All this has raised enormously the political stakes involved in sustaining the eurozone and European economic advancement. How can the needed sustained political heavy-lifting be accomplished if members no longer share a vision of political union in the long term?
Friedman has stumbled upon a nifty cliché, perhaps while watching March Madness, and then tried to fit the world and his own favorite causes around it. To make it work he has to distort the past and exaggerate the present, like a petulant parent.
Unless you're a student of history or are planning a Mediterranean vacation, you may never have given the island of Cyprus much thought. Then suddenly, it dominated the headlines. What does a banking crisis in a small and far-off land mean to you?
If our economic model is working for a decreasing share of the population over time, democratic pressures will ultimately demand not just changes to the system of measurement, but to the system itself.
The Cypriot banks did what all banks do. They gambled. They borrowed money by taking in deposits as well as selling bonds, promised to repay, and then invested in assets they were sure would pay off. These assets included lots and lots of Greek government bonds.
As with other Eurozone economies whose private banks faced insolvency, the Eurozone rescue specialists in Brussels offered a bailout package to save the banks, with strings attached. In the specific case of Cyprus, the terms were especially onerous.
On Saturday, European officials stunned Cypriots (and many others) by announcing a rescue package for their country that involves a levy on all bank deposits. The news is spreading far and wide, causing quite a bit of controversy in the process.
Is modern Greece going to survive out of the storm of the ongoing crisis? Is Europe about to change path from the achievements of post-war political cooperation and economic integration to the unchartered waters of national egoisms and self-minded interests?