America's profligate greed

While the world is finally witnessing the fundamental flaws with the EU — namely, a unified currency system combined with a dispersed political framework (meaning financial and political decisions cannot be adequately coordinated) — the problems were greatly exacerbated by the reduction in liquidity and the risk aversion of investors that followed in the wake of the U.S. subprime industry meltdown.

When the bubble burst in the small European nations, they, unlike America, could not just print more money. They had to go to the EU central bank, hat in hand, and seek a bailout from the stronger economies in Europe such as Germany and England. It quickly became a political fiasco. The European central bank imposed drastic austerity measures on the populations of the PIGS — measures that have proven to be politically disastrous and caused conflict and unrest even in England, one of the wealthiest countries in the EU.

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Meanwhile, America has seen its global economic influence marginalized. The United States is now considered the 800-pound drunken gorilla in the room — feared because of its size, but derided because of its capricious behavior. While the American people might have blissfully forgotten what happened — there is something in the American psyche that seems to protect it from distressing memories — the rest of the world won't soon forget that America's profligate greed caused this current global crisis.