What happens when the great fantasies, like wind power or European Union, collide with reality?After discussing the recent report excoriating the inefficiency of Scottish windmills, Booker continues:
There's a pattern in the unravelling of make-believe projects, whether it's wind power or the euro, says Christopher Booker.
It might seem strange to link global warming and the futility of wind farms with the ongoing collapse of the euro. But in several directions at the moment we can see the unfolding of one of the hidden patterns shaping human affairs, which years ago I called "the fantasy cycle". It is a pattern that recurs in personal lives, in politics, in history -- and in storytelling.
When we embark on a course of action which is unconsciously driven by wishful thinking, all may seem to go well for a time, in what may be called the "dream stage". But because this make-believe can never be reconciled with reality, it leads to a "frustration stage" as things start to go wrong, prompting a more determined effort to keep the fantasy in being. As reality presses in, it leads to a "nightmare stage" as everything goes wrong, culminating in an "explosion into reality", when the fantasy finally falls apart.
Another, in its own way even greater fantasy has been the colossal project taking shape over the past 50 years to take away the power of the nations of Europe to govern themselves and to hand it over to a weirdly dysfunctional new system of government centred in Brussels. No single element in that project was more ambitious or seen as symbolically more crucial than the wish to integrate Europe’s economies around a single currency.Talk about tilting at windmills.
Back in the 1970s, when this was first talked of, Sir Donald McDougall, a senior Treasury official, was commissioned by Brussels to produce a report on "The Role of Public Finance in European Integration". He warned that economic and monetary union could only work if Europe was in effect given an economic government, with the power to dispose of between 25 per cent and 40 per cent of Europe’s GDP. This was because, as he foresaw, one of the core problems would be that if weaker countries were deprived of the power to set their own interest rates or to devalue, they would require a massive injection of resources from richer countries. Which, of course, is just what we now see being acted out in the desperate efforts to bail out Portugal, following in the wake of Greece and Ireland -- with Spain, bigger than all three put together, possibly to follow.
As McDougall and many after him warned, the single currency could only work on conditions which the builders of a united Europe blithely chose to ignore, in pursuit of their make-believe. As a result, its collision with reality is now coming about, threatening a disintegration of the eurozone that could tug much of the European dream after it.
(via Maggie's Farm)