A matter of CULTURE or PSYCHOLOGY in Europe?

Are the European and more specifically the Euro-zone problems purely a matter of cultural differences, engrained in generations of ‘Nation Staters’ or something deeper in each nation-people’s psychology?

 

Countries using the Euro de jure Countries and...
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It cannot purely be a difference of political ideology between the leaders and individual nations of Europe that has lead us to the brink of the Euro abyss. But, yet maybe the way the debate and challenges facing Europe are being framed, has a great part to play in it.

 

Europe always seemed to be a halfway house between cultures, trade, ideologies, beliefs and norms. And the fact that the Euro single currency zone was stitched together based on these ‘halfway house’ ideas should therefore not have been a surprise.

 

How long does it take to build a vision? Or rather, why did Europe take so long to get to the chasm, build a rickety Monetary Union bridge, without firming up the foundations that holds together the infrastructure once the traffic crossing that bridge started increasing in volume?

 

If there is something Trade theory should have taught us, it must be that once opportunity (to trade and create wealth) is established, the trickle would eventually turn to a steady stream and the steady stream to an eventual throng. Yet not one European leader or institution foresaw this? Takes us full circle to the original question, namely: “How long does it take to build a VISION?

united states currency eye- IMG_7364_web
Image by kevindean via Flickr

 

The truth might lie somewhere in the nature, establishment and deep rooted psyches of the Europeans themselves. Europe might be the collective noun; yet staunch nation state individualism (the communities we all hunker after) is the actual bedrock and foundation of the people who live in Europe. Unlike the USA, with a common language, full monetary and federal fiscal union, Europe is and will always remain a loosely led together community (but not a collective) of nation states and peoples.

 

Fairness, freedom, equality and openness, some of the most fundamental tenets of a market and community to function properly, are not necessarily on the agendas when ideological political, rather than economic (for the greater good), issues are considered by both politicians, technocrats and bureaucrats in the institutions and fabric at the heart of a (dis)United Europe.

 

Therefore, until and unless we can prize Europeans from there deeply held ‘national interest’ debates and frames of reference, in terms of establishing a common and united front; we feel that there is no hope of sustainably solving the Euro-zone sovereign debt and monetary union problems.

 

A possible mechanism might have to be the establishment of a ‘fourth branch’ of governance, outside the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, being an outside force or rather an Adjudicator comprised of non dominant European member countries and quite possibly with an Advisory Board consisting of non Europeans themselves, to allow for the establishment of a fair, free and an open implementation of the Legislature’s policy decisions, hence and overseer of the Executive, but an equal to the Judiciary, with a final veto by the citizenry of Europe themselves, as a balancing mechanism, should a stalemate ever arise.

 

The enabling driver of such an European Adjudicator must surely be the Digital Economy with its various platforms and reach extending now and in the future across the ‘Net’ that is European integration.

 

theMarketSoul ©2012

The Big Design: Moral Hazard, and the EU

Irrespective of how the twists and turns of the Greek political system plays out over the next few days and weeks, we believe that the Big EU (Eurozone more specifically) players and their leaders only have themselves to blame for Greece‘s seemingly petulant behaviour.

If at the fundamental level we cannot understand that ANY form of bail-out will always support and lead to Moral Hazard, then we have learnt nothing from the past and the more recent debt and financial crisis of the 2008.

Previously we mentioned the ‘Credit Quake’ with lots of after tremors (attributed to Dennis Cox of Risk Reward), will last for a number of years and this is exactly what we have playing out as daily deadlines in front of our eyes at the moment.

However, to return to the point at hand:  The age of economic dilemma of Moral Hazard has reared its monstrous head again and is in danger of ‘nabbing us in the butt’ (yet again), because the leaders of the EU (more specifically the Eurozone 17) do not want to understand that all their actions in supporting Greece is only leading to a more dangerous form of Moral Hazard and flies in the face of the Austrian School‘s ideas of ‘Creative Destruction‘.

Without effective mechanisms in place to deal with European regions at different cycles of development (not even to mention the basic lack of sound  fiscal management), is to ask for problems (on a continuous basis).

