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A new war of religion
Presseurop ^ | 7 September 2012 | Massimo Franco

Posted on 09/09/2012 12:25:22 PM PDT by Alex Murphy

Perhaps you don’t know it: in northern Europe many people think that the "spread", the difference between the interest rate for the soverign debt of his own "virtuous" country and the rate for those countries in a sorry state to the south, is the fruit of a Catholic sin. In German the word “Schuld”, for debt, also means ‘fault’. This semantic nuance reflects profound cultural differences and helps to better understand the distrust – or prejudice – of some nations of northern Europe towards countries considered members of a blithe "Club Med".

The spread between Spanish and Italian bonds on the one hand and German bonds on the other leads in the end to assumptions of implied ethical superiority, far more discriminatory than the budgets of the states in question, throwing us back – indeed, one almost fears to say it – to values that intertwine culture and religion and injecting ancient poisons into the tired veins of Europe.

In fact, a taboo has been broken, bringing to the front of the stage ghosts of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, of European wars fought in the shadow of God. This aspect of the controversy has hardly been mentioned in recent months. Yet it crops up repeatedly, while the euro has begun to evoke not wealth and stability but unemployment, poverty and decline.

The anti-Italian and anti-Mediterranean rhetoric, and the rhetoric flying back against the Germans, unconsciously nourishes stereotypes that are both cultural and religious – stereotypes of ancient “truths" buried in the memory of the Old Continent that it would be best not to exhume, under penalty of wrecking the difficult compromise between the European nations that has kept the social and political peace for decades. The present uncertainty, however, is bringing those stereotypes to the surface in the minds of those pushing for new isolationisms in the illusory conviction that, alone, one can save oneself more assuredly than in a crowd.

“Fiscal sins”

It is this desire for solitude that is being entertained by certain circles in the part of Germany that declares itself Lutheran, and in countries with Protestant majorities such as the Netherlands, Finland and other Nordic countries – prompting Stephan Richter, director of The Globalist, a site that analyses global trends in the era of globalisation, to put forward the hypothesis that if the sixteenth-century German theologian Martin Luther could have been present at Maastricht in 1992 when the foundations of the monetary union were laid, he would have “nixed” the candidacy of the Mediterranean countries. Richter goes on to imagine that Luther would have declared that “no unreformed Catholic countries” that had not gone through the Protestant Reformation could enter the euro.

Richter is a Catholic commentator, and most importantly, he is German. According to his theory, “an excess of Catholicism has distorted the fiscal health of nations, even today in the twenty-first century." The current bitterness of northern Europe towards the "other Europe" thus lies in the failure to uphold the "law of Luther," the violation of which has brought about our ills. If, in contrast, his imaginary exhortations had been heard correctly, "the euro would be more cohesive, and the European economy in far less trouble."

In brief: to size up the capability of a nation to join the single currency, it is not its finances that have to be vetted, but its religious chromosomes – that would have been easier. The premise is very simple: the so-called Pigs, an acronym formed from the first letters of Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, which with the double ‘i’ in ‘Piigs’ also takes in Italy, are – apart from Greece, which is Greek Orthodox – all countries with a Roman Catholic majority.

The novelty is that this label has lately been taking on a significance that is not only economic, linked to a crisis of financial capitalism exported from the United States, but that is also tied to a judgement, to a definitive condemnation of a culture, a way of governing, and – again – of a religion. At the origin of the "fault" of indebted nations there would seem to lie those nations’ inability to emancipate themselves from Catholicism: a lifestyle that is more than a faith, that helped move on from the purchase of indulgences for the forgiveness of sins to an excessive tolerance when it comes to “fiscal sins".

Currently the controversy is driving some economists, mainly Spaniards, to trace the origins of capitalism in order to refute its Protestant backgrounds and advance, in contrast, the dynamism of capitalism in Catholic Spain precisely at the time of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

The geo-religion of “bond spread”

The backwards-looking tussle over the noble birth of capitalism in one or the other churches, however, merely confirms the ambiguity of an operation that could well herald a rupture, and not a reconciliation, in Europe. For the average German, rolling out the European Financial Stability Fund for erring states would be an unacceptable concession to the “culture of sin" and of the omnipresent debt in a Catholic Europe considered incorrigible.

Without taking this background into account, it is difficult to grasp the apparent failure to communicate among the European ruling classes, and the attempt of some political and economic circles to make use of it for their own purposes.

It seems that, caught up in the train of the crisis on the financial markets, there is an attempt afoot to stir up a conflict between Catholics and Lutherans using the controversy over aid as a casus belli. For some, the conflict can be explained by a shift of the European Union axis towards the north and the east – and so, following the enlargement of the Union, by the growing influence of the Protestant nations. It is no coincidence that today we say that Finland is at the heart of the European Union, while Italy is at the periphery. This is one of many consequences of the end of the Cold War.

