December 17, 2005

EU vs. little green men

All the good arguments for the EU tend to start something like this "Forget about how the EU is, this is how it could be ..." Except that you cannot forget how the EU is now, especially as it seems so unlikely that it will ever be different. Like Hayek said about the FDA "you are more likely to find a barking cat" than reform it properly. The badness is too deeply embedded into it's institutional DNA.

One particularly indefensible bit the EU, the biggest bit of the EU in fact, is CAP. It is for this the UK originally was able to justify the rebate, that is the rebate that just got slashed to the tune of £7 billion over 7 years. And the change to CAP? France has promised to think about reforming it in 2009.

£7 billion is a very large number. I'm sure that you will be able to find many different ways of looking at it with reference to schools'n'hospitals. But here is one that you probably not see.

At current exchange rates £7 billion is roughly $12 billion over 7 years. Or $1,769,600,000 a year. Over 20 years this works out to $35,392,000,000. In his book "The Case for Mars" former chief engineer at Lockheed Martin Dr Robert Zubrin calculated that you could get a sustainable progamme of Mars exploration, with crews exploring for months at a time, for $20,000,000,000 over 20 years to develop the hardware, plus $2,000,000,000 per mission, if done correctly. He estimated that a government would probably have to spend around $30,000,000,000.

So for less money that the increase that the UK is putting into the EU you can develop everything that you need for sustainable Mars exploration, plus two missions, even on his higher estimate. Even then you would still have money left over. We are putting aside exploring an entire new planet, one that might be able to solve the question of whether we are alone in the universe, for what? So France will think about reforming CAP.


Blogger Neil Harding said...

Of course some of the 7 billion pounds will be spent here. The actual rebate itself will increase because of the extra payments from the enlareged union, which is why without reform we would have moved from 2nd highest net contributors to 2nd lowest.

As it happens this current deal will mean we make the same net contributions as France and Italy for the FIRST time EVER. So we are actually going to be BETTER OFF.

France's contributions have risen 120%, Italy 130% and ours just 63%. Looked at in that light it is not such a bad deal.

5:48 am  
Blogger chris said...

Having more money taken from you does not make you better off, ever. It makes you worse off. The mathematics are so simple anybody can figure it out, -1 is less than 1.

So, slightly unusually, France is as screwed that we are. Let joy be unconfined. However we are still losing a billion a year because of this, or to put it into terms you can understand 43,359 nurses.

For what exactly? If you hadn't noticed the UK is a net contributor to the EU and has been since we joined. So most of that money obviously will not been spent in the UK. It will be spent on by far the biggest single part of the EU budget, CAP. A welfare system for the already wealthy at the expense of everybody else on the planet.

6:19 pm  

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