Skip to content

Death still comes as a shock…

My sentiments exactly…

Kevin O’Rourke

Letter from Dublin

It is one thing to know that someone you love is terminally ill; their death still comes as a shock…..

…The finger of blame was clearly pointed by the Minister of Finance, Brian Lenihan, and several of his colleagues: it was the European Central Bank and the Commission who had vetoed the proposal to force some of the bank losses back onto the bondholders. This interpretation is generally accepted in Dublin, although many observers also blame the Irish negotiating team for caving much too easily into pressure from Brussels and Frankfurt. The implication is that the IMF were the good guys: an unusual position for them to find themselves in, perhaps, and one with political implications in a country whose relationship with the European Union has been uneasy in recent years, and which has conserved close ties with the United States. On Monday night, an opposition spokesman made it clear that he would be much happier negotiating with the IMF, who are reasonable people, than with our European partners. The fallout from this will be toxic.

…The reaction to the news that Irish taxpayers are to be squeezed while foreign bondholders escape scot-free has been one of outraged disbelief and anger. At the start of last week, it was possible to make the argument that ‘burning the bondholders’ was irresponsible, since it would inevitably lead to contagion, and the spread of the crisis to Iberia. That argument has at this stage lost all validity, since contagion has happened anyway. Besides, the correct response to the possibility of contagion was never to engage in make-believe, but to extend taxpayer protection to other Eurozone members as required. Swapping debt for equity in a coordinated fashion across Europe would show ordinary people that Europe is on their side; but like the PLO of old, the European Union never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. It could have provided a means of kick-starting a new post-crisis growth strategy based on investment in the infrastructures we will need in the future; instead it has transformed itself into a mechanism for forcing pro-cyclical adjustment onto countries that are already sinking. It could have led the way in reining in an out-of-control financial sector; instead it now embodies the discredited principle that banks must never, ever, default on their creditors, no matter how insolvent they may be. (link to full article)

Posted in Money Systems.

Tagged with , , .