By creating the European Central Bank, the member states exposed their own government bonds to the risk of default. Developed countries that issue bonds in their own currency never default, because they can always print money. Their currency may depreciate, but the risk of default is absent.
There is no question that a breakup of the euro would be very damaging, very costly, both financially and politically. And the biggest loss would be incurred by Germany. Germans have to bear in mind that, effectively, they have suffered practically no losses so far. Transfers have all been in the form of loans, and it is only when the loans are not repaid that real losses will be incurred.
Germany will always do the minimum to preserve the euro. Doing the minimum, though, will perpetuate the situation where the debtor countries in Europe have to pay tremendous premiums to refinance their debt. The result will be a Europe in which Germany is seen as an imperial power that will not be loved and admired by the rest of Europe – but hated and resisted, because it will perceived as an oppressive power.
I’m not better than the next trader, just quicker at admitting my mistakes and moving on to the next opportunity.
My conceptual framework, which basically emphasizes the importance of misconceptions, makes me extremely critical of my own decisions. I know that I am bound to be wrong, and therefore am more likely to correct my own mistakes.
Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes.
America felt victorious and generous after World War II. They had also learned from the mistakes after World War I when they imposed punishment on Germany. What became of Germany? A Nazi dictatorship which threatened the world. Today’s Germany doesn’t feel as prosperous and generous as America then. But actually, Germany still is very prosperous.
Money values do not simply mirror the state of affairs in the real world; valuation is a positive act that makes an impact on the course of events. Monetary and real phenomena are connected in a reflexive fashion; that is, they influence each other mutually. The reflexive relationship manifests itself most clearly in the use and abuse of credit.
I wish I could write a book that will be read for as long as our civilization lasts… I would value it much more highly than any business success if I could contribute to an understanding of the world in which we live or, better yet, if I could help to preserve the economic and political system that has allowed me to flourish as a participant.
In 2012, the far-right Golden Dawn won 21 seats in Greece’s parliamentary election, the right-wing Jobbik gained ground in my native Hungary, and the National Front’s Marine Le Pen received strong backing in France’s presidential election. Growing support for similar forces across Europe points to an inescapable conclusion: the continent’s prolonged financial crisis is creating a crisis of values that is now threatening the European Union itself.
Markets are designed to allow individuals to look after their private needs and to pursue profit. It’s really a great invention, and I wouldn’t underestimate the value of that. But they’re not designed to take care of social needs.
Although I have made a fortune in the financial markets, I now fear that the untrammeled intensification of malaise-fair capitalism and the spread of market values into all areas of life is endangering our open and democratic society. The main enemy of the open society, I believe, is no longer the communist but the capitalist threat.