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A Trio Of Trilemmas

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EUROPEAN leaders have enjoyed a period of respite from financial turmoil since last summer. But the euro remains vulnerable. Portuguese bond yields soared this week as the ruling coalition fractured. Ireland’s economy has contracted for three quarters in a row. A proper banking union is a long way off. The euro’s fragility is underlined by a new study by Michael Bordo of Rutgers University and Harold James of Princeton University. The two economic historians look at the flaws in another supposedly impregnable international monetary regime, the gold standard, and find reasons to fret about the single currency.

The parallels between the euro and the gold standard are not exact. The single currency is a monetary union with the European Central Bank (ECB) at its apex; the gold standard had no such institution. The euro floats against other currencies such as the dollar, and the ECB is obliged to maintain price stability rather than convertibility into gold. But for the 17 states that now share the single currency, it represents a new gold standard in that their exchange rates with each other are fixed.


Price stability itself is an illusion and central bank view of price stability is ever increasing prices with deflation to be fought at all costs.

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  • 243 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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