This paper focuses on how the global economic crisis unfolded in Europe, where a toxic mix of financial liberalization, highly-leverage banks, a poorly-planned euro and Germany’s years of structural adjustment created a deeply unbalanced and highly indebted European economy, that was brought into sharp focus as Wall Street banks collapsed. The result was the reversal of Europe's economic integration and a state of permanent crisis that continues to this day.
The Irish government announcement of a €34 billion Euro bailout, two years after the financial crisis first broke, is a reminder that little has been done to prevent it happening again just as the social costs are becoming ever more evident.
"The banks are ours!" Public money was used to bail out the banks, and now they are lending back to the public at interest, while governments ignore the social and environmental crises that confront society. It is time to demand real solutions that will work not only for the sake of the economy but for the lives and conditions of people on whom it depends.