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Lessons in Leadership from the Eurocrisis

15 November 2011

2:00 PM

15 November 2011

2:00 PM

Paul Krugman has a good paragraph on the euro:

[T]his incident exemplified something that was going on all along the march to the eurodebacle. Serious discussion of the risks and possible downsides was simply not allowed. If you were an independent economist expressing even mild concerns about the project, you were labeled as an enemy and shut out of the discussion.

In a way, the remarkable thing is that it took until now for disaster to strike.

This should be a warning to all political leaders. They each need someone whispering to them: What if we’re wrong? Just as a Roman general celebrating a Triumph had a slave positioned behind him to act as a reminder that all triumphs are won by mortals and victory, like mortals, goes the way of all flesh so political leaders need their house dissidents.


In a way Nick Clegg acts as this kind of brake on David Cameron and George Osborne but they could do with a Tory dissident too. Similarly, Alex Salmond could do with an advisor whose not part of the gang already. Ditto Barack Obama: there’s always something to be learnt from sensible people who didn’t vote for you. It’s not a question of following their advice, it’s a matter of being broadminded enough to hear it in the first place. Complacency, remember, is one of the greatest dangers in politics.

 


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