Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Greek Experiment

Why would any country be serious about joining the European Union?


JRB said...

For some time now it has been obvious to all, that the Greek economy can no longer service its debts within the confines of the euro.
The only assistance from her fellow euro group members has been the offer of ever increasing debt to pay-off existing debt.
This self perpetuating cycle cannot continue. Everyone must face the difficult truth that Greece must leave the euro.

But what has been more worrying in this whole affair has been the questionable tactics being used by those at the heart of the euro economy.
The overt interference in the workings of a sovereign state; the underhand and bullying tactics in imposing conditionality on a fellow member; the open extortion of signed statements of intent in favour of the euro group, overriding all other national interest from democratically elected politicians.

This all smacks of unacceptable totalitarianism by the EU, in particular the euro group.

Greece must leave the euro now, and if this sets off a chain reaction and the euro should cease to be – then that would be no bad thing.

Sandy said...

The Greeks are being taken for fools, by Brussels and by their own parliament.

Fat politicians and bankers have no intention of moderating themselves, yet preach to the masses how hard times are and how people must make sacrifices.

Sadly it seems the land that created democracy is not having the favour returned by the EU.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

After 1945 when the German economy was totally bankrupted, the allies agreed to cut Germany's total debt and reparation liabilities by 50% and give it a seven year moratorium of interest on all its debt in order for the country to get back on its feet.

For the UK, already struggling with all the costs and borrowing associated with the war, this was a massive act of charity which inevitably extended its own post -war austerity and the need to borrow and scrape in order to re-establish its own economy.

Whether the Allies were right in allowing this grace to the Germanic State is now irrelevant. But it undoubtedly worked for Germany and, to give them their due it has been well worked by them.

Yet 60 years later that now Uber Germany under the guise of the EU federalism; wants to squeeze the last drop of blood out of the people of Greece in order for funny debts racked up on funny money alchemies and backed by incompetent EU and national governments to be used to breach a Nations sovereignty and destroy its democratic process.

This is financial warfare and it would seem, unlike military war, it can be far more precise in its aims and objectives. Much like the neutron bomb it can wipe out the people but leave the assets intact and ripe for acquisition and speculation.

Shame on Germany, France and the EU. Their punitive actions have exposed the fact there is no Union in Europe just a self serving cartel of political oligarchs serving their masters the global oligarchs.

Greece has probably many problems of its own making, all of which it needs to sort out. What it doesn't need in the meantime, is being hung out to dry by unscrupulous loan sharks

English Pensioner said...

A rather left wing point of view, although I can agree with some of the arguments. The big mistake was to believe that one can have a common currency without having common fiscal policies. This applies particularly in Greece, where the benefits being paid by the state, such as pensions and retirement age are better than many other countries and are costing the state money that they don't have. The Greek government also fails to collect their taxes - although a higher percentage of the population have BMWs than in Germany, there are very few people who admit to earning more than 30,000 euros pa.
The arguments about privatisation are typical left wing - generally the state fails to invest adequately and you get deteriorating infrastructure. Can you imagine we would have the telephone system that we have in this country today if it was still being run by the old Post Office Telephones when you had to wait about six months to get a phone installed?
The Germans believe in having a balanced budget and that borrowing should be only to tide a country over in difficult times, or for some capital expenditure which will pay for itself. Surely this is what most sensible people believe in when running their own affairs, one can hardly criticise a country for doing the same.

Brian said...

"The big mistake was to believe that one can have a common currency without having common fiscal policies." Good point EP. Would an independent Scotland really be able to keep sterling given that the SNP promises a radically different economic future to England?

Demetrius said...

Lost, lost, lost........

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

EP -I've heard all of the points you mention regarding the idiosyncratic administration of the Greek system.

No doubt some have a bases in fact, but others are anecdotal. Irrespective of that the citizenry of Greece, just as we do in the UK try to live their lives within the rules, or their lack, of the society they and we live in.

Whatever their faults, the citizens of Greece haven't initiated a war. So why should they be treated in a more punitive measure than those who did and who now are twisting the turn-screws?

This is not a question of political left or right though it's the manufacturing of consent by the right that is the fundamental cause and instigators of the problem.

Dioclese said...

They join because they know if they play their cards right the EU will give them shed loads of money - mainly ours and Germany's

subrosa said...

Eloquent as always JRB and I agree with you. The tactics are a disgrace to democracy. But then, the EU doesn't 'do' democracy.

subrosa said...

Well said Sandy, but I do hope the Greeks will waken up and get out.

subrosa said...

Crinkly, that's an even better assessment than given in the video.

subrosa said...

It may be a little left wing EP but there are some good points in it. However I agree with you about privatision (in part). Some things, like water, should have been kept in public ownership. It works here in Scotland.

subrosa said...

Brian, I don't know is the answer. I would hope that Scotland would look closely at joining the EU upon independence.

subrosa said...

Their only chance to be found again is to leave the EU, reinvent themselves and make the necessary changes Demetrius.

subrosa said...

I hope this brings the EU tumbling down Dioclese. Financial integration was never going to have fair results.

cynicalHighlander said...

Insight: The dark side of Germany's jobs miracle

Anonymous said...

It surprises me that there does not seem to have been a public examination of the question of how Greece came to be able to borrow these vast sums of money in the first place.

I remember reading about vast sums, in the form of grants, being doled out to Greeks in connection with non-existent olive groves, and I wondered how 'the Greeks' got away with it. Now I ask myself whether or not these 'grants' were not grants in the sense of 'gifts', but were, in fact, grants in the sense of 'loans'. If that was the case, then it is easy to see why no checks were made about the olive groves - no need to - the money would have to be paid back sooner or later regardless, and was, in effect, 'secured' on the Greek State as a whole.

I would have thought that a thorough examination of these questions would be in the general interest so that lessons can be learnt for the future.

This examination should be taking place NOW in relation to Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Junican, I believe the olive grove issue was part of the common agricultural policy of the EU.

You can add to that the same policy made it more profitable for Greek farmers to plough their crops back into the land than to harvest them.

So profitable in fact its one of the reasons an agricultural area in Greece has more Porche Cayennes (if that's how it's spelt) than any equivalent area in Germany.

In that respect we could imply the EU is to efficiency what a drug dealer is to morality.

Anonymous said...


I am sure that you are right. Nevertheless, there is still some doubt in my mind about whether the grants were 'gifts' or 'loans'. For example, a person with an olive grove (or whatever) might receive a cash grant, administered by the Greek goverment. But if the source is the EU, the funding could be via a loan to the Greek State.

I use the olive groves thing only as an example. The question still remains as to why banks were buying Greek bonds if they aware (and they should have been) that these bonds were financing unsustainable consummption.

It seems that no one wants to talk about it.

subrosa said...

Thanks for that link CH. I'm not making excuses for Germany's lack of a minimum wage (although I believe Merkel intends to introduce one) but Germany still has a lower percentage of poverty to the UK - according to that article.

But it's been well known how tough they are on insisting folk do take mini-jobs, although that has worked far too far for the benefit of employers.

subrosa said...

The books were never checked Junican. The EU opened its doors to anyone who wanted to join.

Some have been calling for a public enquiry into this but of course that won't happen. Can't have the unelected investigated.

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