How to Leave the Euro
How to Leave the Euro in a Few Easy Steps:
1) At 18.00 on a Friday evening, announce that (a) the New Escudo will be legal tender for all contracts in Portugal and (b) all existing contracts are now converted at the rate of 1 Euro = 100 NE (New Escudos). All bank withdrawals at ATMs will be suspended while new notes can be distributed, but the automatic payment system will start working in New Escudos in less than 24 hours.
It is the conversion of contracts which is the most important step. If bank accounts were kept in Euro, everything would work just fine too, but I expect that the government will actually want some of those Euros for itself. So expect your bank account to now contain New Escudos.
After this, we are almost done.
2) Print money and mint coins as fast as you can and start giving them out at ATMs. I expect this to take a few weeks to fully normalise, but small amounts should be available for withdrawal by Monday (some printing/minting could be done ahead of time). Withdrawals would still be limited due to limited availability of notes and coins, but Portuguese people use electronic payments a lot and they would be working. A limit of 2,000 NE (equivalent to 20 Euro) per day would allow for small cash payments (drug dealers and other users of large cash transactions would be able to continue to operate in Euro).
3) Set up special courts to deal with the fall-outs. Almost all contracts are clearly under Portuguese Law and would be converted to NEs, so no questions there. It is only international contracts that would need sorting out. Of those, a large fraction could simply be renegotiated (it doesn't matter at what value they were set by the government, as they would be ripped apart).
Only a few would actually need a court decision. For those, make decisions as fast as possible in a way that is generally well-accepted by all (even if they are not happy). For this, one would need, at least, the acquiescence of the EU powers-that-be.
None of this is covered by any EU treaty or international law. But, hey, it's the EU, who cares about legality? (Unless by legal you mean what Germany wants or can be guilted into paying for, which is the legal standard that has traditionally been used in EU matters).
Of course, by 18.01 on Friday evening, the NE would be trading at 1 Euro = 150 NEs or so, which is the point. It's 5 years of austerity in 5 microseconds.
The New Portuguese Central Bank can now allow more inflation and keep NGDP growing stably.
Money is mostly about coordination. Switching the currency is a major discoordination event. However, if it is done well, and there is a proper expectation that the system will henceforth be stable, then the one-time price that is paid would be worth it to get away from the ECB straight-jacket.
On the other hand, it might actually reduce uncertainty. Right now, nobody is sure of who (and most importantly, when) will leave the single currency. By settling this question, coordination might actually improve.blog comments powered by Disqus