Tag: European Central Bank

The Road To Economic Serfdom

By Peter Boone and Simon Johnson

According to Friedrich von Hayek, the development of welfare socialism after World War II undermined freedom and would lead western democracies inexorably to some form of state-run serfdom. 

Hayek had the sign and the destination right but was entirely wrong about the mechanism.  Unregulated finance, the ideology of unfettered free markets, and state capture by corporate interests are what ended up undermining democracy both in North America and in Europe.  All industrialized countries are at risk, but it’s the eurozone – with its vulnerable structures – that points most clearly to our potentially unpleasant collective futures.

As a result of the continuing euro crisis, European Central Bank (ECB) now finds itself buying up the debt of all the weaker eurozone governments, making it the – perhaps unwittingly – feudal boss of Europe.  In the coming years, it will be the ECB and the European Union who dictate policy.  The policy elite who run these structures – along with their allies in the private sector – are the new overlords. Continue reading “The Road To Economic Serfdom”

Greece And The Fatal Flaw In An IMF Rescue

By Peter Boone and Simon Johnson.  This is a long post, about 3,500 words.

In 2003 the International Monetary Fund published yet another internal review with an impressively dull title “The IMF and Argentina, 1991-2001”.  But hidden in that text is explosive language and great clarity of thought – in essence, the IMF staff belatedly recognized that their decision to repeatedly bailout Argentina from the mid-1990s through 2002 was wrong:

“The IMF should refrain from entering or maintaining a program relationship with a member country when there is no immediate balance of payments need and there are serious political obstacles to needed policy adjustment or structural reform” (p.7, recommendation 4).

If Mr. Trichet (head of the European Central Bank), Ms. Merkel (German Chancellor), and Mr. Sarkozy (French President) have not reviewed this document yet, they should skim it immediately.  Because one day soon Greece will be calling on the IMF for a loan, and it seems mostly likely that the mistakes made in Argentina will be repeated.  Continue reading “Greece And The Fatal Flaw In An IMF Rescue”