20% (Or why the Eurozone can’t survive).
In the UK, around 20% of the ‘Greater South-East’s’ GDP goes North. Following the American Civil War, about 20% of the North’s GDP flowed south. Much of American Growth from then until 1914 was merely the south catching up with the North’s industrialisation. After unification, about 20% of West German GDP flowed east.
The moral of the tale is that if a highly invested, competitive area (like Germany & Northern Europe) finds itself in a currency union with an uncompetitive area (Like the Club-Med), funds must flow from the competitive area to the uncompetitive area, so that the capital investments can be made to allow the uncompetitive area to catch up. It may never do so, as East Germany or the American South found. The damage done to the population’s competitiveness by socialist idiocy or slave-agrarian economics, is just too great.
What is happening instead, right now in the Eurozone is that capital is fleeing the periphery, rather than flowing to it. This is because savers ask themselves ‘Why have a bank account in Italy or Spain and risk holding Pesetas or Lira in a few years, when you can open one in Germany and ‘risk’ holding Deutchmarks?’ The result of this (amongst other effects) is a massive collapse in the money supply in the periphery nations, which central bank action cannot counter, because monetary policy is set for the core. Big falls in money supply lead to depression. Against this backdrop, attempts to stabilise the debt by fiscal contraction in Italy or Spain are like a sticking plaster on an arterial bleed.
Note that the leftist argument that it’s fiscal contraction which is causing the lack of growth is complete twaddle. THERE IS NO MONEY because IT’S ALL GOING TO GERMANY, so THE ECONOMIES WILL CONTRACT. Firing a few Spanish or Italian civil servants and building fewer roads is neither here nor there as far as their GDP numbers go.
But the UK is in a slightly different position to Italy and Spain because it’s in control of it’s money supply. We’re not Greece, we’re not Italy or Spain because we didn’t join the Euro. What the left-wing plan to spend more risks is the Japan’s disease where a pig-headed unwillingness to write off bad investments facilitated through expansionary fiscal “stimulus”, left them with the highest per capita public debt in the world. And still their economy doesn’t grow, despite decades of stimulus.
The evidence appears to suggest that expansionary fiscal policy (running a deficit) loses any stimulus effect on GDP growth when public debt hits around 80% of GDP (France, Germany, The USA), and debt kills growth entirely when it hits about 120% of GDP (Italy, Japan). Thanks to decades of overspend, there is no Keynesian firepower when it’s needed. So there’s no argument for more “stimulus” here, as the “Iron Chancellor” spent all the ‘stimulus’ long before the bust. Gordon Brown was a disaster for which I will be paying for the rest of my life. It Could have been worse, had Blair got his way and taken us into the Euro.
So, back to the Eurozone: Spain and Italy need Quantitative easing to ease the monetary pressure caused by the capital flight. Germany is simply unwilling to risk inflation and will sacrifice the economies of southern Europe on the altar of price stability. Meanwhile, the rest of Northern Europe are simply unwilling to make the transfers necessary to sustain currency union, let alone to allow the investment necessary to allow ‘the South’ to catch up.
What we’re witnessing is the simple logic of currency union. Brits are broadly happy to subsidise other Brits farther north. Germans are content to throw money at Germans farther east. Ditto Yankees are happy to subsidise the ex-confederacy to their south. But Brits and Germans are NOT content to see vast sums head south to subsidise people whom their electorates consider feckless because they still enjoy siestas. Without a ‘Demos’ there is no democracy. And for the same reasons, there can also be no currency union without fiscal union. And fiscal union in the EU is impossible unless we all think of ourselves as ‘European’.
And we don’t. So the Euro will fail.
There MIGHT be enough political will to hold it together, for now. Indeed I think this is the most likely outcome. But eventually, decades of increasingly grinding poverty to which the Euro will condemn Spaniards and Italians will persuade the Spaniards and Italians vote to leave; or Germans will tire of writing cheques and vote to kick them out. Either way, the Euro’s a doomed project.
It’s not ‘if’ but ‘when’ and ‘will there be piles of rotting corpses on the street again as a result?’
You kind of get a sense how it was in the run up to WW2. The subtlety of evil, how taken for granted the euro ideology is by EUro elites and its populace
Enoch Powell: “Europe can never be a democracy because there is no European Demos.”
Accurate and succinct summary and one I wholly agree with, the only doubtr being how long these lunatics can keep all the plates turning, my own feeling is that they won't survive decades as the financial and by extension political pressures will become too large too soon and it could be within one electoral cycle that it blows up.
Given that Merkel is up for re-election next year, and that by then the Germans will ahve woken up to being on the hook for the thick end of 2 trillion euros, I think there is a good chance that she'll be takling early retirement unless she can come up with a cunning plan of some sort.
"funds must flow from the competitive area to the uncompetitive area , so that capital investments can be made to allow the competetive area to catch up."
"note that the leftist argument that it is fiscal contraction which is causing the lack of growth is complete twaddle…"
How should funds flow from the competitive to uncompetitive areas?
What is the mechanism by which high public debt inhibits growth?
@ Anonymous – funds would have to flow in the form of fiscal transfers, ie the German parliament periodically voting sums of money for transfer to Greece; which just aint goning to happen.
Debt inhibits growth of course by crowding out the investment needed to achieve growth ie to improve productivity NB by investment here I mean proper investment not Gordon Brown's crazed pissing up the wall on total crap.
Yep, then the Greek government would spend the money.
I agree that the Euro is a real problem for Greece – Britain is far better off since once we get a sane government we should be able to raise the deficit relatively easily.
Crowding out, like in Japan, where massive levels of public debt have resulted in permanantly low interest rates?
Increases in productivity reduce demand for labour and increase the need for government intervention.
"Increases in productivity reduce demand for labour and increase the need for government intervention"
That has to be the most fatuous, economically illiterate comment masquerading as analysis that I've ever recieved on this blog.
Productivity – doing the same with fewer inputs (yes, labour is a cost, not a benefit) is how western economies have grown. State planned economies (soviet union) typically didn't enjoy productivity improvments, just increasing inputs – resources and Laobour to achieve growth.
The lower demand for labour FREES people to go and do something else for someone else, creating more potential inputs, and generating growth.
So, if your response to increased productivity is productivity-destroying government regulation, then you are a dribbling moron with shit-for-brains, which as far as economics concerned, is the entire left.
But dude… if robots can make everything then what exactly is it that we should do for others?
If we don't need others for our own selfish ends we have to rebuild society on a cooperative model.
Why on earth would we insist on people working for us when the increased product will be so small and we have so little need for it? It's a kind of madness.
Thank you for posting.
The comment posted by 'Anonymous' is the most fatuous, thoughtless effort I have ever had the misfortune to read. Jackart, please leave it up there as a monument to the stupidity of the left.
Really, the sort of crap I'd expect to read from George "We need more central planning" Monbiot.
Q. hysterical. Anyway, the blogpost is a fine piece – keep up the good work…
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