I never thought of this but there are definite parallels.
It was a currency union of 15 states in 1992. Two years later, as budget deficits spiraled out of control, hyperinflation reigned and economies shriveled, just two members of the Soviet Union’s ruble zone were left.
As Greek politicians threaten to break terms of the country’s bailout with international lenders, Spain calls for financial help, and northern European nations balk at funding the south, historians are asking whether the euro region is about to face a similar exodus. They take a longer view of the European Union’s crisis than economists, and it’s much bleaker.
The Soviet experience tells us “an exit like this is messy and leads to loss of income and inflation, and people are right to be scared of it,” said Harold James, a professor of history atPrinceton University whose books include “The End of Globalization: Lessons From the Great Depression.” “It isn’t an attractive analogy at all because the Soviet Union states all had serious troubles for the whole of the 1990s.”
While differences between the Soviet Union and the EU are greater than their similarities, there are parallels that may prove helpful in assessing the debt crisis, historians say. Both were postwar constructs set up in response to a collective trauma; in both cases, the founding generation was dying out as crisis hit and disintegration loomed.
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