The Euro… dark days ahead

I was living in Rome when the Euro was introduced. I cursed the day, the Euro, and the inflation it caused, knowing well that it would bring nothing good.

Not long ago I read that Spain may be quietly printing their old peso again against the day.

I read now:

(Reuters) – Banks are quietly readying themselves to start trading a new Greek currency. Some banks never erased the drachma from their systems after Greece adopted the euro more than a decade ago and would be ready at the flick of a switch if its debt problems forced it to bring back national banknotes and coins.

[…]

When the financial systems and governments collapse in Europe, domino by domino, we had better be ready for the fall out.

 

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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37 Responses to The Euro… dark days ahead

  1. Bob B. says:

    And this was the precursor to the “United States of Europe” and how all of Europe is one big happy family. I lived in Germany for seven years and I never knew anyone who wanted to have a common language (a necessity for a naton to exist), let alone a common currency. Look, also, at what institutions have been created for such a supra-national coalition’s existence and how their pronouncements don’t go over so well.

  2. Jeff says:

    But I thought the Euro was supposed to bring a better economy? Just goes to show that too much government interference is not a good thing.

  3. Mark M says:

    Well, I lived in Germany for almost two years and enjoyed the Euro. I enjoyed not having to show my Passport every two minutes because we lived right next to the Swiss and Austrian borders.

    Euroscepticism is, in my opinion, pessimism. A great European dream, that could be used for so much good, that is sadly hampered by bureaucracy, and derailed by the personal and moral agendas of our elected representatives.

    Waitaminute… that sounds just like the UK. ;-p

  4. Phil_NL says:

    Greece is a goner. Everyone in Europe has known that for at least two years now, and the one with some foresight a lot longer. The only reason Greece ísn’t formally bankrupt yet is the politicians are keeping up appareances in the hope they can isolate Greece’s collapse from the rest of the eurozone. (And judging from recent utterances, they feel that they’re about done with that. Expect formal default of Greece before the end of the year)

    Of course, trying to isolate Greece from Portugal, Spain, Italy and ultimately France is going to prove to be just as delusional as allowing Greece in to begin with. Reminder: Portugal = long gone over the edge of the abyss and past recovery as well, just doing relatively better than Greece as it has a longer distance to travel to the bottom; Spain has equally impressive above 20% unemployment and 50% youth unemployment, not to mention a collapsed real-estate bubble; Italy = 2 trillion in debt and three-quarters of the country disfunctional; France isn’t that bad structurally, but has heavily invested in the aformentioned countries and will also suffer due to the geographic proximity.

    All of this does not mean that the financial systems will collapse, by the way. It’s just waiting for the moment where the Germans say ‘enough is enough’ (the EU buying time simply means Germany paying the bills in the meantime, which they cannot afford in the long term, and is being compared to ‘Versailles without the war’) at which point you will see lighting speed introductions of new currencies. Perhaps a strong dose of inflation will also surface along the way (there’s a lot of cash created out of thin air, for now it’s just sitting with the banks, but if it really starts circulating, the shit will hit the fan). Sounds bad, will be bad, but if the stronger nations are smart enough to be the ones going for the exit in time, they will limit the misery to a few years – rather than decades with the euro. (It’s often forgotten that there are two ways to end the eurozone: the weak ones may leave, but the strong ones may also do so; the latter is probably more managable, though the wealth transfers remain huge) Once Germany/Holland/Luxemburg/Finland (France being the big question mark, Belgium and Austria smaller ones) are out and the euro can devalue, Greece cs will have a road to recovery if they don’t decend into anarchy first. And that’s a big if, anarchy is a Greek invention, afterall.

    So is it TEOTWAWKI? For sure if you’re an EU bureaucrat. Those will be the most hated species of the continent soon, and the voters are already showing their distaste far and wide. For the rest of us, it’s wait and see.

  5. Phil_NL says:

    @Mark M:
    That great European dream is a nightmare. Often people make the connection to the US. That’s wrong. You would need to compare the EU to an amalgamation of the entire American continent. Holland and Greece aren’t equivalent to Massachussets & Alabama; the correct comparison is Canada and Peru.
    There is no way, ever, this will work politically. A joint political future requires not just a shared language (which is absent too, of course) but a certain amount of a shared culture and shared values. Eurosceptisim is really a misnomer (the second biggest after lefties in the States calling themselves ‘liberals’), it’s realism.

