History as Oracle
This chapter reflects on the value of history in understanding the problematic relationship of states with debt. It helps puncture the illusion, hubris, and complacency that bedevil this relationship, including with respect to the euro area. It highlights the transience of creditor-state power and the fragile structures of political power that governing elites inhabit. The chapter examines continuity and change and the major historical lessons about credit and debt. It stresses the normative political questions and moral challenges at the heart of this relationship; the problems of crony capitalism and state capacity; the key test of political solidarity and shared risk; and the dangers of negative national stereotyping. The chapter analyses the major lessons from the euro area crises, including the issues thrown up by European political union and the challenge of sustainability. It concludes by addressing two key questions: what kind of European state? What kind of Europe?
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