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By Fareed Zakaria, CNN
There's a big birthday to note today taking place on the other side of the pond. The celebrant is 10 years old. But sadly the youngster doesn't seem to be in much of a mood for a party today.
Ten years ago, the euro bank note was born. And to mark the occasion, the embattled European Central Bank spent some of its precious euros to make a video. You can see an excerpt in the video above, where the narrator says, "Europe builds bridges and inspires hope. It enables its people to look to the future with confidence."
Really? Hope, confidence? Has the ECB been reading the same news I have? The video goes on to tout the bills themselves. The narrator says, "... placed end to end, the 14.9 billion bank notes produced for the changeover could have stretched to the moon and back five times over."
Quite impressive. But have you ever looked at any of those 14.9 billion euro notes? They are the epitome of the problem of design by committee. In order to come up with the designs that were sure not to offend any member countries, the bills depict no statesman and no landmarks - no identifiable anything. The bridges on the back of the bills don't exist anywhere, nor do the architectural fragments on the front.
Anyway, happy birthday, euro; may you have a long and healthy life so that you stop causing global economic panics.