Thursday, May 17, 2012
Europe, Quo Vadis? (or: how could things go so wrong?)
after being away for 2 weeks on an island in an almost news-free environment, the stream of ongoing breaking news now finally got to me. and after the time of open easy skies, the weight of this world feels scarily heavy.
the main news here in Europe this week still is: Europe, or rather the Euro, and its foundation that seemed so stable, and now keeps tumbling. Greece in ongoing turmoil, and no solution in sight. Spain is tumbling, too, together with other countries. right now, Greece is practically out-of-government, with people pulling their Euros in cash from the banks, afraid of what might come.
one of the odd things of this crisis is that on one hand, it's all over the news, and on the other, it's almost abstract: the Euro in your hand looks like it always looked. the twin ghost of it, the turmoil it is in, is not directly visible.
in all this drama, a smaller news also made it to the front pages: the unemployment rates of the generation that now should be finding their first real jobs and start to build their future. in Spain and Greece, it's around 50%. In Italy, Portugal, Ireland and other Europen states, it's over 30%. France: over 20%. the Zeit newspaper has an article with the diagram that shows how dramatic the structural problem in Europe is, here: Europas abgehängte Generation ("Europe's blanked generation")
how could things go so wrong?
or is it that we all got so convinced by the idea of constant growth - of a new millennium, of Europe as a place of security - that we now stand in disbelief, together with all the experts?
in contrast or in connection to all, a youtube clip spread through the web this week: an animation that shows the changes from 1000 to 2003 in Europe, and with it, shows that the world in time always has been a complex being in constant (yet probalby mostly unexpected) change: Epic time lapse map of Europe
in addition, a note from an earlier post on the same subject, from December 2011:
"the only thing that is continuing steadily since months is the troubled news - one Euro crisis after the other. yesterday, the European Central Bank warned that there's again a risk of a systematic bank crisis, like in 2008. and each month, the amount of money needed to fix credit gaps and to avoid the worst rises. millions and billions here, then there. amounts that are impossible to imagine. where did all the money go? and how long will the money-patrol be able to keep this going?
it's like a ghost - in the streets, life goes on as always. and no one really can imagine how it would look like: the worst. what it would do to everyday life. what the answer to it could be."
- the walking ghost of a crisis