It looks as though the eurozone may be in a decisive meltdown, which is just fine in my book. The sooner we get back to francs, lire, punts, drachmas and the rest of the old sovereign currencies, the better.
It used to be as much a part of going to France to change money and be handed a bundle of notes featuring the devious Cardinal Richelieu as choking on Gauloise smoke. Instead, those francs are now replaced by the characterless but somehow always expensive euros.
The argument against the eurozone is that hard-faced Euro-bankers — their killer instincts honed at Goldman Sachs, Wall Street's School of the Americas — have the power to act as the bully-boys of international capital and impose austerity regimes from Dublin to Athens, scalping the poor to bail out the rich.
Now the end of the eurozone does not mean the end of the European Union. They're different. There are 17 nations in the former, 27 in the latter. Britain, for example, has never been in the eurozone, which is why the currency exchange in London will, in return for your worthless dollars, hand you bank notes with the Queen's portrait on them.
At the moment, the European Union has virtually no tax collecting powers. Its annual haul is about 1 percent of the EUs gross domestic product. By comparison, the U.S. government collects about 20 to 24 percent of GDP.
Throughout the entire Eurocrisis, there has been a basso profundo chorus from the Eurocrats that what's needed is a lot more centralizing. In the words of Wolfgang Munchau at the Financial Times on Nov. 28, the EU needs "a fiscal union": "This would involve a partial loss of national sovereignty, and the creation of a credible institutional framework to deal with fiscal policy, and hopefully wider economic policy issues as well."
I've read many editorial paragraphs with this same bullying timbre — that what the whole European enterprise needs is an ...