There seem to be two main positions on how to solve the European crisis. One represented by Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann and that is that monetary policy should not be eased anymore and fiscal policy needs to be tightened (this is the Calvinist position). The other position is held by the new French president Francios Hollande who wants to spur European growth by easing fiscal policy (this is the keynesian position)
I would claim that both positions are wrong. At the core of the European crisis is rising public debt ratios in Europe. The public debt ration (d) is defined in the following way:
Where D is public debt in euros and NGDP is nominal GDP.
Anybody with rudimentary monetarist insights would inform you that D is determined by the fiscal authorities, while NGDP is determined by monetary policy (remember MV=PY).
If you want to stabilize or reduce d then you have to either decrease D and/or increase NGDP. So what you basically need is fiscal tightening and monetary easing.
Unfortunately Weidmann is basically arguing for reducing NGDP and Hollande is arguing in favour of increasing D. Both positons will lead to an increase in d and hence worsen the crisis. Hence, it would be better if the two gentleman switched jobs – at least mentally. It would be a lot more productivity if Weidmann argued for monetary easing and Hollande argued for fiscal consolidation. That would do the job and the crisis would come to an end fairly fast.
Between the need for fiscal tightening and the need for increasing NGDP I have no doubt that it is much more important to increase NGDP. The public debt ratios in Europe has not primarily increased because fiscal policy has been eased, but because NGDP has collapsed. In that sense the crisis is not a debt crisis, but a monetary crisis.
Note to the two gentlemen:
To President Hollande (The keynesian): Fiscal policy cannot increase NGDP. Recommend reading: There is no such thing as fiscal policy
To Bundesbank chief Weidmann (The Calvinist): Monetary policy is a panache and it can increase NGDP as much as you like it to be increased. Recommend reading: “Ben Volcker” and the monetary transmission mechanism