Before you leave the office! Do check out George Soros’ just-released essay in the New York Review of Books on the crisis and the euro. Even if you disagree with his argument — which is basically that Germany has been to blame at every time — he does bring original insights to the table regarding recent history.
Why has Germany been to blame? Here’s the core.
Germany now wants to treat the Maastricht Treaty as the scripture that has to be obeyed without any modifications. This is not understandable, because it is in conflict with the incremental method by which the European Union was built. Something has gone fundamentally wrong in Germany’s attitude toward the European Union.
He goes on, citing Germany’s budget cutting, and the inevitable deflationary spiral that will occur when everyone is doing austerity at the same time.
And he notes that European monetary policy is essentially a sprocket wrench that only goes in one direction. Due to German anti-inflation paranoia, the ECB only is prepared to fight inflation. Deflation will never be considered an enemy.
Here’s Soros at his most poetic:
To be sure, Germany cannot be blamed for wanting a strong currency and a balanced budget. But it can be blamed for imposing its predilection on other countries that have different needs and preferences—like Procrustes, who forced other people to lie in his bed and stretched them or cut off their legs to make them fit. The Procrustes bed being inflicted on the eurozone is called deflation.