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EuroTragedy: A Drama in Nine Acts

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  17 reviews
May 1950: five years after the second of two catastrophic wars, European nations began building a magnificent structure of institutional cooperation and open trade borders to secure peace and prosperity. Then, in 1969, they took an astonishingly ill-advised leap toward a single currency--requiring a single monetary policy for vastly divergent economies. This was economic f ...more
Kindle Edition, 674 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Oxford University Press (first published 2018)
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Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
TL;DR If you want a great history and a general critique of the Euro and by extension, the EU, go ahead and read this. It seems to beat a lot of pro-Euro hand-wavey crap one reads these days. 5/5 for being interesting, informative, and well-researched.

Long version: To tell the truth, it is hard for me to compare this book to any other: I haven’t read something of this sort before. The author attempts to tell the tale of the Euro in a most skeptical manner, talking about its strengths, weaknesses
Ashoka Mody's book is a gripping read and hard to put down - which is quite an accomplishment for a book on the economics of the euro! I have only ever had one class in economics, but in this book, complex issues are explained so simply and clearly that even a layperson like myself could follow the arguments easily, as well as grasp their broader significance.
We are constantly bombarded with news about the latest "crisis" in the eurozone - Greece, Greece again, yet again, and now Italy. This boo
Jökull Auðunsson
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
EuroTragedy traces the origin of the Euro from the postwar years up to today’s Brexit and populist political undercurrent. It explains how the Euro became a political project with terrible economic basis, an experiment in unifying countries around a currency with the hope that political union to guarantee future peace and prosperity would follow. Today we confront that the oppose has happened. Greece is in a debtors prison, undemocratically stripped of its dignity. Europe is still overbanked wit ...more
Sam Seitz
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was initially skeptical about this book, as I have already read several good histories of the Eurocrisis and wasn't sure what this book could add. However, I found Eurotragedy to be a solid read and, actually, a very good history of the euro as an idea. I think it is this historical, narrative approach that makes this book great. It is certainly much better than Making the European Monetary Union! But I must say that I found Mody's actual argument to be very unconvincing because he seems to pu ...more
Max Tang
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredibly engaging book despite the complexity of the themes that it dealt with. Ashoka Mody is a visiting professor at Princeton and was formerly an Assistant Director at IMF’s European Department.

Mody’s key contentions include: 1) A monetary union without a fiscal union will only magnify the structural issues in EU. A “falling forward” thesis does not work in reality. The single currency divides Europe rather than uniting it. 2) The fiscal deficit limit (3% of GDP) has been a haph
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We need less Europe,
stop building a fragile financial superstructure for the single currency - and, indeed, we need to unwind some of that superstructure.

We need more Europe,
to advance the European common market, especially to create technical and pricing standards for digital networks and to share energy resources. Plus a fair method to share the burden of refugees and develop joint approaches to European security, fighting terrorism, and fighting climate change.

We need two Europes, a new curr
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economist-2018
An interesting chronicle of the Euro, from its origins to the present day- covering the various crises that have occurred in between.

As one could guess from the title, Mody is certainly a Euro skeptic. However the criticism may have been more convincing if the author had made more of a good faith effort to analyze and address the proposed benefits of the Euro. In a book hundreds of pages long, the arguments in favor of the Euro seem relegated to a few pages, almost as a footnote.

The author simp
Erik Champenois
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent analysis of the euro's history, from the earliest discussions of moving towards a common currency to 2017. As Mody illustrates well, the idea that closer economic union would result in closer political union has backfired badly - instead, the euro has led to more divergence between northern and southern Europe and to greater discord within the European Union. The euro thus becomes one example among others of the hubris of the west in the 1990s, which is leading to significant backla ...more
Adrian Dunn
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished this book. A long read but well worth it. It has helped me understand why left wing economists dislike the Euro (and by extension why Corbyn is a Brexiter). When it was set up the principals of Neo-Liberal economic policies were embedded in the treaties - this has led to policy decisions favouring supply side reforms and austerity as the solutions to the euro crisis. Little or no weight is given to demand management - policies that the current Italian government are trying to fo ...more
Jeremy Punnett
Such a good book on why the Euro is doomed from an ex IMF man now at Princeton.
Actually I didn't finish. Because I don't have as much time reading as before, I only read the the beginning and the last few chapters. So my opinion could be partial/biased. I may finish the the rest later.

This book reminds me of Adam Tooze's Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World. It does a superb job on who/what/how, but short on why. Because I usually don't follow what's going on in Europe that closely, this book definitely fills some gaps.

As just mentioned, the explan
Will Y
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book chronicles the history of the Euro (the currency) from 1950-2017. Mody argues that the Euro is a political project with fundamentally flawed economic premises. The basic conflict is as follows: Euro's proponents believe that it would lead to eventual political union, and would be a driver for lasting peace. Its detractors argue that the inherent discrepancies in growth rates and productivities among countries in the Eurozone will make a uniform monetary policy a necessary failu
Jeremy Swanson
Mar 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must admit I was skeptical going into this book. However, Mody made a relentless and compelling argument against the European single currency from 1969 through its implementation in 1999 to today. In essence, Mody argues that the promised benefits of a single currency did not materialize, while the incomplete monetary union predictably led to further economic divergence (Northern vs periphery) and political fracturing. His proposed solutions – scrapping the onerous fiscal rules, creating a sov ...more
Due to poor decisions by the ECB and a flawed design that made the Euro doomed to fail, when catastrophe struck in the world-wide financial crisis of 2008, the Eurozone compounded problems that led to a less robust recovery than seen in the US. The lack of a central fund to bail out struggling countries becomes who no longer can manipulate their own currency's value becomes a sinker on the whole Euro system. The true victims of the ill conceived Euro are Europeans youth who are now voting agains ...more
Moud Barthez
This book contains a good chronicle of how the euro came to be, but...
It has too much advocacy to the neoliberalism and Milton Friedman’s theories and philosophy which is catastrophic!
The book focuses on the down faults of the euro area and neglect all the positivities that came out of it!
It compares it to the US model and the FED vs the ECB, as if the US is superior!
I didn’t like the book, it could be informative, but it contain too much bad faith ideology.
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clear and utterly gripping. A great work. I have not read a better book on recent economic history.
Mohamed LEHBIB
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is accurate, well written and brief.
If you ever wonder why the ECB does not increase its
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Ashoka Mody (born 14 January 1956) is an Indian-born economist. He is Charles and Marie Robertson Visiting Professor in International Economic Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University. Previously, he was Deputy Director in the International Monetary Fund's Research and European Departments. ...more

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