Following a European community that forged its unity along a central-southern axis of Germany, France and Italy, there is now a community that the German nation has established hegemony over and that at times seems to be cultivating the revenge of the Protestant traditions and of the East against the German Catholics and their enthusiasm for Europe. Chancellor Angela Merkel comes from East Germany and is the daughter of a Protestant pastor, while the new President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, is himself a former Lutheran pastor.

In its Lutheran version, though, the geo-religion of "bond spread" has been forced up against some political and geographical realities. If debt is also a sin to be atoned for, a sin whose absolution can rightly no longer be bought, excommunications and the so-called geo-economic and geo-religious supremacy threaten to re-awake demons that may well set Europe back – not a few years, but decades: to the darkest decades of the past century.


TOPICS: Catholic; History; Mainline Protestant; Religion & Politics
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Perhaps you don’t know it: in northern Europe many people think that the "spread", the difference between the interest rate for the soverign debt of his own "virtuous" country and the rate for those countries in a sorry state to the south, is the fruit of a Catholic sin....The spread between Spanish and Italian bonds on the one hand and German bonds on the other leads in the end to assumptions of implied ethical superiority, far more discriminatory than the budgets of the states in question, throwing us back – indeed, one almost fears to say it – to values that intertwine culture and religion and injecting ancient poisons into the tired veins of Europe....

....It is this desire for solitude...prompting Stephan Richter, director of The Globalist, a site that analyses global trends in the era of globalisation, to put forward the hypothesis that if the sixteenth-century German theologian Martin Luther could have been present at Maastricht in 1992 when the foundations of the monetary union were laid, he would have “nixed” the candidacy of the Mediterranean countries. Richter goes on to imagine that Luther would have declared that “no unreformed Catholic countries” that had not gone through the Protestant Reformation could enter the euro.

Richter is a Catholic commentator, and most importantly, he is German. According to his theory, “an excess of Catholicism has distorted the fiscal health of nations, even today in the twenty-first century." The current bitterness of northern Europe towards the "other Europe" thus lies in the failure to uphold the "law of Luther," the violation of which has brought about our ills. If, in contrast, his imaginary exhortations had been heard correctly, "the euro would be more cohesive, and the European economy in far less trouble."

In brief: to size up the capability of a nation to join the single currency, it is not its finances that have to be vetted, but its religious chromosomes – that would have been easier. The premise is very simple: the so-called Pigs, an acronym formed from the first letters of Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, which with the double ‘i’ in ‘Piigs’ also takes in Italy, are – apart from Greece, which is Greek Orthodox – all countries with a Roman Catholic majority....

....Currently the controversy is driving some economists, mainly Spaniards, to trace the origins of capitalism in order to refute its Protestant backgrounds and advance, in contrast, the dynamism of capitalism in Catholic Spain precisely at the time of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

1 posted on 09/09/2012 12:25:24 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

Got it. Forever and a day.

And I stick to what my granddad told me.

The EU. They forced themselves into an uncomfortable bed.

Now, at least, but becoming forthright, they will blame the muzzies.

They ain’t gonna take much more.

Like us. The United States. Given the choice to obey.

Or be free.

Not much of a choice.


2 posted on 09/09/2012 12:36:26 PM PDT by bigheadfred
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To: Alex Murphy

The old protestant work ethic thing, pulled out of the dumpster, brushed off and repainted. Never gets old.


3 posted on 09/09/2012 1:02:29 PM PDT by STJPII
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To: Alex Murphy

I’m not quite as versed in history as the author so I’ll have to give my condensed version.
It appears the ants are being asked to save the grasshoppers and the ants aren’t happy about it.


4 posted on 09/09/2012 2:47:16 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Alex Murphy

Austria is predominantly Catholic, as is Poland. These countries are plenty industrious. Greece is not predominantly Catholic. Iceland is not Catholic, but her debt problem was quite serious (admittedly, they are taking serious steps).

I think these prognosticators ought to take more factors into consideration before assigning a spread.


5 posted on 09/09/2012 2:59:19 PM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("I have a new zest for life!"--Calvin from Las Vegas)
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To: count-your-change
It appears the ants are being asked to save the grasshoppers and the ants aren’t happy about it.



6 posted on 09/09/2012 3:22:25 PM PDT by Tuanedge
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To: Alex Murphy
In German the word “Schuld”, for debt, also means ‘fault’.

Blew it and failed right there. The German word for debt is "Schulden" not "Schuld" other than in some compound nouns. No native speaker would equate the two terms in the sense the author implies.

7 posted on 09/09/2012 3:47:18 PM PDT by Moltke ("I am Dr. Sonderborg," he said, "and I don't want any nonsense.")
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To: count-your-change
"It appears the ants are being asked to save the grasshoppers and the ants aren’t happy about it."

Those poor little ants worked awfully hard to make those evil grasshoppers part of their kingdom in order to ensure that they wouldn't become the low cost producers on the Continent and threaten the socialist paradises in Northern Europe. They lived quite well on the low cost labor in Southern Europe for decades while passing out ever more "free" goodies to their fellow ants.

