On the eve of the Greek election, Dani Rodrik draws out a nightmare scenario for the Eurozone (and the world), over at Project Syndicate:
Consider the following scenario. After a victory by the left-wing Syriza party, Greece’s new government announces that it wants to renegotiate the terms of its agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. German Chancellor Angela Merkel sticks to her guns and says that Greece must abide by the existing conditions.
Fearing that a financial collapse is imminent, Greek depositors rush for the exit. This time, the European Central Bank refuses to come to the rescue and Greek banks are starved of cash. The Greek government institutes capital controls and is ultimately forced to issue drachmas in order to supply domestic liquidity.
CommentsWith Greece out of the eurozone, all eyes turn to Spain. Germany and others are at first adamant that they will do whatever it takes to prevent a similar bank run there. The Spanish government announces additional fiscal cuts and structural reforms. Bolstered by funds from the European Stability Mechanism, Spain remains financially afloat for several months.
But the Spanish economy continues to deteriorate and unemployment heads towards 30%.
And George Soros on a chance to save it:
[T]he authorities have a three-month window during which they could still correct their mistakes and reverse current trends. That would require some extraordinary policy measures to return conditions closer to normal, and they must conform to existing treaties, which could then be revised in a calmer atmosphere to prevent recurrence of imbalances.
CommentsIt is difficult, but not impossible, to identify some extraordinary measures that would meet these tough requirements. They would have to tackle the banking and the sovereign-debt problems simultaneously, without neglecting to reduce divergences in competitiveness.
CommentsThe eurozone needs a banking union: a European deposit-insurance scheme in order to stem capital flight, a European source for financing bank recapitalization, and eurozone-wide supervision and regulation. The heavily indebted countries need relief on their financing costs. There are various ways to provide it, but they all require Germany’s active support.