Until a sound framework of either full fiscal and monetary union with appropriate checks and balances are rolled out in Europe, with a single capital market instrument (Gilt / Bond or EuroBond) and mechanisms for dealing with localised ‘failures’ of the market to clear itself effectively (never mind efficiently); we will continue to wretch and lurch about with market confidence eroded and leaders running around like headless chickens trying and implementing inappropriate tools for the job a sound framework is supposed to deal with.

It is not more regulation we want.  It is simply BETTER regulation.  It is that simple.

theMarketSoul ©2011

Do we value everything and understand nothing?

On reflection, the ‘mechanism’ established to rescue or save the Euro is indicative of the fact that we still understand very little and can control and short-circuit systems to some extent, yet we think we value everything.

Inflation, and dare we state it openly, serious inflation of double-digit proportions must now surely be back on the cards?

We realise that we are not the only and first publication to come up with this analysis.

Bloomberg reported on 30 September 2011 that European Inflation had unexpectedly jumped to 3%, up from 2.5% in August.  Yet, this is still a long way off a double digit scenario, however, the factors mentioned in the Bloomberg report included, the Greek Default (possibility) and the ECB actions still possible in terms of containing European wide inflation.

Although most economists predict that inflation will start to wane next year, we believe that actions like the Greek Debt haircut and the increase in the EFSF’s bailout fund to €1tr sends signals to the market that the value of money is now seriously ‘delinked’ from operational reality.

We will not comment here in depth on monetary policy, as it is currently applied, however, we are beginning to get the impression that inflation as ‘the silent and stealth’ taxation it really is, is now firmly (yet behind closed committee room doors) on the agenda to help “manage” the size of the European Debt mountain.

It is worth keeping an eye on the real drivers of inflation and then there is some value in keeping an open mind.

theMarketSoul ©2011

Recapitalising Europe

Forget about recapitalising the French Banks, saving Greece, (or the Euro)….

Euro Dominoes

Continuing our conversation on Innovation

Yes, we admit it! The headline statement above is all about grabbing your attention.  We are not advocating any disorderly default crises.

What we believe is that the ‘agricultural’ economic base and the semi-integration of Europe, via market and monetary union, without going the full circle of political and fiscal union as well, has at this point failed.

Not that a major concerted (and concentrated) effort to ensure it does not fail will end in failure itself.  But has anyone really asked the question:  At what financial cost?

If an US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Greitner, has to take the unprecedented step of flying across the Atlantic to come and join a European Union Finance Ministers meeting, then something big must be on the cards!

Is he going to come and tell Germany and France in person to just let Greece go?

This reminds us of a stanza from Felix Dennis’ poem “How to Get Rich” about timing:

“Good timing? To win it
You gotta be in it.
Just never be late
To quit or cut bait.

This might just as well be the message for Europe:  How not to get Poor.  The key words are “Never be late to quit or cut bait”.

What we believe is happening behind the scenes is the planning for an orderly default mechanism and Euro ‘disbanding’.

The more Angela Merckel’s resolve hardens around saving the Euro, the less we believe Europeans themselves are warming to this concept.

 So what about Innovation then?

We started this article with the intention of continuing our conversation on Innovation.

So, what we mean by Recapitalising Europe actually is related to addressing the culture of decay that has enveloped Europeover the last few decades.  If Europe is referred to as the ‘Sick Man’, then there must be something behind that statement.

And we believe that it is the general lack of support for invigorating Europe that is a key driver.

What do you mean, we hear you ask?

In the quest to unite Europe, we have built a framework of a European parliament, a Council of Europe, a judicial system, etc.

With these institutions have come regulation, rules and edicts.  Sometimes messy, sometimes helpful.  But at this juncture, we are so overrun by nonsensical regulation that the will and spirit to be creative and innovative has drained away from the general citizenry.

This is a very, very sad state of affairs.  The young European citizens have lost their ‘psychological contract’ with the wider Europe and European integration goal.  High rates of youth unemployment across Europe is breeding a generation of disengaged European citizens and ultimately is an opportunity and efficiency waste in the medium term.

But how do we Recapitalise a spirit of Innovation in Europe?

This is a key question we are going to ask of our network and as part of our general ‘outreach series’ and report back on our progress towards establishing an Innovation Framework for Recapitalising Europe.

Please ‘tune-in’ again soon for a status and progress up date.

theMarketSoul ©2011