Category Archives: EU

EU Government Is A Monopoly, Not Google

Business, Capitalism, Economy, EU, Europe

The economic sluggards of Europe don’t much like competition; it’s too much like hard work. Competition means that a business has to please the only real boss: a picky customer with many options. Google has raised the ire of the European competition and its proxy, the European Parliament, which “overwhelmingly backed a motion urging antitrust regulators to break up Google.”

“Google’s dominance,” writes Jörg Brunsmann for DW, “didn’t arise from the company employing unfair measures to push its competitors out of the market. It’s become a market leader because of its innovation.”

Put more precisely: Google has arrived at its market share by pleasing search-engine users.

I was part of a worthy group of Austrian economists who published “The Microsoft Corporation In Collision With Antitrust Law,” in The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies (Winter 2001, Vol. 26, No. 1.). In section (4) for which I was responsible (“Economic Freedom, Monopoly and the Government,”), I wrote:

Antitrust legislation considers a large market share or a concentration in the market to signify both monopoly and predatory practices on the part of a company. As such, the antitrust chimera is based on discredited theories about competition. Relying as it does on a model of ideal or perfect rather than rivalrous competition, the legislation aims at a market neatly carved among competitors (32).

The principle applies to Google.

In Austrian economics, moreover, a large market share does not a monopoly make. “The only true monopolies are government monopolies. A company is a monopoly only when it can forcibly prohibit competitors from entering the market, a feat only ever made possible by state edict. In a truly free market, competition makes monopoly impossible.” (From “Media Concentration Is Not A Threat to Free Expression, Government Is.”)

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British Libertarian Vows To Unite Behind UKIP

Britain, Elections, EU, Europe

In an interview with the German weekly Junge Freiheit, I ventured that,”Step one in reclaiming [European] national and individual sovereignty (the ultimate goal) is secession from the European union. Judging from their voting patterns, Europeans seem to grasp that adding an overarching tier of tyrants—the EU—to their national governments has benefited them as a second hangman enhances the health of a condemned man.”

Of course, there is something fundamentally perverse about the idea of the British partaking in “European elections.” Come to think of it, the notion that each ostensibly sovereign European country belongs to this overarching suprastate and must obey it is equally abhorrent.

My comment about “voting patterns” has, nevertheless, been borne out.

“The overall result,” writes Sean Gabb of The Libertarian Alliance, “is a big increase in numbers for parties which are hostile to the EU goal of ‘ever closer union,’ and even to the existence of the EU in its present form or in any form at all. In Holland, the Party for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders, came second. In France, the National Front, led by Marine le Pen, came first. The Danish People’s Party also came first, as did the Flemish separatist party in Belgium. In Hungary, the conservative party, Fidesz, came first, followed by Jobbik, which is describes as a national socialist party. In Greece, the leftists party Syriza (Euro-sceptic) came first, and the nationalist party Golden Dawn came third. In Finland and in Austria, Euro-sceptic parties did well, as they also did in Germany.”

Commentators and politicians are suspended between a rock and a hard-place, to use that cliche of in-betweeness. Do they diss the voter or do they revise their rejected positions? Some have just settled for the well-worn battle cry of “racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, bigotry.”

Back to Gabb: “The big winner of the [British] elections was the UK Independence Party, led by Nigel Farage.”

UKIP topped the poll, winning 27.5 per cent of the vote. The Conservatives, who are currently in a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, came third—though this is largely because of a strong Labour performance in London, where native British are now a minority.[ Labour doubles its MEPs in London, BBC, May 28, 2014]. Significantly, the Liberal Democrats, the most pro-European of the main parties, were almost wiped out, losing all but one of their seats in the European Parliament.

UKIP must now be regarded as one of Britain’s major parties. This a huge achievement—and a useful reminder to depressed American patriots that new parties can succeed.

UKIP’s key policies: to leave the European Union, to end mass immigration, and to strip Political Correctness out of law and administration. … Whatever some people may think of UKIP, it is our best hope for pulling down the current order of things. I with enthusiasm, others with reluctance, have a duty to unite behind it. …


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Statists Collude In Sundering Honourable Swiss Tradition

Business, Economy, English, EU, Europe, Law, Taxation, The State

If the law applied equally to the state and not only to its subjects, the colluding governments—a cartel, really—participating in the concerted action against Switzerland would be prosecuted under anti-trust laws, for the creation of a global tax monopoly.