Once they taught the grasshoppers to be just like them they brought in immigrants to replace those Southern Europeans they had depended on. And now someone thinks it's all the fault of the grasshoppers rather than the socialist garbage that's ruled Northern Europe for seventy-five years?

Most Northern Europeans are anything but the industrious little ants they might once have been, that's for sure.

8 posted on 09/09/2012 3:56:18 PM PDT by Rashputin (Only Newt can defeat both the Fascist democrats and the Vichy GOP)
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To: Moltke

Oh, and never mind that whiny opening sentence, where this Italian author is channeling Jesse Jackson if you replace “Catholic” with “black”. Face it Massimo, YOUR country sucks. Now do something to fix it instead of blaming others for YOUR faults! Your religion/race card has no value.


9 posted on 09/09/2012 4:03:30 PM PDT by Moltke ("I am Dr. Sonderborg," he said, "and I don't want any nonsense.")
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To: Rashputin

I would ask what you think accounts for the financial problems Greece is having now? War? Over taxation? Lack of taxation? Too much sun? What?


10 posted on 09/09/2012 7:22:15 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change

Easy credit and membership in the EU coupled with the chronic Greed disease of equating past glory with entitlement.


11 posted on 09/09/2012 7:30:34 PM PDT by Rashputin (Only Newt can defeat both the Fascist democrats and the Vichy GOP)
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To: Rashputin

Then it’s little wonder tha countries like Germany might not want to loan more money.


12 posted on 09/09/2012 7:36:59 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change
I don't think the German people ever wanted to lend money in the first place.
Their leaders were dedicated to keeping the status quo in place once the EU was established and knew what that entailed even though they didn't make that clear to the public. Once Greece and a few other countries figured out just which part of the German anatomy they had their hands on they saw no reason to not to take every penny the EU moron farm would let them have for whatever lame brained reason they could come up with.
13 posted on 09/09/2012 8:46:15 PM PDT by Rashputin (Only Newt can defeat both the Fascist democrats and the Vichy GOP)
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To: Alex Murphy; PJBankard; CHRISTIAN DIARIST; scottjewell; ebb tide; Sirius Lee; lilycicero; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.


14 posted on 09/09/2012 9:15:13 PM PDT by narses
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To: Rashputin

Maybe Germany can run the country for a while like emergency managers for cities in the U.S.


15 posted on 09/09/2012 9:48:44 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change
Hmmm, emergency managers. Reminds me of the old adage:

Heaven is where the police are British, the chefs Italian, the mechanics German, the lovers French and it is all organized by the Swiss.

Hell is where the police are German, the chefs British, the mechanics French, the lovers Swiss and it is all organized by Italians.

Germany running the entire EU for a while wouldn't be such a bad idea other than the fact that the Germans running the EU is exactly what most of the other members fear.

16 posted on 09/09/2012 10:12:34 PM PDT by Rashputin (Only Newt can defeat both the Fascist democrats and the Vichy GOP)
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To: Alex Murphy
that's pretty silly considering that the big industrial heartland of Germany is in Catholic majority Bavaria with a huge Catholic minority in Saarland etc. And, the ailing parts of Germany are in "historically" Lutheran parts (to be fair, these are now heavily non-religious, so one cannot call them Lutheran in all but the historical sense)and it forgets the economic problems that historically Lutheran (again in the same sense due to heavy secularisation) Iceland and Finland had, while Catholic Belgium is doing pretty well as well.

Spain was outside the Marshal plan when it came to redevelopment and spent years in isolation, then got a big influence of EC money -- to their credit they didn't get as tax-fraud like as the Greeks did, but then the Greeks had a communist problem until the 70s and then got a lot of free money.

Free money with no strings is the root cause of Greece and Spain's problem.

Italy's problems are more complex -- the north is productive, the south is not.

Ireland's problem was that it took on bank debt, not letting them fail like the Icelanders did (well the Irish couldn't do that, the British and others wouldn't let them)

Portugal's problem is different -- they haven't industrialized to any great sense.

17 posted on 09/10/2012 1:04:58 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Moltke

good catch. Who is this author then?


18 posted on 09/10/2012 1:10:10 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Rashputin; count-your-change
Easy credit and membership in the EU coupled with the chronic Greek disease of equating past glory with entitlement.

well, the Greeks have done that in the past (read Tom Holland's Perso-Greek wars. The Persians couldn't understand them. But as a side-note the Greeks did conquer the greatest empire (40% of the world's population) just 200 years later.... and captive Greece captured the Roman empire)

19 posted on 09/10/2012 1:13:04 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Rashputin; count-your-change
The German people did want to lend the money initially -- war guilt and also the idea that they were actually helping.

