Alfred Nobel was the archetypal Victorian industrialist. His invention of dynamite and his very successful armament business made him fantastically wealthy. But he paid a huge price for it. His own brother was killed in an explosion at his factory. And later poor old Alfred came to feel like he’d betrayed humanity. Before he died, he became mournful of his Frankenstein-like creation. And to put the record straight he bequeathed to the world annual Nobel prizes.
My fellow Norwegians were awarded the task of selecting the most important prize candidate – that for the peace prize. And there have been some controversial choices. I have to confess, I was a little taken aback when Obama won the peace prize in 2009. What exactly had he done to foster peace around the globe?
But now we seem to have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. A week ago, the peace prize was awarded to the EU. Yes that European Union.
Now, the fact that Nobel bequeathed this prize to a person, not an institution, is one thing. But to award it to a body like the EU just seems crazy – especially now that the whole project is wreaking havoc across southern Europe.
And get this... yesterday, it was decided that not one, but three people will travel to Norway to accept the coveted prize. Yes, that just about sums up the EU – they can’t even nominate someone to pick up a prize.
The EU could wreck your savings
Like so many things, the EU started off with all the best intentions in the world. At heart, it was about free trade. And that is a fantastic thing. Had the prize been awarded back in the seventies, then perhaps it would have made some sort of sense. I mean, at a time when the Cold War was raging, an institution fostering peace through trade may well have deserved a peace prize.
But today the EU has morphed into an undemocratic behemoth whose actions are causing violence, factions and misery throughout Europe. Adopting the common currency was a leap too far. But nobody will admit it. Not even in the face of the economic havoc it is causing. And that’s something that will surely only get worse, until the thing disintegrates in bitter acrimony.
An exclusive report from The Right Side
Now, I have no doubt that the authorities can carry on patching up the system for years. I mean, look how long it took for another bad idea to finally be kicked out – communism. But I really do fear that this whole project could disintegrate. And now, more than ever, I’m glad just that my fellow Norwegians have remained outside the EU. Well done them.
Still what were they thinking? Is the prize some sort of endorsement? Or perhaps the last hurrah...
How to escape the downfall
The saddest thing about the EU is its inability to change. Without a process of accountability, there’s no way of weeding out bad ideas. In fact, bad ideas turn into disastrous ideas – as we will one day see when the euro regime finally collapses.
But we mustn’t become too absorbed about things we cannot control. Yes, we need to be aware of the dangers out there. But at the same time, we carry on.
This is yet another good example of why, here at The Right Side, we’re big fans of emerging market investing. Many of the emerging markets are themselves setting up free trade areas. It’s all about commerce – about growth. Something that the EU was fond of in its day.
So if you haven’t done so, you should sign up to the new weekly emerging market letter from MoneyWeek. It’s called The New World. It’s completely free. And its mission is to bring you the most exciting investment stories outside the UK. Right now they are writing about two new free trade areas that could be every bit as successful as Europe in the 60s and 70s. You should get involved – sign up free here.
I also wanted to let you know that I’ve got another emerging market investment theme for you next week – stay tuned for that.
And if you missed the news on my Brazilian oil explorer, then take a look here. Again, that’s another potentially fantastic prospect far away from the dangers of the bloated West.
• This article is taken from the free investment email The Right side. Sign up to The Right Side here.
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