Comments on: The euro crisis comes to a head A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: boldthinker Wed, 14 Sep 2011 17:14:17 +0000 great comments by an intelligent group of posters. thanks!

By: FifthDecade Wed, 14 Sep 2011 00:45:28 +0000 Bagehot’s rule falls down at high levels of debt because the ratio of collateral to debt makes the collateral a negligible component.

Interesting to note the Euro now has not just support from the main Euro countries including Germany, but also Switzerland, and now China which is buying Italian debt.

And all as a smokescreen to take the eye off the poor performance of the US Dollar and the self-centred politicians responsible for its downgrade. Oh, and a bit of Nationalism no doubt.

By: EconMaverick Tue, 13 Sep 2011 21:50:14 +0000 @fBreughel1

Thanks for the comment. I do agree that we are facing a risk of a global double dip. The US consumer is totally over-leveraged with little wage growth prospects, and that is a serious issue

I do have a question though, if the ECB has committed to giving infinite liquidity to the big banks, does that negate the risk of a Lehman Style Liquidity run / funding crisis? What are the terms of the support they are willing to give? I’m guessing it’s nothing like Bagehot’s rule?

By: FifthDecade Tue, 13 Sep 2011 15:48:22 +0000 Austerity is like giving a blind man who has just fallen down an open manhole a stick so he doesn’t fall down another one: after he’s fallen he needs a ladder to get out, not a stick. Austerity is the stick – yes, if he’d have had a stick he could have avoided the hole but now he’s down there he needs something different to get him out.

Look at the Great Depression. Banks thought increasing interest rates was the cure, but it should have been the earlier prevention. In reality it only made things worse. When a fallen economy is down, it doesn’t any longer need a white stick or even a safety net, it needs a stimulus. Austerity is like increasing interest rates, it restricts the amount of money in an economy, and that will always delay recovery.

If you want stable growth, austerity should be reserved for the high times, not for the low.

As for ECB v Fed, they have very different remits. The ECB is charged with minimising inflation – that is its Prime Directive. For the Fed, it’s maintaining stable growth. No wonder there are other differences!

By: wpw Tue, 13 Sep 2011 15:05:22 +0000 When it comes to political hyperbole nobody beats market types. How exactly is Europe “tearing itself apart”? The remarkable thing is how small the political backlash has been from the people who are paying the price of austerity. Yes there have been demonstrations in Athens, Madrid and Milan, but those have been the old guard left and really shown little potential for popular growth. If Greece is torn away from the Eurozone it will be because a bunch of technocrats in suits have decided that is the only option, not because of disorder in the streets.
Even Merkel’s electoral difficulties are not as bad as they appear. The Christian Democrats have lost a few percentage points in most votes and their coalition partners have lost a few points as well. As a result, the Social Democrats and Greens, who are even bigger supporters of Europe than Merkel and Schauble, have been winning.
The politics of Europe now is about how much Germany and the north will pay and how much the rest will reform. While it will be difficult, it will also be horribly tedious and thus much too slow for market types and not dramatic enough for market commentators. It makes a much better story to pretend Europe is once again on the brink of war.

By: ken_frost Tue, 13 Sep 2011 15:04:56 +0000 Greece will bring back the Drachma, possibly expect announcement tomorrow eturn-of-drachma.html

By: ARJTurgot2 Tue, 13 Sep 2011 14:00:25 +0000 Given that Greece has pretty much not touched the pay and benefits of their public sector workers, and since evidently doing that will result in either a coup or a revolution, they will have to leave. The concerns on unity are valid, but the message is Maastricht was and is a mess, and its internal flaws are going to result in an ongoing failure, but an oh so European one.

The American Civil War resolved the issue of the primacy of the single Federal government, Rick Perry and the nitwits not withstanding. Seems to take fire and steel to create that kind of unity, but then Europe has also tried that approach a couple of times without success. Still, having lived in Britain and Europe (I get confused, are you guys European or not) and listened to any number of lectures on the superiority of your society, I am totally enjoying the nemesis at the end of your hubris.

By: CostasHaramis Tue, 13 Sep 2011 13:24:32 +0000 It seems to me that Greece is at very long last getting the message: play by the rules or get out of the game. It took a series of hits on the head with the baseball bat, but the message is finally getting through.

As to that 150 billion “thrown” on Greece: the vast majority went to pay bond maturities and interest. The total primary deficit for 2010 and 2011 (proj.) COMBINED comes to approx. $15 billion, one tenth of the sum you mentioned. And 80% of Greek public debt is owned by foreigners, in case you wonder…

By: breezinthru Tue, 13 Sep 2011 12:56:58 +0000 I wonder what Geithner is discussing with the Eurozone finance ministers.

Perhaps they are discussing the possibility of a consortium of nations and financial entities pooling their assets to create a Brady Bond style rescue?

I hope not. The faults in the underlying systems of Southern Europe should be corrected before throwing any more money at the problem and I don’t see away to do that.

By: y2kurtus Tue, 13 Sep 2011 03:20:37 +0000 Felix,

The contrast you draw between the ECB and Fed is fantastic. A key hinderence for the ECB is that unlike the Fed which represented the interests of one nation, the ECB must serve many masters. While Germany and France provide the strength, the weaker southern goverments reap most of the benefits via higher than market wages and spending power.

In the U.S. states are forbidden to post unbalanced budgets. We all know that in times of economic contraction accounting gimicks come out of the woodwork to pull that off… but at least on some level states need to raise revs and cut expenditures to closes shortfalls as they occur. No such system exists in Europe and so there is no way the Greeks can be prodded into volleentarily taxing and cutting enough to eliminate their shortfall.

Southern Europe is like an 18 year old with a credit card. Yes their credit score will be impared if they don’t make good on their debts but ultimatly Mom and Dad (Germany & France) are on the hook because they cosigned on the account by letting the kids share a common currency without any teeth in the deficit rules.

If Europe keeps giving the Greeks money as long as their budget is still in the red they simply perpetuate the status quo.