Politics Should Belgium Separate?

well it's failed since the lower classes cannot even pay for their own utilities as they could 30 years ago.............how many die in Britain each year because they could not afford heating?. Utilities once belonged to the government and now privately owned has sent prices skyrocketing. Even in Australian I have seen my utilities costs in the past 5 years increase by 700%. all due to profit for these private companies. While these same utilities under government where run at a break even cost. The rubbish is that these private owners say they need the money for maintenance , but that's all lies because the contract is that Government still pay for maintenance.
The main differences between Australia and say Spain and Italy is that in the DeCentralised Federation of Australia, all taxes collect from each state are returned in full to that state for it's use...........its not like Italy where the Centralised state gathers different rates of taxes and sends back ONLY a small portion to the region that collected it.........Veneto loose 20Billion in taxes due to this each year
Then Italy also has some regions that pay zero tax to Italy( Rome) ...like Siciliy or only 30% tax like Aosta.........there are 5 such regions that have Different rules ( I linked this system to this forum before)

In the end , independence for these small "nations" might not solve any of these issues, but the fact that having their own nation gives them a way of finding their own destiny.

Big nations have too much say in the EU.........it cannot work, you have nations like Germany, France etc dictating laws to the EU how it will be done and why it will be done for the benefit of their own nation............tell me how it can work. They need to be separated/broken up

Nationalism isn't to blame for neo-conservative political policies. That problem was created by allowing corporations to buy politicians and I think the problem can be worse in smaller states that are easier for massive corporations to manipulate and threaten. And voters have only themselves to blame when they vote for politicians and parties that suggest stupid things such as putting public utilities and essential services in private hands. So it's partly a failure of public educational systems in that they haven't taught people how governments and economies work, and it's partly a failure of citizens in that they couldn't be bothered to learn what they need to learn in order to maintain a functioning democracy.

Regional inequities in taxations systems can be very frustrating - I live in a province that pays much more to the federal government than it receives. But such arrangements are sometimes necessary in order to limit the inequities in poorer regions, and are sometimes also necessary in order to dampen regional separatist sentiments. People from different regions are much more likely to get along if they have the same access to things such as education and health care.

I don't think you have a winning argument when you say that separatism is necessary because larger nations work better. Germany and France are not going to fragment precisely because their citizens see the benefits of being part of a larger political entity. Some people in Bavaria or Brittany may hate the centre but they agree to remain part of one nation because they know they're much better off that way.
 
Nationalism isn't to blame for neo-conservative political policies. That problem was created by allowing corporations to buy politicians and I think the problem can be worse in smaller states that are easier for massive corporations to manipulate and threaten. And voters have only themselves to blame when they vote for politicians and parties that suggest stupid things such as putting public utilities and essential services in private hands. So it's partly a failure of public educational systems in that they haven't taught people how governments and economies work, and it's partly a failure of citizens in that they couldn't be bothered to learn what they need to learn in order to maintain a functioning democracy.

Regional inequities in taxations systems can be very frustrating - I live in a province that pays much more to the federal government than it receives. But such arrangements are sometimes necessary in order to limit the inequities in poorer regions, and are sometimes also necessary in order to dampen regional separatist sentiments. People from different regions are much more likely to get along if they have the same access to things such as education and health care.

I don't think you have a winning argument when you say that separatism is necessary because larger nations work better. Germany and France are not going to fragment precisely because their citizens see the benefits of being part of a larger political entity. Some people in Bavaria or Brittany may hate the centre but they agree to remain part of one nation because they know they're much better off that way.

of course nationalism is to blame, they promised in the 19th century that the lower classes would be better off, granted they succeeded until 30 or so years ago. Now they cannot deliver on their promises, the people want a change. Its time to look after one self .............especially since globalization can bring more wealth to smaller nations far quicker than bigger ones.
A change to small ethnic nations that they will belong to and that they can set a future path for.

I fail to understand why these large nations are so so enraged that some of their people want to take their lands and leave, its not as if this nation has owned these lands since time in memorial.
 
of course nationalism is to blame, they promised in the 19th century that the lower classes would be better off, granted they succeeded until 30 or so years ago. Now they cannot deliver on their promises, the people want a change. Its time to look after one self .............especially since globalization can bring more wealth to smaller nations far quicker than bigger ones.
A change to small ethnic nations that they will belong to and that they can set a future path for.

