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The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,101 ratings  ·  109 reviews
In 2010, the 2008 global financial crisis morphed into the “eurocrisis.” It has not abated. The 19 countries of Europe that share the euro currency—the eurozone—have been rocked by economic stagnation and debt crises. Some countries have been in depression for years while the governing powers of the eurozone have careened from emergency to emergency, most notably in Greece ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published August 16th 2016 by W. W. Norton Company (first published February 16th 2016)
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Roy Lotz
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
There either has to be “more Europe” or “less.”

Working as an English teacher in Spain gives you a certain insight into its economy. Immediately noticeable is the huge demand: seemingly everybody—adults, children, babies, retirees—wants to learn English. Finding work is less than effortless; you need to fend jobs off. The obvious explanation for this is the paucity of the available domestic jobs, and the undesirability of the jobs that do exist, leading many people to seek work elsewhere. Mor
Dec 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Stiglitz might be a bit too left-leaning for mainstream economic books consumers, and I have to say, I found his style to be a bit on the dry side, especially parts I to III: Europe in Crisis, Flawed from the Start and Misconceived Policies.

Having said that however, the book is demand-side economics at its finest, and it would be a challange for the best of them to find flault in Stigltiz's analysis in these three parts. His critique of neoliberalism and his arguments - that at it's root, the E
Athan Tolis
Sep 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
There are two Joseph Stiglitzes: the brilliant economist and the repetitive polemicist.

Unlike “The Price of Inequality,” a book wrapped by Stiglitz the rambling, Nobel-flashing celebrity blogger around the nucleus of a very incisive article written by Stiglitz the brilliant economist, this forward-planned, structured book is 100% the work of the brilliant economist. To be sure, he is starting to sound a lot like his alter ego, but the transformation is far from complete and what we have here is
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 Stars - Great book

This is an absolutely fascinating book that delves into the Euro and all the issues surround it and, according to Stiglitz, have encompassed the currency since day one.

I know it doesn't sound like it, but this was an easy read. I've read one other book by Stiglitz and numerous articles/excerpts and none have disappointed. Here he writes in an intelligent, well thought out language but in an accessible way for someone who, like myself, is not an expert in the Euro and/or econ
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
If you can get through the 70% of this book that is a rambling polemic, there is some good stuff here, but you will have to persevere.

On the one hand, Stiglitz presents a clear account of why currency areas don't work without (preferably created first) political and economic union (what Mundell famously posited in 1961 as A Theory of Optimum Currency Areas). The main thrust of Stiglitz's conclusion is that you either need more union (in particular, automatic fiscal transfer) or less union (eithe
Void lon iXaarii
Oct 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
Argh, I fooled myself again with a Stiglitz book. Only after getting it and going a bit through it did the deja-vu hit me to remember just how much I disliked the previous one. The subject matter was so interesting to me that I might've gotten it anyway... but yeah, this one was a pain to go through. The boredom of some plane trips helped, though only to some extent as the problem I found with the book was not bad presentation or anything like that, just a particularly devious agenda hidden behi ...more
Amit Jain
Jan 13, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One of the rare books that I chose carefully and did not like. Two main issues. a) too many pages spent repeating ad nauseum that the euro is bad for Europe instead of cogently arguing the case. b) failure to provide a comprehensive picture by presenting the for-euro arguments and then debunking them.
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
Joseph Stiglitz is in the pantheon of twentieth century economists—a superlative academic who earned the Nobel Prize in Economics, a top-level practitioner who served as chief economist for the World Bank. Stiglitz has taken and successfully defended positions outside the mainstream, including effective criticism of the concept and implementation of free trade—the bulwark of modern international trade policy. This is all to say that when Stiglitz speaks, we should listen.

His 2016 book The Euro:
Steve Birchmore
I've finished listening to the audiobook and it is so crammed full of quotable facts and figures I will buy the physical book.

