Will the Paris Attacks Herald the End of the Schengen Agreement?

By David Dayen, a lapsed blogger. Follow him on Twitter @ddayen

The big thing I’ve learned since I hung up my keyboard as a generalist blogger is to, as much as possible, stay in my lane. I share everyone’s horror at the Paris attacks, and like everyone else have my own thoughts, however unformed, on the best way forward. But I make no pretensions to deep insight on international terrorism and a Middle East that has confounded just about every so-called expert for as long as I’ve been alive. So I’d rather just try to keep up with developments (and you’ll see more of that in the Links).

But there is something, first brought to my attention by Chris Hayes, on which I may be able to comment intelligently. Details are a little murky, but it appears France is seeking some wiggle room on the Schengen agreement:

France is asking its partners in the Schengen border union to agree to systematic controls at frontiers within the group to tighten security following terrorist attacks in Paris.

“Coordinated and systemic controls” are needed within the 26 countries of the group, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said at a press conference Sunday in Paris. We need to “fully use the available European systems” to tighten security, he added, citing the information system, a governmental database used for security and law enforcement.

We don’t know whether this is temporary or permanent, and what France will ask for. A rumor that the suspension has already occurred was dismissed by an embassy official. But the political pressures all militate toward breaking up Schengen, or at least defining it down. Crispin Blunt, conservative head of the Foreign Affairs committee in the British parliament, says we’re nearing the end of borderless Europe.

To back up, anyone who’s traveled through Europe knows that they can freely cross along a highway from one country into the next, like passing from Pennsylvania into Ohio. This is not just an expression of goodwill among allies but an economic engine. You have areas like Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmo, Sweden where many routinely cross national borders for work. The open borders allow workers to freely move to where jobs are available. It allows goods to move in a relatively frictionless manner over land or sea.

But this openness has been backsliding amid the great migration from Syria and elsewhere. Four countries – Slovenia, Austria, Germany, and Sweden – have imposed temporary border controls of various degrees in violation of Schengen, which has held more or less since 1995. And the attacks, which were reportedly plotted in Belgium, will only accelerate calls to increase security in France, from the likes of Marine Le Pen and Nicolas Sarkozy. With multiple incidents this year and a climate of fear, it’s not hard to see France withdrawing, at which point the raison d’être of the agreement starts to break down.

This is a disaster for perhaps the most critical building block of the European project, something that, regardless of whatever other effects, has reversed a cycle of endless wars for several decades. But what is the near-term economic impact of closing or restricting the borders, to a Eurozone that isn’t exactly a picture of health?

If you look at the direct effects, there’s no question that exports will drop and tourist activity will fall from restrictions on the freedom of movement. More difficulty importing cheap labor might make a difference in some wealthier northern European countries, particularly in those nations with demographic problems. Eventually everything would get over the borders, but with added costs, and for some countries those costs could be significant, or at least unneeded in a time of continued stress (although a little inflation might not necessarily be a bad thing for some). The forces currently pushing forward minimal growth in the Eurozone are expected to fade next year, and such forecasts have typically tended to overstate the growth case.

But play this out a bit more. Could the dissolution of Schengen be a pathway to the breakup of the Eurozone itself? After all, it’s hard to continue to argue for more fiscal integration while assembling border crossings. The accompaniment to such border closures would likely be a rise in right-wing, Euroskeptic nationalism across the continent, and subsequent tensions could spark exits.

This is not the preferred option for how to manage the separation into national independence of monetary policy. Governments fueled by extremism on migrants may not be best positioned for that delicate task. But if you believe the Eurozone is a doomed project, an unnecessary straitjacket tying poorer members to a kind of indentured servitude, then despite the significant price to pay for the disintegration, you would at least look upon it with a more nuanced view and an open mind.

I’m not suggesting it would be worthwhile. Moreover, there’s no definite point A to point B here, either. The troika leadership would go to the barricades to maintain order. But there are definitely powerful forces roiling Europe at this point, and you can envision the best wishes of elites being overtaken by events. The question then becomes how to prepare for that possibility and ensure a post-Eurozone world with some concern for the economic rights of all citizens. For the most part, people have played pundit about Grexit or Brexit, noting the significant barriers to implementation and the consequences of rolling back the clock. But punditry may not be what’s necessary. We might have to start thinking more along the lines of contingency plans.

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About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to Salon.com. He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.


