“Marry in haste; repent at leisure.” Full of impetuous ardor, Germany’s partners seduced – some might say blackmailed – the continent’s most powerful economy into sacrificing monetary independence two decades ago. But, as the prince in Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s Leopard remarked of his own indissoluble union: “Fire and flames for a year; ashes for thirty.” Now is the euro zone’s time of ashes.
Heads of government of the group of 20 leading countries who do not come from the euro zone must feel like marriage counselors trying to reconcile partners far too different in character and values to live happily together. The careless lending before 2007 aggravated the danger. That carelessness, exacerbated by the notion that the marriage made all equal, has made the crisis far worse.
Those whom borrowing afforded a standard of living above what they could afford are being forced to accept a plunge into poverty. Not surprisingly, they resent the change.Page 1 of 6 | Next Page