The dollar works throughout the United States because, despite regional traits and sometimes clear differences, the country is a nation made up of states.
The European Union is different in that it is a union made up of nation states. And even in that part of this union where the euro is the common currency we are talking about a lot more than differing traits and regional differences.
Simply put, the nature of the EU ultimately demands a common sense of self, and if can be described as “European” in a general political sense this description becomes far more stretched when we are talking economics, fiscal policy and currency.
Simply put, the logic of the eurozone is that all who live in it have to be German. Not literally of course, but German in the way they conduct their economic and fiscal affairs.
And if we know one thing about Europe it is that it is home to millions of people who are not German. Count the Greeks in on that score, the Irish too.
Nevertheless, the Greeks, the Irish and the people of several other eurozone nations are having to take particular note of late of their very non-German way of conducting their fiscal affairs over the last couple of decades.
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The Greeks, with an economy heavily dependent on public sector employment, a bucketful of boom era bad banking, and a tax regime that barely resembles such a thing, are about as non-German as you are going to find on the continent.
The Irish, with an economy that is rather more privatized and a tax regime that is at least visible above ground level, but with an equally disastrous record when it comes to inflated lending and boom era madness, are not exactly German either, although the Irish government is mostly focused right now on presenting the view that the Irish, if not exactly Teutonic, are as far removed from the Greeks as the Greeks are from the Germans.
It would all make for a tremendous skit. But, unfortunately, the circumstances behind the glaring disparities in the eurozone and the chaos currently prevailing within its boundaries are all too serious for everyone, the true Germans included.