We recently held a conference in Berlin. Our intention was to provide a platform for politicians and experts to exchange views on the financial risks that are likely to resurface in the euro area as a result of the fight against inflation.
So the idea was to talk about civil protection before the catastrophe, instead of slithering blindly into the crisis and then messing around like we did twelve years ago. A beautiful hotel on Charlottenstrasse should provide the right setting. But the idea didn't catch on. Only a small minority of the invited politicians recognized the purpose of the event and took the time to do so.
However, the intended policy seminar turned into an exciting private seminar, to which I owe many new insights. For example, I learned how, as early as the late 1960s, central bankers in the United States realized that major inflation was looming because of their policy mistakes. But they did not have the courage to immediately and decisively fight them. Instead, they cured the symptoms.
It wasn't until the early 1980s that the time was ripe for a frontal attack on inflation. It will be interesting to see what will be learned from the corresponding internal meeting minutes of our time, if they exist and if they are published in the more distant future.
In addition, the discussion further increased my skepticism about the future of the euro. French politicians in particular lured the Germans into the currency union after reunification with the false promise that they would respect the agreements to establish a hard currency as the successor to the D-Mark.
Since 2010, she and other politicians from Latin European countries have gradually broken this agreement and replaced the original agreement with a soft currency model, which serves as a means of public financing. Never in history has a monetary union of sovereign states constructed in this way survived, and the question is not if, but when and how this monetary union will collapse.
Finally, I learned that the areas of business and finance as well as politics follow completely different logics of action. While analytically sound problem solving is required in business and finance, I would see the logic of action in politics as determined by gaining and maintaining power.
The role of the citizen is largely limited to issuing admission tickets to the political actors in this area during elections. Once the actors have fought for this, they turn their attention to asserting their own claims to power at the expense of their competitors. The effort involved is so great that they simply no longer have the time to deal with analytically sound problem solutions.
Only in a crisis that requires immediate action do the political and analytical realms meet briefly. Being unprepared, political actors can then resemble blindfolded children trying to tail the donkey. At most, voices coming from the analytic realm can try to help that the tail goes to the buttocks and not to the head.
The logic of action of the financial investor is closer to me. This includes protecting yourself from the next euro crisis and (caution: politically incorrect!) possibly benefiting from it. So it is better to invest in gold and dollars than in euros.
Thomas Mayer is founding director of the Flossbach von Storch Research Institute.
"Everything on shares" is the daily stock exchange shot from the WELT business editorial team. Every morning from 7 a.m. with our financial journalists. For stock market experts and beginners. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Amazon Music and Deezer. Or directly via RSS feed.