ECB under pressure to abandon superior policy stance

Balls of euro banknotes

The European Central Bank is under pressure. Inflation in the eurozone is at 0.7 percent but as Ben Bernanke supposedly stated, we are never sure if we measure these things correctly. So by all we know, the eurozone may already be in mild deflation. This should come as no surprise. The eurozone has practically had zero money growth and zero growth in lending for some time. As reported today, growth in the M3 money aggregate fell to a snail’s pace of 0.8 percent year-over-year in April. Loans to the private sector are 1.8 … [Read more...]

It’s official: Global economic policy now firmly in the hands of money cranks

BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda

The lesson from the events of 2007-2008 should have been clear: Boosting GDP with loose money – as the Greenspan Fed did repeatedly between 1987 and 2005 and most damagingly between 2001 and 2005 when in order to shorten a minor recession it inflated a massive housing bubble – can only lead to short term booms followed by severe busts. A policy of artificially cheapened credit cannot but cause mispricing of risk, misallocation of capital and a deeply dislocated financial infrastructure, all of which will ultimately conspire … [Read more...]

What is wrong about the euro, and what is not

Photo of Angela Merkel

Every Monday morning the readers of the UK’s Daily Telegraph are treated to a sermon on the benefits of Keynesian stimulus economics, the dangers of belt-tightening and the unnecessary cruelty of ‘austerity’ imposed on Europe by the evil Hun. To this effect, the newspaper gives a whole page in its ‘Business’ section to Roger Bootle and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who explain that growth comes from government deficits and from the central bank printing money, and why can’t those stupid Europeans get it? The reader is left with … [Read more...]

We are on the road to serfdom

Road

We are now five years into the Great Fiat Money Endgame and our freedom is increasingly under attack from the state, liberty’s eternal enemy. It is true that by any realistic measure most states today are heading for bankruptcy. But it would be wrong to assume that ‘austerity’ policies must now lead to a diminishing of government influence and a shrinking of state power. The opposite is true: The state asserts itself more forcefully in the economy, and the political class feels licensed by the crisis to abandon whatever … [Read more...]

The triumph of politics

Richard Nixon

On August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon declared that the United States would no longer honour its promise to exchange US dollars held by foreign central banks for gold at a fixed price of $35 an ounce. The innocuous term 'Nixon closed the gold window' that is now widely used to describe this act does not quite convey its significance. (Was something to be stopped from going out or from coming in through the window? Can the window be reopened again?) What Nixon did was cut the last remaining official link between the … [Read more...]

Germany’s economy is only king in the blind valley of the Eurozone

Photo of Angela Merkel

On Tuesday, July 3, London business paper City A.M. ran an editorial I wrote on Germany. The text is below. In the present debate on the Euro crisis, Germany is frequently portrayed as a model of economic strength, a beacon of fiscal prudence and a proponent of structural reform. Her resources seem endless and her government debt an indisputable 'safe-haven'. If only Germany shared her strength and resources more generously, the Euro debt crisis could be solved. But this is an optical illusion. Sooner or later, markets will … [Read more...]

Europe’s voters say ‘No’ to economic reality

Balls of euro banknotes

"Europe fights back against austerity" was how The Daily Telegraph headlined its weekend election coverage. "Anti-austerity movements are gathering pace across Europe following political earthquakes in France and Greece. A total of 12 European governments have now been dismissed in three years." As the European welfare state is officially in its death-throes none of us should be surprised if political strife gets cranked up to eleven. I firmly expect that we will see much more of this in the future. While I can understand … [Read more...]

Deceits and delusions – Some thoughts on the euro-crisis and democracy

Eurotower In Frankfurt

Anybody with any knowledge of economics should feel uneasy at the sight of a country where half of recorded economic activity is conducted by the state. Are such semi-socialist societies operable, and if so, for how long? That complete socialism is impossible and that any attempt to establish it must fail, we know for sure since Ludwig von Mises explained it in detail in 1922 with his masterly Die Gemeinwirtschaft (Socialism). The only reasons that the Soviet Union did not collapse earlier but managed to drag out its … [Read more...]

Unstoppable: Why this crisis will keep unfolding

Balls of euro banknotes

When the tectonic plates underneath society shift, confusion reigns, together with wishful thinking. It appears that financial markets have again managed to get themselves into a state of unrealistic expectation. The European summit this coming Sunday (or the follow-up summit on Wednesday) is now supposed to bring a "comprehensive plan" to solve the European debt crisis. Of course, nothing of the sort will happen, and for a simple reason: it is impossible. Those who cherish such fanciful hopes are naïve and will be … [Read more...]

Götterdämmerung – Germany is finished.

thunderstorm

 What disturbing and nauseating image greeted us this morning from the covers of the morning papers: a smiling and moved Angela Merkel surrounded by a bunch of suited, self-satisfied, sycophantically grinning parliamentarians happily signing their country's economic future away, burdening their fellow countrymen and women with financial obligations the grotesque size of which have long ago surpassed the average German's grasp of large numbers - all in the name of Germany's "responsibility for Europe", and for personal … [Read more...]