Can Europe prosper without the euro?
In 2010, the 2008 global financial crisis morphed into the "eurocrisis". It has not abated. The 19 countries of Europe that share the euro currency - the eurozone - have been rocked by economic stagnation and debt crises. Some countries have been in depression for years while the governing powers of the eurozone have careened from emergency to emergency, most notably in Greece.
In The Euro, Nobel Prize-winning economist and best-selling author Joseph E. Stiglitz dismantles the prevailing consensus around what ails Europe, demolishing the champions of austerity while offering a series of plans that can rescue the continent - and the world - from further devastation.
Hailed by its architects as a lever that would bring Europe together and promote prosperity, the euro has done the opposite. As Stiglitz persuasively argues, the crises revealed the shortcomings of the euro. Europe's stagnation and bleak outlook are direct results of the fundamental challenges in having a diverse group of countries share a common currency - the euro was flawed at birth, with economic integration outpacing political integration. Stiglitz shows how the current structure promotes divergence rather than convergence. The question, then, is: Can the euro be saved?
After laying bare the European Central Bank's misguided inflation-only mandate and explaining how eurozone policies, especially toward the crisis countries, have further exposed the zone's flawed design, Stiglitz outlines three possible ways forward: fundamental reforms in the structure of the eurozone and the policies imposed on the member countries; a well-managed end to the single-currency euro experiment; or a bold, new system dubbed the "flexible euro".
With its lessons for globalization in a world economy ever more deeply connected, The Euro is urgent and essential listening.
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This is a treatment free of data, analysis, theory, or anything other than vacuous polemics.
Almost the first hour of this thing is taken up by the author citing the many commissions on which he has served on, the many important people he has met, the books he has written, the schools he has taught at, etc., etc., ad nauseum. This must qualify as the most pompous, tedious introduction in the history of "literature" (to abuse that term in the present case).
Following the introduction there is a torrent of abuse aimed at free market economics, and
at Germany, endlessly and tirelessly repeated, but without anything substantive to back it up. The author must think that if he repeats the same assertions enough times that translates into an argument.
If I were a professor at Columbia, where this fellow says he teaches, and a student handed in this thing, I would flunk him.
Don't waste your time.
Lessons from Past Problems
- Jim Fuqua