Sunday, August 28, 2011

Will the euro survive?

In the following article the prospects for the Single European Currency project are discussed from an astrological perspective. Based on a tentative Cancer rising horoscope for the formation of the European Union, it is found that "The planetary positions do not indicate a bright future“ for the Euro project. It is likely the euro project will continue but that problems will continue to haunt it. Moreover, after some time there is also the possibility that the euro project will come to an outright end.

Analysis of the European Union and euro
One of the major questions for the present time is if the entity known as the EU will survive in its present configuration. At the crux of the problems is the single currency, the euro. The single currency is based on the existence of a single European Central Bank and the System of European Central Banks - similar to the US Federal Reserve banking system. The real difference is that the EU, based on the Treaty of European Union, which entered into force at midnigh on 1 November 1993 in Brussels, does not have a federal government. With the new EU Constitution, the EU does have a President and Foreign Minister, but their power is limited and based on the decisions of the Council of Ministers, which report back to the member governments. The governing arrangement is similar to what the US had when the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was in place (1781-1789). At that time, the US government was the Confederation in Congress Assembled. All the power was based on the State governments. That said, the EU has one advantage over the early US government, it already has a central bank. However, the weakness of this central bank is that it is not backed up by a strong federal government. This has been the basis of the recent Euro crisis, with small member states being punished by the markets for having become burdened by heavy debts. Without a central government, the EU can lend such states but not guarantee their debts. As a result, some states are fighting to stay solvent and not go bankrupt, which could ruin the euro project. Recently, the leaders of Germany and France decided to propose improved arrangements with the establishment of an economic government, which would ensure that governments keep their fiscal books in order. Will this, along with the large European System of Financial Assistance fund to lend member governments, be enough to calm the markets and ensure the continued viability of the euro? What do the stars suggest?

Notable views on the euro crisis
In 1999, at the outset of the euro, the famed US economist Milton Friedman said he was doubtful the euro project would work out.[1] On August 24, 2011, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said that the euro crisis was hurting the US economy [2] and that "the euro is breaking down."[3] On August 27, 2011, the new IMF head Christine Lagarde said in a speech at Jackson Hole, a conference of central bankers, that European banks may need to be recapitalised, involving government (taxpayer) funds if necessary.[4] The problems facing the euro are therefore legion and outlook is not indicating much relief for the time being.

Astrology of the EU and euro
The 23° 29' Cancer rising chart (attached) has some interesting parallels with the 20° Cancer rising SAMVA USA chart. However, the placements involving the currency and government are all a fair bit weaker in the EU chart.

1st lord Moon is exalted at 0° 33' Taurus and 11th house, where it has only limited strength. It is in mutual opposition aspect with 10th lord Mars in own sign at 0° 20' Scorpio and 5th house and is debilitated in Navamsa. Despite both planets being in deep infancy, there is some amount of fame and glory on account of this aspect, but not nearly as much as for the USA. This is more so as the 2nd lord Sun is debilitated at 14° 46' Libra and 4th house. It's dispositor, Venus, is debilitated at 26° 04' Virgo and the MEP of the 3rd house. In turn, 3rd lord Mercury is at 26° 04' Libra and the MEP of the 4th house. This is an interesting combination of mutual disposition, especially as the aspect of Venus to the 3rd and 9th houses boosts their indications and the same can be said of the aspects of Mercury to the 4th and 10th house indications. Venus is placed in a Sun-like house and Mercury is a Sun-like planet. The Sun is, in addition to being the Sun!, is also a Sun-like planet on account of its rulership of the 2nd house. Moreover, aside from a wide aspect from 6th lord Saturn at 29° 52' Capricorn and 7th house (not in the MEP) to 3rd lord Mercury in the 4th house, there are no other afflictions in this chart. That is a very good thing, suggesting that aside from frequent transit afflictions, there are no deep divisions running in the EU.

To assess the strength of the currency arranagments, we look to the strength of the 2nd and 11th houses and the Sun and Moon. The Sun and 2nd lord has only 62 percent natal strength despite all the influences, such that it is not a fairly strong planet. It is a moderately weak planet which may not be able to withstand strong transit afflictions. That said, the confidence may be reasonably high with this planet. Actually, it is a judgement call, what it can withstand. Moreover, the Moon in the 11th house has 15 percent strength, which is very weak and hence it does not support the indications of currency.

Considering the indications of government, notably the Sun and also Mars as 10th lord at 5 percent strength, we come to a similar conclusion. Mars does not add to the confidence of the Sun. However, it is through the benign aspect of a weak Moon, and vice versa, that some additional confidence may be gained.

