Kako neverjeten je italijanski “izhod iz evra”?

Wolfgang Münchau ima v tej kolumni v Financial Timesu povsem prav: italijanski “izhod iz evra” ni nemogoč. Nihče ne more populistične italijanske vlade zaustaviti pred tem, da ustvari zadovoljivo veliko krizo in uvede paralelno valuto – niti italijanska ustava, niti njen predsednik, niti ECB in niti finančni trgi. Italija je za to prevelika. Pred to nevarnostjo si ne bi smeli zatiskati oči ali je podcenjevati.

Ampak, in to je ključno, “italijanski izhod” in nevarnost zdrsa v popolni populizem je mogoče preprečiti samo tako, da se v EU lotijo vzrokov za italijansko nezadovoljstvo. In ti so isti, kot so bili v začetku 1930. let, ki so prinesli konec Weimarske republike in na oblast prinesli Hitlerja kot rešitelja ekonomske mizerije. Vzrok za nemško depresijo je bilo vztrajanje na zlatem standardu (nepripravljenost vlade na devalvacijo, ki bi povečala konkurenčnost domačega gospodarstva in spodbudila okrevanje). Evro je danes ekvivalent zlatega standarda, s tem da je še bistveno bolj restriktiven, ker ob zavezanih rokah na monetarnem področju vsiljuje še omejevalno fiskalno politiko. Države morajo iti skozi dolgotrajno depresijo, preden dovolj znižajo ceno dela in prezadolženost, da lahko začnejo okrevati. Mahne države, kot sta Slovenija ali Grčija, v to lahko prisilijo, v velikih državah pa lahko dinamika velike mase nezadovoljnih ljudi postane neobvladljiva.

Zato italijanskega problema danes ni mogoče rešiti s podcenjevanjem problema ali z grožnjami po spoštovanju pravil fiskalnega pakta.

No, jaz sem tukaj najbrž precej subjektiven, ker menim, da je evro v sedanji obliki nevdržni aranžma za Evropo in da fiskalni federalizem po francoskem receptu politično ni izvedljiv, v bistvu je fašističen v svoji prisili implementacije, zaradi česar je pot k miroljubni monetarni dezintegraciji optimalna. Če želimo ohraniti pridobitve evropske integracije po drugi svetovni vojni. In italijansko rožljanje z izhodom iz evra tukaj jemljem kot dobrodošlo politično grožnjo, da trije največji voditelji EU (Nemčija, Francija, Italija) najdejo kompromisno rešitev. Ali bodo omogočili državam, da zadihajo, tako da bodo spremenili restriktivna pravila fiskalnega pakta ali pa omogočili prijateljsko monetarno ločitev.

Comparing today’s populists and nationalists to the Nazis and fascists of 80 or 90 years ago is pointless. But I see much clearer parallels between the fall of Germany’s Weimar Republic and the vulnerability of Europe’s liberal elites. Some of the current defenders of the liberal order are making the same mistake as, for example, the German Centre party of the early 1930s, by underestimating the scale of the threat that they face.

Harold James, a professor of history at Princeton University, has recently given us 10 reasons why our political systems today share some of the self-destructive characteristics of the Weimar Republic. One is the strength of the economic shock. Another is an excessive optimism about the power of constitutions to protect the system.

I would like to offer some additional thoughts on the role of complacent narratives — the stories we tell each other that make us feel better. As a commentator on eurozone affairs, for example, I keep hearing that an Italian exit from the euro cannot happen because it is not allowed. Italy’s constitution, for example, makes it impossible for a government to rescind international treaties by referendum.

This argument not only overestimates the power of constitutional law to protect us from illegal acts by governments, as Prof James pointed out. It also ignores the circumstances under which a country would leave the eurozone. All its government would need to do is engineer a financial crisis, declare force majeure, and introduce a parallel currency over a long bank holiday weekend. There is nothing in the Italian constitution to prevent a financial crisis or to stop a government from giving people the means to buy food.

Please use the sharing tools found via the email icon at the top of articles. Copying articles to This is also why it does not matter why the Italian coalition agreement no longer contains a formal euro exit clause, as it did in an earlier draft. We know that Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, wants to create conditions for a euro exit. We also know that some, though not all, members of the Five Star Movement, their potential partners in government, want that too. That is all we need to know.

Finally, there is the hope that the economic recovery will benefit the centrist parties. I think the opposite is the case. Five Star and the League will generate a recovery through a large fiscal stimulus — and will gain the credit for it. They are in power precisely because the centrists have failed to deliver on the economy. The truth is that there is no such thing as a technical backstop for liberal democracy.

Herein lies the main lesson of the Weimar Republic. If liberal democracy fails to deliver economic prosperity for a sufficiently large portion of the population over long periods, it ends — along with the financial and economic institutions it has created.

Vir: Wolfgang Münchau, Financial Times

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