Project SyndicateProject Syndicate

Is Europe deindustrializing?

By Yanis Varoufakis

23 Jan 2022 · 4 min read

ATHENS – European industry is reeling under the twin threat of high energy prices and President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which, in essence, bribes Europe’s green industries to migrate to the United States. Are Europe’s industrial heartlands about to become rustbelts? Will Germany experience the trauma that Britain suffered as its factories closed, compelling its high-skilled manufacturing-based labor force to accept low-skill, low-productivity, low-wage jobs?

The threat is reverberating in Europe’s corridors of power. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz moved quickly to propose a new European Union fund that will offer state aid for EU companies tempted by the US subsidies to emigrate. But in view of how slowly Europe moves, especially when common debt needs to be issued to finance anything, it is questionable whether the EU subsidies will counter the US subsidies in a timely and proportionate manner.

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