June 26th, 2012 by Hafiz Noor Shams
I understand the case for the breaking up of the Eurozone. I do appreciate the virtue behind a flexible exchange rate, especially for cases like Greece. There is a need for rebalancing that a monetary union cannot provide. Yet, I am uneasy at the suggestion of a break-up, of Grexit, because deep inside of me, I am more or less an internationalist.
The internationalist sentiment is derived from my libertarian belief. It is about freedom of movement. Free flow of labor. Free flow of capital. All around the world.
I dream of a world where I would not have to present identification whenever I land in some foreign airports. I dream that I would be free to be anyway I choose without the need to ask permission from the state.
Unleash the ideal world and what I call the crazy me would come out as an anarchist. Specifically, an anarcho-capitalist. Freedom unbounded.
But I am not an anarchist because I understand anarchism is inherently unstable. I settle for the second best option available and that is free-market libertarianism.
Just as anarchism is the ideal but unattainable and thus the second-best solution is libertarianism, internationalism is the ideal but the second best approach is regionalism, for now.
This fuels my sympathy for the Eurozone. I want the Eurozone to be intact because of my bias. It has nothing to do about being western or Europe-centric.
I want it intact so that in the future, the Asean version can emerge. An Eurozone failure will likely inform decision on a more integrated Asean. Already the Indonesian President warned Asean of repeating the European mistake. The warning is appropriate but as I have argued, there are appropriate lessons to learn from the European crisis without jettisoning a closer Asean idea.
And I do think Europe will succeed, if recent history is of value.
The end of World War II saw closer cooperation between European countries: observe the Marshall Plan. Not all and definitely it was easy to cooperation when your opponent is dead, but the cooperation happened and that is the point.
The Cold War saw closer integration: observe the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community.
Post-Cold War saw even more: observe the European Union and its expansion.
The European Exchange Rate Mechanism crisis brought closer cooperation: observe the introduction of the Eurozone.
Now, the latest Eurozone crisis may bring in closer cooperation: observe the fiscal union proposal.
So, do not ring the bell yet. The regionalist game is not over yet and the outcome of death is not certain.
As a libertarian, the issue is the creation of a stronger state but I think, this can be a largely enlightened state, with a federal structure is can be a counterforce to the central government.