Eurozone North and South

 

I was listening to an interview with the editor of Germany’s “Die Zeit” as he opined about the “Protestant North” and the “catholic Club Med” South of Europe. His contention was that the Northern countries in the Eurozone were traditionally more fiscally responsible and subsidizing the free-wheeling and spend more than you make Southern states.

The question at hand is, can they dissolve the Eurozone. Like the USA, it is a federation of independent governments that joined to create a greater economic/political power. Like the antebellum America, there is a debate about if you can freely join a union, can you freely leave it?

Lincoln realized that America would never be a serious nation and the federal government would be impotent to make tough or timely leadership if states could leave when they didn’t like what the union had decided. A permeable union would have no clout or authority, so to preserve the states and the union for those who valued it, he decided that we were compelled to keep it intact and enforce the authority of the central union over the member states.

The EU struggles because that question still lingers. Can Greece decide not to pay, can the North split off on it own. Like America’s civil war, it was more sparked by two different economies running at two different speeds roughly forced together than anything else.

Is the EU at a similar crisis point because of a similar economic situation: two different realities trying to rationalize as one. If you look at the employment and poverty rates in the American North vs. the South, you can see that there is a lot of work remaining after 100+ years. Do the relatively pampered Europeans have the stomach for what lies ahead?

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