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Crisis in the Eurozone [Paperback]

Costas Lapavitsas
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Jun 2012
Building on his work as a leading member of the renowned Research on Money and Finance group, Costas Lapavitsas presents a searing critique of the neoliberal nature of the Eurozone and ruthlessly dissects the roots of the current financial turmoil and the European debt crisis. Lapavitsas argues that European austerity is contradictory because it leads to recession, and worsens the burden of debt, further imperilling banks and the monetary union itself. Controversially, Lapavitsas suggests that impoverished states would be wise to quit the Euro and pursue debtor-led, sovereign and democratic default that would lead to deep cancellation of debt. Lapavitsas envisages a restructuring relying on the forces of organized labor and civil society, drawing on the theoretical tradition of political economy and heterodox economics, and treading a careful path between declining Europeanism and nascent nationalism.

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Crisis in the Eurozone + Europe's Deadlock: How the Euro Crisis Could be Solved - and Why it Won't Happen + Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea
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Product details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (5 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844679691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844679690
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 146,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"This book is indispensable for anyone trying to make sense of the European Union's implosion."--Alex Callinicos, Professor of European Studies, King's College London""Crisis in the Eurozone" combines the urgency of front-line reporting with insightful detail about the players involved and mechanisms at work"--Gary A. Dymski, Professor of Economics, University of California, Riverside"The most comprehensive, thoughtful, and insightful dissection of the Eurozone's problems. If you could only read one item on this momentous crisis, this book would be it."--Stergios Skaperdas, Professor of Economics, University of California, Irvine

About the Author

COSTAS LAPAVITSAS is a professor of economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is a member of Research on Money and Finance (RMF). He is the lead author of the new RMF report 'Breaking Up? A Route Out of the Eurozone Crisis.' His previous publications include Social Foundations of Markets, Money and Credit and Political Economy of Money and Finance. He writes for the Guardian.

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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account of the euro's crisis 4 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback
Costas Lapavitsas is a Professor of Economics at London University's School of Oriental and African Studies. He is the lead author of this brilliant collective effort by members of SOAS's Research on Money and Finance group.

In 2001-07 a vast bubble grew, that popped in the crisis of 2007, starting the slump. The credit crunch morphed into the sovereign debt crisis. In response, the EU enforces `austerity', that is, it makes more people poor. Cuts in public spending cause a deeper, longer slump, with more debt, more jobs lost, lower wages and more poverty.

The authors show that "A policy of austerity would do very little to tackle the underlying problem of competitiveness. It might succeed in lowering nominal and real wages for a period, but it is apparent that this cannot be a long-term competitiveness strategy for countries that already have substantially lower wages than Germany. Given the flatness of German nominal remuneration, austerity would simply mean falling wages for years ahead. The answer would then have to be policies to raise productivity, and in this regard the ideas that typically accompany IMF-related packages are equally disastrous. The standard prescription, still touted after years of persistent failure, is liberalisation."

The euro is the focus of Europe's crisis. Stathis Kouvelakis writes in his introduction, "the euro should be understood ... as a ferocious class mechanism for disciplining labour costs - starting with the wages of German workers ..." Germany won the EU's race to the bottom by keeping wages down for 20 years.

Productivity growth needs investment, but across the eurozone investment was weak during the 2000s and collapsed in 2009.
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Good panoramic study. However, his central thesis that unit labour costs are responsible for intra-European capital flows is very questionable.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Radical analysis of the Eurozone crisis and exit 16 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Costas Lapavitsas, Professor of Economics at SOAS, and a number of economists associated to one extent or another with the Research Group on Money & Finance, published this book as an examination of the effects and meaning of the economic crisis of our times for the countries in the Eurozone. They limit themselves quite specifically in this manner, not discussing the wider impact on the EU, the non-Euro member states, or the nature of the crisis insofar as it does not immediately relate to the issue of the Euro and the banks of the Euro system. What one does get, however, is a remarkably precise and detailed analysis of the constituent elements of the crisis in the Euro, the European banking system, the nature of the bailout and its failures, and the relationship between debtors and creditors within the Eurozone, which have emphatically been on the political foreground in the past two years or so.

The framework is that of examining the opposition of interests between the core countries of the Eurozone, the creditor states of France, the Netherlands, Finland, Austria, etc., and most importantly Germany, and on the other hand the intra-European periphery, Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland (though Ireland is not the focus of this study due to its idiosyncrasies). As Lapavitsas et al.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worthy but colourless 21 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having struggled through this drab book, I would nevertheless recommend it as essential reading to anyone who has an interest in the future direction of the global economy and does not, at the same time, believe that `muddling through' can in the end save the day. As of late 2012 it still appears, on the balance of probabilities, that the cracks in the Eurozone will bring about a major global recession, further blighting the lives of millions.

The book is described as "a collective effort by members of the Research on Money and Finance at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London." London, of course, is a kind of off-shore listening post as far as the Eurozone is concerned - though the lead author, Costas Lapavitsas, is a fully paid-up Greek - and we get a flavour of the discussion in the introduction: "The ruling strata of Europe have been determined to create a form of money capable of competing against the dollar in the world market, and thereby furthering the interests of large European banks and enterprises. Governments have not desisted even when the mechanisms of the euro have grossly magnified the recessionary forces ... the burden has been passed onto the working people of Europe in the form of reduced wages and pensions, higher unemployment, unravelling of the welfare state, deregulation and privatisation."

Inevitably, perhaps, the focus is on Greece as the `canary in the mine' whose dire symptoms were a foretaste of those now becoming obvious in all the peripheral countries. The book contributes an exemplary analysis of how we arrived at this appalling situation, supported by numerous diagrams.
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