Europe’s impending Phantom Limp Syndrome

26/02/2012 by

This being the weekend, and waking up in Adelaide about to be immersed in the performance and visual arts (also known as the Adelaide Festival), permit me a different kind of thought/post for the day; an impressionistic comment on all this talk about severing some of the eurozone’s member-states in order to ‘save’ the eurozone; i.e. in order to keep Italy, Spain and France attached to the DM-zone.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing, and disconcerting, phenomena involving the senses is what medical science refers to as Phantom Limp Syndrome. When an amputee still feels that the severed limb is there and, in some cases, continues to feel that the absent limb is causing her excruciating pain.

My simple thought for the day is that a eurozone breakup will afflict the remaining currency union with a case of Phantom Limp Syndrome so debilitating that  the rump eurozone will simply not survive. Greece, Portugal et al may not be there anymore but the pain they caused Europe’s surplus nations will not only remain but grow exponentially until France is severed too. And then Phantom Limp Syndrome will give its place to a postmodern Great Depression for all. So, the moral to this story, for Europe’s elites,  is this: Think before amputating. And since the only alternative to amputation is a systemic solution, stop focusing on Greece and Portugal and re-focus on the eurozone’s structural ‘deficits’. (I think the time is approaching for Version 3.0 of our Modest Proposal).

For a brilliant radio documentary on Phantom Limp Syndrome, courtesy of the BBC, click here.

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