Chapter 1: Introduction
. . . a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics. (Merriam Webster online dictionary) We bouwen op drijfzand [We are building on quicksand]. (André Szász, former Director of the De Nederlandsche Bank, 1999) This book critically examines the options that the Eurozone nations have to address the social and economic crisis that has bedevilled them since 2008. The book elucidates these options within an historical understanding of the path taken to create the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The historical experience highlights the difficulties that nations with very different economic structures and a lack of cultural solidarity face when they try to fix exchange rates and adopt a common currency. It also allows us to understand how the growing dominance of neo-liberal economics in the 1980s intersected with the post World War II Franco-German rivalry to create a destructive Groupthink that undermines prosperity, denies reality, and rejects viable solutions to the crisis on ideological grounds.