Desperate times, desperate remedy
Last night the European debt crisis reached, in the words of one critic, "its meltdown phase". This view, echoed around the globe, represented a vote of no confidence in the conference calls in which the European Central Bank, along with EU and world political leaders, attempted to avert catastrophe.
At this writing, it is impossible to judge whether their efforts will achieve any degree of success. Even before news began to emerge from the conference calls, Middle Eastern financial markets turned their thumbs down. This morning we will learn whether the pattern has been repeated from Tokyo to Frankfurt to New York.
If the outcome is a collapse like that of 2008 -- or 1929 -- the outlook for trade, investment and living standards will be grim everywhere, and not least for Ireland. Our hopes of recovery rest largely on exports. In a "double-dip" recession, exports must suffer.