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All your euros are belong to Greece. - Page 5

post #201 of 331

"Excusez moi, je suis un con Americain. Parlez-vous Anglais?"

 

There, that should do it. Of course the answer will be NON, either way.

post #202 of 331
Thread Starter 

Gotta work in the "stupid American" part and take note of how many chuckles I receive.

 

 

post #203 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Closer View Post

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. 


I've thrown myself into the deep end with trying to speak the/one of the native language of South Korea, Japan and Sri Lanka in the past but I would never be as game as my brother who tried to speak French he'd learned from a phrase book to a French waiter (it went down as well you'd expect from the stereotype) ... though I did try to ask in French at one of their video stores if they had a copy of District 13 (I ended up going to Amazon instead).

post #204 of 331
Europe declares war on Keynes, and Keynes is winning. An interesting, if depressing, report from Athens:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/opinion/kristof-in-athens-austeritys-ugliness.xml
post #205 of 331

Sarkozy just got shown the door in France. 

post #206 of 331

And Greece booted the ruling coalition, and brought a few ultra right parties into parliament.

post #207 of 331

Color me baffled as to why Greece is turning to the ultra-right in these times. Of course, I'm baffled when any country veers to the ultra-right.

post #208 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackyShimSham View Post

Color me baffled as to why Greece is turning to the ultra-right in these times. Of course, I'm baffled when any country veers to the ultra-right.

 

So what are ultra-right parties like in Greece? Grecian Nazis? Are they worse than Illinois Nazis?

post #209 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackyShimSham View Post

Color me baffled as to why Greece is turning to the ultra-right in these times. Of course, I'm baffled when any country veers to the ultra-right.

 

When you have a large group of the populace that is angry and unemployed...they are ripe for manipulation.

All it takes is one really charismatic individual to promise jobs and stoke some national pride...

 

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/05/06/greek-neo-nazis-warn-the-time-for-fear-has-come/

post #210 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Vivisector View Post

 

So what are ultra-right parties like in Greece? Grecian Nazis? Are they worse than Illinois Nazis?

 

I can't tell if you're being flippant or not, but apparently they are Grecian Nazis, at least according to VTran's link. I don't know what to make of it all. Except I imagine a party of neo-nazis entering Parliament is probably not a good thing. 

post #211 of 331

I'm trying to measure my tone until Stelios sets the record straight, because the media is sensational.  But yeah, it really looks like the Golden Dawn are not even trying to hide the fact that they're neo-nazis, here's their logo:

 

golden-dawn.jpg

post #212 of 331

Nevermind, they're completely Nazis.  Here's a scary video of them kicking a reporter out of a press conference because he wouldn't stand for the leader of the party:

 

http://greece.greekreporter.com/2012/05/06/shock-to-democracy-nazi-friendly-party-golden-dawn-enters-greek-parliament/

post #213 of 331

No you're right. They are complete fascist scumbags. I understand that turbulent times feed the extremes and both ends fed this time, though these fucking douches fed better hen most. But this is the first time since this whole mess started that I am ashamed and angry at my countrymen. Fuck them. What I will say next may sound like an exaggeration but I assure you it is not. I will cheer at anyone that manages to kill one of their MPs. And if they get caught I will gladly donate to their legal fund. I wish I had the guts to do it myself. I detest them but even more I detest my "countrymen" that voted for them and I wish that all possible harm can come to their fucking stupid cuntfaces.

 

I'd rather have the whole country burn than see fascists in our Parliament.

post #214 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelios View Post

No you're right. They are complete fascist scumbags. I understand that turbulent times feed the extremes and both ends fed this time, though these fucking douches fed better hen most. But this is the first time since this whole mess started that I am ashamed and angry at my countrymen. Fuck them. What I will say next may sound like an exaggeration but I assure you it is not. I will cheer at anyone that manages to kill one of their MPs. And if they get caught I will gladly donate to their legal fund. I wish I had the guts to do it myself. I detest them but even more I detest my "countrymen" that voted for them and I wish that all possible harm can come to their fucking stupid cuntfaces.

 

I'd rather have the whole country burn than see fascists in our Parliament.

 

It's not the first time a country has been given nowhere to go economically and has turned to the tennets of national socialism for comfort.

 

Fuck I wish we learned from our fucking mistakes. Stupid fucking humanity.

post #215 of 331

So, let me tell you how these scumbags managed to get to where they are.

