Monday, December 05, 2011

More Eurozone Stoof

To some, the problems are very obvious:
First, and most obviously, Europe already has its own in-house lender of last resort. The European Central Bank can make available all the euros needed to backstop Italy’s debt. And printing them would only offset, through mild inflation, the effects of the otherwise Draconian relative price adjustment that is taking place under the corset of the common currency. 
So it is puzzling that some observers have saluted the IMF’s involvement as a virtuous effort by the international community to bring the listing European ship to port. Why should the IMF (or, for that matter, the international community) do for Europe what Europe can but does not want to do for Italy? Why should international money be mobilized to pay for European governance failures? 
And if, as appears to be the case, Germany is playing a dangerous game of chicken with some of its eurozone partners, why should the cost be shifted to the IMF for the benefit of Europe’s largest and most successful economy? Letting the ECB off the hook in this manner would simply validate for Europe as a whole the same moral hazard feared by German and other leaders who oppose ECB intervention.
My sentiments exactly.

Source:  Project Syndicate

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