Social Guarantees

Ilan Brat and Giada Zampano wrote, in a recent Wall Street Journal piece, about job protections and their effects on the prospects of today’s children and young adults in Europe. The whole article is well worth the read for its specifics, but from my perspective, the following is the money quote, from one of those young adults, Ms Serena Violano, a 31-year-old still sharing a room with her older sister in their parents’ home:

For our parents, everything was much easier. They had the opportunity to start their own life. Instead, we don’t have any guarantees for our own future.

Therein lies the core of the failure of “social democracy.” There are no guarantees. There never were any guarantees, for Ms Violano’s parents or for anyone of that generation. Those of Ms Violano’s parents’ generation made their own futures, with no expectation that anyone, least of all government, would guarantee them anything but the freedom of their own choices and efforts. They had no other expectations because they knew that government could make no other guarantees.

The well-intentioned guarantees of social democracy, including the labor “guarantees” of which Brat and Zampano wrote, in the end can only destroy what they purport to guarantee.

2 thoughts on “Social Guarantees

  1. I disagree. The socialist governments explicitly guaranteed the outcomes for our generation – at the expense of our children’s’ future. The tragedy is alluded to in the article – the safety net of the parents is keeping discontent below the level needed to effect change (aka, real pain). I don’t think that condition will last. If nothing else, the aging process will accelerate the health care spending to bring on the actual bankruptcy, except for those folks rude enough to die and thus end the income stream supporting the “kids” …

  2. Well, I disagree back.

    The socialist governments really didn’t come into existence in post-war western Europe until they were created by our parents’ generation in order to effect those guarantees.

    Moreover, the tragedy alluded to in the article is merely an outcome. The primary tragedy is that mindset to which I referred: the expected governmental guarantee, the dependency inherent in that mindset. That doesn’t leave much room for Ms Violano’s generation, or her children’s generation, to do anything but suffer in the failure; those two generations certainly aren’t equipped to do anything about it beyond demanding more government.

    Eric Hines

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