NOTE: in many countries EU money was used wisely -- in Spain the infrastructure is superb, helping it dig itself out when it does. The Spain industry is not bad, but people are still shaking themselves off socialism.

But free money leads itself to a bad disease of getting used to it and thinking one is entitled to it.

That's not only the problem in these countries but also to welfare dependents in NZ, Aus, the UK, US etc.

The Germans running Greece, cyc? That's crazy talk. While i agree with you that it would be good, can you imagine the shouts of Nazis etc.? The Germans are p*sd off that when they wanted to help the Greeks they got accusations of not having paid back stolen Greek gold

The problem is that Greece should never have been added to the Eurozone (it was fine in the EU), ditto for Portugal. Ireland and Spain qualified easily and Italy with difficulty. Italy HAD to be in the eurozone as the third largest economy in mainland europe.

The Greeks quite frankly lied, with the help of GOldman Sachs if I'm not mistaken.

20 posted on 09/10/2012 1:18:53 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: STJPII
Yes, the problem is that it is pretty much a myth, made up by the English during Victorian times.

Let me explain why:

  1. The places considered as the sources of this industriousness were the Netherlands primarily and secondarily parts of England. YET, the Netherlands region (present day Netherlands + Belgium) were industrious right from the 11th century - BRugges etc. were centres of industry as was Genoa and Pisa and Venice.

  2. Remember also that the Netherlands was also very Catholic (modern day Belgium split away in 1830)

  3. The places in which the industrial revolution really took off in the late 1700s to the 1800s was in the triangle of London-Paris-Amsterdam. This was Anglican, Catholic, Calvinist in population

    so, hence it was not religious but more regional

  4. Next, the capitalist institutions that kicked off this work ethic, like banking etc. were started and in many cases perfected BEFORE the reformation -- in places like the Italian city states

  5. Delacroix points out that Amsterdam's wealth was centered on Catholic families; the economically advanced German Rhineland is more Catholic than non-Catholic; all-Catholic Belgium was the second country to industrialize, ahead of a good half-dozen non-Catholic entities.'"

  6. The same author also compares the level of economic development across various Anglican, Calvinist, Lutheran, Catholic countries and finds no evidence that one group outperforms another

    The reason for this myth in America is that many see countries as monolithically one religion, which is not correct:

    • Germany is 40% or more Catholic and the major industrial zones are in the southern, Catholic areas -- like Bavaria (BMW, Adidas, Puma) or Swabia or in the Rhineland.
    • Belgium as we see above is mainly Catholic, and has the same or better growth levels than non-Catholic countries
    • Switzerland is 30% Catholic

  7. The myth starts with the Puritans who being primarily city folk didn't choose good lands to farm in in the US, and also brought in old world crops that required more work yet brought in less bounty. They then HAD to work hard to survive. The Puritans also then started up the entire Prosperity Gospel that doing well must be a sign of God’s favor, perhaps even a sign that the successful person had received salvation through God’s grace!

  8. Then of course in the late 1800s, Irish and Italian immigrants came who were poorer and the myth really got under way!

you can see more details in post 523, the second map

39 posted on 08/22/2011 7:26:54 PM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Cincinna
common historical mis-statement by some posters is whether scientific breakthrough was purely or even lead by "Protestant nations"
Let's set the historical background first -- Europe in 1500. Population estimates taken from Internet Medieval Source book

Country

Population (millions)

Position as a nation-state

British Isles

3

Until the end of the 100 years wars, it seemed that England and France would merge under one king.  When the English lost and were thrown out of Western France, that led to the consolidation of both England and France as nation-states with language unity.

However, Scotland still was independent and the Welsh chaffed under English rule.

Ireland is reduced to warring clans.

France & low countries

12

See above.  France emerges as the strongest nation-state, but is really an empire with the northern, “French-speaking” population around Paris ruling over the southern l’Oil areas.  The French had recently destroyed and conquered the Duchy of Burgundy

 

The low countries (Belgium, Netherlands) are part of Spain and remain so until 1600.  These were once the capitals of the Holy Roman Empire (Bruges was once a center of trade) and hence have a larger population, more trade and commerce.  

Belgium is part of Holland until 1830 even though it is completely Catholic.  In 1830 it fights and gets independence.

Germany & Scandanavia

7.3

No sense of nation-state until Napoleon and even then as nation-states like Hesse, Bavaria, etc. not as Germany (that only happens post WWI and more especially post WWII when Germans from Eastern Europe who have lived in EE for centuries are thrown out to Germany)

Scandanavia has a stronger sense of nation-states, but the Swedes are in union with the Geats (Goths) and the Norwegians and Danes are in a union.  

The strongest nation-state is Denmark. 

Sweden is close but will not develop it until the 1600s.  

