Exiting the euro | Michael Roberts

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Exiting the euro | Michael Roberts

Michael Roberts argues that those in Greece who cite the example of Argentina when suggesting that Greece should leave the Euro are not necessarily looking at the whole picture. The situations are not the same, Roberts points out, citing Argentina’s former central bank governor at the time, Mario Blejer and his recent piece in the Financial Times. He also points to research based on the the experience of five recent devaluations of economies in crisis (including that of Argentina) which “shows that they lead to a 10-20% fall in real GDP and take five to ten years to recover to previous real GDP levels. But that is not to say that there is no alternative to “lowering wages, privatising the state sector, reducing taxes for the corporate sector (especially big business) and ‘deregulating’ labour markets i.e. the super-exploitation of the Greek people to raise profitability.”

But the left could also find an alternative policy to exiting the euro where Greece negotiates a full default on its debt to private and foreign bondholders; takes over the banks; and uses the savings from bond and interest repayments (€17-20bn a year) to start state directed investment in jobs, technology and funding small businesses, while staying in the euro to protect the savings of the people from destruction, keeping down inflation and avoiding a rise in foreign debt.  The question of exiting the euro then becomes an issue for the Euro leaders to impose (and to be resisted by a campaign within Europe), not as the main policy plank of the left.

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Donagh is the editor of Irish Left Review. Contact Donagh through email: dublinopinionAtgmail.com