by Tom Luongo
Italy is in serious trouble financially. This is virtually common knowledge at this point. What isn’t common knowledge is its Euroskeptic government led by Lega’s Matteo Salvini and Five Star Movement’s Luigi Di Maio are preparing an assault on the foundation of the European Union itself to save Italy.
And that assault comes with the most innocuous name. Mini-BOT. Mini-BOTs were originally the idea of former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis to assist Greece get out of the stranglehold placed on it by the euro.
Italy (and Greece, Portugal, Spain and others) need a currency that can circulate to properly support domestic trade.
The Italian economy, like Greece’s, is also strangled by the cost of servicing its national debt denominated in euros. This keeps the demand for money within the economy high for debt servicing purposes and its circulation low.
The mini-BOT seeks to reverse this process by allowing the Italian treasury to issue them as interest-bearing small bills which can be used to purchase goods and services in the Italian market but which will also be redeemable to pay for government services and taxes.
And it is imperative that you understand what this means for the European Union.
It is an existential threat to the current Germany-dominated political order. The main purpose of the euro was do to exactly what we have seen since its introduction, create a structural advantage for German industry through which Germany’s political class can dominate the EU itself. It was specifically designed to roll up the wealth of the continent in this way, bankrupt countries less competitive than Germany and keep them that way trapped within this single currency regime.
Laying aside my myriad and sundry libertarian and Austrian economics-based objections to this system of debt-based fiat currency, the current structure of the euro is even more monstrous than that of the individual currencies themselves. But, the Mini-BOT is a stop-gap measure on the road back to monetary and fiscal sanity. Not perfect, but the right first step.
And what scares Brussels the most is not what they say do – an increase in Italy’s debt, unsustainable spending, etc. Italy is nearly unsalvageable under a euro-only currency regime. No, what EU leadership fears the most is that this parallel domestic currency system of the mini-BOT actually works.
Because once it does it will show the rest of Europe just how corrupt and vindictive EU leadership is. As if Brexit talks haven’t exposed this fundamental truth to them already. And once that happens, the future of the EU itself comes into sincere doubt.
From what I understand, through anecdotal evidence, Salvini and Di Maio are going to move quickly on the mini-BOT, not just as a threat but as a real thing.