Europe on the Brink

Europe on the BrinkIn this documentary, Wall Street Journal editors and reporters examine the origins of Europe's debt crisis and why it spread with such ferocity to engulf much of the continent and threaten the entire world.

Had Europe faced up to the Greek problem earlier, the crisis would likely be more contained and manageable today. It should have reached a broad pact with Athens by trading growth-promoting reforms for long-term financial guarantees and relief.

But that would have meant telling taxpayers in Germany and other northern European countries that they might have to finance some of the bailout and recovery costs (as they will end up doing anyway). And it would have meant acknowledging that heavily exposed German and French banks might have to be recapitalized at taxpayer expense.

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Ratings: 6.77/10 from 30 users.

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62 Comments / User Reviews

  1. TheDanishViking

    Good to see some valid criticism of the Euro crisis to balance the many documentaries on the US crisis. There are important points raised in this documentary.
    However, it is a little funny to see so many bankers complain about Europeans (the Germans) lack of willingness to bail out the investors (the banks). These guys from Wall Street Journal seem to forget one thing. In Europe there is a real democracy where people actually have a say in how the economy is run. To the average European the question is “Why the f..k should we taxpayers bail out the bankers?” This question is of cause also asked by the average guy in the US, but in the US the average guy doesn’t really matter because the US is (very close to being) a plutocracy.
    Secondly, during the last couple of decades the growth in Germany has been slow and the living standard of Germans has increased only little. The Germans have created a sound economy the old-school way – hard work and low pay – while the rest of the Western world has floated high on the economic bubbles. So is it fair that the Germans now have to bail out everyone else? Is it fair that the hard working German now has to share his lunch with the lazy bums who haven’t worked all day? Instead why cant the rest of the world take a decade of recession – the Japanese have done it and so can we.
    Finally, and here Wall Street Journal is clearly biased; - the US and UK economies are heavily dependent on the banking sectors in New York and London. The European countries have not benefitted from the banking sector industry to the same extent. So in the long run the Europeans may not feel the same need to support the financial sectors.
    Still. There is little doubt the Europeans have managed the crisis poorly. But, as usual, the banking sectors perspective is “How do we make money in the next six months?” The perspective in a real democracy is much longer.

  2. slpsa

    They lost me at " Wall Street Journal editors and reporters examine the origins of Europe’s debt crisis ". Why bail out bankers? Exactly. Why...not one good reason I can think of, yet it happened anyways, in the US. No choice given. The Government gave the American people a s**t sammich to chew on.

  3. Melissa Kio

    One thought was...why is a "media" type organization, IE Wall Street Journal doing this docu? First impression 5 minutes in....I hear threats of World War......I hear, they want to use the fear of world war to better advocate a new world "dollar". Even though, no such thing about a new "dollar" has been mentioned yet, or at all....but it's obvious that's all this is about.

  4. alans

    Let them have their Drachma if they don't want to be a financially responsible EURO member, and same goes for the rest of them.

  5. magarac

    So what they basically saying is that the only way of maintaining that flawed system is to pump more money into it.
    That does not look like a solution to me. But then again iam not a financial expert.

  6. Nuno Pessoa

    Well you should know that it's not the people that are responsible for the political irresponsability. Politics have corrupted and steal their own countries. For this there should be a true international court to judge them and search their accounts.

  7. Nuno Pessoa

    That's what american private institutions like the rating agencies want! So that euro can loose strenght to dollar. It's so obvious.

  8. Matt Kukowski

    These fools... even with all their Computer Power and tracking of markets, they have NO CLUE what is happening and how to fix it.

    This tells you something. It is a game. It is a false and flawed economic system based on Debt.

    We need to base our economy on Credit ( not debt )... credit based on behalf of the machines and robots (the factories in other words, that are mostly automated technology ) ... only the factory owners and stock holders of the factories are getting rich with money.

    If we can not credit people with an annual check based on credit based on the labor of machines... then the factory owners will get more money, but there will be no customers ... eventually even the factories owners will go broke.

  9. dmxi

    ahhh...shut up & pull that plough (hear the whip cracking?)!!!!

  10. phillip wong

    I think like what he said about the rest of the world suffering the same consequences. If you look at east Asia, they are all surplus countries with low unemployment rate, and high entrepreneurial spirit.

  11. Bodge Fodge

    jibberish, nonesense, revisionist hubris

  12. Geoffrey Grekin

    Lady at the end said,

    "Ultimately Europe only has one choice in the long run to sustain their Euro Economy.. Drop the Welfare Programs and become more entrepreneurial like the US...."??