    PS: if you think the EU, even if it could function, would be a force for good, consider that Obama is seen as a moderate over here. ‘nough said.

  6. johnpaul79 says:

    on another note apparently same sex unions were all the rage in the church during the 10th to the 12th centurys, wanna fry your brain? then take a look, http://anthropologist.livejournal.com/1314574.html

  7. cathdeac says:

    Peseta.

  8. Andy Lucy says:

    If the Euro fails, keep a close eye on the dollar. More US equity than many realize is tied up in that currency.

    Prep and pray, folks. Prep and pray.

  9. wmeyer says:

    No need to keep an eye on the dollar if the Euro fails. The dollar will be right behind it.

  10. Maltese says:

    The problem is not the Euro, per se, but Brussels’ attempt to force its will on member states, especially abortion.

    Constitutional provisions in places such as Ireland and Malta are barely tolerated.

    The Treaty of Rome may have become the Treaty of Lisbon, but the driving principle remains the same: the loss of sovereignty, and the imposition of will on the part of bankers and Eurocrats.

  11. brotherfee says:

    Chinese yuan anybody?

  12. Papabile says:

    The only way the Euro was ever going to work was if the EU had a real economic union with a centralized taxing authority — like the US. Otherwise, what is a common currency isn’t so common. And, Europe never wanted that, nor wanted what it would take to have that.

    Just wait, if European banks fail, so too will certain American ones who have large debts with them. The US already is multiple billions deep in bailing out the European banks once.

    Just wait.

  13. ContraMundum says:

    @Papabile

    There is another way it could have worked, but not one that people are going to like: It could have been on the gold standard. After all, in the old days the monarch’s head didn’t give the coin its value, it merely gave assurance of the weight and purity of the metal.

  14. AnnAsher says:

    Amen ContraMundum!

  15. JARay says:

    Britain is the only country which stood out against the common currency. The pound still operates there. You may already know that the US dollar is the common currency in the Middle East. Two years ago I went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and we visited Jordan and Egypt as well as Israel and I was advised to purchase American dollars and to take single dollar notes in plenty because it was $1 for this and $1 for that, and don’t expect to receive dollars in return if you handed over a larger note because you would probably get shekels or Egyptian pounds as change if you did.
    By the way, I also went to Spain the year before and I went into a Catholic bookshop there and asked for a Latin Vulgate. They had one in stock and I bought it. I used Euros to purchase it but looking right now at the price, I read 38 Euros or 5990 pesetas so they had not exactly abandoned the peseta then!

  16. Bob B. says:

    The link to the “anthropologist…” is somewhat suspect. The professor quoted in the article was gay and, backing up to the main site, you find a Planned Parenthood ad (et al).

  17. brotherfee says:

    While reading tonight, I came across this from psalm 46: Nations are in tumult, kingdoms are shaken … The Lord of hosts is with us: The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

    In the midst of financial uncertainties, it’s always a good idea to prioritize with the Creator first and then this changing, shifting human condition.

  18. muckemdanno says:

    The inflation caused by the Euro? You’ve got to be kidding Father! [The effect on daily living was almost immediate. Prices rocketed.]

    Inflation ran at between 5% and 10% per year in Italy before the Euro. It’s only when they gave monetary policy over to the Germans that inflation got under control, (2% per year since then.)

    The problem with the Italians, Greeks, Spaniards, etc. is that they never stopped spending money after they gave away the right to print the money they wanted to spend. Now, either the Germans have to bail them out, or they have to default.

    Giving the sensible Germans the right to control their monetary policy was the right decision, at least better than keeping that right for themselves. This is due to the “stackenblochen” nature of the German psyche, I suppose.

  19. Kathleen10 says:

    Let me first say that I know next to nothing about Europe, I have enough trouble keeping up with my own country, but, it never seemed like a good idea, one colossal Europe. You just know something’s going to go wrong. There are too many possibilities for disagreement, and each country has it’s own way of thinking, living, spending. I don’t know, it just seemed doomed to fail. I, along with everyone else, hope it does not. The world certainly does seem in a mess. I think I’ll plant a victory garden.

  20. Maltese says:

    Kathleen10, you are very wise!

    I studied the EU at Trinity College, Dublin, and what you say is spot on!

