How Germany Can Save the Euro

If Germans insist on austerity elsewhere in Europe, they must spend more at home or risk losing the common currency they need more than anyone else

Julian Röder for TIME

Laser manufacturer Trumpf relies on the euro zone for nearly half its sales.

Since the euro crisis began, there's been one constant refrain, which is that profligate Southern European countries need to be more like thrifty Germany, by trimming their budgets and reining in their spending. But less well understood is the roll that Germany itself has played in Europe's slow burn debt crisis, by keeping its wages artificially low, and boosting its export economy at the expense of its neighbors. TIME's economic columnist Rana Foroohar went to the heart of Germany's export engine in Stuttgart, to discover how Germans themselves are helping to foster Europe's ongoing currency debacle, and what can be done about it. The lesson is that in order for Germany to be Germany, Spain and Italy must be themselves, too. And, in order for the European crisis to be resolved, Germany may have to start looking more like the Southern nations, rather than the other way around.

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