VWL: Becker gegen die Währungsunion

Als vor Jahrzehnten Pläne der EU, damals noch die Europäische Gemeinschaft, bekannt wurden, eine gemeinsame Währung zu schaffen, war Gary Becker eine der lautesten Stimmen, die davor gewarnt haben. Sein Hauptargument war dabei keines, das auf die Probleme, die sich mit einer optimum currency area verbinden, gezielt hat, sondern eines, das die Opportunitätskosten betont hat, das, was mit einer gemeinsamen Währung verloren geht [Beim Lesen hat man den Eindruck, Becker haben die Griechenland-Krise vorher gesehen):

“Competition among currencies helps discipline irresponsible governments by reducing their incentives to increase their money supplies and to finance budget deficits arising from dubious expenditures, such as inefficient state enterprises. Currencies will fall in value if governments try to inflate their way out of fiscal difficulties, since individuals and businesses will shift transactions into stabler monies.

Presumably the population of each nation will continue to prefer its own money. But as they gain familiarity with the new system, consumers, workers and businesspeople will make greater use of the monies with more stable purchasing power. This approach allows the Germans and others to rely mainly on their own currencies as long as they continue to perform well.

After an adjustment period the transaction costs of dealing in several currencies is likely to amount to only a minor inconvenience. After all, many shops at international airports now accept over a dozen monies, and they find that only slightly more inconvenient than taking American Express, Eurocard or other credit cards. Moreover, businesses can economize on the costs if they wish by choosing to deal in one or two monies. A dominant currency could emerge from the free choice of the different populations as they concentrate their transactions in the stablest currency, be it the mark, pound or even the lira, if it is well-managed.

Nations from all over the globe have discovered the enormous advantage of competition over monopoly in the production of steel, telecommunications, air travel, and other goods and services. The European Union has completely ignored this lesson in its plan for a common money. But it may not be too late to reverse direction and thereby encourage greater competition between European currencies in order to penalize and discourage irresponsible government-based monetary and fiscal policies.”

Aus Gary S. Becker, The Economics of Life.