Thursday, May 10, 2012

The project of Europe - negative outcome the only outcome?

All major financial newspapers, TV channels and other media are speculating over the future of Europe with many experts claiming that there is no other way for Europe to go than to go bust and break up. Their reasoning is too often the notion that no currency union in history has survived without a common treasury. Even though this is not actually true (just take a look at the Indian rupee or the South African rand both of which have formed about 40 years ago). But the most important thing we can learn from history is that we cannot learn from it. Historic events are too often looked at as black-and-white situations where there is a simple model of a game with few participants with a very predictable outcome.

It is not the Nazi gathering in 1930-s, this is the Golden Dawn party gathering in Greece. Anyone knows who designed the party flag?

Populist parties like the Golden Dawn in Greece or the National Front in France are becoming popular since European economy is not doing great and the differences between countries are huge. Voters are hoping that new parties will reject tough austerity measures and everything will be solved. Everyone will have jobs, the pay is good and the overall quality of live will improve.

I do agree that Europe needs a plan for promoting growth all around Europe and Germany needs to be the one relaxing their obsessive fright of inflation. Some kind of economic stimulus is needed and I would strongly argue that issuing eurobonds for major investment projects will suit just fine for that purpose. But Germany is also right in their arguing that a large part of growth promotion can be done without spending a cent - through reforms in labor markets for example.

Greece's plan for their people is to reject austerity measures, possibly give up euro (making it possible to print as much money as they need) and close part of their market for industry protection. This will send the Greeks back to 1940 in my opinion.

The first effect of this policy change is a quick jump in inflation. Since no sane foreign investor will support Greece's astronomic budget deficits they have to print all the money themselves which leads to massive devaluation of their currency. This means that all imports will cost Greeks more. Greece will lose a huge amount of foreign investments which will result in - yes, you guessed it - fewer jobs. Multiply fewer jobs by massive inflation and add some rejection by Europe into the mix and you have a perfect recipe for a disaster. Is that what the voters of Greece are voting for?

Greece will probably have new elections in June with leftist parties taking most of the votes possibly allowing them to form a ruling coalition. Whatever happens the Eurozone is unfortunately the one who benefits. Europe's politicians are famous for making their decisions when they are urgently needed. Greece's exit from the euro would create just such an opportunity. Whatever big decisions are made then, Europe and the euro will come out stronger out of all this.

The project of Europe is a game where you lose when you exit the game. Every player will benefit from playing in the end. It is just a matter of following the rules. And why did former Greek politicians think that it is a good idea to be constantly increasing their debt? The Greek voters aren't getting anything new, they are voting for the same populist bulls**t that brought them into this mess. You can't spend more than you earn, this is the main  principle.

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