All That Was Solid

An interview with Adam Tooze in Jacobin:

[I]f you think of the European Coal and Steel Community as the original kernel of the European integration project [in 1951], the whole project was to say, “We’ve got this tightly interconnected economic sector that has powerful geopolitical and broader historical implications, so we have to neutralize it. And the way we’re going to neutralize it is this mechanism.”

They did that with agriculture as well, in the early 1960s. They said, “Peasants are a big chunk of our population, a key part of this historical transformation, and politically potentially really lethal, and so as we stabilize, let’s have this Common Agricultural Policy.”

It’s really telling to me that before the 2008 crisis the Europeans were unable politically to draw on that and say, “Right, we’re building this tightly interconnected economic sector — finance. It has potentially explosive implications for the eurozone project. Clearly, we need to have a banking union, and we need to have it straight away and right from the beginning.”

More here.