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All your euros are belong to Greece. - Page 4

post #151 of 331

I don't disagree with anything you say yt, again I just think it's a question of will it be enough in time. You have more hope on that than I do, but then understandably you kinda have to. We're not really disagreeing as such tho. I talk in terms of priority shifts and lessons learned and you talk about untangling, but we're sort of talking about the same things but coming from slightly differing angles.

 

You're hopeful and I'm a bit more hysterical basically.

post #152 of 331

Yeah, I think we are talking about the same thing.  And it is frustrating, I'll give you that.  Global climate change really is the top issue, and it's not being treated with the gravity it warrants.

post #153 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by yt View Post

Yeah, I think we are talking about the same thing.  And it is frustrating, I'll give you that.  Global climate change really is the top issue, and it's not being treated with the gravity it warrants.



The canary's been tweeting it's little heart out in that particular coal mine until that little heart gave out - and I honestly feel we seem further from concrete decisions on this from our so-called leaders than we were when I was a kid having Sting drag that poor bloke around with the plate in his lip in the 80's.

 

To a degree it's human nature to try and ignore a problem this big until it's too hard to ignore, but unfortunately, with our 24 hour news cycles and 3-4 year election cycles, our leaders are encouraged to ignore it until it's beyond fixing by the very system they're a part of.

 

Thing is, with each new scientific model things speed up and we're essentially being told right now - not tomorrow or five years from now - that we may be at the tipping point beyond which we simply have to start moving inland for chrissake - and yet the Kyoto Protocol runs out next year, no one can agree on what to do next, everyones being distracted by the very economic forces that helped place us in this perilous climatic situation to begin with and the world keeps spinning and heating while nothing near the scale and magnitude of what is required to rise to a challenge this big is being seriously tabled.

 

It'll have to end up with half of New York washing into the sea or London freezing solid before serious action undeniably needs to be taken, but the problem is the waters boiled by then, the frogs fucked.

post #154 of 331

You left out one thing: the profit motive for keeping just enough doubt alive to enable inaction.  I was watching something called 60 Minutes for CBC, which I guess is 60 Minutes in Canada?  Anyway, they had the head of Duke Energy on there fully acknowledging human-caused global warming but saying he "couldn't" do anything until 2050.  That's just as bad as saying "there's still doubt."  The real money has moved on to not directly denying it, but trying to reassure regular Americans that it's okay to forget about it because important people are on the case.  They really only see profit, and the main thing keeping the US (and other parts of the world) from acting is, frankly, propaganda strategically aimed at preventing action.  There's still money to be made, and the way the Duke Energys and Exxon Mobils of the world feel about it is that we will have to pry that profit out of their cold, dead hands. 

 

But if you want to shed some positive energy on the subject, which I strongly recommend, you should seek out that documentary The 11th Hour.  The first hour is explanation & dire warning, the second hour is devoted to what can be done, not 50 years in the future, but now.  I think it's much more constructive to see this nightmare as something that can be fixed if we all get our asses in gear and work for it. 

post #155 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bucho View Post



Am I misreading this? You think America's postwar relationship to their close ally Britain can somehow work out dynamically the same as the US relationship to their superpower rival China?

 

Also how is China ascending better than the US declining? Nobody thinks the US is an angel but surely China's human rights record is at least an order of magnitude worse.


OK, I was drastically oversimplifying. I do think China is almost inevitably going to go through its own version of the 1960s within the next decade, which may change its character rather radically as far as being a world superpower goes, but I don't want to force parallels. The point is that "loss of American hegemony" doesn't HAVE to mean that we all start living in Bartertown. You shouldn't conflate the two. Empires decline, it doesn't mean we re-enter the Dark Ages, especially not in this era of globalization where there's always going to be someone to pick up the slack.

post #156 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by yt View Post

You left out one thing: the profit motive for keeping just enough doubt alive to enable inaction.  I was watching something called 60 Minutes for CBC, which I guess is 60 Minutes in Canada?  Anyway, they had the head of Duke Energy on there fully acknowledging human-caused global warming but saying he "couldn't" do anything until 2050.  That's just as bad as saying "there's still doubt."  The real money has moved on to not directly denying it, but trying to reassure regular Americans that it's okay to forget about it because important people are on the case.  They really only see profit, and the main thing keeping the US (and other parts of the world) from acting is, frankly, propaganda strategically aimed at preventing action.  There's still money to be made, and the way the Duke Energys and Exxon Mobils of the world feel about it is that we will have to pry that profit out of their cold, dead hands. 

 



I know human greed is a powerful thing, but when the hell does the survival instinct kick in? Do these fucks not realize that money is not worth much if the entire planet is dead?

post #157 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbrother View Post



I know human greed is a powerful thing, but when the hell does the survival instinct kick in? Do these fucks not realize that money is not worth much if the entire planet is dead?



They'll just pay to fly to a new one, or go live in a plush bunker while we're busy fending of the mutants with pointed sticks and giving birth to babies with one eye and two heads.

 

 

post #158 of 331

Do we need a CHUD F.U.D thread for end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it discussion?