    The Euro Trade agreement (starting with the Treaty of Rome) is similar to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), except that in the Maastritch reaty, it tries to impose not just free trade, but secular, moral policies, like abortion (I could go into much more detail, but will refrain).

  21. Supertradmum says:

    What has not been mentioned is that the communists who are openly pushing for no austerity programs in order to take advantage of chaos are gaining in popularity..Socialist president in France wants a 75% tax on thr rich and no private schools. Spain has a split three ways similar to pre-civil war days and Greece has no government. Dominoes falling…I thought this would happen earlier. Just watch.

  22. Supertradmum says:

    Muckemdanno..the Germans are not in charge of Greece’s money

  23. Supertradmum says:

    Hate texting…continued..there is not any and Spain will soon be out of money as well

  24. robtbrown says:

    Mark M says:

    Well, I lived in Germany for almost two years and enjoyed the Euro. I enjoyed not having to show my Passport every two minutes because we lived right next to the Swiss and Austrian borders

    Switzerland is neither on the Euro nor a member of the Euro Union.

  25. robtbrown says:

    JARay says:
    You may already know that the US dollar is the common currency in the world .

    FYC

  26. Supertradmum says:

    Btw, usd is 60p today

  27. Supertradmum says:

    Saudies are about ready to drop the usd as the oil currency and some Chinese banks are dumping usds as I text.

  28. robtbrown says:

    Supertradmum says:

    Saudies are about ready to drop the usd as the oil currency

    How many years have we been hearing that? A few years ago it was the Euro that was going to replace the dollar . . . so much for that idea.

    and some Chinese banks are dumping usds as I text.

    The Chinese economy is slowing.

  29. mpolo says:

    Regarding the inflation with the Euro, here in Germany, most restaurants doubled their prices overnight, as they changed the prices from 10 Marks to 10 Euros. This caused people to call the Euro the “Teuro” (teuer means expensive).

    But Germans were very eager to get the Euro when it arrived — everybody bought an official “starter pack” of Euros toward the end of December, and people were standing in line on January 1 (!) to trade their Marks for Euros. Where in Italy, they were standing in line on the last possible day to do the switch. Of course it is psychologically harder when you get 1000 Euros in exchange for 1,000,000 Lire.

    German feelings seem to be swelling against the Euro these days, and the people are not happy about all the bailouts for Greece.

  30. Supertradmum says:

    robtbrown, there was a Saudi summit on this just recently. I think this is no longer a rumor, as the mainline financial stations here have been reporting this. As to the euro replacing anything, I am sure you know that duck is dead in the water. As to the Chinese, as their economy implodes as well, dumping dollars for either Mideastern currencies, or even rubles, which is one thing which is happening, seems like another indication of the way of the West going downhill faster than other countries. BBC news on May 8th–

    “China is buying crude oil from Iran using its currency the yuan, an Iranian diplomat has said.

    Oil transactions are usually settled in dollars but US sanctions make it difficult for Iran to accept payments in the US currency.

    Iran is using the revenue to buy goods and services from China, Mohammed Reza Fayyad, Iran’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, confirmed.

    China is the biggest buyer of Iranian crude oil exports.

    The country buys some $20bn-30bn of oil from Iran each year, but the US has been pressuring Beijing to join an international boycott of Iran over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

    The Iranian ambassador’s comments, reported by the Reuters news agency, confirmed a report in the Financial Times that claimed that Unipec – a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned oil firm Sinopec – was buying the oil, as was another company called Zhuhai Zhenrong.

    Meanwhile, China has been trying to promote usage of yuan as an international currency as a rival to the dollar, including the establishment of a new offshore trading centre in London alongside the existing centre in Hong Kong.

    According to the FT report, China has been providing the currency to Iran via Russian banks rather than its own domestic banks.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17988142

    Rubles seem safer to some here in Europe than the dollar. Also, this week hundreds, if not more, French and Americans are taking their money out of France and other places in Europe and putting it into sterling. Bloomberg Report and Financial Times.

  31. Mariana says:

    Greece and the rest of Europe are not the same thing, greek political culture is practically on the level of ‘developing’ countries. The greek howling that Germany wants to enslave them is beyond primitive.

  32. asperges says:

    Thank God we stayed out of the Euro in the UK. A common currency is not impossible between countries but only if their rates of tax, living costs and other economic elements are comparable. But how could Greece and Spain ever compete with an economy like Germany or France?

