What should be done to get Germany, and by extension old Europe, back on track?
Friedman | They all ought to imitate Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan; free markets in short.
Germany’s problem, in part, is that it went into the euro at the wrong exchange rate that overvalued the deutsche mark. So you have a situation in the eurozone where Ireland has inflation and rapid expansion while Germany and France have stalled and had the difficulties of adjusting.
The euro is going to be a big source of problems, not a source of help. The euro has no precedent. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a monetary union, putting out a fiat currency, composed of independent states.
There have been unions based on gold or silver, but not on fiat money—money tempted to inflate—put out by politically independent entities.
At the moment, of course, Germany cannot get out of the euro. What it has to do, therefore, is make the economy more flexible—to eliminate the restrictions on prices, on wages and on employment; in short, the regulations that keep 10 percent of the German workforce unemployed. This is far more urgent than it would otherwise be if Germany were not in the euro.
This set of policies would open up the German potential. After all, Germany has a very able and productive workforce. It has high-quality products that are valued all over the world. It has every opportunity to be a productive, growing state. It just has to give its entrepreneurs a chance. It has to let them make money, hire and fire, and act like entrepreneurs.
Instead, what you have as a result of past policies is that German entrepreneurs go outside of Germany for many of their activities. They are investing abroad instead of at home because there isn’t the openness, fluidity and opportunity they find outside their borders.
Via Marginal Revolution.