I fail to understand why these large nations are so so enraged that some of their people want to take their lands and leave, its not as if this nation has owned these lands since time in memorial.

Globalization is about large international corporations weakening governments, so the corporations can enslave ordinary citizens. The concept of global corporations, freed from political controls, is a much more modern concept than the nation state, but global corporations are rapidly threatening the survival of the nation state, in some cases by funding separatist movements and in other cases by funding anti-government sentiment. One of the best known examples of billionaire funding of anti-government sentiment is the American Tea Party, which was created by professional organizers and paid for by an organization called Americans for Prosperity, which is largely funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers, but there are other examples of such corporate subversion around the world. The goal, as stated by some billionaires, is to get rid of such things as health and safety regulations for the work place, environmental regulations, public education and public healthcare. If the billionaires succeed, most of us will be serfs, owned by a few very rich people.

There are separatist movements that come about because of genuine disaffection between different parts of a country, and that seems to be the case in Belgium, but if the very rich think they can exploit such a conflict for money or power, they will.
 
Globalization is about large international corporations weakening governments, so the corporations can enslave ordinary citizens. The concept of global corporations, freed from political controls, is a much more modern concept than the nation state, but global corporations are rapidly threatening the survival of the nation state, in some cases by funding separatist movements and in other cases by funding anti-government sentiment. One of the best known examples of billionaire funding of anti-government sentiment is the American Tea Party, which was created by professional organizers and paid for by an organization called Americans for Prosperity, which is largely funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers, but there are other examples of such corporate subversion around the world. The goal, as stated by some billionaires, is to get rid of such things as health and safety regulations for the work place, environmental regulations, public education and public healthcare. If the billionaires succeed, most of us will be serfs, owned by a few very rich people.
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Tell us Aberdin, what will corporations do with us, ordinary people, when in few decades they will only employ robots and won't care for sucking dry employees or human slaves?
 
Tell us Aberdin, what will corporations do with us, ordinary people, when in few decades they will only employ robots and won't care for sucking dry employees or human slaves?

Go to the U.S. and ask someone who lives in the post-apocalyptical landscape called Detroit. They'll probably say "we'll all be let to starve, much like what's already happening in Detroit". But I suspect things will be taken care of by some airborne disease.
 
Go to the U.S. and ask someone who lives in the post-apocalyptical landscape called Detroit. They'll probably say "we'll all be let to starve, much like what's already happening in Detroit". But I suspect things will be taken care of by some airborne disease.
Detroit failed to move with times. You can't start industry and think it will last to the end of the world. Industry and politicians got complacent and lazy. If industry was rich in Detroit but people were poor you would have a good case that business sucked people dry. However in this case the industry, the city and people are almost bankrupt. So who benefited?
Anyway people are needed to buy products, so how these bad companies could exist in apocalyptical landscape with poor people or dead people? Who is going to buy and consume their products to make them rich?
I would like to stress this again here: Poor people are not good for business. Well off people are great for business, they keep buying and buying and buying...
 
Detroit failed to move with times. You can't start industry and think it will last to the end of the world. Industry and politicians got complacent and lazy. If industry was rich in Detroit but people were poor you would have a good case that business sucked people dry. However in this case the industry, the city and people are almost bankrupt. So who benefited?
Anyway people are needed to buy products, so how these bad companies could exist in apocalyptical landscape with poor people or dead people? Who is going to buy and consume their products to make them rich?
I would like to stress this again here: Poor people are not good for business. Well off people are great for business, they keep buying and buying and buying...

You seem to assume that people think logically, or at least that rich people do, and that they think the same way most people do about life, the universe and everything. But I suspect that if you offered some power hungry businessmen a choice between running a successful business or turning the clock back to the Middle Ages so that they could own serfs, some of them would prefer the latter. That might not seem like a logical choice if one assumes that business people are all about running successful businesses. But I suspect the really rich ones, the billionaires, actually care more about power.