    Anyone else have a problem with this?

  13. Matthew Standley

    It is difficult to be very specific, but I felt that most of the opinions here were expressed with a bias that made me feel as though I were being sold the Euro as a good thing. I don't happen to think that it is, even as a Briton, but then I would not support the Amero either, or the Canada-U.S.-Mexico pact that would come with it.

  14. Matthew Standley

    Yes I do.
    As I am sure you felt, she was essentially saying: Let's privatize everything (i.e. Milton Friedman and all who have followed in his footsteps are great).

  15. Il_Penseroso

    I think this doco is an excellent example of how little Wall St. (America) understands the core problems and issues faced by the Euro zone.

  16. Declan_Walsh

    Oh yeah, big time.

  17. Tanzanos Eleytheros

    Friedman's model a.k.a. Neo Liberalism is the bane of any civilised society!

  18. Frederick Karam

    Jacque fresco's venus project is a credible alternative to our greedy stagnating system.

  19. Luyang Han

    Basic idea of this doc: It is all your Europeans fault that we banks are losing money.

  20. slpsa

    What I meant was they did this to their own people to start, these wall street thugs, and the US Government and that POS Bernanke, gave them no vote, no choice. They stole a trillion man.... The rest, I am well aware of, but thanks for the reply sir.

  21. Chris Dieterle

    Nothing will ever change anywhere until they remove all the thugs and shut down the FEDERAL RESERVE for starters. Put these international edomite bankers on lockdown. They have taken over the world economy, it's probably too late to do anything.

  22. alans

    There should be.

  23. KsDevil

    A rather cosmetic historical review of the European economic troubles underscored with a monotonous melodramatic sound track.
    Th Wall Stret Journal conveintly laving out the players that creates the problem since those players perform the activies WSJ likes to write positive articles on.

  24. KsDevil

    Rose colored glasses are fashionable. If she were to take them off, she would find the entrepreneurial activies in the US are as reminiscant and cosmeticly referenced as the views of this video. That is unless you call the creation of capital, investing in capital, investing in capital as entrepreneurial.

  25. ulickmcgee

    its all a game they have us exactly where they want us oppress the poor for they are weak they will follow.Bail out the poor banks forget the people.

  26. David Ewer

    So American 'experts' blame European welfare states for these issues. But the US borrows far more than any European nation yet has private healthcare, and Germany has a welfare system but isn't in the same situation as Greece.
    The real problem is caused by the 'offshoring' of profits and the socialising of debts. The global rich have hidden all the proceeds of their crimes and now are trying to blame the poor.

  27. kulebrun

    Nobody, since this "documentary" is clearly sponsored by the same savages who caused the crisis in the first place.

  28. anuragawasthi

    It was the call by countries like China,russia etc to replace USD with Euro that has caused this crisis..........economic hitmens at their best.............now Iran is also paying the price for defying USA.......IRial is shorted like hell in
    currency markets and Iranians are up in arms against their govt .

  29. slpsa

    what matters is the size of my ****, not some bankers delusion of wealth that does not exist in monetary form. As I said, I am well aware and quite informed on these subjects, a trillion here, a trillion there, who's counting?

  30. gunk wretch

    and so they justify a stronger centralized world economy, eventually a world monetary system, they say its to create peace by taking away the incentive for war, but it was only ever plutocrats and oligarchs who profit from war anyways, now these plutocrats demand a world government to keep them from profiting off peasants killing each other.

  31. Martin Hedin

    I do not understand one thing: Why do they call use the term "risk" when talking about investments, for example when you invest in Greece's debt?

    In the end this crisis, according to this docu, is all about that the investors MUST not make a loss. So there was no risk from the beginning?

    Why should people of Greece have to cut their jobs and welfare, and people of Germany loose their tax money for bailing out the investors.

    This is just another bailout. The investors should accept the loss as a consequence of the meltdown and the risk that they where taking.

  32. PalTonk

    And the peace prize goes to

  33. Terry Beaton

    Live for today, and don't have children. The future belongs to Exxon, and their financially inbred kin. Unless your in the 1%. In which case, there's a whole new assortment of high end products out there for you to look at. Decadent jewelry and watches are flying out the door. It's morning in 1% of America!

  34. djc200

    Here's to hoping the fall of the current global monetary system is near and a collective paradigm shift toward a better way forward is finally underway. A way forward with dramatically increased social equity, the proliferation of technology to benefit all humans and increased ecological balance and sustainability. None of that is currently possible under our faith in the current monetary structure.

