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Austerity Policy Destroying Greek Society

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Although we’ve featured quite a few news reports on the impact of austerity in Greece, this report from Dimitri Lascaris, a lawyer with family in Greece, via Real News Network, gives a flavor of how conditions have deteriorated, even in small towns where social ties are presumably tighter than in Athens.


More at The Real News

RNN also posted this letter from Dimitri’s sister:

Dimitri…the decline in our income and therefore in many facets of our
lives began in the fall of 2009. In our family carpentry business, we
began to go without work intermittently, but for longer and longer
stretches as time progressed. Customers who owed us large amounts of
money couldn’t pay even 5% of the balance owing on their account. Our
customers of course gave priority to the payment of bank loans they had
incurred as first-time homeowners or for the expansion of their
businesses, or worse, they gave priority to the payment of credit card
debts they had incurred in order to maintain the quality of their life,
or simply to secure the basic necessities…rent, water, electricity,
health insurance and food. Slowly, cash has became more and more scarce
for our customers, and therefore for us.

In Greece, the baby boomer generation has placed tremendous emphasis on
education. In a very competitive job market, Greek parents sought to
equip their children to secure a job as a civil servant. For that
purpose, Greek parents commonly employed ‘frontistiria’ (or
supplementary education through tutoring) as early as the onset of
elementary school. The need to eliminate the financial burden of tutors
was one of the first signs that people were struggling to survive.

Now, in 2012, whether in a city or a village, all you see strolling the
streets is a succession of empty storefronts with rent signs and often a
deluge of unopened mail just inside the door. The few businesses that
have managed to stay open have gigantic banners proclaiming 50-70%
reductions, hoping to catch the eye of the few potential customers out
there. Walking through what used to be crowded and bustling markets now
feel like a Sunday stroll through deserted urban centers.

Going to take care of business at The National Bank of Greece was once
an all-day affair…most often now, you can zip in and out in less than
5 minutes. On the other hand, the line-ups to make payments at the
Greek electrical company have become longer and longer. There you find
very volatile crowds of people fighting with employees to defer payments
through payment plans, or to have their electricity reconnected after
having had it cut off as a result of the “haratsi,” which is a
government property tax incorporated into the electrical bill, often
quoted by legal experts as one of the many unconstitutional acts this
government has committed. What right does the electrical company have to
assume the role of a tax collector, and to deprive us of electricity
when we become unable to pay the arbitrary taxes issued at the drop of a
hat to generate more money for the EU and IMF?

Suicides, drug abuse, prostitution and crime have infiltrated village
life. In our village, which has slightly more than 1000 inhabitants, I
was a victim of theft by a drug addict just outside my front door. I
have been to the funerals of two friends who were murdered here in the
village by their assailants when they were unable to produce money on
demand. Other friends of ours have died of heart attacks, stressed to
the limit by debt, or worse, the loss of their cars and homes.

We, as well as many people we know, are experiencing a strained home
environment as a result of financial difficulties. Now we call our
customers to beg them on a regular basis to pay something, anything,
toward the debts they owe us, because food or heat in the dead of winter
has become an issue for us. We now rely on help from family members.
People we know go to retirees in their families to ask for contributions
from their meager pensions. We are all now at the mercy of anyone with
money at hand to help our family survive, let alone aspire to a better
life.

At almost 52, when your stamina and endurance have started to wither
away, life feels like a chore. However, children have a way of making
you ‘plug’ back into life, even if it’s only to focus on just one more
day.

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108 comments

  1. IF

    Greece should have defaulted a long time ago. Or better, never joined the EMU. But this is water under the bridge. I feel sorry for ordinary Greeks. But unlike citizens of Albania, Moldova, Cuba, North Korea they are able to travel freely and are legally able to find jobs in European countries. Unfortunately a disorderly EMU exit might change that.

    One note to the conspiracy minded: of course these asset sales are fire sales. Which foreigner in their right mind is going to purchase assets in a country that is expected to repudiate the ownership of national debt? It would be just consequential to nationalize these freshly sold assets as well. The horror. The only parties that might be hopeful to win in this game are insiders. Just like Russia in the 90s – foreigners need not apply.

      1. Maju

        Cuba too I think: Spanish-Americans (except Dominicans?) have easy visa in Spain and once you have residence there, moving through Shchengenland is easy. Actually that makes possible for many people from former European colonies (or current colonial posessions which are not in EU, like Greenland or the Netherland Antilles) to immigrate easily.

        However I would not abandon the relative safety of Cuba, where healthcare or housing are guaranteed, for the chaos of Europe today, on mere pragmatic and not ideological grounds. Migrating to Cuba seems more difficult (unemployment is becoming a problem there too) but (specially would I be younger and would I have children) I’d love to. Europe right now is turning into a total social nightmare – Greece being just the tip of the iceberg.

    1. john haskell

      In October 1998, six weeks after the Russian default, the RTS Index bottomed at 38. There were no restrictions on foreigners buying any of the stocks that made up the RTS Index (by definition).

      Today the RTS is at 1632. No there are no decimals in that number. Oh, and the RTS is denominated in USD not rubles.

      You’re welcome.

  2. YankeeFrank

    This is horrifying. The Greek leadership deserves the guillotine, and Europe’s financial overlords deserve the same. No wonder Athens is on fire. How much longer will the Greek people accept this slow death?

    1. SidFinster

      Nonsense. While satisfying, deaths by guillotine would be wasteful.

      Instead, those responsible should be sent to the uranium mines.

      1. ambrit

        Dear Sid;
        Uranium mines? No, much better to let them toil in the plutonium reprocessing plant, without shielding of course.

        1. Praedor

          They should be employed in cleanup crews after flooding, earthquakes, or after military actions. They can clean up the mould and dust, they can clean up the depleted uranium dust, ALL without any protective equipment. They can inhale the mould, inhale the silicate dust, inhale the depleted uranium dust and subsequently enjoy the fruits of their labors (against humanity).

