The EMU reform ruse – Part 4 and Final

This is the final part of my four-part discussion of a so-called progressive proposal advanced by German academic Fritz Sharpf to reform the Eurozone into two tiers: a ‘Northern’ hard currency tier and a ‘Southern’ non-euro tier with the latter nations tying their currencies to the euro. We have seen that rather than providing a framework for convergence between the current Eurozone Member States, Sharpfs’ proposal would not liberate the weaker nations from the yoke of the euro, In fact, the proposal would just tie the exiting nations to the euro in a slightly different way – one that will not provide sufficient flexibility to make much difference. Further, Sharpf recommends that the ‘Northern’ nations should retain the euro and operate within the current European Commission orthodoxy. Yet he admits that this regime kills the democratic process. In other words, his proposal sustains that technocratic illegitimacy which would not appear to be the basis for a progressive solution. Finally, while he dichotomises the current 19 Eurozone Member States into a Northern and Southern grouping, there is no reliable way to allocate the Member States across the groups that would remain in the euro and those who would exit. What criteria would reasonably allocate nations to stay in the so-called Northern hard currency zone with the euro? For example, I do not think that a democratic France can ever function reasonably in a hard currency arrangement with Germany. The hard currency zone would effectively just revert to a ‘mark zone’ tantamount to the last EMS arrangement prior to the euro. That configuration was totally unworkable and that dysfunction would repeat itself. In other words, the proposal makes little operational sense. My view is that the vast majority of the Member States would be in the ‘Southern’ group, which would effectively end the EMU in any functional sense. Hardly a proposal for reform.
Read the rest of this entry »

Spread the word ...
    Posted in Eurozone | 3 Comments

    The EMU reform ruse – Part 3

    This is the third part of my mini-series which have been evaluating one so-called progressive reform approach to the Eurozone disaster. Part 2 provided essential background, given that one of the proposals being circulated by progressives involves the weaker Eurozone nations re-establishing their own currencies and then pegging them against the Euro. I showed that attempts to maintain any form of fixed parities among the core European states has been chaotic and led to breakdown. Along the way, the weaker trading nations were subject to austerity biases and elevated levels of unemployment. Given the scope of the topic, it will take me two more parts to finalise the discussion. In this part and the final part 4 I will discuss the second proposal from German academic Fritz Sharpf, which appears to have gained some traction with the Europhile Left, much to my disappointment. Here we commence the analysis of Sharpf’s “Two-tiered European Community” proposal.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Spread the word ...
      Posted in Eurozone, Reclaim the State | 10 Comments

      The Weekend Quiz – December 2-3, 2017 – answers and discussion

      Here are the answers with discussion for this Weekend’s Quiz. The information provided should help you work out why you missed a question or three! If you haven’t already done the Quiz from yesterday then have a go at it before you read the answers. I hope this helps you develop an understanding of modern monetary theory (MMT) and its application to macroeconomic thinking. Comments as usual welcome, especially if I have made an error.
      Read the rest of this entry »

      Spread the word ...
        Posted in Saturday quiz | 3 Comments

        The Weekend Quiz – December 2-3, 2017

        Welcome to The Weekend Quiz. The quiz tests whether you have been paying attention or not to the blogs I post. See how you go with the following questions. Your results are only known to you and no records are retained.
        Read the rest of this entry »

        Spread the word ...
          Posted in Saturday quiz | 5 Comments

          Travelling all day today to where the wind blows and it rains a lot

          I am travelling a lot today and do not have enough time to think much less write a blog. I am travelling where the wind blows strong and rain is always expected. A perfect place to write once I land and have some other things to complete. On Monday, I will post Part 3 in the series I have been working on this week on EMU reform proposals. The quiz will be back tomorrow as usual. For the moment I am listening to …
          Read the rest of this entry »

