The euro is a disaster even for the countries that do everything right

„But despite all this, Iceland has still managed to outperform Finland and the Netherlands. How is that possible? Well, it doesn’t have the euro. It has its own currency, the krona. And as much as it hurt Iceland’s people to lose 60 percent of their purchasing power on imported goods when the krona fell that much, it helped Iceland’s economy by making their goods more competitive overseas. That was enough to keep what could have been a depression from turning into anything other than a bad recession.

The euro, though, does the opposite. Countries can’t devalue their currencies or cut interest rates or even spend more when they get into trouble, and so they stay in trouble. All they can do is cut wages, cut spending, and then cut wages some more as penance for whatever economic transgressions they may or may not have committed. The euro straitjacket, in other words, turns ordinary problems into extraordinary ones (Finland) and extraordinary problems into historic ones (Greece). And that can happen whether or not you follow the rules.


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