However, we're getting a bit off topic. Wallonia was apparently a once prosperous part of the world that entered an economic decline, but I doubt you're find the kind of poverty there that one can find in Detroit. The difference, I suspect, is that the government of Belgium assumed it had to do something about the situation in Wallonia, whereas America's more business inclined politicians seem to have left Detroit to collapse into entropy, which also seems to be what Greek politicians are now doing in Greece. The neo-con rot is spreading and it leaves massive problems in its wake. Not that Wallonia doesn't have problems, but things could be worse and probably would be if globalization had been embraced in Belgium as much as it has been in some other countries. The interesting issue to me is that Walloons aren't as completely beaten down as the serfs of Detroit but I don't know whether that hinders or helps the separatist movement in Wallonia. Do people rebel when they've lost everything or when they think they still have something to fight for? I suspect people fight when they feel they still have some hope, not once they're completely beaten.
 
You seem to assume that people think logically, or at least that rich people do, and that they think the same way most people do about life, the universe and everything.
Good point. Most people act on emotions of their basic nature, and traditions but not logic. What I'm assuming is that the good economic system takes it under consideration and rewards more the ones who act for the good of the people. Education increases skills and better choices; science invents new things; capitalism produces goods most efficiently; democracy increases tolerance, inclusiveness, and freedoms; general prosperity acts in anti-corruption mechanism. Good system makes up for human imperfection and encourages and rewards behaviour aimed at betterment of humankind.


But I suspect that if you offered some power hungry businessmen a choice between running a successful business or turning the clock back to the Middle Ages so that they could own serfs, some of them would prefer the latter.
Really? Stinky wealthy people can pay people around them so much that most of these people will do whatever rich want, or close to what full serf would do. If they trade it for slaves in Middle Ages, would they travel in their private jets to their yacht at the sea? Would they enjoy ice cream and ice in their scotch, served in their air conditioned mansion in Hawaii? Not mentioning that in Middle Ages they could have been poisoned by their power hungry younger brother. At least now they have a chance to overdose on heroin from all the stress and boredom of our modern world. ;)

I'm not convinced that most business people are power hungry and want to dominate the world. The biggest examples of dominating behaviour is among politicians (Venezuela, N Korea, Russia) than among richest people on planet like Gates or Buffett. I'm not saying that the rich don't have influence over politics, or there is no corruption. But there is so many power centers in business that it is impossible for even whole industry to call shots. For example weapon producers want to influence conflicts, but computer and automakers want peace, because they sell most products when people work, make money and don't fight. Also Obama-care is the example how political/social ideas trumps over established trillion dollar medical and insurance business. I think in most situation these powercenter cancel each other, therefore no one dominates.



That might not seem like a logical choice if one assumes that business people are all about running successful businesses. But I suspect the really rich ones, the billionaires, actually care more about power.
Even if this is true, every rich man has different ideas and opinions to make a united front of rich people, to rule the world.




However, we're getting a bit off topic. Wallonia was apparently a once prosperous part of the world that entered an economic decline, but I doubt you're find the kind of poverty there that one can find in Detroit. The difference, I suspect, is that the government of Belgium assumed it had to do something about the situation in Wallonia, whereas America's more business inclined politicians seem to have left Detroit to collapse into entropy, which also seems to be what Greek politicians are now doing in Greece. The neo-con rot is spreading and it leaves massive problems in its wake. Not that Wallonia doesn't have problems, but things could be worse and probably would be if globalization had been embraced in Belgium as much as it has been in some other countries. The interesting issue to me is that Walloons aren't as completely beaten down as the serfs of Detroit but I don't know whether that hinders or helps the separatist movement in Wallonia. Do people rebel when they've lost everything or when they think they still have something to fight for? I suspect people fight when they feel they still have some hope, not once they're completely beaten.
Wallonia is the prime example what happens to the country without business, corporations and capital investment. Yes, corporations are not perfect and full of stupid and greedy people. However in well run system they still give good results to the whole country and society.
 
