La dolce vita sours in Europe

Press quote (Montreal Gazette)
Philip Whyte
29 May 2010

Philip Whyte, an economic analyst with the CER, said the spending cuts and tax increases could push parts of Europe into a prolonged slump. He also said the kind of unrest this month in Greece, when protesters firebombed police and set fire to a bank that left three dead, could spread. "Greece is the thin edge of the wedge, and not just in southern Europe. I see it pretty much all over Europe." Whyte said the crisis will expose a deep intergenerational cleavage between workers who view it as their right to enjoy a minimum six weeks of vacations a year, and retire anywhere from age 50 to 60, and younger generations who inherit their parents' and grandparents' debts. Whyte predicted the official end to the "la dolce vita" idea of Europe that inspired prominent European analyst Mark Leonard's now-laughably titled 2005 book How Europe Will Run the 21st Century.