          The Greek government is absolutely f*cking stupid. They should be following the model of Argentina and Iceland. Following upon this Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Italy should all do the same. Let the EU devolve to be…Germany all on its own.

          1. Rotter

            And when Germany left without the EU as a mechanism to turn the rest of Europe into its colony, acts to do that by millitary means,then …hmmm… then who will come down on Germany this time? This is the Global capitalist nightmare wiht no escape (except universal revolution)

          2. SidFinster

            LOL, Germans are some of the most un-military people in Europe or the whole planet.

            They would be hard-pressed to invade Luxembourg on their own. Forget trying to get all the way to Greece, much less the logistics headaches if they managed to get there.

  3. bmeisen

    Love the one about his brother-in-law the carpenter investing in German machinery. Is that like a Bosch table saw and a Bosch cordless drill?

    NO doubt many if not most Greeks are suffering, in many cases paying with livelihood and life. Some Greeks are apparently not suffering as much: a substantial proportion of the rich, many of whom have chronically benefitted from corruption and evaded taxes, and many if not most of the military, who in this crisis continue to receive disproportionate funding even though Greece is a member of the EU as well as NATO and even though the archenemy, Turkey, wants desperately to join the EU and recently dismissed almost its entire general staff.

    The current EU is a failed regime. One of the reasons for its failure is its flawed analysis the financial integrity of EMU members before the introduction of the Euro. Greek finances were a shambles before the Euro and after, no thanks in part to financial innovation. The jig is up now and countries that for whatever reasons are willing to give the GReeks hundreds of billions of euros are setting conditions, for example they want to be able to track what the GReeks do with the money they send, and GReece’s finances are so f*cked up they can’t track what happens to the money, i.e. the finance ministry might be able to book a gift and then distribute it further and that then in all too many cases the track disappears.

    Greece should IMHO leave the Euro. I would very quickly book a vacation there. But if they stay then they have to clean up their accounting, defund the military, invest in education, innovation and infrastructure (by which I do not mean the trench across the northern border to Turkey) and kick all financial industry talent out of the country.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      bmeisen, don’t forget Goldman Sachs sucker play on behalf of the Global .01%, making ready to do their *Lebensraum* without boots on the ground.

  4. carol

    Instead of protesting against Merkel (with Nazi-signs), the poor Greeks better protest against their own elites.

    A parliament with 300 (!!) members, nicely overpaid no doubt, on a population of 11 million. An emergency cabinet with 50 (!!) ministers. Those cabinet meetings have to be costly and ineffective.

    Over the last decades, some 100 billion euro’s in grants, paid for by European taxpayers, has been ‘evaporated’, i.e. taking by the Greek elites.
    The rich have taken some 64 billion euros out of the Greek banks, to front run a wealth tax or return to the Drachme, instead of supporting their own country.

    From 1999 onwards till November 2009, the Greek GDP has been artificially inflated. As with the US house prices, the air has to come out.

    The problem of the poor Greeks is not Angela Merkel, but their own elitists countrymen. As was commentated in the Greek papar:

    “We will not lose only in the economic sense, but we will quickly surrender to behaviors that always plagued us and which our accession to Europe did not manage to eliminate. It is NOT a coincidence that we are champions in the number of European Court rulings against us for human rights violations, for crimes against the environment, for our malfunctioning justice system, and so on.”
    http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite3_1_13/02/2012_427392

    1. Leverage

      A population can only blame themselves for their inaction. Unfortunately this theme repeats itself all over the globe to one extend or an other.

      In any case, the solution can only be established by being sovereigns and forcing the elites to default and probably quit the euro. After that, only they can determine what will happen.

    2. Shyster Sister

      You’re setting up a false choice here. Both Merkel and Greek elites pose a problem. Reform is needed, but effective reform won’t come from a panicked search for revenues to raise and programs to cut.

      PS. A parliament of 300 might seem much to Americans but is actually not out of the ordinary for European countries. The Swedish parliament has 349 members representing a nation of 9 million. I’m somewhat wary of applying notions of economic efficiency, as an argument could be made that it’s more representative to elect politicians from smaller districts than mega-districts. The actual problem of representation in Greece is that the party leaders are almighty when it comes to picking who runs in each district. This makes Greek parliamentarians unduly beholden to the leadership, rather than the people who vote for them.

      1. Cal

        Yeah, just look at how efficently our House and Senate run and all the befefits to 300 million American taxpayers.

      2. BondsOfSteel

        IMHO, one of the problems with the US is too few congressmen. Imagine a world with 10x as many members of the house.

        The cost of electing each members would be less, requiring less money / campaign and the value of each vote would be worth more.

        Plus, with more members, the corporations would have to buy that many more people… at least increasing their costs.

      3. flash91

        “PS. A parliament of 300 might seem much to Americans but is actually not out of the ordinary for European countries. ”

        300 for a country the size of greece seems huge to Americans.

        Comparable size would be about 20 people.

        1. Isidoros

          Regarding the number (300) of Greek Parliament members, it is, I agree, by any means, large, but, two things: one is that, if one is to make fair comparisons, one has to keep in mind that in the US one also has State “Pariiament” Representatives, while in Greece you do not; if combined, US reps might yield comparable numbers; two, bear in mind the Greek topography: that is, populations isolated by daunting (as they were) mountains and seas (where hundrends the islands) require that a larger number of distinctively different costituencies be represented fairly in Athens, that requires a larger number of representatives.

    3. Maju

      The austerity dictates come from the Troika, which is not Germany but is clearly Germanophile and Merkel applauds. These austerity dictates are intended to make it cheaper the Greek workforce for German (and other) multinational corporations to exploit it more and more.

