Causes of the Sovereign Debt Crisis

In: Business and Management

Submitted By afiq32
Words 2451
Pages 10
In the immediate aftermath of the financial meltdown in 2008, the global crisis has made an important shift. By then not the private banking sector, from where the financial crisis originally emerged from, but sovereign states face the risk of default. In order to analyse the multifaceted character of the European sovereign debt crisis, this essay focuses on its systemic causes. Contrary to the argument of popular Northern European politicians and journalists that blame the inability of Southern European states to manage deficit spending, the Eurozone crisis is firstly determined by imbalances in the European Monetary Union, and secondly by imbalances in the global political economy. This paper argues that the vast amount of sovereign debt is therefore not the result of weak Southern European nations, but of inherent structural illnesses that ultimately led to the current crisis. This essay is divided into two sections. The first section examines the problems of the design of the European Monetary Union. In regard to the theory of an ‘Optimum Currency Area’ by Robert Mundell, it analyses the extent to which the EMU has failed to meet the criteria of optimised efficiency. In the absence of an adjustment mechanism for unequal development in Euro member states, the dominance of Germany as leading export nation created severe inequalities. The second section then focuses on the role of the global political economy and imbalances that were created in the ‘era of financialisation’ following the demise of Bretton Woods. The shift to neoliberalism and consequently the liberalisation of finance have led to an increase in speculation with financial assets. The ‘Global Surplus Recycling Mechanism’ – the recycling of surpluses from successful export countries such as Germany and Japan in Wall Street – has massively increased the amount of money available to households in form of…...

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