Self-interest in Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
self-interest with respect to the character of Robinson Crusoe.
This paper investigates the lessons learned from Europe's convergence process of the 1990s. The paper challenges the conventional focus on labour market institutions and "structural rigidities" as the root cause of Europe's poor employment record. Instead, it is argued that macroeconomic demand management, particularly monetary policy, played the key role. Concentrating on Germany, the analysis shows that fiscal consolidation was accompanied by monetary tightness of an extraordinary degree and duration. This finding is of interest for the past as well as the future, for the Maastricht regime much resembles the one that produced the unsound policy mix of the 1990s: a constrained fiscal authority paired with an independent monetary authority free to impose its will on the overall outcome. The analysis thus highlights a key asymmetry in the Maastricht regime that is not unlikely to continue to inflict a deflationary bias on the system. It is argued that this policy bias may be overcome only if the ECB deliberately assumes its real role of generating domestic demand-led growth, thereby resolving Euroland's key structural problem: asymmetric monetary policy. Concerning the conventional structuralist theme, the analysis debunks the "Dutch myth" of supply-led growth through structural reform. Depicting a popular fallacy of composition, we stress that the peculiar Dutch strategy of demand-led growth does not present itself as an option for Euroland.
Thesis Statement on "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel …
This paper investigates the causes of western Germany's remarkably poor performance since 1992. The paper challenges the view that the poor record of the nineties, particularly the marked deterioration in public finances since unification, might be largely attributable to unification. Instead, the analysis highlights the role of ill-timed and overly ambitious fiscal consolidation in conjunction with tight monetary policies of an exceptional length and degree. The issue of fiscal sustainability and Germany's fiscal and monetary policies are assessed both in the light of economic theory and in comparison to the best practices of other more successful countries. The analysis concludes that Germany's dismal record of the nineties must not be seen as a direct and apparently inevitable result of unification. Rather, the record arose as a perfectly unnecessary consequence of unsound macro demand policies conducted under the Bundesbank's dictate in response to it, policies that caused the severe and protracted de-stabilization of western Germany in the first place.