21st Century Challenges: Crash Course European History #49 | Summary and Q&A

August 14, 2020
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21st Century Challenges: Crash Course European History #49


Europe's promise of innovation and prosperity has been overshadowed by economic crises, identity issues, and the struggle for survival.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What were the main causes of the economic crises in Europe in the 21st century?

The economic crises in Europe were primarily caused by factors such as the rapid movement of funds across the globe, speculative investments, inflated internet enterprise valuations, and the collapse of the credit system due to mortgage defaults.

Q: How did the European Union become a target for blame during the economic crises?

The European Union was seen as embodying the inequities and uncertainties of globalization. People blamed the free movement of people and goods promoted by the EU, supranational organizations, and perceived outsiders for the economic challenges they faced.

Q: How did the aftermath of decolonization contribute to the challenges in Europe?

The aftermath of decolonization set off the Arab Spring protests in the Middle East, leading to disunion, crackdowns by tyrannical regimes, and the Syrian civil war. This, in turn, resulted in a significant influx of refugees seeking refuge in Europe, fueling anti-Muslim sentiments and xenophobia.

Q: What role does populism play in Europe and the United States?

Populism, which mobilizes citizens disadvantaged by economic or political situations but rarely addresses the root causes of crises, has gained traction in Europe and the United States. Populist leaders often blame cultural shifts, such as immigration and diversity, for societal problems.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The 21st century in Europe has been marked by multiple economic crises, starting with the bankruptcy of Thailand in the 1990s due to global investors' hot money.

  • The dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s, causing widespread economic distress, and the European population experienced anger and protests over joblessness and police harassment.

  • The 2008 financial crisis further showcased the downsides of global connectedness, leading to the collapse of local currencies and the loss of homes, jobs, and savings for many Europeans.

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