  1. Bill Smith

    There have been spot checks at various border points one bigger highways. But there are so many side roads and paths that it will be unlikely that things can be closed down without massively disrupting things.

    This thing is a typical overreaction that occurs after events like this. Though in the bigger picture that was likely a part of the goal of this attack. Security costs money, both directly to pay for the equipment and salaries. Plus the indirect cost that the ‘friction’ security imposes. Everything takes a little longer.

    Early on after 9/11 in the States some people called it the ‘Osama tax’.

    1. David

      I think the short answer to your question is “yes”.
      Technically, what has happened is that “controls” at the frontiers have been temporarily re-established, as is actually permitted under Schengen in certain circumstances. This had been announced anyway in advance of the COP21 Summit, and it’s not clear that there’s any substantial change. The frontiers have not been “closed” as was reported earlier.
      It’s hard to see the situation going back to normal again, not least because lifting the controls would lead to political accusations that the government was putting the country “in danger.” History suggests that introducing controls is a whole lot easier than lifting them, and in any case the wind is very much in the sails of those who want to re-establish borders.
      Nor is this necessarily a bad thing. the political and business elites of Europe will squeal, because they benefit the most from it, but the ordinary person who travels abroad once a year, if they travel at all, won’t notice. Europeans don’t seem to be discouraged from coming to Britain because of the border controls. In reality, Schengen was primarily intended to promote the famous “mobility of labour” and encourage workers in the more affluent countries to be more “flexible” in case they lost their jobs. An example exposed earlier this year is that French slaughter-houses are closing because German establishments can do the job more cheaply even with transport both ways. This is because the Germans are using the cheapest immigrant labour they can find, living in barracks and employed on temporary contracts. It’s not even clear that all of these immigrants are legal, but that’s the point. Once you get into Schengen, there are no further controls. Schengen, for all its convenience, is part of the neoliberal game plan for Europe, and needs to be seen as such.

  2. Kurt Sperry

    The border control infrastructures in Europe seem to have been abandoned or in many cases physically removed, I don’t see any practical way of reinstituting them without fairly massive investments in training and hiring border officials and building/rebuilding of physical infrastructures. Yes, the major ground highway and rail links could be recontrolled and places where physical barriers like large rivers separate political jurisdictions could help but there are thousands of uncontrolled border frontier crossings where nothing remains of pre-Schengen controls except perhaps some abandoned buildings. Even assuming these were all reconstituted, these would only stop those travelling by major roads, there are usually dirt roads and footpaths nearby where those controls could easily be circumvented. The direct costs of attempting to reinstitute European border controls would be huge and the economies of most border areas would be devastated. And given Europe’s political geography, those border areas represent a huge proportion of many of the smaller states. And of course anyone sufficiently motivated will always be able to find a way past border controls along long land borders lacking Berlin Wall scale investments.

  3. IsabelPS

    “More difficulty importing cheap labor might make a difference in some wealthier northern European countries, particularly in those nations with demographic problems.”

    Freedom of circulation and freedom of establishment has also played an important safety valve role in countries like Portugal during these last years of very high unemployment.

    And yes, of course, closing borders inside Europe would be a very important victory for Daesh.

  4. Dino Reno

    The second largest religion in most Eurozone countries is now Muslim. The End of the Schengen Agreement is really a response to the end of secularism. Factionalism is the Middle East’s leading export. For the Eurozone, any planned barriers are already too late.

  5. Tim

    I think the importance of the Schengen agreement is vastly overstatede.

    We had borders between European countries during the economic boom years of the fifties and sixties.
    That did not stop massive tourism and economic interdependence, but it does enable us to guard against:

    -Wage dumping by illegal immigrants
    -Know and control who enters and leaves
    -Better control of weapons and drug smuggling

    In the light of refugee crisis and the latest attack in Paris I think it is inevitable that Schengen will have to go.

    We see the same thing in Sweden, the border control are intensifying, because otherwise there will be a system collapse in Sweden, no country can receive +1500 people per day for an indefinite period of time

    1. drugstoreblonde

      And Sweden has done more than its fair share.

      Worst of all, every mis-step, every failure made by the current government is going to drive the political conversation throughout Scandinavia and beyond.

      Here’s to hoping the forthcoming G20 conference in Turkey amounts to more than grandstanding.

