Must-Read: Wolfgang Munchau: European Central Bank Must Be Much Bolder: “The European Central Bank’s monetary policy has been off-track for a very long time…

…And lately, the [core inflation] rate has fallen again. Is there something the ECB can do?… The ECB should hold an open debate about policy alternatives, starting with a realisation that quantitative easing has failed. The ECB acted late, and did not do enough…. The programmes in the US and the UK started when market interest rates were higher than today. The European programme came when rates were already low…. The policy alternatives… [are] a ‘helicopter drop’…. The ECB would print and distribute money to citizens directly. If it were to distribute, say, €3,000bn or about €10,000 per citizen over five years, that would take care of the inflation problem nicely. It would provide an immediate demand boost, and drive up investment as suppliers expanded their capacity to meet this extra demand. The policy would bypass governments and the financial sector. The financial markets would hate it. There is nothing in it for them. But who cares?…