Tuesday, June 09, 2009

El origen del Estado de Bienestar Europeo

No fue por razones ideológicas como muchos piensan:

"During the long boom period, 1945-73, there was high sustained economic growth, particularly in France, Germany, and Italy, which were then the economic motors of Western Europe. Over those years, practices developed of essentially bribing the workers. This had a clear political background. The European right was politically discredited by its association with fascism (except for in Britain, which hadn’t had collaboration). The left, and particularly the far left, was discredited because of its association with communism. In country after country, there was a leftward move, an alliance between Christian Democratic parties, with the emphasis on democracy and Christianity and a social welfare model, rather than the traditional pro-business conservative policies of the American Republicans of the 1950s-60s, let alone the blood-and-soil rightwing fascism of the type of many interwar political parties.
These parties established pro-labor social welfare policies in an effort to woo organized labor away from the left, and in particular away from communism. This was also the nature of the social welfarism that the Catholic Church strongly pushed in the 1950s-60s in Christian Democratic parties. Christian Democrats dominated Italy in what was in effect a one-party state in that period; they were extraordinarily influential in Germany, the Benelux countries, and France.
A series of social models were established in which, in effect, the real cost of providing high levels of social welfare was ignored precisely because this was a period of general economic growth. Moving cheap labor from the countryside to the towns, catch-up borrowing of American industrial technology, the ready availability of investment capital, partly from America—all helped to ensure cheap energy prices and major economic growth.

This model came to a grinding halt in the 1970s, a decade of real crisis in Europe. There was political crisis—the revolution in Portugal, instability in Greece, major problems in the transfer of authority in Spain culminating in an attempted coup d’etat in 1981—and also serious social and economic problems, both east and west of the Iron Curtain. Because the communist states, which were relatively inefficient as well as brutal, had nevertheless also benefited from the long boom. But neither the Eastern nor Western European model worked well in the 1970s. The result was a decade of high levels of social problems, economic difficulties, and political instability.

The 1970s also saw, partly as a result, an unwillingness within Europe to confront the international situation. Americans complained in particular about a dramatic under-investment by the Europeans in their defense, their reliance on the American Cold War umbrella, and a lack of certainty of where they were politically."

El origen del Estado de Bienestar Europeo puede entonces entenderse como un subproducto de situaciones de la guerra fría donde las elites europeas venían una enorme amenaza del comunismo y a la vez podrían darse el lujo, gracias al dinero y "protección " de los gringos, de no tener que invertir tanto en defensa preventiva contra la Unión Sovietica.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Curiosidades de la democracia

1.Mientras en Estados Unidos la crisis económica parece haber contribuido al triunfo de la centro-izquierda, en Europa parece estar contribuyendo a la derecha, incluso la extrema.

2. Dice la revista Semana: "Tanto Lucho Garzón como Gustavo Petro y Carlos Gaviria gozan de mayor popularidad en los estratos 5 y 6, que entre el resto de la población. En cambio, el que sí gusta en los estratos 1 y 2 es el ex ministro de Defensa Juan Manuel Santos, donde alcanza el 64 por ciento de imagen favorable. "