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Syriza Wins in Greece: What It Must Do

2015 July 13

(Given the way Greek financial negotiations have played out, I think my first take is timely/relevant, and have restored it to the top. Originally published in January. -Ian)

It would have been better if they won last time, Greece is pretty fully looted now. But Greeks thought they were Europeans, and didn’t realize the contempt that French and Germans had for them, nor how willing they were to kill and impoverish large numbers of them.

There is a great deal of hand-wringing in conventional circles over the Syriza win. They are worried about the Greeks exiting the Euro (Grexit) and defaulting on their debt.

Greece should do both of these things, or something close to it. (Rolling the debt over into 100 year bonds at 1 percent, for example.) Greek debt is at a level which is effectively impossible to pay off and has been made much, much worse by all the “aid packages” and “bailouts” given by their “fellow” Europeans. (a.k.a., they should have defaulted years ago.)

As for the Euro, Greece can’t print it, and Greece will need to print money.

I worry that Syriza is serious about negotiating on the debt. There is essentially no chance the Troika (well, really, Germany) will give them acceptable terms on a write-down. Negotiations should be intended only to go on long enough to demonstrate that a good deal is not possible. While they are ongoing, the Greeks should be preparing for Grexit and repatriating all the resources they can. Since Greek debt is under foreign law, debt vultures will go to the courts to seize all foreign Greek assets once Greece does default or restructure its debt.

Greece needs to recognize that it will effectively be a financial pariah, unable to access Western money markets. It will have almost no hard currency, and no ability to buy goods which require hard currency.

This is a huge problem for Greece because it has neither oil nor the ability to feed itself. Syriza MUST have a plan to deal with both these problems. Neither is insurmountable.

For oil, Greece will simply have to make a deal with Russia, Venezuela and/or Iran. Greece will be a pariah state just like them, and they have oil. What does Greece have to offer? Well, sub voce, access to Greece. Greece will be out of the Euro, but it will still have borders with Europe. Once whatever you want into Europe is in Greece, it’s easy enough to get it into Europe. And anything those countries want from Europe, the Greeks can obtain and ship to them. Grey market, baby, and grey market finance, as well.

In terms of food, a deal must be made with a food surplus nation. I would suggest Argentina, which has plenty of food. (This is incorrect, Greece can feed itself, Greeks will just have to eat less imported foods.-Ian)

Remember that Greece has one of the largest merchant marines in the world. It has that to trade, and it has access to Europe to trade.

In addition, currency controls must be put on immediately and the borders must be secured against those trying to move goods out of the country (a.k.a., Greece’s useless rich).

Given that all this will cause Greece to be completely loathed in Washington, London, Berlin, and Paris, they may also wish to consider seizing much of whatever means of production remain in the country. If they want a reason, simply use the Lagarde list of Greek oligarchs who haven’t paid their taxes, and seize their back taxes—with plenty of interest.

The media is playing this as an anti-austerity vote, and it is. But voting anti-austerity for a country like Greece, which can’t feed itself, has no oil, and doesn’t have a lot of industry, is one thing, not being austere is another. If the Greeks want a decent life again, they will have to take on some of the most powerful nations in the world and at least fight to a draw.

Many nations are in the same boat as Greece: Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Argentina. Greece needs to make the necessary alliances with such countries and it needs to align with the rising Chinese block.

Doing this requires a psychological step that many Greeks may be unwilling to take: A recognition that their interests do not lie with Europe and an understanding that Europeans are willing to see them impoverished, homeless and dead. Greeks who are living in the past and think the EU is about prosperity for everyone in the EU need to learn otherwise.

If the Greeks are unwilling to be coldly pragmatic and give up their illusions about who they are, what their fellow Europeans are willing to do to them, and what their actual assets are, then Syriza will fail, and Greece will continue on their path of impoverishment.

I wish the Greeks all the best.

(26/01/15 – There is some dispute over whether the Greeks can leave the Euro and not the EU.  See this paper for a discussion — pp 26-29.)