      1. fajensen

        “The West” have managed to catch itself in a simple Indonesian Monkey trap: All they have to do to get out is to let go of this idea of “globalization”, accept that there are some places where people are wild, different, don’t want to become us and even prefer to waste their resources on themselves instead of selling them off in “The Market”.

        Sweden is the same, they really believe that if only one give enough gifts to others then they will feel obliged to reciprocate the favors and become good citizens. They cannot let go of this idea and they refuse to discuss what they will do later when they will have no benefits, no housing, no jobs and no opportunities left for anyone to give away.

  6. drugstoreblonde

    This question (“Is this the beginning of the end of the Schengen/EU”) has become Hydra. From the Greek Referendum, to the Catalonian Referendum, to the murmurs occurring in the UK on both the right and the left, to das Jahr der Flucht, to the recent events in Paris–the EU project seems to be in doubt.

    I just don’t think that the EU can survive in tact in its current form, and that (though it pains me to admit) it needs to become more federalized in order to cope with the challenges it faces, whether that be the wealth differences between North and South, the distribution of refugees among member-states, or even the implementation of VAT in various regions and member-states.

    I’m based out of Berlin, which has been at the heart of many of these discussions regarding the EU’s fate. And it’s very clear from here that the German Hegemony of the last 10 years is coming apart at the seams.

    …I don’t think the world can endure a Europe in turmoil…

  7. Jim

    Europe and the Islamic World have been in conflict for over 1300 years. Until very recently throughout that long conflict Europe had a strong numerical advantage. That is no longer true. The Moslem populations adjacent to Europe have never before been as large relative to Europe’s population as now. This population is also much younger than the European population. Europeans have very foolishly allowed large numbers of Moslems to enter Europe.

    If Europe is to avoid being overrun it will be necessary for it to close its borders with the Islamic World and begin deporting the Moslems already there back to North Africa and the Middle East.

    If present policies are continued then millions will eventually die in the resulting bloodshed. What has happened in Paris is nothing compared to what is coming.

    1. fajensen

      It’s really the friends we keep that does us in, isn’t it: The US will have successfully disabled yet another global competitor – or at least destabilized some of those “Socialists standing in the way of Freedom ™”.

      Maybe the Chinese will have a better run?

      1. Jim

        I would think that the Chinese would have the sense not to allow the migration of large numbers of non-Han to China. When the Mongols entered China they slaughtered about a third of the Chinese population.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Under Mongol rule, individual Han-Chinese families couldn’t even own kitchen knives.

          It was, one kitchen knife for every 10 or 12 families.

          “Knife Control” instead of “gun control.”

          Yet, the Yuan dynasty was one of the shortest lived one in Chinese history*.

          *Luckily, enough Blue and White porcelain wares were produced, in a few decades, to make many collectors very rich.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            My guess is, without that kitchen-knife control, dinners would have been faster and easier, when there was no famine, and the dynasty would have lasted longer.

            “Down with Kitchen Knife Control” – rebels rallied around that inspiring message.

      2. Michael

        The biggest supported European supporter of ISIS….Free Syrian Army….was France. A lot of the Middle East policy is driven by forces outside of the United States. The Gulf States, Israel, Turkey and Germany/France are the primary movers on Syria. The US does not control the world. Foreign policy in the US is heavily influenced by foreign governments.

        In the 1990s the same was true for the crisis in Yugoslavia. Germany was the prime mover in that area and that brought the US into the conflict.

        1. Inverness

          If Europe cannot handle refugees, it would be wise for the continent to cease behaviour (pollution, participation in wars against Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria) which leads to more refugees. Paging France, the UK, and Germany…

    2. rusti

      Sort of like when those United States got overrun by rapidly-breeding Celts and collapsed in the 19th century. Boy was that ever embarrassing for them!

      1. Massinissa

        Oh man, great snark is great.

        Would have been funnier if you said catholics though, because it was both the Irish and the Italians that came here in great numbers and made all the nativists angry.

    3. Paper Mac

      “Until very recently throughout that long conflict Europe had a strong numerical advantage.”

      Sure, if by “throughout” you mean “never”.

      1000 AD
      Population of Paris: 20 000
      Population of London: 15 000

      Population of Cordoba: 500 000
      Population of Baghdad: 1 200 000

      Of course, history was never a strong point for Hitlerian essentialists…

      1. Massinissa

        He also forgot to mention that, after Martell the Hammer stopped a muslim invasion of France in the 700s, with the exception of orthodox Byzantine territory, for the next 1000 years, from the crusades to 19th century colonialism, the Christians attacked the Muslims more than the other way around.

