Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Greeks needing gifts

Greek banks offer deposit insurance, just as the US has FDIC. Unfortunately, Greece is no longer a currency issuer and therefore can experience a real run on its bank deposits. The FDIC cannot go bankrupt because it can get topped up by the Treasury if need be. But the Greek Government cannot go to the ECB for a "top up", and that leaves it vulnerable to runs.

When people were criticizing the Euro currency zone, the focused on how different economies would no longer be able to run different monetary policies, and applauded the deficit controls to bring discipline to the fiscal side. Years later we see that monetary policy doesn't matter, and it's the deficit control that is destabilizing by making the country needlessly susceptible to bank runs.

Related articles here (billy blog) and here (Mosler). There is no point to bank runs. Letting them happen is vandalism. Engineering them into the system is.... words fail.

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