 

Back on topic: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-14/greek-creditor-committee-said-to-work-with-blackstone-law-firms.html

 

Doesn't this indicate that Greece is about to declare bankruptcy?

 

post #159 of 331

Greece and Italy have been taken over by unelected technocrats.  Anything could happen.  Geez. 

post #160 of 331

Why is Greece buying weapons with it's Euro bailout money?

 

http://translate.google.nl/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=nl&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.zeit.de%2F2012%2F02%2FRuestung-Griechenland

 

Honest question, I don't get what's going on?

post #161 of 331

Oh, it's great fun actually. Want some extra details? The Greek navy had a bunch of cool new submarines ordered from Germany. A few hundred millions worth. But despite them being admittedly pretty cool and high tech they were a bit outside of specifications. Couldn't maintain level within specified limits, I think. In layman terms, they were tilting too much. And the purchasing committee refused to take them until they were fixed. So when the shit first hit the fan and Greece needed needed money fast, guess what one of Germany's first conditions was? Let me give you a hint: 

 

About a month later the first of these submarines entered the main Greek navy naval base.

post #162 of 331

I'd expect better warranties from German vehicles.  

 

Holy buckets, what a mess.

post #163 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelios View Post

Oh, it's great fun actually. Want some extra details? The Greek navy had a bunch of cool new submarines ordered from Germany. A few hundred millions worth. But despite them being admittedly pretty cool and high tech they were a bit outside of specifications. Couldn't maintain level within specified limits, I think. In layman terms, they were tilting too much. And the purchasing committee refused to take them until they were fixed. So when the shit first hit the fan and Greece needed needed money fast, guess what one of Germany's first conditions was? Let me give you a hint: 

 

About a month later the first of these submarines entered the main Greek navy naval base.



Heh so the crew all learns to live in a Sub that tilts at an angle a la Batman Villain's lairs....

post #164 of 331
Shit. Greece debt talks collapse. Just when the debt crisis seemed to be easing a little. And France and Austria have been downgraded.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16553532

As well as the economic consequences - a thriving black market, workers leaving in droves - there would be serious social consequences if Greece was forced to leave the Euro. Stelios, Do you think there's a chance of a military coup, as some are saying?
post #165 of 331

post #166 of 331

So I guess there goes the US economy too?

post #167 of 331

Head of S&P said on Bloomberg TV that Greece is days away from default...  Again.

post #168 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBananaGrabber View Post

Head of S&P said on Bloomberg TV that Greece is days away from default...  Again.


I'm still trying to figure out why anyone listens to what S&P/Moody or any of these so-called credit ratings companies have to say.

Their "opinions" were, at the very least, superficially responsible for the Wall Street debacle we're still currently dealing with...but more likely, they knowingly misrepresented the value of the loans/securities that they rated and didn't give a shit.

 

 

Quote:

S&P's Credibility Gap

 

  • It was S&P that had Lehman Brothers rated AAA just a month before they went bankrupt.
  • It was S&P that rated AIG’s credit default swaps as rock solid investments
  • It was S&P that admitted to making a $2 trillion accounting error (remember, playing with numbers is their core business and reason for being) in advance of the downgrade of U.S. debt.
  • A downgrade in U.S. debt means functionally that U.S. treasury bills are, in S&P’s oh-so-wise opinion, less trustworthy and a greater credit risk to investors. This comes only a day after investors fled the DOW and S&P500 into the safe and waiting hands of…you guessed it: U.S. Treasuries. The same treasuries that S&P suddenly finds a more dangerous buy. So what does that say about the stock market, and the S&P500? Perhaps S&P might wish to re-evaluate the credibility of its own market index.
  • None of the other ratings agencies are taking the drastic step that S&P has. S&P is all alone in their move to downgrade U.S. credit.
  • When all is said and done, U.S. treasuries are still the safest investment in the world, and it would take either an idiot or someone with a strong political agenda to contend otherwise.

 

 

and a couple of short NPR pieces-

Justice Department Probes S&P

 

In Past Financial Crises, Fewer Pursued In Courts

 

 

 

 

post #169 of 331

Could someone more informed than me actually explain to me what S&P, Moody's and all these other companies actually do? Under what authority and with what credentials they are able to produce these edicts that everyone treats as gospel? And why anyone treats them as though they have any shred of credibility after their way past criminal role in the malfeasance that detonated this whole mess? Weren't these same companies issuing AAA ratings to every bogus scam product that imploded in '08?

post #170 of 331

 

Quote:

All your euros are belong to Greece.

Use English much?..

post #171 of 331

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stelios View Post

Could someone more informed than me actually explain to me what S&P, Moody's and all these other companies actually do? Under what authority and with what credentials they are able to produce these edicts that everyone treats as gospel? And why anyone treats them as though they have any shred of credibility after their way past criminal role in the malfeasance that detonated this whole mess? Weren't these same companies issuing AAA ratings to every bogus scam product that imploded in '08?

