A top British businessman is offering a 250,000 pound prize for any economist who can come up with the best plan for countries to stop using the euro.
Simon Wolfson, chief executive of British high street clothing chain Next, and a leading supporter of Britain’s ruling Conservative party, said he hopes the euro zone will stabilise but there has to be a plan in place in case it does not.
“The future of the world economy will, in large part, be governed by what happens over the next few years in Europe,” said Wolfson.
“I, along with most European businessmen, hope that the euro zone will stabilise, but in the event it does not Europe must not sleepwalk into a policy vacuum,” added Wolfson.
“This prize aims to incentivise the world’s brightest economic minds to help fill that policy void: their endeavours may well prevent Europe from descending into a financial chaos that would destroy savings, jobs, and social cohesion.”
Economists have until the end of January to submit proposals for the one-off prize, the biggest available to academic economists after the Nobel Prize.
Entrants will be judged by a panel of leading academic economists. The award process is being managed by Policy Exchange, an influential centre-right think tank.
Britain is a member of the European Union, although not part of the 17-nation euro zone. Its economic prospects are closely tied to the fate of the single currency.