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There are two distinct but related problems. The first is that the EU as currently constituted lacks an investor of last resort. The second is that it lacks any means to ensure that internal current accounts imbalances do not become a political problem.

There is a variety of possible reforms that would solve these problems. A European treasury not subject to silly "debt brakes" would solve both problems, but may be politically unpalatable. Repealing the GSP and Art. 123 would solve the investor of last resort problem, but not (necessarily) the current accounts imbalances. A Bancor-type arrangement would solve the internal current accounts problem (or rather, signify political acceptance of the existence of otherwise unsustainable imbalances), but would not solve the problem that the GSP circumscribes the states' ability to perform investor of last resort functions.

Finally, the physical economy of Europe (in particular the periphery) has the problem that thirty years of neoliberal brain rot (twenty in the case of Eastern Europe, but with much weaker countervailing pressures) have rendered large swathes of Europe into a wasteland, industrially speaking.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 02:25:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Finally, the physical economy of Europe (in particular the periphery) has the problem that thirty years of neoliberal brain rot (twenty in the case of Eastern Europe, but with much weaker countervailing pressures) have rendered large swathes of Europe into a wasteland, industrially speaking.

Bingo.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 02:59:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But even if that were not the case, the €-Mark, as currently constituted, would not be viable.

Of course, absent neoliberal brain rot, nobody would have thought that a currency union could work without fiscal integration.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 03:43:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course:

the €-Mark, as currently constituted, would not be viable.

It doesn't matter if the debts are measured in Euros, DMs, Pesos, or the soon to be offered New Mexico Tamale.  If the people who owe the money can't make money to pay it off, they don't have the money to pay it off, thus, they can't pay it off.  

Maybe I'm the dumbest m/f'er on the planet, but this seems Real Simple.  To me.  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Wed Aug 17th, 2011 at 12:51:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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