 

The governments, I think.  Another good NPR story: http://www.npr.org/2011/12/03/143084772/complicity-in-crisis-can-ratings-agencies-be-trusted


 

 

post #172 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehauk View Post

 

Use English much?..


new to the internet?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_your_base_are_belong_to_us

 

post #173 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelios View Post

Could someone more informed than me actually explain to me what S&P, Moody's and all these other companies actually do? Under what authority and with what credentials they are able to produce these edicts that everyone treats as gospel? And why anyone treats them as though they have any shred of credibility after their way past criminal role in the malfeasance that detonated this whole mess? Weren't these same companies issuing AAA ratings to every bogus scam product that imploded in '08?

 



 
Essentially the analysts at rating agencies look at debt issued on the capital markets. They assess structures, debt terms, underlying balance sheets, asset pools and cash flows  to the extent debt repayment and interest will be contingent on them, mechanisms of enforcement and the risks and variables that will impact all of the above.
 
They then issue a rating depending on their assessment of the probability of default of that issuer in relation to that debt instrument. The ratings are shorthand for probabilities of default within the following 12 months - a Moody's AAA rating represents their view that an issuer has 0% chance of defaulting in the following 12 months, an Aa rating a probability of 0.02% and so on. Junk starts at around 1.2%.
 
Much of the criticism of the agencies stems from the inherent ostensible conflict in their model - they rate issuer debt but are paid by issuers to award the rating. Now, speaking as  someone who performs an independent role with an organisation that pays my bills, it is perfectly possible to discount that conflict especially given the separation of commercial and analytical activities, but without doubt they got it wrong in some cases and mud sticks. 
 
For what it's worth, outside of the structured product ratings, the agencies retain credibility - their corporate, sovereign and infrastructure ratings for example have continued to be robust. Not that I'm expecting anyone round here to buy that, but there you go.
 
The agencies used to operate on a subscription model where capital markets investors who wanted to know a rating agency view would pay to see it. Ironically, it was once the view that because this didn't achieve sufficient penetration of analysis of capital markets paper, the issuer-pays model was a more sophisticated model.
 
One interesting difference between the two big agencies, S&P and Moody's, lies behind the distinct approaches to sovereign debt recently. You'll have seen that S&P have been  quicker to downgrade the likes of the US and France. Part of this is because the two agencies have different rating methodologies. S&P rate ONLY the probability of default, whereas Moody's utilises something akin to a loss-given default analysis.
 
The difference boils down to this - S&P will look at the probability that an issuer will default (I.e. miss a principal or interest payment) in the next 12 months and ascribe a rating. Moody's will look at probability of default but will ALSO look at the probability and quantum of recovery. They'll look particularly at underlying values, competing claims and robustness of enforcement methods and conclude the likelihood of a creditor getting their money back if a default happens.
 
Hence, whilst the probability of the US and France not meeting their obligations has MARGINALLY increased, only S&P (as far as I am aware) has downgraded. Moody's view is that, essentially, even if they miss a payment, bondholders will still get their money back.
 
Essentially, if you are to have a liquid, functioning bond market you need ratings. Whether they are issuer-paid, bondholders-paid or nationalised is a debate to have. 
 
Hope that's helpful.

 

 

post #174 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhp1608 View Post
 
Much of the criticism of the agencies stems from the inherent ostensible conflict in their model - they rate issuer debt but are paid by issuers to award the rating. Now, speaking as  someone who performs an independent role with an organisation that pays my bills, it is perfectly possible to discount that conflict especially given the separation of commercial and analytical activities, but without doubt they got it wrong in some cases and mud sticks. ....................

 
 
....................Essentially, if you are to have a liquid, functioning bond market you need ratings. Whether they are issuer-paid, bondholders-paid or nationalised is a debate to have. 
 
Hope that's helpful.

 

that was a somewhat insightful, thanks.

 

One of the main issues that you touched on is the  "inherent ostensible conflict in their model".

If the original way the ratings agencies continued to work the same way as when they were initially created,  it might be OK, but everything got fucked up with the way they started doing business back in the 1960's

 

IIRC....I remember hearing a piece on NPR awhile back on "Planet Money" that discussed the origins of S&P. It's quite a bit different than what it originally was.

-found it !

Quote:

How The U.S. Gave S&P Its Power

 

Who gave S&P the power to kick sand in the face of the U.S. government?

Oh, right. It was the U.S. government.

"There's some ironies, shall we say, in all of this," says Lawrence J. White, a professor at NYU's Stern School of Buisness.

The story goes back to the rise of the railroads in the 19th century.

Before then, most loans were pretty simple. You loaned money to a business and, at least, you knew where the store or factory was. But putting railroads across the continent required the kind of capital that was unheard of at the time. They needed investors who were literally sending your money out into the wilderness.

"There were a lot of railroads out there," White says. "And investors wanted to know , who are the guys who are likely to pay me back?

 

Enter Henry Varnum Poor. In 1860, he published a giant book of nothing but financial details of railroads. Finally, there was a way to start to make sense of the industry.


In 1909, another famous name , John Moody, jumped into the railroad reporting business, too. He was the first one to use those letter grades. He was followed by Fitch. Standard joined up with Poor.

Pretty soon, they started branching out.

