The Veblen institute and Attac France have jointly organized a European seminar with researchers (economists, sociologists, and historians) and European social actors to discuss the question of “unity in monetary diversity.”
The euro has ceased to be a single currency already. There is no comparison between what borrowing or lending a Euro costs or earns in Greece as opposed to Germany. A euro deposited in a German bank no longer has the same value as a euro deposited in a Spanish or Greek bank: it would be hard to find a clearer evidence of the monetary zone’s disintegration. The European monetary and financial system is already fragmented: in the peripheral states, only national financial institutions can be counted on to subscribe to bond issues. Austerity plans are impoverishing the peripheral countries and only exacerbate the structural imbalances that triggered the crisis in the first place.
Yet it is possible to save the euro—that is, a unit of account and payment shared by countries who desire it—if it is recognized that the development of currencies complementing it at the local, regional, and national level is essential to providing the European monetary system with the flexibility it needs, consistent with the principle of subsidiarity. The Eurozone’s social and economic diversity did not disappear with the creation of the single currency. If anything, it has, since 2008, become more pronounced. A coherent European monetary system can, over the long term, favor genuine convergence between member economies, but only if its institutions recognize this diverse starting point rather than denying it.
Download the presentation below.