The in GDP per person since the euro started

            The
Euro was created to bring economic prosperity and political integration, but it
has failed to achieve either of those objectives, and has recently gone through
what is called “the euro crisis.” GDP per capita for the “Eurozone,” which is
the countries of Europe that share the euro as their currency, was estimated to
be only slightly higher in 2015 than it was in 2007. Countries within the Eurozone
are growing at a slow rate, and some of its members have been in depression for
years. Nobel-Prize Winner Economist Joseph Stiglitz has claimed that, “The
problem with Europe is the Euro.” While Europe itself is a very diverse
country, both politically and economically, the Union is attempting to tie
itself together with one currency. Some economists claim that the rules, laws,
and institutions that govern the currency are to blame for its recent failures.

            The
euro, in short, remains a troubled currency, with disagreements over both its membership
and its direction. There is general agreement that it needs further
integration, but little agreement on how to do it. Because of this, many
countries are calling for a reform, or even a referendum of the Eurozone. The
euro works relatively well for 16 of its 19 members, but not for three: Greece,
Portugal and Italy. Indeed, the real threat to the euro may not be Greece,
given its small size. Italy, which has been deemed as
“too big to fail and too big to bail,” has seen no net growth in GDP per person
since the euro started in 1999. This is a calamity for a developed country and
a big reason why two of its main political parties favor a referendum on euro
membership. Germany, however, is considered a “success” in terms of its growth
as a Eurozone member. Since 2007, Germany’s economy has grown by 6.8%, but at
an average growth rate of just 0.8% a year. An annual growth rate of that size
under normal circumstances would be considered close to failing. However,
compared to other countries within the Eurozone, its growth rate can be
considered a “success.” In general, when compared with the United States, Europe
has been too quick to cut public spending and raise taxes, and too hesitant to reform
its labor and product markets to improve competitiveness.

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            The debate about how to handle the Eurozone
will plague politicians and policymakers throughout the coming years. In order
to be competitive in a globalized market, the Eurozone must be fixed.  

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