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57 Responses
  1. Bruce permalink
    January 25, 2015

    Excellent post

  2. jump permalink
    January 26, 2015

    Yes, Greece is now a pariah state.
    The home of democracy is bringing it home again. Woohoo! Show them how it is done…

  3. January 26, 2015

    Given that all this will cause Greece to be completely loathed in Washington, London, Berlin and Paris, …

    Is Tsipras up to being the Greek FDR, or more? Hopefully!! Hopefully Syriza won’t pull an OFA and instead remain organized and push the government in the right direction.

  4. January 26, 2015

    The home of democracy is bringing it home again. Woohoo! Show them how it is done…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
    We/they have not won anything yet. I’m sure if Syriza doesn’t act like the Democrat party and surrender the well being of its constituents to the PTB in Brussels and at the Bundesbank, there could very well be a “technocrat” (read: banker) coupe, or a military coupe, or both.
    If this long drawn out single currency crisis has taught me, it is never to underestimate the willingness of the ruling elites, even the most so-called leftist ones, to sell out their country and their fellow countrymen for the sake of a horrible idea (the euro).

  5. socrates permalink
    January 26, 2015

    “an understanding that Europeans are willing to see them impoverished, homeless and dead.”

    Reminds me of this article:

    http://pando.com/2014/05/31/ebay-shrugged-pierre-omidyar-believes-there-should-be-no-philanthropy-without-profit/

    “One woman drank pesticide and died a day after an SKS loan agent told her to prostitute her daughters to pay off her debt. ($3,000) in loans but only made 600 rupees ($12) a week.”

    “Other borrowers, who could not get any new loans until she paid, told her that if she wanted to die, they would bring her pesticide. An SKS staff member was there when she drank the poison. She survived.”

  6. V. Arnold permalink
    January 26, 2015

    Syriza formed a new government within 1 hour by combining with the right leaning populist party. They missed majority status by just 2 votes @ 149 (needing 151).
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/26/syriza-forms-government-rightwing-independent-greeks-party

    I would like to think this is just a first step to destroying the neo-liberal politics of austerity.
    Let’s hope they know how to govern…

  7. Karl permalink
    January 26, 2015

    I would like to underline two things:

    First, the author implies that Syriza will do what it got elected saying. If you remember the French presidential election, François Hollande got elected saying “Finance is my enemy”, he recently made an ex-Rothschild bank employee, minister of Economy.

    Second, in the European treaties, it is currently impossible to get out of the Euro without leaving the European Union. This article implies otherwise. Moreover, it is only possible to modify those treaties through unanimous favorable vote of all member states.

  8. Ian Welsh permalink
    January 26, 2015

    The first point is essentially noted in the article, the second is important, but not as clearcut as you indicate — link to discussin of the legality added near the bottom:

    http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/images/WolfsonPrize/wep%20shortlist%20essay%20-%20roger%20bootle.pdf

  9. bob mcmanus permalink
    January 26, 2015

    Good article. I forget where I read it this morning, but the talk was that Syriza has long been in talks with ANEL about forming a coalition if needed. ANEL is a Right Populist Party, here’s the Wiki link:

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

    “As for social policy, Independent Greeks stand in opposition to immigration [19] and multiculturalism,[20][21] supporting the banning of squats and the development of a Christian Orthodox oriented education system.[22]”

    Don’t want to read too much into what might be just a small bridge to Russia

    And I have been telling the social liberals for a long time that if they don’t put the economy first, over feminism, racism, LGBT (and that is a large part of the Syriza constituency) etc, when the people get hungry, they will get thrown overboard.

    But they love being victims. See also: Ukraine.

    The test is starting. The social liberals believed the banksters would protect them. We’ll see.

  10. January 26, 2015

    And I have been telling the social liberals for a long time that if they don’t put the economy first, over feminism, racism, LGBT (and that is a large part of the Syriza constituency) etc, when the people get hungry, they will get thrown overboard.

    But they love being victims.

