The PIIGS Crisis
By Arnold Kling
Peter Boone, Simon Johnson,, and James Kwak discuss the current financial situation, focusing on the PIIGS crisis. Their bottom line translates into: have a nice day.
The PIIGS crisis seems a bit like the subprime crisis. That is the PIIGS are the subprime sovereign credits. But maybe the prime sovereign credits are not really so prime, and we will some day be calling this the global sovereign debt crisis instead of the PIIGS crisis, just as today we refer to the overall financial crisis of 2008, not the subprime crisis.
Elsewhere, I read that the UK and Switzerland (two non-EU members) want the IMF to help Greece, but the EU wants to avoid the IMF. Why is that? If Johnson is correct, then the IMF cannot do anything, so the UK and Switzerland are basically saying they do not care what happens to Greece.
Alternatively, the UK and Switzerland think they will be more competitive in European markets if the euro is strong. Because an EU-engineered bailout would likely weaken the euro, the Keynesian-mercantilist inclination in the UK and Switzerland might prefer that the IMF step in.
Alternatively, everyone is advocating policies that they think are optimal from a detached world citizen point of view, and the advocates of using the IMF just happen to be from non-EU countries.
Timothy Geithner says that the financial sector is pretty healthy. Don’t worry, he loves Simon Johnson. Geithner was planning to send Johnson a valentine, but with the snow and all, well, you know how it is.