Two weevils crept from the crumbs. ‘You see those weevils, Stephen?’ said Jack solemnly.
‘Which would you choose?’
‘There is not a scrap of difference. Arcades ambo. They are the same species of curculio, and there is nothing to choose between them.’
‘But suppose you had to choose?’
‘Then I should choose the right-hand weevil; it has a perceptible advantage in both length and breadth.’
‘There I have you, ‘ cried Jack. ‘You are bit — you are completely dished. Don’t you know that in the Navy you must always choose the lesser of two weevils? Oh ha, ha, ha, ha!’
Master and Commander
Commentary & Analysis
You just got EcoFin’d!
After this weekend’s bust in Poland, more and more analysts are becoming skeptical of a practical resolution to the eurozone’s problems.
Greece’s Finance Minster, however, isn’t too concerned about Greece’s fate. But his is concerned about those dastardly speculators and rumor-mills, as told by Reuters …
"The comments and analyses about an imminent default or bankruptcy are not only irresponsible but also ridiculous," Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said in a statement.
"Every weekend Greece … is subject to this organised attack by speculators in international markets," he added.
The EcoFin meeting held in Wroclaw, Poland this weekend ended without any new strategy of fixing the zone. US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, even showed up in Poland to aid the talks. He left in need of a Band-Aid.
He urged the bailers to send more money to Greece so that their problems would not intensify. The European finance ministers didn’t seem too receptive; they’re adamant about the austerity measures on which Greece must follow through before they commit anymore dough.
I would say we’re closer to seeing some sort of Greek default if I were not fearful of being called ‘ridiculous’ by Mr. Venizelos.
Based on the general reaction to Geithner’s suggestions, it seems as though the EU/Eurozone would prefer avoiding the ‘common’ solution in favor of the independent states solution. If Greece defaults, so be it.
You can’t fault them there … though it seems they are choosing economic masochism over political castration, in some paradoxical sort of way. Here is one direct quote regarding Geithner’s presence in Poland this weekend:
"He (Geithner) conveyed dramatically that we need to commit money to avoid bringing the system into difficulty," Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter told reporters after the meeting.
"I found it peculiar that even though the Americans have significantly worse fundamental data than the euro zone, they tell us what we should do."
Them there are fightin’ words. I wonder how Geithner is taking the dissing. He’s probably using a lot of adjectives derived from four-letter words and throwing an ‘ungrateful’ in there somewhere. If I were him I’d probably be waiting for Ashton Kutcher to pop out of the bushes eating a kielbasa and whistling Chopin only to say: “You just got EcoFin’d”.
Here’s what Mr. Geithner should have said after his proposals were dissed:
“I’m taking my Fed and going home.”
And while you’re at it, Mr. Geithner, take the USA’s share of the IMF with you too.
That’s not to say we really want the Fed and the IMF here in the US, but at least let’s stop feeling like we have to share with Europe et al … especially when they’re so mean to you. The Swiss National Bank recently dipped into the swap-lines troth for $200 million and the ECB followed it with a $500 million withdrawal.
We can cut them off now … or just keep the lines open. (This number grew to as high as $580 billion – 25% of the Fed’s total assets – in 2008.) This from The Wall Street Journal:
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–The International Monetary Fund will likely re-activate a $580 billion resource pool in coming weeks to ensure it has funds to help cover Europe’s worsening sovereign-debt crisis, according to several people close to the matter.
The IMF activated the so-called New Arrangements to Borrow in April of this year for a six-month period. The IMF’s board, which met informally on the issue late Friday afternoon, would have to approve re-activation of the resource pool if the fund wants to tap it beyond September.
The board of governors agreed in December to roughly double quotas from around $375 billion to around $750 billion. But out of the 187 member countries, only 17 have legally accepted the increase, including Japan, the U.K. and Korea. Most of the countries with the biggest quotas, such as the U.S., China and Germany, haven’t yet gone through the legal process, such as parliamentary or congressional approval, need to hand over their promised dues.
I honestly wouldn’t really want to be 1) trading dollars for euros right now, or 2) taking on any additional exposure to Europe’s financial crisis. I think I can hear Geithner now:
Seriously, Ashton, just come out and show us where the hidden cameras are – the European finance masochists aren’t really this unappreciative of the US’s global financialization efforts, are they?
Although, considering the options of perpetuating the indebtedness or facilitating a Greek implosion, maybe I’m the one that’s being punk’d.