I have been asked by the LSE’s Brexit blog to comment on the speech in which Boris Johnson used John Stuart Mill’s words to make the case for the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. You can read my post here – comments are welcome!
Stathis N. Kalyvas, Modern Greece. What Everyone Needs to Know, Oxford University Press, 2015
I bought Modern Greece. What Everyone Needs to Know not much time after its publication. I was curious about modern Greek history, which I did not know much about, as Greece used to be mentioned frequently in newspapers headlines during that period – but I found time to read it much later (and time to write about it only now).
I am no historian, while Stathis Kalyvas is a political scientist at Yale University: this means that I am neither willing nor able to properly judge his attempt to provide a useful resource for those approaching to Greece’s recent history. I only have a few comments or remarks, along with a short summary.
First of all, the book seems pretty convincing in expounding a trajectory made of boom-bust-bailout cycles over the last two centuries: on several occasions, Greek élites have set out ambitious goals, which then turned out to be risky or simply unaffordable in the short term. These efforts generated crisis which generally ended up with some form of foreign intervention. At the end of each cycle, Greece had found itself struggling for a while, but, at the very end, it used to find itself better than it used to be at the beginning of the same cycle – and actually, Greece has not been a late modernizer, but one of the first countries to catch up with Western Europe. If you go through the book, starting from the fight for national independence and finishing with the Eurozone crisis, you will be quite convinced – as I have been – that this recurring pattern has effectively taken place in Greek history.
Question: What are the European topics you probably could agree on with Mr Schäuble?
YV: That Europe needs a political union and that, without it, our monetary union is problematic.
In his examination of John Stuart Mill’s thought on Europe in Mill’s works Bentham, On Liberty and Utilitarianism, Simon Glendinning has shown why, according to Mill, we are Europeans because we are not one. He also states that European greatness stems from cultural and national diversities across the continent and that the danger of stationariness (in Mill’s own words) comes from uniformity of thought. As a lesson for today, Glendinning argues that the European Union can be successful only if it preserves diversity and prevents intolerance.
However, through an investigation of what is probably Mill’s main work in the field of political theory, Considerations on Representative Government, we may find further hints on why European federalists should consider a plurality of nationalities as positive and how a proper federation should be built. (Read the full article on EUROPP)