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Sergio Cesaratto — The Nature Of The Eurocrisis: A Reply To Febrero, Uxó And Bermejo

Summary:
Recently I commented on a paper, The Financial Crisis In The Eurozone: A Balance-Of-Payments Crisis With A Single Currency? by Eladio Febrero, Jorge Uxó and Fernando Bermejo, published in ROKE, Review Of Keynesian Economics. I hadn’t realised that Sergio Cesaratto has a reply (paywalled) in the same issue.Sergio Cesaratto. Picture credit: La Città Futura, Sergio CesarattoAbstract:Febrero et al. (2018) criticise the balance-of-payments (BoP) view of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) crisis. I have no major objections to most of the single aspects of the crisis pointed out by these authors, except that they appear to underline specific sides of the EMU crisis, while missing a unifying and realistic explanation. Specific semi-automatic mechanisms differentiate a BoP crisis in a

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Recently I commented on a paperThe Financial Crisis In The Eurozone: A Balance-Of-Payments Crisis With A Single Currency? by Eladio Febrero, Jorge Uxó and Fernando Bermejo, published in ROKE, Review Of Keynesian Economics. I hadn’t realised that Sergio Cesaratto has a reply (paywalled) in the same issue.

Sergio Cesaratto — The Nature Of The Eurocrisis: A Reply To Febrero, Uxó And Bermejo

Sergio Cesaratto. Picture credit: La Città Futura, Sergio Cesaratto

Abstract:

Febrero et al. (2018) criticise the balance-of-payments (BoP) view of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) crisis. I have no major objections to most of the single aspects of the crisis pointed out by these authors, except that they appear to underline specific sides of the EMU crisis, while missing a unifying and realistic explanation. Specific semi-automatic mechanisms differentiate a BoP crisis in a currency union from a traditional one. Unfortunately, these mechanisms give Febrero et al. the illusion that a BoP crisis in a currency union is impossible. My conclusion is that an interpretation of the eurozone’s troubles as a BoP crisis provides a more consistent framework. The debate has some relevance for the policy prescriptions to solve the eurocrisis. Given the costs that all sides would incur if the currency union were to break up, austerity policies are still seen by European politicians as a tolerable price to pay to keep foreign imbalances at bay – with the sweetener of some European Central Bank (ECB) support, for as long as Berlin allows the ECB to provide it.

Sergio carefully responds to all views of Febrero et al. and Marc Lavoie, Randall Wray and also Paul De Grauwe, pointing out that he agrees with most of their views except that their dismissal of this being a balance-of-payments crisis with their claims that the problem could have been addressed by the Eurosystem/ECB lending to governments without limits. He points out that, “The austerity measures that accompanied the ECB’s more proactive stance are clearly to police a moral hazard problem”. It is true that the ECB, the European Commission and the IMF overdid the austerity but it doesn’t mean that Sergio’s opponents’ claims are accurate.

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