The Debt Crisis in Ireland

Thu 31 May 2012

Dublin was plastered with posters about the austerity vote.

Almost every lamppost in Dublin had a poster about Ireland's May 31 election about adopting the EU austerity measures. Most had two signs, pro and con, referring to it either as the "financial stability treaty" (YES) or the "banker's treaty" (NO). What's it all about?

For your convenience, here are overviews in a variety of lengths.

Shortest, a couple quotes from Planet Money's guest episode on This American Life. Ira Glass asks narrator Alex Bloomberg, "I think I speak for all Americans when I ask you this question, and that is: Do I have to care about this?" Bloomberg assures him yes, and quite a lot if the European economy collapses. Planet Money explains the background of the crisis. Certain EU banks made unwise loans to governments and consumers, in the expectation that the EU would cover their losses in the worst case. Bloomberg uses the metaphor of getting a rich uncle to co-sign a mortgage for his broke nephew. Now the nephew has flaked out, and the uncle is stuck with a big bill.

Still awake? Ok, try this: the European Debt Crisis Explained With Legos. image1.
(Click through for the explanation. It's not simple, but it's entertaining. Hint: "I'm not paying for that! YOU pay for it!")

Of moderate length, the CS Monitor's five slide explanation, and Europe's Financial Crisis in Plain English.

If you have time, you can listen to the whole Planet Money series, starting with the guest episode on This American Life.

The debt and deficit limits already passed in the European Union, but Ireland's constitution requires a public vote on major legislation. Ireland voted to be bound by the measures. Stay tuned to Planet Money to see how it plays out.

Category: Sightseeing