From: Counting the Cost

Eurozone in focus

Plus, internet paywalls and journalism and the World Cup’s legacy.

I know it will seem odd to have a ‘eurozone special’ on Counting the Cost, given that we haven’t had a show WITHOUT a eurozone story since November last year, but stay with me here.

To give you a very crude comparison, the eurozone crisis is a little like an onion at the moment … it has multiple layers, and every time you peel another one back, it reduces you to tears again! What started out as Greece having a few debt issues has turned into a full-blown currency crisis, with talk of some countries even wanting out of it altogether.

Personally, I think it goes too far to say that the two things – debt and currency issues – are directly linked. The euro isn’t in trouble because of Greece’s debt.  However, Greece and a clutch of other European countries with debt problems have had to turn to the European monetary union for financial help, which has MADE it Europe’s problem. I guess what it has exposed is perhaps an inherent flaw in the system – a zone which was supposed to unite economies and make them stronger has in fact made it easier for problems to spread, BECAUSE they share the same notes and coins.

For what it’s worth I still think the euro is a good idea. Standardised money and rates across dozens of countries makes it infinitely easier for residents and travellers alike … and let’s not forget the euro is only 11 years old – still a child with time to develop and mature. The current talk of abandoning it is, I feel, just a little bit premature.

But I’ve been known to be wrong before!

And while we’re talking euro, have a look at some of Al Jazeera’s Europe blogs … interesting insight from our correspondents in the region.

Plenty more on the show this week too. We look at a hugely interesting issue, that of internet paywalls and journalism. The Times of London has become the latest big paper to start charging readers for online content. It’s a difficult one really – one of the things about the internet was that information was (broadly) free and easy to access, but then why should a newspaper charge for its hard-copy versions and not its online versions, particularly when the online ones have more and fresher content?  We’ll speak to Bryan Glick from Computer Weekly magazine about that.

And as the World Cup draws to a close, we look at its legacy. Will it be investment in South Africa and its most needy, or big empty stadiums that never see a major match again. It’s phenomenal how much money the big sponsors spend and make out of a tournament like the World Cup … surely it could all be put to better use, especially in a place like Africa.

So lots to see this week, PLUS a new segment we’re calling Money Talks. Each week, our Al Jazeera cameras will hit the streets of a city of our choosing, with a pressing business or finance question for the public. We’ll also put the question up on twitter so our online audience (that’s you!) can have their say too.

Hope you can join us this week for Counting the Cost!

Counting the Cost can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1430, 2130; Saturday: 0430, 1230, 1900; Sunday: 0230, 1630; Monday: 0830.