        1. Jim

          Charles Martel no doubt was handy with a battle-axe but his prowness as a warrior was not the basic reason why Europe was not overrun by Arabs. The basic reason was demographic. The total population of North Africa at the time was about 8 million of whom about half lived in Egypt.
          The populations of what is now France and Italy were both larger than that. The Germans had an even larger population and there was also a large population of Slavs.

          The iniitial conquests of the Arabs covered an impressive extent of territory. But much of this was semi-arid to desert and sparsely inhabited. Once the Arab conquests crashed against the more densely inhabited areas of Christendom they came to a pretty quick halt. For example after
          overruning about two-thirds of Anatolia it looked like endsville for the Byzantines. In fact they lasted another 700 years and at times they took back a considerable amount of Central Anatolia. To understand this note that the population of Anatolia was stringly concentrated toward the Aegean.

          Indeed after the initial expansion of the Arabs the general military record thereafter was pushback from Christendom. Southern France, Southern Italy, Sicily, Malta, Crete, Cyprus and slowly Spain were gradually taken back. The Emirate of Granada only survived as long as it did
          (to 1492) because it became a vassal of Christian Castille and even joined Castille in fighting other Arabs.

          1. Jim

            In looking at maps of Europe and North Africa/Near East one needs to undrstand that much of the territory of the latter consists of deserts and semi-arid regions unsuitable for agriculture and largly inhabited throughout history by nomadic tribes. The Nile Valley for example has been densely inhabited for thousands of years but the Nile Valley is extremally narrow.

            Europe however is generally well-watered and unlike the Middle East agriculture can be practiced over most of it except for the far north.

    4. Wolf

      What are you talking about? Eternal diametrical conflict?

      European powers were busy butchering each other incessantly for most of that millennia and a half you speak of.

      Please take the time to view the world and history through lens other than that of pseudo-race/religion/civilizational categories.

      1. Jim

        While 1300 years is not eternity it is a pretty long time. The existence of conflict within both Christendom and the Islamic World hardly changes the historical reality of 1300 years of conflict between the two civilizations. As far as recent history goes the conflict is intensyfing.

  8. RUKidding

    Putting on my mystery fiction reader’s hat: I enjoy reading all of the “new wave” of police procedurals, etc, from various European nations (not just the Scandanavian countries). Reflected in these fictional tales are lots of descriptions of the changing nature of the various countries’ societies in response to both legal and illegal migration from mainly N. Africa and the ME.

    A lot of hand-wringing occurs, as it appears (to me) that most of the authors are at least somewhat sympathetic to the plight of the migrants, but OTOH, express the reality that it’s causing a variety of issues and problems for their nations. For one thing, there’s just the issue of how to handle all of these new people – jobs, food, housing, education, etc.

    Then there’s the issues that the open borders permit a lot of crime of varying sorts from the somewhat mundane (cigarettes) to the very serious (guns, bombs).

    I ponder these things, as I read. In the good old USA, we have the NRA and bought off politicians to thank for a lot of our gun running and other assorted crazinesses. But Europe doesn’t. The various nations have a struggle with these issues, and along with that is the rise of rightwing nationalistic parties.

    I doubt Schengen will continue in it’s current form, but how much either rescinding or changing it will make a difference is another question entirely.

  9. fajensen

    More difficulty importing cheap labor might make a difference in some wealthier northern European countries, particularly in those nations with demographic problems.

    Most people living here would see the elimination of cheap labour as a definitive improvement, especially the immigrants, which were just beginning to slowly make their way past the “Name-Filter”, the “Search & Selection Process” and the HR-idiocracy and beginning to get decent jobs – then that fragile ladder was kicked over by a flood of cheap labor from the “new” EU countries, exactly as planned.

    Thanks to this “cheap labor” and social spending cuts to force minimum wages ever lower, there is a lot of forced competition at the lower end of the wage scale, this is hurting society in general and basically creates most of the expensive problems that we have with “troubled youths”.

    Nobody wants them, but the salafists always do, so, whatever else are these young persons going to turn to than “their brothers” when they get refused an interview for the 250’th time?

