Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Euro Problem is German Paranoia

There are several reasons the Euro is troubled.
  • Greece should never have joined in the first place because they would never have the discipline to play by Euro rules. Same with Italy.
  • "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link" and Greece's link was made of cracked pewter.
  • Bankers are corrupt animals who saw a single currency as an opportunity to defraud several countries simultaneously. 
  • Nothing good came out of an economic idea forged during the heady days of the stock market bubble.
But the biggest reason is that Germany is so terrified of inflation they would rather see an entire continent wallow in hyper-unemployment than concede a millimeter on strict austerity.

German Hyperinflation
In the United States we think of the Great Depression as the worst an economy can get. In Germany they look a decade earlier, to the years after the end of World War I.

During a short, three year span the value of a German Mark fell by ten trillion percent*. It is an inconceivable rate of inflation. The chart I'm showing uses a logarithmic scale because a simple 1:1 graph would be several miles high.

Enough money to buy a large business in 1920 would have been insufficient to buy a loaf of bread by November, 1923. A postage stamp that cost four Marks in 1920 cost fifty billion Marks in 1923. Stores changed their prices hourly because the value of the Mark was dropping so quickly.

The Great Depression (aka Hitler's Good Years) was a bed of roses compared to the inflation years. To Germans, unemployment can be solved with a little productive fascism but inflation in the unholy terror. So it is that Germany continues to insist on draconian austerity when the simpler solution of a little additional government debt is the rational alternative.

*It may be a hundred trillion percent, the fact is this number is so astronomical I can't be sure.

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