"By the 1920's, the stock market is booming," White says. "There is this need for more and more information on the part of lenders, who is a good risk and who is not."

But back then, the rating of a loan was just a service that investors payed for. It didn't have the make-or-break power that it has today.

The U.S. government changed all that.

After the stock market crash of 1929 and the start of the Depression, the U.S. government started to regulate the health of the banks. Part of that was monitoring the quality of the bonds that banks invested in.

And here's the catch: The government said the bonds had to be rated by one of these private agencies, according to White.

"It was outsourced," he says. "It was delegated to this handful ... of third-party, private-sector rating firms."

For decades, the rating agencies did a pretty good job of separating the good loans from the bad, White says.

But the business started to change in the late 1960s. Instead of charging investors, the rating agencies started to take money from the issuers of the bonds. White blames the shift on the invention of "the high-speed photocopy machine."

The ratings agencies were afraid, he says, that investors would just pass around rating information for free. So they had to start making their money from the company side. Even this seemed to work pretty well for a long time.

In the scandals of the past decade, though, the rating agencies fared more poorly. They largely missed Enron's impending bankruptcy. They gave AAA ratings to too many subprime mortgage securities.

In the aftermath of the crisis, Congress even passed legislation ordering regulators to stop relying on the rating agencies as much as they used to. But it's hard to undo decades of special status, and the regulators are still trying to figure out how to stop relying on ratings.

 

to repeat-

        

        "Instead of charging investors, the rating agencies started to take money from the issuers of the bonds."

 

this would be like 20th Century Fox paying movie critics for good reviews ....it's payola on a huge scale

 

 

 

post #175 of 331

EDIT

 

Iis a valid criticism but the decision is partly driven by liquidity. If it is left to the creditors to decide whether or not to get a rating you end up with a lower proportion of debt issuance that has been analysed for creditworthiness, and that reduces the flow of marketable debt. As I said above, the main criticisms have come from the rating of structured products. I can't emphasise enough how complex those risks are and how many good people didn't spot the flaws - hint, it was many more than those who were smart enough to recognise the issue and manipulated the market anyway.

 

The other practical issue is skill sets. Let's say you nationalised ratings: something that I think has to be on the table even as a straw man. Your talent pool for analysts in the new Department of Ratings? Drawn from the rating agencies. Let's say instead that bndhoders put teams together of analysts to do a more thorough due diligence themselves - pretty much impossible for anyone other than the massive institutional investors, but let's ignore that for a second. Where do they get their recruits from? Yep, the ratings agencies.

 

What you'll get in effect if you unpick the agencies themselves is a multitude of competing models - creditor DD, issuer DD, "independent" ratings. You'll end up sacrificing one of the principal benefits of the current model (and one that still holds true for 90% of the market) which is a consistent set of substantially comparable, efficient methods for providing creditors with a view on creditworthiness for a massive volume of varying issuers.

 

Let's take another option, which is changing the model for payment of rating agencies. At the moment, issuer pays because it is in their interests to do so. There is a conflict but frankly I think that is manageable through internal separation, reputation and personnel management, but I won't ask anyone here to agree with me on that one. If you make it a subscription model, I think you'll have a material effect on liquidity. So, what else can you do? The only thing I can think of is either to legislate that ratings are mandatory but that the creditors have to pay on day one. The problem there is that there are an unknown number of bondholders, bondholders change over time, and so you'll either have an unknown fee for the rating or a changing proportion borne by a changing number of bondholders. I can't see that working. 

 

All roads to me seem to lead either to an issuer model or a nationalised one. The issue with nationalisation is that it places a whopping liability on the state's books just at a time where the balance sheet doesn't have spare capacity. That's not to mention the conflict on sovereign debt issues -  a vast part of the market - wouldn't be solved. You could also end up with competing national agencies, and forum shopping, which currently the rating agencies don't contribute to.


Edited by jhp1608 - 1/17/12 at 12:39am
post #176 of 331

 

 

Quote:
 
IMF seeks $1 trillion to stave off '1930s moment'
 
THE world will face a "1930s moment" of the kind that brought on the Great Depression unless money can quickly be found to support nations such as Italy and Spain, the International Monetary Fund says.
Before releasing dramatically downgraded economic forecasts early this morning Australian time the IMF chief, Christine Lagarde, told an audience in Berlin $1 trillion would be needed to support ailing governments and stave off a deeper crisis - half of which would have to come from Fund backers such as Australia...
 
...The IMF has shaved three quarters of 1 per cent off its previous global growth forecast, issued in September. It expects the world economy to grow by 3.25 per cent this year and advanced economies 1.2 per cent. China would grow 8.2 per cent, down from 9.2 per cent. The euro zone would shrink 0.5 per cent before growing weakly next year.
But Ms Lagarde said the world was facing "a 1930s moment, in which inaction, insularity and rigid ideology combine to cause a collapse in global demand".
"This is a defining moment," she said. "It is not about saving any one country or region. It is about saving the world from a downward economic spiral."
The IMF economic update warns of "adverse feedback loops" in which countries that have trouble paying debts cut spending further, depressing their economies even more, making it harder to repay their debts and imperilling financial institutions worldwide.
In Berlin Ms Lagarde attacked the "worrisome tendency to view fiscal policy as a morality play between profligacy and responsibility".
 
