Monday, January 30, 2012

30/1/2012: Fake Doctors Treating Fake Disease in Greece

There are many 'expert' voices in the media saying Greece should exit the Euro zone in order to return to growth. This, as I commented earlier today, is a gross oversimplification of the reality.

There is simply no evidence whatsoever that Greece can grow on its own any faster or more sustainably than it did within the Euro. In fact, the evidence presented below shows that the only period during the last 30 years in which Greece was able to somewhat marginally close the gap in growth between itself and the Advanced Economies group is the period immediately following its accession to the Euro.

It is a fallacy of 'alternative expectations' to believe Greece will be enabled to grow its economy under post-euro devaluation beyond achieving a 1-2 years-long 'bounce'. Analysts who expect Greece to recover on the back of exiting the euro & devaluing are deluding themselves for two major reasons:

  1. Greece has no fundamentals for growth & its debt overhang will remain, unless it defaults hard. Even with a default, removing debt overhang is not going to deliver growth to Greece beyond simple mechanical post-depression bounce, as Greece lacks all fundamentals for growth - institutional, cultural and historical. 
  2. However, with a hard default option, post-Euro, Greece will not be able to borrow & absent Government spending Greece has no capacity to grow. This is clearly shown in the charts below which highlight that in 23 out of the last 29 years, Greece has managed to achieve growth only with accompanying fiscal imbalances. 
In summary, Greece never once had any fundamentals to grow on its own without massive subsidies either via loose monetary policy or overinflated expectations relating to the country accession to the European common structures. Greece is not about to get real growth-driving fundamentals within or outside the euro area.

In short, all those talking about 'Greece must exit euro zone to achieve growth' are nothing more than fake doctors treating a patient who himself is faking a disease. Greece's problem is not the Euro. It's problem is Greece itself.

Here are the charts proving the point.

Fiscal imbalances:

Structural failure:

External insolvency:

Rotten growth fundamentals:

And lastly, rotten growth record
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