The single currency crisis engulfing the eurozone and threatening to spill over to the rest of the world is simply a game of pass the parcel with massive stakes.
Think of each country and the banks involved as players in the game.
They are passing a parcel of toxic debts between each other as quickly as they can because they fear they will be left holding the mess when the music stops.
All the promised ‘solutions’ could never bring the crisis to an end because they just involved fancier ways of rewrapping the same parcel. Until real, new money is injected as a new parcel, governments and banks are locked in their grim game.
Now, the players have decided to change the rules of the game.
From later this year, the European Central Bank and some other European Union cronies will have the power to pull out players and give them a rest by injecting some real money in to their economies.
Only new money can solve the problem – until now, banks needed government bailouts because of the slump in government bonds that undermined their balance sheets.
Governments could not bail out the banks because the cash would push up their borrowing by increasing their budget deficits, but giving money to the banks would weaken government bonds further – and so the game went on.
Making a move weakened the players as much as not making a move.
The problem is all the power is now in the hands of the leaders of the gang – Germany, and to a lesser extent France.
The worry is the players in trouble – Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain – might have to give up their places and leave the Euro.
They can’t. Leaving would give the player rampaging inflation and a useless new currency. Staying means playing by the rules dictated by the gang leaders which are unpalatable and lead to budget cuts and austerity that could last a decade or more.
Perhaps a better answer would be for Germany to get out of the game. If the Germans left the euro, they would have a better chance of setting up a successful new currency and an economy that can stave off inflation.
Meanwhile, the rest of the players would not have the stress of playing catch up without the resources of the leader of the pack.