Europe clings to scorched-earth ideology as depression deepens
Like the generals of the First World War, Europe’s leaders seem determined to send wave after wave of their youth into the barbed wire of tight money, bank deleveraging, and fiscal austerity a l’outrance.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
09 Dec 2012
The strategy of triple-barrelled contraction across a string of inter-linked countries has been the greatest policy debacle since the early 1930s. The outcome over the last three years has been worse than forecast at every stage, and in every key respect.
The eurozone has crashed back into double-dip recession. It will contract a further 0.3pc next year, according to a chastened European Central Bank. The ECB omitted mention of its own role in this fiasco by allowing all key measures of the money supply to stall in mid-2012, with the time-honoured consequences six months to a year later.
The North has been engulfed at last by the contractionary holocaust it imposed on the South. French car sales crashed 19pc last month, even before its fiscal shock therapy — 2pc of GDP next year. The Bundesbank admitted on Friday tore up its forecast on Friday. Germany itself is in recession.
The youth jobless rate has reached 58pc in Greece, 55.8pc in Spain, 39.1pc in Portugal, 36.5pc in Italy, 30.1pc in Slovakia, and 25.5pc in France, with all the known damage this does to the life-trajectory of the victims and the productive dynamism of these economies.