Cover of MoneyWeek magazine issue no 750

Winning streak

16 July 2015 / Issue 751

Old Japan hands, like me, will have heard it all before, says Rupert Foster. But this time really is different. It's time to buy Japan. Read this week's cover story here.

• Cheer up! Robots will save us, not destroy us
• Should the licence fee be scrapped?
• How the eurozone could self-destruct

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John Stepek

The flaw in the euro grand projet

Staying on top of the Greek saga is tricky. After the umpteenth “final” deadline, there’s yet another coming up – this Monday. The date, 20 July, will mark the day Greece has to pay €3.5bn to the European Central Bank (ECB). As usual, the powers-that-be are racing to put together a fudge to drag us as far as the next “final” deadline. It’s a terrible mess, and a situation which – regardless of your view on Greece’s economic competence or otherwise – has inflicted an awful lot of unnecessary pain on the country.

It was also entirely predictable. As economist and author George Magnus tells our editor-in-chief Merryn Somerset Webb, this is the inevitable result of putting monetary union ahead of political union.

If a country like Germany wants to share a currency with one like Greece, then German taxpayers have to be willing to subsidise Greece – just as taxpayers in wealthy parts of the UK subsidise the less well-off areas. But in the absence of shared nationhood, values, or closer political integration, the idea of paying for Greek public-sector pensions is a non-starter for your average German worker.

The most interesting aspect of the Greek crisis is that this blindingly obvious flaw in the grand projet has come as news to a surprisingly large group of people. Long-term eurosceptics who always said this would happen are being joined in droves by horrified former believers who somehow imagined that the eurozone would be run by a Platonic guardian class of technocrats who would consistently do the right thing, make the right decisions, and set aside national self-interest in favour of the greater good – and that voters would put such people in charge of their nations.

• Read the full editor’s letter here: The flaw in the euro grand projet