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Douglas Carswell's Blog

26 NOV 2012

Germany, Europe and the digital revolution

I started the week on Andrew Marr's Start the Week. The only chap on the panel, I think I was the only non-German, too.

Listening to the wonderful Gisela Stuart, the Oxford don Karen Leeder and EU commentator Katinka Barysch talking about changing German attitudes towards Europe was fascinating.  And encouraging.

Asked about my new book, I suggested that the digital revolution dooms the gigantism on which the European Union has been built.

The EU is only rational if you hold a set of "Big is Beautiful" assumptions about geopolitics, economics and government. The digital revolution is turning such assumptions on their head.

Until now, I suggested, we have tended to defer to various elites to decide things. Only they – based in national capitals or, increasingly in Brussels - had access to the information and expertise to make the right decisions.  Or so we were told.

The trouble is that the elite, being for the most part intelligent and rational people, tend to overestimate their ability to arrange human social and economic affairs rationally. The designers tend to have too much confidence in their ability to do things by design.

For Europe, the consequences of trying to arrange the social and economic affairs of millions of Europeans by grand design have been catastrophic.  It is not just the Euro.  Europe's economy is stagnating, public policy sclerotic.

My suggestion that the elite – who I defined as "politicians, broadcasters, academics and experts" – were pretty hopeless at arranging human affairs was met with a pinch of scepticism by the panel. Which consisted of a politician, broadcaster, academic and expert.

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