Want to know how to break up the eurozone? Ask an 11-year-old.

How much does euro-skepticism pay these days? About $325,000, to be exact. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Simon Wolfson, the British CEO who sponsors the Wolfson Economics Prize, will award 250,000 pounds to "the person that puts forward the most elegant scenario for how a country or countries might leave the euro ...

EMILY WABITSCH/AFP/Getty Images
EMILY WABITSCH/AFP/Getty Images
EMILY WABITSCH/AFP/Getty Images

How much does euro-skepticism pay these days? About $325,000, to be exact. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Simon Wolfson, the British CEO who sponsors the Wolfson Economics Prize, will award 250,000 pounds to "the person that puts forward the most elegant scenario for how a country or countries might leave the euro zone - or how the 17-nation compact might unwind."

The essays written by the five finalists "are more or less free of politics," and "are a reminder of the vast challenge that Europe confronts it is to keep the euro zone intact."

Roger Bootle and his team at Capital Economics, a London-based consulting firm, argue that "A country currently in difficulties on the southern periphery should embrace the idea of currency depreciation rather than fearing it. It's part of the solution, not the problem. One way or another these countries have got to become more competitive, and the only way they can do that without causing a disaster ... is by leaving the euro."

How much does euro-skepticism pay these days? About $325,000, to be exact. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Simon Wolfson, the British CEO who sponsors the Wolfson Economics Prize, will award 250,000 pounds to "the person that puts forward the most elegant scenario for how a country or countries might leave the euro zone – or how the 17-nation compact might unwind."

The essays written by the five finalists "are more or less free of politics," and "are a reminder of the vast challenge that Europe confronts it is to keep the euro zone intact."

Roger Bootle and his team at Capital Economics, a London-based consulting firm, argue that "A country currently in difficulties on the southern periphery should embrace the idea of currency depreciation rather than fearing it. It’s part of the solution, not the problem. One way or another these countries have got to become more competitive, and the only way they can do that without causing a disaster … is by leaving the euro."

Jonathan Tepper, the Chief Editor of macroeconomic research group Variant Perception, emphasizes the success of past currency breakups in Czechoslovakia, the former Soviet Union, and the Austro-Hungarian empire:

"In almost all these cases, currency breakups went relatively smoothly. They were complicated, but they were feasible."

Jens Nordvig and Nick Firoozye at Nomura advocate for introducing "a European currency unit similar to what we had before the euro was created," while Neil Record of Record Currency Management argues that "a very small group should create a plan with a secret taskforce … and the plan in my opinion ought to be that if there is one exit of a country, if that becomes inevitable, then the whole of the euro ought to be abandoned."

The judges were "particularly taken" with the "original and elegant" solution of former analyst Catherine Dobbs, who "proposes that the euro disappears, with all holders of euros having their euro claims replaced by claims on the new currencies, according to a set proportion."

The Wolfson Economics Prize is "the second biggest cash prize to be awarded to an academic after the Nobel Prize."  This year’s 425 entrants included analysts, investment bankers, and traders, but it was 11-year-old Jurre Hermans of the Netherlands who won the judges’ hearts with his intricate pizza diagram explaining how Greeks could swap their euros for drachmas. Here is the "clever" part of Jurre’s plan, as translated into English by his father:

"The Greek people do not want to exchange their Euro’s for Drachms because they know that this Drachme will lose its value dramatically. They try to keep or hide their Euro’s. They know that if they wait a while they will get more Drachmes. So if a Greek man tries to keep his Euros (or bring his euros to a bank in [sic] an other country like Holland or Germany) and it is discovered, he gets a penalty just as high or double as the whole amount of euros he tried to hide!!!"

According to Policy Exchange, Jurre "will receive an €100 gift voucher for his efforts."  If an "amicable divorce" is really what the euro zone needs, a pizza diagram may be the most diplomatic way to go about it.

<p> Allison Good is an editorial researcher at Foreign Policy. </p>
Tag: EU

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