Off-topic: Europe [was Re: Noob in Python. Problem with fairly simple test case]

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Mon Jul 20 04:30:03 CEST 2015

On Mon, 20 Jul 2015 03:25 am, Rick Johnson wrote:

> On Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 4:18:31 AM UTC-5, Laura Creighton wrote:
>> And, despite Norway not being part of the EU, Scandinavia
>> is still in Europe.
> This is a bit off topic: But i don't consider Scandinavia to
> be a part of the EU. 

Laura didn't say that Scandinavia (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark) is part
of the European Union (a political union), she explicitly stated that
Norway is not. But it is part of Europe, which is a geographical area that
runs from Ireland to the Ural mountains in Russia, from the Mediterranean
to the Arctic Circle.

> Not anymore than i would consider 
> America to be a part of the EU. Sure, we're all colloquially
> known as "the west", 

"The West" has nothing to do with this. But for the record, "the West"
includes Australia and New Zealand, which are in the south-east.

> The only ubiquitous
> binding agent between all the member countries is the
> existential need to conglomerate military power against foes
> in the east.

You're thinking of NATO. The EU is primarily a political union designed to
reduce the cost of business when dealing with other European countries. If
it has any military influence, it is that countries that allow free trade
and travel between themselves are less likely to war on each other than
those that don't. Germany is less likely to invade France again, so long as
German business and French business are all part of the same business. At
least the sort of war that involves actual shooting.

[Disclaimer: countries that have little or no contact at all are even less
likely to go to war against each other.]

> Beyond that, the union is superficial at best. 
> If the bailout fails, or another worldwide financial crisis
> hits, the outcome could be disastrous for the EU.

Actually, the best thing for the EU right now would probably be for Greece
to withdraw from the Euro and float their own currency, but otherwise
remain in the EU. Not only would that be the best outcome for Greece, but
it would give the German bureaucrats and the Troika a kick to the seat of
their pants for attempting to interfere in the democratic process. 

> When those pension checks stop coming in the mail, people get
> violent!

The pension cheques stopped coming about 18 months ago, and despite
austerity, despite putting millions of people out of work, despite sticking
a railway spike into the Greek economy (or perhaps because of these three
factors) Greece owes more money now than it did when the Germans declared
economic war on them on behalf of the banks.


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