Friday, June 18, 2010

on the euro

So I see that Germany may be mulling a departure from the euro. See? The Brits were right not to integrate!

I wouldn't be sad to see the euro go. As a unit of currency, it's rather boring, and as Europe is discovering, not all countries are pulling their weight to keep the euro stable and viable.

There's also the fact that I'm old and lazy. My international travel memories date back to the 1980s, when it was positively entertaining to train from country to country in Europe, exchanging money along the way. Each country's currency was part of its local color, and the economic trials of one country didn't automatically bring down all of its fellows. I remember dealing with French francs, Swiss francs (well, those still exist), West German D-Marks, East German Ostmarks, Italian lire, Swedish kronor (those still exist, too), Dutch guilders, Danish kroner (those still exist as well), and so on. What a happy mess it all was. If Europe got rid of the euro and went back to how things were in the 1980s, I wouldn't have to worry about mistakenly mentioning francs every time I talked about French currency. (Yes, I do make that mistake on occasion.)

The world is already inextricably interwoven. Did Europe really need the euro? My feeling is that the euro happened before Europeans were ready for it. It was intended as part of a larger scheme to weave Europe-- mostly Western Europe-- into a single economic zone on par with the United States. I'd say that the result of this years-long project has been, at best, mixed. While I'm not as anti-integrationist as some people, I'd agree that the euro has proved to be an idea centuries before its time.

Go for it, Germany! Bring back the D-Mark!



Anonymous said...

I am the same way. Actually I remember the original pound with Guineas, Crowns, Half Crowns, Shillings, Farthings, Happence, Pence, Tupence, Thrupence, and Sixpence. I was in Bermuda at the time and the natives thought it great that I was willing to work in their terms.

They really knew how to calculate change!

John said...

I've got sixpence
jolly jolly sixpence
I've got sixpence
to last me all my life
I've got sixpence to spend
and sixpence to lend
and sixpence to send home to my wife
poor wife!

I have no idea why I remembered that song. Forgive me.

Charles said...

Being an amateur coin collector, I am also in favor of bringing back individual currencies.