When the state’s the only effective actor it has to deliver a confident performance

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I am well aware that I refer to Martin Wolf's column in the FT quite often. I do so unapologetically: it is the best economics column I read at the moment (and I read quite a lot). Take this offering from this morning's column on Eurozone weaknesses and the role of the European Central Bank:

In brief, the recovery in confidence [in the Eurozone] is encouraging and the revival of growth welcome. But the former is too fragile and the latter too feeble. The eurozone’s authorities — and above all the ECB, its only effective actor — can and must do far more.

Avoiding catastrophe is still not guaranteed. That is anyway a grossly insufficient goal. The aim must be to secure a healthy recovery. It is the ECB’s job to hit its inflation target and strengthen credit markets. It must do whatever it takes. It has not yet done enough.

The message is a simple one. It is that when the state is the only effective economic actor - as is often the case - it has to deliver a confident performance. It was, of course, a case I made in The Courageous State. It remains a compelling and wholly timely argument.