Wall Street Journal (WSJ) je lansko leto poleti objavil zapis o tem, kdo naj bi prvi napovedal probleme in krizo v evroobmočju. Pri tem citira poročilo Inštituta Levy o napakah v dizajnu evrosistema, v katerem navaja citate nekaterih heterodoksnih ekonomistov, ki so opozarjali na bližajoče probleme. Glavni problem so videli v ločitvi fiskalne in monetarne politike. Tako je Wynne Godley, do sedaj malo poznani angleški ekonomist, že leta 1997 dejal:
If a government stops having its own currency, it doesn’t just give up “control over monetary policy” as normally understood; its spending powers also become constrained in an entirely new way. If a government does not have its own central bank on which it can draw cheques freely, its expenditures can be financed only by borrowing in the open market in competition with businesses, and this may prove excessively expensive or even impossible, particularly under “conditions of extreme emergency.” . . . [I]f Europe is not to have a full-scale budget of its own under the new arrangements it will still have, by default, a fiscal stance of its own made up of the individual budgets of component states. The danger, then, is that the budgetary restraint to which governments are individually committed will impart a disinflationary bias that locks Europe as a whole into a depression it is powerless to lift. (str. 4)
O Godleyu, klasično izobraženem glasbeniku, ki je 14 let delal na angleškem finančnem ministrstvu preden je prišel vodit oddelek za aplikativno ekonomiko na Univerzo v Cambridgeu, kasneje pa bil tudi član posvetovalnega telesa britanskega finančnega ministrstva (‘sveta modrih’), je mesec dni nazaj pisal tudi New York Times (NYT). Godley je poznan po svoji kritiki Margaret Thatcher (zaradi česar naj bi se potrudila, da so njegov ekonomski oddelek zaprli), po svojem delu o bilancah makroekonomskih sektorjev (‘sectoral balances’) in po svojih ekonomskih modelih. NYT je zapisal:
»he Godley models, by contrast, see banks as central, promoting growth but also posing threats. Households and firms take out loans to build homes or invest in production. But their expectations can go awry, they wind up with excessive debt, and they cut back. Markets themselves drive booms and busts. … Mr. Godley built his economic model around the idea that sectors — households, production firms, banks, the government — largely follow rules of thumb.
Pa vendar je Godley že leta 1992 opozoril na bistven problem evra:
The central idea of the Maastricht Treaty is that the EC countries should move towards an economic and monetary union, with a single currency managed by an independent central bank. But how is the rest of economic policy to be run? As the treaty proposes no new institutions other than a European bank, its sponsors must suppose that nothing more is needed. But this could only be correct if modern economies were self-adjusting systems that didn’t need any management at all. …
If there were an economic and monetary union, in which the power to act independently had actually been abolished, ‘co-ordinated’ reflation of the kind which is so urgently needed now could only be undertaken by a federal European government. Without such an institution, EMU would prevent effective action by individual countries and put nothing in its place.
Kljub temu so tudi drugi ekonomisti opozarjali na napake evrosistema. WSJ omenja tudi mainstream ekonomiste (med drugim tudi Miltona Friedmana), ki so prav tako v drugi polovici devetdesetih opozarjali na napake. V tem pogledu je zanimiva meta študija o stališčih in kritikah ameriških ekonomistov do evro projekta med letoma 1989 in 2002, ki sta jo za Evropsko komisijo leta 2009 pripravila Lars Jonung in Eoin Drea. V povzetku strnita svoje ugotovitve takole:
Our survey of approximately 170 publications shows (a) that US academic economists concentrated on the question “Is the EMU a good or bad thing?”, usually adopting the paradigm of optimum currency areas as their main analytical vehicle, (b) that they displayed considerable scepticism towards the single currency, (c) that economists within the Federal Reserve System had a less analytical and a more pragmatic approach to the single currency than US academic economists, and (e) that US economists adjusted their views and analytical approach as European monetary unification progressed. In particular, the traditional optimum currency approach was gradually put into question.
