The causes of WWI were many and complicated, but I think I am on safe ground in saying that WWI did not follow “from the inability of the French to harness German nationalism after the Franco-Prussian War” (whatever that might mean).That's Daniel Larrison in response to Victorious McMansion's most recent night at the improv, which dances between accusing southern European nations of deadbeatism and worrying about a renewed German militarism, imagining, if I am reading correctly, Maastricht et al. as the new Versailles and Angela Merkel's potential SDP successor as either a Hitler or a Bismark--precisely which remains unclear.
The curious conviction that southern Europe is poor keeps recurring, and I suppose that poverty and indebtedness are in some sense linked, but it remains a palpable truth that countries like Italy and Spain and Greece and even little Portugal are by any historical and certainly by any contemporary standard extraordinarily rich--materially wealthy in a way rarely if ever seen before on earth, exceeded only by a very few other super-outlier nations. France isn't really Southern Europe; I mean, Paris is as northerly as Munich, and regardless, Germany and France are the fourth and fifth largest economies in the world by GPD respectively, with the French output trailing the German output by approximately the same figure as Germany trails number three, Japan. And among the real nations of Southern Europe: Italy is richer than India. Spain is richer than South Korea. Portugal, with just 10.5 million people, is wealthier than Egypt or the Philippines, with 90 million each.
You all know I don't put all that much stock in the validity of these sorts of measurements; I note them only to point out that even by the crackpot standards of our mad age, these countries are just fine. The crisis is so concocted that even the empiricism of its own authors belies the conclusion that it exists.