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Stereotypes and untruths are everywhere, but this economic crisis is not self-inflicted.
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Tags: Greece Economy
"Here is the first myth: This crisis is made in Greece. It is not. It is the inevitable fallout of the global crisis which started in 2008."
Rubbish. Greece lied its way into the Euro. If that doesn't make the crisis made in Greece I don't know what does. Tax evasion and corruption are endemic. No kidding.
I have every sympathy for the ordinary Greek like the woman in the article but the Greek people voted for their government just the same as the rest of us and have to shoulder part of the blame for allowing it to con its way into Europe as it did.
If Greece lied it's way into the euro that doesn't mean it's just a Greek problem. There is the notion of moral hazard and the need to exercise due diligence. The architects of the euro clearly failed to exercise due diligence by allowing Greece and possibly Italy to enter in the first place. Rumours of cooking the books were widespread when the euro was set up but then largely ignored by the supposedly competent authorities than elsewhere. Blaming the Greeks is simply a ruse by those responsible to absolve themselves of any responsibility.
Regardless of any book cooking, the euro is fundamentally structurally unsound as it has led to huge trade imbalances between the north ( notably Germany ) and the south to the benefit of the former. The only way to make it sustainable is through fiscal transfers and the mutualisation of debt - structural reforms will only work in the long run.
.........Rubbish. Greece lied its way into the Euro.........
Question: Does my big Greek arse look good in this dr€ss?
Answer: Of course it does, meine kleine stroodle - now let's go to the party
Hahahahahahaha thanx Christmas past, u made me laugh :D
Politicians (with the help and encouragement of Goldman Sachs) lied to the Greek people and the rest of the world. If this means that we are all personally responsible for the crisis, presumably it means you are personally responsible for the illegal war in Iraq. Right?
Well, actually, France had a big hand in it when it insisted on scrapping the deficit less than 3% of GDP rule from the Growth and Stability Pact.
I think the fact that Greece was fudging the numbers was widely known at the time, particularly, I imagine among the Greek population. I recall that people here in the UK were up in arms about the prospect of entering the Euro. Meanwhile, in Greece, I suspect they were rubbing their hands at the thought of helping themselves to even more of other people's money and to hell with the consequences. I think they regret not being a little more discerning these days.
Mediterranean work ethic: there isn't one.
We were supplied drilling services to a mine in Greece in the late 90's.
Our two man drilling crews were out performing the local Greek crews (5 man) by a factor of 4 to 5. ( they would drill 9m in a shift with 5 men, our guys would drill 45 - 50m with 2 men).
Of course when the news got out they all went on strike to ensure we were kicked out. The foreign investors then shortly afterwards cut their losses and pulled out and the mine shut.
Anecdotal I know but so was the example of Maria above.
The Myth of The Lazy Greek is utterly self-serving to the apologists for the failed Free Market Reforms that Bill Clinton signed into law in 1999, and supported by Republicans and New Democrats. America is the great corrupter and destroyer of the World Economy, with the aid of the 'derivative', the poisonous invention of corrupt and self-seeking Capital. The need to deflect attention from that dismal fact is the root cause of all the finger pointing, the name calling by capitalist hacks just doing their jobs, and well compensated they are. Not all Americans buy the Party line of Neo-Liberalism.
San Diego, California
Derivatives are essentially zero sum, with the only source of profit being the change in price of the underlying commodity between the beginning and end of the contract. All the other profits and losses come from other investors, not the creators of the commodity. It's said that over a career only 1o% of derivitive investors make a profit, and the source of this profit is the other 90% who don't. If you are stupid enough to invest in derivitives without incredibly careful controls you will become fodder for the few who do well. Unwise and uncontrolled derivitive CFD and other investments have bought down many banks. This is not the fault of the NeoCons, Clinton or anybody else you named. Global finance is a form of war, with ruination as a daily risk without great care. All the players should know this.
Now if you were to direct your criticism at high speed trading you'd be on to something... Unfortunately our political class is to dumb to follow how this is a form of daylight robbery.
"Global finance is a form of war, with ruination as a daily risk without great care. All the players should know this."
The usual Social Darwinism that passes for 'Free Market Economics' and the convoluted apologetics manufactured by a Political Romanticism, that identified unalloyed greed as the sine qua non of the economic project. That's just a way of dressing up the dog eat dog ethos of a self-aggrandizing, mendacious Capital. The repeal of Glass-Steagall was the beginning of the end, that eventuated in the Collapse of 2008. And Derivatives were the poison that infected the bundles sold by Wall Street opportunists. Clinton and his allies, from a wide political spectrum of believers, shared a faith in that Free Market: as the answer to the search for prosperity, it was, in fact, the only answer, as in TINA. I must say you've managed to make your argument resemble the technocratic jargon of the intellectual adept and it was very impressive.
It is bailing out the European banks which increasingly unwisely gave her loans.
The rarely reported truth. It is all about the banks. If Greece defaults, banks lose loads. Some may go to the wall. If Greece leaves the euro, several banks will need bailing out - AGAIN. UK banks are not heavily exposed to the Greek govt debt. But they are to Spanish, which is a far more significant country in this global banking-turned global economic-turned global sovereign debt crisis. And the bond markets, and bank depositors will panic - if it can happen to Greece, it can to Spain. This is the next leg of the financial crisis.