If we then look at the additional influences of Mercury as 3rd lord of confidence (with 89 percent strenght) on the houses aspected, it would be helpful to the 4th house, containing the Sun, and to the 10th house, ruled by Mars. By the same token, the aspect of 4th lord Venus (with 49 percent strength) on the 3rd house, would give support to the confidence from the decent communal harmony, natural resources and fixed assets of the EU.

We can also note that Jupiter as 6th lord of financial stability is well placed in the 4th house with fairly good strength (83 percent). It suggests the EU will not be saddled with too much debt and that its ability to service debts is not in question. However, Saturn as 8th lord of easy gains and confidence of others has only 3 percent strength and is in the 7th house of others and foreign policy. Hence, this is not helpful to the overall assessment. Rahu and Ketu are placed in the 5th and 11th houses, in their houses of debilitation, creating some moderate disturbances for the speculative actitivities and incomes, friendships and ideals.

So, we have insufficient strength on account of the indications of currency and government, along with a notable lack of confidence within and outside the project. However, we also have a notable lack of afflictions in the chart and some good aspects. In view of this, a balanced judement is required concerning the question if the euro project will surive or not. Alternatively, if the euro project is judged to survive, it is likely it will be associated with a depreciating currency and/or higher interest rates on its debts than if otherwise would be the case.

Based on the tentative horoscope for the EU, Astrologer & Author, V. K. Choudhry has offered his assessment of the prospects for the single currency project as well as the ability of the EU to form a government that will have the confidence of the markets. In his view

“The planetary positions do not indicate a bright future. The possibility of ability of the EU to form a government that will have the confidence of the markets is weak.“
His comment "The planetary positions do not indicate a bright future" should be interepreted such that the euro may continue indefinitely but with problems. At the same time he cautions that after some time the possibility of the euro project coming to an outright end is also there.

Near term development

Presently, transit Ketu is afflicting natal 4th lord Venus in the 3rd house. This has produced a sudden upset for the otherwise good communal harmony in the European Union. Finland has recently demanded collateral from Greece in return for its participation in the joint assistance being offered to the country in order to deal with its debt problems. The transit of Mars, as general indicator of courage, through the 12th house of losses, is also adding to the skittishness of investors in Europe. More importantly, with transit Jupiter as 6th lord of financial stability and conflict being stationary at around 16° Aries in August and September 2011, where it opposes the natal Sun, as general indicator of leadership in the EU, as well as being the 2nd lord of wealth, status and close relations, V.K Choudhry has opined that

“The persisting influence of transit Jupiter on the Sun in the EU treaty chart is likely to keep the conflicting situation going.“
To this we may add that from mid September, transit Saturn as 8th lord of obstacles will pass over the 23° 29' degree of the 3rd house, while being aspected by transit Ketu in the MEP of the 11th house. This suggests additional sudden problems for the confidence of outsiders in the EU project. This will be more so as transit Jupiter will in retrograde motion be applying in its opposition to the natal Sun.

Finally, it is likely, as predicted before on the SAMVA list, that the concerns over the EU financial situation will have a disruptive effect on the US financial system and economy. This would be consistent with the nodes settling into stationary placement in the MEP of the 5th and 11th houses of the
SAMVA USA chart, with the following repercussions, as discussed in the year ahead prediction for the USA.

"From the Autumn months, and notably towards the end of the year such indications as incomes, friendships, speculation, financial markets, university life and children are likely to become disturbed, as well as problems in transportation and some crisis regarding the image of the country."
A tentative horoscope
It should be kept in mind that the insight are based on the assumption that the present horoscope for the EU is authentic. While this horoscope corresponds well to the developments, until the confidence is further established, the insights based on this chart should be treated accordingly, i.e. with some uncertainty recognised as being there as well.

The value of mundane astrology
The real value of mundane astrology is that it provides us with a way to peer into the future of social developments. At its best, SA mundane vedic astrology allows us to gain a more precise insight into future real world developments than would otherwise be possible with rational projection alone, based on theoretical constructs, practical experience and uncertainty. It does so by indicating which way the trend is likely to go (up or down) based on the natal potential and major periods, as well as to also identify times when strains and unexpected developments are likely to take place, based on sub-period and transit analysis. Importantly, by indicating the likelihood of developments, the uncertainty is reduced, and individuals and governments can prepare themselves accordingly.

1] Milton Friedman on the euro, 1999.
[2] Alan Greenspan on the euro crisis hurting the US economy, August 24, 2011.
[3} Alan Greenspan on the euro breaking down, August 24, 2011.
[4] Christine Lagarde, IMF head, on banking problems in Europe, August 27, 2011.