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marmar

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Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
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Dean Baker: Will an Incompetent European Central Bank Be Allowed to Wreck the World Economy?


Published on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 by The Guardian/UK
Will an Incompetent European Central Bank Be Allowed to Wreck the World Economy?

by Dean Baker


The world is eagerly waiting to see if the European Central Bank (ECB) will take the steps needed to save the euro. Specifically, is the ECB prepared to act as a central bank and guarantee the sovereign debt of the countries in the eurozone as the lender of last resort ordinarily does in a crisis?

If not, there is little doubt what the outcome will be. The austerity being imposed on country after country will slow GDP growth and throw workers out of jobs. Higher unemployment will worsen deficits, since it means less tax revenue coming in and more unemployment benefits and other transfers being paid out. Higher deficits will cause investors to worry about the solvency of the government, leading interest rates to rise.

This gives us the famous downward spiral that already sank Greece's economy and government. It will soon sink Italy and Spain unless the ECB starts acting like a central bank. The fallout from disorderly defaults from these two countries will cause banks throughout the eurozone to become insolvent, leading to another post Lehman-type freeze-up of the financial system.

The end result will be a second recession and another sharp spike in unemployment, not just in the eurozone, but almost certainly across the globe. The finances and the economies of the eurozone are too intertwined with the rest of the world to envision a meltdown that doesn't also push the rest of the world into recession. At the end of this story, the euro itself is likely to be placed in the dustbin of history, another failed monetary experiment. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/06-2



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