22 thoughts on “Why The Euro Is Doomed

  1. MPM

    Nope, the stupid idea is to mess with the money supply. Imagine the whole world were on the gold standard. Would that be stupid?

    1. Der Schtumpy

      No, that would be a great idea. But the Euro would still suck!

      Especially if the Eurozone voters decide that the answer to no money, no jobs and crushing debt, is to become a Socialist Continent! No wonder Putin looked so happy this week. All his Totalitarian / KGB dreams are coming true.

      He’s walking around with bolshoi chubsky 24 x 7 at the very thought of a Socialist Europe! I mean more or totally socialist than it already was. After all, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from willing socialist Europe, to forced & subjugated communist Europe.

      1. MPM

        Before the euro we had a large number of small fiefdoms messing with their money supplies thus hindering inter-state commerce. I don’t like what the ECB is doing, but it’s no worse than what the Fed is doing, and I think better than what came before.

    2. Thomas Matula

      MPM

      Actually I published a paper on that topic in February at the American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences. It was voted the Best Paper in Economics at the conference.

      http://asbbs.org/files/ASBBS2012V1/PDF/M/MitryD.pdf

      Yes, restoring the dollar to the gold standard would be a good thing and would go a long way towards solving many of the nation’s economic problems, but only Ron Paul is proposing it.

      1. ken anthony

        The fed can’t just print money. As this article points out…

        The only limiting factor is that the Federal Reserve System only creates new money when purchasing assets, normally debt securities.

        The issue isn’t so much the creation of money or what it’s backed by but the centralized control of it. Markets should set rates, not the fed.

        Quantitative easing is a whole ‘nuther story.

        I’m alarmed that a private citizen can have millions of dollars of silver coins stolen from them. Coins of precious metals should be in common use as should silver certificates (or just accounts and plastic) issued by private banks. No bank should be too big to fail.

        Cronyism is a lot smaller problem when it’s distributed among thousands of banks. Combining banks until they are too big to fail creates a systemic problem that could and many think will lead to disaster.

        Competition benefits everybody. We should fight hard against the centralized control and anti-competition of our government.

        1. Thomas Matula

          Ken,

          In theory yes, but in practice since the big banks are only too happy to borrow from the Fed at low rates the Fed is able to increase the money supply at will.

          Yes, markets should as was the case prior to the Federal Reserve Act. The role of the treasury should be to simply make sure coins issued by private banks assay to level of precious metal claimed unless the banks are willing to agree to an independent entity for doing the assessment. The Gemological Institute grading and certification of gemstones would be a good model in that regard.

          But unfortunately, other then Ron Paul no one is discussing the idea of returning to a precious metal standard.

        2. Thomas Matula

          Ken,

          That is an interesting case. It will be interesting to see how it develops in the courts and if the issue of what legal tender is becomes the focus on it. But under the Federal Reserve Act the government did take away the rights of individual entities to coin money.

          And quite honestly this is one of my beefs with the Tea Party namely that their public focus is on spending and taxes, not the underlying problems of having an unanchored currency. That and the fact that most of the their candidates seem to be opportunists who are more focused on social issues that reduce individual rights (voter ID, marriage laws, worker rights, etc.) or passing laws like Tennessee recently did involving evolution then addressing the key fiscal issues of the economy.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/tennessee-evolution-bill-haslam_n_1416015.html

          Just as the JBS hurt the Conservative movement in the 1960′s with its focus on fringe issues (claiming all their opponents were communists and water fluoridation…) so is the Tea Party damaging a return to a more libertarian American by its extremism. That is why I laugh when folks here paint my opposition to them as meaning I am a left wing liberal. But then that is what the JBS did to their opponents in the 1960′s enabling Lyndon Johnson to win in 1964.

          1. ken anthony

            Part of losing focus is having others misrepresent you which they are very happy to do. You know, rather than engaging in useful discussion.

            I really don’t understand how a government can prevent somebody from trading commodities that only a moron would confuse with govt. legal tender (which is made from the cheapest metal they can get away with.)

            I don’t understand why more Americans aren’t outraged. Don’t they understand it’s a personal attack on every American?

          2. Thomas Matula

            Ken,

            The vast majority of Americans are basically apolitical. Just look at election turnout. And many of those who do vote simply are simply robovoters, voting the party line for whatever party they traditionally voted for.

          3. ken anthony

            Sadly I must agree. This is why giving woman and children the vote was a bad idea. People need to feel the weight of the decision. Not feel good about choosing the popular guy of the day.

            This is not to say that all woman and young voters make bad choices. But election results are what they are. Now that men have been metrofied, they don’t feel the burden either.

            When those with the weight of responsibility are bashed until they give up… whose left?

  2. Al

    A crazy idea I ponder every once in awhile is involves how credit cards foreign transactions work.

    They basically go to the markets and find the best (for some meaning of ‘best’) exchange rate they can find and use it.

    What’s stopping a credit card (and then a debit card) that “just” denominates in Kruggerands? (Or whatever?)

