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Europe's OrphanThe Future of the Euro and the Politics of Debt$
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Martin Sandbu

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691175942

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691175942.001.0001

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If Europe Dared to Write Down Debt

If Europe Dared to Write Down Debt

(p.165) Seven If Europe Dared to Write Down Debt
Europe's Orphan

Martin Sandbu

Princeton University Press

This chapter offers an alternative history in which the eurozone did the right thing from the beginning. As a denunciation of past mistakes and an admonition for future policy, it shows that restructurings could have been managed in ways that were as orderly as the bail-outs that actually took place, if not more so, and with much greater fairness. Europe's economic well-being and political health would have been vastly better as a result. Two things would have been very different. First, the custodians of the single currency would not have been faced with temptations to put the euro's integrity in doubt. Second, greater national autonomy would have encouraged better collective solutions — both because the negotiations over what those solutions should be would have been more balanced, and because the greater room for policy manoeuvre by national governments would have produced a wider range of policy proposals.

Keywords:   eurozone, restructuring, single currency, euro, national autonomy, national governments, policy

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