    I think that with the political climate and all Of Course they will have border controls. Even if we don’t achieve anything else then we get to spite the EU; In reality though with Schengen we removed national borders, which just means that the borders will become local and individualized: To enter the bank, to walk on the streets, to buy alcohol, to buy a ticket, et cetera: It will be “Papieren Bitte” and uniformed goons everywhere. Like the DDR.

    PS: We are sort of in the shit if many of the refugees and immigrants are indeed terrorists and start something organised. The Danish military has about 3-4 tanks that run, only a few thousands go through 3 months training every year, the whole service has been gutted completely over a long period. Even worse in Sweden, all the way through the naughties they were “redesigning” the army because they didn’t have any enemies to fight.

  10. IsabelPS

    On the other hand, Schengen or no Schengen, they apparently controlled a guy involved in the attack on a road near Cambrai, near the Belgian border, on saturday morning and found nothing wrong with him until later. Apparently, they then realized the same car had gone from Belgium to France in the night (I presumed, this time on the freeway), supposedly to go pick him up in Paris.

    I don’t agree that Schengen doesn’t matter for the ordinary person. It very much depends on where you live. In the “heart” of Europe, people keep coming and going all the time. There are people that live in Brussels (cheaper) and work in Paris. I have a friend that lives in France and works in Switzerland and I know the difference.

  11. Ignacio

    It could be considered a victory for terrorists. It would mean that the counter terrorism system of one country does not trust another countries’ system. I’d rather see a more extensive collaboration among the agencies involved in counter terrorism.

    1. Mark P.

      ‘I’d rather see a more extensive collaboration among the agencies involved in counter terrorism.’

      The surveillance state then gets more rapidly and extensively built out, obviously.

      Which isn’t to say that it’s either avoidable or not the better of two bad choices.

      1. Ignacio

        I could anticipate a commentary like yours, because it also worries me. However, i think that without profound cooperation these kind of terrorist attacks are far more easy.

        1. fajensen

          The problem I personally have with this “cooperation” is that pretty soon my data will be traded away with Saudi Arabia (sponsor of IS), France (sponsor of FSA a.k.a. IS), Pakistan (sponsor of Taliban), et cetera, without any oversight or control –

          And since there is no oversight or control, probably the bigger portion of the intelligence services work is industrial espionage and blackmail of politicians and business people. All of this is funded by the taxpayers, which means that the intelligence services can’t be doing too good a job on Terror if they want continued growth in funding and scope.

          It’s a police job, I think.

        2. washunate

          Cooperation implies equals. The European countries are not equals. They are vassals to the Anglo-American world.

          We don’t know – and likely never will – the exact details of the particular attacks. But we do know in broad strokes that this is a natural outcome of activities of the American empire. To speak of more cooperation is to either be ignorant of the foreign policy of the United States, or to actively support its means and end goals.

          Terrorism has become a code word for discussing international relations and geopolitics in a world where we have made enough progress that American leaders cannot openly advocate the violent overthrow of sovereign governments who step out of line. Right now, DC (and NY and London) are desperately trying to maintain the unipolar world as Moscow, Beijing, Paris, Berlin, and elsewhere grow increasingly toward a multipolar one.

          Of course US opposition to this transition cannot be discussed in polite company. Instead, we all pretend that ISIS is real and Muslims are dangerous.

      1. Ignacio

        Think this other way: it is more practical to play this game as if you trust even if you don’t trust.

  12. alex morfesis

    the eu should split in 2 with the benelux-thulelanders putting up a border if they wish and the vichistani deciding if they want to be part of the new MATO (Medit-Atlantic TO) led by Itapain.
    Italy & Spain have a combined GDP equal to Germany. Uk and France have equal GDP. The current EU and Euro structure have mostly benefited the benelux-thulelanders…more so when one realizes how the German “economic” miracle has been paid for by the backs of American taxpayers paying the bulk of German Nato expenses…

    realistically, NATO is to defend Germany from Russia…

    the Russians have never suggested they had any interest in France or Italy or Spain…When Napoleon attacked, the Russians did not return the favor by marching into Paris…

    well ok there was that 1814 thingee and ELBA…

    On April 20, 1814 the Emperor of France bid farewell to the soldiers of his Old Guard. Tears trickled down their cheeks and they struggled to maintain composure when he said:

    “Soldiers of my Old Guard: I bid you farewell. For twenty years I have constantly accompanied you on the road to honor and glory. In these latter times, as in the days of our prosperity, you have invariably been models of courage and fidelity. …
    I go, but you, my friends, will continue to serve France. Her happiness was my only thought. It will still be the object of my wishes. Do not regret my fate; if I have consented to survive, it is to serve your glory. … Adieu, my friends. Would I could press you all to my heart.”
    At these words General Petit waved his sword in the air and cried Vive l’Empereur ! which was rapturously echoed by the whole Imperial Guard. But when Napoleon was leaving not one of the old warriors was able to utter a sound. They watched in mournful silence, some cried. On the way home they beat up some royalists and gendarmes and nailed to the bridge a placard inscribed ‘Long live Napoleon the Great !’

    but…that was the TSAR…the Romanoffs, who were removed by the Menshevic Revolt in 1917 (after the 1905 one did not hold)

    so all the money spent on NATO is to prevent Germans from having to learn Russian…if the benelux-thulelanders don’t want to speak Russian, let them pay for their own defense…

    Time to move on from World War 2…

    MATO would be designed to allow the Major Med countries to the south and west (Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria) to join up in an economic union…and eventually push the economic and physical border into the Sahara…that is a smart 20-40 year plan…and let the benelux-thulelanders pay for the tanks they make greece and turkey pay for today…to defend against a “russian” threat that has never killed any Americans directly…Never…the US and Russia have never had a hot war…yet a space alien would think there was some 5000 year history of Russia and the USA fighting…

    time to end world war 2…

  13. Jesper

    Ah yes, the ‘demographic problem’… Myth or reality? Has there ever been a country anywhere where there has been an unsolvable shortage of workers?
    The current problem is unemployment and we have people who we are supposed to take seriously (?) attempting to scare us with a shortage of workers?


    Governments fueled by extremism on migrants

    Extremism on migrants? Who consider having rule of law regarding borders to be extremism? Or maybe I misunderstood, the extremism is about abolishing laws regarding border-controls?

    All in all it seems to be a lot of scaremongering and Fear Uncertainty Doubt being spread about the importance of Schengen.

  14. kevinearick

    The Psychographic Chronicle

    Back in the day, M-E was the expert in this stuff…and I always like going to the source.

    You have isms breeding too few and isms breeding too many, always in a battle, on the way back in time. And the Silicon Valley Project is sifting the sand down to the individual grain, planet-wide, limiting travel by confirming the psychology accordingly. Regardless, the answer is nature, because nature always wins, and mimicry only gets you so far, as Groucho liked to say.

    Aggregate demand tells you that you have to have 4+ children to bring the economy back to equilibrium, and the combatants are waking up to the fact that their demographics have hit the wall, making the financial ponzi transparent, resulting in war. The choice between communists running the EU and those that want to run Portugal is false. You don’t want to bring your children into that war.

    As the American experience demonstrates, once upon a time again, those having too few rotate those having too many, swapping currencies and Family Law, until they hit the wall. Those having too many buy crap from those selling too few, who assume that the resulting money is a store of value, which it clearly is not. Money percolates up, to short out nature, allowing arbitrary human expansion and contraction, make-work earning nothing net.

    From the perspective of labor, all monetary systems are pretty damn stupid, and from the perspective of money, labor is pretty damn stupid, no surprise. Funny damn thing happens though, at the end of an empire cycle; only labor can reboot the system, and the gangs have joined forces in a vice, to hunt labor down. Labor plays along until the critters start killing each other, and disappears.

    If you are betting on a different outcome, you are betting on something that hasn’t happened in 10,000 years. Whether you want to see the outcomes, symptoms of symptoms going back in time, as threats or opportunities is up to you. Oil, gold and the petrodollar have all been discredited, along with feudalism and communism, but if you want to go there, that is up to you as well, “and those who have learned the lesson of History have to watch those who have not.”

    You don’t want to hang out with people breathing smog, eating cardboard, and drinking sewer water, uptown or downtown, expecting anything else. Of course Amtrak and USPS must be subsidized, because BNSF and FedEx must be subsidized by a magnitude more, with money worth less and less. My wife sees only rainbows, and I did study poetry as a young man, but little remains, except the warrior, as you might expect from a farm boy, gone to the city and back, only to find the city.