Good point. Most people act on emotions of their basic nature, and traditions but not logic. What I'm assuming is that the good economic system takes it under consideration and rewards more the ones who act for the good of the people. Education increases skills and better choices; science invents new things; capitalism produces goods most efficiently; democracy increases tolerance, inclusiveness, and freedoms; general prosperity acts in anti-corruption mechanism. Good system makes up for human imperfection and encourages and rewards behaviour aimed at betterment of humankind.



Really? Stinky wealthy people can pay people around them so much that most of these people will do whatever rich want, or close to what full serf would do. If they trade it for slaves in Middle Ages, would they travel in their private jets to their yacht at the sea? Would they enjoy ice cream and ice in their scotch, served in their air conditioned mansion in Hawaii? Not mentioning that in Middle Ages they could have been poisoned by their power hungry younger brother. At least now they have a chance to overdose on heroin from all the stress and boredom of our modern world. ;)

I'm not convinced that most business people are power hungry and want to dominate the world. The biggest examples of dominating behaviour is among politicians (Venezuela, N Korea, Russia) than among richest people on planet like Gates or Buffett. I'm not saying that the rich don't have influence over politics, or there is no corruption. But there is so many power centers in business that it is impossible for even whole industry to call shots. For example weapon producers want to influence conflicts, but computer and automakers want peace, because they sell most products when people work, make money and don't fight. Also Obama-care is the example how political/social ideas trumps over established trillion dollar medical and insurance business. I think in most situation these powercenter cancel each other, therefore no one dominates.



Even if this is true, every rich man has different ideas and opinions to make a united front of rich people, to rule the world.





Wallonia is the prime example what happens to the country without business, corporations and capital investment. Yes, corporations are not perfect and full of stupid and greedy people. However in well run system they still give good results to the whole country and society.

Amen and Amen.
 
Nationalism isn't to blame for neo-conservative political policies. That problem was created by allowing corporations to buy politicians and I think the problem can be worse in smaller states that are easier for massive corporations to manipulate and threaten. And voters have only themselves to blame when they vote for politicians and parties that suggest stupid things such as putting public utilities and essential services in private hands. So it's partly a failure of public educational systems in that they haven't taught people how governments and economies work, and it's partly a failure of citizens in that they couldn't be bothered to learn what they need to learn in order to maintain a functioning democracy.

Regional inequities in taxations systems can be very frustrating - I live in a province that pays much more to the federal government than it receives. But such arrangements are sometimes necessary in order to limit the inequities in poorer regions, and are sometimes also necessary in order to dampen regional separatist sentiments. People from different regions are much more likely to get along if they have the same access to things such as education and health care.

I don't think you have a winning argument when you say that separatism is necessary because larger nations work better. Germany and France are not going to fragment precisely because their citizens see the benefits of being part of a larger political entity. Some people in Bavaria or Brittany may hate the centre but they agree to remain part of one nation because they know they're much better off that way.


Well, I agree with paragraphs two and three, but couldn't disagree more with paragraph number one.

Given the increasing demand, driven mainly by the developing nations, the only way that energy costs can be kept down for the consumer is for the government to subsidize the cost. The energy has to be paid for, no matter what, wo in those countries which do not have private utility companies, it comes from the taxes paid by the citizenry. It's still being paid for, as everything must, and at the higher rate, it's just that the more taxed members of society are paying the energy costs of those paying fewer or no taxes.

I happen to think that's elementary economics and all school children should be taught it. :)

As to how this all relates to smaller regions declaring independence, unless the region is, say, like Scotland, and has its own energy resources, it's going to be at the mercy of those countries that can provide energy to it, and as a small entity it's in a terrible bargaining situation and will basically have to pay whatever is asked.

And if big corporations are buying politicians, so are unions and other special interest groups. It's a bazaar.

