly ambitious people with high expectations of achievement, standard of living and innovation. America, as the world’s most popular destination for immigrants, also performs an important function of accepting huge numbers of the world’s poor, and processing them into more productive, wealthier citizens. This would simply be impossible in the much more static economies of northern Europe.

    Sweden, in particular, maintains a degree of income equality that discourages risk-taking and innovation. It also has an aggregate tax bite of more than half of GDP. Americans would never accept giving up such a huge proportion of their income to the government.

    Northern European countries have in recent decades begun to accept large numbers of immigrants for the first time, and have shown themselves to be uniquely bad at integrating them. Unemployment among Sweden’s large Muslim population is above 50%, for example, and the country is experiencing an epidemic of rape committed by Muslim immigrants, with the highest level of rape in Europe, twice that of runner-up UK. The Netherlands has the highest crime rate in Europe.

    Lastly, Dalrymple’s views are not the result of bias, but of a lifetime of world travel and reading. A former liberal, he changed his views in accordance with his experiences visiting nearly every country in the world. This is the exact opposite of bias: it is open-mindedness and a willingness to alter one’s position in accordance with facts and experience.

  3. David

    I’m not entirely sure whether the integration of Muslims into Scandinavian countries has much to do with this. Take Germany for example – ethnically fairly diverse, plenty of entrepreneurs and a close adherent to the European social model. Then compare how that country and the dynamic, risk-taking USA have emerged out of the credit crunch: the latter, a bloodied and bleeding invalid with trillions of dollars of debt and a healthcare sytem in dire need of repair; the former, a booming manufacturing economy with one of the best healthcare systems in the world.

    Of course, some governments have attempted to use the phony capitalism of the past couple of decades to bribe voters and swell the state – just as individuals have used it to enrich themselves. But surely Germany is testimony to the fact that there is no big problem with the European social model when based on sound economic principles and a solid manufacturing base. If, on the other hand, it’s based on the kind of cowboy capitalism developed in America and slavishly followed by Britain, Ireland and others, then the state will clearly come a cropper – as will many of the financial institutions of that country. Attempting to blame it all on European healthcare and social security seems to me to be the workings of a deeply biased, one-sided mind.

  4. PeachPalfiumPantheon

    Requiem for a Scheme?
    No surprise Dalrymple chose that as a title. It is a pun on one of the most stridently anti-drugs books ever written. Opiates are shown to lead not to romancing of any kind but disease, incarceration and the destruction of the human spirit.

  5. Clinton

    Germany is in no way representative of the European social model, and anyway is only one country surrounded by many others indebted by overly generous social security systems that have made promises they cannot keep. This was the point of the article, and it is undeniable. Why else are they cutting benefits? Surely not because the French have suddenly converted to laissez faire.

    Make no mistake: America’s health care system is the best in the world (before the spiraling costs and declining quality that are on their way due to Obama’s reform, which by the way moves America’s system much closer to Europe’s).


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