The Crisis of the Eurozone
An important tension had been underlying the first decade of the European Monetary Union. On the one hand, governments had embraced a revolutionary prospect when designing its institutions. They called on market forces and supranational institutions to limit popular democracy and scale back the interventionist state. On the other hand, they were unprepared to live up to this prospect. Hence the accumulation of large economic imbalances and their culmination in the Greek crisis and the instability of the Union’s periphery. These developments have given governments pause. With breathtaking speed, elites have agreed on the need for austerity. But it is difficult to see how the current attempt to return to the spirit of Maastricht would fare any better than before. Permanent austerity is fraught with economic irresponsibility and political risks. Europe therefore needs a new political debate about how much it wants to allow markets to determine the fate of its citizens and countries.
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