The presentations which I watched were very technical. That implied that a solution to the European debt problem could be found if one only chose the right technique. Fortunately for me, there was one speaker (Prof. Wendy Carlin of the University College London) who focused on the “soft facts” of the problem. She argued the importance of behavioral issues. Her point was that Greeks behave differently not only from Germans but also from Spaniards, and vice versa.
Different behaviors and different cultures are the essence of the European Union. As the Euro-experiment has shown, if one expects Southeners to behave the same way as Northeners one is headed for trouble. If the whole world behaved like the Germans, one would have to find aliens who do all the importing. If the whole world behaved like the Greeks, one would have to find aliens who do all the funding.
What impressed me the most was that terms like “current account”, “export drives on the part of the South”, “import substitution on the part of the South” were mentioned quite often. That lead me to the conclusion that not only brains were at work at the conference but also common sense.