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The poetry of the euro

By Harold James PRINCETON: The purpose of creating a common currency has been largely and surprisingly forgotten in crisis-torn Europe. Instead, there seem to be more pressing concerns: gloomy speculation about the eurozone’s impending collapse and desperate attempts to find institutional fixes to its extensive governance problems. But the euro was not just the outcome of …


News Corp.: All in the family

By Harold James MUNICH: Big economic crises often cause iconic companies to falter. Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is a model of the modern global enterprise. A particularly dynamic and innovative business model came from outside and took over central aspects of British and then American public life. That model is now threatened by the fallout from …


Food for revolution

By Harold James PRINCETON: Summits are defined by their location. It is quaint that the 1933 World Economic Conference took place in the Geological Museum in London’s Kensington, at a time when international cooperation seemed as alien as a fossilized dinosaur. On these criteria, Deauville, in French Normandy, with the (slightly faded) elegance of a past …


The IMF after Strauss-Kahn

By Harold James PRINCETON: How the mighty International Monetary Fund has fallen. More than a decade ago, the French magazine Paris Match carried a picture of the Fund’s then Managing Director, Michel Camdessus, with the title: “The Most Powerful Frenchman in the World.” Today, his successor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK), handcuffed and grave in ubiquitous front-page photos, …


Inflationary angst

By Harold James PRINCETON: Can central banks contain inflation? We once thought they could. Over the past 20 years, central banks around the world, including the United States Federal Reserve, pursued price stability with remarkable success. But now, in the wake of the financial crisis, a tide of distrust is sweeping the world — including a …


Goodbye to ‘Globalization’

By Harold James FLORENCE: The term “globalization” first swept the world in the 1990’s and reached its highpoint of popularity in 2000 and 2001. In 2001, for instance, Le Monde contained more than 3,500 references to mondialisation. But then the figure steadily fell – more than 80% by 2006. Since the outbreak of the financial crisis …


Debt and democracy

By Harold James PRINCETON – The European Union’s sovereign-debt crisis constitutes a fundamental threat not only to the euro, but also to democracy and public accountability. At the moment, Europe’s woes and dilemmas are confined to relatively small countries like Greece, Ireland, and Hungary. But all of them look as if their governments have cheated on …


Europe’s time to learn

By Harold James PRINCETON: Crises are a chance to learn. For the past 200 years, with the exception of the Great Depression, major financial crises originated in poor and unstable countries, which then needed major policy adjustments. Today’s crisis started in rich industrial countries — not only with sub-prime mortgages in the United States, but also …


Austerity politics, then and now

By Harold James PRINCETON: Britain’s policy of fiscal consolidation, recently announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, sent shock waves around the world. Osborne argued that Britain was on the brink: that there was no alternative to his policy if the country was to avoid a massive crisis of confidence. Other countries, such as Greece, …


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