This is a great analogy offered by Yanis Varoufakis in So The Weak Suffer What They Must? on loc 1016:
The equivalent in the United States would have been a Washington bureaucracy, operating without a Senate or a House of Representatives to keep the bureaucrats in check, able to overrule state governments on almost anything and bent on fixing prices at levels higher than the market would have selected.
Eventually, such a bureaucracy might accept the necessity for greater democracy, but what would its implementation look like when this was its starting point?
From Why Vote Leave, by Dan Hannan, loc 739:
Lobbyists love the EU, intuiting from the moment they arrive that it was designed by and for people like them. There are some 25,000 lobbyists in Brussels, some in-house, some working for several clients, some representing pressure groups or regions, most representing big business. Figure Five shows the industries that have invested most heavily in purchasing face-time, but it is only fair to record that Big Oil and Big Pharma have their equivalents on the other side: Greenpeace and the WWF spent a million euros each during the same six-month period, and Oxfam managed 300,000 euros (a pretty good investment when we consider the vast millions it gets from Brussels in grants). What all these lobbies have in common, whether industrial or environmental, is a preference for corporatism and back-room deals. The EU has a special name for the procedure by which it makes law: ‘comitology’. Committees and technical experts meet and make trade-offs out of the public eye. Such a system is an invitation to lobbyists and pressure groups to reach arrangements behind closed doors that might not look very pretty if the details were known.
And from loc 1290:
Since then, the European project has returned to what is known as the Monnet Method. The EU’s canny founder, Jean Monnet, was the ultimate networker. He understood that politicians came and went but bureaucracies were permanent. The key to success, therefore, was to stack the incentives in such a way as to encourage officials to pursue an integrationist agenda. Some political scientists call this process ‘functionalism’ –although, as so often, that word has many different academic meanings.
A powerful polemic by Paul Mason in the Guardian arguing that the post-democratic character of the EU is intimately connection to the reemergence of fascism across Europe:
All this suggests that those of us who want Brexit in order to reimpose democracy, promote social justice and subordinate companies to the rule of law should bide our time. But here’s the price we will pay. Hungary is one electoral accident away from going fascist; the French conservative elite is one false move away from handing the presidency to the Front National; in Austria the far-right FPÖ swept the first round of the presidential polls. Geert Wilders’s virulently Islamophobic PVV is leading the Dutch opinion polls.
The EU’s economic failure is fuelling racism and the ultra right. Boris Johnson’s comparison of the EU with the Third Reich was facile. The more accurate comparison is with the Weimar Republic: a flawed democracy whose failures fuelled the rise of fascism. And this swing to the far right prompts the more basic dilemma: do I even want to be part of the same electorate as millions of closet Nazis in mainland Europe?
The EU, politically, begins to look more and more like a gerrymandered state, where the politically immature electorates of eastern Europe can be used – as Louis Napoleon used the French peasantry – as a permanent obstacle to liberalism and social justice. If so – even though the political conditions for a left Brexit are absent today – I will want out soon.
This is just awful. There’s a great post by Richard Seymour about it here
From Europe Entrapped by Clause Offe, pg 13. If this analysis is accepted then I find it difficult to see how a leftist commitment to the EU can be sustained:
(a) Competitive advantages can be expected from economies of scale, given the increase in market size and the reduction in transaction costs;
(b) While regulation is by no means absent at the EU level (but is codified in tens of thousands of pages of legal text specifying standards of products and rules for the protection of consumers, workers, and the natural environment etc.), the advantage from the point of view of investors is the unitary mode of regulation that uniformly applies to all agents across all markets in the EU, thus excluding country- specific distortions and protectionist barriers. While the market is not deregulated, regulation is depoliticized.
(c) Since the EU is not a democratic polity with an elected and accountable government and parliamentary budget rights, the political sovereignty of member states is significantly reduced, as is the probability that regulations and programs contrary to business interests will be adopted at the supranational level.
(d) With open borders allowing the mobility of capital and labor, goods and services, a rivalry (or political competition) among member states is institutionalized, which serves as a constant warning to the government of each of them (as well as national trade unions) to refrain from political demands, moves, and measures (such as tax increases or increases of labor costs and social expenditures) that run the risk of chasing investors out (or encouraging the inflow of “unemployable” or low- skilled migrants).