I was speaking at the CPI meeting on “Ireland After the Euro” yesterday and I said that in the event of a sudden collapse of the Euro, the effects on ordinary people would be biblical. The point was made that currency unions break up all the time and the example of the soviet ruble in the 1990s was cited. During the breakdown of the soviet ruble currency union the average life expectancy of a Russian male dropped by 4 years, that for a Russian female by 2 years. This is millions of the old, sick, poor and infirm wiped out virtually overnight. The euro is fast approaching its end, I believe anyway, but I’m not too sure that the Irish working class is organised enough to ensure that the price of that exit doesn’t fall on them, that it falls on the rentiers instead.
As I said, I don’t think the breakup of the Eurozone can be avoided at this stage, the structural faults within the Euro currency are too strong to be reformed, so I think it’s best to start thinking about how we avoid the human cost that comes with such a breakup. Interesting to note that the Icelandic people ensured that their social welfare safety net remained intact during the process of devaluation and re-emergence - we need to be working towards strengthening that net instead of dismantling it to keep private nursing home investors happy.