 

 

post #177 of 331
The Economist is tough on the Greek government. March 20th is not far away:

http://www.economist.com/node/21543536?fsrc=scn/tw/te/ar/whattodoaboutgreece
post #178 of 331

I like this quote from Sarkozy:

 

 

Quote:
“We can say -- with caution -- that we see elements of financial stability in France, in Europe and in the world,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said yesterday. “Europe is no longer at the edge of the cliff.”

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-30/eu-stumbles-over-greek-aid-package-as-merkel-signals-debt-agreement-delay.html

 

That sounds a lot like McCains "fundamentals of the economy are strong" statement in 2008.

post #179 of 331

Meanwhile, in Italy:

 

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-27/italian-truckers-strikes-disrupt-production-at-fiat-coke.html

 

Strikes are due in part to new Austerity Measures kicking in, gas prices hiked to $9 a gallon.

post #180 of 331

The Austerity measures Greece is implementing sound brutal.  21% cut to the minimum wage?

 

48 hour general strike on: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2012/02/201221010713951728.html

 

Stelios, how are you holding up?

post #181 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBananaGrabber View Post

The Austerity measures Greece is implementing sound brutal.  21% cut to the minimum wage?

 

48 hour general strike on: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2012/02/201221010713951728.html

 

Stelios, how are you holding up?


 

Just came in here to ask the same; really looking for some points on what to make of the austerity measure being forced on Greece as a final condition for a bailout. I had no idea they were so draconian... much of the US media's interpretation of Greece's hesitation to accept the cuts boil down to "those lazy Greeks aren't putting in their fair share!". Even Jon Stewart and TDS has a scathing segment on the seemingly comfortable and unimpeded life of modern Greek citizens. It just doesn't ring entirely true to me. 

post #182 of 331

The embracing of the idea that austerity is the correct path is going to create way more problems than it solves....the only good thing that might come out of it will be that there will concrete proof that extreme austerity is the wrong way to handle a financial situation like the one going on.

 

from Krugman-

 

 

Quote:

And here’s the thing: when this started, Greece was running a large primary deficit — which meant that even if it repudiated all its debt, it would still have been forced to make a major fiscal contraction. This is no longer true. So we’re now looking at a scenario in which Greece is forced into killing levels of austerity to pay its foreign creditors, with no real light at the end of the tunnel.

 

This is just not going to work.

 

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/the-greek-vise/

 

 

post #183 of 331

Hey all the people of Greece need to do is not spend any money on anything for a couple of years until they've paid off all their debt then everything will be fine amiright?

post #184 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackyShimSham View Post


 

Just came in here to ask the same; really looking for some points on what to make of the austerity measure being forced on Greece as a final condition for a bailout. I had no idea they were so draconian... much of the US media's interpretation of Greece's hesitation to accept the cuts boil down to "those lazy Greeks aren't putting in their fair share!". Even Jon Stewart and TDS has a scathing segment on the seemingly comfortable and unimpeded life of modern Greek citizens. It just doesn't ring entirely true to me. 


http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2011/12/european_financial_crisis_is_europe_a_mess_because_germans_work_hard_and_greeks_are_lazy_.html

 

 

Are Greeks Lazy?

Europe is a mess because Germans work hard and Greeks are shiftless. False!

 

"It’s true that Germans and Greeks work very different amounts, but not in the way you expect. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the average German worker put in 1,429 hours on the job in 2008. The average Greek worker put in 2,120 hours. In Spain, the average worker puts in 1,647 hours. In Italy, 1,802. The Dutch, by contrast, outdo even their Teutonic brethren in laziness, working a staggeringly low 1,389 hours per year."

 

post #185 of 331

I keep repeating it everywhere. Whatever is wrong with the Greek economy, it's not the Greeks just laying around collecting checks. Whoever claims that is lying and whoever believes this is retarded.

 

"Oh my god there are people in Greece with university educations that get paid 1500€ a month after 15 years of work! What a waste! There are people who after 30 years of work get 1000€ pensions! Scandalous profligacy!"

 

There is a problem in Greece. It's called a bloated labyrinthine bureaucracy. Nothing has been done about that and no one even seems willing to talk about it. It's called a retarded, convoluted, unfair, corrupt and full of holes tax system. Nothing has been done about that and no one even seems willing to talk about it. It's called insolvency. It's called no capital being left in the market. Nothing has been done about that and no one even seems willing to talk about it. What has been done is make sure that the past two years the equivalent of two months income has been removed by tax hikes and pay cuts from the majority of Greek households. I'm so fucking disappointed at the European leadership I don't even have the energy to get angry anymore. They're so ill equipped to handle this mess, it scares me. I worry for Europe and the world as a whole. Greece is fucked, that is a given. I've come to accept that and I'll have to live with that. Fuck us, we're too small to matter. I'm more mad that these morons will also fuck up Europe as a whole.


