May 27, 2012
“Just when we think the worst is over – and let’s face it we have been in this crisis for five years – we get the second half; are the Europeans about to start the second half our Great Depression with massive bank runs” are the Jaws-music-inspired words that recent media-favorite (yes, us too) Niall Ferguson uses in an interview with CBC. His main concern is that this kind of (bank-run) event can quickly spiral out of the control of even the ECB as he uncomfortably conjures the image of the initial US stabilization that occurred in 1930 to May 1931 only to be knocked back into a greater depression by the failure of Credit-Anstalt, which set off bank failures and eventually defaults in 1932 on many government debts. The deposit run potential is the single-biggest reason to care about Greek-exit – in itself it is not large enough economically to interfere with global growth but it is the message and contagion that it sends that is critical in bringing forth a pan-European banking crisis and implicitly spilling over to the US and Asia via global trade and banking transmission channels. An excellent brief interview that summarizes the exact fears that face Europe and implicitly the US, explains the rather simple solution of fiscal federalism and the fact that today’s German politik is very different from 1989’s Helmut Kohl-era with regard to their commitment to the Federal outcome. His conclusions are worrisome. Germany is the key – and there is not a good understanding of financial markets in Berlin.
Six minutes well-spent on a Saturday evening…
Europe is a part of North America’s destiny because the financial systems are so intertwined – and remember even the all-knowing Fed massively under-estimated the second-order effects of Lehman.
“It’s a total fantasy to think that the meltdown that I am discussing that could happen in a matter of weeks would not have a major impact on North America’s prospects of sustained recovery.”
This article was posted: Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 5:01 am