Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Merkel the Marathoner

First Marathon Runner

Angela Merkel has compared the euro crisis as a "marathon," according to a report by Nicholas Kulish and Alan Cowell: "No quick fix for crisis in euro zone, Merkel says" (International Herald Tribune, December 3-4, 2011):
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, a central player in efforts to rescue Europe's single currency, on Friday ruled out a rapid solution to the euro zone's debt crisis, comparing the process to a runners' marathon and saying it could take years . . . . "Resolving the sovereign debt crisis is a process and this process will take years," Mrs. Merkel said . . . . Marathon runners, she said, believe that their efforts become particularly difficult after the "35 kilometer mark . . . . But they also say that you can get to the finish if you are conscious of the magnitude of the task from the very start."

I'm not going to hazard a suggestion on how the European Union should resolve its euro zone crisis, but I will say that a "marathon" is not the most useful analogy. Merkel takes the analogy rather literally, too. She speaks of its "magnitude" and apparantly means 42.195 kilometers, for she refers to the "35 kilometer mark." Merkel's view of this economic crisis is too static. She imagines a fixed timeline for the crisis, with a clear beginning and a clear end and precisely 42.195 kilometers from the former to the latter. But this crisis is not static; it is dynamic, and if the EU does not run more quickly, then the race could extend indefinitely . . . until the euro's collapse, of course.

We might also want to remember that Pheidippides, the first marathon runner, died upon finishing his run . . .

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At 5:30 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

What's your prognosis, Jeffery? Or can you point to a credible one? I don't know much about economics.

At 7:12 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I don't know much either, but a common currency would seem to need a central bank with power to establish monetary policy. The EU has a central bank, the ECB, but it can't set monetary policy, so the EU is having difficulty convincing the markets that it is capable of backing up its currency.

But an ECB with monetary powers would need a corresponding political center -- i.e., like the Federal Reserve requires Federal Government in the US -- which is problematic in the EU case because the EU is not very democratic.

I could go on and on, but you can get better information from Wikipedia.

The short answer is that a serious effort to save the euro will have ramifications throughout the EU system.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:15 AM, Blogger dhr said...

You're right, Jeffery, and...

many thanks for encouraging us so much
:-D :-D :-D

On the other hand, the very inventor of joggin' died after an heart attack.

At 6:14 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

It has come to my attention, Dario, that many people have died over the centuries, but there appear to be a lot of people living these day, so perhaps death is a thing of the past . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:55 AM, Blogger dhr said...

And, not even original: the trite copy-past procedure.

[word verification: erades]

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Good point. If with one man, all men died, as St. Paul says, then that debt should already be taken care of, so no need to die.

Jeffery Hodges

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