Euros and Europeans: Monetary Integration and the European Model of Society
Edited by Andrew Martin and George Ross
Cambridge University Press, 2004, 398 pp.
An "interdisciplinary transnational team" of academics and researchers has produced this fine multifaceted balance sheet of the European Monetary Union, with special emphasis on the fate of the "European Social Model" of the welfare state, the "rigidities" of which have collided with the politics of the highly independent European Central Bank. The editors stress the resilience of the social model and suggest that the monetary union as such could actually increase the autonomy of European economic policy from the forces of globalization and thus enable Europe to overcome high unemployment. The authors, however, also stress the European Central Bank's steadfast defense of price stability and its success in subordinating growth and employment to price stability. The country chapters, meanwhile, often reach unorthodox conclusions. The editors conclude by noting the resilience of the European social model, but they worry that continuing low growth and high unemployment "might create conditions for a war of attrition that would sap the European model by stealth."