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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Martin Schulz Discovers Private Enterprise!

"What Greece needs is growth, and employment. It is suffering from lack of investment, like other crisis countries. We have to attract private investments, this is a question of trust. If investors don't trust in the reliability of a country and in the sustainability of the economic development, they don't invest."

Hear, hear, this is Martin Schulz speaking to the HuffingtonPost! Incidentally, the HuffingtonPost titles Schulz as "President of the European Union". The last time I checked he was President of the European Parliament and, according to Wikipedia, there is no such position as "President of the European Union".

This is a wonderfully political interview! Of course Schulz was never in favor of the Troika. But: "The Troika was decided; now we have to live with it".

Schulz admits that he makes a daily appeal not only to his colleagues but also to himself, as Pope Francis recently suggested, that citizens should not be treated like 'economic instruments' and 'cogs in a machine'.  In an obious attack of self-doubt, Schulz asks “We are asking sacrifices from parents, for billions and billions and for what?" And without so much as blinking an eye he has the answer ready for his own question: "For saving banks. And their children are unemployed".

Schulz outs himself as an admirer of SYIRZA. They have transformed themselves from a protest group to a party that has "really tried to develop a program, which is not my program, but they tried to become more serious", says Schulz. His admiration for SYRIZA has limits, though. He considers them 'fundamentally negative' and he knows for sure that SYRIZA will not win an absolute majority at the next election, whenever it will be. Schulz knows exactly what SYRIZA needs for success, namely: a seminar in "How to make compromises".

I return to the introductory quote and emphasize the one sentence which really caught my eye: "We have to attract private investments". It is the word 'private' which surprised me. With billions, and even trillions, of public money being set in motion these days, one tends to forget that it is private enterprise and private initiative which are the cradle of economic value creation. Or to quote Winston Churchill: "Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon".

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