Thursday, 29 January 2015

Currency Union CAN work without Fiscal Union

Academics, assorted Analysts and Media Commentators regurgitate ad nauseam that Currency Union without Fiscal Union cannot work. Sorry but repeating this does not make it a truth. Admittedly a Fiscal Union would make things easier but the Euro-zone could function quite well without establishing a (technocratic) Super-Government far removed from any democratic control.
The Gold Standard - and the post-Bretton Wood system of fixed exchange rates - worked quite well without Fiscal Union. All it took was discipline on the part of the participating governments. This is what is missing - in most aspects of policy making - these days. The Currency Union is doomed if the member states do not adjust their internal economic and fiscal policies and disregard market signals.
Excessive speculation - magnified by leverage and uncontrolled capital flows - pose a risk as they turbo-charge price signals (falling sovereign bond prices in particular). This is akin to some panicky bodies in a small rowing boat. But decisive changes to policy measures should be able bring markets under control - fiscal adjustment, penal interest rates should quickly give the markets the right signal.
Do not blame lack of Fiscal Union for the problems of the Euro-zone. These have been left to accumulate in a reckless fashion over many years if not decades. Introducing Fiscal Union may douse the smoldering fire - for a while. But if there is no proper fundamental adjustment - remember the Mezzogiorno - patience in some member states that are paying high transfers will run out. In addition even bigger waves of speculation will set in when Fiscal Union looks frayed, funds will pour into the stronger member states until the pressure point is reached and the Currency Union can no longer be maintained. George Soros would relish this Mega-Tsunami if he would still be around at that time.

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