Ameriški ekonomisti (med katerimi je bilo v splošnem proučevanje evroobmočja sicer minorno področje raziskovanja) so se pri kritiki torej večinoma naslanjali na teorijo optimalnega valutnega območja (OCA), ki v osnovi določa štiri kriterije za učinkovito območje: mobilnost dela, mobilnost kapitala, fiskalne transferje in usklajenost poslovnih ciklov med državami. (razvil jo je Robert Mundell, vendar so nekateri mnenja, da je na OCA prvi opozoril rusko-britanski ekonomist Abba P. Lerner).
Študija tako npr. navaja študijo Garryja J. Schinasija, ki jo je napisal leta 1989 (še pred uvedbo evra, ko so bili tečaji med posameznimi valutami fiksirani) v svojem zadnjem letu na svetu Federal Reserve v Washingtonu (preden je za dve desetletji odšel na IMF). Chinasi, ki povzema skrbi in dvome tudi drugih avtorjev, piše:
If institutional change is to foster greater fiscal policy discipline then how institutional arrangements affect fiscal policy behaviour must be considered …
… under conditions of perfect capital mobility and perfect asset substitutability a debt financed fiscal expansion creates an incipient positive interest rate differential. Given that capital is free to flow between countries and that one debt instrument is as good as the other, the higher rate of return will initially attract capital.
The complete liberalization of capital movements within the context of fixed exchange rates (or even a grid) raises the potential for speculative attacks and financial crises, … When and if market participants question credibility of government’s fiscal policies, debt issued by the fiscal authority in question will no longer be viewed as perfect substitutes for other debt instruments. Investors will likely alter their portfolios and shift resources into assets of other currency denominations. By raising interest rates on this government debt, this speculative behavioiur makes it more costly for government to continue to finance future fiscal expansions. (str. 30 – 32)
Že pred Schinasijem bi v osemdesetih verjetno lahko našli kritične ekonomiste, ki so opozarjali na pasti evropske valutne integracije. Kdo je bil torej prvi? Odgovor niti ni tako pomemben, vendar je zanimivo, da je že leta 1971 Nicholas Kaldor, madžarski ekonomist post-keynesianske smeri (sicer prijatelj Wynnea Godleya), v svoji kritiki Wernerjevega plana iz leta poprej zapisal:
… it is a dangerous error to believe that monetary and economic union can precede a political union or that it will act (in the words of the Werner report) “as a leaven for the evolvement of a political union which in the long run it will in any case be unable to do without. …
The events of the last few years – necessitating a revaluation of the German mark and a devaluation of the French franc – have demonstrated that the Community is not viable with its present degree of economic integration. The system presupposes full currency convertibility and fixed exchange rates among the members, whilst leaving monetary and fiscal policy to the discretion of the individual member countries. Under this system, as events have shown, some countries will tend to acquire increasing (and unwanted surpluses) in their trade with other members, whist others face increasing deficits. This has two unwelcome effects. It transmits inflationary pressures emanating from some members to other members; and it causes the surplus countries to provide automatic finance on an increasing scale to the deficit countries. …
This is another way of saying that the objective of a full monetary and economic union is unattainable without a political union; and the latter pre-supposes fiscal integration, and not just fiscal harmonisation. It requires the creation of a Community Government and Parliament which takes over the responsibility for at least the major part of the expenditure now provided by national governments and finances it by taxes raised at uniform rates throughout the Community. With an integrated system of this kind, the prosperous areas automatically subside the poorer areas…
What the Report fails to recognize is that the very existence of a central system of taxation and expenditure is a far more powerful instrument for dispensing “regional aid” than anything that special “financial intervention” to development areas is capable of providing.
Martin Essex v Wall Street Journalu zaključuje članek z vprašanjem bralcem, ali poznajo kake zgodnejše napovedi oz. citate. Zanimivo bi bilo vedeti, zato bom enako storil sam, s poudarkom na dejstvu, da so današnji problemi evra – problemi ločitve fiskalne in monetarne unije ter problemi fiskalnih transferjev znani že vsaj štiri desetletja. Zakaj se torej Evropa ne zgane in ne razreši te institucionalne godlje?