Yesterday it was a rich British Lord offering a GBP 1/4 million cash prize to come up with the best way to break up the euro area. Today it is … the European Central Bank.
Whatever its other failings, that is an institution that usually manages to portray a serious image. But Dean Baker points to an educational video issued by the Bank.
Apparently produced about a year ago, the animated video explains (to children?, adults?, heads of state and government?) just how important it is to keep money tight so as to prevent inflation. Otherwise the dreaded ‘inflation monster’ – yes, seriously – might return. Thankfully the kind-but-tough ECB official has tamed the monster and keeps it in a jar on his desk.
Can you guess where the ECB video (which is in English) was produced? There are no prizes (check the final credits). Let’s just say that it seems that the European Central Bank is convinced that not only the population of a large member state, but that of the entire Euro area needs to be steeped in the myths of the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic.
As Dean rightly remarks, it is a growth crisis and rising unemployment (aka the ‘depression monster’) that is the issue in the euro area right now. And it was depression and rising unemployment, much more than hyperinflation, that broke the back of inter-war democracy in Germany. See here. The importance of perpetuating the Weimar myth is best explained by the fact that unemployment and inflation negatively affect different groups in society. Unemployment: workers and their families. Inflation: people on fixed incomes (the poor little pensioner in the ECB video) and those holding lots of non-indexed financial assets (funnily enough there is no such character in the ECB propaganda film).
So perhaps this was a serious post after all.