The Consequences of Unintended Consequences

It used to be that when Jeroen Dijsselbloem, President of the Euro Group, would talk to reporters, he’d open with

Maybe it’s good, if I say something.

And then recently he did say something.  He said that the Cyprus model of raiding depositor accounts to bail out failing banks—in addition to holding the failing banks’ investors and creditors responsible—should be the model for all of the eurozone.

In future aid packages, one must look into whether bank shareholders, bond holders and large depositors could participate so as to spare taxpayers from having to foot the bill.

Now we get the hue and cry from the left—Spiegel International Online included.  Because, you see, it’s somehow wrong to spare those taxpayers—folks who had no investment, no control, no relationship at all with those failing banks—from their Left-manufactured responsibility to indemnify private investors and creditors from the failures of their investments.  After all, it was Very Important People who were benefitting from having their hands in the taxpayers’ pockets.

The advantages were enjoyed not only by actors on the global financial markets, but also by major banking centers, such as those in Luxembourg and London, which could count on seeing governments prop up teetering financial institutions.

And so we see a consequence of unintended consequences made manifest: the naked greed of politicians and their accomplices.

And another, more favorable, consequence of these unintended consequences is being forced to the front:

A growing number of politicians and experts are demanding an end to this arrangement.  In the future, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “banks must save themselves.”  And German central bank board member Andreas Dombret is convinced that the financial sector can only regain health once there are no longer “implicit state guarantees for banks.”

Even the Luxembourg Finance Minister, Luc Frieden, his financial constituency notwithstanding, is figuring out a larger result of raiding depositor accounts to pay for businessmen’s and politicians’ failure to perform.

This will lead to a situation in which investors invest their money outside the euro zone.  In this difficult situation, we need to avoid anything that will lead to instability and destroy the trust of savers.

After all, the political futures of these foxhole-converting politicians depend on it.  Because in yet another consequence of these unintended consequences, the voting public—those taxpayers—are noticing the grubby political fists in their pockets.

And there’s the potential for another consequence of these unintended consequences.  The IMF has released their latest report on the currency reserves held by the various nations of the world.

Third World economies unloaded $45 billion worth of euros in 2012 in an accelerating trend.  Some of that, certainly, is related to the failed global recovery from the Panic of 2008.  However, Europe’s decision to raid Cyprus depositors’ funds to bail out failing banks, together with the Euro Group’s view that such raids are appropriate solutions for other eurozone bank failures, won’t encourage folks from outside the EU to place their money with eurozone—or EU—banks.  Which will contribute to continued dumping of euro holdings.  Which will continue the EU’s de facto dependence on the $US as the reserve currency, rather than elevating the euro in importance and from that, elevating the EU.

Unless Merkel, Frieden, et al., can prove themselves serious.

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