The European dream – soon to be rubble? November 10, 2011 at 12:01 am

We won't pay

The Guardian says:

Reports that Germany and France have begun talks to break up the eurozone amid fears that Italy will be too big to rescue

If this happens, it will make the aftermath of Lehman look like a day in the park. An utterly preventable disaster is now looking entirely possible. Truly our leaders have let us down.

Update. I strive not to be drawn into hysteria. As the economist says:

I hate to get this pessimistic about the situation. It feels panicky and overwrought. I can’t believe that Europe would allow so damaging an outcome as a financial collapse and break-up to occur… the window within which something could be done to prevent it is closing, and fast. I hope to be proven astoundingly wrong in my assessment, but I’m struggling to see alternative outcomes.

These folks are not known for proclaiming the end of the world on a regular basis. Neither is Brad DeLong, and he says:

I have been complaining for some time now that Reinhart and Rogoff think that the time is always 1931 and that we are always Austria–that the great fiscal crisis is about to erupt and send us [i.e. the US] lurching down toward Great Depression II.

Well, right now guess what? The time is 1931, and we are Austria.

The Federal Reserve needs to buy up every single European bond owned by every single American financial institution for cash before the increase in eurorisk leads American finance to tighten credit again and send us down into the double dip.

The Federal Reserve Needs to do so now.

A little historical perspective may be helpful. One of the first events in the Great Depression, and a major contributor to the loss of confidence, was the failure of Creditanstalt. This was a proto-investment bank, one of the largest in Austria; its collapse was unexpected – just like Lehman. So, um, yes Brad; it does look altogether too much like 1931 for comfort.

Comments are closed.