In Greece, some of the upper class, including conservative officers high in the army, or investors who absolutely did not vote for the leftist Syriza, plan to follow Prime Minister Tsipras’ advice to vote NO to the referendum. In other words, the country is very divided.
(In the same vein, I have, unusually, no strong advice: there are great arguments for both the YES and the NO vote; however, I think it’s a good thing to vote, people ought to do this all the time, because they are all forced to go out and think about the process; it’s too bad Tsipras called the referendum with such short notice, though; the arguing process needs time, as the “votations” in Switzerland show: one can see opinions change, over a period of months. If I had to vote, I would vote NO. But it’s not a vote against the Euro, of course. It is just a vote against the obsequious butlers of arrogant plutocrats, their institutions, the so-called “creditors”, and the wanton cruelty, viciousness and outrageous lies, and sneaky misrepresentations and red herrings.)
Paul Krugman in “Europe’s Many Economic Disasters” points out that:
“It’s depressing thinking about Greece these days, so let’s talk about something else, O.K.? Let’s talk, for starters, about Finland, which couldn’t be more different from that corrupt, irresponsible country to the south. Finland is a model European citizen; it has honest government, sound finances and a solid credit rating, which lets it borrow money at incredibly low interest rates.
It’s also in the eighth year of a slump that has cut real gross domestic product per capita by 10 percent and shows no sign of ending. In fact, if it weren’t for the nightmare in southern Europe, the troubles facing the Finnish economy might well be seen as an epic disaster.”
Astutely, Krugman insists that these crises are not just ubiquitous, but also that the usual plutocratic interpretation cannot be brandished, because the FRENCH Republic, the most social country of them all, escapes relatively well. Krugman:
“And Finland isn’t alone. It’s part of an arc of economic decline that extends across northern Europe through Denmark — which isn’t on the euro, but is managing its money as if it were — to the Netherlands. All of these countries are, by the way, doing much worse than France, whose economy gets terrible press from journalists who hate its strong social safety net, but it has actually held up better than almost every other European nation except Germany.”
The case of the French Republic is special: France in more ways than one, is a mini USA. The French economy does everything, from extremely high tech and science to exporting agriculture. It is the most diversified economy in the world, with the USA. However, it has been suffering immensely from too high a currency.
In comparison, Finland is a two tricks pony: timber and Nokia. Germany does well with high quality high tech exports, but one can expect China to catch up with luxury cars.
The meaning of recovery in Greece has become unreal. Krugman:
“And what about southern Europe outside Greece? European officials have been hyping the recovery in Spain, which did everything it was supposed to do and whose economy has finally started to grow again and even to create jobs. But success, European-style, means an unemployment rate that is still almost 23 percent and real income per capita that is still down 7 percent from its pre-crisis level. Portugal has also obediently implemented harsh austerity — and is 6 percent poorer than it used to be.”
European so-called “leaders”, these corruptocrats drunk on power, have a lot of explaining to do. Krugman:
”Why are there so many economic disasters in Europe? Actually, what’s striking at this point is how much the origin stories of European crises differ. Yes, the Greek government borrowed too much. But the Spanish government didn’t — Spain’s story is all about private lending and a housing bubble. And Finland’s story doesn’t involve debt at all. It is, instead, about weak demand for forest products, still a major national export, and the stumbles of Finnish manufacturing, in particular of its erstwhile national champion Nokia.”
Krugman comes close to the real explanation, but his semantics start to drift inappropriately:
“What all of these economies have in common, however, is that by joining the eurozone they put themselves into an economic straitjacket. Finland had a very severe economic crisis at the end of the 1980s — much worse, at the beginning, than what it’s going through now. But it was able to engineer a fairly quick recovery in large part by sharply devaluing its currency, making its exports more competitive. This time, unfortunately, it had no currency to devalue. And the same goes for Europe’s other trouble spots.
Does this mean that creating the euro was a mistake? Well, yes.”
Well, no. The Euro was not a mistake. The mistake was to put Goldman-Sachs and its ilk in command (see below). Competitive devaluations are a form of war. And the idea of an Union is no more war. The USA went to war for Union, and out of it came the “greenback”, the national currency of the USA (which was created for the war, and was part of the war effort). The dollar was created to make a more perfect union. Europe wants, and needs, a more perfect union.
The real mistake is that Jacques Delors, head of the European Commission, and his team had said the Euro ought to stand on two legs. However, only one was built. National governments, power hungry, made sure that the other transnational leg not be built. It was also handy that by not building the required transnational EUROPEAN governance, one made the sure that High Finance and its plutocrats could have free rein. In other words, Goldman Sachs and its ilk were given the opportunity to lead Europe, precisely because the European “leaders” did not give the Peoples of Europe the opportunity to build a European governance in matters financial, monetary and economic. Krugman:
“But that’s not the same as saying that [the Euro] should be eliminated now that it exists. The urgent thing now is to loosen that straitjacket. This would involve action on multiple fronts, from a unified system of bank guarantees to a willingness to offer debt relief for countries where debt is the problem. It would also involve creating a more favorable overall environment for countries trying to adjust to bad luck by renouncing excessive austerity and doing everything possible to raise Europe’s underlying inflation rate — currently below 1 percent — at least back up to the official target of 2 percent.”
