I’ll be out of the office for the next week on a trip to Europe, staying in Amsterdam for a week and then a couple of days in Dublin. This is a family vacation, so I’ll certainly be able to report on the five-year-old-boy perspective when I return.
On top of that, though, the trip will offer a valuable eyewitness look at two critical areas in the eurozone. The Netherlands is one of the core northern countries that’s paying the bills—and becoming increasingly conflicted about continuing to do so. I look forward to seeing how that national conversation looks on the ground.
Ireland, on the other hand, has been through the wringer and done the full austerity routine, and is now emerging from it. We were last there in 2010, so it will be interesting to see the changes. (We’re staying in downtown Dublin, which should provide a close-up view.) As a bonus, I speak the language there, more or less, and will be able to read the papers as well.
As I have mentioned before, I’ve become increasingly pessimistic about the future of the euro. A recent shift by the Germans to start lessening austerity and supporting the peripheral economies in meaningful ways suggests that the story isn’t over yet. In my opinion, however, the odds remain against it. A close look at the Netherlands and Ireland will add color to my analysis.
That’s not the primary reason I’m going, of course. But, just as my family’s trip to Story Land last year led me to ponder what it would take for Europe to succeed, I can certainly take home useful information from this trip as well.
I have posts prepared for all of next week (including a guest post), but I hope to write one while I’m abroad, noting any immediate observations.
The weather looks great for this weekend around New England, so I hope everyone has fun plans. See you in a week or so.