    It’s always the same, with communism breeding fascism, calling itself socialism; they vote themselves smarter than you, and therefore you should obey their decree, economic slavery for all, destroying your sandbox to prove the tautology of their democracy, trickle down redistribution, as Robert Reich likes to quip. Keep your wealth in heaven, beyond idle hands, one pretending not to know the other, and they can only strangle each other in the resulting vacuum. The birds aren’t all looking for an excuse to fly, waiting for an accident in the no fly zone by accident.

    Choose your war, because war is coming, whether you like it or not. Government can’t beat marriage between a man and a woman as the basis of economy, but build it just as big, dumb and corrupt as you like, expecting something other than war. Hillarycare is just a breeding war, to feed the thieves in Family Law, nothing more.

    Nature makes all other relationships second class, not labor, and sooner or later, nature takes its course. Monetary policy distorts the market in favor of issuers, leaving special interests to proliferate and fight over the trickle-down distribution, further distorting the market. And somebody is surprised that the market cannot be separated from government, which can only become increasingly tyrannical?

    If life matters to you, don’t enter a stupid, short-term relationship with a snake-oil salesman. The critters make bad relationship decisions and then double and triple down on a government guarantee, which is nothing more than a pool of like-minded fools, calling it insurance, a risk-free investment; go figure. Have you noticed the psychographics (demographic credit consumption) of Facebook?

    If the self-confirming data sold by Facebook, in exchange for advertising dollars issued by the Fed, was human information, retail sales adjusted for stupid inflation would not be cratering. And Warren Buffet cannot escape, because he has his own gang of feminists circling the wagons. The AOL comparison is apt, but the MAD problem is now an order of magnitude larger.

    Do you really want to allow Facebook to define / tax labor? They have global communication; why do they need money? And what is money, other than an allowance?

    Gravity is a function of density, not the universe. “Get a a jar. And a handful of gold nuggets…” How do you find a submarine, or counter nuclear MAD?

    All the borders are artificial, and none can be defended.

      1. hunkerdown

        A clock spun backwards tells the right time more often than a stopped clock. They’re worth reading for the occasional quotable insight gleaned — for instance, “they vote themselves smarter than you” is the most succinct explanation of liberal democracy in practice (or any other pretender to meritocracy) I’ve seen yet.

        1. optimader

          “they vote themselves smarter than you”
          1,000 typing monkey patterns where they don’t really exist

          1. hunkerdown

            Patterns exist where they are found.

            On the other hand, the Google record seems to argue he’s human; I see this same voice around the internets with the same name attached to it for nearly ten years, even earning the odd guest blog here and MVA report there, and there does seem to be some trackage of theme and thought in and through them, however confusing a coaster ride that might be.

  15. Brooklin Bridge

    Ultimately, it’s the same for the US, Canada, and so on as it is for the border confused European (nation?) states. The only way they are going to really solve their border problems is to re-introduce slavery.

    The problem with immiserating foreign countries or using their misery all prepackaged (Yea, Yea, USA) for fu*king your own indigenous rock bottom labor force is that the ungrateful buggers you import -over time- get pissed off about the conditions they are forced to live in and get uppity claiming rights that everyone knows are for the elite alone (like being able to go from point A to point B in the Metro without a shake-down by cops in military dress). But that message is hard to massage, especially when you have all these pesky bills of rights floating around suggesting all manner of outlandish ideas AND the cheap imports have the AUDACITY to read them (where DID they learn that trick?)!

    Now slavery straight up resolves most of those issues. First you eliminate boarder crossings except for the nice people with money to spend. Then, you have better control over what the slave people (to use the term people loosely) learn: NOTHING except for doing their job and never, EVER, talk back to the master. Next, you can better control what toys they get to play with, like not too much fertilizer for instance. Next, slaves are almost as good as as the impoverished worker to make the nice folk feel good about themselves and their condition in life. They dive for coins and very few poor folks will do that (although giving charity, drip, drip, drip, to poor folk is hard to beat for that sublime feeling of patronage – oh well, you can;t have everything). Penultimate; as high tech starts to finally eliminate more jobs than it creates, workers are going to insist upon minimum right-to-life stipends regardless of doing absolutely nothing in return. Temerity of the worst kind, I know, but it’s a fact nevertheless. Slaves, on the other hand, would get the lash for such thoughts, proving there are at least some adults still in the room. Finally, when you’re finished with these untouchables, you just toss them to your base who, impoverished themselves, will tear them to shreds out of fear and hatred and a few carefully manufactured suggestions from your friendly MSM, all at little or no charge to you.

