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Reply #27: Mosler/Pilkington: Response to Yanis Varoufakis Regarding Our Eurozone Exit Plan [View All]

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-02-11 08:20 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. Mosler/Pilkington: Response to Yanis Varoufakis Regarding Our Eurozone Exit Plan
Edited on Fri Dec-02-11 08:20 AM by Demeter

Recently the Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis responded to the euro exit plan that we published on Naked Capitalism a few days ago. While Varoufakis was broadly supportive of the plan if an exit was absolutely necessary, he criticised some of the details therein... We both agree with Varoufakis that this would probably be a more painful option than simply staying in the currency union even with the current austerity programs in place. In addition to this, both of us have published pieces arguing that the Eurozone will likely weather this crisis and the ECB, in some shape or form, will probably step in to backstop the debt of the peripheral governments in the coming months. We merely published our sketch of an exit plan because both of us believe that it is always good to have a Plan B at the ready should any contingencies arise. We also think that having a viable plan in hand strengthens peripheral governments bargaining power vis--vis their neighbours.

But more on this in a moment. First, let us deal with some of the issues that Varoufakis raised. (All numbered points in are Varoufakis, our response SEE LINK FOR DETAILS):

1. All contracts by the government to the private sector (abroad and domestically) will be renegotiated in the new currency after the initial depreciation of the latter. In other words, domestic suppliers will face a large haircut instantly. Many of them will declare bankruptcy, with another large lump sum loss of jobs.

2. The banks will run dry and will not be kept open by the ECB. Which means that the only way Ireland or Greece or whoever adopts this plan can keep its banks open is if they are recapitalised in the new domestic currency by the Central Bank. But this means that bank account deposits will, de facto, be converted from euros to the new currency; thus annulling the beneficial measure of no compulsory conversions of bank holdings into the new currency.

3. The authors claim that the above ill effects will be lessened by the governments new found monetary independence which will enable it to discontinue austerity programs immediately and adopt counter-cyclical fiscal policy, as Argentina did after its default and discontinuation of the pesos-dollar peg. This may be so but all comparisons with Argentina must be taken with a large pinch of salt. For Argentinas recovery, and associated fiscal policies, was far less due to its renewed independence and much more related to a serendipitous rise in demand for soya beans by China.

4. While it is true that the weaker currency will boost exports, it will also have a devastating effect: The creation of a two tier nation. One nation that has access to hoarded euros and another that does not. The former will acquire immense socio-economic power over the latter, thus forging a new form of inequality that is bound to operate as a break on development for a long while just like the inequality that sprang up in the post 1970s period did enormous damage to our countries real development (as opposed to GDP growth numbers) in the second post-war phase.

5. Last, but certainly not least, even if one country exits the eurozone in this manner, the eurozone will unwind within 24 hours. The European System of Central Banks will break instantly down, Italian spreads will hit Greek levels, France will turn instantly into a AA or AB rated country and, before we can whistle the 9th Symphony, Germany will have declared the re-constitution of the DM. A massive recession will then hit the countries that will make up the new DM zone (Austria, the Netherlands. possibly Finland, Poland and Slovakia) while the rest of the former eurozone will labour under significant stagflation. The new intra-European currency wars will suppress, in unison with the ongoing recession/stagflation, international and European trade and, therefore, the US will dive into a new Great Recession. The postmodern 1930s that I keep speaking of will be a tragic reality.

Lastly, we should note that, should a nation exit the Eurozone in the manner we have outlined, a worldwide deflationary collapse might actually work to their advantage. Why? Because with their new currency they could undertake an Argentinean-style jobs guarantee program which would maintain full employment domestically while real terms of trade shifted dramatically in their favour as worldwide prices fell. Or, to put it another way: peripheral countries like Ireland would no longer have to rely on export-oriented growth in a world plagued by massive deflationary contraction. Instead they could run fiscal deficits to maintain full employment and high living standards while having little concern for the potential devaluation of the new currency caused thereby because worldwide prices would be falling at the same time.
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