How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe
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 a direct result 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 reading.
See the first interview with Joseph Stiglitz about the book with Peter Goodman of The New York Times.
About the Author
Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD)
Joseph E. Stiglitz is co-President of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, and Chairman of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. He is University Professor at Columbia, teaching in its Economics Department, its Business School, and its School of International and Public Affairs. He chaired the UN Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, created in the aftermath of the financial crisis by the President of the General Assembly. He is former Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank and Chairman of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2001.
The Problem with Europe is the Euro
The Guardian, August 10, 2016
A Nobel-Winning Economist Has a Plan to Save Europe
Vanity Fair, August 8, 2016
A Split-euro is the Solution for Europe's Single Currency
Financial Times, August 16, 2016
Can the Euro Be Saved?
Project Syndicate, June 13, 2018