Norway is still tribal as is Iceland and Finland

Switzerland is still part of the Holy Roman Empire and has no sense of a nation-state but is a loose confederation that have nothing in common except that they band together against common enemies.  This will remain the state of Switzerland until Napoleon conquers Switzerland and creates the Helvetic Confederation (and then adds it to France!).  Post Napoleon, there is consolidation, but Switzerland still has a large civil war and only gets some semblance of a nation state in the late 1800s

Italy

7.3

No sense of nation-state, but strong city-states.  This is the most advanced “nation” in Western Europe, with an advanced financial system, manufacturing, strong in agriculture etc.  Only it does not have a central government, which puts it in a bad position compared to France and Spain who interfere in the city-states.

Italy is not united until Garibaldi in the late 1800s.

Spain/Portugal

7

Strong nation-states formed in opposition to the Moors.  Not very advanced economically as this is still very agricultural.  However, it is tied to the economically stronger Arab world and with the discovery of gold in the Americas, it will be the most powerful state for the 1500s -1680s until the rise of Louis XIV France

Greece/Balkans

4.5

Under Ottoman rule, strong sense of nation-state, but no self-rule.  

Highly advanced economies in Greece and Anatolia, arguably most advanced in all of Europe.  

Romania, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bulgaria arespan> devastated by the Ottomans with many fleeing to the mountains.  Agriculture, culture etc. severely decline.

They are hit on two sides – by the Turks militarily and, because the Turks have a “millet” system where people of one religion are grouped together and the millet for all of these is Orthodoxy, the Bulgarians, Romanians etc. are kept under Greek Phanariotes.  Hence their culture declines while Greek culture thrives.

Russia

6

Still expanding south and east, conquering the Emirates of Kazan etc. This is still a barbaric state and remains so until Peter the Great.  It has a sense of purpose, but it’s purpose is Christianity as they believe they are the last Christian state and have a holy duty to push back the Moslems.  Economic and scientific development is poor as the focus is on war and agriculture – life is too hard and land too vast to develop like Western Europe.

Poland/Lithuania

2

Consolidating nation-state, however, more based on a confederacy as there are 4 nations here: Poles, Lithuanians, Ruthenians (Ukrainians, Belarusians) and Jews.  This mixed with 4 different religions (Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Judaism and Islam (Lipka Tartars)) means a very tolerant state – tolerance levels of these are not reached by Western Europe until the late Victorian era.

Hungary

1.5

Strong nation state of the Magyars in Magyaristan (we English speakers give them an exonym of Hungary while they call themselves Magyar).  However, the Magyars (descendents of Finno-Ugaric warriors) are mostly ruling class and warriors, they import Saxons as merchants.  The native Romanians, Slovaks, etc are kept as serfs.  The state is one of war

Bohemia

1

Strong nation-state but at war with the Holy Roman Empire and Poland has given it a sense of insecurity.  It will eventually be absorbed by Austria-hungary.



The net effect is that before the reformation you essentially have only 5 viable "nation"-states. In orders of strenght of national identity:
  1. England
  2. Denmark
  3. France
  4. Spain
  5. Portugal
The financial positions of these countries do NOT change as part of the reformation. They remain more or less the same until the mid-1700s. In fact, the economic position of Germany declines due to the 30 years war and even worse, the Peace of Westphalia

1683, Battle of Vienna and 1701-1714 there is the War of Spanish succession -- THAT changes everything in Europe.. At the end of this, Spain and Portugal are in decline, France is the most powerful state and will remain so until 1812. the Ottoman Turks are in precipituous decline, Russia is expanding south and east rapidly and modernizing fast from an Asian monarchy to a more European-style feudal state. Germany gets consolidated into 4 majory states: Austria, Bavaria, Brandenburg-Prussia and Hesse-Hanover. The Swedes are now extremely powerful and in 50 years invade Poland and Russia (the Deluge) -- this destroys the commonwealth and even though it reforms it is never the same under the Swedish Vasa kings of Poland nor the Saxon kings of Poland. THe commonwealth is irrevocably headed for 1791 when Poland is carved up by Prussia, Russia and Austria.

======================================================================================================================================================

Next, urbanization in Europe in 1800

As you can see, the heaviest urbanization has been in the triangle formed by London, Paris and Amsterdam

======================================================================================================================================================

Scientific innovation --> I couldn't find an online map for this, but there are books available and there should be something online. however, I need to figure out the right google-words!

Anyway, scientific innovations leading the industrial revolution are exclusively found in these 2 countries:
    England (right from the north to the south)
  1. France (mostly in the north)
England is Anglican, France is Catholic. Germany is Lutheran and Catholic (60-40) and the Dutch republic is reformed. The latter two have their scientific developments but in sheer quantity they lag behind England and France. Scandanavia is Lutheran and has fewer scientific developments and mostly in Sweden or Denmark i.e. in the populated states). Eastern Europe and southern Europe are in the throes of war or recovering from their declines as powerful entites, so the developments are least over here.

So, the scientific developments are not exclusively any type of Protestant -- if anything, the industrial revolution is led by High-Church Anglican Britain and Catholic France.

