Two Models for Europe

The eurozone's sovereign-debt crisis is eating its way from the periphery to the core, and the exodus of capital is accelerating. If the eurozone does not want to embrace capital controls, it has only two alternatives: stop the local printing of money, or provide investment guarantees in countries that markets view as insecure.

MUNICH – Interest rates for public debt within the eurozone have spread once again, just as they did before the introduction of the euro. Balance-of-payment disparities are steadily increasing. The sovereign-debt crisis is eating its way from the periphery to the core, and the exodus of capital is accelerating. Since the summer, €300 billion, in net terms, may well have fled from Italy and France.

The printing presses at the Banque de France and the Banca d’Italia are working overtime to make up for the outflow of money. But this only furthers the exodus, because creating more money prevents interest rates from rising to a point at which capital would find it attractive to stay.

If Europe had the same rules as the United States, where the Federal Reserve’s regional banks have to pay the Fed for any special money creation with securities collateralized in gold, they would not create this much supplementary money, and capital flight would be limited. Instead, local printing of money is essentially aiding and abetting the exodus.

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