The weekend agreement on a rescue of the Cypriot banking system flagrantly disregards this sound advice. The ship in question is not the banking system of that Mediterranean island, which is to be ‘saved’ with the provision of about EUR 10 billion in EU and IMF funding. It is the entire euro area economy. Accordingly the missing tar – a thick resin used to seal the hull of wooden ships in olden times – in this case costs a bit more than half a penny: EUR 5.8 billion to be precise. That is the sum that holders of Cypriot bank accounts will be forced to stump up in the form of a one-off levy: 6.75% on all deposits up to EUR 100,000 and 9.9% above that.