Thursday, March 29, 2012

European meltdown

My article for Overland on the Eurozone meltdown is now available online:

Like ‘sex’ and ‘violence’, the words ‘Europe’ and ‘crisis’ seem to have a near permanent affinity these days. This constant conjunction tells us that the nature of the crisis is no transient thing. It is what Gramsci would have called an ‘organic crisis’, one that condenses multiple chronic problems at various levels of the system in a single, epochal spasm. Growth rates across the Eurozone are close to zero, unemployment is over 10 per cent on average – a figure masking extremes of joblessness in Greece and Spain. But it is not just an economic crisis. The Eurozone is a political creation, and it is at the level of politics that the strains are manifested at their highest level. Repeated sovereign debt crises threaten debt default, the withdrawal of economies from the euro currency and the ultimate collapse of that currency. The material basis for the European Union (EU) to continue to exist in its present form is endangered, and the solutions only seem to exacerbate the problem.