The July issue of Working Notes, published by the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, recruits five writers from the social sciences to examine the European economic crisis: Kevin O‘Rourke, an economic historian;... Tom McDonnell, an economic policy analyst; Robin Hanan from the European Anti-Poverty network; and Ray and Maurice Kinsella from UCD’s Smurfit Business School.
The four essays offer a broad view of the crisis, and take into account the historical dynamics, especially in 20th-century Europe, that gave birth to the European Union and later the financial union that made the euro the world’s second-largest currency.
The Kinsellas recall the deep Christian principles that inspired the Schumann-Monnet plan in the 1950s. Without that Christian framework, which rejected the culture of power and domination, and promoted solidarity between nations fresh from fratricidal conflict, a very different template for Europe might have emerged.
O’Rourke concludes: “Europe needs to relearn the economic lessons of the 1930s and re-engage with its social democratic past; a drive towards generalised austerity is dangerous.” McDonnell concurs: “The euro zone of 2020 should be a union that puts social justice centre-stage; its success will come down to political capacity and will.” Hanan too decries austerity policies that risk undermining human rights and the European social model.
The Kinsellas see the crisis as an ethical one, a breakdown of the principle of solidarity which has been crowded out in the EU’s management of the euro crisis. These dense, lucid and masterly articles would be calculated to raise the blood pressure of any tea-party Republican in the USA. They can be strongly recommended with that health warning.