Asian dawn will soon eclipse UK, EU and the West

Having read Max Hastings column in the Daily Mail on Saturday 25th June 2011 in conjunction with the other two “related” articles that day strongly hinting at the real danger of a forthcoming economic collapse in the UK and Europe, it did not leave me full of hope as it rang so true about the short term attitudes of both the British and our European partners.

Max Hastings article on the Daily Mail website on Saturday 25th June 2011 was entitled “La-La Land Britain faces permanent economic decline unless we face threat from the East“. In his article Max Hastings draws our attention to the fact that while “the latest Merrill Lynch World Wealth report shows that, while 300,000 new Asia-Pacific investors with at least a million dollars of investable assets were created last year — a 9.7 per cent increase — Britain’s percentage increased by only 1.4 per cent.

This country exports more to Ireland’s 4.5 million people than to Brazil, India and China’s combined 2.8 billion population — this, despite a 20 per cent recent devaluation of the pound.

I often disagree with the brilliant but sensationalist historian Niall Ferguson. But he seems absolutely right to argue in his latest book, Civilization: The West And The Rest, that our societies have suffered a disastrous decline of the Protestant work ethic.

“Europeans today,” he says, “are the idlers of the world.” We work shorter hours than our Asian counterparts, take more holidays and are readier to strike. Workers in the United States take fewer holidays than us, but the average South Korean puts in 39 per cent more hours than the average American a week.

Neither President Obama nor anybody else has yet produced a credible solution to the problem that Detroit’s car workers — for instance — cost almost ten times as much as their Chinese counterparts to produce the same vehicles.”

I totally agree with Max Hastings when he summarizes “we are witnessing the end of the age of abundance, the first phase of a savage contest for energy, natural resources including water, and technological dominance. We shall need to work harder to have less, both as individuals and as a country. The divide between the rewards for the skilled and unskilled will continue to widen.

Unless we shed our British obsession with protecting losers as the foremost social priority; unless we breed instead a generation of school pupils and university students committed to winning, our prospects are bleak.

It is the nature of politicians to focus on getting through tomorrow, leaving the next decade to take care of itself. But in this scary new world, our leaders need to rise above this, to embrace a vision for Britain far beyond the next general election. Many of the things that need doing will be unpopular and even nasty. They represent the antithesis of nice-guy politics — of Cleggery, if you like.

But unless Britain raises its game dramatically, we face not Mervyn King’s seven lean years, but 70 of them. We must work harder, teach our children more, and sell far more goods which the world wants, not at a price determined by the lifestyle expectation of our workers, but instead by global competition.”

The warning signs are there, and if both the UK and Europe don’t heed them and take drastic action now to reverse these trends, then sadly I am afraid an Asian dawn will soon eclipse the United Kingdom, the European Union and potentially the entire West.

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