 

They bet on a single issue. That of the mishandling of illegal immigration. The first part of that happened right after the fall of the Iron Curtain. You see, up to the beginning of the 20th century large, millions, ethnically Greek populations lived all through the Balkans, Asia Minor and around the Black Sea. During the first two decades, among two Balkan wars, a Greek-Turkish war, World War I and the Russian Revolution most of them were either killed or deported to Greece. But still hundreds of thousands were stuck. When the Iron Curtain fell, the Greek state announced that they were implementing sped-up procedures for any of the ethnically Greeks living in former communist countries and wanted to get repatriated. Of course being the idiots that they are, they didn't account for how mind-bogglingly corrupt these places were. Everyone was suddenly Greek in Georgia. They also failed to anticipate Albania's collapse and subsequent en masse immigration southwards. So a country of ten million that really wasn't doing so great anyway had to suddenly integrate about one and a half million more people in a period of two or three years. Our infrastructure strained to the point of bursting. It was then that the extreme right made its first pay at exploiting this discontent. However we somehow managed to integrate them, more or less.

 

But the post Gulf War 2 chain of events that culminated in the events of the Arab Spring caused another wave of immigration this time from the Middle East and as far back as Pakistan. The Greek coastline being actually longer than the total coastline of all of the EU is practically indefensible against smugglers by a single nation much less one of such limited means as Greece. Much less so, when Turkey is actively participating at these operations or at least turning a blind eye to them. So thousands upon thousands of illegal immigrants are streaming over our borders, making their way to Athens only to be taken over by various underworld figures. They work, the few of them that do under sweatshop conditions. They live, by the dozen in slummy apartments that become health code time bombs. A lot of them have turned to petty, but escalating, crime having no other prospects. Any sort of integration is impossible considering the economic circumstances. So for the first time in Greek history there are parts of Athens that are inaccessible to regular people after sunset. This is especially centered in poor, working class neighborhoods.

 

One of these neighborhoods that became a media hotspot for the subject is Agios Panteleimonas. Its central square partly became (and partly sold as such by the media) a Warriors version of Athens. Day after day there were stories of people not being able to leave their homes at night. So what did Chrysi Augi do? In a move straight out of the Nazi party playbook they sent their thugs to hang around the square and scare away the illegal immigrants. They were suddenly doing what the "incompetent" government did not. But they did one more thing. They know that Greek people are very anti-fascist. They knew that if they had to explain their views they would again be voted down. So they remained silent all through the campaign. No speeches, no interviews, nothing at all. they banked on the people being ignorant and on their desire to "stick it" to the establishment.

 

And it worked. It will not last. If a government is unable to be formed and new elections happen they will be lucky to hold to three percent and send a single person to Parliament. But the fact that the people fell for such an obvious plot is filling me with rage. 

post #216 of 331

Geez.  The only salve I can offer is if I send you some Australian talk back radio and letters to the editor so you can see half a country act like a few thousand asylum seekers are about to destroy the nation.

It won't help exactly, but it'll make you want to kill somebody different for a little while.

post #217 of 331

Holy shit. Thanks for the write up Stelios. Economically what's happening to Greece is an absolutely brutal situation for a population/society to be in, but yeah - don't human beings have other reactions than "Let's go Dark Side!!!"/Nazi?

 

We seriously need an OS upgrade as a species. We're still running on "MS Cave Dweller" with an "Industrial/Agrarian" GUI and a picture of a microchip as the desktop wallpaper. It looks modern, but it's an obsolete piece of shit that needs serious re-coding.

post #218 of 331

Edit - double post weirdness...

post #219 of 331

Thanks for the perspective Stelios.  I could see a similar political situation precipitating in Arizona.

post #220 of 331

I just want to say, I'm really happy about the Socialist France elected.  I don't care what you call him, the guy wants a 75% top marginal tax rate and for that he gets the Brass Balls award.  If France can deal with its debt while at the same time revealing austerity for the sham that it is, it would be amazing. 

 

Stelios, I'm really scared for Greece and Italy both with these unelected technocrats in charge.  They're the Point A to Idiocracy's Point B.  They have to go.  We're not in such great shape ourselves, with half the population drinking the Fox News kool aid, and depending how this election goes, we could be in the same boat with Romney and that ghoul Paul Ryan drooling over the idea of austerity. 

post #221 of 331

THe big question is what's going to happen to the Euro agreements.  Hollande isn't going to toe Germany's line, and the Greek PM(?) says he can't form a government.

post #222 of 331

So we're giving the EU what... another year or two at best?

post #223 of 331

Nah. These times are the European Federation's birthing pains. Way, way, way too much money is possible with integration to give it up. Next up are the bean counters in Germany realizing they have to water down their wine a bit.

post #224 of 331

Nationalizing the banks until they can sort out this bullshit seems like a pretty logical solution to me. It fucking sickens me that the public is being made to pay for the fuckups of these aristocratic asswipes who ran everything into the ground.