    What utter madness to give up one’s money – and that it stands for – to an unelected central body. In Spain unemployment is now 25%. That is fodder for social revolution. No wonder they and others have ‘Plan B’ to set in motion if things get any worse. The European ‘dream’ is the Emperor’s New Clothes. Very few in the UK have any time for it.

    Why do I keep thinking all this has somehow a parallel with the modern Church??

  33. Supertradmum says:

    I found out yesterday on Bloomberg that the Greeks have never had property tax for their own people! And, yet, they expected the 121 billion euro bailout from those who do pay taxes, without any austerity measures on their part. This is an gross example of the entitlement generation gone gaga. As to Spain and Ireland, their collapse was caused by greed-too much building of houses and apartments, too many businesses being given loans from banks, and not paying these back in the collapse of the housing speculation. People were not willing to either live within their means, or live with less.

  34. chantgirl says:

    The Financial crisis here in the US and the Euro debacle have caused many (not a majority, but many) in my age range (late 20s to early 30s) to lose faith in the investment norms that the baby boomers held to so dearly. We are suspicious of the stock market, as HFT trading has taken over, and inside information is given to the big boys by corrupt politicians while the retail investors are looked at as cannon fodder. Looking ahead to trying to provide for a large family in the future, I am wondering what anyone can hold as a store of value that can escape the high taxes that will be inevitable for my generation having to support a huge ratio of the elderly to the young workers. Land can be taxed to heck and back. Portfolios are subject to all sorts of changing government regulations and taxes. Many paper currencies are in danger of inflating us into poverty after all of the free money that has been printed since the crisis (or not even printed, but just entered as ones and zeros into computers). Is it any wonder that some of my generation has returned to a mentality that was common among our Depression era grandparents- hard assets within our possession, tangible goods and skills that can be traded, and a deep distrust of banks and governments? For all of those who argue the worth of one printed currency against another, I would argue that most printed currencies are in a freefall right now, we just don’t notice it because they are measured in a basket against each other. Measured against things like food, energy, and precious metals, all of our printed currencies have been tumbling for the last 10 years. I would not be surprised if paper currency was replaced by an universal electronic form of currency in the next 100 years. Anyway, maybe looking at my gaggle of kids and trying to figure out the best way to protect and provide for them has made me paranoid, but I’d rather be paranoid and never have a crisis materialize than to be caught unprepared and watch my children suffer because I didn’t notice the signs of the times. Prepare for what you can, and trust in God for the rest.

  35. irishgirl says:

    The last time I was in Europe was in 2000 (France). The franc was still in use.
    This ‘single currency’ (euro) may have been great in theory, but lousy in practice.
    Whoever thought of it must have had rocks in his head!
    Look what’s going on now! Europe has sown the wind, and it’s reaping the whirlwind.
    Should have said ‘no’ to the euro, and kept their individual national currencies!
    Thank God Britain didn’t drop the pound!

  36. Laura98 says:

    We lived in Germany before the Euro change-over, and I’m so glad we left before that happened. Yes, most Germans were for it – not so much now. As with political union, I was against the Euro (and I was laughed at as the American-fool who knew nothing, unlike the sophisticated Europeans… blah, blah, blah). I’d be laughing now, except if the Euro falls the Dollar falls too! I heard all the wild theories about how strong the Euro would be.. the Americans would be begging for the Dollar to join within a few years!!! It would soon be the world currency… and would prevent wars!! It got really “deep.” And yes, these family members and friends were all serious!!

    It’s one thing to promote trade and tourism, to make borders easier to cross. It’s another thing for a country to give up its sovereignty (or at least large parts of it), which is what has happened in the EU countries. The bureaucracy in Germany was already something to behold, before the EU became so overpowering. Now… I can’t even imagine…

  37. spesalvi23 says:

    Germany needed the common current to simplify and streamline its trade with EU countries. However! I think we’re finally beginning to loose patience with countries which are receiving billions (generated by highly stressed out Germans, working themselves into early graves), but at the same time are openly calling us Nazis for trying to install some kind of structure and order into a very corrupt and chaotic system. And it’s not only Greece.
    France going socialist didn’t help.
    I only hope people will have enough courage to not only say ‘ enough is enough’, but actually take action.