Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Getting a "living corpse to walk"

Wilhelm Hankel is sitting on the stage at a meeting of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. He is beaming with joy. The 81-year-old professor has just explained why the euro has always been a monstrosity, and why it will and must fail. Although the current plans to "get a living corpse to walk" are touching, he scoffed, one thing is already clear: The euro bailout package will only save the banks.

I think we all knew this – but what makes this remarkable is that it is Der Spiegel reporting.

Of his fellow countrymen, he asks, rhetorically: "Do you think they're going to take to the streets now and protest?" He is not truly convinced that change will occur. "We Germans are small-minded people, not heroes," he says. But 70 years ago to the day, he would not have said that. If he has said that 66 years ago, he might have been shot.

Have things really changed that much?