post #225 of 331

Nah. We tried nationalization here in the 80s. It only succeeded in making shitty businessmen even richer with public money and the companies crashed and burned anyway. What we need is a system of regulations that views collusion between corporations and the state as negatively as pedophilia. We need to match the scale of the crime to the punishment. Some people need to go away for life. When the first banker or unscrupulous hedge fund manager dies in jail, that's when I'll know the regulations mean something.

post #226 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelios View Post

Nah. We tried nationalization here in the 80s. It only succeeded in making shitty businessmen even richer with public money and the companies crashed and burned anyway. What we need is a system of regulations that views collusion between corporations and the state as negatively as pedophilia. We need to match the scale of the crime to the punishment. Some people need to go away for life. When the first banker or unscrupulous hedge fund manager dies in jail, that's when I'll know the regulations mean something.


Your lips to God's ears.

post #227 of 331
post #228 of 331

That guy should really try and not hold his breath.

post #229 of 331

 

This is one of the main reasons that large portions of the media suck.

 

What are the odds that when some random talking head makes a grandiose statements like this, they are already in a position to financially benefit off of any sort of panic that might ensue.

 

I'm starting to think that people deeply involved in the financial industry (hedge funders, bank CEO's, etc. ) should not be allowed to discuss financial topics in the media.  There is too much of a chance that they may try and manipulate the market.  

post #230 of 331

A nice little up-to-date summary...

 

 

Quote:

What are the chances of Greece surviving bankruptcy, and can it depart the euro? Talks tonight between incoming French president Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel may help answer the questions that are dominating global markets and worrying bankers, central bankers and governments.

 

It’s doubtful anything substantive will occur. We now seem to be in a slow-motion train wreck as Athens fails in another attempt to form a government, meaning Greece looks as if it’s off to the polls for the second time in two months. But will Greece make it, or will it run out of money, forcing the rest of the EU and eurozone to put up more money, or refuse to provide any more funds, thereby triggering an inadvertent default?

 

Overnight, Merkel, smarting from a big anti-austerity vote in a state election on Sunday, warned Greece it had to back the austerity plan in place, or face the prospect of leaving the euro. Just how that is supposed to happen no one knows, given there are no rules for a country to leave the common currency short of being blasted out by a huge default. There is a game of high stakes “chicken” being played out here.

 

Eurozone ministers met for another talkfest that said nothing conclusive, dismissing talk of Greece leaving the eurozone as “propaganda and nonsense”. But they also said Greece had to respect the terms of the bailout program agreed with the EU and the International Monetary Fund. There was no mention of what would happen if Greece doesn’t do that, either inadvertently or deliberately.

 

Hollande is sworn in tonight and heads straight to Germany to talk to Merkel about life in the eurozone. Some European analysts say her warning to Greece was also a reminder to France that there is no going back and changing the program of spending cuts and other policy changes (such as altering the retirement age). Hollande wants to change these and others to try to promote growth. It was the policy that helped him become President. But Greece is the focus and it’s shaky.

 

That’s why financial markets had another miserable night, falling across the board. The Aussie dollar regained the parity level with the greenback, then fell under 99.60 US cents this morning in Asia. Oil fell to $US94 a barrel in New York. Stock markets fell sharply, especially in Europe, yields on Spanish and Italian debt hit 2012 highs, and yields on UK and German bonds hit all-time lows. In the US the yield on its key 10-year bond closed at 1.74%, the lowest it has been for six months. Yields on seven-year US bonds hit an all-time low of 1.1679%. Australian bonds were trading at 3.28% this morning for 10-year securities, lows not seen for more than 60 years.

 

Moody’s cut the ratings of 26 Italian banks, including the majors. Some of the cuts were four ratings levels and, according to the Financial Times, an adviser to Hollande warned publicly of the danger of contagion:

 

Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the head of France’s financial markets regulator and adviser to incoming president François Hollande, warned that ‘there is a risk of contagion’.

‘If Greece left the euro, which is a hypothesis that today we cannot avoid, we have to look at the chain of consequences for banks,’ he said in a television interview.”

 

In Athens, President Karolos Papoulias called off an attempt to set up a government of technocrats. As a result, the country is almost headed back to the polls next month (which will make June problematic with polls in the Netherlands and the French parliamentary elections). But will Greece make it?

 

Some commentators have wondered if Greece can emulate Argentina in defaulting and surviving. At $US93 billion, Argentina is the largest-ever sovereign bankruptcy. It happened in December 2001, and according to some pundits, Argentina has survived and prospered. But, according to others, that’s not the case as successive governments have fiddled the national accounts, seized private pensions, restricted capital flows, taxed exports and avoided paying court judgments won by various creditors.