Edited by stelios - 2/11/12 at 1:06am
post #186 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelios View Post

I keep repeating it everywhere. Whatever is wrong with the Greek economy, it's not the Greeks just laying around collecting checks. Whoever claims that is lying and whoever believes this is retarded.

 

"Oh my god there are people in Greece with university educations that get paid 1500€ a month after 15 years of work! What a waste! There are people who after 30 years of work get 1000€ pensions! Scandalous profligacy!"

 

There is a problem in Greece. It's called a bloated labyrinthine bureaucracy. Nothing has been done about that and no one even seems willing to talk about it. It's called a retarded, convoluted, unfair, corrupt and full of holes tax system. Nothing has been done about that and no one even seems willing to talk about it. It's called insolvency. It's called no capital being left in the market. Nothing has been done about that and no one even seems willing to talk about it. What has been done is make sure that the past two years the equivalent of two months income has been removed by tax hikes and pay cuts from the majority of Greek households. I'm so fucking disappointed at the European leadership I don't even have the energy to get angry anymore. They're so ill equipped to handle this mess, it scares me. I worry for Europe and the world as a whole. Greece is fucked, that is a given. I've come to accept that and I'll have to live with that. Fuck us, we're too small to matter. I'm more mad that these morons will also fuck up Europe as a whole.


What he said.

 

post #187 of 331

I have this book on order:

 

 

Ultimately, a loan is a social arrangement and, like any other contract, it can be renegotiated. A few decades ago, archaeologists discovered the first ever legal contract in Lagash in modern-day Iraq. Dated back 4,400 years and carved into the bricks of a Mesopotamian temple, it was for the cancellation of debt. It's claimed that countries that don't repay their loans will be frozen out by lenders. Yet, as I wrote here last year, IMF economists have recently argued that "the economic costs are generally significant but short-lived . . . we almost never can detect effects beyond one or two years."

In his recent, brilliant history Debt: the First 5,000 Years, the anthropologist David Graeber calls for a modern-day debt jubilee, a cancellation of all debts, just as they had in Mesopotamia. His suggestion is provocative, but it should be taken seriously. Because the longer we keep protecting the haves over the have-nots and honouring the past while destroying the future, the worse this debt crisis will get.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/09/time-cancel-unpayable-old-debts

 

One of the points this book makes is that when revolutions happen, one thing that happens very quickly is the destruction of all the records of past debt. This is consistent behaviour going back millenia all over the world.

post #188 of 331

 

 

Quote:
Athens burns over austerity measures (Video Thumbnail)    Making their point .. protesters clash with riot police in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens.   
Angry ... protesters clash with riot police in Thessaloniki.
 
 
 
Rioters set fire to buildings and battled police in downtown Athens as the Greek Parliament approved Prime Minister Lucas Papademos's $160 billion austerity package to avert the nation's collapse.
 
Despite the protests, the Greek parliament passed the austerity bill needed for the bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
 
As many as seven buildings - including a Starbucks cafe, a bank and a cinema, as well as other stores in downtown Athens - were set on fire, a fire department spokesman said, speaking on the condition of anonymity in line with official policy.
 
The buildings were near a bank that was set on fire in May 2010, killing three bank employees, during a general strike against Greece's first bailout package.
 
Greek police fired tear gas at petrol bomb-throwing protesters outside parliament, where tens of thousands had massed.
 
Police said some 80,000 protesters had gathered outside the building where debate on the plan imposed by the country's international creditors - the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank - was ongoing before the late-night vote.
 
In the country's second city Thessaloniki, about 20,000 protesters took to the streets to protest against the austerity package they described as blackmail, which needs to be approved by parliament if Greece is to receive the bailout.
 
The unrest in Athens started when a group on Syntagma square tried to muscle past the police cordon protecting the parliament building.
 
Riot police retaliated with tear gas grenades, scattering protesters into nearby streets where they hurled rocks and molotov cocktails at the security forces.
 
People wearing masks smashed shop windows along two major avenues while a bank was set on fire, police said.
 
Sunday's protesters included trade unionists, youths with shaven heads waving Greek flags, communist activists and left-wing sympathisers, many of them equipped with gas masks.
Syntagma square was shrouded in a thick cloud of tear gas. One elderly Greek man could be seen among the demonstrators, breathing through a gas mask and wearing swimming goggles.
 
But while dispersing into nearby streets initially, the crowd soon returned onto the square, with families among the tens of thousands that had gathered.
 
A man was seen hawking paper masks - as some form of protection against the tear gas - as well as Greek flags.
 
Against the wall of the central bank, the word "Greece" was painted in black and replaced by "Bank of Berlin", alluding to the impression among Greeks that Germany is dictating the painful austerity measures.
 
"It's not easy to live in these conditions," said 49-year-old engineer Andreas Maragoudakis. "By 2020 we will be the Germans' slaves."
 
Another protester, Stella Maguina, 33, said: "We are here for our parents and our children, for all those who can't come."
 
Civil engineer Anastasia Papadaki, 27 said "the measures are not the solutions to the problem as they will not bring growth.
 