    Good luck with that; people who identify themselves as social liberals won’t give up the social part. What will they do, become the party of the poor instead? No, they would rather continue fighting the sometime-successful social battle while ignoring the losing economic war. Nobody wants to think they are a patsy of the rich so they wave around coat hangers and accuse people of racism instead.

    (For example: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2015/01/noam-scheiber-left-must-never-walk-chew-gum “And this is where Scheiber’s analysis begins to swing towards that nasty trend of suggesting that black and Latino votes aren’t as good as white working class votes.”)

  11. CCLXI permalink
    January 26, 2015

    It’s piss-poor at achieving its stated goals too. It’s basically a bizarre mutant strain of Puritanism, and like regular Puritanism substitutes a fanatical obsession with superficial propriety and percieved slights for any real concern for the welfare of other people.

    I really don’t get the feeling from that set that they actually care very much in practice about the issues they claim to.

  12. ProNewerDeal permalink
    January 27, 2015

    Ian/commenters,

    If Greece were to become “a pariah” to the European Union/Germany, what about the possibility of Greece/Syriza partnering with the newly announced BRICS Development Bank for any loans for Keynesian government infrastructure stimulus program that its own restored central Bank couldn’t directly fun in sovereign fiat new drachma currency (like the USD or Japan’s own fiat currency), or directly with China? It appears to me that it could be mutually beneficial.

    Greece would access MUCH better terms than the mafiastic “Economic Hit Man” IMF terms.

    BRICS or China would have a chance to prove itself to the world as superior to the IMF/American Empire status quo “system”, on a medium-sized nation, 10.8M people (77th out of ~200 nations) , US$249B GDP (44th). If successful, it would be a great example, as Greece happens to be 1 of the most important nations in (ancient) Europoean history. After this were to occur, how could the IMF condescendingly lecture some non-European “developing” nation, when the non-European BRICS/China approach worked better in Europe?

    China alone could sell off a portion (US$100B?) of its US Treasury Bonds holdings to make this happen for relatively small Greece.

    What do you think?

  13. Ian Welsh permalink
    January 27, 2015

    I think that’s the sort of thing I mean by aligning with China.

    BUT, Greece has little to offer China. It would have to be sold as a prestige project.

  14. Lisa FOS permalink
    January 27, 2015

    The ‘smart’elites know the gig will be up sometime soon, the idiots belive it will continue forever.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-26/middle-class-evaporates-global-oligarchs-plan-their-escape-form-impoverished-pleb-ma

  15. Lisa FOS permalink
    January 27, 2015

    Re Greece, come on everyone, I’d give it least 75% probability their will be a coup, organised by the EU and the US. Look at their history, if they can they will.

    The 25% is only because they might not pull it off, but I expect they will succeed. The western MSM will tout it as a victory for democracy and freedom of speech, they will probabably try and bring in Russia somehow..

    The army or someone backed by the army will do it.

    There is no way they, if they can, will allow Greece to pull out of the Euro and give German (etc) banks huge losses. Not going to happen without some attempt at a coup.

  16. V. Arnold permalink
    January 27, 2015

    @ Lisa FOS
    January 27, 2015

    Yeah, Greece stands as a possible model for the dismantling of a number of other countries from the EU, namely, Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy. The EU was a Utopian dream at best, and an Orwellian nightmare at worst.
    It has materialized as the worst.

  17. brian permalink
    January 27, 2015

    its fitting that in the age of the neocons and US empire that the home of democracy should be a pariah

  18. V. Arnold permalink
    January 27, 2015

    @ brian
    January 27, 2015
    it[‘s] fitting that in the age of the neocons and US empire that the home of democracy should be a pariah…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Isn’t it so…
    The neo-liberal, economic tyranny, has been a resounding success.
    Its time may be short; we’ll see…

  19. GaBv permalink
    January 27, 2015

    The neo-cons, like many other authoritarian strains, are rabid Plato fans. I thought it seemed rather appropriate when the tree that Plato gave his lectures under was pulled up for firewood after the implosion of Greece’s economy. Full circle…

