Uur U voor de Euro
Het uur U nadert voor de Eurozone. Heb niet vaak zoveel alarmerende stukken gelezen over de toekomst van de Euro. Voortdurend wordt verwezen naar de depressie van de jaren dertig. Lees en huiver.
“Plainly, we are facing a very dangerous situation. Eurozone leaders must quickly wake up and realise the severity of the threat they face. Their 21 July plan – which involved the EFSF fixing the problem defined as Greece while Italy and Spain are now the issue – is dead on arrival. There is no way the EFSF can deal with the amounts involved. If it tries we will have a German debt crisis. This is a continuation of the central mistake made by policymakers – the belief that it is enough to buy a little bit of debts now and then to quiet financial markets until things get better.”
“Europeans have watched the US’s conflict over the debt ceiling with awe and scorn, but their behaviour over the last year and half has been much worse.
- The French want to pour money on the problem;
- The Germans want to punish fiscal misbehaviour; and
- The ECB does not want to bear risk.
All of that is bringing the world to a new recession, which we will not be able to combat because interest rates are at the zero lower bound and governments cannot borrow much anymore. The spectre of the 1930s, including competitive devaluations as the euro breaks up, is getting dangerously relevant.”
“The massive volatility and sharp equity-price correction now hitting global financial markets signal that most advanced economies are on the brink of a double-dip recession… The right balance today requires creating jobs partly through additional fiscal stimulus aimed at productive infrastructure investment. It also requires more progressive taxation; more short-term fiscal stimulus with medium- and long-term fiscal discipline; lender-of-last-resort support by monetary authorities to prevent ruinous runs on banks; reduction of the debt burden for insolvent households and other distressed economic agents; and stricter supervision and regulation of a financial system run amok; breaking up too-big-to-fail banks and oligopolistic trusts. Over time, advanced economies will need to invest in human capital, skills and social safety nets to increase productivity and enable workers to compete, be flexible and thrive in a globalized economy. The alternative is – like in the 1930s – unending stagnation, depression, currency and trade wars, capital controls, financial crisis, sovereign insolvencies, and massive social and political instability.”
“The situation is becoming intolerable. The authorities are trying to buy time, but time is running out. The crisis is rapidly reaching a climax. Germany and the other eurozone members with AAA ratings will have to decide whether they are willing to risk their own credit to permit Spain and Italy to refinance their bonds at reasonable interest rates. Alternatively, Spain and Italy will be driven inexorably into bailout programs. In short, Germany and the other countries with AAA bond ratings must agree to a eurobond regime of one kind or another. Otherwise, the euro will break down. It should be recognized that a disorderly default or exit from the eurozone, even by a small country like Greece, would precipitate a banking crisis comparable to the one that caused the Great Depression. It is no longer a question whether it is worthwhile to have a common currency. The euro exists, and its collapse would cause incalculable losses to the banking system. So the choice that Germany faces is more apparent than real – and it is a choice whose cost will rise the longer Germany delays making it.”
We zijn geen haar beter dan de Amerikanen. Laten we – waarschijnlijk tegen beter weten in – blijven hopen dat ze in Den Haag (en daarbuiten) een keer wakker worden. Het gekwebbel vandaag in de Tweede Kamer over de cijfertjes van Rutte en De Jager maskeert een zeer pijnlijk gebrek aan inzicht in de ernst van de problemen in Euroland.