As for Detroit, industry leaders got lazy, didn't keep up with the times and on and on, but the city of Detroit's problems have other causes as well, among them the policies adopted by the hardly conservative city government. When you pay extremely high benefits to city workers of all stripes (not to mention all the corruption that went on), and then the tax base is lower because of the problems with the automotive industry (one of the perils of being a one industry town) and you meet that situation by imposing very high taxes on the middle class and upper class, those people flee, further reducing your tax base. The result is bankruptcy. The wages of drugs, single motherhood and gangs just adds to the disaster.
 
www.upworthy.com/guess-what-percentage-of-american-children-are-living-in-poverty-seriously-guess

Having an emotional attachment to a particular political or economic system is all very well, but one has to consider what the data says.
sorry but there is not even a clue how this statistic measure, not even who made it. It could be self reporting, it could be by national standards, and another way is to make poverty statistics by international standards with threshold at 2 dollars a day per person. You can also set poverty statistics measuring how many don't pay income tax, because of inadequate income, and pulled amount of kids these people have. In this case you would get US poverty level at 50%. So which way you think they measured the poverty?
Here is two different ways from wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_percentage_of_population_living_in_poverty
 
It's probably a cultural tendency of French speakers to centralise all the power and jobs in the capital. The same is true in France. Dutch speakers are more like the Germans, Italians and Spaniards and prefer a decentralised system.

Centralization is the bane of Wallonia. Under an illusion of an unified "Belgium", it has focused for decades its workforce and energy on a city that isn't even in Wallonia! So the real core of French speaking economy is left out of any statistics regarding Wallonia thus rendering Wallonia a complete backwater. Liège and Charleroi are left over.
A bit as if you let Paris or London out of statistics regarding the wealth of respectively France and England; both countries would appear quite poor.
Flanders as slowly shifted its socioeconomic epicenter toward Antwerp, within their border. I think Wallonia should decentralize toward itself, like Flanders did.
 
sorry but there is not even a clue how this statistic measure, not even who made it. It could be self reporting, it could be by national standards, and another way is to make poverty statistics by international standards with threshold at 2 dollars a day per person. You can also set poverty statistics measuring how many don't pay income tax, because of inadequate income, and pulled amount of kids these people have. In this case you would get US poverty level at 50%. So which way you think they measured the poverty?
Here is two different ways from wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_percentage_of_population_living_in_poverty

The statistic I referred to has been confirmed by a number of organizations, including the U.N. The U.S. is a very wealthy country that performs very poorly, when compared to other developed nations, in a number of key measurements, such as child poverty, percentage of overall population living in poverty, people without access to health care, etc. The problem, IMO, is clearly not that the U.S. allows free enterprise but that it doesn't leaven capitalism with social democracy. And I don't see any validity in comparing the U.S. to "developing" nations such as Liberia - compare the U.S. to other developed countries and it performs poorly as measured by a number of important factors. Of course, that wasn't the case before the so-called Reagan revolution. Draw your own conclusions. But I'd rather live in Wallonia than Detroit, Newark or south central Los Angeles.
 
Well, I agree with paragraphs two and three, but couldn't disagree more with paragraph number one.

Given the increasing demand, driven mainly by the developing nations, the only way that energy costs can be kept down for the consumer is for the government to subsidize the cost. The energy has to be paid for, no matter what, wo in those countries which do not have private utility companies, it comes from the taxes paid by the citizenry. It's still being paid for, as everything must, and at the higher rate, it's just that the more taxed members of society are paying the energy costs of those paying fewer or no taxes.

I happen to think that's elementary economics and all school children should be taught it. :)

As to how this all relates to smaller regions declaring independence, unless the region is, say, like Scotland, and has its own energy resources, it's going to be at the mercy of those countries that can provide energy to it, and as a small entity it's in a terrible bargaining situation and will basically have to pay whatever is asked.

And if big corporations are buying politicians, so are unions and other special interest groups. It's a bazaar.

As for Detroit, industry leaders got lazy, didn't keep up with the times and on and on, but the city of Detroit's problems have other causes as well, among them the policies adopted by the hardly conservative city government. When you pay extremely high benefits to city workers of all stripes (not to mention all the corruption that went on), and then the tax base is lower because of the problems with the automotive industry (one of the perils of being a one industry town) and you meet that situation by imposing very high taxes on the middle class and upper class, those people flee, further reducing your tax base. The result is bankruptcy. The wages of drugs, single motherhood and gangs just adds to the disaster.