  20. markfromireland permalink
    January 28, 2015

    Ian, nobody in either Brussels or more importantly Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich, really gives a damn about Greece or the Greeks – the contrived hysteria about “grexit” is largely an anglophone phenomenon. They’ll try to keep Greece in and will weep a veritable torrent of crocodile tears if their efforts fail but crocodile tears are all they’ll be.

    mfi

  21. S Brennan permalink
    January 30, 2015

    Looks like “Negotiations should be intended only to go on long enough to demonstrate that a good deal is not possible. ” is the plan.

    http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/180777/greece-says-will-not-cooperate-with-troika-or-seek-aid-extension

  22. July 13, 2015

    The media is playing this as an anti-austerity vote, and it is. But voting anti-austerity for a country like Greece which can’t feed itself, has no oil, and doesn’t have a lot of industry, is one thing: not being austere is another. If the Greeks want a decent life again, they will have to take on some of the most powerful nations in the world and at least fight to a draw.

    Many nations are in the same boat as Greece is: Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Argentina. Greece needs to make the necessary alliances with such countries and it needs to align with the rising Chinese block.

    Doing this requires a psychological step that Greeks may be unwilling to take: a recognition that their interests do not lie with Europe; an understanding that Europeans are willing to see them impoverished, homeless and dead. Greeks who are living in the past and think the EU is about prosperity for everyone in the EU need to learn otherwise.

    That requires an administration that Greece simply doesn’t have. After five months of this and especially yesterday, it’s obvious that the German government in particular is a hostile force. As Münchau put it today in Spiegel, the deal is the program of an invading enemy country. But Greece simply doesn’t have the administration to accomplish what you want, and even Iran is attempting to rehabilitate itself in the global order.

    The answer that speaks to me most is that of Alex Andreou:
    https://www.byline.com/column/11/article/164

    Greece was just not going to be your catalysis this time, heralding a new alignment of powers that is not even certain to come.

  23. July 13, 2015

    Each bailout gives the euroarche a chance to rip off some part of Greece value ( in this case the electrical system and boat transport) expect this to continue to happen as long as Greece has anything left of value.

  24. July 13, 2015

    Here’s Felix Salmon giving us a dismal silver lining:

    http://fusion.net/story/165735/the-greece-deal-is-this-a-coup/

    But there’s another lesson to be drawn, which is that Europe has now reached the absolute limits of how far it can violate the will of the people. Greece has said NO, and it will say NO again, and the echoes of that vote will be heard across Spain in December. In a sense, it doesn’t matter what Tsipras agreed to in the early hours of Monday morning, because there’s absolutely no way that Greece is going to be able to actually deliver on those promises. Reality has intruded into the airless negotiation rooms of Brussels, and it’s not going to leave.

    The austerity that Tsipras agreed to this weekend will not create the economic growth Greece desperately needs. In fact, from a domestic economic perspective, it will do more harm than good, and everybody in Greece knows it. The grand European project has lost popular support, as the #ThisIsACoup hashtag shows; it lives only through political inertia and the lack of a viable alternative. The can has been kicked much further than anybody thought possible, but it can’t be kicked forever. Tsipras might have lost this battle. But the twilight of Europe’s bloodless technocrats has clearly begun, and he has surely hastened their eventual demise.

    In a sense, Greece has led the emperors to point out their own nakedness. Overconfidence or strategy?

  25. The Tragically Flip permalink
    July 13, 2015

    In retrospect, it seems that at least Greece making a show of moving to the Russia/China/etc bloc would have had some hope of wresting better terms.

    Additionally showing signs of being prepared to Grexit. At the end, Germany clearly wanted to force a Grexit and got talked down by France, but they do that knowing Greece isn’t at all prepared. If they knew Syriza had a warehouse of Drachmas printed up & various other preps done, that might not have been such an appealing option and Germany’s going-in position would have been less punitive.

