IT’s Too Late for Germany to Save the Euro
Greece’s motorcycling Marxist, Alexis Tsipras, makes an unlikely champion, with his commuter leathers and largely unrealistic Left-wing views, but he seems to be about the best of a bad bunch right now. As far as I can see, he’s the only member of the Greek political class who makes any kind of sense, albeit only marginally so and with one rather important deficiency.
Rightly, he’s rejected Berlin’s austerity programme as “barbaric” and counter-productive (though, incongruously, he rides to parliament on a German-made BMW), but he’s not yet managed to reconcile himself to the logical corollary of this analysis - that Greece must take back control of its own destiny by leaving the euro. As it is, the economy is condemned only to permanent depression.
Youth unemployment in Greece was yesterday revealed to have overtaken even that of Spain, at an almost unbelievable 53.8 per cent. This for an economy which, if it sticks to the programme, has a further 150,000 public sector jobs still to shed. Those who think that, with the requisite degree of structural reform, the private sector will automatically move in and fill the gap can forget it.
The banking system is insolvent, credit is plummeting, the flight of capital continues unabated and businesses are going bust in record numbers. As long as Greece remains in the euro, there is no plausible path back to growth.