By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenex500.com
Finance ministers in the Eurozone appear to have had a free lesson in game theory from Professor Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister. At the time of writing Greece’s future in the Eurozone is far from secured, but it appears that Greece has achieved something.
He gave his fellow finance ministers a deal they dared not refuse, though it still has to be ratified by some parliaments, including Germany’s today. Varoufakis almost certainly understands that the Eurozone is in a weaker position than the bureaucrats and finance ministers themselves believed. It was important for them to become aware of this reality, which was central to his approach.
It appears that under the Lisbon Treaty, Eurozone states cannot expel Greece: she can only leave with everyone’s unanimous agreement, including her own. And they probably didn’t realise that playing hardball against Greece would force the ECB to write off debts approaching ten times her equity capital of only €10.8bn. This would require all member states to increase their capital subscriptions, including the other Eurozone states subject to austerity packages.
Equally, Varoufakis would have known that he could not push his opposite numbers too far because the Brussels establishment also have their national parliaments to consider and the positions of Italy, Spain, Portugal and even Ireland. A revolt against previously-agreed austerity packages by any of these other states would have untold ramifications not only for the future of the Eurozone, but the euro itself.
In the wake of this episode the status of the euro as money is likely to be increasingly questioned, not just in the foreign exchanges, but by its users as well. This should be put into context by referring to Ludwig Von Mises’s regression theorem. Put simply, the theorem states that the validity of any currency as money is based on its history and the basis of the value it had before it was accepted as money. This unfashionable view is demonstrably true of gold and silver, but is it true of paper currencies?
Logic, if not familiarity, suggests that there is something in the regression theorem, which brings us back to the euro. Like the Kenyan shilling, the Zambian kwacha or the Ukrainian hryvnia, the euro lacked any pedigree on its creation. There was no period when people had a choice of national currencies to aid the transition. While bonds and