Greek Crisis continues

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Greek Crisis continues

Postby Vahir » Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:32 pm UTC

So apparently that part of the world hasn't stopped advancing in time just because we've stopped looking at it.

The ECB has refused to extend the loan to Greece, falling meteors duly expected.

This BBC article has a good perspective of the ECB's point of view

I wonder what will happen if the country becomes insolvent. Bad things, I imagine.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Thesh » Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:35 am UTC

What I don't get is why the IMF doesn't say "Holy shit, we were wrong about how to fix this problem that maybe we should stop telling them what to do." Granted, the IMF has always been about serving the interests of the creditors, never the debtors...
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby BattleMoose » Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:45 am UTC

Thesh wrote:What I don't get is why the IMF doesn't say "Holy shit, we were wrong about how to fix this problem that maybe we should stop telling them what to do." Granted, the IMF has always been about serving the interests of the creditors, never the debtors...


I am sure where you are going with this. The Eurozone has given a huge amount of support to Greece. And stand to lose a great deal of capital should Greece fail. Their interests are very much aligned with Greece remaining solvent.

But reality has a thing about being real.

The negative comments made to the EU in regards to supporting Greece, is just, mean.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Thesh » Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:59 am UTC

The "support" given to Greece by the Eurozone and the IMF is in the form of debt, which has to be paid back - it's not exactly charity. To do this they pushed austerity policies with have destroyed their economy and completely crippled Greece's ability to pay back their debts, and now they are saying "Fuck you, pay up." The Eurozone wants all of the benefits of a large economy, but without taking on the burdens of the weaker parts of that economy, and that's called being an asshole. As for the IMF in general, they, along with the world bank, load up third world countries with debt, and then force them to vacuum up their natural resources to pay them back. They are directly responsible for not only increasing environmental damage through deforestation, but also perpetuating third world poverty.
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby BattleMoose » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:32 am UTC

Thesh wrote:The "support" given to Greece by the Eurozone and the IMF is in the form of debt, which has to be paid back - it's not exactly charity.


That is the manner of help that was given. No one is pretending it's charity. Greece did not have to accept. Greece was in a very bad situation and needed help and accepted the manner of help that was given.

I don't see a villain here. I see one party needing help and another party offering help.

To do this they pushed austerity policies with have destroyed their economy and completely crippled Greece's ability to pay back their debts, and now they are saying "Fuck you, pay up."


Their economy was fucked and crippled before anything was lent. It was the reason they needed help. If the Greeks could have done so much better without the evil loans, then they should have.

And that's how loans work, you need to pay them back.


The Eurozone wants all of the benefits of a large economy, but without taking on the burdens of the weaker parts of that economy, and that's called being an asshole.


They did take on the burden of Greeks situation. They have lent Greece a great deal of money which they will now likely lose. They have invested a large amount of capital into Greece. To suggest they aren't taking on the burden of the weaker parts is just, nonsense. The Eurozone has been propping up Greece for the past 5 years. But somehow that's evil?

Everyone has the same vested interest to get the Greek economy back to solvency. The truth is that no one within or without has the wherewithal to achieve this. And its seems to me that the rest of the Eurozone has lost its patience in throwing good money after bad.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Thesh » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:54 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:
Thesh wrote:The "support" given to Greece by the Eurozone and the IMF is in the form of debt, which has to be paid back - it's not exactly charity.


That is the manner of help that was given. No one is pretending it's charity. Greece did not have to accept. Greece was in a very bad situation and needed help and accepted the manner of help that was given.


They came in with all sorts of promises and projections that didn't pan out in the least - they were dead fucking wrong, and now they want Greece to pay for their mistakes.

BattleMoose wrote:Their economy was fucked and crippled before anything was lent. It was the reason they needed help. If the Greeks could have done so much better without the evil loans, then they should have.

And made much worse by the austerity policies that were pushed on them. Yes, they would have been better off without them, but they were fed a bunch of propaganda about how great things will be if they just listen to them.

BattleMoose wrote:And that's how loans work, you need to pay them back.


Yeah, fuck all the people who got screwed by predatory lenders defaulted on loans given by benevolent lenders as well.

BattleMoose wrote:They did take on the burden of Greeks situation. They have lent Greece a great deal of money which they will now likely lose. They have invested a large amount of capital into Greece. To suggest they aren't taking on the burden of the weaker parts is just, nonsense. The Eurozone has been propping up Greece for the past 5 years. But somehow that's evil?


