Economist’s Haiku for Europe

Another good link from Prof. Cochrane.

Sir:

Leaving the euro zone is no option for Greece (“Fiddling while Athens burns”, May 19th). The new drachma would be valueless, as there would be no demand for it. A country that finds it difficult to run its fiscal affairs cannot manage a national currency. The restored drachma would stay in circulation only if the Greeks were denied access to foreign exchange, preventing the informal use of the euro. That would require draconian exchange controls of the type put in place by Germany after the first world war, which ensured the circulation of the depreciating mark during a period of hyperinflation.

What can Europe do for Greece? It can provide it with a stable monetary unit: the euro. What can Europe not do for Greece? Well, it cannot give it a sound fiscal system. The Greeks have to achieve that themselves if they wish to remain a sovereign country.

Ernst Juerg Weber
Associate professor of economics
University of Western Australia
Perth