    That is: -every- transaction is treated as a foreign transaction. In Gold.

    Deposits in dollars happen the same way deposits to foreign-currency-based cards work, etc.

    This would seem to have a lot of the benefits of hedging against inflation without burying anything in the backyard.

    1. ken anthony

      We could be on the gold standard tomorrow if banks just recorded deposits in gold. It doesn’t matter if they hold gold or not. It’s there job to manage their own risk. Determining the daily value of gold would then be simple… are people depositing or withdrawing?

      All money is debt. We lose sight of that fact because people trade the paper.

  3. Godzilla

    Yet another FUD article from the Daily Torygraph. Perhaps we should all go back to bartering. Who cares about having a common unit of currency?

    The article is like: here is a chart that measures 100 factors (which?) that enables measuring the “dispersion” factor (whatever that is, if it is relevant at all to the success of a currency). Heck, the Roman Empire was more diverse and “disperse” and lasted 1000 years with the same currency unit. The Chinese empire for a long time had a common written language without most people actually speaking the same language at all. Today they standardized on Mandarin, but there are much wider economic gaps between different regions in China than in the EU.

    Most people in the EU have a similar culture with a lot of shared values. The economies have converged. The current crisis was due opening up the markets too soon, too quickly (which destroyed many industries and jobs), compounded by poor governmental policies which fueled the construction bubble (e.g. specific rebates on collected tax for individuals paying a house loan).

    Opening the markets inside the EU was manageable, but allowing global competition without tariffs with countries which treat their citizens poorly like China (basically crushed electronics and most of the consumer products industries) while imposing tariffs on countries like Brazil (which compete with ex-French colonies with lousy living conditions) is sheer biased idiocy typical of the current EU leadership.

  4. Edward M. Grant

    “Most people in the EU have a similar culture with a lot of shared values.”

    Yeah, that’s why they’ve been fighting each other for centuries.

    Perhaps one of the greatest triumphs of the EU has been to demonstrate how little the people of Europe have in common with each other in contrast with the utopian ideals of its founders. Superficially, sure, they’re basically white Christian nations, but beyond that there is very little common between a Greek, a German and a Briton. Most of them can’t even communicate with each other because there’s no common language unless they all happen to speak English.

    The EU has been held together by the rich nations throwing money at the poor, and the rich are running out of money. The moment the Germans say ‘enough!’ the Euro is gone and the EU itself may not last much longer; trying to push so many incompatible people into one super-state never made any sense and only the forward momentum has kept it going. If it begins to go backward then more and more people will begin to ask why they’re in the EU and what benefits it brings them.

    1. ken anthony

      As a kid I went all around Athens for about three months learning only about a half dozen words because I didn’t really need any. I could even read the destinations on the buses because I knew the alphabet from our use of it in math. I also thought it odd they didn’t have 26 letters in our order until I realized it would be odd if they did. Hey, I was a kid.

    2. Edward M. Grant

      Plenty of people in the EU do know English to at least a moderate level, but plenty don’t.

      Sure, if you go to a tourist area you’ll find that most people speak some English because they have to, but when you get away from there most have no reason to do so. Just as I studied French in school but would struggle to say much more than ‘Hello’ these days.

      Pick two EU citizens at random and there’s a good chance they won’t be able to communicate at all; even if they do both speak English, unless they’re in a job where they deal with English speakers on a regular basis they probably won’t be able to communicate beyond the most basic level. They certainly won’t be having complex discussions about the benefits of English common law over the Napoleonic code, or the other major philosophical differences between EU nations.

      If the EU was serious about integration they’d stop messing around with fake currencies and make everyone speak the same language. Imagine how well America would have fared if almost every state spoke a different language to their neighbours.

      1. Ed Minchau

        If the EU was serious about integration they’d stop messing around with fake currencies and make everyone speak the same language.

        How about German? (savor the irony…)

        1. Edward M. Grant

          If it was to happen, I’m pretty sure it would be German, because the Germans wouldn’t accept anything else and the British government would happily go along regardless of what the British people wanted. The problem is that no-one else would; even Hitler couldn’t make the French speak German as their first language.

          Which is another example of why the EU is doomed; the Greeks would give up some sovereignty in return for billions of Euros from the Germans every year, but they aren’t dedicated enough to give up their language and they don’t want to give up their culture. The only thing holding it together is that ‘free money’.

      2. MPM

        I think it depends strongly on the region and on the age of the people involved. In Eastern Europe many people still speak Russian and in Poland most people will speak a bit of German.

        In addition most people will speak at least a little English and everybody with a college education can participate in discussion in English. At conferences English tends to be the language of choice. The French, bless them, tend to speak it badly and with a strong accent, but they do speak it.

        And for migrant workers picking up a little bit of a related language (Slavic, Germanic and Romance being the main language families) isn’t too difficult. That’s why Portugal was apparently a popular destination for Romanian migrant workers.

        In small countries like Holland the education system by necessity gives a lot of attention to foreign languages and economic reasons lead broadcasters to buy lots of English and somewhat fewer German language television series.

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