They didn't initially take on the burden, they lent money fully expecting to be paid back - they did it because they didn't think it was a burden on themselves, and now they are pissed off because they think it might be a burden after all. Taking on the burden would be, say, sending welfare checks to the starving citizens, or recognizing that Greece will be significantly more fucked if they tried to pay them back and give them a break.
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby BattleMoose » Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:10 am UTC

You are shifting the responsibility of running the Greek economy off of the Greek people and onto the Eurozone, no dice. The Greek Government are big grown up people, capable of taking big decisions for themselves. They also have economists and professionals who are also able to make and judge the projections that were given to them.

The strings attached to the loans might have made things worse, I don't know, and I sure am not going to believe a random on the internet on that point.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Thesh » Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:38 am UTC

Take a look at what happened to unemployment pre and post austerity.
https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.o ... 913-en.pdf

Now, you've heard everything about Greece being in trouble because of big government policies, the reality is described here:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-greek- ... hs/5431010

But didn’t the Greeks bring this upon themselves? A common view, especially in Northern Europe and the Anglosphere, is that indeed they did. The usual suspects feature in what has become a common neo-liberal narrative – the sordid tale of a welfarist ‘clientelist’ regime with a history of rewarding ‘rent-seeking’ by organised labour, public sector workers and welfare recipients.

Aristides Hatzis, Associate Professor of the Philosophy of Law at the University of Athens, a confirmed neo-liberal and believer in neo-classical economic theory who runs the Greek Crisis blog, expresses the view well when he claims, speaking of the historical causes of the crisis, that ‘Pasok’s economic policies were catastrophic; they created a deadly mix of a bloated and inefficient welfare state with stifling intervention and overregulation of the private sector.’ He goes on to claim that ‘today’s result is the outcome of a disastrous competition between the parties to offer patronage, welfare populism, and predatory statism to their constituencies‘(2).

The title of his article encapsulates this view admirably: Greece as a Precautionary Tale of the Welfare State. A generation of neo-liberal ideology means these sorts of arguments appeal to a wide range of ‘common sense’ views of how economics works. But as is often the case, this kind of ‘common sense’, when exposed to the uncommon facts, turns out to be ideology disguised as insight.

Thanasis Maniatis, Associate Professor in Economics at the University of Athens (3), has shown that Greek Labour – defined as persons who earn or earned their livelihood from the sale of their labour power, whether currently active or retired, together with their dependents – is a net creditor to the Greek state. In other words, when you factor in all the income and benefit flows and discount all the tax flows, the working class give more to the state than they receive.

In the course of this proof, Maniatis shows that, according to OECD figures for social expenditure as a percentage of GDP, Greece spent 10.3% in 1980, 19.3% in 2000 and 23.5% in 2011. The equivalent figures for Germany are 22.1%, 26.6% and 26.2%. The EU average in in 2011 was 24.9%. When it comes to social spending, far from being bloated, Greece has only just caught up.

The most interesting figures quoted by Maniatis are those from Eurostat comparing averaged values as a percentage of GDP for public expenditure, taxes and deficits between 1995-2012 for the EU-15 and Greece. These show clearly that the major issue in Greece is on the revenue side, not the expenditure side.

The Greek average for government expenditure, at 48.7%, is only 0.6% higher than the EU-15 average. However, the Greek figure for government revenue is 3.6% below the EU-15 average. The Greek budget deficit average is 4.3% higher than the EU-15 average. So it is quite clear that the Greek budget deficit is driven by a relative shortfall of revenue rather than an excess of expenditure when averaged out over the 1995-2012 period and compared with the fiscal regimes of the other EU-15 nations. Far from being ‘bloated’, she is ‘underfed’.

Maniatis also shows that whereas Greece spent less on education, health and social protection than the EU-15 over the 1995-2012 period, she spent considerably more on interest payments (6.9% compared to 3.5% for the EU-15), general public expenditures – judiciary, police, administration costs etc (12.2% compared to 7% for the EU-15), and defense expenditures (2.9% compared to 1.6% for the EU-15). Where there is ‘bloating’, it is the bankers and the state who benefit.
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Diadem » Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:23 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The "support" given to Greece by the Eurozone and the IMF is in the form of debt, which has to be paid back - it's not exactly charity.

