Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lagarde vs. Lagarde

Chrissie, you got some 'splainin' to do!

 The head of the International Monetary Fund warned that in addition to cutting yawning budget deficits Europe needs to do more to promote growth and stop the crisis from spreading to the world economy. "It is about avoiding a 1930s moment, in which inaction, insularity, and rigid ideology combine to cause a collapse in global demand," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said before the German Council on Foreign Relations. "A moment, ultimately, leading to a downward spiral that could engulf the entire world," she said. 

 People, one of the most effective remedies for the "1930s problem" was for countries to exit the gold standard and devalue their currencies (you are allowed to agree with this even if you favor a gold standard by simply believing that they'd chosen the wrong parities). The situation in Europe is eerily similar. The PIIGS need to exit the Euro-zone and devalue their currencies! As far as I can see, the IMF is dead set AGAINST this proven remedy to "1930s problems"

 Instead, the IMF is actually a big part of the forced austerity movement! The IMF is part of the group threatening further payouts to Greece unless they do what? INCREASE AUSTERITY!!

The IMF is making Greek negotiations with private creditors much harder by refusing to take any haircuts on their own loans to Greece (the IMF's insistence on being paid in full makes the required private haircut to hit the IMF's 120% debt in 2020 target even harder).

 In other words, as is usually the case in a financial crisis, THE IMF IS PART OF THE PROBLEM.

The only viable alternative to self defeating austerity is exit and devaluation. I believe that IMF economists know this, but the leaders of the organization are more concerned about French and German banks than they are about economic performance and living standards in Greece and Portugal, so we get these ridiculous & hypocritical lectures.



Anonymous said...

It seems to me that default is a viable option. But, I suppose you could call that a form of devaluation.

Angus said...

In my opinion, default without devaluation doesn't help the PIIGS so much because they would remain uncompetitive with too high labor costs / low productivity and growth challenged.