A corker from Spiegel Online. Gabor Steingart calls for a European-American free-trade zone, something that Angela herself is apparently quite keen on. Me too, if only because then I’d sleep more soundly in the knowledge that Marmite isn’t going to be next.
Alas, Mr Steingart is plainly mad. Evident from the outset is his real bugbear, not protectionism but … The Chinaman.
Asian businessmen are probably the friendliest conquerors the world has ever seen. But despite the politeness and the smiles, Western governments must act quickly to combat the rise of China and Asia.
He goes on to combine economic illiteracy with a quite impressive xenophobia:
The world war for wealth calls for a different, but every bit as contradictory, solution. Alas, once again many lack the imagination to see that the aims of our economic opponents are far from peaceful. Yet what sets this situation apart from what we usually call a conflict — what paralyzes the West — is how quietly the enemy is advancing.
A stoic and dark superpower
Their secret is stoic perseverance, the weapon they use to pursue their own interests while at the same time disregarding ours. What looks like a market economy in Asia, actually follows the rules of a type of society which former German chancellor Ludwig Erhard liked to call a “termite state.” In a termite state, it is the collective rather than the individual which sets the agenda. Tasks that serve the aims of society’s leaders are assigned to the individual in a clandestine manner that is barely perceptible to outsiders. It is a state that encourages as much collective behavior as possible but only as much freedom as necessary. We don’t know what they feel, we don’t know what they think and we have no way of guessing what they are planning. Indeed, this is what makes China a dark superpower.
Bogus analogies involving insects. Vague allusions to Asian single-mindedness and inscrutability. It’s almost quaint.
Steingart heads Der Spiegel’s Berlin office. He was apparently chosen as `The Economic Writer of the Year’ in 2004, although it’s not clear by whom. When it comes to sub-Goldsmithian econo-populism tinged with a rather, shall we say, ‘interesting’ politics, Steingart apparently has form. When a numpty like this espouses (ostensible) free-market reforms, I start to worry. It would be so much easier if he were on the other side.