          Spread the word ...
            Posted in Admin, Music | 4 Comments

            The EMU reform ruse – Part 2

            This blog continues the discussion from yesterday’s blog – The EMU reform ruse – Part 1 – where I consider the reform proposals put forward by German academic Fritz Sharpf, which have been held out by Europhile Leftists as the progressive way out of the disaster that the Eurozone has become. Yesterday, I considered his first proposal – to continue with the enforced structural convergence to the Northern model – the current orthodoxy in Brussels. Like Sharpf I agree that the agenda outlined in the 2015 The Five President’s Report: Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union would just continue the disaster and would intensify the political and social instability that will eventually force a breakup of the monetary union. Sharpf’s second proposal is that the EMU dichotomise into a Northern hard currency bloc while the Southern states (and others less inclined to follow the German export-led, domestic-demand suppression growth model) reestablish their own currencies and peg them to the euro with ECB support. While it is an interesting proposal and certainly more adventurous than the plethora of proposals that just tinker at the edges (for example, European unemployment insurance schemes, Blue Bond proposals and the like), it remains deeply flawed. While it is assumed that the Northern bloc would comprise core European nations such as Germany and France, it is not clear that either would prosper under the new arrangement. France and Germany were never been able to maintain stable currencies prior to the EMU. Further, the ‘exit’ proposal ties the poorer nations into a vexed fixed exchange rate arrangement, which would always compromise their domestic policy freedom, just as it did under the earlier versions of the Snake or the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). Far better to just break the whole show up and let the nations go free with floating exchange rates.
            Read the rest of this entry »

            Spread the word ...
              Posted in Eurozone | 2 Comments

              The EMU reform ruse – Part 1

              On October 31, 2017, my blog – Europhile Left deluded if it thinks reform process will produce functional outcomes – countered some of the nonsense coming out of Europe (from the so-called progressive side) that the Eurozone hadn’t failed when judged by it bias towards mass unemployment and increasing precariousness of its citizens. I particularly noted the terrible record in terms of youth unemployment and NEETs. Yesterday’s blog – Massive Eurozone infrastructure deficit requires urgent redress – documented how much damage the austerity bias of the Eurozone has caused to essential productive infrastructure – human and physical and the ridiculous underinvestment by governments locked into mindless Stability and Growth Pact (and its recent derivatives) rules. Unphased, the Europhiles keep telling me that reform processes are underway and that we need to be patient. That the glorious vision outlined in the October 1990 European Commission Report – One Market, One Money Report, which, apparently outlined a vision of domestic-demand driven convergence bliss for the Economic and Monetary Union. I analysed that Report in detail in my 2015 book – Eurozone Dystopia: Groupthink and Denial on a Grand Scale – and have to say that anyone who holds it out as a plan for the future must have been reading a different report or affected by heavy drugs. Today, I am considering recent reform proposals put forward by German academic Fritz Sharpf, who considers the neoliberal Eurozone experiment has failed but can be resurrected without abandoning the essential mechanics of the monetary union. Tomorrow, I will start to consider a so-called progressive proposal that breaks the EMU into two tiers – a Northern hard currency zone and a ‘Southern’ zone where nations reintroduce their own currencies, but peg them against the euro with ECB support. It will not surprise regular readers to know that I disagree with Sharpf’s reform agenda.
              Read the rest of this entry »

              Spread the word ...
                Posted in Eurozone, Reclaim the State | 4 Comments

                Massive Eurozone infrastructure deficit requires urgent redress

                The latest – EIB Investment Report 2017/2018 – published last week by the European Investment Bank tells anyone who cares to take those Europhile Rose Coloured Glasses off for just a second how deep the failure of the European policy making structures are and how long the negative impacts of those failures will resonate. This is the true ‘burden for our (their) grand kids’ sort of stuff. In claiming they had to run tight fiscal policy biased towards surpluses to avoid forcing the future generations to carry an unfair burden, these European policy makers and leaders have done exactly the opposite, as predicted – they have created an appalling future for their youth and their children to follow. The whole European monetary experiment is a failure and is beyond reform. It needs to be scrapped, national sovereignty restored and people within their own countries left, through democratic institutions to determine how the public sector operates in their best interests. The Troika technocrats should be led out to pasture. And, to the Europhile Left: take of your rose coloured glasses.
                Read the rest of this entry »

                Spread the word ...
                  Posted in Eurozone, Reclaim the State | 17 Comments

                  The Weekend Quiz – November 25-26, 2017 – answers and discussion

                  Here are the answers with discussion for this Weekend’s Quiz. The information provided should help you work out why you missed a question or three! If you haven’t already done the Quiz from yesterday then have a go at it before you read the answers. I hope this helps you develop an understanding of modern monetary theory (MMT) and its application to macroeconomic thinking. Comments as usual welcome, especially if I have made an error.
                  Read the rest of this entry »

                  Spread the word ...
                    Posted in Saturday quiz | 4 Comments

                    The Weekend Quiz – November 25-26, 2017

                    Welcome to The Weekend Quiz. The quiz tests whether you have been paying attention or not to the blogs I post. See how you go with the following questions. Your results are only known to you and no records are retained.
                    Read the rest of this entry »

                    Spread the word ...
                      Posted in Saturday quiz | 4 Comments