But there are many European officials and politicians who are opposed to anything and everything that might make the euro workable, who still believe that all would be well if everyone exhibited sufficient discipline. And that’s why there is even more at stake in Sunday’s Greek referendum than most observers realize.”
A characteristic of the Euro has been that, in spite of a terribly worsening economic situation, and desperately low interest rates, the Euro stayed very high, as if the situation was rosy. When the situation was bad in Germany, ten years ago, the Euro was at 86 cents on the Dollars. When several Euro countries hit unemployment of nearly 30% (as Spain did), the Euro was very strong, nearly 150 cents on the dollar. Who engineered that absurdity? The same Goldman Sachs specialists who (were paid to) hid part of the Greek debt The bankers lent inappropriately, and to whom did they lend? To their friends, their associates, the rich? 92% of the money borrowed by Greece since the crisis began went to banks. Why were the bankers not prosecuted? Differently from simple Greek retirees who saw their retirement collapse, they are culprit. The real question is, to whom did establishing this mess profit? The creditors? Are they trying to reduce everybody to misery?
Krugman feels that using a bit of violence against European authorities would be a good thing:
“One of the great risks if the Greek public votes yes — that is, votes to accept the demands of the creditors, and hence repudiates the Greek government’s position and probably brings the government down — is that it will empower and encourage the architects of European failure. The creditors will have demonstrated their strength, their ability to humiliate anyone who challenges demands for austerity without end. And they will continue to claim that imposing mass unemployment is the only responsible course of action.
What if Greece votes no? This will lead to scary, unknown terrain. Greece might well leave the euro, which would be hugely disruptive in the short run. But it will also offer Greece itself a chance for real recovery. And it will serve as a salutary shock to the complacency of Europe’s elites.
Or to put it a bit differently, it’s reasonable to fear the consequences of a “no” vote, because nobody knows what would come next. But you should be even more afraid of the consequences of a “yes,” because in that case we do know what comes next — more austerity, more disasters and eventually a crisis much worse than anything we’ve seen so far.”
Well, it’s not that simple. In 2008, everybody was supposed to freak out because ONE BANK of the USA went bankrupt. Now we have an entire country going bankrupt. A country with twice the population of Norway, or that of the average state of the USA.
If Greece is allowed to go fully bankrupt (no, I am not contradicting myself: in the case of the IMF, there is a three month grace, or limbo, period), we will know that European countries are allowed to go bankrupt.
And why? There are many reason, but one is particularly salient: Goldman Sachs, an American bank, and high finance conspiracy outfit, deliberately engineered a misrepresentation of Greek finance. Why are these conspirators not punished?
If countries are allowed to go bankrupt, why don’t they all go bankrupt? After all, that’s the idea of devaluation Krugman likes so much.
The referendum is a good idea, allows Europeans to accuse those who torture Europe. Already the IMF is backing off, and just announced that, after all, some of the Greek debt ought to be reduced (PM Tsipras immediately asked for a 30% debt reduction).
The referendum is good, because it allows Europeans to argue about which Europe they want.
Do they want a Europe where Goldman-Sachs is free to conspire, or one where We The People rule? Let’s have referenda and arguments all over.
That’s how baboons vote (they vote with their feet). If baboons can do it, Europeans ought to be enable to emulate them.
Fundamentally, plutocrats want the monopoly of money and power, which defines them. In Europe, they have made sure to starve all what We The People want or need, and they did this by restricting how many Euros, how much currency, circulates.
By the way, it’s also how the Roman economy collapsed. By 300 CE, Rome did not have enough money, and so established a control and command economy (what the USSR became famous for).
Now the corrupt clowns who lead Europe are afraid that We The People, all over Europe, is going to start fighting against the creditors. An obvious case is “Podemos” in Spain, a party similar to Syriza. All over, We The People has to ask: how come so much borrowing was made in our name, to reimburse banksters?
Things are coming to a head. The economic crisis, engineered by plutocrats, feeds the Islamist crisis, whose deep inception was also plutocratic: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/great-bitter-lake/ …
The danger of an extremely violent insurrection against the established order is increasing by the day. After all, president Teddy Roosevelt took drastic measures against monopolistic capitalism. What had happened before? Well, Teddy’s predecessor, Mac Kinley, had been assassinated (1901 CE). So had been French president Sadi Carnot (1894). These assassinations were part of a general assassination campaign against political leaders of anarchist ideology. Islamist ideology may well play a similar role. Already many blond blue eyed Europeans are converting to Islam, and joining Jihad. Rage against the system is why they do. The enemies of my enemies may not be my friends, but, when violence has gone too far, only more violence can stop it.