    The referendum was a good move, even if it was just a ploy, but even within the self-imposed constraint that Syriza was never seriously contemplating a Grexit or anything but a deal with Greece’s captors, there was a still some better moves that could have been made.

    I guess all the Greeks can hope for now, is that there was some kind of shadow side deal tacitly agreed that won’t be announced for awhile, like the US agreeing to remove its missiles from Turkey as part of the resolution to the Cuba missile crisis, but delaying the move to make it not look like a quid-pro-quo. Everyone keeps saying debt writedown is “inevitable” so if Tsipras is to have any redemption, it better be a good deal.

  26. July 13, 2015

    It does need to print, it can out-source. The majority of the world does, and it just needs one to do so.

  27. July 13, 2015

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=%5EDJI

    the Dow Jones industrial average puts it at one percent of value. not a large amount, but not inconsequential either.

  28. July 13, 2015

    The FinMin of an ex-Communist country gloats openly at having crushed the “Greek Spring” and imposed punishment on the Greek people for having made an attempt at revolt:

    https://twitter.com/KazimirPeter/status/620628845994115072

  29. July 13, 2015

    (Keep in mind that he may need to do this kind of gloating to get it passed through his parliament. Greece’s perceived cozying up to Putin does not endear it, as I said in my front page post, to Eastern European countries. I even saw a Twitter exchange where one Greek left-winger was challenged by a Polish tweeter who demanded that Greece just accept austerity because to do otherwise is endangering Poland…)

  30. July 13, 2015

    Varoufakis speaks.

    I don’t think he yet realizes how awful this is, even though he hates it. He still thinks there will be something left to salvage.

  31. markfromireland permalink
    July 13, 2015

    I thought the figure of €50bn was familiar and had been chucked around for around for a few years but couldn’t quite remember when it first surfaced:

    The pre-referendum terms have been made tougher, both through the “quasi-automatic” spending cuts and through the enforced sell-off of Greece’s assets. Over the next three years, the expectation is that Greece will raise €50bn (£35bn) through privatisations, of which €25bn will be used for the recapitalisation of its banks. The other €25bn will be split evenly between repaying debt and for investment in the Greek economy.

    Greece, to borrow Harold Macmillan’s phrase, will be forced to sell off the family silver (along with the airports, the ports and the banks) to pay for its bailout and to recapitalise its own banks. That’s the plan.

    In truth, there is not the remotest prospect of Greece raising €50bn through privatisations in the next three years. The €50bn target was first announced back in 2011, since when the value of the Greek stock market has fallen by 40%, making its assets far less valuable. In the past four years, privatisation proceeds have raised just over €3bn.

    The whole thing is well worth reading With Europe behind it, Greece is being pushed into further peril | World news | The Guardian

  32. mike permalink
    July 13, 2015

    Illargi also links to the New Statesman interview with Varoufakis today that The Raven linked to above and that answers several of the questions frequently raised here. (See http://www.theautomaticearth.com/2015/07/the-troika-and-the-five-families/.) Read it carefully and then tell me where you find Varoufakis “frivolous.” Because Lambert at Naked Capitalism did in a particular quote, which I won’t link to, proving one more time that the site has from the beginning cherry-picked, slanted, and ignored pieces that would or wouldn’t support the early narrative that Smith glommed onto and couldn’t let go no matter what happened to question it. They and their acolytes are congratulating themselves for the prescience and omnipotence they have consistently shown from their sofas. At least here, where similar attitudes have demonstrated by the owner, as in this post that shows from the onset that a belief that the Eurozone, the US, and Ms. Nuland would never have ground Greece as they have had it just opted for exit early and been competent within a definition meaning agreement with the owner, we to this point can still get different opinions expressed. That is greatly appreciated.

  33. markfromireland permalink
    July 14, 2015

    In which Olivier Blanchard makes excuses. Greece missed another IMF payment yesterday btw.

    mfi

  34. July 14, 2015

    it is obvious that Great Britain now explains the loss, now that it seems too late to do anything…

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/13/greece-rescue-package-eurozone-grexit-panel-verdict

  35. Barry Fay permalink
    July 14, 2015

    Well, you really called that one!

