There is currently a great deal of fuss about Europe with words like “contagion”, “bankruptcy”, and “global crisis” being thrown about and debated in great detail.
It would serve to pause a while and think about what is actually being discussed.
What is Europe?
Europe is a geographical region defined on the West by the Atlantic Ocean, on the South by the Mediterranean and Black seas, North by the Arctic Sea and East by the Ural and Caucasus mountains.
It is perhaps more often considered in terms of ethnicity – as the place of origin of white Caucasian people; society – as the birthplace of modern western society; or religion – as the primary bastion of Christianity.
Europe is a mixed bag of people loosely spread across a continent with fertile lands and varied topography. There have been continuous wars and skirmishes from the beginning of recorded history to the present as these “tribes” fight over control of each others' assets.
What has changed about Europe is that, post World War 2, the various countries began a process of unification, which eventually led them to form the current “European Union”.
The danger so frequently discussed at the moment is the possible failing of this union and a (feared) return to the old ways of economic (if not military) brinkmanship and competition, rather than co-operation.
Europe is a major economic market for the US, as well as a strategic military and political partner. Without Europe, it would be a lonely life indeed for North America.
On a more basic level, the European Union is a major financial asset for the countries involved. The abolition of border crossings must save untold millions of dollars in wasted time, wages, and taxes as travelers wait in line for a meaningless stamp in a meaningless book. At EU borders, it is not uncommon to count 100 trucks waiting while papers are stamped one by one. It is rare to see anything else done – it's just about paperwork and taxes.
Inside the Union: A Tale of Turkey Economics
Once inside the EU, it is possible to, for example, buy turkey chicks in Hungary; raise, slaughter and dress the birds in Italy using Romanian labour before sending them off to Paris or Berlin for sale. In the bad old days of border control, this would have been completely impractical as the litany of regulations, taxes and border controls would have drowned the business owner in paperwork and fees.
Slovakia has become known as the “Detroit” of Europe as many car companies have set up factories there to take advantage of a cheap, skilled and industrious workforce.
Romania produces food on a massive scale on the fertile plains of the Banat region, Germany is the technology centre for the continent and labour flows freely to where it is most needed and most productive.
If the European Union fails, everyone on the continent will suffer as outdated border policies are reinstated and productivity fails. This will lead to lower consumption, which will affect production even more in a vicious circle of deflation.
Tax incomes will reduce and governments will take the knee jerk reaction of raising taxes on the most productive which will again decrease cash flows in the real market, causing a super cycle of contraction and pain.
Currency issues are the least important problem facing Europe at the moment. Possibly the best solution would be for Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal to return to their own currencies and stay there. Currently, Britain, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden are all in the European Union but do not use the Euro as their primary currency.
Euros can be used for almost any transaction in these countries but their governments issue and trade in their own specific currencies.
If all of the EU countries were allowed to return to their own currency and the Euro was kept as a reserve currency for international trade, it would allow for a better joining of widely diverse peoples and cultures, without destroying the Union which has promoted trade and peace across the continent.
It is widely believed that the Euro project is a key building block in the World Government aspirations of the global elite, and that they will not allow this project to fail regardless of its shortcomings. This may be possible, as current events in the world would certainly seem to support that argument. The ultimate problem with their behavior, if it is real, is that more free markets (think Asia) will ultimately out-compete an over-regulated economy (Europe) and the money and power will move to where the greatest opportunity lies.
The Great European Opportunity?
There is great opportunity in Europe at the moment, and the bold who venture there in the midst of current turmoil will find many positive things – cheap wages, good infrastructure and a large consumer market. There are also negatives, of course, such as high taxes and draconian employment laws in some EU countries, but they can be minimized with good business planning and corporate structuring.
Particularly interesting are the Balkan countries, formerly part of Yugoslavia. As they join the EU (projected for 2014 through 2017), a major trade artery will develop from Northern Europe to Turkey, carrying goods by road between Europe and all of the Middle East and Africa.
Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Macedonia are all countries with a well-educated, cheap labour force who will benefit from investment that inevitably comes with EU membership. Major arterial Freeways have been built (or are under construction) and there is good infrastructure, plenty of clean water, and all necessary services.
Whatever the outcome of the current financial crisis, be it global collapse or World Government, there are a good many reasons why investment in “The Continent” could be a good idea.
The famous investor Baron Rothschild said in the 18th century, “Buy when there's blood in the streets.” Watching television coverage of Greece and Britain lately, now could be the time to consider Europe.