Biblioteca della Libertà

Anno XXVI, n. 112, gennaio-marzo 1991

L'Europa del liberalismo / Le opportunità costituzionali

The Europe of Liberalism / Europe's Constitutional Opportunity

L'Europa del liberalismo / Le opportunità costituzionali

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

Europe is now presented with a once-in-history opportunity of achieving that greatness that has so long remained unrealised. A constitution is a "sine qua non" of the whole enterprise, and the only constitutional structure that is consistent with the historically-constrained setting of the 1990s is that of a federal union. The Europe of the 1990s can learn lessons from the doomed experience of the United States of America. But, in order to accomplish this grand design, individual participants must recapture something of the mind-set of the 18th century, while abandoning Hegelian mythology. An appropriate constitutional design for a federal union can allow the predicted working of interest-driven utilisation of political agency to proceed so long as the limits to damages are constrained by effective competition among the separate polities of the inclusive federation. The whole argument is illustrated by reference to a European monetary constitution. The final section concludes the paper with a defence of the prediction that Europe will, in the 1990s, establish an effective federal union.

Abstract

L'Europa del liberalismo / Quale Costituzione

The Europe of Liberalism / A Constitutional Proposal for Europe

L'Europa del liberalismo / Quale Costituzione

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

The central thesis of the paper is that Europe stands at a turning-point in its history, a "crisis" in the original Greek meaning of the term. The need for a (new) constitution of the European Community is self-evident. A Federal European Union is preferable to a loose confederation for a number of reasons: first, to keep nation-states from interfering with the free movement of people, goods, services and capital; second, to maintain peace restricting nationalisms; and, third, to grant to provinces and regions the right to secede, thus enhancing the competition of member states to provide adequate services, taxes, laws and regulations to their citizens. The last section of the paper mentions some of the more important ingredients which should be part of a European constitution, beginning with limitations on the jurisdiction of the federal union, then offering some proposals concerning the organisational structure of a European government, and concluding with provisions concerning changes to the European constitution.

Abstract

L'Europa del liberalismo / Il dopoguerra: un confronto con Stati Uniti e Giappone

The Europe of Liberalism / Postwar Economic and Social Trends in Europe. A Comparison with the United States and Japan

L'Europa del liberalismo / Il dopoguerra: un confronto con Stati Uniti e Giappone

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

The first part of this contribution reviews the most important postwar economic and social trends in Europe, similar to those in the United States and Japan (remarkable achievements, employment in the service sector, budget deficits, growing influence of capital movements, greater economic interdependence). The second part considers the differences in growth rates and current account movements. The third part examines the reasons for the recent deterioration in Western European performance, especially in the following fields: taxation, agriculture, industry, services, innovation. The conclusion stresses the consequences of a high tax burden and of the far from smooth operation of the Community markets.

Abstract

L'Europa del liberalismo / Unione monetaria e indipendenza della Banca centrale

The Europe of Liberalism / European Monetary Union and Central Bank Independence

L'Europa del liberalismo / Unione monetaria e indipendenza della Banca centrale

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

Monetary union is a form of collusion among central bankers. While collusion is clearly an inferior outcome to an ideal state of competition, it need not be worse than independent policy making as currently practiced. EMU may actually improve the quality of monetary policy in Europe. This positive outcome critically depends on an institutional design that would give the European monetary authority independence from the political system, in general, and the fiscal authorities, in particular; and would distribute seigniorage among member countries in such a way as to reinforce the incentives for low-inflation policies.

Abstract

L'Europa del liberalismo / Ma è davvero necessaria una Banca centrale?

The Europe of Liberalism / A Central Bank for Europe?

L'Europa del liberalismo / Ma è davvero necessaria una Banca centrale?

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

The customary approach to monetary integration consists in transferring national monetary organisation onto a European scale. "A super nation, a super state, a single currency, a single central bank" – this is the classical European slogan. This paper takes the opposite approach, defending the following propositions: (i) a single market in Europe does not imply a single currency; (ii) a single currency does not imply a single central bank; (iii) if, despite everything, a European central bank is to be set up, the ways of doing this may be many and various.

Abstract

L'Europa del liberalismo / Il rischio di diventare «fortezza»

The Europe of Liberalism / The Threat of "Fortress Europe"

L'Europa del liberalismo / Il rischio di diventare «fortezza»

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

The Single Market project, launched in 1985, was to be based on the principle of mutual recognition of differences, an inherently market-friendly approach. Not only firms, but every institution of society are subjected to the most intense competition. Two aspects of the modern industrial state are particularly at risk: the discretionary power of governments and the monopoly power of organised labour. Will they not in the end resist this pressure and turn on the system which has generated it? Back-sliding from the principles of mutual recognition is most evident in the EC Commission's current bid to introduce at Community level a strong dose of "approximated" social policy. The potential gains of the Single Market would be drastically reduced if a strongly interventionist and redistributive European super-structure were put in place. Furthermore, this type of policy breeds protectionism, giving an extra twist to the downward spiral of low growth and economic stagnation.
A further protectionist twist would be hard to avoid. In a world of fewer but larger firms, it is vital indeed to keep markets contestable via imports and foreign direct investment. Otherwise the scale economies will soon be internalised by the industry itself and dissipated in X-inefficiencies. The current scale of acquisitions, mergers and joint ventures in anticipation of 1992 suggests that this is a very real possibility. In short, a seemingly minor policy mistake at this stage in the Single Market process could easily end in disaster.

Abstract

L'Europa del liberalismo / Il deficit costituzionale

The Europe of Liberalism / Europe's Constitutional Deficit

L'Europa del liberalismo / Il deficit costituzionale

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

Beyond 1992, Britain and her EC partners will wish to set new priorities. These priorities may require a rather different balance in Community structures and institutions. The techniques and institutions appropriate to push through the achievement of a single market may not be those appropriate to Europe post-1992, when difficult questions of monetary, social, defence and political co-operation may be on the agenda. This paper, therefore, looks at the powers of the EC Commission, and in particular its power to initiate and propose legislation; the various forms of limitations of the exercise of those powers; and the safeguards available to member states. The paper compares the position of member states in the EC with that of governments and permanent institutions within other international organisations. The paper suggests that existing limitations on the Commission's powers – particularly its power to propose legislation – are weak, and examines a number of ways in which this "democratic" or "constitutional" deficit can be redressed.

Abstract

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