- Published on Thursday, 06 September 2012 02:38
- Written by Holly Ellyatt
Europe is approaching a crisis as the region’s debt crisis and austerity measures increase the rates of depression, suicide and psychological problems – just as governments cut healthcare spending by up to 50 percent, according to campaigners, policy makers and health organizations.
A growing number of global and European health bodies are warning that the introduction and intensification of austerity measures has led to a sharp rise in mental health problems with suicide rates, alcohol abuse and requests for anti-depressants increasing as people struggle with the psychological cost of living through a European-wide recession.
“No one should be surprised that factors such as unemployment, debt and relationship breakdowns can cause bouts of mental illness and may push people who are already vulnerable to take their own lives,” Richard Colwill, of the British mental health charity Sane, told us.
- Published on Friday, 31 August 2012 16:06
- Written by BC-Stuff
Turkish firms have recently been increasing their investments in Bosnia, placing Turkey among the top five countries investing in Bosnia, according to the Bosnia Herzegovina Statistics Agency’s 2011 figures.
Last year, foreign investors invested a total of 313 million euros in Bosnia, 1 billion euros in Croatia and 1.5 billion euros in Serbia, according to the data.
- Published on Thursday, 23 August 2012 04:44
- Written by BC-Stuff
It may come as a surprise to some of our younger readers, that the Eurozone, and its associated currency, is merely the latest in a long series of failed attempts to create a European currency union and a common currency. Three of the most notable predecessors to the EUR include the Hapsburg Empire, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia. Obviously, these no longer exist. Just as obvious, all of these unions, having spent time, energy, money, and effort to change the culture and traditions of member countries and to perpetuate said unions, had no desire, just like Brussels nowadays, to see these unions implode. The question then is: what happened after these multi-nation currency unions fails. VOX kindly answers: "they all ended with disastrous hyperinflation."
Just in case anyone missed it, here it is again from VOX:
In the last century, Europe saw the collapse of three multi-nation currency zones, the Habsburg Empire, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia. They all ended in major disasters with hyperinflation. In the Habsburg Empire, Austria and Hungary facedhyperinflation. Yugoslavia experienced hyperinflation twice. In the former Soviet Union,ten out of 15 republics had hyperinflation (e.g. Pasvolsky 1928, Dornbusch 1992, Pleskovic and Sachs 1994, and Åslund 1995).
So... trying to pull infinite demand from the future to the present once the ability to fund said present deferred demand ends, has consequences? Oh yes, Virginia. It does indeed:
The output falls were horrendous and long lasting. The statistics are flimsy, but officially the average output fall in the former Soviet Union was 52%, and in the Baltics it amounted to 42% (Åslund 2007, 60). Five out of twelve post-Soviet countries – Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan – had not reached their 1990 GDP per capita levels in purchasing power parities by 2010. Similarly, out of seven Yugoslav successor states, at least Serbia and Montenegro, and probably Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, had not exceeded their 1990 GDP per capita levels in purchasing power parities two decades later (World Bank 2011). Arguably, Austria and Hungary did not recover from their hyperinflations in the early 1920s until the mid-1950s. Thus half the countries in a currency zone that broke up experienced hyperinflation and did not reach their prior GDP per capita in purchasing power parities until about a quarter of a century later.
What was the catalyst:
...systemic change, competitive monetary emission leading to hyperinflation, collapse of the payments system, exclusion from international finance, trade disruption, and wars.
It's all good though: Europe has a beneficial donor with an endless sack of money – Germany – and 80 some million people who will never, ever consider voting out those politicians who jeopardize their standard of living (regardless how it was obtained, but hard work is a distinct possibility). Ever. Or maybe they will? Maybe they will realize, as they should have over a year ago, that each passing day that nothing changes, and the broken status quo persists, simply means the pain in the inevitable end will merely be that much greater? If recent elections are any indication, Europe should probably be very concerned. Of course, this being Europe, and the market being the market, the fact that there is reason to worry, will provide the market with reason not to worry. After all someone else will make everything better: the central planners made risk of failure illegal.
Sinn (2011) has argued that "the Eurozone payments system has been operating as a hidden bailout whereby the Bundesbank has been lending money to the crisis-stricken Eurozone members via the Target system." He has alternatively proposed to cap the Target2 balances, settle them in hard assets, or transform them into short-term Eurobonds. Karl Whelan (2011) and others oppose Sinn, arguing that the Bundesbank has claims on the ECB system as a whole, not on individual national central banks. Whelan points out that limiting a Target2 balance would amount to cutting out a country from the euro system.
Some will say that this €700 billion + contingent liability is not really a liability until what has to happen – a member country departing – finally departs. Which it will. Sooner or later. So all debate is absolutely idiotic in this regard.
If one country (Greece) departs from the Eurozone or if its Target2 balances are capped, the current slow bank run from the south will accelerate quickly and become a massive bank run from most banks in southern Europe, and the banking system would stop working. The Eurozone payments system would stop functioning because it is centralized to the ECB. To re-establish a payments system is both politically and technically difficult. In the former Soviet Union, it took three years to do so. Currency controls would arise and a liquidity freeze would occur. If the drachma were reintroduced in the midst of a severe financial crisis, its exchange rate would plummet like a stone by probably 75%-80%. High inflation would result and mass bankruptcies ensue because of currency mismatches. Output would plunge and unemployment soar. Greece would experience a new default and other countries would follow.
