Kako rešiti evro pred Nemčijo?

Robert Skidelsky o nemškem egoizmu, o tem, zakaj Nemčija za razliko od Kitajske noče znižati zunanjetrgovinskega presežka in rešiti evro območja pred recesijo in zakaj samo Draghijevo “metanje denarja iz helikopterja” lahko še drži evro območje nad vodo. Ampak nič več kot to.

Back in October 2013, the US Treasury pointed the finger at Germany’s structural surplus as the source of Europe’s woes. Its argument was that if one country runs a surplus, another must run a deficit, because the excess savings/exports of the surplus country must be absorbed by another country as investment, consumption, or imports.

If the surplus country takes no steps to reduce its surplus – for example, by increasing its domestic investment and consumption – the only way the deficit country can reduce its deficit is by cutting its own investment and consumption. But this would produce a “bad” equilibrium, achieved by stagnation.

Something like this seems to have happened in the eurozone. Germany has retained its “good” surplus, whereas the Mediterranean countries slashed their deficits by cutting investment, consumption, and imports. Greece’s unemployment rate soared to nearly 27%; Spain’s is almost as high; and Portugal faces a banking crisis.

Why was China willing to adjust while Germany would not? Perhaps a key difference lies in the fact that Germany has significant political clout over the deficit countries with which it trades. Germany was effectively able to force austerity upon its neighbors.

That raises an important issue regarding the legitimacy of austerity. Its main proponents are creditors, who have much to gain from it (relative to the alternative of raising domestic wages and forgiving debts). Creditor-debtor conflicts have always been the stuff of monetary politics, and the persistence of austerity has set the stage for a new debtors’ revolt.

So we will have to rely on Draghi and quantitative easing to save the euro from Germany. Money will have to fall from the proverbial helicopter before Germany shows any willingness to reduce its surplus.

Preberite več v Robert Skidelsky, Project Syndicate

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