======================================================================================================================================================
But does religion have a role to play in this?
======================================================================================================================================================

I would argue yes in the case of Anglicanism -- it is far less rigid in it's structure than either the CAtholic countries OR the Lutheran/Reformed state countries. While all the countries had state religions, Anglicanism was the most "flexible" -- you had near Catholics in the High-Church Anglicans and reformed in the "Low Church Anglicans", so religion did play a factor because Anglicanism was flexible compared to Catholicism, Calvinism or Lutheranism -- but what were the other factors?

The other factors are:
Which brings me to the second fact -- war and peace. England and France mostly fight on the periphery or on overseas territories. They are not fighting like Spain or Eastern Europe or Germany on their homelands. This means that the home populations have the peace to focus on science and economy.

Finally, the last factor -- success breeds success. By the Victorian era, the momentum of scientific discovery in England and France meant that smart people were encouraged to come to these countries as they knew they'd get opportunities. It's the same reason why silicon valley is the centre of IT research -- as we reach a critical mass of smart folks, this mass expands itself, absorbing smart people from elsewhere --> on a side note, check how many American nobel laureates were born outside the US and see how the key factor affecting our scientific growth is that we no longer have the super-critical mass of smart folks we once had

21 posted on 09/10/2012 1:19:00 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos

You’re back?


22 posted on 09/10/2012 4:26:54 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Cronos

“That’s crazy talk”

That’s rich! Truly...that’s just too rich coming from you.


23 posted on 09/10/2012 4:37:06 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Alex Murphy

I agree with the article on several points. I would propose several theses along the same line.

1. Any thinking person, not only Luther, should have opposed the creation of European Parliament as a law-making body and the European currency union, and most thinking people did.

2. The present decline of the Western Civilization is a fault of the weakened Catholic Church in Europe, and especially the loss of Northern Europe to the Reformation.

3. Socialism is poison to Christian ethics in general, but different forms of Christianity suffer in different ways. When a socialism model is adopted in a Protestant country, the outcome is loss of faith altogether, but when socialism is adopted in a Catholic country the outcome is retreat of the faithful from the institutions of power, which then become corrupt. So, while Protestant countries continue to produce people who seem to be people of integrity like Cameron or Merkel, Catholic countries are run by dregs of society like Sarcozy (sp?) or the line after line of outright thugs in the Mediterranean democracies.


24 posted on 09/10/2012 5:47:01 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex

Forgot to say: I certainly agree that the war started by the Reformation is far from over.


25 posted on 09/10/2012 5:48:30 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: count-your-change
of course it's crazy talk -- as I point out in all your posts with factual errors. Any post that advocates Germans running Greece like Maybe Germany can run the country for a while like emergency managers for cities in the U.S. is utterly devoid of knowledge of the Axis invasion of Greece
26 posted on 09/10/2012 6:40:11 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: annalex
well, north-western Europe. In Northern Europe, the Lithuanians and Poles and Belgians and Germans south of the Rhineland-Paletinate are Catholic. In fact Germany as a whole now is just slightly more Catholic (30.0% compared to 29.9% for Lutherans, Baptists, Calvinists etc. as per the 2008 census)

Even in really north europe :) like Latvia, 28% are Catholic/Orthodox compared to 42% non-Catholics

Scandanavian countries are godless as are the English (well, the mosques are full though). But this is not something to crow against Lutherans for -- their pain is ours, I'd rather see strong Lutherans in Norway than Moslems..

27 posted on 09/10/2012 6:51:41 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: annalex
I think it depends on the "Protestant" model. If it is a Lutheran or Calvinist or Low Anglican model, then those are intrinsically tied to the state, so if the state becomes anti-religion, the population follows.

For Baptists, Mennonites it isn't that way.

28 posted on 09/10/2012 7:01:20 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos

If you come up with something besides the gratuitous insults I might respond further but until then I’ll not waste my time.


29 posted on 09/10/2012 7:01:29 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change

That’s one way of looking at it. Another is that the grasshoppers have been stealing from the ants, and the ants are saying “stop stealing” and the grasshoppers are saying “No.”


30 posted on 09/10/2012 7:02:55 AM PDT by ichabod1 (Spriiingtime for islam, and tyranny. Winter for US and frieeends. . .)
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To: ichabod1
Well, a person could look at a country like Greece and count it's advantages. Beautiful scenery, relatively mild climate, sea coast and habors, cheap(er) labor, attraction for tourists...and wonder why it is in crisis.

But the same sort of questions could be asked about Tijuana in comparison to San Diego.

It must be a matter of governance.

31 posted on 09/10/2012 7:18:48 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Moltke

Oh, maybe there’s a connection, hmmm? When we don’t pay a debt in English we say ‘default’ right? Fault has a lot of meanings and is a technical term in several fields. So, there may be some cultural differences but as we’re constantly being told that Europe casts aside the church, I don’t think its a religious matter.


