Noting that 90 percent of global GDP growth in the next 10 years will take place outside the EU, Pehrsson says that EU will fail to compete with developing countries. However, of all things, he found a rather unexpected reason for that.
And Pehrsson believes this is wrong.
Unfortunately, Pehrsson does not elaborate in his essay how privacy could impede the advance of technology. There is, however, an outstanding example of how technology does affect privacy.
In Australia, Coles and Woolworths use loyalty cards to track individual customer purchases, and send them targeted emails with special offers related to products they have previously bought, in a kind of real-life implementation of web ad services that companies like Google provide. This is considered a technologically-advanced example of future "smart cities", an environment filled with data-based technology.
In 2013, Woolworths director of group retail services Penny Winn revealed to marketing publication AdNews that data on customer purchases in supermarkets was being cross-referenced with information collected by the company's related insurance business.
"Because, you see, customers who drink lots of milk and eat lots of red meat are very, very good car insurance risks versus those who eat lots of pasta and rice, fill up their petrol at night, and drink spirits," she said.
Is this "Europe's path to prosperity in the digital age" Pehrsson writes about?
In Phersson's vision, "to strike the appropriate balance between competing fundamental rights and other goals, the [proposed] chief economist's function would ensure, in an impartial and well-balanced way, that the pursuit of fundamental rights does not negatively affect growth, jobs, and technological advancement."
Clearly Pehrsson sees technological advancement as the "absolute" goal, while privacy in his view is, albeit "fundamental", but still less-than-absolute category that should be set aside. What kind of brave new world will Europe face with this kind of logic?