Syriza’s plan for the Greece falls short: Grexit must not be ruled out - Sam Bowman writes for CityAM

Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, wrote a comment piece for CityAM on Greece's options, including leaving the euro, as its economy continues to suffer.

After the failure of the new Greek finance minister’s tour of Europe’s capitals this week to produce a workable debt deal, Greece’s situation now seems terminal. Greece has an unemployment rate above 25 per cent, a debt-to-GDP ratio of almost 200 per cent and deflation of 2.6 per cent. The country’s economy has shrunk by 23 per cent since 2008.

The big mistake of the Troika – the European Union, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) – was to assume that “structural reforms” to the Greek economy, tied to massive bailouts in 2010 and 2011, would be enough to generate growth in the face of persistent deflation.

To be sure, those reforms were desirable. Labour market liberalisations have made it cheaper to hire and fire workers, boosting employment, and pension reforms have improved Greece’s long-term fiscal position.

Read the full article here.

Yanis Varoufakis's response to ASI's endorsement of Greece's debt restructuring plan features in CityAM

Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute, Ben Southwood, was quoted in CityAM on Yanis Varoufakis's response to the ASI's endorsement of Greece's debt restructuring plan. From CityAM:

The world's most interesting finance minister has expressed his surprise at being backed one of Britain's leading free-market think-tanks.

Yanis Varoufakis, the man appointed by Greece's radical left wing party Syriza to sort out the country's debt crisis, tweeted "we live in a strange world" after reading comments from the Adam Smith Institute (ASI) published by City A.M.

From Ben:

Head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, Ben Southwood, said:

These are strange times indeed when Greek Marxists are seeing eye-to-eye with British free marketeers, but the European Central Bank's crazy monetary policy has done just that.

While we don't support the entirety of Syriza's radical programme—for example cracking down on holiday makers or hiking the minimum wage drastically in the middle of a depression—Varoufakis's idea of linking debt to the economy is a good one.

One of the advantages of Varoufakis's plan is that it would be resistant to policy mistakes that stem from the European Central Bank (ECB). Southwood argues:

It effectively makes the debt burden impervious to the ECB's herky-jerky decisions over interest rates and quantitative easing, meaning that if the ECB drove Greece into deflation in a future crisis, this would not raise the real value of its debt and cause a sovereign debt catastrophe.

The ASI will work with anyone to achieve a richer, happier, better world—party allegiance is irrelevant—and this move could do just that.

Read the full article here.

ASI comments on Greece's debt restructuring plan feature in CityAM

ASI Fellow Lars Christensen was quoted in CityAM supporting the new Greek finance minister's debt restructuring plan:

Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has found an enthusiastic backer for his debt restructuring plans in one of Britain's premier free-market think-tanks.

Greece has abandoned demands for a write-off of foreign debt and has instead proposed swapping the outstanding debt for growth-linked bonds accompanied by a crackdown on tax evasion and budget surpluses.

Varoufakis described the new options as a "menu of debt swaps", according to the Financial Times. The first of these options would be new bonds indexed to nominal economic growth, which would replace European rescue bonds.

Lars Christensen, a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute (ASI), said today:

The European Central Bank's job is to ensure nominal stability in the Eurozone economy. The ECB should not bail out governments and banks.

Unfortunately again and again over the past six years the ECB has been forced to bailout Eurozone states. Hence, the ECB has repeatedly conducted credit policy (rather than monetary policy) to avoid Eurozone countries defaulting.

Read the full article here.

Press Release: UK should back Greek NGDP-linked debt restructuring plan

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Communications Manager Kate Andrews: kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778207

Following the meeting between George Osborne and new Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, Lars Christensen, Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, said:

The European Central Bank's job is to ensure nominal stability in the Eurozone economy. The ECB should not bail out governments and banks.

Unfortunately again and again over the past six years the ECB has been forced to bail out Eurozone states. Hence, the ECB has repeatedly conducted credit policy (rather than monetary policy) to avoid Eurozone countries defaulting.

The ECB itself is largely to blame for this because it has kept monetary conditions far too tight. However, it has been under tremendous pressure to bail out nations and banks rather than conduct sound monetary policies.

By linking Greece's EU and ECB debts to Greek nominal GDP, as Varoufakis has suggested, Greece's public finances would be less vulnerable to monetary policy failure in the Eurozone.

The Chancellor George Osborne should be an enthusiastic supporter of Varoufakis’s debt plan as it would cut the cost of the ECB's tight money policies and reduce the danger of another major Eurozone crisis.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778207.

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

Ben Southwood criticises limits on cheap steel imports to the UK in CityAM

Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute, Ben Southwood, criticised calls for limits on cheap steel imports to the UK in CityAM.

However, critics of intervention voiced their disagreement. “Like a drop in the oil price, it [a low steel price] can hurt some industries, but, like a drop in the oil price, it is an overall benefit to society,” Ben Southwood, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, told City A.M.

Read the full article here.