Monday, 28 November 2011
What's Really Behind the Euro Crisis?
What's really behind the Euro crisis? Why, it's about whether hard-working, frugal Lutherans will bail out profligate Latins, of course. The Reformation may be written off in some quarters as ancient history, but old habits born of religious sanction die hard, even in secular Europe. One financial journalist sees the crisis as essentially a religio-cultural one revolving around whether countries whose ethos was shaped by the Protestant work ethic will assume responsibility for the debts of societies who are historically less constrained by religious taboos on excessive consumption and spending. Read her opinion here. There's no detailed sociological analysis here, nor would we expect it in such a forum, and Ms Francis is painting with a broad brush (in what sense has the Netherlands been formed by a Lutheran ethos?) but it's heartening to see at least one journalist taking religion seriously as a significant motivator of human actions and shaper of cultural mores, even long after the vitality of those religious traditions has been weakened by decades of attack from both within and without.