      There is an obsession on placing all cuts on the shoulders of the Greek (and generally European) Working Class. Cuts or measures that would affect the rich anyhwere are few and slow to implement. No cuts have been imposed on the oversized military or police forces.

      They sure have a lot to blame on their own elites, first of all bowing to German and IMF dictates, but there is also a lot to blame on the German and multinational oligarchies in general. It is these who are dictating the terms of a total surrender that should have never happened.

      In many senses this is nothing but colonialist plunder. People is being killed right now because of Merkel and her Nazi guard (Christian-Democrats = recycled Nazis).

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Maju, for full comprehension, please search two articles:

        “Stiglitz: ECB is the Agent of a Few Powerful Banks” by Guest Author, ECB Watch, February 15th, 2012, at http://econintersect.com

        “Why the Establishment Candidates WON’T Prosecute” – Editorial by Karl Denninger, 2012-02-13, at http://market-ticker.org — LINK may work:
        http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=201911

        For further indications of *Unitary Executive* usurpation of *the law* see:
        “SPECIAL OPS NOW DEFINES THE PENTAGON’S EXPANDING WARS” — blog by Danny Schecter on 13 Feb 2012 at http://www.therealnews.com

        Pols are junkies in need of reliable fixes, and BigBanks are their providers. This is The Opium Wars writ larger than ever before. It’s End Game.

    4. LeonovaBalletRusse

      carol, right, the Greeks need to turn the screws on their own .01% rentier class, said to be the worst tax-evaders in Europe (who can know?)

      Recall film – “Z” – by Costa Gavras, for *How It Works*.

      Recall the eternal view of the Global 1% Reich: “The Iron Heel” by Jack London.

  5. someone

    It sounds so easy, but I repeat myself, there is no easy way out, what do Greek people do when their gazoline bills get up 199%? What do they do when medecines go up 100% as well? Argentine, Russia and Indonesia actually took advandatage of the rising commodity prices, so they got a way out. But I cannot think of a greek product which will show a light at the end of the tunnel. It is austerity the one way or the other, it doesn’t matter how you call it: Drachma or Euro.

    1. j.grmwd

      Let’s not exaggerate. Net Greek oil imports run at 11 or 12 billion dollars a year. Total energy imports maybe 15. With a 50% devaluation of the new drachma the real cost doubles. That’s an extra $15 billion dollars or around $1400 per capita from a GDP per capita of $27,000. A one-time general inflation in all prices of around 5-6% then would be sufficient to offset the loss in real income.

    2. Praedor

      They can probably work out a good oil/fuel deal right now with Iran. As for drugs, they can start producing various Big Pharma drugs in country, F*CK the patents, and take care of their own people FIRST. They can kick out all noncitizen rich, seize their mansions/estates and turn them back over to the people of Greece.

      1. someone

        @j.grmwd: But with what do pay for it? Your new drachme will be not very widely accepepted, to be cordial. And so you have to resort to currency control, but I have to repeat myself, what upon do you fall back to “harden” your currency. Does Greece have any in common which other ecenomies are keen of? I wouldn’t of anything and so a return to the drachme would get it back to Serbian, Bosnian or even Moldovian state without real future. Perhaps I’m too dump, but just being told tourism will do the deal sounds a little bit easy.

        @Praedor: I believe, you don’t think too much: Greece breaking EU-US-Japan sanctions and it can survive, you are not real on this one, are you?
        The rich have already taken their wealth out of Greece, just google “target 2″ and “Sinn”. It is quite a big discussion in Germany that one is buying out the wealthy.

      2. j.grmwd

        Why would the drachma not be accepted? Obviously it’s value won’t be as high as the Euro. But just like any other currency, in the long run, it will find its level in the balance of supply and demand. Energy imports would be the major source of excess demand for foreign currency in Greece and presently they amount to 5% of GDP. That’s going to result in currency devaluation which in turn will cause import substitution, increased export competitivity, inflation. I don’t claim to know exactly how those factors will balance in the end. But historically speaking, predicting a devaluation of 50% seems reasonable. In which case the real cost of those energy imports increases by $1400 per capita per year. That’s a kick in the teeth but not an insuperable disaster for a relatively rich country.

        1. someone

          To be polmic what for will the drachme be accepted? For olive oil for feta? There is almoszt nothing which this ecenomomy can offer at a competitive price. What would change when they imporerish? It will be just a forgotten country and that is jut exact the proposal Marshal Auerback is offering: He doesn’t want to be annoyed with it. But it being forgotten isn’t doing well. Serbia, Bosnia, Moldovia, one does not hear anything of these countries. They have all their souvereign currencies, unfortunatly nobody accepts them. You can watch belarous rouble becoming worthless live, if you want to. Depreciation is no snswer. Except you do it very harsh and have no luck, it won’t be a saviour.

          1. F. Beard

            To be polmic what for will the drachme be accepted? someone

            Tourism, for one thing. Less expensive Greek labor. Taxes, including unavoidable property taxes.

          2. Tim

            Every currency is supported by its tax revenue at the end of the day, meaning we don’t need no stinking foreigner debt! Your points are taken, but they only go so far.

            The difference between the euro and drachma solutions? The latter is no load, even though all else seems about equal.
            So of course Greece should default!

          3. dirtbagger

            Don’t see the a problem with re-instating the Drachma. It was accepted as currency before the European Monetary Union and it will be accepted again in the event Greece leaves the Union. At what exchange rate, who can predict?

          4. LeonovaBalletRusse

            someone, the bonding of the Global .01% *banker* class is miraculous. How they close ranks when the opportunity for yet more *Lebensraum* looms on the soil of the *failed state*.

