Waiting for a default June 17, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Waiting for a default?Much of the financial world seems to be waiting for a Greek default. I am still with Barclays; I don’t think that it is happening, at least this year. OK, John Lipsky is a wildcard whose behaviour might turn the mildest of men into a conspiracy theorist, but this is still fundamentally about politics rather than economics. Krugman can huff and puff all he wants; self interest has rather little to do with this story.

Chrysia Freeland, meanwhile, reminds us of the positives of the European project amid the gloom: she asks what made the revolutions in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic succeed and suggests that the answer is Europe and the promise of membership in the European Union. Quoting some lovely phrases of Wanda Rapaczynski’s, Freeland describes the reforms that preceded membership in the European Union as a period of “sponsored transformation” and says “once the pressure of the beauty contest was off, the pace of reform slowed.” At a moment when many are questioning the value and the durability of the European experiment, Rapaczynski’s reminder of the positive power the European idea has had in the eastern half of the Continent is timely. Exactly right.

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