Creator of Unrests Watch: ECB

Via Paul Krugman:

The first thing to say is that overall eurozone numbers look very much like US numbers: a blip in headline inflation due to commodity prices, but low core inflation, and no sign of a wage-price spiral. So the same arguments for continuing easy money at the Fed apply to the ECB. And the ECB is not making sense: it’s raising rates even as its official acknowledge that the rise in headline inflation is likely to be temporary.

During the eurobubble years, there were huge capital flows to peripheral economies, leading to a sharp rise in their costs relative to Germany. Now the bubble has burst, and one way or another those relative costs need to be brought back in line. But should that take place via German inflation or Spanish deflation?

From a pan-European view, the answer is surely some of both — and given that deflation is always and everywhere very costly, the bulk of the adjustment should in fact take the form of rising wages in Germany rather than falling wages in Spain.

But what the ECB is in effect signaling is that no inflation in Germany will be tolerated, placing all of the burden of adjustment on deflation in the periphery. From the beginning, euroskeptics worried about one-size-fits-all monetary policy; but what we’re getting is worse: one-size-fits-one, Germany first and only.

That’s a recipe for a prolonged, painful slump in the periphery; large defaults, almost surely; a great deal of bitterness; and a significantly increased probability of a euro crackup.

Aside from that, it’s prudent, reasonable policy.

Aside from that, it is ironic that the economic punishment on Germany post-WWI was the main reason for Nazi’s taking power and WWII. Now Germany is imposing economic punishment on Europe periphery. I don’t think Germany and ECB have learned their lesson still.

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