The support given was loans at interest rates below market level (and knowing there was a high probability of those loans never being repaid). That is charity. Of course the EU had economic reasons to do this, a Greek default is bad for everyone, but aid given out of self interest is still aid.

And sure, Greece had to take drastic austerity measures. But that is simply called 'good policy'. A few other European countries were in similar situations, and they did reform their economy, and now they are alright. Greece however has been dragging its ass for the last few years, refusing the make the necessary reforms. And despite that the situation in Greece actually was improving. Until last year, that is, when they elected an extremist government that prefers spitting in the rest of Europe's face over cooperation. I'm not saying the EU didn't make a number of mistakes, they most certainly did. A number of their original austerity demands were indeed probably ill-advised (mostly the EU seems to have been very naive about how hard it is to make sweeping changes). But the EU is clearly learning from its mistakes, while the current Greek government is doubling down on theirs. Greece really has only itself to blame for the current crisis.

And just to be clear, by 'Greece' I don't mean average Greek citizen. They too are the victims here, trying to make ends meet in a country that's spiraling into chaos. They didn't do anything to cause the current situation (well, except for voting in idiots. But can you really blame someone for being misled during desperate times?). It is the Greek leadership that has failed Greece.

Personally I think we still shouldn't give up on Greece. I really want to keep the family together, so to speak. But this is a notion that is becoming increasingly hard to defend. Even right now, despite the huge crisis, Greece is still richer than many other EU nations such as the Czech Republic or Poland. There comes a point where pouring more money into Greece just can't be explained to those countries.

Thesh wrote:To do this they pushed austerity policies with have destroyed their economy and completely crippled Greece's ability to pay back their debts, and now they are saying "Fuck you, pay up."

Almost every part of this sentence is false. While Greece has made some steps, they have continuously refused to make the most important reforms. Meanwhile other European countries that did, have recovered. And despite that, Greece was doing better, until the current government took over. Finally what is happening now is the EU refusing to loan more money. No one is saying "Fuck you, pay up". Which is obvious, because everybody knows that a Grexit will lead to a default, which means no one getting their money back.
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby ucim » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:57 am UTC

Thesh wrote:They came in with all sorts of promises and projections that didn't pan out in the least - they were dead fucking wrong, and now they want Greece to pay for their mistakes.
Uh.... whose mistakes? Whose mistakes led to the situation?

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:23 am UTC

Diadem wrote:And sure, Greece had to take drastic austerity measures. But that is simply called 'good policy'.


Sure doesn't look that way from here.
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Echo244 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:54 am UTC

Last I heard, which was on Friday, was the Greek government offering to pay back loan extensions *more* than required by the ECB/IMF, and raising that money through their own policies and initiatives (higher tax rates and better collection of existing taxes) rather than the dogmatic insistence on austerity, deregulation, and growth/investment from outside solving everything.

Which makes the current confrontation between Greece and those who have lent them money, political more than economic.
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Zamfir » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:25 pm UTC

Well, obviously it's political in the end. The nominal Greek debt is about 1000 euro per citizen of the eurozone. Taking the haircuts into account, much less. The eurozone could absorb even the entirety of that debt without serious crisis.

So it'S a political decision how much conditions to add. People don't want to absorb the debt even if they could, one. And two, they do not want a precedent that might encourage other, larger countries to run up an unsustainable debt. The combination of those two political factors mean that the other countries demand serious sacrifices from the side of Greece, and the exact amount is in the end a political choice.

But that doesn't make Greece's offer reasonable. Greece has been in this situation for many years now, and they have not yet managed to make such substantial improvement on their tax collection. They have made other drastic changes, but improved tax collection is a yearly promise with yearly disappointments. That's why the negotiation partners do not take it serious.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby maybeagnostic » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:38 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:Sure doesn't look that way from here.

Where is here?

Echo244 wrote:Last I heard, which was on Friday, was the Greek government offering to pay back loan extensions *more* than required by the ECB/IMF, and raising that money through their own policies and initiatives (higher tax rates and better collection of existing taxes) rather than the dogmatic insistence on austerity, deregulation, and growth/investment from outside solving everything.
And where did you hear that? I am by no means an expert on the situation but I try to inform myself from multiple sources and I haven't seen it presented this way anywhere. The sources I've seen consider the proposed numbers to be raised by taxes very unrealistic and no one even believes the Greek government would really try to collect them anyway.

Thesh wrote:Yeah, fuck all the people who got screwed by predatory lenders...

