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Steering in a world of uncertainty, complexity and chaos, part III

by Frank van Empel

What also works is the way Europe decides. A revolution in disguise. The EU is more than a federation of nation states or a steering system of regions, it is a grass root movement where development from the bottom up is stimulated. Regions where the grass doesn’t grow fast, get help. The European Union is one big money transfer body. A Giving Machine. Regions that get money from the EU (read: Germany, the Netherlands and other sponsors) spend it for two-third inside the EU[1], for a considerable part as investment for sake of a better future. Subsidies of the EU have bolstered the economies of Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece in the sixties and seventies of the 20th century. It was not wasted money. Quite the contrary. It was a gigantic impulse for the receivers of the money as well as for the suppliers, because a big part of the money came back in the form of business orders. That Keynesian multiplier effect was one of the greatest economic successes ever. Over the period 1960 to 2000 intra EU-trade has grown by an impressive 1.200 % in real terms (6,7% a year, corrected for inflation). The same trick will pull Eastern Europe out of the economic swamp and will help Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal to pay off recent debts.

The EU behaves like the parent of many children, trying to educate all of them as individuals and at the same time stimulate them with money and words on acting together. People from different regions and cities who work together, know each other and feel interdependent and emphatic towards one another form an alliance. Friends don’t fight. They help each other to do better.

Europe wants/needs to be a team of co-operating (regional) governments and individuals in order to move into the sustainable development direction and to maintain peace on the continent. From the website: ‘The EU actively promotes human rights and democracy and has the most ambitious emission reduction targets for fighting climate change in the world. Thanks to the abolition of border controls between EU countries, it is now possible for people goods and capital to travel freely within most of the EU. It has also become much easier to live and work in another EU country.’

In the end all changes can be traced back to persons. ‘Reacting to the world,’ philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend wrote in one of his last books, The Tyranny of Science, ‘is a personal (family, group) matter that cannot be replaced by even the most enchanting worldview.’[2] Reality is not systematically organized according to a worldview from someone up on the hill. A systematic worldview removes ideas from the ground that made them grow and arranges them in an artificial pattern. That’s not authentic, neither true.

With that conclusion we are back at the beginning. The circle is round. To quote Presence: ‘As complexity increases, the need for wisdom grows, even if our wisdom atrophies.’ According to Peter Senge c.s. we have two basic options. One is to somehow stop or limit the expansion of technology and its application through global economic growth. The other is to strengthen our fundamental response – to find ways that lead to increasing reliance on enhancing human development and wisdom.[3] The first option conflicts with human nature. People want to grow. And to grow they need more of this and more of that. If you put all the wishes and needs and expectations together, the conclusion is that option 1 is an illusion. Rests option number 2, to develop our selves and operate wisely.


[1] The internal market for goods is 66% of the total market, i.e. of every euro that European citizens spend for goods two-third goes to European deliverers. The service-sector is less integrated with a 57% share in total exports of services. (Data Sources: EU)

[2] Paul Feyerabend, The tyranny of science, Polity Press, Cambridge, England, 2011, p 12.

[3] Presence p 209.

1 Reactie

  1. avatar MDF schreef:

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