What If I Am Wrong About Europe?

Courtesy of Mish.

I have long stated the eurozone will breakup. Historically speaking, no currency union has ever survived in the absence of a political union.

Moreover, in It’s Just Impossible I noted

  1. The Bundesbank said there should be no banking union until there is a fiscal union.
  2. Angela Merkel said that there should be no fiscal union until there is political union.
  3. François Hollande said that there should be no political union until there is a banking union.
  4. The German supreme court will not allow a political union nor a fiscal union, nor a banking union without a German referendum.

Mathematically Speaking

Mathematically speaking, I also fail to see how the eurozone can stay intact.

Specifically, please consider point number nine of Michael Pettis: Long-Term Outlook for China, Europe, and the World; 12 Global Predictions

9. Disruptive European Politics

European politics will become much more difficult and disruptive. The historical precedents are clear. During a debt crisis the political system becomes fragmented and contentious. If the major parties don’t become radicalized, smaller radical parties will take away their votes.

Remember that the process of adjustment is a political one. We all know someone has to pay for the massive adjustment countries like Spain must make. The only interesting question is about who will be forced to take the brunt of the payment – workers in the form of unemployment, the middle classes in the form of confiscated savings, small businesses in the form of taxes, large businesses in the form of taxes and nationalization, foreigners, or creditors.

Deciding who pays is a political process, and because the stakes are so high it will be a very bitter process. This means, among other things, that politics will degenerate quickly, and of course if Europe doesn’t arrive at fiscal union in the next year or two, it probably never will. This conclusion is also the reason for my next prediction.

That prediction was made by Michael Pettis, and I am in complete agreement.

But what if I am wrong?

Can Politics Triumph Over Math and History?

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