CAMBRIDGE: Everybody agrees: Europe needs a revolution of its economic structure. But how to achieve this is another matter altogether. Advocates of the status quo note that there is no crisis, so why rush? They place their faith in a gradual restructuring and, above all, in the myriad high-tech companies now being started by the young. Somehow, they reckon, the information revolution will arrive in a European way. From here it is but a short step to proclaiming that the American model cannot work in Europe because it is socially reprehensible and, in any case, poised to crash any day now.
On the other side of the debate, Europe's desperate reformers see no way to trim, roll back or blow up the Continent's obsessive bureaucracies and consensual politicians. In today's Europe they see only hints of a possibility – a glass far less than half full – for reform and restructuring, and are impatient at Europe's slow progress.
True, Europe is moving at a painfully slow pace, but the attack on the State and its allies in an ossified supply side and the dinosaurs of industrial stake holders, is widening. New fronts in this war are opening every day. But this is not an issue of sweeping moves that will change the world from one day to the next. The devil is in the details, and that is where the attack must focus.
A wonderful example is the referendum promoted by Emma Bonino, Italy's star political renegade. Among many issues, the referendum she put forward proposes three measures: end automatic tax withholding; end judicial power to reinstate dismissed workers; end automatic withholding of union dues from pay checks. Three cheers for Emma Bonino; never mind if she fails. Rome was not built in a day and it will take many such assaults to reform it!