32 posted on 09/10/2012 7:21:57 AM PDT by ichabod1 (Spriiingtime for islam, and tyranny. Winter for US and frieeends. . .)
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To: Alex Murphy
If the Europeans of all bent were participating and more involved in their faiths, then the premise of the author might be correct. However, this is certainly not the case. All of Europe is far more secular than it is religious.

I also think that framing the discussion in terms of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation is short sighted.

Cultural rivalries between northern Europe (even before there was a "Europe") and southern Europe go back much further than that.

The Germanic barbarian hordes enjoyed military victory with Alaric's sacking of Rome and all the succession of tribal victories that followed. However, the barbarians were culturally assimilated into the classical cultures of the Christianized south.

Since those early centuries, there always has existed a competitive relationship between northern influences and those of the south which have become less religious than they are cultural. I believe some of these influences were responsible in the Reformation. While not causing it, they certainly contributed to it.

What we are talking about today in the European economic debate is driven by productivity issues perhaps complicated by cultural ones but certainly not about post-Reformation religious thinking.

33 posted on 09/10/2012 7:22:14 AM PDT by johniegrad
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To: count-your-change

You’re the one coming up with gratuitous insults each time. But then the Watchtower just keeps harping on against Catholics, the republic etc. so what else to expect?


34 posted on 09/10/2012 7:22:20 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Rashputin

NAw, I would just say that these social democrat countries are falling victim to the ‘democracy disease’, often noted on this site, of what happens when voters realize they can vote themselves largesse from the national treasury. One can say that Germany is a social democrat country too, but apparently there are different severities of the disease, and the Deutsch seem to have woken up to some extent.


35 posted on 09/10/2012 7:42:16 AM PDT by ichabod1 (Spriiingtime for islam, and tyranny. Winter for US and frieeends. . .)
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To: Cronos
good catch. Who is this author then?

I've no idea. The name is obviously Italian.

It seems to me the author took a subject (Catholicism) that is close to his heart, and then 'constructed' an explanation of current events to fit that subject. I think Occam's Razor applies here.

36 posted on 09/10/2012 11:37:55 AM PDT by Moltke ("I am Dr. Sonderborg," he said, "and I don't want any nonsense.")
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To: ichabod1
Oh, maybe there’s a connection, hmmm?

Yes, of course there is a connection, as both terms have the same root - 'Schuld'. But it does not go beyond that.

37 posted on 09/10/2012 11:41:40 AM PDT by Moltke ("I am Dr. Sonderborg," he said, "and I don't want any nonsense.")
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To: Cronos
"The German people did want to lend the money initially -- war guilt and also the idea that they were actually helping."

The German folks I worked with must in the minority then because they were upset about the differences between the sort of loans or investments Germany had been making for decades and the way they were being handled with the EU in charge.

When you consider just how much of existing European industry was funded one way or another with German money or loan guarantees I think people are beating a dead horse over what Germany still owes Europe from WWII.

"But free money leads itself to a bad disease of getting used to it and thinking one is entitled to it."

It's a disease that comes in many forms, too. I know folks who act like having the value of their home appreciate every year is an entitlement they've had stolen from them the same way some people think various provisions for low income folks are entitlements that can't be altered to meet changing circumstances. Once people believe the government can and should intervene in every market the entire society is inclined to being infected with one or another strain of the free money disease.

38 posted on 09/10/2012 12:56:20 PM PDT by Rashputin (Only Newt can defeat both the Fascist democrats and the Vichy GOP)
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To: Cronos
well, north-western Europe...[is Protestant]

Yes, -- that is the stretch of the entire article. However, while productive parts of Europe are a Catholic/Protestant mix, the deadbeat parts are indeed Catholic or Orthodox almost entirely, so the article as it is makes sense. But speaking in such generalizations as the article itself, I think the answer is in loss of Christian faith altogether and corresponding productivity as the other side of the same coin. This is generally true of Protestantism of all centuries: it is a version of Christian faith well suited for modern lukewarm Economic Man, industrialized society and usury; whereas Catholicism remains the faith of the Early Middle Ages, suspicious of generation of wealth just like the Early Church was.

"For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows" (1 Timothy 6:10).

On your point in the next post, yes, but which country is really and predominantly influenced by the Baptists? I agree that the Baptist communities as the least likely to lick the Big Boot but I alkso think that their historical influence was negligible everywhere. I may be wrong, and if so please correct me.

39 posted on 09/10/2012 4:59:04 PM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
the deadbeat parts are indeed Catholic or Orthodox almost entirely, so the article as it is makes sense.

hmmm... Iceland is the exception. But to just put it down to religion is a fallacy. The troublesome parts are all Mediterranean, yet Catholic Croatia is doing well.

North of the alps most countries are doing well, but the big-boy there in terms of population and economy is Germany -- it overwhelms every other country in terms of population. In fact it's population is larger than the rest of Europe-north of the alps minus the UK combined.

