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You've probably heard about all of the European countries plunging into economic crises. It's also likely that you've seen Moody's rating agency downgrade European countries' debt to junk status--three times. Greece, Portugal and Ireland have been floundering to show economic process over the past year, and the bad news is starting to have a troubling impact on the European Union and more specifically, the euro currency. The cover of The Economist this week illustrates well how another tap in the wrong direction could send the euro plunging in value. It's all up to Italy, it seems:

This week the shortcomings of this muddling-through were laid bare (see article). Financial markets turned on Italy, the euro zone’s third-biggest economy, with alarming speed. …

The proximate cause of this week’s scare lies in Italian politics, and a row in which Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister, hurled playground insults at Giulio Tremonti, the finance minister, over a new austerity budget. Add in the underlying concerns about the Italian economy’s feeble growth rate, and investors are understandably worried about the Italian government’s ability to shoulder its huge debt.

The magazine's cover package analyzes the crisis from all sides. So if you haven't heard about what's happening in Europe, it's worth a look. After all, the euro's teetering is kind of a big deal.

By the way, The Economist seems to like this cover design:

Their cover from October 4, 2008:

Of course, we can't talk too much smack. Our friends at The Atlantic also riffed on this motif in May 2009:

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