Beyond the door marked “Austerity”

O Paul Mason, oικονομικός συντάκτης του BBC, αναλύει την κρίση της Ευρώπης, στο New Statesman.

Europe has become the weak link in the global economy. In the next phase of the world economic crisis, the euro will either consolidate or collapse. And with it, we face the looming prospect of social unrest.

When it gets dark, Exarchia Square in Athens comes alive with the murmur of drug dealers. Students wander past them, deep in political argument. Posters denounce capitalism; graffiti denounces the police harassment that has intensified since the general strike on 5 May. Exhausted riot cops lounge on street corners.

This is the civilisation the European Union was created in order to build: layered, tribal, intensely urban, sporadically violent, intellectual, tolerant and – until now – resilient. Today, it faces its biggest challenge yet. For Europe has become the weak link in the world economy.

As China has boomed to busting point, and a trillion-dollar fiscal stimulus has pushed the US towards a weak recovery, events have forced the eurozone through a door marked “Austerity”. In the next phase of the global crisis, which we are about to enter, the eurozone will either consolidate or collapse. And it will test Europe’s distinctive social model to breaking point.

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