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Money madness - I

As reported on the BBC, the British government is going to sue (oh, how American!) the European Central Bank. The ECB is proposing that clearing houses that handle more than 5% euro product to be based in the euro zone.

Now, I'm neither a financial whizz nor a lawyer, so I do not know how this will affect/benefit the Euro and how it will affect/hurt London finance.

What caught my attention was the quote from an unnamed "Treasury spokesperson" who obviously did not engage his brain before devising the following statement/soundbite: the government [...] will not shy away from continuing legal action to make sure there is a level playing field across the EU for British businesses".


There is a level playing field.

It is called the Euro. How did you manage to miss that?

Fair enough, with the current Greek Tragedy it is perhaps a bit of a hard sell at the moment, but what validity to opt to be different and then complain because you are different?

[of course, this is some rather lacklustre reporting from the Beeb - there is no mention of why the ECB wishes to introduce such measures - for surely a fair amount of euro related business takes place outside of the euro zone? I'm thinking of the American and Asian markets...]


Money madness - II

You know what, Sarko and Merkel, if they are so adamant of the desire to keep the dream of the EU alive, should just (wo)man up and devise a wide-ranging large scale recovery operation for Greece. No more of this stupid "we'll throw some money at you if you agree to the latest round of what-we-scribbled-on-a-post-it-while-on-the-john-this-morning measures". This is going to be, what, the third load of cash going to Greece? With an "obey us or you don't get the readies" string attached? Is it not obvious that Greece has dug itself a rather large hole and needs help? Not dribs and drabs, but a total renovation.

If Sarkozy and Merkel are true leaders of the EU, they will go to the Greeks and say ... "This is our offer. It will be hard, it will be at times painful. But we will turn this country around. All we need is your hard work and your support.". Put that on the table, and see if Greece is interested in a proper recovery package.

You see, the Americans seem to be wanting to blame others for their stagnant economy. Indeed somebody is to come on a visit to Europe soon (I was half listening on Radio4) to bemoan the Greek troubles making the markets jittery. Thus, we can't count on an American recovery. The Chinese look to be willing to help Europe, and as they are a rising economy, it would be good to get them on board. Japan... pretty much has its own issues right now, but even they are willing to chip in. This means if Europe is going to see any sort of recovery, it is going to have to pull its finger out and do it by itself. Now the problem is money doesn't grow on trees, so financing this is the current market climate could be difficult.
However, my belief is that the world is crying out for such an action. If it was announced tomorrow, the markets would absolutely freak. But riding it out, it should rapidly strengthen them. Think about it, all around money is in the crapper and right now there isn't a single damn useful decisive person to be found. The world is full of half-promises and ideas, but nobody is stepping up to the plate to say "okay, enough already, let's sort out this pathetic mess". It will, as I said, require balls of steel and a whole-hearted commitment. Are either Sarkozy or Merkel up to the job? Or are they happy to just talk a lot and once in a while throw some cash to the Greeks? Because, trust me, the only time the world is set to rights by talk alone is down the local over a few pints. Here, in the real world, is it time for action. Not just for saving Greece, but possibly the Euro (both the currency and the ideology) and possibly even the world. Saving the cheerleader... is optional.

Now since I originally wrote this, the main central banks have agreed to prop up the Euro economy. Certainly this is a good action, for the world needs stability more than it needs jitters and scares. I feel the banks have put forth their intentions. It is now down to the leaders and finance advisors to roll with this and not squander the opportunity.

One thing, though, is I'm not sure the current "austerity package" is entirely logical. Consider a scenario...

  • I lose my job. Thanks to contributions to the social system, the state will support me for a length of time, let's say three months. Afterwards, I think my level of "support" is considerably less. Now we must factor in expenses - car loan, telco (both internet and mobile), food, electricity, various taxes, the list goes on and on.
    Now, having just lost my job, there are two possibilities:
    1. Eat pasta, like, forever and do nothing. As my outgoings are going to be about what my lower level of support is, I can manage the problem by trashing my diet, going nowhere, doing nothing. Spending no money at all, as much as possible.
      This is sort of what the Greek austerity package is like. Cut back, cut back more, and every so often money will be thrown at the problem. Thing is, there is no sense of evolution. It'll just go on and on.
    2. Look for another job. Perhaps not the same job, maybe not even a job I want to do, but if I can exchange my time and effort for money, then I will be back on form. Once I have a job, I can look for another, with the option of being able to be choosy. However it's that hurdle that must be overcome.
      This, I believe, is what Greece needs. Not cut back after cut back, but a solid concept to encourage growth and sustain economic benefits.
See what I mean? I don't feel the current idea is much more than a quick patch job. Greece needs a long term viable plan. So does Europe. So does the world.


Mom says...

[guest written piece by my mother ☺]


I walked into the livingroom this afternoon and said "You know those red onions I've been growing from seed and nuturing all through this non-summer? I've just discovered that at least half of them are . . . couch grass!!!!"
You never know what surprise you will find in your garden. This is the same afternoon when we spent over an hour digging up thistles from a strip of ground that used to have four oak trees but now has only one. Don't get me started on THAT subject; I've already told our neighbour (I call him Philippe the Polluter - no prizes for guessing why) in no uncertain terms what I think of his distinct lack of ecological land management. We've been watching him rip out a medieval ditch-and-bank hedgerow that had about a dozen beautiful oaks in it. No wonder wildlife is so scarce over there.


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joe, 23rd September 2011, 14:05
I will not comment on the money issue, it's no point, we are becoming poorer and poorer and some are becoming richer and richer, they have got so much money, they are buying whole countries, after bankrupting them first, Greece, Island, new are coming. 
I will comment on the environment, though. 
My neighbour, he proudly displays his British and Scottish flags, just cut down few old gum trees, which were growing between our properties, as a result I have family of possums living in my roof space, they are rather noisy lot but very cute. 

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