This article by Thomas Palley, of the New America Foundation's Economic Growth Programme, was published in the FT Economists' Forum on December 9th
Sinéad Pentony: It crunch time (again) for the Eurozone, so this article by Thomas Palley is timely, as he articulates the causes of the Eurozone debt crisis and the solutions that are needed, differently from many of the other voices in the debate.
Palley argues that the euro has a lender of last resort – the ECB – but what’s lacking is a government banker, like the Federal Reserve or Bank of England, which helps finance budget deficits and keeps rates low on government debt. Thus explaining why the US and UK can borrow at lower rates than countries such as Spain, which has a similar deficit and debt profile, but its under speculative attack.
Palley points the finger at the “euro’s neoliberal birthmark”, which laid the foundation for a diminished role of the state and enhanced power of the market. He goes on to argue that previously, national banking systems were masters of the bond market, but the euro’s architecture makes bond markets masters of national governments – and this is the problem that must be solved through the creation of a government banker.