Južne članice EU morajo še bolj uničevati svoja gospodarstva

Hans-Werner Sinn je v svežem komentarju ponovno v svojem elementu. Začne s pravo diagnozo, da je imel evro enake plačilno-bilančne (PB) učinke kot zlati standard v 1920. letih in celo pravilno našteje štiri načine za izhod iz krize. Pravilno tudi ugotovi, da bi deflacija v južnih članicah EU spravila v bankrot mnoge dolžnike (da ne govorimo o recesiji in povečevanju nezaposlenosti). Pravilno tudi ugotovi, da bi višja inflacija v severnih članicah EU, ki jo lahko spodbudi QE, pomagala pri uravnoteženju PB neravnotežij v evrskem območju. Nato pa iz tega izpelje čudaški sklep, da južne članice EU ne bi smele stimulirati svojega gospodarstva, ker bi s tem spodbudile tudi inflacijo in kar bi na drugi strani zahtevalo, da predvsem Nemčija poveča inflacijo še bolj.

Ali drugače rečeno, HW Sinn zahteva, da južne članice še naprej in še bolj depresirajo svoja gospodarstva in znižujejo raven cen (deflacija), da severnim članicam ne bi bilo treba povečati inflacije čez 2%. Južne članice morajo torej početi to, kar Sinn v začetku komentarja ugotovi, da bi tam ugonobilo mnoge domače dolžnike ter (česar ne omeni) njihova gospodarstva spravilo še v globljo recesijo in uničilo še več delovnih mest.

In vse to (če se vrnemo v izhodišče razlogov za sedanjo evrsko krizo) samo zato, ker je Nemčija v letih 2003-2005 zamrznila plače, s čimer je povečala svojo konkurenčnost in izvoz, ki so ga pokupile južne članice EU, nakar so nemške banke s poceni denarjem zasipale te iste južne članice in spodbudile finančne in nepremičninske balone. Zaradi tega morajo danes južne članice zmanjšati plače in zaposlenost, da nemškim podjetjem ne bi bilo treba povečati plač.

Tako daleč pripelje ideologija, ki popolnoma zamegli presojo še tako bistrim umom. S tem Sinnovim komentarjem se bodo ta vikend še precej ukvarjali v ekonomski blogosferi.

The euro has brought a balance-of-payments crisis to Europe, just as the gold standard did in the 1920s. In fact, there is only one difference between the two episodes: During today’s crisis, huge international rescue packages have been available.

There are four possible economic and policy responses to this state of affairs. First, Europe could become a transfer union, with the north giving more and more credit to the south and later waiving it. Second, the south can deflate. Third, the north can inflate. And, fourth, countries that are no longer competitive can exit Europe’s monetary union and depreciate their new currency.

Each path is associated with serious complications. The first creates a permanent dependence on transfers, which, by sustaining relative prices, prevents the economy from regaining competitiveness. The second path drives many debtors in crisis countries into bankruptcy. The third expropriates the creditor countries of the north. And the fourth may cause contagion effects via capital markets, possibly forcing policymakers to introduce capital controls, as in Cyprus in 2013.

This [QE] would offer southern European countries a way out of their competitiveness trap, because if prices remained unchanged in the south, while the northern countries inflated, the southern countries could gradually reduce their goods’ relative prices without feeling too much pain. Of course, in that case the north needs to inflate faster than by just 2%.

If, say, southern Europe kept its inflation rate at 0% and France inflated at a rate of 1%, Germany would have to inflate by a good 4%, and the rest of the eurozone at 2% annually, to reach a eurozone average of slightly less than 2%. This pattern would have to continue for about ten years to bring the eurozone back into balance. At that point, Germany’s price level would be about 50% higher than it is today.

There is a risk that Japan, China, and the US will not sit on their hands while the euro loses value, with the world possibly even sliding into a currency war. Moreover, the southern EU countries, instead of leaving prices unchanged, could abandon austerity and issue an ever greater volume of new bonds to stimulate the economy. Competitiveness gains and rebalancing would fail to materialize, and, after an initial flash in the pan, the eurozone would return to permanent crisis. The euro, finally and fully discredited, would then meet a very messy end.

One can only hope that this scenario does not come to pass, and that the southern countries stay the course of austerity. This is their last chance.

Vir: Hans-Werner Sinn, Project Syndicate

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