Saturday 17 February 2018

David MCWilliams: Berlin, not Brussels, will decide future of the euro

What we are seeing now is the breakdown of conventional wisdom in Europe. With respect to the euro, conventional wisdom is a strange and stubborn commodity. Normally it is technocrats who are at the vanguard of conventional wisdom. These technocrats don't have to work in the public service. They can hide in dynamic companies for a while. But what bonds them together is a technocratic fear of change.

Fear of change is the handmaiden of fear of failure. Many so-called "serious" people believed the conventional wisdom that the euro could not break up and they don't want to look very silly when it does. They are driven by this fear of failure. If something, which they have staked so much of their reputation on, changes or succumbs to the redoubtable gravity of economic logic, they will fail. The worst thing that can happen to people who take themselves very seriously is being wrong.

Most of us get things wrong a lot of the time; we make mistakes and hopefully learn from these mistakes, but "serious people" -- the purveyors of conventional wisdom -- can't bring themselves to admit this.

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