Derailed: Wynne Godley On The Euro Area

I am in favour of Britain having much closer ties with other European countries, provided that appropriate institutions are created and the whole thing is brought under effective political control. But I have never been able to understand what it is that those who support the Maastricht Treaty think they are going to get out of it. Maastricht supporters are keen on ‘not being left out’. But left out of what exactly?

It seems clear that the Maastricht criteria for the establishment of ‘convergence’ were far too narrowly conceived. To fulfil the conditions necessary for a successful currency union it is not nearly enough that member countries agree to follow simple rules on budgetary policy and achieve some minimum period of low inflation and currency stability. They need to reach a degree of structural homogeneity such that shocks to the system as a whole do not normally affect component regions in drastically different ways. Moreover, arrangements should be made which ensure that when substantial changes of a structural kind do turn up the federal authority is equipped to share out any burden which ensues. It would be wrong to suppose that there exist well-defined ‘fault lines’ which can be cured once and for all. Structural changes are always going to be taking place as a consequence of political earthquakes, or for other reasons, and the Community must have some way of dealing with them.

– Wynne Godley, Derailed, 1993

A list of articles by Wynne Godley on the Euro Area:

  1. ‘Commonsense Route To A Common Europe’, Observer,  6 January 1991, page 28 (scan)
  2. ‘Maastricht And All That’, London Review of Books, Vol. 14 No. 19, 8 October 1992, pages 3-4 (link)
  3. ‘Derailed’, London Review of Books, Vol. 15 No. 16, 19 August 1993, page 9 (link, more here)
  4. ‘Curried EMU – The Meal That Fails To Nourish’, Observer, 31 August 1997, page 24 (scan)

Wynne-Godley-July-1981Wynne Godley, July 1981
(picture source)

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