Bringing up predatory lenders is disingenuous. The loans given to the Greek Government were at a significantly lower interest rate than was available to them and a structured and controlled default combined with withdrawal from the Eurozone has been an option for years but the Greek government was not interested in taking it. No one is making money from this whole mess and the worst thing you can accuse the European Commission of is trying to minimize damage to other Eurozone member states.

For all the talk of how the austerity measures didn't work and never had the chance to (which, even with the benefit of hindsight, is far from clear as Greece never really implemented most of them in over five years when they were supposed to be finished by 2012), I don't really see people suggesting clear alternatives.
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Echo244 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:48 pm UTC

maybeagnostic wrote:
Echo244 wrote:Last I heard, which was on Friday, was the Greek government offering to pay back loan extensions *more* than required by the ECB/IMF, and raising that money through their own policies and initiatives (higher tax rates and better collection of existing taxes) rather than the dogmatic insistence on austerity, deregulation, and growth/investment from outside solving everything.
And where did you hear that? I am by no means an expert on the situation but I try to inform myself from multiple sources and I haven't seen it presented this way anywhere. The sources I've seen consider the proposed numbers to be raised by taxes very unrealistic and no one even believes the Greek government would really try to collect them anyway.


Channel 4 News, UK, Friday-ish? I'm at work otherwise I'd go link-hunting.

Remember there's been a change of government, so how believeable the current "Let's actually collect our taxes" plans are can't be effectively judged by previous attempts. That said, another recent C4 News report mentioned that some parts of the civil service were actively resisting the new government's plans, so that would probably have to be factored in too.
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Zamfir » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:49 pm UTC

Situation at the moment, to my best knowledge:

- this weekend, Greece announced they will hold a referendum next weekend on the current offer from the creditors. They will not negotiate any further
- apparently, this was a surprise action
- tomorrow, Greece is scheduled to pay 1.6 billion to the IMF. They do not have this money, unless they get more loans. The IMF can postpone the demand for up to 30 days
- The ECB is limiting its lending to Greek banks. It does not have a mandate to loan to countries in default, so the current situation (a pending default if the situation stays as it is) is a grey zone
- banks in Greece only give out 60 euros in cash per withdrawal

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Dauric » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:59 pm UTC

I thought the Greek banks were closed for the next 6 days to prevent a run on them or somesuch. (heard on NPR, but wasn't entirely paying attention as I was driving at the time).

Wild question: So what are the possible fallout of a Greek default? Are we looking at something relatively confined, or is this a to-big-to-fail cascade issue? (or do we even have a handle on the possible repercussions?)
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby elasto » Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:44 pm UTC

I think the biggest threat is the hawks circling on the other weak members of the EU like Portugal, trying to push them into default also. There is also the existential harm done by an admission that the Euro isn't a for-all-time deal.

Personally I think it's in Greece's best interests to exit. There is no economic sense for countries with such divergent economies as Greece and Germany using a single currency with a single exchange rate unless there is total fiscal union like real countries have, so that taxes taken in strong regions directly prop up welfare payments in weak regions.

The only benefit that I saw from Greece's pov for being in the Euro was cheaper loans than otherwise, it never greatly benefited their economy otherwise, but obviously loans are only as good as the use you put them to.

Greece's best bet is to exit, devalue and export its way back into financial health over the course of the next decade or so...

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Zamfir » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:16 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:I thought the Greek banks were closed for the next 6 days to prevent a run on them or somesuch. (heard on NPR, but wasn't entirely paying attention as I was driving at the time).

Wild question: So what are the possible fallout of a Greek default? Are we looking at something relatively confined, or is this a to-big-to-fail cascade issue? (or do we even have a handle on the possible repercussions?)

The expectations are that a default would be relatively contained, in the short run. The situation has been going on for years, private parties with exposure to Greece are presumably people who have deemed the risk bearable. Most Greek debt abroad is owned by the Troika, who can definetely absorb losses on this scale. Though all is guess work.

The long run for the eurozone is more dubious: after a Greek default/exit, every other country is a potential exit candidate. Unclear how this will affect the dynamics of the zone. The EU side is even less clear.

Within Greece, the potential effects are highly uncertain and could be pretty bad, especially in the short term. Banking system would be gone, imports would become difficult, many export products rely on imports, tourism might suffer, and the government would have to run a surplus throughout that situation, probably requiring harsher cuts than demanded by the Troika. It could presumably be managed by a well-prepared, well-executed and widely supported government effort, but that is not a given.