And the banks remain under-regulated, pampered with quantitative easing for which they pay themselves millions in bonus for being so clever at using free money. The politicians and bankers who have developed this troika deal with Greece live in an ivory tower, for which history will condemn them. But what about now? Why do we not condemn them?
The same people who have taken on ludicrous debt to buy an over-priced home or geared up to buy several buy-to-lets as well as the lenders who supplied them with loans have been bailed out by everyone else. And it often these f**wits who complain about the Greeks. The entire financial crisis started not with Greece, or any government deficit, but with exposed finaancial markets to the biggest property bublle in history. To those who borrowed for several BTLs, to those who lied to get a self-cert mortgage, to the property porn programem makers, to the media-hyped property speculators, to the regulators who believed or feigned to believe markets always regulate themselves: All this mess is YOUR fault! Of the regulators, step forward Mr G Brown, and the mass of the Tory Party, too.
What a load of nonsense you write; let me first of all explode some of your myths about hardworking Greeks. Employees in the state sector, government offices such as tax, social security, gas, electricity, telecomms and all the other multitudes of workers who are employed by the enormous public sector start work at 08:00 and finish at 14:00, on the dot, every day, five days a week. Now I make that 30 hours per week. Some of them will have other jobs I agree but these jobs are what we would call 'on the black'. These are jobs that don't attract any tax payments or any EKA (social security) payments. Depending upon how lax their work environment is these jobs are often carried out from their place of permanent employment.
I came to Greece as a member of a project management team tasked to ensure that funds loaned to Greece by the EU for infrastructure projects were actually spent as intended and not frittered away with no discernable result as had happened with previous loans. One of the first things that struck me was the large proportion of old cars on the road, many of them dating back to the 1960s, a lot of them held together with string, wire and lengths of rope. This was in 1995, by 2005 it seemed that everyone in Greece had a new car, my secretary had a smarter car than I had. Where did all the money come from, had the Greeks discovered a money tree? The answer of course was yes; it was called the Euro and whereas when they had the Drachma loans were either impossible or prohibitivly expensive, one could now borrow in Athens at the same rate as one could borrow in Berlin.
But still the same old habits persisted; visit the doctor, the dentist, whoever, it was always the same question. "Do you require a receipt." Of course not because no receipt meant that you got a discount as the cash went straight into his pocket. When I spoke to Greek colleagues about this arrangement they were quite proud of how smart the Greeks were in avoiding paying tax and pitied the stupid English for not having figured out a similar system. When I pointed out that they couldn't go on like this for ever, they looked at me as if I was crazy. "Of course we can, we have always done it like this."
I now have a villa on a Greek island and recently had my central heating serviced.
"Would you like a receipt sir? No, that will be only 40 Euros then."
OK, so I am complicit in the Greeks not paying their taxes, but I don't care; I keep all my money in Swiss Francs.
From what you say you are one of the feckless who are co-responsible for this whilst leaching off the country your presence insults.
What a pillock you are! Feckless: lazy, incompetent, futile. It's an adjectice so will require a noun after it. You should check on the meaning of words before you use them or confine yourself to posting in words of one syllable.
I don't leach off the country, I employ a couple of Greeks as gardeners; so much cheaper in the current economic environment.
You employ a couple of gardeners? To primly trim your olive grove? Your hubris overwhelms you. Don't laud it over others like some colonial oik.
I believe you m.ean 'lord'; to laud means to praise as any fewl nose
Oops, 'But they are not...' should have read, 'but they do not...' Apologies for any other grammar mistakes. :)
This has never *ever* been about feckless, lazy Greeks--no matter what the feckless, lazy press in northern Europe want to paint this as. Articles like this need to be disseminated widely.
The European crisis is an old-fashioned balance-of-payments crisis in the context of a fixed exchange rate. Yes, Greek deficits were ridiculous, and yes, the corrruption at the highest levels was ridiculous. But if Europe's financial markets had any sense of public responsibility after they were bailed-out and backstopped en masse by the public sectors of every major state, they would have stopped the flow of funds to peripheral Europe from drying up. But they are not--financial markets have shown themselves yet again as the frightened, anti-social, flighty institutions they are. (How finance every few decades gains this reputation for strength and masculine hubris is beyond me.) This is a problem of capital--no amount of extra work, or extra effort on the part of Greece will matter one iota so long as the Greek economy (and the Greek people) is starved of the capital needed to jumpstart the economy. The European 'bailouts'--when not exacerbating the crisis through the imposition of draconian cuts--make the crisis worse, since the money fronted by the IMF and EFSF is simply recycled back to Core Europe. Next-to-no money is used to keep the Greek economy afloat.
Capital is the lifeblood of capitalist economies, and Greece is suffering from an all-mighty exsanguination of capital. Greece needs more time, less austerity and less stupidity from its neighbours if it is to recover. And if not, then a plague on all their houses when the euro implodes.
Greek-born, Alex Andreou has a background in law and economics. He runs the Sturdy Beggars Theatre Company and blogs here You can find him on twitter @sturdyalex