In 2010, it was reported that the US was putting pressure on Switzerland to end that country’s venerated tradition of “helping private property owners shield their assets against legalized theft (taxation).” Uncle Sam was meddling in the financial sector of an ostensibly sovereign state, siccing its legal footsoldiers on UBS AG, a Zurich and Basel-based financial establishment (and its American clients), because of tax evasion.

When they are not bailing out failed financial institutions, our statists are bankrupting viable ones.

Fast forward to 2014, and it transpires that the statists have succeeded—and not only semantically: banking privacy is now referred to as “tax secrecy.”

No secrets should be kept from The State.

At a ministerial meeting in Paris on Tuesday, Switzerland agreed to sign up to a new global standard on automatic information exchange, representing a decisive break with its centuries-old commitment to protecting the privacy of banking clients.
The move is a big step forward for governments that have mounted a concerted attack on evasion in the wake of the global financial crisis and a series of tax scandals.
Swiss co-operation is pivotal to the struggle to prise open taxpayers’ hidden accounts because of its long tradition of bank secrecy and its dominant wealth management sector, which has $2.2tn of offshore assets.
The declaration, which was signed at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, requires countries to collect and exchange information on bank accounts and the beneficial ownership of companies and other legal structures such as trusts. …

“European governments expect billions of euros to be repatriated as a result of the evasion crackdown.” “Repatriate” is yet another bit of semantic casuistry intended to whitewash these governments’ global property grab.


Back to the post’s opening salvo: Sadly, even if a fair adjudicator were able to prosecute the colluding cartel on the grounds stated—the taxpayers would end up paying for the crimes.

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Not Every European Yearns For Fascists To Breathe Free

EU, Foreign Policy, Multiculturalism, Neoconservatism, Russia, The West

The American claim on diversity–does it extend to diverse opinion? Or, on Ukraine, must everyone march in lockstep with John McMussolini and our media mavens?

A Barely A Blog Jewish reader, who resides in Europe and has seen her share of European violence, holds strong opinions about the Ukraine.

She informs me that the missive below was meant to be hyperbolic and a little satirical. Nevertheless, I hope that diversity lovers will apprecaite her fear as they do the pain of the fascists frolicking across the Ukraine. (The opinions published are not my own.)

Writes anon from Europe:

The best thing for Ukraine and Putin is that Putin should order his troops to take over the Crimea and the eastern part of the Ukraine. Why should the west have the burden of financing the Ukraine whose people have not the faintest idea of democracy?

They think that killing each other in Kiev and causing a bloody revolution will solve their financial and economic ills. No, it is only the Russian, Putin, who can bring order back into this unpleasant country, peopled with most radical racist population whose record of murder of millions of Jews and homosexuals has been well documented throughout their recent history.

Putin is the only one who is thinking straight. His Russians in both the Crimea and the Eastern part of the Ukraine do have to be protected, his border borders on that of Ukraine, and the smartest move would be for Putin to go in and take over this failed country.

Then the people of this failed country will again have some sort of economic stability, receive oil through the pipeline from the Russian oil wells, and the illusion that the European Union will save the catastrophic financial debacle that is the economy of Ukraine will be put to rest.

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Presstitute-Cultivated Ignorance On Ukraine

Democracy, EU, Foreign Policy, History, John McCain, Neoconservatism, Russia

“Presstitute-Cultivated Ignorance On Ukraine” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

When it comes to President Vladimir Putin, who enjoys an approval rate of 65 percent among Russians, the motto of the menagerie of morons that is the American media is ignorance über alles.

The energetic and reflexive demonization of a Russian leader—unparalleled during communism—against the backdrop of the Sochi Olympic Games and the conflagration in the Ukraine, is the handiwork of a conga-line of cretins, stateside, whose bombast comports with the boorishness of their pronouncements.

The “Shangri-La of Socratic disinterest,” one wag’s delicious description of broadcaster Bill O’Reilly, is not delimited by ideology. Instead, “wanton Putin bashing,” as scholar of Russian history Stephen Cohen attests, is the order of the day at the New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, The New Republic; CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, on and on.

As to “traditional journalistic standards”: In the service of their anti-Putin monomania, the US Pussy Riot press and its approved phalanx of “experts” routinely omit “facts and context,” conflate “reporting with analysis,” and court conformity and unanimity at the cost of veracity and impartiality.

(Revered in the US, Pussy Riot is a punk rock Russian band of feminists, whose forté is breast-baring, defiling places of worship, punching the air while shrieking, “F-ck you Putin,” and participating in public-orgy protests and other criminal acts.)

The “Shangri-La of Socratic disinterest,” fortunately, is not a feature of the nuanced and informed analysis available on the John Batchelor Show, where the scholarly host and his guest, Professor Cohen, delve deeply into the region’s geopolitical dynamics.