 

And Argentina went bust and then survived in the good times, when credit was easy and plentiful and no one really worried that household savings in the country were wiped out, ruining millions of  lives. Argentina had products people in other countries want — wheat, soy beans, beef and oil and gas reserves (now being run down) — and is a much larger and resource-rich country, which Greece isn’t.

 

Greece is smaller and poorer. In fact it has nothing going for it, except tourism but that is overshadowed by close to €300 billion in known debts, which is the financial equivalent of a black hole that could suck the rest of Europe and global finance into it.

 

So what’s the financial picture for Greece and the rest of the eurozone? Well it’s all debt and no assets. According to figures published in European media (The FT, Economist, Guardian and Wall Street Journal), Greece’s financial position is dire. The €5.2 billion payment approved last week under the second bailout package was actually €4.2 billion (one billion was held back). Of that €4.2 billion, €3 billion has to be repaid to the European Central Bank this month as bonds to the same amount mature. But if for some reason these bonds are not repaid, then the ECB pulls the plug and we get an early default.

 

No wonder a Greek minister warned at the weekend the country only has enough money for another six weeks. That might get them to a new election.The Economist wrote at the weekend that: “Banks have more or less called a halt to new lending to Greek institutions, companies and banks. By the end of 2011, foreign banks’ exposure to the Greek public sector had fallen to about $23 billion from $64 billion in September 2010. Cross-border loans to Greek firms and households had also fallen, from $86 billion to $69 billion. But that is still a lot.”

 

Some 70% of Greece’s debt is now made up of official loans already disbursed: that’s estimated at €140 billion; the European Central Bank owns around €40 billion of Greek bonds and the ECB has repoed (repurchased) around €140 billion of bonds and other securities with Greek banks. So roughly there’s around €200 billion owed to the ECB, the IMF and EU. Add on the €93 billion of other loans detailed by The Economist and Greek’s debts stand at just under €300 billion.

 

That’s the size of the risk to the rest of the eurozone, Europe and the global financial system. The eurozone’s global stability mechanism  (the so-called firewall) has €500 billion, so on paper, there’s enough there to protect against a Greek default. But that leaves nothing for Portugal and Ireland, plus Spain (and perhaps Italy). Certainly, if Greece defaults then attention (contagion) will spread to Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy, with France also a contender. And, if Greece faults on its IMF debts, it would join the likes of Zimbabwe, Somalia and Sudan that have overdue financial obligations to the fund.

 

So what happens if there’s a default? Well the ECB turns off the money tap, Greece has problems paying for imports, which stop or slow dramatically, shortages start happening, inflation rises. The economy collapses, demand and production plunge, unemployment soars (doubles from about 20%). If Greece’s banks are cut off, they collapse and the government will have to start new banks from the ruins (much in the way Iceland did after its collapse).

 

If the country leaves the euro and brings back the drachma, it has to strike an appropriate rate, while at the same time trying to shut the country down to stop a massive flight of capital. It also has to find the money to finance the printing of new notes and coins, the distribution of that money. New border and capital controls would have to be introduced and money found to pay the police, Customs, army and other state officials to try to keep the economy alive and stop more money from joining the €70-90 billion that have already left the country in the past two years.

 

Chaos is a Greek word and it’s very, very apt.

 

 

Chaos indeed. Pretty fucking scary stuff.

 

Stelios, we'll welcome you down here in Melbourne with open arms mate.

post #231 of 331

Don't tease me, man. I've had it up to here with everything in this stupid shit hole. Of course as I always said, if Greeks knew how to fucking vote we wouldn't be in this mess anyway.

 

Anyway, I wouldn't put much stock in Greece actually going "I'm taking my ball and going home." The parties that gained the most from the anti-memorandum sentiment do not want to govern. Especially SYRIZA, the party that came in second is desperately trying NOT to form a government. Everyone else, the first, third and fourth parties, say that the people in Greece do not agree with the terms of the memorandum and the bail-out and so all political parties should conform to the people's choice. It could be lip service or they could believe it. So everyone, they say, should form a two year national unity government, try to renegotiate and with Hollande in France instead of Sarkozy maybe we'll get some better terms. But SYRIZA is all "It's a trap. Not joining you." So they go "OK, then you form a government with whomever you want, we'll give you a vote of tolerance (I have no idea of the actual English term but it enables a party to govern without a majority in the parliament) and go do your thing." "No, it's unconstitutional.""Actually, it is constitutional.""No, it's a trap. We're not falling for it."

