Bleeding Europe, by Paul Krugman, in NY Times: Europe has surprised me with its political resilience — the willingness of debtor nations to endure seemingly endless pain, the ability of the ECB to do just enough, at the very last minute, to calm markets when the financial situation seems ready to explode. But the economics of austerity have played out exactly according to script — the Keynesian script, that is, not the austerian script. Again and again, “responsible” technocrats induce their nations to accept the bitter austerity medicine; again and again, they fail to deliver results. The latest case in point is Italy, where Mario Monti — a good guy, deeply sincere — is leaving early, ultimately because his policies are delivering Italy into depression. (And yes, for the record, this means that Italy won’t get the full Monti.)
So what’s the answer? Stay the course, say the Eurocrats. It will work any day now — the confidence fairy is coming!
Kevin O’Rourke has it right: Europe has become the continent where good times are always just around the corner.
It really is like medieval medicine, where you bled patients to treat their ailments, and when the bleeding made them sicker, you bled them even more.