For this week's Outside the Box I want to share with you a singularly interesting conversation between Niall Ferguson and Ben Laurance, in the Sunday Times of London. What really grabbed me about it was the way Niall goes right out on a limb and yet makes such a convincing case that, when push really comes to shove, Germany will bite the federalist bullet, because it's overwhelmingly in their interest to maintain a united eurozone.
"I am not a federalist," says Ferguson. "But the costs of the single currency disintegrating are really so high and would impact so many people, that the only responsible thing for me to do is to argue urgently for the next step to a federal Europe. I see no alternative at the moment that isn't a great deal worse."
And the other option? "On the other hand — and this is the message to Angela Merkel — to use George Bush's phrase: this sucker's going down. We've reached that point."
Niall has never shied away from addressing the big questions. His latest tour de force, Civilization: The West and the Rest (just released in paperback in the UK, as Civilization: The Six Killer Apps of Western Power), demonstrates how Europe went from being a fractious, disease-ridden fourteenth-century backwater to global dominance, through the development of six "killer applications": competition, science, democracy, medicine, consumerism and the work ethic — and is now experiencing a precipitious decline (along with the rest of the West).
Are the stakes really that high? You bet. Everywhere I go, people are talking about and working hard on solutions to the issues that will make or break us in the coming decade.
I was part of a great conversation like that just a couple weeks ago, at the Casey Research conference I mentioned, down in Florida. When I'm at one of these things, I keep thinking, "I just wish a couple million of my best friends could be here, too." Well, the Casey people just told me that the CDs of the conference are shipping out this week, and so if you want the next best thing to being there, you can pick up a copy here.
There was a real whirlwind of press and media interviews last week while I was in New York. You can go to www.johnmauldin.com and look on the left side for the interviews I did with the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Yahoo Finance. I am off to Atlanta tomorrow for two nights and a few speeches and meetings, plus a lot of time to read and think (I hope!) about some of the speeches I have heard the past few weeks. It really has been a lot to try and absorb.
Your looking for answers to the big questions analyst,
John Mauldin, Editor
Outside the Box
One nation (under Germany)
Historian Niall Ferguson tells Ben Laurance the single currency will survive and the crisis will leave Berlin heading a federal Europe
Where does it all end? What will be the outcome of the financial storm battering Europe and its single currency? Can the euro be saved? And if so, what will be the longterm consequences?
The financial historian Niall Ferguson, visiting London from…