Zerfällt die Europäische Währungsunion?
Handels- und Kapitalverflechtungen, Krisenursachen und Entwicklungsperspektiven der Eurozone
Growing imbalances in the balance of payments of the euro countries are usually attributed to the divergence in competitiveness related to unequal increases of wages or unit wage costs in member states. However, an empirical analysis of international trade and portfolio investment data shows that the growing current account deficits in countries like Greece, Spain, and Portugal up to the recent crisis were rather due to growing capital exports from countries like Germany and France. Moreover, economic divergences are not so much the result of direct competition between the countries of the eurozone but rather due to their unequal integration into the changing international division of labour. While German producers profited a lot from the transformation in regions like Eastern Europe and China, producers in Southern Europe came under increasing pressure by new competitors in other low-wage areas. Even if to a different extent, the relative importance of the eurozone as a market and an area of investment has declined for all the member states analyzed here. The growing economic and political contradictions in the eurozone are leading to different scenarios, depending on the development of the balance of forces: There could be a deepening of the integration of the eurozone member countries, but also the exit of single countries from the eurozone. Depending on the political balance of forces, ruptures with the current regime of the monetary union and with the European treaties could have very different meanings for the social classes.