Europe's deep economic malaise is the result of "deliberate" policy choices made by EU elites, according to the former governor of the Bank of England
Lord Mervyn King continued his scathing assault on Europe's economic and monetary union, having predicted the beleaguered currency zone will need to be dismantled to free its weakest members from unremitting austerity and record levels of unemployment.
Speaking at the launch of his new book, Lord King said he could never have envisaged an economic collapse of the depths of the 1930s returning to Europe's shores in the modern age. But the fate of Greece since 2009 - which has suffered a contraction eclipsing the US depression in the inter-war years - was an "appalling" example of economic policy failure, he told an audience at the London School of Economics.
Lord King - who spent a decade fighting the worst financial crisis in history at the Bank of England - has said the weakest eurozone members face little choice but to return to their national currencies as "the only way to plot a route back to economic growth and full employment".
the European Commission has defended itself against claims that punishing austerity measures have made incumbent European regimes unelectable, arguing that Brussels' economic policy represents a "virtuous triangle" of austerity, structural reforms and investment.
Outside of the eurozone, Lord King warned against undue pessimism about the longer-term prospects for the world economy, dismissing the "secular stagnation" thesis made popular in recent years by the likes of US treasury secretary Larry Summers.
He said it was a "serious mistake" to believe that productivity - which has flatlined across the developed world since the crisis - would never revive as technological development has been exhausted.
"The thinking that all these ideas will not come through to have practical ways of improving our living standards, seem extraordinarily pessimistic and something for which there is no basis in fact at all over the last 250 years of economic growth."