    3. F. Beard

      …there is no easy way out,… someone

      Actually, there is: Steve Keen’s universal bailout idea. Everyone in the Eurozone, including German savers, would receive a big and equal dollop of new Euros. In addition, new leverage restrictions would be enacted to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

      It’s just money people, mere electronic bookkeeping entries. I am reminded of the South Park episode where the entire world economy boomed because of some stolen “Space Bucks”; the boom was real but the “Space Bucks” were not.

      Yes, Greece may have enjoyed a free ride on the Euro with regard to balance of trade but within the Greece economy people were undoubtedly providing real goods and services to each other. Why should that stop? It shouldn’t.

      1. Jim

        German homeownership rate is half of Italy’s. Who would be better off with high inflation, Germans without homes or Italians with them?

        1. F. Beard

          Who would be better off with high inflation, Germans without homes or Italians with them? Jim

          Your assumption is that there would be high inflation but that could prevented by:

          1) Prohibiting any further counterfeiting – so-called “credit creation”. This would be massively deflationary as existing credit is paid off with no new credit to replace it.

          2) Metering the bailout checks to just counter the deflation from 1). Since the total money supply (reserves + credit) would not change then neither price deflation nor price inflation should be expected.

          Steve Keen probably has a different approach to deal with price inflation but the above is just about guaranteed to allow the transition to 100% reserve banking smoothly and justly.

    4. Maju

      No. Austerity for the banks: default for the rest.

      There is no sense in governments borrowing money from private actors: states make the money! Anything else is a scam, an abused of the people by a few usurers.

      1. F. Beard

        There is no sense in governments borrowing money from private actors: states make the money! Maju

        Succinctly said!

        1. Penny Pincher

          This depends on what you call “money”. Real wealth is based on commodities and labor. The people working and turning raw materials into usable goods. Precious metals, since a small weight of them is worth a lot of labor, and because they don’t go bad, are a good stand-in for labor. To the extent that the state represents the people who labor and produce wealth, one might say the state makes the money. But no, it’s really the people.

          However, if you’re talking about paper fiat money, the Federal Reserve Bank, which is a conglomeration of 12 privately held banks, prints money at will (actually most of it is purely electronic now). This funny money is lent at interest to the United States, which gives them bonds in return for the Federal Reserve notes. The US then pays this interest by taxing the people. It also lends the same money at zero interest to banks, which then turn around and lend that same money to the people at interest.

          The banks get us coming and going. First they make money out of nothing, then they get free money off of the arbitrage they do.

          There is mathematically NO WAY for the US to get ahead by borrowing money that is created out of thin air and then having to pay interest on it. The way they try to do so is by inflation.

          It’s not that prices are going up, it’s that your money is slowly becoming worthless. i.e. your labor. Taken to the end of the road, when your labor is worth nothing, you are then a slave.

          No empire has ever survived the devaluation of its currency.

          1. F. Beard

            This depends on what you call “money”. Penny Pincher

            Good point. I believe in both government and private money supplies per Matthew 22:16-22 (“Render to Caesar…”).

            Real wealth is based on commodities and labor. PP

            And technology and infrastructure and the rule of law and other things in which government plays a role.

            The people working and turning raw materials into usable goods. PP

            Also services.

            Precious metals, since a small weight of them is worth a lot of labor, PP

            Wasted labor if the PMs are merely to be used as coins or stored in bank vaults.

            and because they don’t go bad, PP

            An obsolete concern if it ever was one.

            are a good stand-in for labor. PP

            Wasted labor and a wasted environment. And why? Because we can’t think of ethical ways to implement money?

            To the extent that the state represents the people who labor and produce wealth, one might say the state makes the money. But no, it’s really the people. PP

            It’s both under our current one-size-fits-all government enforced monopoly money supply. We should have both government and private money supplies. Government money is backed by its taxation authority and power. Private monies should have some other backing, not force. I think equity is an excellent choice for that backing but there are other possibilities too.

            However, if you’re talking about paper fiat money, the Federal Reserve Bank, which is a conglomeration of 12 privately held banks, prints money at will (actually most of it is purely electronic now). This funny money is lent at interest to the United States, which gives them bonds in return for the Federal Reserve notes. The US then pays this interest by taxing the people. PP

            Well, in the case of Fed purchases, it is supposed to be a wash since the Fed refunds its profits to the US Treasury.

            It also lends the same money at zero interest to banks, which then turn around and lend that same money to the people at interest. PP

            Worse, the banks buy US government bonds and profit from a risk-free interest rate spread – a pure giveaway to the banks!

            The banks get us coming and going. First they make money out of nothing, then they get free money off of the arbitrage they do. PP

            Agreed. But PMs are merely a previous tool for exploitation by the bankers. Liberty in private money creation is the way to preclude that exploitation.

            There is mathematically NO WAY for the US to get ahead by borrowing money that is created out of thin air and then having to pay interest on it. PP

            Since the US Government is monetarily sovereign, it has no business borrowing money in the first place!

            The way they try to do so is by inflation. PP

            The way to preclude price inflation in the US dollar is to allow genuine private money alternatives for the payment of private debts. That way, the US Government itself and its payees have the highest incentive to spend wisely.

            It’s not that prices are going up, it’s that your money is slowly becoming worthless. i.e. your labor. PP

            True. The banks, corporations and the US Government are complicit in allowing the theft of purchasing power from the general population, especially from the non-rich.

            Taken to the end of the road, when your labor is worth nothing, you are then a slave. PP

            Till the parasites become too fat to survive.

            No empire has ever survived the devaluation of its currency. Penny Pincher

            I am not in favor of Empires. But as for “devaluation” that is not something that can or should be measured against the price of gold or anything else since price inflation is very subjective. Example: Am I rich because I have a PC that would qualify as a super computer not that long ago?