Then again, the short run might be really short, and the long run might be an improvement over Troika policy. Uncertainties abound.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby elasto » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:30 pm UTC

As another random consequence, I think it strengthens the UK's hand when it comes to us negotiating more opt-outs or whatever we're after.

There's a very real danger the UK electorate will vote to leave the EU without some big public concessions, and that'd be a second bloody nose (as well as being lose-lose for the UK and Europe).

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby maybeagnostic » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:32 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:- banks in Greece only give out 60 euros in cash per withdrawal

It's a 60 euro per day withdrawal limit on Greek cards although it might be a moot point as ATMs are already running out of cash and won't get restocked before next week.
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:24 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:
Thesh wrote:The "support" given to Greece by the Eurozone and the IMF is in the form of debt, which has to be paid back - it's not exactly charity.


That is the manner of help that was given. No one is pretending it's charity. Greece did not have to accept. Greece was in a very bad situation and needed help and accepted the manner of help that was given.

I don't see a villain here. I see one party needing help and another party offering help.


Pretty much this. Credit is better than no credit. It isn't a miracle fix for everything, but it has a place. And obviously creditors are going to want the bill paid.

The rest of the EU ain't mustache twirling villains for not helping out MORE. I mean, they probably could have. We ALL could probably help needy folks more. That's pretty much a constant state of affairs. In practice, everyone needs to draw a line of "this is enough help".

In short, while I'm not personally exposed to the situation in greece, I do not believe that this situation is inevitible given some debt, but rather, the responsibility of the Greek government to properly manage that debt and their own finances. All debt has strings. Getting yourself into a position where you need a bunch of debt reduces your options. Not paying that debt back reduces them still further. It's unfortunate that all this is happening, but if you blame everyone but the folks actually in charge of the country, ehhhh.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby sardia » Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:01 pm UTC

I know how we are blaming the politicians, but aren't the Greek people itself at fault too? Isn't the government super bloated and taxes evasion rampant?

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Djehutynakht » Tue Jun 30, 2015 3:23 pm UTC


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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:36 pm UTC

sardia wrote:I know how we are blaming the politicians, but aren't the Greek people itself at fault too? Isn't the government super bloated and taxes evasion rampant?


Well, the question of how much responsibility citizens bear for their government is always a thorny one. Some, to be sure. I suppose it depends on how representative the government is of the people.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Dark567 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:31 pm UTC

sardia wrote:I know how we are blaming the politicians, but aren't the Greek people itself at fault too? Isn't the government super bloated and taxes evasion rampant?

At least somewhat. Voting in Syriza to me is pretty clearly a blamable offense.
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby charliepanayi » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:56 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
sardia wrote:I know how we are blaming the politicians, but aren't the Greek people itself at fault too? Isn't the government super bloated and taxes evasion rampant?

At least somewhat. Voting in Syriza to me is pretty clearly a blamable offense.


Yeah, how dare they vote for a political party in a democratic election? It's outrageous I tell you!
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Dark567 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:02 pm UTC

charliepanayi wrote:
Dark567 wrote:
sardia wrote:I know how we are blaming the politicians, but aren't the Greek people itself at fault too? Isn't the government super bloated and taxes evasion rampant?

At least somewhat. Voting in Syriza to me is pretty clearly a blamable offense.


Yeah, how dare they vote for a political party in a democratic election? It's outrageous I tell you!
Not how dare they vote for a political party, but how dare the vote for a political party that is willing to double down on the policies that got Greece to where it is. Voting, while in and of itself isn't outrageous but voting for Syriza(or tons of crazy parties) is.
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Vahir » Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:48 pm UTC

charliepanayi wrote:
Dark567 wrote:
sardia wrote:I know how we are blaming the politicians, but aren't the Greek people itself at fault too? Isn't the government super bloated and taxes evasion rampant?

At least somewhat. Voting in Syriza to me is pretty clearly a blamable offense.


Yeah, how dare they vote for a political party in a democratic election? It's outrageous I tell you!


If you vote a party into power, you share part of the responsibility for that party's actions, for good or ill.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby elasto » Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:58 pm UTC

Vahir wrote:If you vote a party into power, you share part of the responsibility for that party's actions, for good or ill.

That was Al-Qaeda's argument for civilians being a legitimate target for military action, after all...