 

It's like watching a fucking schoolyard argument. It's a good thing I've already lost my hair or I'd have pulled them out myself with all the impossible shit I'm watching go down. But when it comes to leaving the Euro maybe we'll get thrown out but we're not leaving on our own. 

post #232 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muzman View Post

Geez.  The only salve I can offer is if I send you some Australian talk back radio and letters to the editor so you can see half a country act like a few thousand asylum seekers are about to destroy the nation.

It won't help exactly, but it'll make you want to kill somebody different for a little while.

 

oh yes.. Alan Jones..  Quite the gentleman.. I just hope his excursions to West End toilets went well

 

At the moment. The only 'person' I want to kill is Tony Abbott.

Sorry to just blurt that out Chewers. But his right wing filth is driving me into the ground.

 

I despair

post #233 of 331

From what I've read it seems that Syriza is betting that the Germans can't afford to see Greece leave the euro.  From what Merkel said yesterday it seems she might call their bluff.  But if Greece does leave the euro then it will still be in dire financial straits so Germany and the rest of the EU  - including the UK - will have to pony up even more dough anyway.

 

Meanwhile...

 

An outgoing Greek minister warned that the country could descend into “civil war” amid the chaos of a euro exit.

 

“If Greece cannot meet its obligations and serve its debt the pain will be great,” Michalis Chrysohoidis was quoted as telling a local radio station. “What will prevail are armed gangs with Kalashnikovs and which one has the greatest number of Kalashnikovs will count … we will end up in civil war.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9266187/George-Osborne-Angela-Merkel-damaging-UK-economic-interests.html

Does this seem a bit hysterical to you, Stelios?  I'm sure there will be more unrest, but full scale civil war?  Some are even speculating about an army coup!

 

 

 

post #234 of 331

Absolutely fucking hysterical. Chrysohoidis was one of the more accomplished ministers of the last decade especially when he was in charge of the Ministry for Public Order (it's less sinister than it sounds) but this is 100% fear mongering.

 

You see due to SYRIZA new elections are almost certain to happen. The two big parties, New Democracy and PASOK were a few seats short of being able to form a government mostly because a lot of their voters didn't bother to show up and it's in everyone's interests to spice things up a bit. Although there has been some hushed talk of all parties from PASOK rigtwards, anti-immigration ones excluded, going into the next elections as a single entity. 

post #235 of 331

Another great piece that aligns much more with the more sober readings we're getting here from our resident beloved greek-on-the-ground...

 

 

Quote:

Everything’s fine out the window … oh no, look, I can see society collapsing,” said Paul, a French-Greek journalist working in Athens. Out his window is Ermou, the wide shopping street that leads down to Syntagma Square. I’d phoned him to see what was going on, and to check the “Greece in turmoil” line that has become de rigeur in the official coverage of the crisis.

 

Paul didn’t need much of an invitation to take the piss out of that line. What has happened in the development of the Greek-European crisis — and the inter-connected coverage of it — has been extraordinary, but also indicative of the topsy-turvy world of capitalism, finance, and its relation to everyday life. It is a lesson worth following closely, because Greece is a harbinger of what will happen not merely in Europe, but across the world over the next decade as the vast global superbubble of neoliberalism slowly deflates.

 

Six months ago, Greece really was starting to fray — due to the determination of the two major parties, PASOK and New Democracy, to impose the austerity measures of the EU “memorandum” no matter how stupid or self-defeating — and the deep frustration of the public at the impasse between the political system and popular feeling.

 

But then, after six months of “technocratic” rule (really, EU satrapy), an election was held, and lo and behold, the hold of the major parties was broken, and new forces — Syriza, a leftist outfit, and Independent Greeks, a right-wing nationalist breakaway — managed to break through, gaining about 50 and 30 seats respectively. The vote may have scattered across several parties but the result was clear — 60% of votes went to parties that rejected the terms of the memorandum. At the same time, 80% of Greeks want to stay in the euro and the EU. They reject the old parties, but they also reject the notion that the only way to square away the debt is needless pain enacted for largely ceremonial purposes.

 

So, in other words, the people’s desires have entirely transformed the structure of Greek politics. Or, as it might otherwise be called, democracy. For surely, if democracy means anything, it means the capacity of a vote to up-end everything. In any real democracy, the party structure should collapse and recombine every 25-30 years or so. Large parties are, after all, coalitions of temporarily united values and interests. When the circumstances change, so should they.

 

That is what has happened in Greece. Rather than the shell-game of finance capitalism dictating the terms, people have made a fairly clear statement of what they want — the social-political has come to the centre of society, as it should. What the morons who constitute the ranks of financial journalism call “chaos” is really the exact opposite — it is politics, people expressing their will in a non-violent form, and then trying to negotiate an arrangement between differing manifestations of ideas and interests.

