By Nancy Spannaus
May 8, 2019—I am pleased to report the publication of a new book by my son Andrew Spannaus, entitled “Original Sins: Globalization, Populism, and the Six Contradictions Facing the European Union.” This is Andrew’s first book in English, and it was written to address the crucial issues facing Europe on the eve of the European Parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for May 23.
Like Andrew’s previous books—Perché Vince Trump (Why Trump Is Winning) and La Rivolta degli Elettori (The Revolt of the Electorate)—this small volume was published by Mimesis International Press. It is available from Amazon in Kindle or softcover.
Andrew addresses the crisis of the European Union as a result of the fact that governments and the elites have abandoned national sovereignty, and the commitment to policies for the well-being of their populations, in favor of a policy of globalization which has devastated the lives of much of their populations. He concludes his introduction thus: “I come not to bury Europe, but to suggest a way for the transatlantic community to make up for its dangerous errors of the past 40 years.”
Much of the material on the European revolt which Andrew covers in this book first appeared in his Italian-language “Revolt of the Electorate.” Now that analysis is available for non-Italian speakers. For those, especially Americans, who have only the vaguest idea of what’s behind Brexit and the rise of populism in Europe, Andrew provides a cogent description of the issues behind the popular revolt, and a trenchant refutation of the arguments of those who are arguing that “more Europe” is the solution to the political crisis.
Today, Andrew is presenting the ideas in his book at Darwin College, University of Cambridge. In addition to provoking interest among academics, the issue is particularly pertinent in the United Kingdom given the current clash over democracy, sovereignty, and the European Union.
Besides advising the abandonment of the European Union’s power over national economic policy—which has resulted in the imposition of brutal austerity and the veto of necessary spending for infrastructure and social support—Andrew points to the principles laid out in the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. He concludes his Epilogue:
The restoration of national sovereignty, reviving the principle of Westphalia, could be the most effective response to the problems created by globalization. Rather than demonizing the existence of nations, it is necessary to recognize—as I have argued above—that the best way to face process that otherwise seem ungovernable, and thus offer possibilities for private interests to manipulate the system to their own benefit, is through representative governments that function principally through national institutions. To paraphrase the famous quote attributed to Winston Churchill, the nation-state is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
The principle of the sovereign nation state, committed to providing for the general welfare of its population through promotion of scientific progress, is a universal one. In the United States, it has been pioneered by the creators of the American System of Economics. In Europe, with its strong oligarchical tradition (There are still 11 monarchies in Europe, including 7 in the EU!), that principle has nevertheless flourished in certain periods, and is clearly ripe for a comeback today.
This book by Andrew Spannaus should further that prospect.