  6. Lafayette

    TIME TO PAY THE PIPER

    … they gave priority to the payment of credit card debts they had incurred in order to maintain the quality of their life

    The Greeks, like others, binged on cheap credit – overlooking the fact that an economic slowdown could crucially affect their support (out of public funds) both debt-maintenance AND a bloated public administration. As well as significantly high historic Unemployment Insurance obligations.

    The Greeks have been living beyond their means – and their elected leadership opted (with great cowardice) to ignore the fact that it was borrowing beyond the capacity of its small, recessional economy to pay all its obligations.

    That is, given its meager tax revenue-base due to both tax-evasion and tax-avoidance, which are rampant. Let us note that the single largest property-owner in Greece, after the government, is the Greek Orthodox Church, which is exempted by law from paying property taxes …

    MOREOVER

    Both the EU and the Banks should have been refereeing country budgets and whistled this fault as early as 2006/7, but they didn’t.

    So,
    (1) the banks have taken a haircut on a sizable portion of the Greek Debt and the Greeks themselves will have to endure the consequences of a bloated public sector that will tone down). And,
    (2) Barosso, head of the Commission in Brussels, should return to Portugal. The EU needs to task the Commission on acute oversight attention to national budgets and budget maintenance throughout the EU.

    MY POINT?

    Let’s note that Barosso was put into place by EU country leadership – in particular Sarkozy and Merkel who were key to his appointment and reappointment to office in Brussels. He was therefore beholden to them (and other country heads) – having no real mandate to unilaterally impose the fines on persistent budget overrun of the 3% debt/GDP limit.

    Has Brussels learned this lesson? Probably not.

    1. diptherio

      “The Greeks, like others, binged on cheap credit”

      Translated: Greeks, like others, have used unsecured credit to maintain their living standards in the face of decreasing real wages.

      “…As well as significantly high historic Unemployment Insurance obligations.”

      Hmmm…high unemployment and high indebtedness…methinks there may be some connection here…

    2. F. Beard

      The Greeks, like others, binged on cheap credit – overlooking the fact that an economic slowdown could crucially affect their support (out of public funds) both debt-maintenance AND a bloated public administration. Lafayette

      Which is why money should be spent, not lent into circulation. With no debt (plus usury) to repay, why would there ever be a general economic slowdown?

        1. F. Beard

          My understanding is that PA lent the principal into existence (with land as collateral?) and spent the needed interest into existence. Also, the money was legal tender for private debts too, it seems, which is unethical, imo.

          The above is not an ideal solution, imo, but according to Franklin, it worked well:

          ‘Before the American War for Independence in 1776, the colonized part of what is today the United States of America was a possession of England. It was called New England, and was made up of 13 colonies, which became the first 13 states of the great Republic. Around 1750, this New England was very prosperous. Benjamin Franklin was able to write:

          “There was abundance in the Colonies, and peace was reigning on every border. It was difficult, and even impossible, to find a happier and more prosperous nation on all the surface of the globe. Comfort was prevailing in every home. The people, in general, kept the highest moral standards, and education was widely spread.”

          When Benjamin Franklin went over to England to represent the interests of the Colonies, he saw a completely different situation: the working population of this country was gnawed by hunger and poverty. “The streets are covered with beggars and tramps,” he wrote. He asked his English friends how England, with all its wealth, could have so much poverty among its working classes.

          His friends replied that England was a prey to a terrible condition: it had too many workers! The rich said they were already overburdened with taxes, and could not pay more to relieve the needs and poverty of this mass of workers. Several rich Englishmen of that time actually believed, along with Mathus, that wars and plague were necessary to rid the country from man-power surpluses.

          Franklin’s friends then asked him how the American Colonies managed to collect enough money to support their poor houses, and how they could overcome this plague of pauperism. Franklin replied:

          “We have no poor houses in the Colonies; and if we had some, there would be nobody to put in them, since there is, in the Colonies, not a single unemployed person, neither beggars nor tramps.”

          Thanks To Free Money Issued By The Nation

          His friends could not believe their ears, and even less understand this fact, since when the English poor houses and jails became too cluttered, England shipped these poor wretches and down-and- outs, like cattle, and discharged, on the quays of the Colonies, those who had survived the poverty, dirtiness and privations of the journey. At that time, England was throwing into jail those who could not pay their debts. They therefore asked Franklin how he could explain the remarkable prosperity of the New England Colonies. Franklin replied:

          “That is simple. In the Colonies, we issue our own paper money. It is called ‘Colonial Scrip.’ We issue it in proper proportion to make the goods and pass easily from the producers to the consumers. In this manner, creating ourselves our own paper money, we control its purchasing power and we have no interest to pay to no one.”

          The Bankers Impose Poverty

          The information came to the knowledge of the English Bankers, and held their attention. They immediately took the necessary steps to have the British Parliament to pass a law that prohibited the Colonies from using their scrip money, and then ordered them to use only the gold and silver money that was provided in sufficient quantity by the English bankers. Then began in America the plague of debt-money, which has never since brought so many curses to the American people.

          The first law was passed in 1751, and then completed by a more restrictive law in 1763. Franklin reported that one year after the implementation of this prohibition on Colonial money, the streets of the Colonhttp://21stcenturycicero.wordpress.com/fraud/how-benjamin-franklin-made-new-england-prosperous/ies were filled with unemployment and beggars, just like in England, because there was not enough money to pay for the goods and work. The circulating medium of exchange had been reduced by half.

          Franklin added that this was the original cause of the American Revolution – and not the tax on tea nor the Stamp Act, as it has been taught again and again in history books. The financiers always manage to have removed from school books all that can throw light on their own schemes, and damage the glow that protects their power.’ from http://21stcenturycicero.wordpress.com/fraud/how-benjamin-franklin-made-new-england-prosperous/

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Lafayette, since 1970, cheap credit has been pushed to the masses as heroin was pushed into China through crooked deals during the Opium Wars, and for the same reason.

