Monday, January 4, 2016

Finland should never have signed up to the single currency union, according to its foreign minister.

Outsourcing your money to a self-interested outside party seldom ends well:
Finland should never have signed up to the single currency union, according to its foreign minister.

With the northernmost euro member now set to become the bloc’s weakest economy, the question of currency regime continues to resurface as Finland looks for explanations for its lost competitiveness. Timo Soini, who is also the leader of one of three members of the ruling coalition, the anti-immigration The Finns party, says the country could have resorted to devaluations had it not been for its euro membership.

The comments come as a former foreign minister gathers signatures in an effort to force the government to hold a referendum on euro membership. While polls still show most Finns don’t want to go through the process of exiting the currency bloc, there are signs that a plurality of voters think they would be better off outside the euro....

Without the option of currency devaluation, the government has calculated that Finland needs to lower its labor costs as much as 15 percent to catch up with its main trade partners, Sweden and Germany. Finland’s economy has shrunk for the past three years and Nordea, the biggest Nordic bank, predicts further contraction in 2015. Finland will be the weakest EU economy by 2017, when it will grow at less than half the pace of Greece, according to the European Commission.
Translation: when you can't devalue your currency and share the burden equally throughout the entire nation, you have to pay all your workers less even though their expenses will remain high. So, instead of a devalued currency, you've lowered the quality of life of pretty much everyone who works for a living.

The sad thing is that this was all entirely obvious, and was in fact predicted, by many economists critical of the Euro. But social mood always trumps the naysayers who are battling the zeitgeist.

The Euro will fail eventually. This is not in doubt. The only question is how bad it has to get in the member nations before they reclaim their financial sovereignty.