IMHO this book is an excellent companion to the two books I have by Yanis Varoufakis: 'Adults in The Room' and 'And The Weak Suffer What They Must'. Stiglitz mentions Varoufakis a number of times and if I recall correctly calls him an excellent economist. Stiglitz also covers much of the Greek bailout and crisis and clearly he seems to either have been influenced by Varo
Nov 20, 2017 added it
Shelves: economics
In the wake of Brexit, the preservation of the European project has become the current cause celebre among the continent's (and to a lesser extent the world's) center-left. You know, people like my parents. What Stiglitz argues is that the EU was indeed constructed with noble aims, and that European integration is indeed a project worth pursuing, but the architecture of EU merely reproduces the desires and ideology of the ruling class, any real economic evidence be damned, and run in complete ob ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
The book manages to explain the problems with and possible solutions for the Euro. The author manages to do so clearly, while also staying far away from European populism and without poking at any party involved in the Euro.

What I would have liked to read more of in this book are comparisons of fundamentals between the eurozone and other interesting countries/currency blocks. The author did discuss Argentina, but did not focus on the numbers. The author completely failed to analyze or even menti
Notes of a Curious Mind
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
The problem with the Europe is the euro, or more precisely, the creation of the single currency without establishing a set of institutions that would enable Europe’s diversity to function effectively with a single currency. Yet, the euro is still worth salvaging, says Joseph Stiglitz in his book The Euro: And its Threat to the Future of Europe.

The eurozone was flawed at birth, argues Stiglitz. While the euro was a political project, the “political cohesion” – especially the implementation of pol
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nobel laureate economist, Joseph E. Stiglitz, tries to explain the origins of the Euro and how the EU got into the position after the financial crisis of 2008, where the most member countries’ growth has been stagnant for over a decade, unemployment rate at a record high. Even the USA, where the crisis had originated has been able to come out of it more quickly. The author claims that the origins of the Euro itself is flawed from the beginning and how libertarian principles on which it was built ...more
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Euro is a means to an end, not an end in itself! Will the future of Europe be threatened by this common currency? What are some lessons for globalization as it sets free all of the four input factors of production - capital, labor, and technology, except for land and makes them mobile across and beyond borders? Will globalization become an evolving system of global governance without a global government? This book will take us through the journey of Euro creation and all the policy implicati ...more
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economie
Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus,... A long list of countries who regret by now they have ever joined the euro. Stiglitz clearly explains why the currency does not bring prosperity, unity and peace on the continent. It has too many flaws. Quite bad is the architects already knew these but used the euro for political reasons.

Stiglitz is right: euro is at a crossroad. Either it agrees to fully integrate (but then many of the flaws will still exist due to historical reasons (lack of labour mobility to
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
You know when you're debating with someone and they don't have enough arguments to support their stance so they just reword the same argument multiple times? That's this book. ...more
Umair Khan
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
WITH the project of the European Union, humanity seemed to be striding in the right direction with the de jure elimination of borders and the forgetting of old animosities among historical rivals. But little did anyone fathom the economic shenanigans that formulating a currency union and convergence criteria would impose on the eurozone (countries that adopted the single currency of the euro). Then came the 2008 financial crisis, the economic hardships faced by Greece, Spain, and many other euro ...more
I first encountered Joseph Stiglitz when his book Globalization and its Discontents was assigned to me as a required reading for my undergraduate economics studies. At that time, the world was gradually recovering from the Asian Financial Crisis(and the internet bubble). Stiglitz argued that austerity measures imposed upon Asian countries by the IMF had actually made it a lot more difficult for any country to recover from the economic haemorrhage.