For all these reasons, Greece or any other financially weak country is unlikely to depart from the Eurozone. In the three hyperinflationary currency union collapses, it was small, wealthy counties that left first: Czechoslovakia from the Habsburg Empire, Slovenia and Croatia from Yugoslavia, and the three Baltic states from the former Soviet Union. The countries that departed early and resolutely were most successful. Hence, the main concern should be whether small, wealthy northern countries want to abandon the Eurozone.
Finally considering the article was written by a member of the status quo who stands to lose his tenure, and his livelihood, if the voodoo he preaches is found to be hollow, the conclusion is obvious:
The conclusion is that the Eurozone should be maintained at almost any cost. All the economic problems in the current crisis can be resolved within the Eurozone. In order to maintain the Eurozone Eurozone-wide clearing must be maintained in full. The Target2 balances should be resolved by reforms, not by capping national balances. The only reasons for a breakup of the Eurozone would be that Eurozone governance fails completely or that one nation decides to leave. If the breakup starts, it would be better to agree on a complete and speedy dissolution into the old national currencies.
The "any cost" of course, has to be bourne by Germany. Which this time around is expected to merely stand there as its deadbeat neighbors continue to mooch off its generosity. Oddly enough, all the previous failed monetary regimes had a strong and supposedly munificent hegemon too, to pull a Realpolitik term.
What is certainly obvious is that in none of the previous occasions of monetary union collapse did the member countries think anything else. In fact, we can say what tenured economists said about the specter of the Hapsburg, the Soviet and Yugoslav collapse with absolute certainty: "the conclusion is that these should be maintained at almost any cost."
They weren't. And "disastrous hyperinflation" followed.
This time will surely be different though.
- Published on Wednesday, 29 August 2012 05:21
- Written by BC-Stuff
Regional Currencies are an integral part of comprehensive Monetary Reform. Areas like the United States and Euroland are far, far too big for one monopoly unit. Not only does it allow irresponsible and dangerous power centralization in the hands of those that control the currency, the Euro crisis shows another forgotten problem: regional imbalances.
For most in the United States the dollar seems an inevitability. But it was only in the aftermath of the Civil War that Lincoln’s Whig party got what they had been aiming for for decades: national currency. Up to then all sorts of currencies had circulated. First the various scrips of the colonies, later competing banking currencies. Then already the main aim of a ‘national’ currency was not wellbeing, but centralizing power in the hands of a few.
However, it relegated the more remote areas of the United States to eternal depression.
- Published on Friday, 17 August 2012 15:24
- Written by BC & Agencies
U.S. credit rating agency Fitch released on Thursday that it has reduced Serbia's rating forecast to negative.
At the same time the agency asserted the long-term sovereign credit rating in both foreign and local currency to BB- level.
- Published on Monday, 27 August 2012 06:05
- Written by Dr. Nazila Isgandarova
Russia's gas giant Gazprom, who owns a 50% stake in the South Stream project, is ready to start construction of the project in three distinct stages under a so-called "1+2+1" scheme in order to make the project work at its full capacity of up to 63 Bcm/year by December of 2017.
It has already been announced that the construction of the first two lines of the South Stream, each with a capacity of 15.5 billion cubic meters, will start next month.
The biggest expectation of the Russian government and Gazprom is to transport the first gas via the Black sea to Bulgaria bypassing Ukraine and Belarus in 2015, and then add more lines in 2016 and 2017 to carry Russian gas to Greece, Italy, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, and Slovenia.
In general, the South Stream will consist of two pipelines:
- Published on Friday, 17 August 2012 14:44
- Written by BC & Agencies
UKIP leader Nigel Farage spoke with King World News last week about what he described as the possibility of, "a really dramatic banking collapse."
Farage also warned that central planners want to enslave and imprison people inside of a 'New Order,' and he described the situation as "horrifying."
- Published on Saturday, 25 August 2012 04:20
- Written by BC-Stuff
A large portion of Germany's massive gold reserves are stored abroad, mainly in the Federal Reserve in New York. But are the bars really where they are supposed to be? A dispute has broken out over whether the central bank needs to check on its gold, or if Germany can trust its international partners.
Germany has gold reserves of just under 3,400 tons, the second-largest reserves in the world after the United States. Much of that is in the safekeeping of central banks outside Germany, especially in the US Federal Reserve in New York. One would think that with such a valuable stash, worth around €133 billion ($170 billion), the German government would want to keep a close eye on its whereabouts. But now a bizarre dispute has broken out between different German institutions over how closely the reserves should be checked.
- Published on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 21:42
- Written by Andrew Gardner
Resignation comes seven months after corruption scandal forced the official out of top post in Slovakia.
A Slovak implicated in a corruption scandal has resigned as a European Commission-appointed privatisation adviser to the Greek government.
Anna Bubeníková said today (10 August) that her step would ensure that the EU and Greece's Asset Development Fund would not have "to judge and evaluate the disinformation and untrue assertions constantly made by some media and some Slovak politicians".