  36. July 14, 2015

    The other shoe drops…

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/jul/14/greek-crisis-tsipras-political-backlash-bailout-osborne-uk-live

    is this fun, I am working on this for a class I am teaching.

  37. someofparts permalink
    July 14, 2015

    Has anyone else seen this?

    “During a pivotal meeting with Merkel, French President François Hollande and European Council President Donald Tusk, Tsipras at one point received a thinly veiled threat that if he walked away and left the euro, Greece risked going it alone geopolitically, too.

    According to two officials in Brussels with knowledge of the exchange, the specter was raised of aggression from Turkey — a neighboring nation viewed in Greece as a historic antagonist.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/greece-agrees-to-a-punishing-ultimatum-from-european-leaders/2015/07/13/4b6c2f2a-28f3-11e5-960f-22c4ba982ed4_story.html

    What do you think of it?

  38. someofparts permalink
    July 14, 2015

    “Moreover, it is only possible to modify those treaties through unanimous favorable vote of all member states.”

    This reminds me of how the right wing in California took advantage of a super-majority voting stipulation in the state legislature. Because of the rule that passage of key legislation required winning a super majority vote, it became possible for a relatively small number of extremists to hijack the entire process.

  39. July 14, 2015

    Via Frances Coppola, here’s a German site claiming to describe Schaeuble’s grand masterplan, which is basically political union with countries that are willing and able to fit the German monetary template:

    http://deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de/2015/07/14/schaeubles-plan-deutschland-muss-raus-aus-dieser-euro-zone/

    It’s in German, but described in great detail and explains exactly what is going on. At the end it says, “The post-war period is over. The tablecloth is cut. Irrevocably.” If this is true, he really is “Dr. Schäublove” — some kind of insane supervillain. He is apparently willing to kick even France out, if it doesn’t fit his vision of Ordnungspolitik. Supposedly the Netherlands is supposed to fit into this vision of political union. I wonder how the Dutch feel about that. It’s completely mad. Dr. Schäublove is basically the German Dick Cheney.

    The French had better step up to the plate here. I’m more chilled after reading that than after anything else I’ve seen so far.

  40. July 14, 2015

    Once upon a time, Isaac Asimov wrote a story which would eventually be in the robots universe. In it he said there are three different times that an institution falls. The first time is in hindsight, when only people with prospective will realize that it is a rub, that only later will point out the truth. The second time, is a clear signpost that this people looking up can read. The third time is a glaring screen, readable by anyone who has eyes to see.

    Welcome to the third time.

  41. EmilianoZ permalink
    July 14, 2015

    According to Varoufakis (New Statesman interview) Herr Schaubbie said:

    I’m not discussing the programme – this was accepted by the previous government and we can’t possibly allow an election to change anything. Because we have elections all the time, there are 19 of us, if every time there was an election and something changed, the contracts between us wouldn’t mean anything

    Funnily that’s exactly the rationale for the TTP/TTIP treaties being negotiated. Investors’ profits cannot be subjected to the vagaries of democracy.

  42. Erich permalink
    July 14, 2015

    I suppose that today’s apparent capitulation could be a ruse to induce one last infusion before firing up the presses, but I fear the hole was just dug deeper.

  43. anonymouscoward permalink
    July 14, 2015

    Alexis Tsipras has scored a tremendous achievement with his negotiations with the Masters of the EUniverse. He provoked the gods to do their worst, and brings back a deal to his parliament that has been a fortiori angrily pre-rejected by a popular referendum, and which therefore can’t be backed by Greece’s political parties without bringing the voters’ wrath down on their own heads. Not as good as getting Germany to kick you out on your ear. But almost as good. And there’s absolutely no time left for do overs. Masterful!
    In ten to fifteen years there will be no Eurozone for Greece to be left out of. Get out now, Greece, and beat the rush.

