John Gray: Why Europe is Floundering





John Gray is the author of False Dawn: the Delusions of Global Capitalism, and Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and The Death of Utopia.

The greatest danger facing Europe today is the inflexible determination of European elites to save the euro. While it is still possible that Greece will exit with unpredictable consequences, fears that the currency could collapse have retreated since the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, committed himself in July to doing "whatever it takes" to shore up the rickety structure.
 
By creating money in unlimited quantities, the ECB may be able to ensure that the nexus of insolvent banks and governments remains intact. But this does nothing for jobs or growth, and the euro continues to function as a 21st-century version of the interwar gold standard – an engine of destruction crushing economic activity and shredding the fabric of society. If this fatally flawed project has been given another lease on life the result can only be a more dangerous backlash, deepening divisions between and within countries.
 
Vince Cable, the business secretary, has echoed the dignitaries who awarded the EU the Nobel peace prize in claiming that a collapse of the euro would be a danger to peace. It is true that, founded in the 1950s after the defeat of fascism, the European Economic Community (the EU's forerunner) helped – along with Nato and other institutions – avoid war for a generation. But the EU has never been able to act as the unified state of which its promoters always dreamed...



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