Portugal’s election on 4 October was inconclusive, without any party winning an absolute majority of the votes. The President of the country, a former Prime Minister, allowed his own party, led by incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho to form a new minority government as has been done in the past. However, the way he has gone about doing so has created a controversy, which has made Portugal the new focal point of the still virulent European sovereign debt crisis. While I don’t think this is a coup by any stretch, as some are saying, I do think Portugal has a tough road ahead regarding debt sustainability.
Tag: government debt
This post was originally written for Credit Writedowns Pro on 12 Jun before Greece defaulted on loans to the IMF. The situation in Greece is not about Greece at all. It is about enforcing an economic framework onto all Eurozone countries. And because the policy goal is primarily about enforcing this economic framework everywhere in the eurozone, there is less policy space available […]
The rumour making the rounds today is that these two paragraphs in a recent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard piece in the Telegraph are what were the final straw for Syriza that cost Yanis Varoufakis his job. I don’t know whether there is any basis to these rumours. However, I do know that Syriza want Greece to remain in the eurozone and that recent decisions by the ECB make it difficult for Greece. So the questions of government IOUs have to asked.
At this point, default within the eurozone is the best case scenario for Greece. Grexit is still a distinct possibility. All potential best case scenarios are out the window. Below is my assessment on how we got here.
I know I keep saying that economics is not a morality play. But when it comes to Greece, I can find no other satisfactory explanation for what is going on. I’ve reminded everyone before about Irving Fisher’s famous observation: “The more the debtors pay, the more they owe”. In 2012, Michael Hudson developed this idea further. “Debts that can’t be paid, won’t be”, he said.
By Marc Chandler Through the venomous comments and erosion of trust, the broad framework of what couple prove to be a workable compromise over Greece’s financial crisis may be emerging. This is not to suggest that the eurozone finance ministers meeting will reach any important decision. Indeed, the Greek Prime Minister has already reduced his finance minister’s role in the […]
Introducing a currency in parallel to the euro could help Greece repay its external debt and resume economic activity. This second column in a two-part series evaluates the different options and their effects on aggregate demand and fiscal sustainability. The authors propose a tax credit certificates programme, which they argue could generate new spending capacity and avoid the adoption of new austerity measures.
To prevent it from defaulting on its debt, the Greek government might need to introduce a new domestic currency, in parallel to the euro. This column, the first in a two-part series, compares the current proposals for a parallel currency and discusses how such a policy instrument could promote economic recovery.
There is a legal concept called “odious debts.” It can be traced back more than a century. The US helped create a precedent for it by denying Cuba’s responsibility for the debt incurred under Spanish colonial rule. The concept took on added significance in the post-colonial era more broadly. The issue here is the continuity of legal obligations from one regime to another especially as it pertains to the debt acquired.
The euro crisis is a crisis of Europe, not of European countries. It is not a conflict between Germany and Spain (and I use these two countries to represent every European country on one side or the other of the boom) about who should be deemed irresponsible, and so should absorb the enormous costs of nearly a decade of mismanagement. There was plenty of irresponsible behavior in every country, and it is absurd to think that if German and Spanish banks were pouring nearly unlimited amounts of money into countries at extremely low or even negative real interest rates, especially once these initial inflows had set off stock market and real estate booms, that there was any chance that these countries would not respond in the way every country in history, including Germany in the 1870s and in the 1920s, had responded under similar conditions.
This is an abbreviated version of a post first published at Credit Writedowns Pro on 15 Oct. The Germans got into the eurozone out of a desire to increase European integration and to strengthen Europe as an economic area that rivalled the United States. Yet, now we are in a period where the Germans are being blamed for everything that’s […]
By Michael Pettis It might seem almost churlish to wonder what would happen if Spain were to leave the euro. The official European position is that the battle of the euro has been pretty much won, and anyone who argues otherwise will be accused of being a euro hater, an Anglo-Saxon or, even worse, a writer for theFinancial Times. But […]