I've already mentioned how German public opinion about the economic crisis in southern euroland annoys me. “Poor naïve Klutzes” my foot. The truth is that Germany has greatly benefitted from being able to force its eurozone partners into a monetary policy that generated speculative bubbles and drove up their price levels. A nice essay on the topic can be found here.
One thing that I do not understand are the strange allusions that Germans might benefit from leaving the eurozone. Their exchange rate would rise, making their exports uncompetitive and reducing the value of their substantial holdings of foreign assets. I suppose that those assets, denominated in euros, would be a bit safer at the new values ... but I am still not seeing it.
I do not know if Spain can survive inside the strictures of the eurozone. I suspect that it can, but I do not know. I certainly am beginning to revise my priors on the worth of the single currency. That all said, I still find the sanctimonious German attitude most annoying. The bailouts will not cost the German taxpayer a nickel, the PIGS will be forced to reform their labor markets, and Germany will continue to enjoy the benefits of export competitiveness for several years to come. The worst thing that could happen to Germany would be slightly higher inflation ... and that would be a good thing for German pocketbooks, if not for Germany’s pathological public opinion. I mean, when the head of the Austrian central bank calls German inflation fears “hysterical,” then something is wrong.