Friday, January 09, 2009

Where is Canada's Vaclav Klaus?

... Looking for ways out, we should – to use an analogy – strictly differentiate between fighting the fire and drafting fire protection legislation. We have to concentrate on the first task now; the second one can be done gradually, without haste and panic. A big increase in financial regulation, as is being proposed so often these days, will only prolong the recession. Growth in the global economy is falling rapidly, the banks have ceased to grant credit and confidence is ebbing. Radically changing regulation governing financial institutions in the midst of recession is counterproductive.

Aggregate demand needs strengthening. One traditional way to do this is to increase government expenditures, probably in public infrastructure projects, on condition these are available. It would be much more helpful, however, to have a great reduction in all kinds of restrictions on private initiatives introduced in the last half a century during the era of the brave new world of the “social and ecological market economy”. The best thing to do now would be temporarily to weaken, if not repeal, various labour, environmental, social, health and other “standards”, because they block rational human activity more than anything else.


Our historical experience gives us a clear instruction: we always need more of markets and less of government intervention. We also know that government failure is more costly than market failure.

We can also count on the fact that the Czech government will hopefully not be the champion of global warming alarmism. The Czechs feel that freedom and prosperity are much more endangered than the climate. The uniqueness of current levels of global warming is not a proven phenomenon. The explanation of factors that are contributing to global warming is not very clear and persuasive. Moves to mitigate climate change by fighting carbon dioxide emissions are useless and, what is most important, human beings have proved themselves to be sufficiently adaptable to an incrementally changing climate. We should turn our attention to other, really daunting issues.

The world in the year 2009 will not be spared armed conflicts, international terrorism, and territorial and religious disputes which – no matter how geographically distant they may be – will have consequences for all of us. We know that peace cannot be declared unilaterally and that long-lasting solutions are usually not the ones that are imposed from abroad. The Czech government will not support external interventions into the domestic affairs of sovereign countries. We should resist being seduced by philosopher-king ambitions.

The pragmatic Czechs – with all their criticism of European decision-making mechanisms – will not attempt to initiate a pan-European “velvet revolution” but will promote their interests and priorities. We will treat others as we expect to be treated: with respect for different views. We will be happy if a common denominator in – at least – some cases can be found. Reliance on negotiations and on the positive effect of the diversity of views is what makes Europe Europe.


Vaclav Klaus, "Do not tie the markets - free them"