"It's just the international community blackmailing us."
 
"Enough is enough!" said 89-year-old Manolis Glezos, one of Greece's most famous leftists.
"They have no idea what an uprising by the Greek people means. And the Greek people, regardless of ideology, have risen."
 
Glezos is a national hero for sneaking up the Acropolis at night in 1941 and tearing down a Nazi flag from under the noses of the German occupiers, raising the morale of Athens residents.
 
"These measures of annihilation will not pass," Glezos said on Syntagma Square, visibly overcome by teargas and holding a mask over his mouth.
 
As is usual in Greek protests, only a small fraction of the crowd fought the police but one group started a fire right in front of a tent where first aid workers were preparing to care for the injured.
 
"Cops, pigs, murderers!" chanted the crowd.
 
Police said 14 injured protesters were taken to hospital - including one who was hit in the stomach by a flare - and at least 50 were treated at the scene for breathing problems caused by the tear gas. At least eight police were also injured.
 
Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, opening the debate in parliament, stressed the importance of backing the government-approved plan to stave off bankruptcy.
 
"The choice is not between sacrifice and no sacrifices at all, but between sacrifices and unimaginably harsher ones," he told a stormy debate expected to run well into the night.
One small party has already pulled out of the coalition of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos in protest against the terms of the rescue package from the European Union and International Monetary Fund - Greece's second since 2010.
 
A number of lawmakers from the two biggest government parties, socialist PASOK and conservative New Democracy, have also threatened to rebel but their numbers did not appear to be enough to sink the bill.
 
Greece needs the international funds before March 20 to meet debt repayments of 14.5 billion euros, or suffer a chaotic default which could shake the entire euro zone.
 
The EU and IMF say they have had enough of broken promises and that the funds will be released only with the clear commitment of Greek political leaders that they will implement the reforms whoever wins an election potentially in April.
 
Euro zone paymaster Germany ratcheted up the pressure yesterday.
 
"The promises from Greece aren't enough for us anymore," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in an interview published yesterday in the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
 
German opinion polls show a majority of Germans are willing to help, mr Schaeuble said, "but it's important to say that it cannot be a bottomless pit ... At least people are now starting to realise it won't work with a bottomless pit.
 
"Greece needs to do its own homework to become competitive - whether that happens in conjunction with a new rescue program or by another route that we actually don't want to take."
 
When asked if that other "route" meant Greece quitting the euro zone, Mr Schaeuble said: "That is all in the hands of the Greeks themselves. But even in the event [Greece leaves the euro zone], which almost no one assumes will happen, they will still remain part of Europe."
The austerity measures include cutting the minimum wage from about 750 euros a month and aim to cut Greece's bloated state sector workforce by about 150,000 people by 2015.
It also provides for a bond swap to ease Greece's debt burden by cutting the real value of private-sector investors' bond holdings by some 70 per cent. Greece will miss a February 17 deadline to offer a debt "haircut" to private bondholders if the vote is not passed today.
Bloomberg/AFP/Reuters
 
 

 

 

Living in the largest greek city outside of Greece in the world, and having grown up with many greek mates and having adored the country myself for the month I was there many moons ago, this is really kinda heart breaking.

 

For what its worth Stel, I'm really sorry, the cradle of western civilization deserves much better than this.

post #189 of 331

I can't give half a fuck right now about what's going to happen.

 

Anyway, the austerity package passed with 199 yes votes out of 278 present. Almost a fifth of the two major parties' MPs broke ranks and voted no and were summarily kicked out. And now I hope we've self-flagellated enough for the Germans to decide trying some measures other than punitive ones.

post #190 of 331

 

Can Greece play EU hardball?

 

Quote:
Tensions between Athens and the rest of Europe have risen to dangerous levels, with several European countries now pushing to delay Greece’s second €130 billion bailout package until they see the outcome of Greek elections in April.
 
Germany, Finland and the Netherlands — all of which hold triple-A credit ratings — have become increasingly frustrated by the posturing of Greek politicians and have hardened their attitude to the debt-strapped country.
 
There is now growing support for the idea of delaying Greece’s second bailout package until after the country’s April elections. Instead, they would give the country a short-term bridging loan that would enable it to avoid defaulting on a €14.5 billion debt repayment that is due next month.
 
German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble gave voice to his frustration in an interview on German radio overnight. “When you look at the internal political discussions in Greece and the opinion polls, then you have to ask who will really guarantee after the elections … that Greece will stand by what we are now agreeing with Greece,” he said.
 
It’s also clear that European leaders are no longer as terrified by the prospect of a Greek debt default, because they believe that the European Central Bank has managed to settle markets by flooding the region’s banks with low-cost funds. According to Dutch finance minister Jan Kees de Jager, eurozone countries no longer have their backs against the wall regarding Greece, because of the broader financial buffers that have been built up in the past year.
 
But Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos lashed out at this new hard-line attitude from Europe, warning European leaders that they were “playing with fire”. ”We are faced with an extraordinary situation. As we continue, new terms and conditions are being set,” he said. “There are many in the eurozone that don’t want us any more.”
 