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Quercus » Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:12 pm UTC

elasto wrote:There is no economic sense for countries with such divergent economies as Greece and Germany using a single currency with a single exchange rate unless there is total fiscal union like real countries have, so that taxes taken in strong regions directly prop up welfare payments in weak regions.

This. As I see it the Euro was primarily a political statement, that never, ever stacked up economically. You cannot effectively manage a currency without a significant degree of unified control over the economic policies of every place using that currency. The whole idea is ludicrous, and I doubt it's going to survive long-term. If I had to bet on the eventual outcome I'd guess that the eurozone will contract, by fits and starts, to a group of strong economies that are sufficiently politically similar to enact full fiscal union.

At this point there are no good options, and the views I hear in the media are so divergent (and appear to mainly reflect the writer's pre-existing political biases) that I have no idea what the least bad option is any more.

Mainly I just feel sorry for the Greek people, after all the number of people who a) didn't vote for the ruling parties, b) voted for the parties, but in spite of their economic policies, not because of them, in order to achieve representation in other policy areas, c) were too young to vote in the relevant elections or d) were insufficiently educated in economic theory to be able to understand what they were voting for, must surely far outnumber those that can be considered truly responsible for their government's policies. Even those that can be so considered probably don't deserve this much shit.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby maybeagnostic » Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:34 am UTC

There is this picture floating around that compares the Greek referendum ballot to the one from the Scottish referendum last year. Not only is the question worded confusingly and crammed full of unnecessary terminology but the top answer on that ballot is "No." Reminds me of one of those annoying internet pop ups that make the refusal option green and on the left/top to trick people who aren't careful into not selecting it.

Combined with the previously unannounced third bailout proposal sent out by the Greek government yesterday after working hours and less than 6 hours before the deadline, the Tsipras cabinet still looks more interesting in posturing and covering their own asses than making any real decisions or compromises.
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Zamfir » Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:21 pm UTC

Not how dare they vote for a political party, but how dare the vote for a political party that is willing to double down on the policies that got Greece to where it is. Voting, while in and of itself isn't outrageous but voting for Syriza(or tons of crazy parties) is.

If you want to call this a 'blameable offense', then what do you think were the blameless alternatives? The best credible alternative was muddling through like the previous years. And quite possibly, that have ended in confrontation some time later down the line anyway - the Greek banks were on a track to illiquidity anyway, and the ECB was going to reach the limits of its (already stretched) mandate one day or another.

Perhaps there was a third option, a government that would have jumpstarted the economy (without the gains all going to creditors), thus avoiding both muddling through and confrontation. But no one knows for sure that such an option exists or agrees on what it is. I don't think we can 'blame' the Greek electorate for not knowing the magic option either.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby leady » Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:32 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:The whole idea is ludicrous, and I doubt it's going to survive long-term. If I had to bet on the eventual outcome I'd guess that the eurozone will contract, by fits and starts, to a group of strong economies that are sufficiently politically similar to enact full fiscal union.


Such an entity has a ready made name - "the Holy Roman Empire" :)

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby elasto » Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:34 pm UTC

maybeagnostic wrote:There is this picture floating around that compares the Greek referendum ballot to the one from the Scottish referendum last year. Not only is the question worded confusingly and crammed full of unnecessary terminology but the top answer on that ballot is "No." Reminds me of one of those annoying internet pop ups that make the refusal option green and on the left/top to trick people who aren't careful into not selecting it.

Combined with the previously unannounced third bailout proposal sent out by the Greek government yesterday after working hours and less than 6 hours before the deadline, the Tsipras cabinet still looks more interesting in posturing and covering their own asses than making any real decisions or compromises.


Here is the referendum translated:

Should the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the June 25 eurogroup and consisting of two parts, which form their single proposal, be accepted? The first document is titled 'Reforms for the completion of the Current Program and Beyond' and the second 'Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis'.


Seems nakedly designed to frame it as a war between cold technocrats and ordinary folk.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby leady » Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:39 pm UTC

all referendums and polling questions always make me think of the "Yes Minister" scene regarding national service.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby elasto » Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:51 pm UTC

leady wrote:all referendums and polling questions always make me think of the "Yes Minister" scene regarding national service.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0ZZJXw4MTA

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:35 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Not how dare they vote for a political party, but how dare the vote for a political party that is willing to double down on the policies that got Greece to where it is. Voting, while in and of itself isn't outrageous but voting for Syriza(or tons of crazy parties) is.

