The astonishment which has greeted the frankly bizarre decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU offers a useful opportunity to reflect on the rationale for its formation in the first place.
The established view, even in parts of the left, is that the EU's forerunner the EEC was created to avoid the tensions that led to two world wars.
But this ignores the simple fact that its origins lie in post-war plans to contain Soviet power in Europe, reactivate German industry, promote free trade and open up markets to US investment.
As such, it has always been a capitalist club.
Current meddling in the Middle East - what amounts to a form of German imperialism in southern Europe - and the Dutch auction taking place across the EU in employment rights, wages and public-sector provision are the logical consequence of the neoliberalism that is hard-wired into the system.
People should be using this occasion to ask whether they really want to be part of this or whether we'd be better off negotiating an independent relationship with the EU similar to the Norwegians.