  35. MarkSalerno

    Haha just the description is making me chuckle. A Wall St journalist commenting on Europe.

    Everyone knows that the USA got us into this mess. And hey when are they thinking about paying China the trillions for all the s*** they got made there?

  36. Joe Sponer

    ...yes, this would make perfect sense in a vacum. Who do you think is going to buy the next round of Greek debt if this were to occur and what do you think the concenquesnce would be for Greek citizens as a result?

  37. Rocky Racoon

    So says you. Refuse the debt let those banks go bankrupt set up long term loans from the state for infrastructure projects work your way out of depression. A National BAnk should be a PUBLIC Utility not a private profit machine where heads the bank wins tails the citizen pays the way it is now. The capitalist social order has overstayed it's welcome on the world historical stage their exit is long over due.

  38. David Clark

    This all came about because of politicians "buying" votes. Ridicules pensions, outlandish public sector compensation, people ignoring reality and voting for anyone who would promise them, more and more. Unions demanding less work, but more pay. It's easy to live the good life when you do it off of anothers back! Now with debts 3x,4x,10x of GDP the house of cards is falling in on itself, and there is no one to blame but greedy people, and even more greedy politicians.

  39. Luke Foreman

    Its all Nixon's fault

  40. jopie1978

    i quote : "u cant have infinite growth on a finite planet"

    Im sorry, but the whole financial system is based on a virtual infinite world that totally doesn't represent the real one. In general, this doesn't matter because these worlds are totally seperate and can interact with eachother in a positive way. So the infinite financial system doesn't have to be analyzed as "the big problem".

    The problem is that goverments and people don't use common sence! Shot term tactics seem more important nowadays then long term strategy. That's the problem of the western society at large. Were fat & hungry and want more. A president and political parties only care about there re-elections, not about solving problems NOW, that will prevent negative events in the future when there long gone. And thus, problems never get solved before people get affected by them. In my opinion the system isnt at fault, the people are. We choose short term gains over long term benefits!

    If google would do that, they would file for bankruptcy in 5 years, but they won't, u know why? simple, they have a sound long term strategy as the westerns goverments do not! No, they do debt and the voters fall for it everytime!:)

  41. TPhillips

    poor europeans can't handle the truth.

  42. Barry Stallings

    It has nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with the poor distribution of wealth in America.

  43. Barry Stallings

    99% can easily remove the 1%.

  44. Devon Griffiths

    Actually you're wrong - that's exactly the problem with big business, it doesn't look past a few years. At all. That's why they don't build buildings to last longer than that now. That's why everything you buy is designed to fail after a few years. It isn't the people who have decided they want all their things to fall apart all the time. Business does not and never has operated on long-term strategy, they operate, at best, a few fiscal years ahead - but mostly, they operate strictly within a single fiscal quarter. Why do the people want more stuff all the time? Simple, because the stuff they were sold was designed to fall apart quickly. The people are supposed to want things, that's what drives markets, and now we hear market fundamentalists getting upset that the people want a decent standard of living (remind you of a certain Russian regime in its last days?). Supply side economics gone bat-**** crazy.

    Same with politicians. Why do they only care about getting re-elected? Because they have bought into the lie that government cannot be useful, from their paymasters on Wall Street, who are not interested in what benefits the country but what improves things for their bottom line (not the nation's) in the short term. Politicians are quite literally paid by corporations and banks to think only about getting in, sabotaging the system for their masters, and getting out to enjoy their promised rewards (on a Board somewhere).

  45. Ducksfeet

    Yeah right blame Greece what a lying documentary they never mentioned that the Banks in England,France Spain Ireland Protugal Italy where also heavily weighted down with toxic assets and Iceland which did not have a debt problem until the banks loaded the Government with it's toxic debt trying to force the citizens of Iceland to pay off the banks debts and Iceland is the only country that said no way and because of that thay are the only country that is back in growth mode.The banks and the finance system deliberately created this problem so they could collapse those economies then go in and buy up assets at pennies on the dollar.This was planned and so is the USA collapsing it's own currency taking down Mexico and Canada to bring them into the North American Union.They already have designed and printed up the new currency once this dilema follows through.

  46. Hector Sanchez

    Capatalism has done more postive things to bring people out of poverty than any other system. And that is a fact! Try taking some basic economic classes to educate yourself.

