Jan 18, 2012

Surreal moments from the axis of economic austerity

The austerity mindset is now so deeply entrenched in the eurozone that its leaders appear in profound denial.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

One day historians will obsess over how Europe stumbled into a depression in the 2010s despite, apparently, of the best efforts of its leaders, who surely couldn’t have wanted to bring on an extended economic crisis in the eurozone and more widely. This is not, after all, WW1, where leaders insouciantly went to war convinced of speedy victory, or the 1930s, where economic ignorance crippled decision-making.

The explanation for the staggering ability of the current generation of European leaders to make wrong decision after wrong decision calls for a more complex analysis revolving around forms of communal delusion.

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5 thoughts on “Surreal moments from the axis of economic austerity

  1. John

    Funny thing is the EU and the Euro were supposed to prevent the possibility of an other war in Europe, but the sky-high European unemployment may feed into the hands of the far-right extremists, as it did in the 1930s. The scapegoats might be different this time. Perhaps the African and Muslim residents. Genocide seems possible again in Europe. Who knows whether it will provoke war between some European and Muslim countries? Who knows whether other great military powers will want to become involved?

  2. solasaurus

    Nice article, well put BK. But why still no mention of the UK? The debt levels in the UK are enough to make the Italians and Greeks look positively economically responsible. Yet S&P hasn’t downgraded them. Just feeds Euro fears of an Anglophile conspiracy.

    Check the data over at Automatic Earth:

  3. AR

    Iceland, Ireland & Greece, sooo last year. I wonder when the real crisis of credibility will finally come to roost, and shit all over the eurocrats?
    The ECB decision to gift 500B euros to 500 banks to buy worthless national bonds couldn’t be more like a party game for 6yr olds of ‘pass the parcel’.
    And this lot are alleged to be sentient adults, FFS!
    Roll on EFTA, it preceded, and will outlive. the EEC/EU/Eutocracy.

  4. Matthew of Canberra

    “Funny thing is the EU and the Euro were supposed to prevent the possibility of an other war in Europe,”

    Er … wha?!?

    The common coal and steel markets, and NATO, were supposed to prevent another war (read: germany). The euro is supposed to improve cross-border trade and reduce risks and costs to the collective economy. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

    It would seem that europe has had this coming. There will be winners and losers, but the corruption and overspending had to be dealt with sooner or later. It’s not like europe’s just going to disappear or something – it’ll still be there in a decade. But, with luck, greece will start enforcing its tax laws, italy will start enforcing … well, laws, france will liberalise its labor regulations and the lot of them will have more babies and spend more on defence.

    Heh. Just thought of a little motto for europe: “We’re all russians, now”.

    In 30, everyone will look back on it like the thatcher era – awful when it was happening, sort of necessary (if woefully managed), and in the past.

    Another motto, for britain: “We survived thatcher, we can survive this”

  5. Matthew of Canberra

    Oh, and they’ll all trust their banks a little bit less.

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