Slow Growth And High Unemployment Is Pulling Europe Back Into That Dangerous Territory…( A War Would Come In Handy About Now!)
Robert Marquand, The Christian Science Monitor
Jan. 8, 2012
Hungary’s economy is approaching “meltdown,” analysts warn, adding another financial crisis within and raising concerns about more extreme populist moods gaining ground.
The forint, Hungary’s currency, has been spiraling downward. The European Commission says the nation is expected to have the lowest growth and highest debt in 2012 among the former Soviet satellites of Eastern Europe.
But a deeper concern among European leaders familiar with the continent’s history is the effect of prolonged low wages – or no wages at all – on ordinary people. Such conditions breed unrest, populism, extreme nationalism, and hatreds. The effect can be an undermining of social and democratic health, especially in states or regions of Europe like Hungary with a relatively shallow history of rule of law.
Always in the continental shadows is the memory of the 1930s, when economic chaos and popular frustration in Germany led to the rise of the Nazi party and fascism.
“Our worst enemy right now is populism,” said Italy’s minister of economic development, Corrado Passero, at a conference of top European leaders and economists on Friday at the French ministry of economics. Mr. Passero was responding to a question on Hungary’s status that other elites and officials felt was too sensitive to approach. “When the pace of economic growth is too slow for too long,” he said, “and fears about the future become too high, we are entering dangerous territory.”
A European crossroads