  44. anonymouscoward permalink
    July 14, 2015

    And to think, some people call this Tsipras dude incompetent! That’s like calling Odysseus tardy.

    Getting out from under a curse takes just however fucking long it takes.

    For Odysseus it was about ten years, following on ten years of continuous deployment in the Trojan “police action”. Twenty years in all of constant peril of war, mutiny, assorted monster hazards, witches and metamorphoses, bad food when there was food, and no Penelope. Twenty years wandering the Aegean sounds about right for what Greece should expect, if you start the “curse clock” for them back in 2010. They can get through this, though, if they decide to. They are the sons and daughters of heroes. On the other hand, if they decide not to, and just willingly submit to whatever the three headed beast from hell believes they deserve, then they’ll never get through it. For hell believes that you’re guilty -of everything- and you must pay forever. They will sink down and down in the maelstrom of debt, and never rise again. Because they’re not going to learn, suddenly and miraculously, how to build better cars than the Germans, and out-export them. (Building cars would appear to be the forté of Axis powers) They’re not going to learn how to build better phones than the Finns and out export them – and Finland’s days of making a mint on smartphones are over anyway. And neither will they miraculously be able to grow enough olives, nor miraculously give enough blow jobs to tourists to pay off their debts. They will trudge from cradle to grave in debt. They will go in the morning on four loans, at noon on two loans, and in the evening on three, and their country shall not be their own.

    I believe they can get out of this trap if they decide to fight.

  45. July 15, 2015

    Odysseus spent most of his time with Circe, not a bad deal. your metaphors are interesting, but, unfortunately not enlightening. also the Fins are basically out of the self learning business. As for building cars being the way to dominance – it works.

  46. sanctimonious purist permalink
    July 15, 2015

    Why not do this from mitchellcohen.com:

    cancel the debt unilaterally, accept NO austerity, nationalize the banks, expose Germany’s non-payment of its own loans after WW2 and its much larger debt burden (the U.S., remember, is the largest debtor nation in the world!), apply for loans from competing capitalist sectors (Russia, China) and play them off against the German bankers — while intensively propagandizing the people of Greece, prepare them for being thrown out of the EU but do not leave voluntarily — issue no statement about leaving the EU, which as I understand it has no way of throwing out a member country.

    In other words, force the contradiction. Force them to throw you out, if that’s what the EU will do. It will create a huge fracture. And appeal to the working class in Europe to do the same in their own countries.

  47. July 15, 2015

    NYT article on the attitudes of German economists:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/opinion/germanys-destructive-anger.html

    cancel the debt unilaterally, accept NO austerity,

    How do you cancel the debt but accept no austerity?

    nationalize the banks, expose Germany’s non-payment of its own loans after WW2 and its much larger debt burden (the U.S., remember, is the largest debtor nation in the world!),

    Long been exposed but no effect.

    apply for loans from competing capitalist sectors (Russia, China) and play them off against the German bankers

    It’s not clear that they want to participate.

    — while intensively propagandizing the people of Greece, prepare them for being thrown out of the EU but do not leave voluntarily — issue no statement about leaving the EU, which as I understand it has no way of throwing out a member country.

    What kind of “intensive propaganda”?

  48. July 15, 2015

    Er, the quotes are unconnected to my NYT link, they’re from santimonious purist’s post.

  49. July 15, 2015

    Syriza seems to be coming apart at the seams now. That’s not good. “My way or the highway” is a typical modern leftist disease.

  50. S Brennan permalink
    July 15, 2015

    This is a very informative article…for those that want information on how the Germans systematically went about the business of using the EuroDollar to blitzkrieg Greece.

    DON’T BUY GERMAN PRODUCTS

    http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2015/07/exclusive-yanis-varoufakis-opens-about-his-five-month-battle-save-greece

  51. anonymouscoward permalink
    July 15, 2015

    Sorry for not being enlightening. I’m not presenting a statistical analysis today. I’m calling on Ares to give the Greeks the ferocity they need to resist their enslavement.

