Monday, January 07, 2002
Slate's Anne Applebaum may well be correct when she points out that the introduction of the Euro as of New Year's Day was a non-event because for better or worse, European integration--economic, legal, political--has been an established fact for quite a while now. Nevertheless, something very important did happen around January 1st, 2002: Argentina defaulted on its debt, making it official that its policy of tying its own currency tightly to the US dollar was a colossal failure. Of course, Euroskeptics have long warned that without adjustable per-nation exchange rates, parts of Europe may suddenly find themselves unable to address massive economic dislocations using the traditional monetary levers available to countries with separate currencies. And the pro-integrationists have always simply ignored the skeptics, suspecting (probably correctly in many cases) that their economic objection was merely a cover for sentimental nationalism or conservative fear of a left-leaning continent-wide "nanny state". But one might have thought that Argentina's recent spectacular refutation of the practice of forcing together the currencies of widely divergent countries would give pause to at least some of the passengers on the pro-integration bandwagon, no?