Dangerous to ignore high unemployment rates
Letter to the Editor

Article Highlights

  • Is Niall Ferguson right to be optimistic about Eruope's political future?

    Tweet This

  • Lachman: EU optimists ignore high unemployment at their own peril

    Tweet This

  • Will high unemployment rates in the EU continue to cause political instability?

    Tweet This

Sir, One has to be surprised at Niall Ferguson’s sanguine view of the tectonic changes taking place in European politics (“A populism spurned by the downturn’s discontents”, April 18). Since, despite the recent dramatic change in the European political landscape, he only adds to the complacency in European policy circles by confidently asserting that despite the economic shocks it has experienced the European political centre will hold.

There are two basic reasons to question Professor Ferguson’s sanguine assessment. The first is that, since the onset of the sovereign debt crisis in 2010, there has already been a dramatic fragmentation of European politics. In Greece, the two main centrist parties – which in 2010 commanded about 70 per cent of the vote – today are only polling 30 per cent. Meanwhile, in major European counties such as France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK, populist parties have come from nowhere to now command between as much as 20 and 25 per cent of the vote.

The second reason is that there is every prospect that the high rates of unemployment that have been a principal factor underlying the recent crumbling of European politics are all too likely to persist. Indeed, the European Central Bank itself is forecasting that overall European unemployment will only decline from 12 per cent today to 11.5 per cent in 2016 despite the economic recovery it anticipates.

It would seem that Prof Ferguson might have served European policy makers better by raising the following basic question: if over the past four years high unemployment has caused so much political deterioration, what reason is there to expect that the maintenance of unusually high unemployment rates will not cause further damage to European political stability?

Desmond Lachman, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC, US

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Desmond
Lachman

What's new on AEI

Love people, not pleasure
image Oval Office lacks resolve on Ukraine
image Middle East Morass: A public opinion rundown of Iraq, Iran, and more
image Verizon's Inspire Her Mind ad and the facts they didn't tell you
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.