Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bill Lucarelli on The Euro: A currency in search of a state

New paper concerning Euro by Bill Lucarelli

From the abstract:
To understand the structural dynamics of the current eurozone crisis, it is necessary to examine the longstanding internal contradictions that the system has inherited from its inception under the Maastricht Treaty and the neoliberal strategy which has governed its evolution from the first experiments in economic and monetary union in the 1970s. A brief narrative of the evolution of the European Monetary Union yields some insights into its peculiar institutional design. More specifically, the article examines the dangerously self-reinforcing logic between speculative bond markets and cascading, deflationary policies of austerity imposed on those countries encountering severe debt crises. This examination reveals the fragile foundations upon which the eurozone was constructed [...] The stark contrast between US monetary and exchange rate policies and the straightjacket imposed in the eurozone by the ECB during the financial crisis that began in 2008 could not be more revealing. As David Fields and Matias Vernengo (2012) [see here] contend,
By buying great quantities of Treasuries, the Fed not only keeps stable bond prices and low interest rates, but also provides assurances that Treasury bonds remain a secure asset. That allows the US Treasury to maintain high fiscal deficits on a sustainable basis. That is the exact opposite of what the ECB has done for the countries in the periphery of Europe. Countries in the currency union lose control of monetary policy and cannot depreciate the exchange rate. But a common currency setting also brings to an end the possibility for a single nation to run fiscal deficits since the sources of funding are either removed or subjected to supra-national control.
Read rest here (subscription required).

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