May 1950: five years after the second of two catastrophic wars, European nations began building a magnificent structure of institutional cooperation and open trade borders to secure peace and prosperity. Then, in 1969, they took an astonishingly ill-advised leap toward a single currency--requiring a single monetary policy for vastly divergent economies. This was economic folly, critics untiringly warned. Worse, it carried the seeds of political division. Europe's leaders went forward unheeding. January 1999: the tragedy of the euro began.
Blending economic analysis with political drama, EuroTragedy: A Drama in Nine Acts
is a groundbreaking account of the euro's history and tragic consequences. In this vivid and compelling chronicle, Ashoka Mody describes how the euro improbably emerged through a narrow historical window as a flawed compromise wrapped in a false pro-European rhetoric of peace and unity. Drawing on his frontline experience, Mody situates the tragedy in a fast-paced global context and guides the reader through forced--and unforced--errors eurozone authorities committed during their long financial crisis.
The euro unfolded as both economic and political tragedy. It weakened the growth potential of member states, which made financially vulnerable Europeans more anxious. It deepened the sense of unfairness and widened the division between nations. Now, the burden falls on younger Europeans, a generation with a discouragingly bleak future.
A compassionate view of European possibilities, EuroTragedy
makes clear that the euro's structural flaws will continue to haunt the continent--especially along cracks in the Italian economy. Instead of centralizing authority to prop up an ossified pro-Europeanist model, it is time to loosen ties that bind too tightly so that a liberal order can once more flourish.