Saturday, November 6, 2010

Daniel Hannan: The New Road to Serfdom: A Letter of Warning to America

A journalist and author, Daniel Hannan has been a British member of the European Parliament since 1999. He first came to wide notice in the United States when he made a speech on the floor of the European Parliament addressing the then-prime minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown, about his disastrous economic policies:
“The truth, Prime Minister, is that you have run out of our money … you cannot carry on forever squeezing the productive bit of the economy in order to fund an unprecedented engorgement of the unproductive bit. You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt. And when you repeat, in that wooden and perfunctory way, that our situation is better than others, that we’re ‘well-placed to weather the storm’, I have to tell you that you sound like a Brezhnev-era apparatchik giving the party line… And soon the voters too will get their chance to say so. They can see what the markets have already seen: that you are the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued government.”

Hannan's latest book is A New Road to Serfdom: A Letter of Warning to America. Amplifying on his new book, Daniel Hannan warns that the United States is Europeanizing, with all the inherent dangers that come with the expansion of the welfare state. "This expansion doesn't just reduce economic growth, it tends to squeeze out personal morality." Hannan, who connects the decline of the European family and society with the rise of cradle-to-grave welfare in Europe, has a special warning about the dangers of Obamacare: "Once politicians assume responsibility for health care, they find that they have made an almost irreversible decision." Hannan concludes that this drift to Europeanization is not inevitable if Americans honor the genius of the Founding Fathers.


  1. I'm sensing that he is probably right. I have generally thought that even with all of the horrible policy making that goes on and the enormous problems that we face we are ok as long as innovative creative people can carry out their ideas. This is the key to growing the economy and creating jobs. This is especially true today with so much information at our fingertips. It should be a gold mine for smart, energetic, creative entrepreneurs.
    But Hannan is right - the "europeanization" of America is stifling this. Barriers to entry are rising. We are moving back to '70s.

  2. Here's hoping they have a new Thatcherite revolution, but I fear that chances are slim. A prophet has no honor in his own country.

  3. Do you think that we've finally reached the point where capital consumption is outpacing capital creation? So far the welfare/warfare state has served to slow down the pace of accumulation but I don't think we've actually started reversing, until now. Will technology be productive enough to continue the process of growth? Perhaps, but the state and the socialism of money in order to benefit the bankers and the connected is acting as an ever-stronger brake to this growth.