Emotion seems to be clouding your usually keen brain, Angela. Or perhaps you aren't aware of the data concerning energy costs once they're "privatized". I can tell you that energy here in Ontario was in no way subsidized when it was fully in the hands of government. Public utilities were actually profitable. And yet, once the system was partly sold off to corporations, costs soared dramatically, and in precisely those parts of the system that were "privatized". It's only since privately owned corporations became involved that some have been suggesting that subsidies may become necessary for low income people, although that hasn't been done yet. The same thing happened in many other jurisdictions. The reality is that when we let privately owned corporations take over essential services, they hurt the economy through price gouging. That's simple fact, and I think all school children and geneticists should be taught this information.

And, while I agree that smaller economic units generally don't function as well as larger units, that's not a universal rule. In fact, much of Britain'e electrical power comes from dams on waterfalls and lochs in northern Scotland. And yet the people of northern Scotland pay far more for their electricity than people in England do. That is in fact one of the drivers of the separatist movement.

As for Detroit, I suspect that much of the rhetoric about how it got that way is thinly veiled racism, although I would assume you aren't aware of that. And a lot of what's been said about Detroit is simply false. For example, wages for city employees, on average, were not in fact all that high. I've discussed the issue with an economics professor at a Canadian university who visited places like Flint and Detroit to find out how the urban blight was created and whether it could happen elsewhere. She concluded that Detroit's troubles started in the 1950s when the level of automation in auto assembly and auto parts factories increased, reducing the number of people needed in those factories. Further automation over the decades compounded the problem. The fact that no state or federal government intervened to encourage population relocation or managed the reduction in size of the city meant that as people left of their own volition, buildings were abandoned, services were decreased and urban decay and urban crime increased correspondingly. The problem is not that some urban areas shrank but that the American political system didn't manage the change as well as many European countries have. Wallonia may have its problems, but it wasn't as severely neglected as the post-industrial areas of the U.S. so life hasn't decayed as much in Wallonia as it has in some American cities. Some degree of urban decay, reduction in services and a resulting increase in corruption and crime seems to have incurred in Wallonia, as Maciamo has explained, and perhaps some blight is unavoidable when an area declines economically, but things haven't reached the same level as in post-industrial areas that are neglected by government. I think there's an important lesson there.
 
Not that Wallonia doesn't have problems, but things could be worse and probably would be if globalization had been embraced in Belgium as much as it has been in some other countries. The interesting issue to me is that Walloons aren't as completely beaten down as the serfs of Detroit but I don't know whether that hinders or helps the separatist movement in Wallonia. Do people rebel when they've lost everything or when they think they still have something to fight for? I suspect people fight when they feel they still have some hope, not once they're completely beaten.

Wallonians never had anything against the Flemish and the Flemish never had anything against Wallonians until De Wever (the NVA leader) told them to. I hate the PS party as much as anyone but let's admit they are the reason Wallonia didn't fall down to the level of some parts of northern England during the Thatcher years (and I guess Detroit and the likes under Reagan); because at Federal level, Belgium has always been very much a very neoliberal state, with neoliberal (and flemish) prime ministers (Leterme, Verhofstadt, Mertens, Dehaene) which was not the ideal politics for Wallonia and its falling industries. The PS was seen as a local rampart against this. Not to minimize the negative impact the PS had on Wallonia of course; I'm just exposing the logic behind the PS vote (it has nothing to do with a "plot against the Flemish" like I hear sometimes).

Traditionally, people rebel when they are hungry; and the quality of life in Wallonia is still relatively high, perhaps higher than the much richer adjacent German area of Nordrhein Westfalen, with its youth forced to work at McJobs for crap wages. (Quality of life is not necesseraly linked to wealth; for example the little town of Marche-en-Famenne is often listed in the Top 5 of the poorest Belgian towns, yet it is often listed in the Top 5 belgian towns with the highest quality of life).
 