If you want to call this a 'blameable offense', then what do you think were the blameless alternatives? The best credible alternative was muddling through like the previous years. And quite possibly, that have ended in confrontation some time later down the line anyway - the Greek banks were on a track to illiquidity anyway, and the ECB was going to reach the limits of its (already stretched) mandate one day or another.

Perhaps there was a third option, a government that would have jumpstarted the economy (without the gains all going to creditors), thus avoiding both muddling through and confrontation. But no one knows for sure that such an option exists or agrees on what it is. I don't think we can 'blame' the Greek electorate for not knowing the magic option either.


Pretty much. If all the options are bad, well...you vote for the option you see as least bad. That's a normal decision, and not something for which you should blame a person more than if, say, the voter abstained or something.

Muddling through like previous years is probably less terrible, but yeah, it's not a fantastic option.

So, maybe a little, tiny bit of blame, but for random voters, eh. They weren't solely responsible for creating the mess, and most of them didn't have much they could do to fix it.

The idea that elections punt all responsibility back to the voters really doesn't do justice to where actual power lies.

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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby Dark567 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:52 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Not how dare they vote for a political party, but how dare the vote for a political party that is willing to double down on the policies that got Greece to where it is. Voting, while in and of itself isn't outrageous but voting for Syriza(or tons of crazy parties) is.

If you want to call this a 'blameable offense', then what do you think were the blameless alternatives?
Maybe blame isn't the best word, let's say the Greek people are responsible for their voting, and they are responsible for voting in Syriza.

Syriza, from my understanding, has never been serious about negotiating and certainly hasn't actually been pushing for the reforms that would be required to actually fix their system. Actual attempts at reforme I think would go a long way with the ECB and the Eurozone in the negotiation process instead of claiming that the ECB is trying to "blackmail the Greek people". It's interesting to note, once it became obvious that Syriza was going to win the last election, tax revenues immediately plummeted as it was believed they wouldn't be strictly enforcing the collection of taxes. About the worst thing they could do as part of the negotiation process was move it to a referendum(a terribly biased one at that) that destroys all trust the ECB has in the Greek governments ability to negotiate.
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Re: Greek Crisis continues

Postby cphite » Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:33 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The "support" given to Greece by the Eurozone and the IMF is in the form of debt, which has to be paid back - it's not exactly charity.


They loaned them money at far below the market rate, knowing full well that there was a strong possibility of Greece defaulting; that actually is charity.

To do this they pushed austerity policies with have destroyed their economy and completely crippled Greece's ability to pay back their debts, and now they are saying "Fuck you, pay up."


They asked Greece to implement realistic policies that would make it at least possible for Greece to maintain fiscal solvency; and Greece failed to do so. So yeah, "Fuck you, pay up" would be a completely reasonable and justifiable response from lenders. That money wasn't pulled out of thin air; it came from the people of the various states involved. It's money that could have been used for other things.

Greece killed their own economy by being fiscally irresponsible. They were bailed out, at great expense and risk, and they continued being irresponsible. They made some reforms, yes, but they've refused to implement the most useful ones. And the end result has been completely predictable. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, inside or outside of Greece, who was paying attention a few years ago. This was the predicted result if Greece didn't get it's shit together.

The Eurozone wants all of the benefits of a large economy, but without taking on the burdens of the weaker parts of that economy, and that's called being an asshole.


Greece wants to continue along a fiscal path that is obviously unsustainable, and wants other people - more responsible people - to prop them up so that they can do it.

As for the IMF in general, they, along with the world bank, load up third world countries with debt, and then force them to vacuum up their natural resources to pay them back. They are directly responsible for not only increasing environmental damage through deforestation, but also perpetuating third world poverty.


We aren't talking about hapless consumers being duped by predatory lenders; we're talking about loans that are open and transparent on the world stage, which are pored over by teams of lawyers and economists. In other words, these countries know exactly what they're agreeing to, and are wholly responsible for upholding their end of the agreements.

The IMF didn't cause this problem, and neither did the Eurozone. The leaders of Greece caused this problem, with a heck of a lot of support from the people who put them into positions of leadership. They were given help when it was asked for, along with an expectation that they get their shit together; and they failed to get their shit together. Not because they couldn't but because they wouldn't do what was needed. And - big surprise - they're in trouble again.


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