Yesterday I was rubbishing the USA, but Europe is also on the path to seeming destruction. Paul Krugman, my favourite economist, laid out the cliff edge scenario in the NY Times.
So if European leaders really wanted to save the euro they would be looking for an alternative course. And the shape of such an alternative is actually fairly clear. The Continent needs more expansionary monetary policies, in the form of a willingness — an announced willingness — on the part of the European Central Bank to accept somewhat higher inflation; it needs more expansionary fiscal policies, in the form of budgets in Germany that offset austerity in Spain and other troubled nations around the Continent’s periphery, rather than reinforcing it. Even with such policies, the peripheral nations would face years of hard times. But at least there would be some hope of recovery.
What we’re actually seeing, however, is complete inflexibility. In March, European leaders signed a fiscal pact that in effect locks in fiscal austerity as the response to any and all problems. Meanwhile, key officials at the central bank are making a point of emphasizing the bank’s willingness to raise rates at the slightest hint of higher inflation.
So it’s hard to avoid a sense of despair. Rather than admit that they’ve been wrong, European leaders seem determined to drive their economy — and their society — off a cliff. And the whole world will pay the price. (Click here for more)
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The secret word is Fools
Levon Helm – RIP