Tuesday, June 19, 2012

19/6/2012: Euro area - flawed from design through execution

Here's the article on euro's flawed construct from Canada's The Globe&Mail citing myself (among others). And here is the full comment on the topic:

The core mistake within the entire architecture of the euro is the creation of the common currency in the first place. 

Absent organic, democratically-anchored federal union, common currency zone is simply non-viable even at the level of the 'strong Nordic' euro, let alone at the level of the euro that binds together vastly divergent - politically, economically, culturally and institutionally - states. 

The comparison of divergences present within the euro with those present amongst the states of the US - the common argument that divergences are not the systemic weak point of the euro construct - is missing the core point. That point is that divergence within the euro area are demographically, historically and institutionally anchored and no amount of 'top-to-bottom' siloed integration and harmonization of policies will deliver on breaking these divergences. Only organic, bottom-up and horizontal integration first of political systems, alongside human capital mobility and capital mobility, with trade liberalization, stretched over a number of generations can result in the emergence of the shared platforms that can unify the systems and instituions of vastly differing demographics that represent Europe.

By foregoing flexibility of diverse currencies and monetary policy systems, by forcing superficial convergence of policies and institutions onto the economies with no developed competitive advantages suitable to the current constantly and rapidly changing world (and often even against the already existent competitive advantages), the euro has weakened, not strengthened the core economies, making it virtually inevitable that the less advanced economies of the euro area will develop an asset bubble of one type or the other as the sole driver for growth, absent real organic drivers.

The crisis of the euro does not stem from the lack of monetary fitness. The lack of such fitness is itself is the symptom of the deeper problems within the euro architecture. Instead, the crisis was caused by the failure of the European economic model that first relied on public debt and subsequently, having run out of the road on public debt financing of growth in early 2000s, on private debt. Now, like Japan of the early 1990s, Europe is a debt-ridden economy with no catalyst for growth. Like Japan, it eliminated social and entrepreneurial mobility and pursued self-preservationism at all levels of its economy for far too long. 

Alas, unlike Japan, Europe is neither an R&D, nor exports, nor modern infrastructure powerhouse in the world that is much more advanced than it was in the 1990s. Which makes euro area a Japan2.0 with far fewer options and user friendliness. 

Good luck selling that as a 'vision' to global investors.

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