Euro benefits Germany at Greek expense

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From: Anthony J Atkin, The Chase, Driffield.

I AM not an economist, and even if I were a leading expert in the field, whatever I said wouldn’t be said with authority, as all economists have a different viewpoint on any one subject. I do feel that I want to make a point about economics that seems to me to be clear and indisputable, but not, however, to economists and our politicians.

As long as Germany, the strongest eurozone economy, and Greece have the same currency, it is inevitable that as they are in competition the German economy will thrive whilst the Greek economy will suffer, as we are now seeing.

Germans are more efficient than the Greeks, I would suggest, in providing services and in practically all manufacturing. This must mean their products and services will cost fewer euros than those produced in Greece. The long term, inevitable result of this is that German industry will destroy what is left of Greek industry. There is now no mechanism, for example currency exchange rates, to counter-balance this.

If there was a deutschmark and a drachma, the drachma would be devalued as against the deutschmark. In those circumstances whatever the Greeks imported from German producers would cost them more, and whatever the Germans imported from the Greeks would cost them less. These adjustments would encourage purchase of Greek products rather than German products and would aid Greek economic recovery.

If Germany, as the beneficiary of the euro, is prepared to guarantee bailing out Greece (and, indeed, other vulnerable eurozone countries) I have no problem since such a guaranteed system of bailouts would restore confidence. This won’t happen, and therefore we have a continuing period of instability which adversely affects our economy.

I can see no other option than a return, for most if not all eurozone countries, to their own currency, otherwise instability will persist and we will continue to have to bail out Greece and, in all probability, other countries.

From: Toby Quantrill, Head of Public Policy, The Fairtrade Foundation, London.

WITH reference to Philip Booth’s “Let’s have fair trade on Europe’s agriculture” (Yorkshire Post, March 9), I find it strange that Professor Booth feels it necessary (not for the first time) to present the case in terms of fair trade or reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, CAP.

In fact, the Fairtrade Foundation led a major campaign last year calling on the European Union to drop cotton subsidies within the CAP.

We did this out of a practical concern for poor cotton farmers in West Africa who face deeply unfair competition from producers in the US and Europe.

The Fair Trade movement has done a great deal to both raise awareness of, and take action to counter, unfair trading practices of all kinds including those enforced through the CAP.

An unhealthy debate on Bill

From: Coun Steve Radford, President of the Liberal Party, Sutton Street, Truebrook, Liverpool.

IF the Lib Dems believed that they had won any genuine and significant reforms over the Health Bill, why were they scared of debating at their spring conference a resolution condemning the Bill and defeating it after proper debate (Yorkshire Post, March 12)?

It must show how illiberal and regressive the Lib Dems have become that they are prevented from debating a resolution critical of their leadership.

They are following a Tory Right-wing agenda to shift substantial monies and health provision into the hands of the private sector.

We should not be fooled by the prospect of GP consortia purchasing services internally which means GPs’ spend less time with patients and are pushed into more administrative functions. That is not a shift of power but devolving the administrative burden to smaller purchasing units rather than the current PCT’s, therefore losing the leverage of economies of scale.

For decades they preached about progressive taxes to pay quality public services – they now wish to abandon this.

‘Shun Lakes over bird cull’

From: Kate Fowler, Head of Campaigns, Animal Aid, Tonbridge, Kent.

ANIMAL campaigners are urging would-be tourists to stay away from the Lake District this year in protest at the proposed mass cull of Canada geese on Windermere. The killing of 200 birds on their nests this spring – and hundreds more in coming years – is also opposed by the RSPCA, and has been criticised by Queen guitarist, Brian May, and birdwatcher, Bill Oddie.

Local bird experts and campaigners say the killing will be a “bloodbath”. Despite making claims that the birds cause pollution and “decimate” grassland, the local authority has admitted that “Windermere has had no specific studies regarding the effects of Canada geese on local habitat”.

The authority has not sought the advice from humane deterrence experts and is determined to pursue a cull. Anyone who opposes the killing of these majestic birds should vote with their wallets and book a holiday elsewhere.