Scotland’s First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party
Dear Mr Salmond,
Scotland should state its intention to decouple from sterling, once independent, rather than petitioning for a continuation of its subservient role in an asymmetrical sterling union. Or so I argued in the Scottish Times in ‘Scotland Must Be Braver’ (28th November 2013). But if this is good advice for Scotland, why am I arguing that Greece should not sever its links with the even more odious monetary union known as the Eurozone? Unless the two cases differ, my argument lacks consistency. But they do differ. Fundamentally too. Continue reading
Let us accept (as I do) the principle that national minorities have the right to self-determination within lopsided multi-ethnic states; e.g. Croats and Kosovars seceding from Yugoslavia, Scots from the UK, Georgians from the Soviet Union etc. Continue reading
The Express published an interview I gave to Benjamin Masse-Stamberger a week ago. The interview lasted one hour, over Skype, and its published version nicely captures what Benjamin and I discussed. The gist of it will not surprise regular readers: The Greek ‘bailout’ was a sinister exercise in transferring banking losses from the books of Northern European banks onto the shoulders of Greek and European Taxpayers, in a manner that deepened the bankruptcy of the Greek social economy and pushed Europe onto the path toward economic and social disintegration. To pretend, now, that ‘Greece is on the mend’ and ‘the Eurozone Crisis is waning’, is to add insult to injury. The L ‘Express interview can be read here , on Their Site. Alternatively, read on … Continue reading
A debate involving James K. Galbraith, Yanis Varoufakis and Jeff Sommers (in the role of moderator) took place on 24th February at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in the context of the George Kennan Distinguished Lecture Series. An amateurish recording is available here. For ease of ‘navigation’, a list of topics (with their location on the recording’s timeline) is presented below.
Moralizing and generalization have always been terrible foundations for public policy. Continue reading
The responses of many to my post on Bitcoin reveal a powerful tendency to underestimate the ill-effects of deflation on a social economy. This tendency to underestimate deflation’s deleterious impact matters beyond debates on Bitcoin per se. For example, in Europe the incapacity of the European Central Bank (ECB) to act in the face of deflationary forces has revealed the same type of misunderstanding, as many commentators fail to recognise that deflation is a very serious threat and that the ECB’s lack of weapons against it constitutes a major weakness. In this post I return to the problem of deflation in a Gold Standard-like monetary system (e.g. Bitcoin or, indeed, the Eurozone itself) but conclude that, almost paradoxically, the technology of Bitcoin, if suitably adapted, can be employed profitably in the Eurozone as a weapon against deflation and a means of providing much needed leeway to fiscally stressed Eurozone member-states. Continue reading
To watch my interview jump to 13′
by James Galbraith, Stuart Holland and Yanis Varoufakis (*)
Peter Bofinger’s proposal for Euro-bundles (see here for an introduction) serves the noble purpose of rekindling the debate on the Eurozone’s fiscal and monetary incoherence. The idea behind Euro-bundles is to issue a common bond without joint liability that the ECB can then purchase in the context of a monetary policy that uses quantitative easing to fend off deflation, with the welcome side effect of lessening the Eurozone’s borrowing costs. While we shall be arguing that Professor Bofinger’s Euro-bundles are ill- conceived, we applaud his idea of a common bond involving, in some capacity, the ECB. This idea points in the direction of a genuine solution to the Eurozone’s fiscal and monetary fragility. Continue reading
His proposal for a Eurobond, as an instrument of fiscally consolidating the Eurozone, was soundly rejected by the German Chancellor. Now, with an ECB paralysed in the face of a major deflationary onslaught, Professor Peter Bofinger comes up with a variant of the rejected Eurobond, which he calls ‘Euro-bundles’, only this time as an instrument that will bolster the ECB’s monetary policy defences against deflation; and one that may offer a modicum of hope that the Eurozone can salvage a degree of integrity after four years of fragmentation. What exactly are Mr Bofinger’s Euro-bundles? In what follows, I sum up his scheme and then pass on the baton to George Krimpas who asks some pertinent questions of Mr Bofinger. My own views on Euro-bundles will appear in a follow-up post shortly Continue reading
For those of us who grew up under totalitarian regimes, it is noteworthy that Europeans are resorting to a time-honoured tradition: telling jokes as a form of defiance. Here is one: “Why did Europeans agree to form the euro?” “Because”, the joke goes, “the French feared the Germans, the Irish wanted to escape Britain, the Greeks were terrified of Turkey, the Finns wanted to prove they were more European than the other Scandinavians, the Spanish wanted to become more like the French, the Italians wanted to become German, the Dutch and the Austrians had all but become German, the Belgians sought to join both Holland and France, and, finally, the Germans feared… the Germans!” Continue reading
Language Log featured a critical post the other day on our Modest Proposal for Resolving the Euro Crisis. It criticised not the substance of our economic proposals but our choice of title. Surprised and incensed that our Modest Proposal lacked the irony (or was it sarcasm?) of Jonathan Swift’s original Modest Proposal, the author accuses us of, at best, ignorance of Swift [" Maybe (some) economists no longer read Swift?"] and, at worst, of “erasing cultural history”. Interestingly, the said blog post generated quite a number of comments, most of which assumed that we were unaware of Jonathan Swift’s playful proposal. A reply was, I thought, in order. This is the one I just posted on that blog, and which I paste below: Continue reading
Roger Strassburg and Jens Berger, of NachDenkSeiten, interviewed me on the Modest Proposal to Resolve the Euro Crisis and the Eurozone Conference that James K. Galbraith and I organised in Austin in November 2013. Part A of the long interview was posted here. Here is Part B of the interview, which (as you will see) focuses more on Greece and the chances of kickstarting the debate that Europe is refusing to have, so far…. Continue reading
En coédition avec l’Institut Veblen.
Confrontée à une crise économique et sociale majeure qui nourrit la montée des nationalismes, la zone euro n’a plus droit à l’erreur. Il faut agir et vite !
Comment ? D’abord en partant du bon diagnostic. Non, le problème majeur n’est pas la dette. Celle-ci n’est que le symptôme d’un mal plus profond : l’architecture défaillante de la zone euro. Face à l’urgence, il faut se montrer réaliste et pragmatique : on ne va pas changer les traités et rouvrir des débats source de division.
Tout l’intérêt de ce petit ouvrage est de formuler une proposition immédiatement applicable pour sortir de la crise, s’inscrivant dans le cadre institutionnel actuel et propre à remettre la zone euro sur la voie de la prospérité.
Roger Strassburg and Jens Berger, of NachDenkSeiten, interviewed me on the Modest Proposal to Resolve the Euro Crisis and the Eurozone Conference that James K. Galbraith and I organised in Austin in November 2013. Here is Part A of the interview (Part B, which is centred upon Greece, will be posted tomorrow). Continue reading
This is a stupendous story. Possibly for the first time in its tainted history, the International Monetary Fund had a major change of heart and tried to do the right thing by a ‘program’ country, only to be turned down by that very same country’s finance minister! Continue reading