This talk proved to be seriously contoversial online, before a word of it was uttered. Some people chose to stay away, others came but for different reasons, but thankfully most entered into the spirit of the thing. But what was the point of talking about the euro?
The intention of choosing this topic was not to say to the world: here is a bona fides libertarian and this is what bona fides libertarians think, but rather to explore an issue from a new and unexpected direction. Christian Michel is not the first person to suggest the euro, symbol of the European project and lever for the aquisituion of sovereignty, might not be a bad thing if considered on it’s own merits. The arguement goes, approximately, that an ideal currency should have wide circulation, have backing at the appropriate economic scale, and money printing should be limited to ensure price stability. Michel argued that the euro has wide circulation and is intended for wider circulation, that it is big enough and that the ECB’s mandate is to ensure price stability.
Looking at the reasons why the euro might be a good idea, helps us by reheasing the arguments about what it is we want from a currency and what the economics are. The issue is, of course, immensely important but a well informed and prepared community of activists is a prerequisite for tackling any issue at all.
All that said, and without wishing to undermine it, isn’t a debate with people you disagree with so much more enjoyable than one where everyone agrees already? Regardless, here is the talk, as is, and much of the Q&A as well. The filming of the Q&A was impacted by a few technical glitches and the the video quality is even patchier than I expected. I hope you don’t mind.
A word about the introduction, which is probably a bit muddled. Sometimes a writer is hostile toward a topic but writes it up anyway and ends up paying the subject a compliment. Gordon Gecko’s greed speech in Wall Street is an example where good sense is placed into the mouth of a villain by a writer that disagrees politically. In the week ahead of the talk the libertarian rock god Frank Turner was accused of the heinous crime of being a libertarian and saying libertarian things and the Guardian printed a list of shocking quotes that sounded perfectly decent to me*. Likewise the profile of Christian Michel, which I borrowed from a book on money laundering, was perhaps from a hostile source (I haven’t read the whole book), but when taken literally it was most complimentary, and it was my intention to be complimentary. I hope that is a little clearer.
* remind me to spend a lot more money on Frank Turner merchanise…