  16. Oregoncharles

    Straight to the chase: What are the odds Le Pen will be the next President of France? That would be bad for immigrants in France; it would also be bad for the Euro. I don’t think the Eurozone could weather France pulling out – and France would have the resources to pull it off.

    A while back, someone noted that the National Front’s economic policies were quite populist. There was a link on their policies, but I couldn’t access it. Anybody know about that?

    1. tegnost

      I guess it’ll be an indication of where we are on the bell curve, a more “rational ” response could indicate some realizations leading to other outcomes i won’t guess what because i haven’t witnessed any rational responses just kind of hoping it doesn’t go that way….probably bad for immigrants all over europe and a gigantic problem. Core countries last out of the euro

    2. David

      Since you ask, about 50/50. It depends overwhelmingly on how many candidates there are in the first round. With three candidates from the Right (Sarkozy, Le Pen and Bayrou, who has said he’ll run if Sarkozy does), and possibly even Juppé, there’s a respectable chance of a second round between Hollande (or conceivably Valls) and Le Pen. Le Pen would probably win. But she wouldn’t win a majority in Parliament, so France would be an ungovernable mess.
      The FN’s economic policy is indeed populist, in the sense that it’s much the same as the Left’s used to be, including protection of jobs and industry in France, and opposition to Brussels-inspired neoliberalism.

    3. Olivier

      Oregoncharles, I don’t have a link to offer but the FN is a national-socialist party in the strictest and plainest etymological sense, so I think you already know what its polices are. Before the Third Reich made “national socialism” a radioactive word self-described national-socialist parties were as common as dandelion in early 20th century Europe.

      The problem with a Le Pen presidency is that the FN until very recently had chosen to exist in the mediasphere (very modern of them, in a way, and the reason for Le Pen père’s numerous slips of the tongue over his long career: he had had to keep himself and his party in the papers), largely not bothering to field candidates to elections except the presidential and generally do all the usual local ground work that parties are supposed to do, with the result that the FN collectively has next to no experience of government whatsoever (a handful of town halls). This could beget a fine mess; the policies themselves (at least those they advocate) are unremarkable.

  17. VietnamVet

    The refugee problem is due to failed and failing states around Europe and the collapse of the peripheral EU border control. If the regime change chaos and if the imposition of austerity on the peripheral states were ended; the Eurozone would survive. But, war for profit and no write down of bad debt are the bedrock foundation of the globalist supra-national non-democratic institutions. The Eurozone’s collapse is built into its structure and will happen.

  18. NotSoSure

    Probably not, an attack in Germany will though. In fact, one attack there, you can say goodbye my love to the Euro as well.

  19. charles 2

    One thing that changed enormously since Schengen passed is the state of technology. Most passports in the EU have a chip, fingerprint and camera sensors are cheap and fast. The French system for automatic passport control (called PARAFE) is bulky, slow and buggy, but it doesn’t have to be so. I cross the Singapore/Malaysia border very often. It takes 10 seconds to go through the gate and one officer can easily monitor 10 gates. It is not much more than validating a public transportation ticket.
    Crossing for cars and lorries is more problematic, because one has to have someone checking the vehicle for clandestine passengers.

    1. fajensen

      but it doesn’t have to be so.
      Does too, it’s essential. See, if the favored military contractors (Thales, I bet) deliver an expensive heap of junk (late, of course) that barely works, additional money can be made along the way on cost+ support contracts and “improving” the garbage. While locking out the competition.

      Just delivering something to specs that works is merely a one-off profit – and since the entire process was uncomplicated and painless, the politicians may even decide to go for another tender in a few years already.

      Singapore / Malysia are of course also corrupt to some degree – but – I believe the penalties for embarrassing the government by delivering inferior junk in plain view of the public are immediate and harsh indeed. They trim the rat population and keep it fit.

  20. Adriatic

    As to be expected the narrative is not following the logical conclusion, which is that the wars in the M.E and N.A are creating havoc, and massive displacement of peoples. There is no mention anywhere of who the real culprits are (the real sponsors of these mercenaries of death and barbarism.)
    My prediction is that the spin will continue and The Schengen Agreement won’t be over turned. What will happen is some sort of post-911 European stile federal control, one step at the time. And as usual the fear of the other will be the beat of the marching drums.

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