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Science, state socialism and the euro – it is usually easier to change the people than to change their minds

broken-eu Popper talks about what scientists should do, which is to abandon or modify their theories in the light of conflicting evidence.  Kuhn talks about what they do do, which is to keep the existing paradigm as long as they can because their promotion prospects and the respect of their peers are often bound up in it.  The new theory often comes in only when they retire and younger, more independent minded people take their place.

Margaret Thatcher faced bitter and entrenched hostility from those on the Tory left because they had spent their political lives on the basis that their purpose was to manage decline and concede just enough socialism to buy off revolution.  They hated her for replacing their paradigm by one that stressed enterprise and opportunity, and showing that their political capital had been wasted.

The euro has visibly failed, but those who spent 15 years of their political lives setting it up and maintaining it will not let it go.  That would be to admit failure, and they have too much political capital invested in it to abandon the failed paradigm.  They would rather see Europe face decades of recession, sluggish economies and astronomical unemployment than give up what they have committed their lives to.

Enthusiastic pro-Europeans in the UK have committed their lives and their future to ever closer political union.  They see nation states as an anachronism, a brake on their clean vision of a smoother world.  The Europe they dreamed about is long gone, and they refuse to look at the reality of what the EU is now.  The EU which the UK joined, and the one it wished Europe to become, is also gone, replaced by a bureaucratic and undemocratic organization in which the wishes of its peoples have to be at best circumvented, and at worst overridden.  Fortunately the younger people who have taken their places do not view the paradigm through the same rose-tinted spectacles.  The mounting evidence suggests we are at one of those points where the old paradigm is replaced by a new one that better fits the evidence.  The old guard will fight to justify their past, but they will lose.

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4 Responses

  1. Dear Dr Pirie

    An acute observation – history repeats itself. One hopes that those currently in power do not abuse it to the extent of engaging in a selfish orgy of destruction to attempt to deny the new realists their chance to develop in a better direction.

    I hope my prediction of war by 2018 is wrong (and not just about the date!).

    DP

  2. Australia……..the land of free thinking people, real opportunity and wealth. Our politicians of all persuasions should turn their magnifying glasses on Australia and learn lessons. We are losing the plot and very rapidly.

  3. Dear Dr Pirie

    What hope the average man when we see this from our unaverage men?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/10067402/Economic-case-to-stay-in-EU-is-overwhelming-say-business-leaders.html

    The case is overwhelming for big business. It helps keep the competition out. Competition is little business to begin with.

    I don’t know who ‘Sirs’ Roger Carr and Martin Sorrell are, but I am sure Sir Richard Branson knows exactly what is good for Sir Richard Branson – big government looking after big business while dipping into the taxpayers’ pockets to fund the same, and you can’t get bigger government than the EU.

    The real growth areas are, and always will be, the less developed economies. All mature businesses tend to favour government sponsorship, with its ready access to the taxpayers’ pockets, because that saves the mature businesses the problem of adding value to their customers. Government doesn’t have the problem of ‘value added’ since they are in the business of ‘value subtracted’ and mature businesses are quite happy for government to fund their continued existence long after they have given up the idea of ‘value added’. The ultimate ‘government aid’ is nationalisation.

    DP

  4. Good point about suppression of competition.

    What does Dr Pirie say about the Tory enthusiasm for subsidisiation of the Square Mile?

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