 

Chaos, by contrast, can be seen on the screen on every finance trader across the Western world, where stocks, shares, currencies move according to no rational basis, driven by the echo chamber of rumour. The idea that the business of everyday life should be governed by these processes rather than by the rational activity of production for use, indicates the nihilism at the heart of the market, its alliance with dead matter — numbers, money, power — rather than life.

 

The Greeks have rebelled against this. It looks like their rebellion will continue — with the failure of the latest attempts to form a coalition government the country is going back to the polls. Syriza, the left coalition that had taken 5% of the vote in the last election, and 17% in this, is now polling in the mid-twenties.

Such a result — if it occurred in the new elections, to take place in mid-June — would give Syriza the 50-seat bonus still in place. That would give them about 120 seats out of 300. Presuming that Democratic Left retained 10 seats or so — they would lose some seats back to Syriza — then there would be extreme pressure on Independent Greeks — the right-wing breakaway party — to support Syriza in their shared belief, a rejection of the austerity measures contained in the second memorandum.

 

That would deliver a government expressing the popular sentiment — in Europe but rejecting the memorandum. That is the scenario — a rational democratic one — that finance journalists call “the nightmare”. It is, but not in the manner they suggest. The truth is, that if Syriza forms government while rejecting the memorandum, but refuses to unilaterally leave the euro, then it is really Europe’s problem, not Greece’s. The usual groupthink that has everyone writing articles as to how Greece will leave the euro next week, etc, fails to take account of the fact that there is no easy way to expel a country from the eurozone. The onus is on the EU to do the expelling.

 

So everything from here on is uncharted. The technocratic Greek government — which remains in place — paid off an €5 billion-plus bond issue that came due today — but interest is due on hundreds of billions of euros of debt in the next month — much of it euro-debt — and the country has less than a billion euros in foreign reserves. So the EU would have to decisively refuse to underwrite the next series of payments — which would simply go from one euro account to another — in order to force the crisis.

The sensible solution would be the one proposed by new French President Francois Hollande — that bad Greek debt be swapped for eurobonds, and that the private debt take an 80-90% haircut, and that a rational 10-20 year paydown of what debt remains be negotiated without strangling the Greek economy — which would then shrink the economy further, and make it impossible for the country to repay its debts. It is utterly irrational, but so too is neoliberalism — it is the equivalent of the Incas believing that only human sacrifice would keep the sun rising, and that the advance of the conquistadors meant that they should redouble their efforts of tearing hearts out of chests on the top of ziggurats, rather than responding to the immediate threat in a rational and direct manner.

 

Every number quoted by the finance journalists — the hundreds of billions of euros owed, the terms coming due — are all bullshit. All that is due is the interest payments, and most of those are ludicrously inflated by the shell-game that got Greece into this mess in the first place — the sudden downrating of Greek debt by ratings agencies part-owned by the very banks that would profit from a hike in interest rates in the first place. Most finance journalists are simply unthinking propagandists of a system they have neither the intelligence nor the desire to examine.

 

Greece is now the cutting edge of the world. And Syriza is the most advanced political expression around. The party that the finance journalists call “strident” and lump in with the Nazi freak-show of Golden Dawn, is in reality an expression of the rationality within modernity — the idea that complex systems such as finance capital should be tools of humanity, rather than vice versa. People who think that the world can be covered by noting the movements of the FTSE, the Dow and the Kak better get used to what is happening in Greece, because it will soon be happening elsewhere.

 

Of course, with a month before the new elections, it is always possible that the voters in Greece will return to a mainstream pro-memorandum party, guided by fear. Should that occur, the relationship between the polity and the people will be sundered afresh, and everything up to civil war will have happened. Should Syriza triumph, then history will have happened, and Europe, the markets and their trailing sycophants in the financial press will have to adjust. Look away from the screen and out the window, and you might see the world.

post #236 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelios View Post
...when it comes to leaving the Euro maybe we'll get thrown out but we're not leaving on our own. 

 

I'm sorry if this has already been discussed but why? I've understood the majority of Greeks want their country to stay in the Euro even though it prevents devaluation which would help the export. It also gives mandate for other countries to give the Greeks ultimatums. A lot of articles scream Greece's economy will collapse if they leave the Euro. But hasn't it already collapsed? What is the worst that could happen?

 

I'm writing this as a person who thinks his country shouldn't be in the Euro. Our neighbours (Sweden, Norway, Denmark) aren't and they've been doing OK. And Euros are pretty fucking ugly looking money.

post #237 of 331

It paints SYRIZA* with a more flattering brush than I'd use but it's mostly, philosophically at least, right. This is a democracy and people have overwhelmingly chosen the direction they feel the country should take. No matter if I disagree with what they chose, I'd rather have the country go down the drain completely than for us to give up on democracy.

