Sun Sep 2nd, 2012 at 04:26:28 PM EST
Over at Credit Slips, we've started a new discussion concerning a new article in New York Times Magazine about the status of the Euro crisis. I of course chime in with my own comments.
Interesting article, but what does it mean?
1 and 6. Yes, Greece and Germany will play chicken for awhile and ultimately enter into an agreement full of sound and fury, signifying nothing but a victory for each government's immediate goals. Greece will gain a new round of financing, fudge the austerity measures when it comes time to implement them (Good, austerity is a crock.), and delay once again the day when it defaults on this whole mess. For Merkel, the delay improves her odds of foisting off on someone else the consequences of serial defaults on the EU perimeter and the shocks they will send through Germany.
2 and 4. Given facts such as set out in #2, why is #4 even being raised? The euro zone may break up, the EU may break up, but neither of those would be a collapse of the European economy. At the very least, Germany, France, the UK, and Scandinavia would keep on chugging along.
3. I can't even get past the first sentence. "Since most countries left the gold standard over the last century, a currency's value is based entirely on collective faith." I don't know if that came from Planet Goldbug, Planet Neolib, or some unholy spawn of the two, but it didn't come from Planet Reality.
5. "This would be good news for U.S. consumers, if not for U.S. producers." A minor detail the Gray Lady just doesn't want to deal with. A break-up would mean more cheap stuff for the 1% while costing the other 99% more jobs. As for the rest of this paragraph concerning account transfers to Germany, has anyone at the NYT been paying attention to what has been happening in Greece, and Italy, and Spain?
7. But they end on a strong point. Obvious, but strong. A sovereign currency without a sovereign is, shall we say, problematic, and you need either deeper integration or dissolution. I'm not holding my breath for the former. I expect to see Athens, Rome, and Madrid start taking orders from Brussels bureaucrats when they see Berlin and Paris doing so. Not going to happen.