A decade later, Stiglitz continues to proselytis
Tadas Talaikis
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
Proposed solutions are okay, but not excellent, but let's face it, Stiglitz doesn't mention that euro can work best only with federal Europe. And for federal Europe, all those nationalistic idiots in every country should forget their ego. anyway, this book is way way better explanation than Varoufakis' moaning that no one lets them steal money anymore. ...more
Jip Snelder
Oct 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Only read half of it.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what audience Stiglitz is trying to address with this book. The economic parts of the analysis are simplified to such an extent that your little nephew can understand the theories (which also leads to misinterpretation), the examples are very partial (focusing on dairy and medicines out of a package of hundreds of reforms), the repetion of his arguments seems appropriate mainly for readers with advanced-stage Alzheimers', the solutions presented are highly academic in nature (what's ...more
Andrei Balici
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A constant state of war afflicted Europe for more than 1,000 years before 1948. The European leaders of that time, recognizing the devastating effects of the erstwhile carnage, pushed forward for a political and economic union, which materialized in the first federal movement in the European history: the Hague Congress.

The congress laid the path towards the unification of the region. One year later, the College of Europe was founded, to promote "a spirit of solidarity and mutual understanding be
bazra bat
Jul 03, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Even though i hated this book, i managed to get on top of it just because i didnt want to feel regretful about the money i spent for it. All in all, this book is very very poor developed and the whole idea of the book pretty much revolves around only one (or two) ideas. 400 + pages for one idea with lengthy explanations seemed too much and unnecessary for me. Whole message that the author wants to bring to the reader can be packed in a very decent 10 page essay (or even less). That is why the bo ...more
Liam Hardy
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
This should be mandatory reading for every policymaker in Europe. It shows how the euro is structurally flawed (has been since its foundation) and needs either 1) drastic institutional reforms (including a banking union and several other recommendations to create stability and boost growth) 2) what Stiglitz calls an "amicable divorce" (eg, the creation of 2 or 3 currency zones) or 3) a move to a "flexible" euro where members' currencies can fluctuate against each other but within specified bound ...more
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
My only true criticism of this book is that Stigler wrote it for a broad audience. In general, that's a good quality, but in this case I would have appreciated a more rigorous analysis that didn't stint on econometrics as well as pure mathematic analysis. I think this is a good introduction to the issue, but political economists like Daniel Verdier have warned the public about how the euro could easily result in disasters like a currency snake since the late 1980s. I hoped Stigler would add a bi ...more
This would be better titled "How the Euro is destroying Greece". There are some good explanations of the failures of the Eurozone, but this is a very difficult book. I listened to the audio version and it was very monotonous. I already had some understanding of how currency valuations affect economies. The author's recommendation of a European chit system to manage imports and exports would probably lead to robust black markets rather than the outcomes that Stiglitz foresees. Other than that, no ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting polemic from a very insightful writer. In dire need of proof reading/editing though.
Max Lapin
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
A persuasive treatise on eurodeath. The definitive proof with hardly beatable reasons. Stripped of one star to 4/5 rating due to a lengthiness and a repetitiveness with a slight political bias.
Feb 05, 2021 rated it it was ok
This book would be fantastic, had the author not repeated himself so many times, that I started drifting off over and over and over again. Maybe the book is easier to follow by an economist. Maybe the writing style is typical for economists. I found it suffocating! My opinion: cut 60% of the book and reserve repetitions for final comments.

I was glad to read a book by a Nobel Prize winning economist arguing against harsh austerity measures, whose analysis confirmed the intuition of many lay peop
Pedro L. Fragoso
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This is an important book, full of serious, grand, solidly founded arguments. These arguments are ultimately at the service of a set of beliefs I can’t identify with, even if I can understand where they come from, so I have fundamental issues with some of the reasoning advanced herein, but Joseph Eugene Stiglitz, Nobel Prize in Economics, Professor of Economics at Columbia University, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, esteemed friend o ...more
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Joseph Eugene Stiglitz, ForMemRS, FBA, is an American economist and a professor at Columbia University. He is a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979). He is also the former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank. He is known for his critical view of the management of globalization, free-market economists (whom h ...more

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