The Crises of Summer
With the Europeans enjoying their long summer vacations, let’s recall Europe’s bloody crisis summers. Via Project Syndicate.
Summer crises are a familiar feature of European history – and of financial history. Indeed, the twentieth century was shaped by three summer crises, whose seriousness was heightened in each case by the absence of major policymakers, who were on vacation.
In two years, Europeans will commemorate the centennial of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, and the subsequent “July crisis” that triggered World War I that August. On July 13, 1931, the German banking system collapsed, ensuring that what was previously an American economic downturn became the worldwide Great Depression. On August 15, 1971, President Richard M. Nixon ended the United States’ commitment to a fixed gold price, leading to a decade of global currency instability.
Each of these crises involved a highly technical issue, but also a much broader set of political problems. And, in each case, the intertwining of the technical and the political produced disaster.
Full article here.