Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Fun Fact!

Did you know . . .

That Otto von Bismark, the architect of German unification in the 19th century, is credited with the origin of the European welfare state? And that he promoted a social-welfare system to try to establish a competitive differentiator with the United States, to which Germans were immigrating in massive numbers to find better opportunities for economic advancement, as well as to blunt the popularity of socialism?

Bismark's approach was, like everything that he did, an expression of the history of Germany and of Europe, in which patronage was the means by which the more powerful ensured the loyalty of the less powerful.

We simply mention this Fun Fact as a means of framing the ongoing conflict between two visions of the state's role in the economy: to provide common opportunity or to provide common benefits. Yes, it's about balance, but the determination of the "right" balance will be decided on the larger vision of what constitutes the best kind of society.

SWNID thinks that since there will always be a Europe, there also should always be an America.

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