Southern Europe has 3 big countries in terms of population: Italy, France and Spain. And Greece has a denser population base than comparably sized countries

no, the reason for the deadbeat may be partly religious, but is mainly due to other reasons -- and different ones in different countries.

40 posted on 09/10/2012 10:13:21 PM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Rashputin
Depends on when you asked them... if I meet Germans now, nearly all say they shouldn't have paid. But if you asked Germans in the 90s, they would acquiesce mostly due to war-guilt and thinking that they would actually be helping

When you consider just how much of existing European industry was funded one way or another with German money or loan guarantees I think people are beating a dead horse over what Germany still owes Europe from WWII. -- well, I agree. As you know, I live in Poland, in Warsaw and seeing what the Germans did here is quite devastating. Also, the Poles were then abandoned to Stalin. But the Germans have helped build up industry here and are the main market and supplier to Poland, so I agree with your point.

My point was not so much what Germans today OWE, but what many people perceive they STILL owe. The Greeks seem to think that, going by their government's statement. AND, more to the point, I was specifically talking about what Germans until recently thought (and many still think) they owe for their past.

That guilt has been milked well.

41 posted on 09/10/2012 10:18:17 PM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: ichabod1
we’re constantly being told that Europe casts aside the church

Don't believe what the media tells you. the newspapers etc would like you to believe that ALL of Europe is godless. That's not true. Much of the East is still very faithful. Even in Godless countries like France, Germany, England there are pockets of devout that are not shrinking. The Church is smaller, but stronger in that smallness.

42 posted on 09/10/2012 10:20:15 PM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: annalex
which country is really and predominantly influenced by the Baptists? I agree that the Baptist communities as the least likely to lick the Big Boot but I alkso think that their historical influence was negligible everywhere. I may be wrong, and if so please correct me.

you are not wrong. Baptists have had little historical influence on national historical economic trends.

43 posted on 09/10/2012 11:02:17 PM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos

And Catholic — truly and very Catholic — Poland is doing best of all.

But do you agree that Protestant countries are generally of different mold as it comes to government and economics? After all Protestantism arose in great part in order to provide an ethical basis for the secular capitalist economics?

Catholics and Orthodox, however, regard government that is not obedient to the Church as an anomaly at best, and sinful generally, since the Middle Ages. So their secular governments are a bunch of scoundrels, as a rule.


44 posted on 09/11/2012 5:40:42 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
But do you agree that Protestant countries are generally of different mold as it comes to government and economics? After all Protestantism arose in great part in order to provide an ethical basis for the secular capitalist economics?

Catholics and Orthodox, however, regard government that is not obedient to the Church as an anomaly at best, and sinful generally, since the Middle Ages. So their secular governments are a bunch of scoundrels, as a rule.

The thing is that Poland proves the exception to this, as did the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Holy Roman Empire before that.

the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth was majority Catholic but not overwhelmingly, so it had room for dialogue and peaceful debates. The government wasn't under the rule of the Church

And this, paradoxically, was better for the Church as there wasn't the anti-clerical actions that occurred in the rest of Europe

45 posted on 09/11/2012 6:10:37 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos

Poland of what era?

I should have clarified that monarchies are generally, of course, regarded as legitimate, simply because the common space is a private property of the monarch. The government is still viewed with suspicion , but at least there is a king to deal with them.

This, by the way, is another equation that is missed: the north-western European countries are all monarchies.


46 posted on 09/11/2012 5:21:26 PM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex

poland of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth era from 1389 to 1793


47 posted on 09/11/2012 11:06:54 PM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos
Monarchy: the perfect and perfectly Catholic social organization. Always better than the alternatives.

The Spanish modern weakness only proves the Carlists right.

48 posted on 09/12/2012 5:21:19 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
Not really. Monarchy is the rule of one despot. It can be an enlightened despot or a depraved one.

Most of human history, the monarchy has been depraved -- even Catholic or lutheran or Calvinistic or Anglican or Moslem or Hindu etc

The best form of government is a republic during peace times and a dictatorship during war. This was clearly apparent in the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth where the King was powerful but not all powerful and while he could not be deposed, he was elected by the barons

I would not want Obama as King. I would not want most of the Spanish monarchs as king either

the Spanish weakness is more an indictment against welfare state policies (which are intrinsically leftist) rather than about monarchy or not

49 posted on 09/12/2012 5:50:18 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: annalex
Charles IV etc. of Spain were weak ineffectual rulers. Indeed, while not as bad as the Bourbons in France, the Bourbons supported by the Carlists were not good either

A constitutional monarchy has its good points, but a despotic monarchy has none right now. It may have worked in the 14th century but not now.

A rabble-rousing democracy is not ideal either, but a pure republic makes more sense

Even a democracy but a pure democracy like in Switzerland where people vote on every matter can work, but you need to be very small for tha.

50 posted on 09/12/2012 5:55:46 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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