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The End of the Euro: The Uneasy Future of the European Union Hardcover – Nov 8 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Agate B2 (Nov. 8 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193284161X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932841619
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16.2 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #523,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Overtveldt: The Inherent Flaws of the EMU will Undo the Euro May 22 2012
By Loves the View - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Johan Van Overtveldt makes the very complicated economics of the euro intelligible to the lay person. For this alone, the book deserves 5 stars. He shows how the euro's initial success masked the EMU's underlying problems and how the fiscal crisis brought its inherent weaknesses out from under the table.

He first shows how Europe's "Economic and Monetary Union" was not fully based on economics or monetary policy. Many of the founders were pursuing political goals (a prototype for a more unified Europe, prevention of war, etc.) which forced political, not economic, decisions from the very beginning, a practice which continues today. For instance, entrance requirements were waived or fudged in order to expand the continental footprint; the "no bailout" policies are being waived in order to hold the union together.

Van Overtveldt makes a convincing case that the EMU depends on Germany. There is growing percepion in Germany that the costs of the EMU are out of proportion to its benefits. Soon, he expects, Germany's political leaders will lose patience with the the other member nations, leave the EMU and restore the Deutsche Mark.

The author makes his point up front. He shows how his conclusion is based on the full history of not just the EMU, but other monetary unions. He shows how a currency needs unified policies behind it, not just monetary, but also trade, employment, public finance and banking as well, something a mere currency provider cannot deliver.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Good Euro Primer April 26 2012
By Bandula - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is a good Euro Primer from a respected European journalist. It certainly educates in easily readable prose of the Euro s origins, its governance weaknesses, regional political rivalries, mainly between Germany and France, and a forecast as to how it all might end. It gives a Europeans' view of all these goings on, which to an American, is illuminating. Recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The End of the Euro March 21 2012
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As the economic crisis in Europe reverberates from country to country, you might wonder how it will all end. Belgian journalist Johan Van Overtveldt says it inevitably will end in tears. The title of his book may give away the author's conclusion, but, before he convinces you of his prognostication, he carefully lays out the reasons for the founding of the European Union and explains how well-intentioned but shortsighted politicians set a plan in motion that was doomed from the start. He spares no one in his scathing assessment of the mishandling of the crisis that began in 2009, but he assigns particular fault to European leaders' inability to put aside nationalist interests for the sake of the union. If you wish to understand more deeply what's happening to the euro, getAbstract recommends reading this sobering but realistic appraisal of Europe's present and future.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Euro in trouble April 26 2014
By Gderf - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a fine analysis (2011) to support a negative prognosis as to eventual survival of the EU. The book starts with a history of economic unions going back to the successful Zollverein and the failures of the Scandinavian (SMU) and Latin American (LMU) tries. It continues with the development of the EU in stages from the original ECSC agreement on coal and steel to the present (2011). It covers the Maastrict 3 stage plan agreement that led to the current EZ and EMS and the Thatcher, Mitterand, Kohl era. While listing pros and cons of financial union, Obertfeldt makes the point that the primary mission of the EU is peaceful coexistence. Much of the monetary benefit is less dependence on fluctuations (read decline) of the reserve currency (for now) dollar. On the positive side, the ECB is the most independent of the central banks. There's an informative study of OCA (optimal currency area) theory.

Politics involves a succession of German and French presidents culminating with Merkel and Sarkozy trying to dominate EU action. There is very good quantitative analysis showing that neither individual countries not the EZ as a whole obeys its own financial regulations regarding interest rates, inflation, deficit and debt. For comparison to the US at 100% debt/GDP, the EZ requirement is 60%. It's a fiction that each country is sovereign. The principle of convergence doesn't seem to be working.

Chap 2 contrasts optimism with research. Iceland's recovery due to freedom to devalue suggests the same solution for Greece by leaving the union. On the other hand one of the EZ benefits for stronger national economies is immunity from currency devaluation, but with attendant loss of power over currency. A major weakness is that Germany powers the EU while Germans are becoming disenchanted with it, being tired of financing profligate benefits in Southern Europe. Germany can finance the smaller national states Greece, Portugal and Ireland but not the larger Spain and Italy if they follow the same path. There has been much creative accounting to mask problems for as long as possible. Naill Ferguson says that the lending capacity of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) fund is a giant Ponzi scheme. Another problem is lack of coordination with the banking industry.

Obertfeldt compares the PIIGS cases with the bankruptcy of Argentina in 2001.
He omits the successful recovery of Sweden through austerity measures without recourse to IMF financing. In 1982 Belgium incorporated reductions in wages and social security benefits with good results. Reasons for Switzerland and Norway staying out of the EU are not considered.

The book concludes with a prescient analysis of three possible scenarios:
1.MOS (more of the same) continued bailouts, is the most likely scenario as bureaucrats are good at kicking the can down the road. Nothing happens when rules are broken.
2.TOS (throw out the system), a gradual exodus from the EZ with Germany finally breaking the system.
3.ROS (rebuilding of the structure), the best but least likely resolution. This involves a Herculean task setting the EZ structure back to square one. It involves loss of votes since it is unpopular with those favoring continued subsidies.

Germany wants a political union. France must accept a reduced relevance. Merkel says the euro will be saved “whatever it takes.” there is much doubt as to whether she means it. Economists Gideon Rachman and Martin Wolf say either ECB purchase of debt or the union continuing bailouts will result in a German exit. Obertfeldt likens the EU to the League of Nations, saying that it's probably already too late.

The book serves to update the excellent 1999 work 'Understanding the Euro' by Christian A. Chabot although events move so rapidly that this newer book is already slipping out of date. Chobot thought in 1999 that EU survival was a certainty, with collapse a legal impossibility. The EZ is now in better shape than Obertveldt describes with Ireland and Iceland recovering. Italy's premier, Enrico Setti, say on PBS news (10/16/2013) that the Italian economy had improved to the point where austerity was no longer necessary. A final resolution will likely take many years. I don't have to agree with Obertveldt's pessimistic prognosis to appreciate the book.
Outstanding April 8 2014
By Bobby Lee Brown - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is short but tell you everything you need to know. Wish more books was like this then all of the other non-sense