Taylor Swift and the Eurozone Crisis

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 17 2012 2:11 PM

Taylor Swift and the Eurozone Crisis

Taylor Swift performs at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 7, 2012, in New York City

Photo by Kevin Kane/Getty Images for Jingle Ball 2012.

Mario Draghi and Taylor Swift are two of Business Insider's most impressive people of 2012, but few recognize that there are important linkages between them that go beyond the fact that Joe Weisenthal wrote the blurbs. Consider, for example, "I Knew You Were Trouble" off her latest album:

Superficially, this is a song about a dating experience. Indeed, Swift herself says it's based on a past relationship of hers. But if you peer beyond the obvious, you'll see it's not a coincidence that she shares songwriting credits with two Swedes—Max Martin and Shellback—who are clearly bragging about their country's wise decision to stay out of the project of the European monetary union. Precisely because Sweden knew that the Maastricht Treaty was trouble when it walked in, Sweden was able to respond to the 2008 financial crisis with currency devaluation and avoid a sharp rise in unemployment. Swift's other collaborations with Martin and Shellback continue the theme of Sweden's splendid monetary isolation, with the singer proudly proclaiming "We're happy free confused and lonely at the same time" on "22"—exulting in the idea that it "It feels like one of those nights/ We ditch the whole scene." The three-part series ends, of course, with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" expressing the obvious point that while much of the Swedish elite bemoaned the country's unwillingness to join the euro at the beginning, that side of the argument has been decisively debunked.


But Swift possesses a broader perspective than that of her Swedish collaborators. Writing alone, she offers us "Stay, Stay, Stay"—a recognition that though entering the monetary union may have been a mistake, attempting to rupture it might be even more destructive. "Wind in my hair, you were there, you remember it all" she sings on "All Too Well," in a poignant reminder of Europe's unfortunate 20th-century history. In her own voice the ultimate verdict on the euro is that it's "Sad Beautiful Tragic"—one of the noblest political experiments ever undertaken by mankind, an effort to genuinely transcend nationalism and conflict undermined by technical design flaws.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Big Problems With the Secret Service Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
Oct. 2 2014 12:58 PM Why Can’t States Do More to Protect Patients From Surprise Medical Bills? It’s complicated.
The Vault
Oct. 2 2014 11:07 AM Mapping 1890 Manhattan's Crazy-Quilt of Immigrant Neighborhoods
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 2 2014 12:37 PM St. Louis Study Confirms That IUDs Are the Key to Lowering Teen Pregnancy Rates
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 1:01 PM Watch Pixar’s First Trailer for Inside Out
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 12:56 PM My Year Without Flying I’ve stayed on the ground, to help fight climate change. Here’s what happened.
  Health & Science
Oct. 2 2014 12:53 PM The Panic Virus How public health officials are keeping Americans calm about the Ebola threat.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?