Wallonians never had anything against the Flemish and the Flemish never had anything against Wallonians until De Wever (the NVA leader) told them to. I hate the PS party as much as anyone but let's admit they are the reason Wallonia didn't fall down to the level of some parts of northern England during the Thatcher years (and I guess Detroit and the likes under Reagan); because at Federal level, Belgium has always been very much a very neoliberal state, with neoliberal (and flemish) prime ministers (Leterme, Verhofstadt, Mertens, Dehaene) which was not the ideal politics for Wallonia and its falling industries. The PS was seen as a local rampart against this. Not to minimize the negative impact the PS had on Wallonia of course; I'm just exposing the logic behind the PS vote (it has nothing to do with a "plot against the Flemish" like I hear sometimes).

Traditionally, people rebel when they are hungry; and the quality of life in Wallonia is still relatively high, perhaps higher than the much richer adjacent German area of Nordrhein Westfalen, with its youth forced to work at McJobs for crap wages. (Quality of life is not necesseraly linked to wealth; for example the little town of Marche-en-Famenne is often listed in the Top 5 of the poorest Belgian towns, yet it is often listed in the Top 5 belgian towns with the highest quality of life).

The Walloon PS have never prevented the collapse of the Walloon economy, on the contrary they consumed all possible resources to fight the symptoms. As long as they can find more taxpayers money and put the country in deeper debts to confort their voting public they will stay in power.
It is logical Flemish people are revolting against this, there is no De Wever needed for that.
Walloon socialists are trying to label as a fascist and a traitor to the Belgian state anyone who raises his voice to loud against them, but they are the cause of the separist movements.
 
The Walloon PS have never prevented the collapse of the Walloon economy, on the contrary they consumed all possible resources to fight the symptoms. As long as they can find more taxpayers money and put the country in deeper debts to confort their voting public they will stay in power.
It is logical Flemish people are revolting against this, there is no De Wever needed for that.
Walloon socialists are trying to label as a fascist and a traitor to the Belgian state anyone who raises his voice to loud against them, but they are the cause of the separist movements.

Do you think the Walloon people are happy about the fact the PS never prevented the collapse of the Walloon economy? It's a Walloon problem before being a Flemish problem.
 
Emotion seems to be clouding your usually keen brain, Angela. Or perhaps you aren't aware of the data concerning energy costs once they're "privatized". I can tell you that energy here in Ontario was in no way subsidized when it was fully in the hands of government. Public utilities were actually profitable. And yet, once the system was partly sold off to corporations, costs soared dramatically, and in precisely those parts of the system that were "privatized". It's only since privately owned corporations became involved that some have been suggesting that subsidies may become necessary for low income people, although that hasn't been done yet. The same thing happened in many other jurisdictions. The reality is that when we let privately owned corporations take over essential services, they hurt the economy through price gouging. That's simple fact, and I think all school children and geneticists should be taught this information.

And, while I agree that smaller economic units generally don't function as well as larger units, that's not a universal rule. In fact, much of Britain'e electrical power comes from dams on waterfalls and lochs in northern Scotland. And yet the people of northern Scotland pay far more for their electricity than people in England do. That is in fact one of the drivers of the separatist movement.

As for Detroit, I suspect that much of the rhetoric about how it got that way is thinly veiled racism, although I would assume you aren't aware of that. And a lot of what's been said about Detroit is simply false. For example, wages for city employees, on average, were not in fact all that high. I've discussed the issue with an economics professor at a Canadian university who visited places like Flint and Detroit to find out how the urban blight was created and whether it could happen elsewhere. She concluded that Detroit's troubles started in the 1950s when the level of automation in auto assembly and auto parts factories increased, reducing the number of people needed in those factories. Further automation over the decades compounded the problem. The fact that no state or federal government intervened to encourage population relocation or managed the reduction in size of the city meant that as people left of their own volition, buildings were abandoned, services were decreased and urban decay and urban crime increased correspondingly. The problem is not that some urban areas shrank but that the American political system didn't manage the change as well as many European countries have. Wallonia may have its problems, but it wasn't as severely neglected as the post-industrial areas of the U.S. so life hasn't decayed as much in Wallonia as it has in some American cities. Some degree of urban decay, reduction in services and a resulting increase in corruption and crime seems to have incurred in Wallonia, as Maciamo has explained, and perhaps some blight is unavoidable when an area declines economically, but things haven't reached the same level as in post-industrial areas that are neglected by government. I think there's an important lesson there.