    Resisting tyranny is probably never the rational, enlightened course of action. Apollo would say, “Do the math – tyranny is by definition bigger than you are. You might win, but you can’t be certain of it. Win or lose you face lots of immediate punishment for defiance. Tyranny is offering to spare you that and lessen your pain, right now, for acquiescence to perpetual tyranny. That’s a promise of pain forever, but forever isn’t here yet, so in the short term it’s a good deal for you. Be careful: you might even manage to win and not be around personally to enjoy your side’s victory. That’s not smart!” All the smarts in the world won’t help the Greeks to escape tyranny if they aren’t willing to risk a fight. The will to resist tyranny comes from elsewhere.

  52. anonymouscoward permalink
    July 15, 2015

    Post-Grexit Greece can make its way in the world by repurposing itself as a tax haven. They don’t need to make cars or phones, and they’d never succeed at that anyway against the established producers. They already know how not to keep good records and collect taxes, so all they have to do is to offer this same service to foreigners in the EU. Collect small fees for the tax dodge service, undercutting the Brits who have higher overhead, higher expectations and higher costs of living, and there’s your source of funding for the new Greek state.

    Where is it written that Britain gets to be the unchallenged capital of global money laundering and tax dodgers?

  53. July 15, 2015

    A non-AEP Telegraph columnist suggesting that Schäuble ought to be taken seriously:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11740025/Europes-collective-aversion-to-Grexit-is-baffling.html

    Which is why Wolfgang Schäuble – the Greek finance minister who is so often portrayed as a pantomime villain – may end up being be the only European politician to emerge from the current farrago with his reputation enhanced.

    Back in May, Schäuble first floated the idea that Greece should hold a referendum on euro membership. He said: “That might even be a helpful measure for the Greek people to decide whether it is ready to accept what is necessary, or whether it wants something different.” Hardly the words of an imperialistic thug. More recently the German finance minister has floated the idea of a “velvet divorce” with Greece’s exit from the euro eased by debt relief and humanitarian aid.

    Greece chose not to take this route – as is its perfect right – and therefore remains stuck in an intractable debt trap. But it was a solution – one that was far from perfect but at least made sense and could have worked – and Schäuble has been the only politician brave enough to come up with one of those.

    I can see this point, but I don’t trust that “assisted Grexit” (euxenolasia? I looked in an Ancient Greek dictionary to coin this) isn’t also a trap. If this is about paring down the EU to German-fitting members, genuinely so, then I suppose it would actually make sense to make “euxenolasia” attractive. But if this is actually about a strategic sacrifice to build a larger empire on the German economic template, then the opposite would be true.

  54. S Brennan permalink
    July 15, 2015

    Mandos, your line

    “[T]he German economic template”…made me chuckle because it…

    …consists of borrowing huge sums of capitol to build infrastructure to dominate Europe…and then shrugging off that debt…oh, and never forgiving debt owed by others, all the while hypocritically behaving like sanctimonious a-holes.

    DON’T BUY GERMAN PRODUCTS!

  55. EmilianoZ permalink
    July 15, 2015

    From the NYT article about German economists posted by Mandos:

    When the panel split up, German attendees circled me to explain how the Greeks were robbing the Germans. They did not want to be victims anymore.

    Wow! How German! The Germans as victims, that’s a very German tradition. That was at the core of Nazi propaganda. The Germans were the pure innocent victims of the crooked cunning Jews. Victimhood and self-righteousness, the cornerstone of German identity. Have they ever questioned the behavior of their bankers?

    In the US, during the subprime crisis, some tea-baggers attacked the borrowers, but the anger was mostly rightly directed at the bankers.

  56. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    July 16, 2015

    “The Germans as victims, that’s a very German tradition. That was at the core of Nazi propaganda.”

    Come to think of it, in the USA, the idea of non-elite right-wing white folks as victims sits at the core of GOP propaganda.

    Though far be it from me to violate the Holy And Righteous Law of Godwin by suggesting any similarities… 😉

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