Numbers Don’t Lie: Eurozone Rebound More Myth Than Reality
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Mabel Berezin, professor of sociology at Cornell University and author of “Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times: Cultures, Security, and Populism in a New Europe,” comments on recent media reports declaring a Eurozone economic rebound.
“Suggestions that there is a general economic rebound in Europe are misleading. Germany is doing quite well – as evidenced by Angela Merkel’s resounding electoral victory. However, Southern Europe – Spain, Italy and Greece continue to do poorly with increasing levels of social suffering.
“Youth unemployment, the percentage of persons between the ages of 15 to 24 in the labor force, is a cogent measure of underlying economic distress. According to recent Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development statistics, Greece has the highest rate of youth unemployment – 55.3 percent – up from 25.8 percent when the crisis began in 2009. The pattern is distressingly similar for Spain, 53.2 percent, up from 37.9 percent in 2009. These percentages make Italy’s 35.3 percent appear almost healthy.
“In contrast, Germany’s youth unemployment rate actually declined since 2009 to 8.1 percent, the lowest among the OECD countries. While some Germans are celebrating the re-election of Merkel, in Greece, one finds the continued rise of the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party – now the third most popular party in Greece – and street riots of various sorts. Greece and Germany are at the extremes, but the general point is that Europe is far from rebounding.”