 

*I prefer it written like this since it's an abbreviation rather than an actual word even if it has meaning in Greek. Actually the 100% correct if complicated way to write would be Sy.Riz.A.-Synaspismos Rizospastikis Aristeras - Coalition Of The Radical Left. As a word it also means "cut down to the root" in Greek. Sorry for the pedantry. Also radical carries a much more extreme meaning politically in Greece than you'd think. For example, the part of the political spectrum I'm a part of is the radical popular right.

post #238 of 331

Norway isn't a member, but both Sweden and Denmark are.

post #239 of 331

Denmark and Sweden are members of the European Union but both have their own currency.

post #240 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtanen View Post

 

I'm sorry if this has already been discussed but why? I've understood the majority of Greeks want their country to stay in the Euro even though it prevents devaluation which would help the export. It also gives mandate for other countries to give the Greeks ultimatums. A lot of articles scream Greece's economy will collapse if they leave the Euro. But hasn't it already collapsed? What is the worst that could happen?

 

I'm writing this as a person who thinks his country shouldn't be in the Euro. Our neighbours (Sweden, Norway, Denmark) aren't and they've been doing OK. And Euros are pretty fucking ugly looking money.

 

Sorry for skipping your post. Somehow it didn't show up.

 

Anyway, Greece as an economy would benefit from a currency that is weaker than the euro. The euro is tailor-made for Germany. The problem is that right now there is no way we can leave the euro and not completely and categorically default. And right now except for the Communist Party there is no one either in Greece or in Europe with the political capital to go for it. If a Greek party does it, they'll dragged out in the streets and lynched after the country enters its second month of not being able to pay either wages or pensions. If the EU does it they will be seen as even more spineless and ineffectual than they already are. Not to mention that all this focus on Greece gives the other PIGS some precious breathing space for what they have to do.

post #241 of 331

So it's a question of timing then. Gutless people talking shit and second-guessing what the stock markets will think instead of doing something when it's still possible.

post #242 of 331

You know, I'm pretty hardcore in favor of a heavily integrated European Federation. Even in the instance of Greece being used as bait while Europe goes on with creating an armor for itself, even to Greece's exclusion, I'll be OK. We'll make do somehow. If all this ends with Europe a stronger overall political entity, I'll be OK. A strong and unified Europe will be good for all mankind. Greece included, whether inside Europe or outside.

post #243 of 331

Sketchy reports of a Greek bank run going on, as well as the ECB cutting off some banks:

 

http://www.forexlive.com/blog/2012/05/16/ecb-cuts-off-some-greek-banks/

post #244 of 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtanen View Post

Denmark and Sweden are members of the European Union but both have their own currency.

 

So, are these countries (or any that are members of the EU but use separate currency) being pressured to take on the Euro? And if not, why? 

post #245 of 331

Not that I know of. If you look at how strong currencies both the Danish and Swedish crown are, you can't find very good arguments for them to join the Euro. The Swedes considered switching a few years ago but it never went forward, the majority were against it and it frankly wouldn't make any sense.

post #246 of 331
Some of the Eastern European bloc have pledged to join the Euro at some point but nobody has done much about it. A misconceived politically ideological clusterfuck is s good way to sum it up.
post #247 of 331
The case for a managed Greek exit. Ignores the differences between Greece and Argentina though:

http://m.guardian.co.uk/ms/p/gnm/op/sM2rbtgWTouB0XkxrBkdEvQ/view.m?id=15&gid=commentisfree/2012/may/15/greece-europe-calamity-exiting-euro&cat=most-read

