EU and US history

July 1, 2012

We’ve seen this topic before, but I thought this New Yorker piece about Tom Sargent was well written.  One of the best parts:

In the seventeen-eighties, the U.S. was unable to meet its obligations to the creditors who had bankrolled the Revolutionary War, because it had no means of raising revenue.  The thirteen states, which had their own currencies, owed a third of the debt.  Alexander Hamilton got the federal government to assume all the states’ debts, and also secured its ability to impose taxes and tariffs. In doing so, he cannily gave the creditors an incentive to support a new federal system, which had been codified in a new Constitution.

In short, good leadership during a one-time bailout led to better “institutions” from then on.  A model for Europe?  Who knows.

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