      Banks and other owners of *credit card* debt were/are pushers of deadly dope, with political and commercial accomplices in a RACKET. Bring RICO globally. The pushers should be behind bars, not squeezing their junkies beyond *cold turkey* withdrawal. In law, who is guilty of crime? the dealer or the junkie?

  7. Ben Wolf

    Let’s not fool outselves: Germany wants Greece to exit and so do the
    Troika (ECB/IMF/EMU). The whole point of a “rescue” package which has been dragged out for two years with continually changing requirements has been to make things so difficult for Greece it has no choice but to leave. The Greeks, unfortunately, have ruined this at every turn by complying with requirements the Troika thought so onerous the Troika was sure they would be rejected. Basically the Greeks are the ones prolonging the pain.

    1. Lafayette

      Let’s not fool outselves: Germany wants Greece to exit and so do the Troika

      Dead wrong.

      That would start a contagion that would bring down the Europe. They just want the collective leadership to get its act together.

      1. j.grmwd

        Perhaps this is the Macchiavellan plan. Squeeze Greece long and hard enough and no one will be able to put the pieces back together again. No recovery even after leaving the Euro convinces the public in the rest of Europe that there is no other alternative, and prevents a chain reaction.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Lafayette, no, the latest is a conspiracy to *permit* Greece to default.

        You know how it works when an American company wants to get rid of talent that wont be a grifter for the boss: The boss tortures the talent until he/she *resigns*. Like that.

        1. Ben Wolf

          Precisely. German cronies are already asserting that Greek exit wouldn’t be that big a deal for the rest of the eurozone.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Klassy! – suicide of hoi poloi is the *heart’s desire* of the .01% and their trickle-down Agency the .99%. The Club of Rome and the Rock are rejoicing!

      1. Klassy!

        Yes, the “liberal” MSM here knows that the masses must take their poison pill. Did you catch the “government must shrink” bit?
        It was a horrible piece. But par for the course.

  8. Dal

    “In a very competitive job market, Greek parents sought to
    equip their children to secure a job as a civil servant…..”
    That quotefrom the article says a lot to me ….civil service!!…you read about Indian parents scrimping to get kids into IIT…Chinese sacrificing to get their kids into US colleges….and Greeks want to get their kids into the civil service?Its an utter tragedy whats happening in Greece but doesnt that 1 line seem bizarre…I mean is that what Greeks aspire(d) to?Ditch the EUR and take a chance on starting from scratch it cant be any worse at this point.

    1. Bon Voyage

      Civil service includes IT jobs doesn’t it? Americans do the same thing. Government employment frequently includes things like benefits, some form of health care, reasonable job security and at least the promise of serving the public.
      Unfortunately we see corporations purchasing this role for their own ends, drowning public institutions for their bottom lines. It goes further then that of course, right to the point of destroying society. (throwing people out of houses, jobs, massive wealth inequality and so on)

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        BV, this is what *drowning government in a bathtub* means: destroy employment of *labor* in government, and the benefits/pensions that go with it. Let *civilization* devolve into a Road Warrior film or Bladerunner. Privatize all resources, including potable water and clean air for the 1%. “Let God sort it out.” And Done.

    2. j.grmwd

      Well, to each his own. I too would prefer to serve my country than serve the interests of the average multinational corporation.

    3. Lafayette

      I mean is that what Greeks aspire(d) to?

      Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th century till their declaration of independence in 1821. It was a client-state with a designated governor who reported to Istanbul.

      From WikiP:

      The (nearly four centuries) of the Ottoman yoke are viewed in a negative light, a dark time of cultural and economic decline … This period of Ottoman occupation had a profound impact in Greek society, as new elites emerged. The Greek land-owning aristocracy that traditionally dominated the Byzantine Empire suffered a tragic fate, and was almost completely destroyed. The new leading class in occupied Greece were the prokritoi called kocabasis by the Ottomans. The prokritoi were essentially bureaucrats and tax collectors …

      Greece is a tiny country with a highly limited economic infrastructure and rather remote from the mainland EU.

      The Civil Service bit is, in fact, a reflection of an attitude that can be found in great deal of Europe that did not know much in the way of democracy until the mid-20th century. It was THE way to kiss-ass and get not a good job but a perennial job. “Public service” is still revered in France and Italy. But it makes for a Bloated Civil Service in the southern European underbelly.

      1. j.grmwd

        Sounds more like Bulgaria to me. Nowhere in the Eurozone can really be said to be remote or have a highly-limited economic infrastructure in this day and age.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        Kiss ass my ass…

        Civil servants in France, and other European countries include top university professors, nuclear scientists, and pretty much the whole damn intellectual elite. You don’t know what you are talking about.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          BB, right. After Napoleon, the French made sure that France got the Cream of the whole population through merit, via competitive Civil Service competition, so that the Old Guard 1% didn’t continue to rule society. But the Neocons changed that as best they could.

      3. Brooklin Bridge

        The Civil Service bit is, in fact, a reflection of an attitude that can be found in great deal of Europe that did not know much in the way of democracy until the mid-20th century.

        You are confusing capitalism with democracy. The system for the bureaucracy in France and elsewhere was chosen by the people through their — vastly more — representative government (than ours). They CHOSE not to have private enterprise screw them at every turn. It’s only in the last few decades that the balance has shifted toward private global enterprise running the politicians and everything else as in our country and that has not happened because of representative government but in spite of it via all manner of duplicity, propaganda and corruption.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          BB, right. It is a vicious MYTH that Democracy = Capitalism. Until the Neocons took over in France, France was much more truly democratic than the U.S.A.

