Why We Need Another European Council And Not a Greferendum

Andrew Watt

In the late 1950s, as the Cold War increasingly appeared likely to destroy the planet, the British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote of the game of chicken being played by the superpowers: As played by irresponsible boys, this game is considered decadent and immoral, though only the lives of the players are risked. But when the […]

The Truth On Greek Debt Is Not So Simple

Andrew Watt

Against the background of the escalating showdown at the Eurogroup, the Greek Debt Truth Commission has issued, in English, the executive summary of its concluding report. The Committee, consisting of national and international experts, was set up to examine the causes of the increase in Greek debt and investigate its legitimacy. I had always been highly […]

Reach A Deal! The Greek Offer Is A Basis For A Compromise

Andrew Watt

[vision_highlight color=”black” style=”style-1″]The long read[/vision_highlight] Greece and Europe as a whole are teetering on the brink. A flurry of proposals and counter proposals as been made – and rejected. This column discusses the main features of the recent proposal by the Greek government, grouped roughly under the headings macroeconomic policies, fiscal measures, and structural reforms. […]

Drawing The Right Lessons From The Greek Pension Crisis

Andrew Watt

The Financial Times has a useful background article on the debate about pension reforms in Greece, one of the main sticking points in the current showdown, which makes a number of important points. Some comments and amplifications are in order. The article refers to groups of workers that, at least until the crisis, enjoyed very […]

The Greek Stand-off: A Proper Sense Of Perspective Is Urgently Needed

Andrew Watt

Media reports indicate that the stand-off between the new Greek government and its creditors is going to the wire. At stake is Greece’s continued membership of the euro area. Much has been written on the lack of progress and understanding between the two sides. In many cases reports are based on little more than gossip, […]

Dramatic News On QE – ECB Takes Steps To Fulfil Its Price Stability Mandate

Andrew Watt

Speculation in the media had been building for weeks concerning the adoption of quantitative easing – the purchase of sovereign bonds or other financial securities using central bank money – by the European Central Bank. In the run-up to today’s decision, commentators and policymakers had been reaching for the superlatives. Unprecedented action. Opening the monetary […]

The Euro Area – Back To Open Crisis In 2015?

Andrew Watt

With the government having failed to gain the necessary support for its presidential candidate, Greece will hold new elections on the 25th January 2015. Syriza, the leftist umbrella party led by Alexis Tsipras, will very probably emerge as the largest party, although it is not clear whether it will be able to form a government. […]

Yesterday’s Rubbish: Or Why Is A Minimum Wage Different From Free Trade?

Andrew Watt

Germany’s first post-war Chancellor Konrad Adenauer is usually held to be the origin of an often-quoted phrase „Was kümmert mich mein Geschwätz von gestern?“. Roughly: why should I be concerned about the rubbish I talked yesterday? Whatever the rights and wrongs of this attribution, the phrase – used to draw attention to someone who places […]

The ECB’s Problem Is Not Arithmetic But Politics

Andrew Watt

Francesco Papadia, a distinguished monetary policy expert, has written an unfortunately potentially misleading piece on quantitative easing (QE) by the ECB. Entitled Some unpleasant Quantitative Easing Arithmetic, the author argues, in essence, that “arithmetics” militate against the use of QE because of the following three facts: the sums needed are large, the only asset classes that […]