Monday, 3 March 2014

The ECB is irrelevant and the Euro is a failure

My post at Pieria looking at the ECB's alternatives for monetary easing. 

The latest money supply figures from the Euro area are awful:



But there's very little the ECB can - or will - do about it. The problem is the combination of a common currency with national politics.....

Read the full article here.


6 comments:

  1. (responding here as I didn't manage to get past the user-hostile registration system at Piera.)

    Isn't this the classic "foreign office" view? To maintain the status of the empire, we shall divide the continent? Sadly, at least from a narrow diplomatic/prestige viewpoint, the UK can only come out a loser from a functioning, politically integrated Eurozone it stays out of, and hence it's natural, but sad, to advocate the return of confetti currencies and the nationalisms of the past.

    The second issue I see is that the thinking seems to be framed in HFT algorithm time frames. The European project, of which the Euro is just one leg, will take time. Let's judge the result in 2030 or 2040. Proclaiming banking union failed as it's barely started is a bit premature, let's look at that one in 2020. It's cheap and easy to see a glass half empty. I see one half full. Politics just moves slowly in mature, aging, democracies, but move it does.

    There is a risk it moves too slowly, but given that speed greatly improves during acute crisis episodes, I think the risk of catastrophic failure is pretty small. I think most of the things you say should happen will in due course, just not at HFT speed.

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  2. cig

    This is not about the UK. You do me a dis-service by suggesting that I am presenting the "foreign office" view. I certainly am not: this is my personal, and considered, opinion. I have long been a supporter of the EU and am dismayed by what I see as the disaster of the Euro, which I think has a fair chance of wrecking the EU itself. I would appreciate it if you would refrain from ascribing to me a nationalist stance that I do not hold.

    I do not think the Euro will still be here in 2030, at least not in anything like its present form.

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  3. Well said frances Coppola rregarding the Euro.

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  4. Following Mr Markides’s comment first on the Pieria site, the big and unanswered question about the Euro to my mind is what course of development did the Bundesbank expect it to follow?

    It must have expected this wholly foreseeable and virtually inevitable mess that we have now to arise and so why did it think it could deliver a satisfactory outcome? What is that outcome and when will the Bundesbank make that clear? Did it just expect Germany to profit and the EU to founder? I for one would like to know.

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  5. I agree with you totally on the euro, and I haven't seen the case against put so well. However, I have some fundamental doubts about the EU as well.

    It seems to me that the EU is reducing the power of experienced national Governments, but replacing them with bureaucrats and committee men, and not by competent politicians at the European level. When we compare natioanl growth rates, budgets and unemployment levels today with those that held after WWII but before the creation of the EU, it is extremely difficult to argue that things have improved. If you look at the numbers, they have become much worse. And I don't think we can blame that on globalization, since the US is doing much better, and the least engaged EU member, the UK,is performing somewhere between the US and the EU.

    I think that the EU is doing damage to the European economy in addition to the damage it is doing to national political systems, and it is doing so by its emphasis on reducing "unfair" competition. Europe came to control much of the World because of those hundreds of civil wars, and the military and technological progress they drove. Now Europe resembles a vegetarian in a World of sharp teeth.

    I worry a lot about what will happen if the EU gets even more power than it has. It is a bureaucratic organization, and they tend to have priorities of their own. Just as the UK Environmental Agency prides itself on its growth and environmental political correctness, but presides over disastrous floods, the EU could end up with enormous powers but costing Europe its economic dynamism.

    And if we want evidence for that, just consider the calls for "more Europe" while our growth expectations get gradually ratcheted down until half a percent seems like good news.

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  6. How, step-by-step, would you propose unwinding the euro?

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