I concluded that the first indicator of interest should be ‘Youth Unemployment’. By December 2012 Eurozone youth unemployment was at a record 23.9%. At that time, Spain and Italy had seen the biggest jumps to 55.9% and 36.5% respectively. Whilst Germany was at 8.1%, Greece remained the worst at over 56%. No society (if, like the political elite, you choose to think of the Eurozone as a society) can survive for long carrying these levels of youth unemployment.
The other indicator of perhaps more immediate interest, now that Cyprus is shortly for the kibosh, is that of capital (euros) flowing in/out of Eurozone banks. In January, the Financial Times reported that the first 8 months of 2012 “had seen €406 billion flow out of [Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain], equivalent to almost 20% of GDP in [those] economies. In 2011, outflows from [those countries] totalled €300 billion.” Since then some €100 billion of capital has flowed back, but it’ll be interesting to see the next analysis of capital movements in the Eurozone once the situation (crisis?) in Cyprus is ‘resolved’, or enters whatever phase comes after the existing deadlock.
I’ve held the view for yonks now that if/when the euro monetary union spirals out of control (it is, after all, merely a political construct, making no fundamental socio-economic sense in and of itself), then control would be lost by dint of a systemic, Eurozone-wide bank run. My money remains on this being the case. The alternative is that the Euro elites patch up and prop up the currency ‘indefinitely’, thereby consigning tens of millions of European citizens to penury ‘indefinitely’.
‘Indefinitely’ may be defined as, ‘until Europe’s youth revolts’.