'Why Nations Fail': Can the eurozone hang together?
'Why Nations Fail' author Daron Acemoglu compares the EU to the 13 American states pre-Constitution.
Monitor managing editor Marshall Ingwerson chats with 'Why Nations Fail' co-author Daron Acemoglu.Skip to next paragraph
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That catch means that while creating a strong eurozone would be better for all players, in Dr. Acemoglu’s view, it’s unlikely to happen. Europe is unlikely to follow the US pattern anytime soon. The integration of Europe has been a tremendous success story, he argues.
“The European Union as a political project has been hugely successful. If you think of Europe in 1945, it was a wasteland. It was not only economically, politically, socially destroyed, but it was demoralized. And on top of this, you have another 65 years of complete stabilization, very rapid democratization, institution-building, very, very rapid economic growth. And I think few people would argue that this was unrelated to the stability that the European Union brought to the continent.”
But the current crisis has brought out some flaws in European integration to the surface.
“Let me take you back to the United States. The United States went through the same process with the Articles of Confederation. The thirteen [former] colonies were linked in a weak umbrella organization, but not linked politically and not linked fiscally. And that became unworkable. What the US Constitution achieved was a very rapid process of political centralization which went hand in hand with fiscal centralization, meaning that the states transferred their debt to the central government but the central government got political power over these states and that system became extremely stable, of course. And the basis of the nineteenth century growth in the United States.”