As Europe struggles to stay afloat with the ever-heavier burden of debt-ridden Greece, some radical proposals are on offer. There were the early bailout plans, the idea of giving Greece a "holiday" from the euro, an IMF-like European Monetary Fund, and even a two-euro solution.
It's not as if some sort of monetary breakup hasn't been proposed before. On Monday, though, Joachim Starbatty puts a twist on the usual argument, nicely articulating some of the frustration in Germany over the current crisis. He urges solvent Germany to pull a South Carolina: instead of Greece ditching the euro, Germany should, refusing to be dragged down by the poor economies of other member states. Here's his reasoning:
If Germany were to take that opportunity and pull out of the euro, it wouldn't be alone. The same calculus would probably lure Austria, Finland and the Netherlands--and perhaps France--to leave behind the high-debt states and join Germany in a new, stable bloc, perhaps even with a new common currency. This would be less painful than it might seem: the euro zone is already divided between these two groups, and the illusion that they are unified has caused untold economic complications.
Starbatty, writing from Germany, even says that, with Greece & Co. well disposed of, the new German-led Euro 2.0 could "easily supersede the dollar as the global safe-haven currency," particularly if the U.S. should "fail to put in place a politically credible strategy to lower its own debt." The overall message of the op-ed is pretty clear: let's get all us responsible people together and leave these hot messes--be they Greece, France, or the U.S.--to their own devices.