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Europe's Deadlock: How the Euro Crisis Could Be Solved — And…

por David Marsh

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This short, fiercely argued book explains how five years of continuous crisis management not only have failed to resolve the Eurozone’s problems but have actually made things worse. While austerity-wracked nations descend into misery and resentment, creditor countries fear that they will be forced to subsidize their weaker brethren indefinitely. Constructive dialogue has collapsed as European decisionmaking descends into terrified paralysis, and the potential paths out of the impasse are blocked by indecision and incompetence at the top. As voters in Greece and Italy rebel against externally imposed hardship, and the sums needed to bail out failed economies reach ever more staggering proportions, the contradictions at the heart of the European project are becoming more and more obvious. Marsh warns that the current succession of complex technical fixes cannot sustain the Eurozone on life support indefinitely. Radical solutions are on offer, but without leaders who are strong and principled enough to push them through, Europe risks a depressing future of permanent decline.… (mais)

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I had expected a sharply worded, highly controversial treatise on the euro and the eurozone. In a fast 120 pages, I expected new directions, new insights, and harsh accusations. But that's not what Europe's Deadlock is. It is instead a very competent, very quick history of the euro and what ails it.

We all see the headlines and the stories daily. We know southern countries suffer because they can't devalue. But while it is easy to say being in a common currency removes flexibility to act for your country, Marsh rightly points out the chaos created by weaker countries devaluing at will, bankrupting vendors in other nations. An example is the Italian lira, already nearly worthless, added more zeros after the decimal point when it devalued by 30% in the early 90s. The euro crisis is reminiscent of the gold standard, where individual countries could not bend the situation to their own advantage.

Nor is it any secret that instead of using their admission to the euro as the opportunity to rationalize their institutions and regulations, Ireland and the southern countries brandished it as proof they were quality players. Their narcissistic selfishness is costing everyone in Europe today. Marsh glances off that image.

The recommendations at the end are futile - things like full political union. Forgetaboutit. These are enormously proud countries, many of the postage stamp variety. They will give up nothing. Nor would any other in the world. Marsh acknowledges his recommendations are "demanding."

So we are left with is a competent history, right up to the Cyprus banking disaster, but really not much else. If you haven't been following the rise and fall of the euro since inception, this book is a fine refresher. ( )
  DavidWineberg | Jul 19, 2013 |
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This short, fiercely argued book explains how five years of continuous crisis management not only have failed to resolve the Eurozone’s problems but have actually made things worse. While austerity-wracked nations descend into misery and resentment, creditor countries fear that they will be forced to subsidize their weaker brethren indefinitely. Constructive dialogue has collapsed as European decisionmaking descends into terrified paralysis, and the potential paths out of the impasse are blocked by indecision and incompetence at the top. As voters in Greece and Italy rebel against externally imposed hardship, and the sums needed to bail out failed economies reach ever more staggering proportions, the contradictions at the heart of the European project are becoming more and more obvious. Marsh warns that the current succession of complex technical fixes cannot sustain the Eurozone on life support indefinitely. Radical solutions are on offer, but without leaders who are strong and principled enough to push them through, Europe risks a depressing future of permanent decline.

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