The Tragedy of the European Union: Disintegration or Revival?

Overview


The European Union could soon be a thing of the past. Xenophobia is rampant and commonly reflected in elections across the continent. Great Britain may hold a referendum on whether to abandon the union altogether. Spurred by anti-EU sentiments due to the euro crisis, national interests conflict with a shared vision for the future of Europe. Is it too late to preserve the union that generated unprecedented peace for more than half a century?

This is no mere academic question ...

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The Tragedy of the European Union: Disintegration or Revival?

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Overview


The European Union could soon be a thing of the past. Xenophobia is rampant and commonly reflected in elections across the continent. Great Britain may hold a referendum on whether to abandon the union altogether. Spurred by anti-EU sentiments due to the euro crisis, national interests conflict with a shared vision for the future of Europe. Is it too late to preserve the union that generated unprecedented peace for more than half a century?

This is no mere academic question with limited importance for America and the rest of the world. In the past decade, the EU has declined from a unified global power to a fractious confederation of states with staggering unemployment resentfully seeking relief from a reluctant Germany. If the EU collapses and the former member states are transformed again from partners into rivals, the US and the world will confront the serious economic and political consequences that follow.

In a series of revealing interviews conducted by Dr. Gregor Peter Schmitz, George Soros—a man of vast European experience whose personal past informs his present concerns—offers trenchant commentary and concise, prescriptive advice: The euro crisis was not an inevitable consequence of integration, but a result of avoidable mistakes in politics, economics, and finance; and excessive faith in the self-regulating financial markets that Soros calls market fundamentalism inspired flawed institutional structures that call out for reform. Despite the considerable perils of this period, George Soros maintains his faith in the European Union as a model of open society. This book is a testament to his vision for a peaceful and productive Europe.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“It is clear that his observations about the eurozone crisis and the structural flaws in the euro are largely correct… The book remains an interesting read and Soros does an excellent job of concisely highlighting the challenges facing the EU… The book remains an interesting read and Soros does an excellent job of concisely highlighting the challenges facing the EU.”—Forbes.com

"Soros’s trenchant critique appears on the mark.”—Financial Times

Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-16
Can the European Union be saved? So ponders financier Soros (Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States, 2012, etc.), who fears that the unifying project of the euro "has gone badly wrong." A favorite bogeyman of the conspiratorial far right, the author admittedly draws criticism for having made much of his considerable fortune on betting on economies going south. The conditions for currency speculation, though, could not be better: As interlocutor Schmitz, a correspondent for Der Spiegel, observes, we live in a time of "reflexivity," when perception and reality are badly mismatched regarding macroeconomics, causing instability throughout both markets and governments—instability that economists have been hard-pressed to understand. By Soros' account, unfolded in these wide-ranging conversations with Schmitz, it was almost a self-fulfilling prophecy that the instability of the euro—touched off by the financial chaos of the Great Recession in America—should have affected the poorer nations on the EU's fringe most profoundly. Greece and Spain, for instance, were relegated "to the status of Third World countries," in part due to the weakness of their central banks. The discussion can be technical, but Soros is generally plainspoken; as a bonus, he is also quite revealing about himself, confessing that his wealth has allowed him to exercise his penchant for impressing his ideas on the world. As for the possibilities of the euro's survival, Soros has definite ideas that may not please the already burdened taxpayers of Germany, whom he wishes to enlist in equalizing the cost of credit and instituting the "eurobonds" that the nation's banks have resisted. For economics and policy wonks, to be sure, but with interesting insights into the functioning of one of the world's most powerful—and potentially far more so—economic blocs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610394215
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 409,221
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


George Soros is chairman of Soros Fund Management and is the founder of a global network of foundations dedicated to supporting open societies. He is the author of several bestselling books including The Crash of 2008: The New Paradigm for Financial Markets; The Crisis of Global Capitalism; The Bubble of American Supremacy; Underwriting Democracy; and The Age of Fallibility. He was born in Budapest and lives in New York City. Dr. Gregor Peter Schmitz is Europe correspondent of Der Spiegel, one of Europe’s leading newsmagazines.
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