January 20, 2012

Continental Breakup

If you're like us, when the words "European debt crisis" pop up in the news you feel a little worried, and a little like taking a nap. Turns out, there's a story behind this story. One that's filled with guilt, and drama, and betrayal, and 100-year-old dreams come true. Alex Blumberg of Planet Money guest hosts.


Ira Glass asks guest host Alex Blumberg whether we should really care about the current European debt crisis. The answer: yes, we should, and we should WANT to care too, because this story—and it's actually the story of the Euro itself—is very surprising and dramatic. This hour, Alex and the Planet Money team helm the show. (3 minutes)

Act One

Currency of Dreams

Planet Money reporters Chana Joffe-Walt and Zoe Chace tells the story of the far-fetched, 150 year-old dream of a universal European currency. (13 1/2 minutes)
Act Two


When the Euro arrived in 2002, the BBC called it "the most ambitious financial and political change since money began." Here in the US we don't think of it as that revolutionary, but in Europe it truly changed how millions of people lived. Adam Davidson and Chana Joffe-Walt report. (22 1/2 minutes)
Act Three

Ooh, I Shouldn't Have Done That!

Adam and Chana tell how things turned dramatically worse for the Euro in 2009, when the new government in Greece announced that its national deficit was twice what the previous government had reported. (6 1/2 minutes)
Act Four


Chana and Alex tell what happened next, when technocrats in Germany and other solvent European countries tried to fix the crisis by actually enforcing the original rules for Euro Zone membership. It turned out that even determining the real deficit in Greece was no easy task. (9 1/2 minutes)
Act Five

What's a Greek Accountant Got to Do With Me?

Chana and Alex explain that when people talk about Greece today, they're really talking about Italy...meaning, where will the crisis hit next? And is it going to hit the US? (10 1/2 minutes)


“Learn From Your Mistakes” by Mr. Julian Gaskell