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Social Unrest and Economic Stress: Europe’s Angst

First published: The Huffington Post, 22/03/2013

When was the last time you heard a central banker talking the stuff of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau? I don’t remember either, but Benoit Coeure, Executive Board Member of the European Central Bank told an audience at Harvard recently that ’ At the heart of the crisis, there is the challenge of redefining the social contract to safeguard the sustainability of Europe’s social economy model’. I think that’s what golfers call ‘a hole in one’.

The problem, of course, is that the redefinition of the social contract, championed by European leaders isn’t one that sits comfortably with European citizens. According to the Financial Times/Harris poll at the end of 2012, more than half of respondents said they didn’t trust European institutions, and between 50-75% of German, French, Spanish, Italian and UK respondents didn’t trust their own governments to handle the economic crisis in Europe……more