I have said that German bankers have done what the German army couldn't: conquer continental Europe. Actually, the Germans did hold onto it for a few years. The bankers seem to be holding onto their territory better than the army, though. I even said if you at a map of Europe you will find many similarities to a map of Europe in 1943.
Apparently, Krugman agrees with the general principle, although he might be a little kinder in his analysis.
The Germans are outraged, outraged at the U.S. Treasury department, whoseSemiannual Report On International Economic And Exchange Rate Policiessays some negative things about how German macroeconomic policy is affecting the world economy. German officials say that the report’s conclusions are “incomprehensible” — which is just bizarre, because they’re absolutely straightforward.
Oh, and yes, the US inexcusably spied on Angela Merkel — but that has nothing to do with this, and anyone bringing it into this conversation thereby demonstrates his or her intellectual bankruptcy. Also, frank talk about German economic policies doesn’t make you anti-German or anti-European; again, anyone trying to evade the substance by bringing that kind of accusation in has in effect conceded the argument...
The creation of the euro was followed by the emergence of huge imbalances, with vast amounts of capital flowing from the core to the periphery. Then came a “sudden stop” of private capital flows, forcing the peripheral nations to eliminate their current account deficits, albeit with the process slowed by the provision of official loans, mainly through loans among central banks. The really bad news for the periphery is that so far the adjustment has taken place mainly through depressed economies rather than regained competitiveness; so the counterpart of that “improvement” for Spain is 25 percent unemployment.
Normally you would and should expect the adjustment to be more or less symmetrical, with surplus countries reducing their surpluses as deficit countries reduced their deficits. But that hasn’t happened. Germany hasn’t adjusted at all; all of the rise in peripheral European current accounts has taken place at the expense of the rest of the world.
And that’s a very bad thing. We are still in a world ruled by inadequate demand, and very much subject to the paradox of thrift. By running inappropriate large surpluses, Germany is hurting growth and employment in the world at large. Germans may find this incomprehensible, but it’s just macroeconomics 101.
You might argue that it’s not the German government’s fault that it runs surpluses — but you’d be wrong. (I’ve fallen into this trap, but acknowledged the error.) For one thing, Germany has pursued fiscal austerity despite its creditor status, contributing to an overall tightening of policy in the eurozone...
Of course, I don’t expect German officials to admit that there’s anything to what Treasury says. They’re not big on macroeconomics as we understand it; actually, they’re not big on accounting identities, since their view seems to be that everyone should be like Germany, and run huge trade surpluses.
But Treasury just stated the obvious and true.