The euro is an incredibly stupid idea. That is not me saying it (though it could’ve been). No, this is Tim Worstall, writing in the Telegraph:
It would, in economic terms, have been better to have a new currency for all countries beginning with the letter M than for the eurozone. Or for all countries that have the 5th parallel North passing through them.
Yes, of course, we all know, the euro is the bright new dawn, the vital step in stopping Germany from invading France. Again. No one seems to have noticed it that they managed it last time and having experienced the place seem to have no desire at all to go back. So this might not be a problem that needs a solution. (…)
And, as you can see, it’s a blitheringly stupid idea to try and push countries into the same currency just because they happen to be next door to each other. People would have been better off if we’d insisted that the c. 1800 Ottoman Empire had the same currency again: Tunisia, Turkey, Israel and Greece. Which is a real indication of how dumb it was to try and get Greece and Germany into the same currency.
So a very silly thing done by those Very Serious People who have decided they’d like to rule us.
See also the chart reproduced above.
All joking aside, back when the euro was introduced, the political classes knew it was a stupid idea. Der Spiegel has uncovered documents that show that at least Helmut Kohl and his government knew the Italians were conning their way into the euro. yet the forged ahead anyway.
Horst Köhler wrote to the chancellor in mid-March [of 1998]. Formerly the German chief negotiator in the Maastricht Treaty negotiations, Köhler had moved on to become the president of the German Savings Bank Association. Enclosed with his letter was a study by the Hamburg Institute of International Economics, which concluded that Italy had not fulfilled the conditions “for permanent and sustainable deficit and debt reduction,” and that it posed “a special risk” to the euro.
But Kohl rebuffed his former confidant. Of course the Europeans would have to continue their structural reforms, he replied, but he was confident that the governments would rise to the challenge “in the coming years.”
At a European Union special summit in Brussels in early May 1998, Kohl felt the “weight of history” and, without further ado, provided his unreserved support. “Not without the Italians, please. That was the political motto,” says Joachim Bitterlich, Kohl’s foreign policy advisor.
So, an incredibly stupid idea was foisted upon all of us, by incredibly stupid politicians for monumentally stupid reasons.
Remind me: why can we not arrest, try and execute them, again?
[UPDATE001] EURef is on the case as well: Operation self-deception.