"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Friday, July 10, 2015

Greece, competitiveness, adjustment and excess unemployment

Austerity is an integral part of the Greek tragedy by Simon Wren-Lewis
Under flexible exchange rates this competitiveness adjustment could happen immediately. Things are not quite so simple in a monetary union: competitiveness cannot immediately adjust because of wage and price rigidities. A period of ‘excess unemployment’ will be required to push wages and prices down if the country is uncompetitive in relation to required primary surpluses. However the excess unemployment can be relatively modest. In fact, because of the structure of the standard Phillips curve, it is much more efficient to achieve gains in competitiveness gradually through a measured increase in unemployment than quickly through a rapid rise in unemployment, for reasons I outlined here when talking about Latvia. 
To achieve this efficient outcome may well require the government to reduce its primary deficits gradually, because without this fiscal support while competitiveness adjusts output could fall rapidly. This in turn will require more government borrowing, and if the government cannot do this from the markets, the IMF or other governments should step in to ensure this efficient adjustment can take place and avoid the waste and suffering of unnecessary unemployment. 
This is what failed to happen in the case of Greece.

Needed: Large Greek Devaluation or Large-Scale Transfers to Greece. With Bonus Godwin's Law Violation! by Brad DeLong

Austerity and the Greek Depression by Paul Krugman

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