Friday, 6 January 2012


The europhobes are out gunning for the Euro.  They keep repeating the Mantra that a single interest rate cannot work across more than one country - and that is why the Euro Zone economies are in trouble. Scrap the euro, allow the currencies to devalue and hey presto, problem solved.

Like all much economics, this view is both political and prejudiced. Economics used to be called political economy such was the obvious link between political views and what economic outcomes might be sought and therefore how to achieve them.

I question whether the Euro zone has a single interest rate.  Conservative MP John Redwood was this morning without irony pointing out that Government bond rates in several Euro zone countries were much higher than their neighbours.  

"Hungary, a candidate to become a member of the Euro saw her bond rates forced up to almost 10% and is now seeking help from the IMF. Italian state 10 year borrowing rates went above the magic 7% again, whilst Spanish 10 year rates also rose to 5.63%." So much for a single interest rate.

Of course UK interest rates are officially 0.5%   - do you believe that if you have a mortgage or a credit card or take a loan at 2000% pa as advertised on TV ?     

Even if the europhobes were right and a single currency/interest rate is better/worse for some areas, this applies as much within countries as between them.

Would Wales be better off with it's own currency ? the Isle of Wight ?  Liverpool ?

How quickly people forget that devaluing currencies did not often solve economic problems - more often it switched them or made them worse. Rarely is it mentioned that the Euro was partly popular because of the actions of currency speculators who could pick on individual countries on the currency markets in turn with impunity and cause them huge economic problems.

It seems to me that the Europhobes look back with rose tinted spectacles to a time that is long gone. The root cause of the problems in the Euro seem to me to be that Government borrowed and spent to much and that people in financial markets created 'mirage' profits and paid themselves vast sums or doing so.

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