Saturday, December 19, 2015

Krugman on the contiuing euro crisis

"The crisis in the euro area — as opposed to the broader global financial crisis — began in late 2009," writes Paul Krugman. "It’s still far from over," although some of the hardest-hit countries' economies are now growing again. (Adjustment in the Euro Area 12/14/2015)

He notes that "Finland — which is suffering from an idiosyncratic shock to its export industries rather than a sudden stop in capital inflows — is doing as badly as much of southern Europe. This is a reminder that the euro system creates huge problems for adjustment everywhere, that this isn’t a one-time problem."

But how would we expect countries to respond to adverse shocks? Contrary to what many people seem to believe, Keynesian-type analysis doesn’t say that countries can never recover without devaluation and/or fiscal stimulus; on the contrary, as I pointed out more than three years ago, it predicts a gradual recovery through internal devaluation — that is, a depressed economy will cause low or negative inflation, gradually improving competitiveness against other members of the currency union, and rising net exports should drive growth as long as they’re not offset by ever-tighter austerity.
And something like that now appears to be happening for Spain, on which Krugman focuses.

He concludes: "What is true is that the single currency isn’t totally unworkable. It’s just extremely costly."

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