The disease known as Eurosclerosis that has infected Europe for decades now has taken a turn for the worse. It appears that amputations are about the only viable treatment as countries with particularly advanced stages of the disease are likely to be cut from the euro-zone. This has prompted an old-fashioned run on the banks in Italy and Spain, but with a twist. Unlike the bank runs of old, depositors do not fear that their banks will fail, rather they fear that they will wake up one morning to find their euro deposits converted into drachmas or pesatas that will be worth far less.
CNN has an informative interactive site that depicts how bad things are in Europe. You can choose from various measures of economic performance including public debt as a percent of GDP, unemployment and economic growth. You can see the size of variables on a map that uses varying-sized balloons or select a graph that allows rank ordering of the countries. The presentations are visually appealing and very effective. What is missing on the site is the linkage between the variables. Recent economic studies, for example, have found that public debt beyond a “tipping point” slows economic growth. The high debt countires are all in “crisis” while little austerity-practicing Estonia with little public debt is quite prosperous. The CNN site could benefit from a variable that measures the size of each country’s government as a percent of GDP and the insertion of the U.S. for comparison purposes, but overall CNN has provided a useful site to visit.
Euro Flag via Photobucket