The 'tragedy of the commons' or 'free-rider' dilemma of game theoretical cocktail parties is a great framework for considering the current tug-of-war between individual sovereign fiscal actions among the European Union and the over-arching monetary policy of the ECB. If the ECB is dovish and too many states decide to suckle on the teat of liquidity - as opposed to fiscally 'behave' - then everyone loses (as we see currently evolving). The lack of any Nash (stable and dominant) equilibrium among the European nations and their hoped-for benefactor is becoming increasingly problematic for both trading and business investment.
Nomura's Global Macro Strategy group tackle the problem that is now abundantly clear, the euro area as currently constructed is not stable and so it will have to change (hence, the Euro is dead!). The direction of travel is being set out by northern European politicians and is worth noting – more Union not less. But two points are critical to note; first that the new euro area may be so different from the one the current members signed up to as to make a process of voluntary re-application for euro stage II necessary to determine future membership, and second that any new variable geometry euro will take a long period of time to set up. How then to cover the intervening period?
Without credible pre-commitment on the part of either the ECB or the fiscal authorities, the game framework indicates either a loss of independence for the ECB under substantial political pressure to shift unilaterally to the dove camp or EFSF/IMF assistance and the pooling of fiscal risks against the backdrop of a political agenda for a new euro area.
We have long mocked and ridiculed the Fed for being the ultimate ponzi instrument: after all, why worry, when your central bank will buy up almost three trillion in US paper in about 2 years (a very comforting fact for US politicians who never have to fear that those trillions in new porkbills, pardon fiscal stimulus programs, may end up without funding). Well, as it turns out those wily veteran bankers from across the Atlantic have just one upped America yet again. According to the Telegraph, the abysmal, and barely successful, 3 EUR billion issuance of EFSF bonds (which was originally supposed to be 10 EUR billion, on its very very gradual climb to 1 EUR trillion) had one more very curious feature to it, aside from confirming that it is Dead On Arrival as expected. It turns out that in addition to being the most convoluted and complex creation ever conceived by JPM which is advising Europe on coming up with structured finance products that are so complex nobody will ask any questions and will automatically assume someone else has done the homework, it is also the quintessential ponzi instrument. The Telegraph reports that the already reduced 3 EUR billion "target was only met after the EFSF resorted to buying up several hundred million euros worth of the bonds." You read that right: in its first bond issuance since its transformation to the European Bank/Soveriegn Bailout Swiss Army Knife, the EFSF not only failed to raise a minimum token amount, but also had to... buy its own bonds. We can assume that the money the EFSF needed to fund said purchase came from the money growing tree, as at last check the ECB was still not funding the EFSF with crisp, new zEURq.PK equivalent binary 1s and 0s. But at least we all know what happens when the global ponzi goes full retard.
It is no secret that over the past two months, Goldman has commenced a full endorsement of Nominal GDP targetting as a method to stimulate the economy, not to mention Wall Street's bonus pool, after Ben Bernanke completely ignored Hatzius' advice to reduce the Interest on Overnight Excess Reserve rate as well as subsequent pleading for a start of MBS LSAP. Mathematics once again aside, and as we demonstrated, the math works out to an non-trivial incremental $10 trillion in debt through 2016 on top of what will be issued, to catch up with the GDP growth run rate and to eliminate the excess slack in the economy, the question is whether NGDP would achieve any tangible stimulus at all, or merely reduce the Fed's ever smaller arsenal of non-conventional means to boost the economy by one more approach. The attached rhetorical Q&A just released by Goldman seeks to answer that and any other left over questions one may have on NGDP as a policy measure, and further puts out the inverse strawman argument that it is not coming out any time soon. To wit: "We do not expect a move to an NGDP target anytime soon, although the probability would increase if growth and/or inflation slowed by more than we currently estimate." Then again, with the whole reverse psychology trademark inherent in every piece of Goldman public product, and considering the squid's previous advances to determine monetary policy have been snubbed, it may just mean that the next time the US economy implodes, this is precisely the method the Fed may use in early 2012 to guarantee another record year of Wall Street bonuses considering 2011 will be abysmal for so many Swiss and other offshore bank accounts.
How Low Can You Go: Selling Out Taiwan To Settle U.S. Debt With China?