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In case anyone had any doubts that the Euro crisis is religious in nature:

CNBC: ECB Bond Buying Likened to Work of the Devil (19 Sep 2012)

After weeks of macro-economic sniping following his isolation at the European Central Bank over its new bond-buying policy, Jens Weidmann, on Tuesday resorted to Goethe's Faust to make his point. The classic play highlighted, he argued, "the core problem of today's paper money-based monetary policy" and the "potentially dangerous correlation of paper money creation, state financing and inflation".

In early scenes from Goethe's tragedy, Mephistopheles persuades the heavily indebted Holy Roman Emperor to print paper money - notionally backed by gold that had not yet been mined - to solve an economic crisis, with initially happy results until more and more money is printed and rampant inflation ensues.

While he did not make the comparison from Faust Part Two explicit, for Mr Weidmann there are clearly parallels with the performance of the ECB in trying to save the euro.

I really had a hard time deciding whether to put this in the Europe section, Economy section, or Klatsch section, so I figured "off the planetreservation" works.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 19th, 2012 at 05:21:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is telling that right wingers have to constantly use works of fiction (most notable Atlas Shrugged) to justify their policies.

I mean, I will make the occasional reference to Orwell but that's mostly to save space as it replaces a description.
What we are seeing from the right wing is policies implemented because in a book by either a demented woman (Rand) or a Romantic writer writing long before macroeconomics were even dreamt off (Goethe) someone doing something else got unwanted results.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 03:26:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyrille:
a Romantic writer writing long before macroeconomics were even dreamt off (Goethe)

This is taking blasphemy a bit too far. Can you at least leave Goethe alone?

The minister for economy and finance Goethe had a profound knowledge of economics and exchanged letters with all German economists of his time. He understood what he was writing there, and Weidmann relies on his audience not having read Faust.

by Katrin on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 04:49:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I could answer that German economist remains an oxymoron to these days.
Or that Goethe died in 1832. That is, at least 90 years before the foundation of macro-economics.

He had no concept of fiat currency.

No, basing current monetary policy on Goethe does not make sense.
Calling it blasphemy does not make much either.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 05:45:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyrille:
He had no concept of fiat currency

That makes him so attractive for Weidmann.

Cyrille:

Calling it blasphemy does not make much either.

That's right. I always ought to keep my tongue out of my cheek. :(   And now leave Goethe alone.

by Katrin on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 06:51:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, apologies if it was tongue in cheek, I'm not the best detector of sarcasm around.
But then is this: "And now leave Goethe alone." also tongue in cheek?

Otherwise, why?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 07:14:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, also tongue in cheek, I am afraid. I promise I'll reform.
by Katrin on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 08:17:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No Leave Goethe Alone videos?
Just think of the period costumes!

(Haven't read "Werther" but it could be a fan fic today. I'm afraid it would probably have vampires.)


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 08:28:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven!

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 08:50:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sie streiten sich um Freiheitsrechte;
Genau besehn, sind's Knechte gegen Knechte
by Katrin on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 08:52:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Faust II. What else?
by Katrin on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 08:52:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't read Goethe's writings on economics, maybe I should, I don't know if it's worth it outside of historical interest. And, yes, he was a finance minister for some time and as minister opposed an expansion of the money supply through paper money. Voltaire's quip that "paper money always reverts to its intrinsic value, zero" is also widely quoted by gold bugs.

Goethe also wrote about the theory of colour vision. While that was a qualitative theory and not the quantitative theory now in vogue, it was not incorrect. But it emphasised the subjective experience of colour vision whereas the current quantitative theory attempt to describe that which is common across most people.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 06:11:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't read Goethe's writings on economics, maybe I should,

Are there any, besides Faust? (And why is it so hard to find a simple table of contents of the Weimar Ausgabe online?)

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 06:22:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know... there is enough stuff to curate an exhibition:
The "Goethe.Auf.Geld." (Goethe.On.Money.) exhibition will be held at the Deutsche Bundesbank's Money Museum from 16 September to 9 December 2012. Drawing on the Bundesbank's extensive collection of coins and banknotes, it offers a fascinating insight into how the greatest figure in Germany's literary and intellectual history has been portrayed through the medium of money.

The exhibition shows the different and often surprising ways in which Goethe and his works have appeared on various types of money from the 19th century to the present day. Each generation has recorded and handed down to posterity its own unique impression of Goethe on coins and banknotes.

The special exhibition "Goethe.Auf.Geld." is the Deutsche Bundesbank's contribution to the "Goethe und das Geld" (Goethe and Money) week in Frankfurt in 2012.

Weidmann was speaking at the presentation of the exhibition.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 06:28:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only actual work of Goethe mentioned in the flyer is Faust II ....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 06:30:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's also the Goethe Festwoche 2012 introduction, and what appears to be at least a 4-part blog on Goethe and money as it relates to the current crisis: Goethe, das Geld und die aktuelle Krise (4): ,,Immer neue Gräber auf dem Friedhof der Papiergeldwährungen".

When the ECB flyer reminds us that Goethe is "the greatest genius in German cultural and spiritual history" we know why Katrin use a "blasphemy" metaphor. Tread lightly.

einen faszinierenden Einblick in die geldgestalterische Auseinandersetzung mit dem größten Genie der deutschen Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 06:35:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
When the ECB flyer reminds us that Goethe is "the greatest genius in German cultural and spiritual history" we know why Katrin use a "blasphemy" metaphor. Tread lightly.

At last.

I recommend reading the FAZ conversation with Binswanger and Ackermann. It gives some insights in the question "evil or stupid".

by Katrin on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 06:59:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, we know who Goethe is. But while we're on the topic of religion, are we supposed to not criticise Goethe's nonfiction works (as naturalist, physiologist and economist) in the light of modern understandings of science on the off chance that some German, somewhere, might feel offended?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 07:10:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about the fiction? His praise of asbestos (Faust II again)?
Uns bleibt ein Erdenrest
Zu tragen peinlich,
Und wär er von Asbest ,
Er ist nicht reinlich
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 07:15:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, from an economical point of view there is Faust  and then for a long while nothing else. I think Faust would keep you busy for a while anyway. How is this table?
by Katrin on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 06:50:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The cool thing about Atlas Shrugged is that the reader gets to be God, not just carry out His will.

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 05:16:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the protagonists are devils conveniently unanchored to any quaint concepts of morality, such as the great churches profess and then ignore.

rand was pitiful in her megalomania.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 06:55:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is Prof. Binswanger and Josef Ackermann discussing Faust II, stimulating the economy, and inflation more in depth than Weidmann in his speech. Neither of the three mentions that Goethe explained trinity in the same works: think trade, war, and piracy, and you've got it.
by Katrin on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 05:17:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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