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4. Excessive Regulation and Centralisation is bad for Freedom and for Prosperity
Europe once became a dynamic continent thanks to competition at all levels. It is now virtually impossible to find a sector of society that is untouched by the often excessive EU regulations. The EU functions as a huge superstate centrally directed by statists obsessed by regulations. They have learnt little from history, where central planning has been an almost universal failure. Here is what Nathan Rosenberg and L.E. Birdzell Jr. say in How The West Grew Rich: The Economic Transformation Of The Industrial World:
”Initially, the West’s achievement of autonomy stemmed from a relaxation, or a weakening, of political and religious controls, giving other departments of social life the opportunity to experiment with change. Growth is, of course, a form of change, and growth is impossible when change is not permitted. Any successful change requires a large measure of freedom to experiment. A grant of that kind of freedom costs a society’s rulers their feeling of control, as if they were conceding to others the power to determine the society’s future. The great majority of societies, past and present, have not allowed it. Nor have they escaped from poverty.”
Moreover, “Western technology developed in the special context of a high degree of autonomy among the political, religious, scientific, and economic spheres of social life. Is this high degree of autonomy indispensable to the successful application of technology to economic welfare? Few Western scientists would disagree with the proposition that a high degree of autonomy of the scientific sphere from political or religious control is essential to scientific advance. It is almost as clear that a similar autonomy, in much the same degree, is essential to the economic process of translating scientific advances into goods and services. The technological capability of a society is bound to be degraded if control of either scientific inquiry or innovation is located at points of political or religious authority that combine an interest in controlling the outcome of technological development with the power to restrict or direct experiment. In all well-ordered societies, political authority is dedicated to stability, security, and the status quo. It is thus singularly ill-qualified to direct or channel activity intended to produce instability, insecurity, and change.”
The European Union cannot be anything but anti-liberty because it concentrates far too much power in a centralised bureaucratic system that is almost impossible for outsiders to understand. As the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek warned in
The Road to Serfdom: “To imagine that the economic life of a vast area comprising many different people can be directed or planned by democratic procedure betrays a complete lack of awareness of the problems such planning would raise. Planning on an international scale, even more than is true on a national scale, cannot be anything but a naked rule of force, an imposition by a small group on all the rest of that sort of standard and employment which the planners think suitable for the rest.”