      4. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Lafayette, the Ottomans were tolerant of the *Other*, even Jews and Christians. The Victorian Reich/British Empire killed multinational Palestina by getting the Ottomans out, having Lawrence flagrantly dupe the Arabs, while others duped *the Jews*. This made *Israel* the Anglo-American WEDGE in the oil-rich Middle East, so that Germans and Russians could never get together to oppose the Anglo-Allies Cartel, for which the U.S.A. provides the Global Military Force, with Israeli nukes and *Intel* for backup.

  9. Barney Rubble

    Some of the old timers have seen this particular tragedy before. That wisdom can rub off on ya’.

  10. Mr

    Another tragic part of the eurocrisis, which I really wish was commented on more often, is that Greece is in some crucial ways a special case — and yet it has become the focus on the intractable politics of the crisis, poisoning all other aspects of the crisis and possible paths to solutions.

    We should all have deep sympathy for many ordinary Greek citizens, who weren’t in any direct way most culpable for the weaknesses and corruption of their society and who are now bearing a disgustingly disproportionate burden in this misguided austerity strategy.

    BUT in an important sense, the biggest victim of this focus on Greece has been *Spain*! That’s a country that’s *much* less susceptible to the moralized blame-the-victim narrative dominant in right-of-center circles of power throughout Europe. And the focus on Greece is completely diverting everyone away from coming up with and feeling sympathy for countries like Spain, which has similarly atrociously high unemployment and is *much* bigger than Greece. Put bluntly, many more people are suffering in Spain, and if the eurocrisis is ultimately going to have to require some sort of triage, it’s sick to focus on Greece and not much more consequential societies like Spain. That sounds harsh, but I mean that pragmatically and in a utilitarian sense, hoping to find a way to ameliorate the most suffering.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Mr, “ordinary Greek citizens” — aren’t we next? Are we “ordinary American citizens” not in the process of getting reamed via “SHOCK DOCTRINE” applied by Pols in D.C. and the States, to receive the trickle-down spoils of the .01% whose orders they obey? Are we sending the drones, are we subverting the Constitution?

      The 1% is a Global Reich. What should that make the 99%?

  11. Susan the other

    I couldn’t believe that Germany was doing this. There is the far right faction in Germany that might like what is going on because they hate the EU themselves. But Merkel is caught between German politics and EU politics. What the German right doesn’t see is that if the EU folds, Germany’s DM will be so strong nobody will be able to buy anything German. And they will face ruthless austerity themselves. At which point Germany will have to break all the rules to devalue. It’s so nutty. Dimitri’s sister’s letter broke my heart. Mostly because it is all so illogical. Do people exist to serve a currency controlled by the elite or does currency exist to serve all people? Is it to be brutal austerity to preserve an elite whose wealth is based on a strong currency (and nothing else so the whole concept is circular) or will we have a currency serving all people and based on the valuable living standard it provides for all. The whole concept of inflation is very simplistic, and superficial. It is a weapon being used without reason. Reason is missing.

    1. j.grmwd

      That’s the irony of the whole thing. Germany would probably manage its currency much as China and Japan do. That is accumulating the debt of its trading partners, essentially doing VOLUNTARILY what it apparently finds so unconscionable now – subsidizing the consumption of those profligate southerners.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Susan, to comprehend, you must read the words of Thorstein Veblen before and after the Treaty of Versailles in “CONJURING HITLER” by Guido Giacomo Preparata. The German rentier .01% sold out the German citizenry, IN LEAGUE with the American .01% (Walker, Bush, Dulles, Thyssen, Hamburg Line, Standard Oil, Sullivan & Cromwell) and the British .01% and the French .01% and the Luxembourgois, the Junckers, etc.

      It was always the .01%+.99% Agency AGAINST the interests of the 99%. Then Hitler came to ruin Germany so that the Marshall Plan could profit from total destruction. AND IT STILL IS. Get it?

  12. Fatherland Security

    The Cabal needs some form of intimidating violence – highly publicized to put fear in steerage; similar to what Dimon’s storm troopers engaged in last fall in NY. The US doesn’t tolerate molotov cocktails in our police state; thus corporate weaponization of local ‘authorities’, defense contractors and iris scanners to mercenaries to the NDAA. The techniques of social marginalization and brutal austerity are traditional methods used here, it’s suprising the 1% haven’t tested sound cannons, gas and drones on the Greecian street parties. Perhaps that’s another reason Greece is under punishment. We need to sell gear.

  13. The Dork of Cork

    The credit inflation phase has destroyed European countries also – this money deflation phase is a different side of the same Euro coin.

    This is old News.
    The Irish CB was given “Independence” from Sterling in 1979.
    This was a illusion – in reality Ireland was being restructured so as to integrate with continental Europe.

    We had a deflation phase until 1986 when the domestic CB did a bit of defecit spending to relieve pressure on the system.
    After 1987 Ireland had to begin a credit hyperinflation phase so as to pay off external sov bonds perhaps using the new Basle rules
    The domestic economy became atrophied over these 30 or so years.
    With European fiscal transfers & multinational crumbs keeping the abomination going & going & going like a f$£king Duracell Bunny.
    There is nothing there now.
    All wealth has been extracted out of the system.

    Market states are very effiecent in extracting resourses but cannot produce wealth.
    They cannot engage in a national programme – they cannot even create Bomber Command to Bomb.
    They just extract as that is what they are designed to do.

    The euro system is perhaps the ultimate expression of this entropy – although its a extremely effiecent entropy.

    The Euro is entering a sort of Heat Death – maybe monetory scientists might detect a background radiation from this event in a couple of Hundred years.
    But essentially its done its job – its all extracted out.

    1. F. Beard

      All wealth has been extracted out of the system. The Dork of Cork

      Not true except in the case of a “talent drain” to other countries. What is/has been extracted is “money” which is distinct from “real capital”.

