English Essays

When French Folly and German Naiveté unite against Greek debt: Another sorry episode of how not to deal with a systemic crisis

While crises are the laboratory of the future, the euro crisis is proving more like the alchemist’s lair. Back in November, the brilliant idea was touted, with considerable fanfare, of having the EFSF buy (at a discount) Greek and Irish bonds in the secondary market (in order to effect a non-default haircut). Despite the excitement […]

English Essays

The Penny Is Dropping: Mervyn King, Daniel Gros, Jim O'Neill, and the increasing relevance of the Modest Proposal

This blog has been risking its readers’ sanity by repeating ad nauseam, and in a myriad different guises, the claim that the euro crisis is, at root, a chain of bank insolvencies causally attached to another (derivative) chain of member-state insolvencies. And that, as such, all attempts to deal with the resulting Crisis by rivers […]

English Essays

Beyond the Crisis: Markets, planning and a utopian vision (inspired by the American National Football League)

The Crisis, especially in Europe (not to mention Greece), is all consuming. Every day our minds are highjacked by its latest twist. Today, here in Athens, a general strike has temporarily suspended the news’ cycle and given me a few moments to reflect. I thought that today’s post, reflecting this… reflective moment, should transcend that […]

English Essays

Open letter to the Greek Prime Minister

Dear George, A few days after the 2009 election that brought you to power, you told your cabinet in a televised meeting: "We are anti-authoritarians in authority". Most of your cabinet, men and women who had been craving authority for years, looked at you incredulously, while your detractors mocked you. You seemed rather lonesome at [...]
English Essays

Greece, Europe and the Global Economy: A debate with readers

My last post (in which I suggested that Greece will never be pushed out of the euro) generated a spirited debate with readers and friends who chipped in their views on this and related matters. Rather than allowing these exchanges to stay within the margins of the previous post’s Comments section, I reproduce them here […]

English Essays

Privatisation Without Representation: European democracy's last gasp

Once upon a time, the crying call for parliamentary democracy was: No taxation without representation. Centuries passed and the democratic right to representation in all debates prior to taxation decisions was won. Then came the idea that Europe’ peoples should join together, forming a European Union in order to demonstrate to the rest of the […]

English Essays

Eurozone countries are like a group of climbers roped together: Remember where you read this allegory first?

The Financial Times today reports on something John Wraith, fixed income strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch, said regarding the manner in which contagion is spreading within the eurozone economies. “It is like a group of climbers roped together. As Greece slips, it pulls down other countries such as Spain and Italy.” Precisely. But readers of […]