< SWITCH ME >

Crisis, schmisis

denial
Photo: Egorsechin (CC-BY-NC-2.0)
Crisis, you say? Nope, never heard of it!

For months, even years now, news about the parlous state of budgets in some European countries has dominated the headlines. The possible bankruptcy of Mediterranean states has been exposed, and several articles have tried to convince us readers that the impact of a state bankruptcy within Europe would not only affect the ailing states themselves but would also endanger the euro currency as a whole. The common currency project would be lost, and states would have to return to their dusty local currencies. Pessimistic forecasts daily predict the collapse of the European Union, or even worse, the breakdown of the whole modern market system. Some sceptics darkly foresee the reutrn of anarchism and revolution. Apparently, the ten plagues of Egypt do not even compare to the troubles that lie ahead for our continent.

Seems like a lot to take in over breakfast? I think so too. So, indulge me for a moment and let me follow you into a hypothetical version of Europe - a Europe without a financial crisis. Seems like a paradise? Well, maybe not entirely...

A Europe without the financial crisis = A europe without problems!

In a Europe without the current problems with debt, bankruptcy, and currency crisis, love, peace, and harmony would dominate the European markets. The member states would again all prosper. Borders would exist only on paper, and though a common European government would not be established, a collective feeling would flood the continent and prove culturally lucrative for all Europeans. The common man would be totally happy, only the European bankers would be out of work. Europe would be envied by the Americans and admired by the Chinese.

 

Surely our politicians would - perhaps with the exception of Silvio Berlusconi - once again enjoy a much better reputation and have far fewer worries. For example, the Czech President Vaclav Klaus wouldn't need to travel halfway around the globe to swipe highly coveted Chilean pens - he would have enough pens at home! Others, like the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy would be able to chat cosily with a coffee without the conversation being described as a "crisis summit" in the media afterwards.

500px-Nicolas_Sarkozy_and_Carla_Bruni_at_Pittsburgh_G20_Summit
Photo: TCY (PD)
Perhaps the next power pop couple in Europe?

It would be interesting to see what Merkel and Sarkozy would spend their time on if not with their favourite hobby: crisis management. Maybe Merkel would take up golf and give interviews about the state of Germany dressed in sports attire and a baseball cap. Maybe Sarkozy would release a Christmas album with his wife, singer Carla Bruni, and reveal hidden musical talents. All in all, peace would settle over Europe. Boredom would be the only problem that European politicians would have to deal with.

All in all, peace would settle over Europe. Boredom would be the only problem that European politicians would have to deal with.

 

And not only the heads of state, but also the population of Europe would react helplessly to the new situation. Now that the financial markets are stable, what would people do with their habit of demonstrating over lost jobs, rising taxes, and failed political rescue plans? Would the Spanish youth grow accustomed to having jobs that were meaningful and well paid? How would the Greeks respond to a daily life without threats of a living hell just around the corner?

In our crisis-free fantasy of Europe, such luxury problems would be the only issues we as Europeans would have to deal with. Indeed, many things would remain the same: The Brits would continue to drive on the left side of the road and drown their fries in vinegar. French and Italians would still debate who made the best food. We would still hate each other when the European Championships were on and love each other the rest of the time.

Wait a minute...

We all know that this is exactly what the title of this article is - a eutopia: a utopia of a Europe that will never come true. If the crisis didn't exist, that wouldn't mean that every single problem ever present in Europe would vanish. Once the crisis is over, Europe will not become a continent like the one described above. The one thing that we can maybe hope is that once the crisis is over, we can focus on other problems without being yelled at: "If we deal with environmental issues / refugees coming to Europe / human rights violations, we will go BANKRUPT!". We cannot hope for a Europe without conflict or without issues to deal with. What we can hope for is a change in the political climate so that politicians are actually allowed to deal with issues other than the crisis. We must deal with our continent with all its flaws and conflicts. However, this may be for the common good... I personally cannot imagine Angela Merkel being a very talented golf player, and I'd rather put up with another decade of crisis than hear Sarkozy sing a duet with his wife!

Thumbnail photo: NASA (PD)

NEXT ISSUE
IN -1105 DAYS