Thursday, August 30, 2012

Currency Devaluation is NOT Necessary

From today's Open Europe news summary (my emphasis in red):

Former Polish Finance Minister: ECB bond-buying worst option for the eurozone
Open Europe yesterday hosted a lunchtime discussion entitled, “What can the eurozone learn from Eastern Europe’s transformation?”, with a keynote speech from Professor Leszek Balcerowicz of the Warsaw School of Economics, formerly Governor of the Polish Central Bank, and also Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister on two separate occasions. Professor Balcerowicz – famous for implementing the Polish structural reform plan following the fall of communism – used the example of some Eastern European countries to show that it is possible to get out of recession through structural reforms, without currency devaluation. He warned against further bailouts, arguing, “If you have a lot of money, then incentives to reform are weaker…Many politicians prefer taking the easy money and putting off painful reforms.” Professor Balcerowicz also said that having the ECB buy large amounts of government bonds would be “even worse” than state-led bailouts, since it would create greater long-term costs. He concluded that, instead of trying to rush the creation of an “unrealistic” political union – which would backfire politically – eurozone leaders should try to put in place the two conditions to make a monetary union function, fiscal discipline and flexible labour markets. The debate was covered by Polish daily Rzeczpospolita, Polish current affairs magazine Wprost and by financial website Puls Biznesu. Open Europe Events Rzeczpospolita Wprost Online Puls Biznesu

Professor Balcerowicz's practical and successful experience with currency reform contrasts with that recommended by Roger Bootle, the winner of the 250 thousand pound sterling Wolfson Prize for how to exit the EMU. Bootle's prescription is pure statism--steal the peoples' money in the middle of the night via secret redenomination and devaluation.

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