Thanks, I guess?
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Seriously, Aberdeen, there are issues about which I get emotional, but Belgian independence isn't one of them.

Obviously, we come from slightly different parts of the political spectrum. While I certainly see that there are things which can be criticized about capitalism, I still think it's far better than the alternatives. I hope that doesn't mean that we can't continue to have the kinds of rational discussions which I have much enjoyed. However, if you start bandying around words like racism, then all discussion is going to cease. I don't have a racist bone in my body, which should be obvious to anyone who has read my posts.

I also have more than a passing acquaintance with the problems of the inner cities, so forgive me if I'm not overwhelmed by the insight of a Canadian academic passing through...although the point she made about automation is quite valid. The situation is just much more complicated than that...

For one thing, you mentioned moving populations...that is something which obviously could not be done forcibly...we don't have that kind of government, thank goodness, nor would the people tolerate it. Even encouraging relocation, as well as the eminently sensible steps that could have been taken to make Detroit more attractive to other companies (and that were not taken by either the federal, state, or city governments) would not have solved the problems.

To where, for example, would you have encouraged emigration? And to what jobs? For that matter, what industries could have been encouraged to move to Detroit to take up the slack?

Automation is taking place in all industries. Plus, you don't need me to tell you that the most developed countries have an increasingly difficult time competing in the manufacturing sector with countries in the developing world which pay much less in terms of worker costs, both for labor and benefits. The fact is that there is just less need in the modern economy for the kinds of relatively unskilled factory work that once attracted thousands of people to certain countries and cities within countries.

The jobs which are being created, although they don't match in number the jobs that were created at the height of industrialization, require higher level skill sets. Once again, governments are at fault for not educating the younger people for these higher level jobs. The U.S. has a particular problem in this area, in my opinion, because the assumption has been that all young people are capable of attending and graduating from university programs, and so the kinds of trade schools and programs which exist in Europe do not exist to the same degree here. Even so, it's just a fact of life, in my opinion, that some people regardless of race and/or ethnicity will not be able to acquire these skill sets. That is a huge problem for the future.

In addition, however, one cannot ignore the other factors involved in the plight of the urban centers of the northeastern and mid-western "rust belt".

In Detroit, as in many of these cities, the problem with expenditures is not the salaries paid to city workers; it has to do with the pensions. Pensions that are much higher, by the way, than those paid by the private sector. They were supposed to be paid for with future revenues from taxation. Unfortunately, as the old industries downsized, they paid fewer taxes. Fewer jobs meant fewer taxes from workers and from people employed in all the ancillary businesses in the area. The solution chosen, that of hiking the taxes of the middle and upper class people in the cities merely caused these people to relocate to the suburbs or out of the area completely.

There are other drains on government resources as well. It goes without saying that the impaired, children, the elderly poor, and those unable to find work despite their best efforts should be helped by their governments. However, some government policies actually foster dependence rather than independence. Also, anyone who doesn't think that skyrocketing drug use had an impact on these cities and rural areas as well hasn't been paying attention. Ask any community leaders what crack did to their areas. In addition, the bearing of multiple children by young, uneducated, unemployed and unemployable girls is a sure recipe for poverty and dysfunction not only for the young women involved, and their children, but for their community.

Facts are uncomfortable things sometimes, but they must be dealt with honestly...knee jerk attribution of blame to one political ideology or another is not helpful.

And now, I think I've strayed far enough off topic.
 
I did say I assumed you weren't aware of the racism underlying some of the rhetoric about Detroit, since I was assuming that you've been discussing the issue with academics and social workers, rather than looking at Youtube clips that talk about how "those people" ruined Detroit. And yes, once a region decays beyond a certain level, there's a problem with addictions, family breakdown and people who no longer think in terms of working for a living. And it's difficult to change course once things deteriorate to that level - the city of Glasgow in Scotland struggled with the same issue for decades after high unemployment wrecked the lives of the descendants of Highland and Irish people who moved there in the 19th century to take the kind of industrial jobs that later disappeared. If Wallonia has avoided that level of urban decay as its cities de-industrialize, perhaps we should give the Walloons a bit more respect for avoiding a potential social breakdown.
 

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