EU and the Lobster Theory


June 28, 2016

New York

By TK Chua

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

EU and the Lobster Theory

The EU is like a group of friends going to a restaurant. If they know the final bill is to be divided based on what they eat, they will probably order based on their actual need and their willingness and ability to pay. However, if they know the bill is to be split evenly regardless of what they eat, it is almost certain that all of them will probably order “lobsters”.–TK Chua

EU

Maybe I belong to the old school, so I really can’t rationalise what the modern Western liberals are doing to their countries. First, they think there are unlimited free lunches. Second, they think there are simple solutions to complex problems. And third, they always prioritise instant gratification, never long term sustainability.

They formed the European Union (EU) and European Monetary Union (EMU is the adoption of the Euro as the national currency of participating members), thinking that they could leverage on economies of scale, access to bigger and freer markets, and facilitate efficiency and lower the cost of doing business. They think the sum is bigger than its individual parts.

But they have largely forgotten the loopholes, the free riders, the cheatings and the destabilisation that is associated with any union. I think this has been the problem with the EU, and if they are not careful, soon EMU too will give them a similar problem.

Obviously there are countries that consume more benefits than their fair share of costs to the EU. After a period of time, something must give, which I think is happening in the UK today.

For example, how could we have free movement of labour without looking at disruption to national cohesion and the way of life of the people? Immigration is always controlled and regulated, never unfettered and free. Malaysia is on the verge of having the same problem as the UK if we are not careful.

Similarly, free market access must always be based on quid pro quo, otherwise it is indulging in wishful thinking and expecting free lunches. Sooner than later, those lunches must be paid for.

Even for EMU, I think it will soon give way. They are essentially having a common monetary policy but with divergent fiscal, taxation, inflation and employment policies. My rudimentary knowledge in economics tells me that this is not going to work for long, before massive cheating and manipulation among member states take place. Is there any surprise why they have one debt crisis after another when the EMU was supposed to provide benefits and stability?

The EU is like a Lobster–Members should remain faithful for common interest and share the final bill. The UK  wanted a free lunch.–Din Merican

The EU is like a group of friends going to a restaurant. If they know the final bill is to be divided based on what they eat, they will probably order based on their actual need and their willingness and ability to pay. However, if they know the bill is to be split evenly regardless of what they eat, it is almost certain that all of them will probably order “lobsters”.

I hope this illustrates the problem in the EU and EMU today – everyone is ordering lobster, even though some don’t like to eat it, some can’t afford it, and some think others are going to pay for it.

TK Chua is FMT reader.

9 thoughts on “EU and the Lobster Theory

  1. Look at the EU Logo.

    It’s like King Arthur’s knights of the Round Table. All the Stars are of equal size and therefore of equal status, arranged in a circle, and therefore no chairperson or a dominant member or “king”

    It didn’t work for King Arthur and his Round Table knights.

    Looks like this well intention EU search for the Holy Grail, (which according to legend, has special powers and is designed to provide happiness, eternal youth and food in infinite abundance), of socio-political-economic abundance based purely on safety-in-numbers may end up just like that famous medieval failure, a failure.

    I think we have to finally admit that you can never ever hope to change or beat human nature.

  2. The EU is about side-lining ordinary people of entire continents… hence the overwhelming number of placards…”we want our country back”… this is the crux of the matter… not economics, not jobs, not currencies…

  3. Ah, and as another commenter puts it somewhere else on this blog, those dining alone on the can now have bananas of any shape, color and sizes his heart so desires.
    No issues there if the bananas cost way less than the lobsters but the solitary diner might soon discover that dining alone on bananas may cost the same as feasting on lobsters with his fraternity brothers.

  4. /// All the Stars are of equal size and therefore of equal status, arranged in a circle, and therefore no chairperson or a dominant member or “king” ///

    Some are more equal than others. There are only 12 stars – so these 12 star states can feast on lobsters; the other 16 states can dine on ikan bilis.

  5. It is easy to disparage the EU (and EMU). I personally agree that it has become too large and too bureaucratic. Nonetheless it is worthwhile to note that it wasn’t created for primarily economic reasons, but political ones. And it has been enormously successful politically.

    Let’s remember the historical context of the “European project.” France and Germany were bitter rivals right from the beginning of the creation of Germany in 1871. A united Germany was actually proclaimed in (occupied) Versailles at the end of the Franco-Prussian war (1870-71). The major European powers fought two war wars in the roughly 30 years between 1914 and 1945 that caused tens of millions of casualties in Europe alone.

    An observer in 1945 would need to have quite an imagination to think that a profound friendship and growing “union” among the Western European nations would flourish in the remainder of the century. Yet that is what has occurred. So much so that war among the major European powers (excluding Russia) is now considered an impossibility. This achievement should never be sniggered at.

    If lasting peace between former bitter enemies is indeed a “Holy Grail”, the European project starting with the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 and culminating in the EU has achieved that. Not for nothing did the EU win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.

  6. Citation for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize:

    The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 is to be awarded to the European Union (EU). The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.

    In the inter-war years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee made several awards to persons who were seeking reconciliation between Germany and France. Since 1945, that reconciliation has become a reality. The dreadful suffering in World War II demonstrated the need for a new Europe. Over a seventy-year period, Germany and France had fought three wars. Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable. This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners…

    The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU’s most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights. The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace.

  7. EU has 27 countries in the union, held together loosely by the EMU and its currency, €. Except for its geography, they are overtly diverse and too disproportional in term of distribution of wealth and opportunities, socio-political and economic in their representions-language, culture and ethnicity.

    LKY once said it was “wrongly conceived”, had “expanded too rapidly” and ” will probably failed”.

    Many (myself included)would agree, whether order lobster or rooster.

  8. No it is more like the Korean Eel Soft Tohfoo dish. The Soft Tohfoo is the EU. The eels are the members. Te eels are put in a pot of cold water with the Soft Tohfoo in the middle. Then the fire burns at low intensity. As the water gets warm the eels begin to swim into the comfort of the relatively cold Soft Tohfoo. Once all is in place the eels get slowly cooked and live happily ever after observing all the rules of the game inside the Soft Tohfoo. You can check-in but you cannot leave.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s