Designed to bring Europe closer together, the euro has actually done the opposite: after nearly a decade without growth, unity has been replaced with dissent and enlargements with prospective exits. Joseph Stiglitz argues that Europe’s stagnation and bleak outlook are a direct result of the fundamental flaws inherent in the euro project – economic integration outpacing political integration with a structure that actively promotes divergence rather than convergence. Money relentlessly leaves the weaker member states and goes to the strong, with debt accumulating in a few ill-favoured countries. The question now is: can the euro be saved?
Laying bare the European Central Bank’s misguided inflation-only mandate and explaining why austerity has condemned Europe to unending stagnation, Stiglitz outlines three possible ways forward: fundamental reforms in the structure of the Eurozone and the policies imposed on the member countries suffering the most; a well-managed end to the euro; or a bold, new system he dubs the ‘flexible euro;. This important book, by one of the world’s leading economists, addresses the euro-crisis on a bigger intellectual scale than any predecessor.