It has become a common trope to refer to the economic structure of a country – or a currency area like the eurozone – as its “business model”. Never mind that a business firm is an atrocious metaphor for a national economy, let alone a currency area.
Now, in the specific case of the eurozone, running a persistent external surplus is not a business model. It is a necessary consequence of the fiscal rules.
By not giving the eurozone another choice than running an external surplus, the fiscal compact makes it very hard for the eurozone to withstand the impact of Donald Trump’s trade war, or of a potential no-deal Brexit. One way to make up for this might be a helicopter drop of the order of €10bn per month. Will Mario Draghi’s successor have the audacity to try it?