cover image The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe

The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe

Joseph E. Stiglitz. Norton, $28.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-393-25402-0

Nobel Prize–winning economist Stiglitz (The Great Divide) notes early on that the failings of the current European economy are “important for the entire world,” but the emphasis in this dense book is on Europe nevertheless. Most of it is spent amassing evidence (sometimes in graph form) to buttress his contention that there is a simple answer to why, despite “advances in economic science,” the European economy has failed: the 1992 decision to adopt the euro, a single currency for 19 separate countries. Stiglitz believes that the euro has failed to meet its economic and political objectives, and he methodically lays out in detail why that has happened. His concluding section offers advice for a productive way forward that would save the euro and achieve the “shared prosperity and solidarity” that it originally had promised. Despite Stiglitz’s best efforts, this is not an easy book for casual readers; the subject matter, which requires analysis of sophisticated economic phenomena such as quantitative easing, is just too complex to be made accessible, though Stiglitz tries to leaven the complexity with grimly amusing and digestible anecdotes. (Aug.)