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Harold James, Princeton: The Euro is a great idea

At a time when the euro is still under heavy fire and the United Kingdom is threatening more aggressively than ever to leave the European Union, Harold James, a professor of history and international relations at Princeton University, praises the common currency and the achievements of globalisation. False myths surrounding the euro make resolving its problems unnecessarily hard, he says, and phases of de-globalisation are always accompanied by massive destructions of value. Watch our first session in a series of two episodes with Professor Harold James.

The “pure money” concept of the euro

In the nineteenth century, the formation of new nation-states was strongly associated with the creation of national currencies, which established a policy area in which the new polities could exercise their power. In creating the euro, European leaders consciously deviated from that tradition – and it was obvious that this was a risky endeavour, says Professor James. “Nonetheless, it was a great idea.” The interesting thing about the current troubles is, he says, that the issues were identified and known from the very outset. The oft-heard argument that the euro zone was created carelessly or without proper planning was simply wrong. And he also believes that it is inevitable that new institutions need to be redesigned and further developed once they become a reality. So, not all is lost for the euro yet, says a British citizens who lives in the US.