The rising tensions come even though the leaders of Greece’s main political parties have given written undertakings that they will stick to the terms of the country’s new bailout program.

 

 

post #191 of 331

"If you erase the debt record, then we all go back to zero."

post #192 of 331

Schauble can suck my cock. No you fuck, democracies don't work that way. Maybe we should go a step further and outlaw the Communist Party, you despotic odious cunt? If they win the elections (which they won't in a million years) they get to do what they fucking please because that's the way this whole Western Democracy thing works. I went along with everything so far. If our politicians give an inch in this I'll fucking join the riots and start burning shit down. I'd rather we leave Europe altogether, abject poverty or not, than have to deal with pieces of shit like him. 

post #193 of 331
The Germans - or at least the elite decision makers - seem to live in a bubble. All they want is Austerity, austerity and nothing else. Well how about some plans for GROWTH?? The more they crack down on Greece and other countries the more people will resent them, with potentially serious social unrest in other coubtries as well.
post #194 of 331

And hey, if we're that disagreeable to them I'd love to see what they'd do should we, for example, hand over the Eastern Mediterranean to the Russians. I'm sure Putin would love easy access to the Middle East and North Africa.

post #195 of 331

that cliff edge's hurtling towards us all....

 

 

Quote:
The Europeans certainly know how to maximise the dramatic effect.

While rumours of an imminent deal over the latest Greek bail-out package continue to swirl through the market, Australian investors - as the first major market to react to a deal - are likely to remain in the dark as trading begins this morning.

While an announcement was expected an hour ago, the usual frictions have delayed agreement although it would be inconceivable that European leaders could again throw global finance into chaos by dissolving into dissent.
Advertisement: Story continues below
Protesters rally against austerity measures.

Finance ministers from 17 euro zone nations sat down at 2am AEDT in Brussels to thrash out the deal for the latest $170 billion lifeline. Talks were complicated by arguments over the mechanism to provide the funding and dissension over how much autonomy be given to Greek leaders on managing their economy.

European leaders were adamant the bail-out money be paid into a separate account that would be used to pay creditors rather than meet Greece's internal funding commitments, threatening Greece with a humiliating loss of sovereignty, which it reportedly is now resisting.

And while new chasms have opened between the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund over how to reduce the financially stricken nation's debt position, they are largely academic and irrelevant.

The IMF has demanded that Greece's debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio be reduced to 120 per cent by 2020.

Word leaking out from the latest negotiations has estimates the ratio will sit at around 124 per cent. Either way it is unsustainable. And the new round of even harsher austerity measures agreed upon last week will only serve to make any such forecasts useless.

The austerity measures, by definition, will further weaken the Greek economy which already has been in recession for five years and which showed an alarming drop in the final quarter of last year. And if the GDP continues to shrink, the debt ratio must blow out, ensuring the country will never manage to retain control of its debt situation.

So there is no way Greece can avoid default and further negotiations will ensue this year and next.


Behind the scenes, however, European leaders have worked hard to minimise the impact of a default.

Midway through last year, a Greek default would have created chaos within the European banking system which, in turn, had the potential to once again cause a seizure within the global financial system.

There was a very real threat that a default would cause the collapse of the European Union and the single currency.

Since then, the European Central Bank has been busy buying Greek bonds and is now one of the biggest holders of Greek debt, effectively transferring the debt from the private to the public sector.

A default ordinarily would create serious problems for the ECB but it has angered private creditors, now being forced to endure large losses on their holding, by attempting to insulate itself from a collapse.

All the same, European leaders cannot afford to cut Greece loose. If they did, attention would quickly focus on Italy which faces much the same problems as Greece, except that as a far bigger economy, it would be impossible to rescue. And that outcome could seriously threaten the European Union and global economic stabillity.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/business/rescue-plan-wont-prevent-greek-default-20120221-1tkgr.html#ixzz1my45zgDK

 

post #196 of 331

Betcha the Germans are demanding a name change to Griechenland.

post #197 of 331

Apostolos Doxiadis, author of Uncle Petros & Goldbach's Conjecture*, one of my favorite books of the past couple of decades, sums up a lot of my feelings about our situation now in The Guardian.

 

*Seriously, I cannot recommend this book enough. Even if you only have a passing interest in mathematics (which at that high level are surprisingly close to philosophy and logic puzzles) you're going to love it.

post #198 of 331
Thread Starter 

Good write up.

 

Meanwhile, this round of bailout was just approved.  Looks like default will have to wait a few more months.  Just rip the band aid already, albeit in a controlled and orderly fashion.

 

Kinda bummed as I'm heading to Europe in 8 days and was hoping the exchange rate would be slightly more in our favor. frown.gif

post #199 of 331

Europe? Whereabouts?

post #200 of 331
Thread Starter 

Amsterdam and Paris with a day in Lyon.  Originally had it planned for September but my wife decided to go ahead and get knocked up, so we moved it up a tad.

 

My wife is fluent in French - I've simply memorized the phrase "excuse moi, je suis un American stupid.  Parlez vous englais?" in hopes that will get me by. 

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