Skip to comments.“Monnet’s Ghost” (The EU and the tyranny of technocracy)
Posted on 06/09/2012 3:11:29 PM PDT by Olog-hai
One of the EUs main architects, Jean Monnet, a French diplomat and economist, spent much of World War II in Washington, DC, as a negotiator for the European allies. After Germanys defeat, he was convinced that only a united Europe could prevent another devastating war in the West. There will be no peace in Europe, he wrote in his memoir, if states are reconstituted on the basis of national sovereignty.
Almost everyone on the European continent, exhausted by war, and faced with the shattered institutions of their ravaged nation-states, agreed. Only the victorious British, with their old institutions more or less intact, voiced skepticism, not so much about continental unity as about their own participation in Europes ambitious project.
Monnet was a born technocrat, who hated political conflict and almost made a fetish of unity. (In 1940, when Hitler seemed indomitable, Monnet suggested to Winston Churchill that France and Britain might be rolled into one country.)
The post-1945 ideal of a united Europe was very much a planners archetype, a technocratic Utopia. And, certainly for Monnet and the other founders of postwar Europe, it was an entirely benign, even noble, ideal.
The problem with technocrats, however, is that they tend to be oblivious to the political consequences of their own plans. They proceed as if politics did not exist or did not really matter.
Technocracy, it seems, can work well as long as most people feel that they are benefiting materially, as was true in Europe for almost 50 years, and might still be true in China. But its legitimacy cracks as soon as a crisis erupts. Europe is feeling the consequences today. Who knows what might happen in China tomorrow.
(Excerpt) Read more at project-syndicate.org ...