a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

Who wants to leave the Euro?

Posted on the November 11th, 2011

Surely I’m not the only one to take notice that the bulk of the doomsday talk these days about the imminent fall of the euro is coming either from outside Europe or from eurosceptics.

An underlying assumption of this dire talk, perhaps, may be the idea that eurozone citizens are so discontented that they are demanding return to national currencies. But where is there evidence of this?  Even most Greeks, supposedly mad as hell at EU leadership, reportedly want to stay with the euro (see here, for example).

And, although it’s admittedly an anecdotal report, I can say I’ve not heard or seen either a peep or a scribble of any such San Pietro! let’s return to the lira talk here in Italy either. That is, except for the usual disgruntled voices of the northern far right who, more or less, want to exit everything including the southern half of their own country.

And then this just now in the UK Guardian‘s live blog on the eurozone crisis:

1.47pm: Almost four out of five Germans believe the 17-nation single currency will survive, according to poll for ZDF television. Some 78% of people asked said the euro would survive despite its problems while 56% felt chancellor Angela Merkel was doing a good job of managing the crisis. That’s an improvement on a similar poll in October which had her approval rating at 45%.

How much of a role does the European public play in the rise or fall of the euro? I have no idea really, given the murky fog that constitutes most financial reporting, and the politicians’ backroom political jockeying. But if eurozone voters’ support is needed to drive the currency into collapse, seems to me that’s a non-starter.

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Money, money, money and the system: Lawrence Lessig

Posted on the May 28th, 2010

Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig gave a talk last week at the Yahoo! campus (“Innovation Corruption” May 20, 2010). He spoke about how corruption in government and business are blocking innovation in the U.S.

In case you think this has always been the case and isn’t getting much worse, Lessig explains how this isn’t so. The details he provides are more than a little disheartening to hear. But…

His plea to the audience was to not be passive – that the public is very much a part of the problem when clearly there are patterns but no one does anything about it. As a major player in the Internet world, he’d like to see Yahoo! pushing for competition in the IP world. As far as the government is concerned, Lessig would like to see a return to citizen-funded elections – a concept born during Teddy Roosevelt’s term in office. Such a system would eliminate money from the economy of influence – the underlying cause of corruption and ultimate roadblock to innovation.

If you really want to understand precisely how the system goes so incredibly awry, you will learn here.

And if you agree with Lessig, you can go to his website, ChangeCongress.org, and sign up to participate in helping him bring our political leaders back to serving the common good. Lessig’s organization is non-partisan — its sole bias is for the good of “we the people.”  I think Lessig has a great idea here.

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