  47. Hector Sanchez

    I make a fairly good living for my age. My brother and I worked our butts off since I was 17. I work an average of 70 hours a week and we employ 12 people. And you want to over tax us. Why even start a business or become an entrepreneur when people like you want to punish us for our hard work and success with heavy tax burdens. You think it's easy to start and maintain a business then try it yourself.

  48. Hector Sanchez

    Greece had become a huge welfare state that was going to burst at the seams eventually. The entitlement mentality in Greece is so sad. This led to jobs like a hairdressing to be considered “hazardous” so that there would be fatter pensions and earlier retirements. Salaries and pensions of government employees took up 52 percent of Greece’s budget. 52 percent!

    It’s not all of Greece that’s the problem. Many European bankers bought bonds from deadbeats that won’t pay out as promised without intervention from the European Central Bank. Fixing the Greek and other economies may prove to be a tough task, as it involves others having to step in and dictate to Athens how to direct its economic affairs and this has made many people in Greece angry. Entitlements are out of control in greece. In Greece you have developed a mentality far too dependent on Government entitlements that are not sustainable.

    Here in the United States since President Obama got re-elected many people fear that the United States may lead down the same path as Greece since Obama has added more dept to our national dept in his first two years in office than any other President in U.S history.

  49. Hector Sanchez

    Who is they???? Do you have peoples names or are you only selling us fear.

  50. Hector Sanchez

    Let me see. The bank puts up billions and billions of dollars to save someone elses mess and you blame them because they want to be repaid???

  51. kompikos

    If you ask me, the problem with Greece and Europe in general is a political one. Not an economical one. The reason why this crisis still remains unresolved is obvious to anyone that has watched what happened in the EuroGroup two days ago.

    Greece finally did everything right. All 72 tasks to be met were met. Two huge private investments were brought in a country that is in a constant depression for 3 years. The spreads dropped. The last three consequent months Greece presented a slight budget surplus for each month since the 80s and a general government surplus is projected for 2013 for the first time.

    And Europe FAILED THIS TIME to reach to an agreement over the next loan transit to Greece! For 3 years Greece was failing in every step and the loans were approved over and over again and this time that everything is starting to look good... they fail to agree!!! The crisis is political, you can't take it off my mind.

  52. Branislav Konjevi?

    Where is the power of 99%. Their military power? After all, arm's something very important don't you think so.

  53. Rainmaker

    My acquaintenance with this "documentary" finished after reading who made this documentary: "Wall Street Journal editors and reporters". A quick glimpse at some comments only confirmed the obvious assumptions. Good, this saved me 23 min.

    The biggest problem with Wall Street guys is not that they caused the crisis, but that they STILL have not understood its real cause, which means they will surely do it again. It's like a person, who crushed the ship, is now telling all survivors what THEY did wrong, without admitting his own mistakes. Geez.

  54. Joseph Lee

    The $EU will fail/collapse and was doomed from the get go! 1. Too many pround cultures. 2. Victims of "KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES" (USA) 3. EU except for Germany, France, Italy are still manufacturing which are the back bones of any nations. 3. All the EU members are counting on Germany which is unrealistic!

  55. Joseph Lee

    I lost a long time friendship because in 2005 had just this topic that USA will burst, followed by EU and eventually China. My friend Jion thought I was crazy, as it turned out, I was right on all points...and worst I lost a friend...

  56. Maricarmen Leiva

    investing more on corporations and transferring less to citizens...less social security, yeah that's a problem

  57. Badnews Bear

    The names don't matter, they are untouchable. Learn the numbers so 'they' can't fleece you as easily, or at least not fleece you without you knowing it.

    Also I am not scared of 'them', just a bit annoyed. At times I can't help but admire them a bit, esp the spooks!

  58. Badnews Bear

    dude, go back to sleep, it is painful to watch you.

    Hint: you have it perfectly backwards

  59. Badnews Bear

    They don't understand the core problems faced by America either!, Or more likely they are setting up the sheep for another fleecing. Fleecing is too kind a word, They are SheepFuckers!

  60. Hank Rearden

    You were right on everything until you tried to apply the Greece situation to where America could go if they're not careful about debt levels.

    To make that comparison is like saying that because the small local convenient store went bust for reasons of high debt levels, that the same will happen to Walmart if it decided to burrow at 'high' levels.Some people, no matter how much debt they get into, are just more able to repay their debts than others man.

    The US economy won't crash because of high spending levels, and indeed, I don't think that there is any evidence to show that this has happened in US economic history..

  61. eastofthesun

    2 years after I'm doing the exact same thing that you did, Thank you.

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