Wednesday, May 05, 2010

No Bailout for Greece

The "liquidationist" approach

The problem with the Euro is that it removes fiscal accountability from the member states. Member countries can "fee-ride" on each other, and, there is/was no mechanism to ensure that Euro-zone members remained responsible once they got into the 'zone' so to speak. Irresponsible governments can borrow cheap and spend large by mooching off the better spending habits of more responsible nations.

The Greek crisis thus is no surprise and is the inevitable outcome of a political- economic union that is too big for its own good (as are most nation-states). And as always it is the political (redistributionalist) class who gains over those who would rather spend their time doing useful or creative things.

Prolonging the Greek's paying their own way just costs the Euro-members a devalued currency in the long-run because only Greece can solve its own internal fiscal (government spending) problems. Sure, other people in the Euro Union have lent Greece monies, but, they have done so voluntarily, and would not have done so if they didn't think it would have made a good investment.

So the investments went bad? Isn't that what entrepreneurship is all about? You take a risk, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Bailouts just socialize risk on the downside while privatizing return on the upside, meanwhile it's those who can't afford to gamble who pay for those that can.

This pattern has repeated itself over and over throughout history in every bailout situation, while the bailouts just prolong the inevitable. Let Greece declare bancruptcy, and we can then have an ordered work-out of restructuring according to rule-of-law. By denying this we deny investor responsibility for their own actions, this is a slippery slope to more bailouts elsewhere and the fallacy of 'sysemic risk'. Systemic risk is caused by, and not the result of, bailouts to irresponsible parties.

There is no 'system'. It is individuals (or corporate entities responsible to their equity-holders) who take the risk and contract voluntarily for what they do. If these decisions go bad, well then, take the loss, and learn from past mistakes. Bailouts prevent 'progress' and direct resources towards waste, hurting the poor most of all, who need the growth of decent investment, not prolonged investment towards irresponsibility.

A Greek bailout just prolongs Greece's necessary restructuring, which is not too different from the necessities faced by most nations. The government sectors, and those who receive monies from the government, need to downsize and reduce their expectation of entitlement.

This is the fallacy of 'stability'. There is little stability in the human condition, least of all when it is expected from the state, who inevitably, promises more than it can provide without harming most people when the inevitable day of reckoning arrives.