Noah denkt™  -
    Project for Philosophical Evaluations of the Economy
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The Anti-Merkel diatribes in the European press are disproportionate
Dialogue with the Alter Ego, drafted and published on December 6, 2011
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Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (Nd): By the way, what does Noah denkt™ make of the vigorous criticism
that German chancellor Angela Merkel receives these days for her intransigent management of the EURO/debt
crisis?
Answer by Noah denkt™: Oh, you are referring to the diatribes that are being published against her particularly in
the left wing press of Southern Europe  (Le Monde, El País etc…)?

AE: Correct?
Nd: Well, we find this criticism of her astonishingly disproportionate.

AE: But isn’t it true that the hard bargaining approach she has chosen to defend the German interest in this
debate have steered Europe on the verge of disaster? And isn’t it also true that she has been surprisingly slow to
understand the depth of the problem right from the start. Just think of her irresponsible peddling towards regional
election considerations when addressing
the all important Greek bailout issue.
Nd: We have to admit that we ourselves would have been a lot more lenient both
in the EURO-bond question and
in the ECB’s lender of last resort role than she has been all along. But nevertheless we understand that she
needed to bargain hard here in order not to sell out to the bleeding-heart tax-and-spend crowd.

AE: So, what is it that you would say to the El País campaigners who want to force her into submission?
Nd: We would tell them to take it easy here. And we would invite them not to forget how hard the Spanish
government fought back when it became clear that the entrance of Poland and other Central European countries
into the EU might jeopardize its prior share of the EU’s regional development and cohesion fund.

AE: In other words, you consider it legitimate that any national government within the EU fights tooth and nail to
defend its national interests?
Nd: Obviously, we’d hope that things wouldn’t have to be as hard knuckled as they usually turn out to be. But then
again, you have to be realistic here.

AE: That would also entail though that the current Merkel bashing is only part of the game and that we should not
take this all too seriously?
Nd: Yes and no. “Yes”, because it’s true that there is a serious amount of government inspired orchestration in
the Anti-Merkel campaign. But “No”, because the divides that have opened up between the fiscally conservative
Northern states and the
Keynesian, catholic South are quite disconcerting. They make you wonder how on earth
these different cultures will be able to continuously resolve their discrepancies peacefully.

AE: But they must learn how to do that, don’t they?
Nd: Yes, in deed. And that is why we have to call a spade a spade and not take it lightly when things get blown out
of proportion.

AE: Do you have another example of undue exaggeration in this debate about
the rescue of the EURO?
Nd: Sure. Just take this argument that the ECB’s interest rates in the run up to the financial crisis of 2008 were
good for Germany but too low for Spain and that, hence,
Germany now has a moral obligation to co-finance the
Spanish boom-bust debt.

AE: But what’s wrong about that argument?
Nd: Well, the ECB interest rates prior 2008 were equally low for Finland, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands and
Luxembourg. And it doesn’t seem to us as if those countries made the same mistakes that Spain’s banking and
building industry made. Now, some respected commentators, such as Paul Krugman, argue, that the Spanish
dilemma is all due to the good weather that Spain enjoys and that, hence, there is no reason to be overly strict
with the Spanish construction bubble perpetrators. And he may have a point there. But why is it then that Spain,
contrary to Ireland, simply can’t seem to be able to export its way out of the current misery? Is this also due to the
sun? Or has this more to do with an inadequate way of preparing the Spanish people for the challenges of a free
market economy?

AE: Well, the latter certainly seems to be true.
Nd: Correct.  So the real question in all this seems to us: “Will there ever come a time when the Southern
European left deems the circumstances right to balance the budget? Or will they instead for ever defend the
cocoon that protects its people from having to face the reality of a digitalized, individualistic world?  

AE: These are strong words, which could easily be seen as being out of proportion! After all, it’s true that it were
mainly left wing governments that enacted the first serious cuts in Europe.
Nd: Yes, and it’s also true that El País has somewhat supported all of these initial cuts. But still, there is need for
more. And so we simply had to get this out now, given that the EURO issue seems to be building up to a cathartic
boiling point.

AE: Okay, this lack of self-restraint shall be granted to you at this time. After all, you have been surprisingly quiet
for a while now.
Nd: Thank you for your generosity.
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Keywords:

criticism of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, intransigent Angela Merkel, Chancellor
Merkel's management of the EURO crisis, defending German Chancellor Merkel, disproportionate criticism of
Chancellor Merkel,
Germany's position in the EURO crisis, the Merkozy show