"A looming black cloud is hurtling forwards over the European horizon. It is called economic nemesis, driven to a fury by a quarter century of the naivety and greed of most of the continent's rulers. In Berlin and Brussels this week the high priests and wizards of euro-finance gazed at the cloud in horror, muttering imprecations: it was "unacceptable … unthinkable … unmentionable". The cloud took no notice and raced on.
Newspaper financial pages nowadays read like satirical spoofs. No one has a clue what is happening so analysts play with words. Would a Greek exit from the euro be a catastrophe or a calamity, or is that what happens without an exit? Is unimaginable worse than abhorrent, is contagion worse than wildfire, is apocalypse worse than Armageddon?
Markets indulge in no such fantasies. Money talks straight. Computers are already being fed "Grexit" algorithms, and modelling a disintegrated euro. Default swaps are in place. Spanish and Italian debts are being devalued de facto through soaring yields. Politicians panic, but money merely adjusts.
Meanwhile, everyone waits. Even as the currency-shackles around Europe's economy buckle and snap, those supposedly managing it are in denial. It is three years since currency stabilisation was supposedly created, and two years since EU finance ministers pledged "determined and co-ordinated action" to keep Greece in the eurozone. The ministers met again on Monday to moan over their spells and to stick pins in Germany for its meanness. They were unable to grasp the decision required of them, whether to engineer an orderly Greek exit or go beyond that and reorder the euro to create a more economically sensible inner currency. They lacked the necessary political legitimacy. The eurozone is a state without a government.
A weakness of financial regulators is that they must lie. Central bankers and treasuries must swear they mean no devaluation or default until they suddenly do mean it. Each time they lie, they damage their credit for next time. However, even as they lie, they have to be trusted to control events behind the scenes.
At present there is no such trust. It has been clear for years that Greece's political economy cannot manage the cost of euro membership. Debts and subsidies cannot cover its bills any longer. It cannot indefinitely fail to repay money that it should never have borrowed and banks should never have lent. Greeks would become the indentured slaves of Europe in perpetuity. A healthy economy needs some concept of bankruptcy. The message from Greece's democracy this week is to default and take the consequences.
These days only fools voluntarily leave money in Greek banks. An estimated £28bn in euro notes is said to be hidden in Greek mattresses, awaiting release into the economy via a devalued currency. There will be no recovery until this happens. The bullet must be bitten. Banks must go on holiday and come under state control, while debts are redenominated in drachmas. Lenders, savers and importers will take a mighty haircut. Many of the wrong people will suffer. But that is what happens when a country lives on tick.
Only then can this nightmare begin to end. Only with the decks cleared of debt can Greece, like Iceland and Argentina before it, start rebuilding its economy at a realistic rate of exchange. One thing only is certain. A year on, Greece will be on the mend and everyone will wonder why exit took so long, and why anyone believed the fools who said it would be an inconceivable calamity.
The delay in acknowledging this reality is the true calamity. Already the bears are gathering round Spain and Italy, not because their economies are like the Greek one but because markets can read election results as well as they can read riots. The austerities required to bring all the eurozone economies into cost equilibrium with Germany are breaking the back of democracy, and it is Greece that is distracting attention from remedies.
Voters everywhere are punishing governments for repressing demand. What cannot be raised in taxes is borrowed, sending sovereign debt back into the stratosphere. For three years finance ministers have gone cap in hand to Germany, pleading for various forms of bailout. The recent election in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia indicates beyond doubt that such bailing out will not continue.
To its besotted acolytes, the euro was to be the final icing on the cake of political union. It was an exquisitely crafted currency that would enable German efficiency to permeate the continent and usher in a dawn of prosperity and contentment. Sceptics said it would merely enable Germany to swamp lesser economies and wipe their exports from the map.
For a while, Germany knew it was on to a good thing and cross-subsidised (and lent) to cover the gap, much as the British Treasury sustains the UK's poorer regions. But a continent is not a nation. It has diverse loyalties and obligations. Sooner or later the subsidies and the lending would stop. That day is now. The sceptics were right.
If Europe's finance ministers contrived a Greek exit, they would at least have a marginally more plausible euro than now. They could hurl more money at the firewalls round Spanish and Italian debt. They could prop up banks by printing euros. Given the present demand famine and resulting unemployment, this would hardly be inflationary. Contagion might be stemmed and some disciplines sustained on backsliding economies.
This would work only for a while. The sort of fiscal union dreamed of by Germany and its allies in Brussels would soon be rejected by Spanish voters, and eventually by Portuguese, Irish and French ones. Every few years there would be another Greece, and another punishing, debilitating combat between Europe's rulers and market reality. These are wars that markets always win. Why keep fighting them?
The peoples of Europe are made of crooked timber. They have always fought back against hubristic rulers seeking undue authority over their affairs. While the old Common Market knew its limitations, the euro was a step too far. It required a degree of union that Europe has never tolerated, from the Holy Roman Empire through Napoleon to the Third Reich. It always ends in tears. Kipling remarked after one such conflict: "We have had no end of a lesson; it will do us no end of good." Today's lesson has yet to be learned."
post #248 of 331

It reads a bit like British wishful thinking.

post #249 of 331

What's the possibility the new elections will kick out the Nazi's that were elected?  Does the new election even work that way?

post #250 of 331

The fascist scumbags are going to lose a lot of power. I don't know if their percentage will be below 3% so we can fully eject them from the parliament though. Judging from the polls now it is a derby between New Democracy (center right) and SYRIZA (left) for first place, though I have seen some pretty huge variances from one agency to the other.

 

And I'd like to make a correction to my previous post. I should have said "Wishful City thinking" rather than British.

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