Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Oh, what a difference

Back in 2005, Germany had the highest unemployement rate among the major economies of the EU (of the big four including France, UK, Italy and the PIGS economies of Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain). Ireland had the lowest. Today, as Moody's downgrades the credit rating of six European countries, Germany has the lowest unemployment among them all. How fortunes have changed in such a short span of time. It should be noted that the Deutschland during the global financial crisis went alone in not stimulating its economy.

Could this be a case of free-loading? Stimulus only works when everyone does it, otherwise some of the fiscal spending leaks out through imports of foreign made goods, not benefiting the local economy. Germany, having benefited from the stimulus spending of its neighbors during the GFC, does not relish its present role in bailing out its ailing neighbors. A classic case of "no free lunch."

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