Cohen, who tackled O’Reilly’s out-and-proud ignorance with aplomb, was slightly more flummoxed by that of MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. …

Read on. The complete column is “Presstitute-Cultivated Ignorance On Ukraine.”


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UPDATED: Lone Voice Of Reason On Ukraine (One More: Srdja Trifkovic)

Democracy, EU, Europe, Foreign Policy, Russia

The only impartial, scholarly analysis of the events in the Ukraine and their broader geopolitical implications is coming from historian of Russia, Professor Stephen Cohen. More about the conflagration in Ukraine in tonight’s WND column. For now, here’s Cohen in an interview on Democracy Now!

The last three days have been the bloodiest in Ukraine’s twenty-two-year post-Soviet history. In an interview with Democracy Now!, Nation contributing editor Stephen Cohen railed against the tepid response of western leaders to this eruption of violence. Warning that the chaos in Ukraine could spark a civil war—or even “a new Cold War divide”—he chastised the US and Germany for placing responsibility for solving this political crisis squarely in the hands of the Ukranian government. According to Cohen, President Obama and Chancellor Merkel’s implicit support for the anti-government protestors helps to “rationalize what the killers in the streets are doing. It gives them western license.”

UPDATE: Srdja Trifkovic on RT: “Ukrainian Protests Degenerate from Hooliganism to Terrorism”:

RT: In Ukraine there have been accusations of the use of live ammunition by both sides in the conflict. Protesters are well armed but it is unclear just where they’ve sourced their firearms from. They were also using grenades, fireworks and Molotov cocktails against law enforcers. Others threw rocks, wielded baseball bats and metal rods. Attempts were also made to ram trucks through police cordons. Let’s now get some analysis from Srdja Trifkovic, foreign-affairs editor for the Chronicles magazine. Mr. Trifkovic, we understand that the EU is talking about imposing sanctions on the authorities, or on those who are responsible for violence in Ukraine. Can we expect them to be fair? Can we expect them to single out who is behind the violence?

TRIFKOVIC: Absolutely not. We have witnessed brazen hypocrisy from the European Union ever since the beginning of this crisis. Let us just remember the list of various EU functionaries and ministers from its member-countries, such as Poland, Germany and Lithuania, who went to Ukraine in December to harangue the demonstrators in Kiev. What we are looking at, objectively, is that from the phase of demonstrations, early on, the protests had degenerated into hooliganism in mid-December, and into terrorism since January 19. Any talk of sanctions against Yanukovych or his ministers overlooks the fact that a major responsibility for the behavior of—and we can no longer use the term “demonstrators,” I would rather use the term “rebels,” because we are looking at a de facto armed rebellion—lies with Ukraine’s opposition politicians, and first and foremost with the neo-Nazi party Svoboda which has been recruiting young men of a thuggish disposition in Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk and other places. It has effectively provided logistic support to the rebels in the Maidan Square.

RT: There’s no doubt that the EU is concerned about the events in Ukraine, because all this violence and bloodshed is happening in its backyard. Europe should react somehow, don’t you think?

TRIFKOVIC: Yes, and an even-handed reaction would have entailed not only pressure on Ukraine’s authorities, but also pressure on its opposition figures to call on the demonstrators to cease and desist—and that we haven’t witnessed so far. Quite the contrary, the pressure that Yanukovych finds himself under is due to all the concessions that he made in the last days of January—with Prime Minister Azarov’s resignation, with the withdrawal of the restrictive law on public assembly, and with the offer of amnesty. If you make unreciprocated gestures of a conciliatory nature, unfortunately it tends to be interpreted as a sign of weakness. Ukraine has crossed the threshold of toleration. For Yanukovych to continue to listen to the clarion calls from the West—and he has been called by Biden and by Kerry, and asked for restraint—would be self-defeating. All of these people are up to no good. They want regime change, they are interested in the geopolitical control over the key country in central-eastern Europe that links Russia with Europe’s heartland. They will not stop—as we know from Victoria Nuland’s talks with her ambassador in Kiev—by means foul and fair until that goal is achieved. Yanukovych should finally realize that dealing with the demonstrators and dealing with their political representatives is simply futile. The time has come to establish law and order and to calmly tell the West that they should start minding their own business. They have contributed to this crisis, they have aided and abetted—both propagandistically and logistically—the rebellion, which is the true stage we have, and they should now make amends for that.

RT: Srdja Trifkovic, Foreign Affairs Editor for the Chronicles magazine, thank you very much for your time and for sharing your views with us.

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