British public-sector workers engaged in a one-day strike today to protest government plans to reduce the generosity of public-sector pensions. I witnessed the big protest march down Whitehall toward Parliament. The crowd was thick, but generally orderly–although past such protests have seen outbursts of violence from the radical fringe, and the day here is not over yet.
But here’s what got me thinking: How did we convince ourselves that the US, the Britain, and the Eurozone just happened by coincidence to be struggling with almost exactly the same problem at almost exactly the same time? We have one global debt crisis, the aftermath of a global debt boom.
Now we face choices that could potentially make the crisis lighter or (very conceivably) much, much worse. Today, the locus of those choices is Europe, not the UK or the US. If Europe gets it wrong, pension-squeezes will really be the least of anybody’s problems.