      Yet people despair over mere bookkeeping entries. Change is coming because people will not put up with this needless bullshit forever. Let’s hope it is for the better.

      1. The Dork of Cork

        @Beard
        The geography of Ireland has changed dramatically since 1979 – it was redesigned to recycle external oil through the system and gain interest income for the core banks.
        (before this it exported a energy surplus)
        Most of the modern “development” was pointless as it was only a vector for the funds
        So they gave us Structual funds that were fiscal in nature unlike the modern monetory bank incest “gifts”.

        So now the core (financial cities) needs to drive the periphery into energy surplus again so as they can remain in defecit heaven.
        Now the oil is depleting they must push Ireland and the rest back into 19th century like agricultural surplus as food was a important energy system until oil became King.

        The problem now is the landscape – its no longer designed for this 19th century purpose.

        Just look at North Sea & UK depletion rates – they are catostrophic.
        UK Nuclear energy – primary production
        (eurostat)
        Y1999 : 24540 KTOE
        Y2010 : 16029 KTOE

        UK Primary production crude oil
        Y1999 : 140721 KTOE
        Y2010 : 63948 KTOE

        UK Primary production NG
        Y1999 : 89198 KTOE
        Y2010 : 51464 KTOE

        UK primary production coal
        Y1999 : 21773 KTOE
        Y2010 : 10402 KTOE……. a slight rise from the Y2007 low of 9808 KTOE

        If they spend money to reverse this withen the current usurious system they will devalue their savings.
        So they won’t – they will just degrade the system even more if the cartel can get away with it.

        This is a replay of the post Napoleonic depression when they did not write off the debt.
        But after 10 – 15 years of torture the debt was significantly reduced by a massive increase in the energy density through Industrialisation (coal use).

        Now the Rothschilds wish to repeat the experiment but with declining energy densities.
        It will be a interesting experiment anyhow.

        1. F. Beard

          Energy is or should be a non-issue. We have thousands of years of Thorium for electrical generation and synthetic fuel creation. As for other resources: Energy + technology + inexpensive raw materials = just about everything we need, materially speaking.

          So let’s not blame our problems on exhausted resources.

          1. The Dork of Cork

            Credit explosions waste real resourses – thats what they do.

            Those thorium thingies are probally highly capital intensive , but you need a Industrial base before you can build on it.

            You cannot jump from a 18th century tinkering economy to a 20th century internal combustion economy even if the 18th century amateur scientists know the Maths & basic physics – they simply have not got the materials science , the socio / economic structure or the capital.

          2. F. Beard

            Credit explosions waste real resourses – thats what they do.

            I agree. Still, the problem is not lack of resources but a usury-based money system.

            As for credit, since it is a form of counterfeiting, no one is “credit-worthy.” We need equity-based money that is spent, not lent into existence.

        2. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Dork, the Plan for the .01% is to reduce the population drastically, so that Top Dog DNA can luxuriate and *leave room for Nature*. It’s written in stone:

          http://www.youtube.com — The Georgia Guidestones — “Population @ 5 million” is the goal, I’m talking Global population.

          This is their PLAN, but people don’t believe it because it is too fantastic, just as few people believed what “Mein Kampf” clearly declared.

          We are witnessing daily the accomplishment of this PLAN of the .01%.

          Search YouTube: *Club of Rome*, The Tavistock Institute for Global Manipulation*, *Do You Believe in Magick (4-6)” [and 1-6], *The 12th Crusade-Zionism vs Islam-WW3* – etc., etc., etc.

          These people are psychopaths determined to get their way!

  14. Gil Gamesh

    Bankers, if not deterred, will do us all in. Do the right thing. If you spy an investment banker, Wall Street trader, commercial bank exec, or (and especially) a Fed official, kick the fucker in his ass and stomp his porcine face until he agrees to quit it and do something productive. Like farming. Or street cleaning.

  15. Elliot

    So what functionally, literally, would happen if Greece nationalized the assets lately auctioned off, repudiated the debt, defaulted and gave the EU the finger? Beyond the banksters wetting their pants, I mean. Other countries have defaulted on impossible loans constructed in order to beggar the population, and the world did not end. Why not Greece? The Latin American countries that have defaulted have not perished from the earth. Why in the world would a nation let itself get into hock to private lenders, if not for governmental collusion with the private lenders? And what is to stop the population at large repudiating those as unenforceable due to fraud?

    1. Gina Hartson

      Perhaps that would require CIA intervention, kind of a warped “Olive Spring” if you will. The usurpers movements are placing Greeks necks directly under the IMF/BIS jackboot, the only thing missing is the facist military junta, a la Egypt.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Elliot, now you’re talking sense. *What if* should become Greek reality. *Just like that*.

      “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” said someone once. What has Greece to lose by following Elliot’s suggestion? Their lives? Will they be worth living?

  16. Valissa

    I have a friend who is half-Greek on her father’s side. Her father came to the US some time in the ’50′s (her mother met him on Greece while on vacation – he was a tour guide) but none of his relatives came so they are all still in Greece. I recently asked her how her relatives were doing. She said they have all taken their money out of the banks and basically stashed it “in their mattresses.” She said that the reason they gave for doing this was that they feared that the EU or troika would have taken their money out of the banks to pay the country’s debt. On the one hand she thought this somewhat irrational but on the other hand she wasn’t sure they were wrong. Greece has a long history (past 200 years) of going through periods of default and that’s what the traditional response is… take your money out of the bank and keep it close at hand. Since she is a very private person, I did not ask her if any family members were currently in dire financial straits such as mentioned here, but I will follow up with her the next time we get together and see if I can get a bit more out of her, especially on job prospects for her younger cousins. I think her Greek relatives are generally in the middle to upper middle class (but not wealthy).

  17. Babs

    There are large parts of the US that are exactly like what is described in Greece. The media just doesn’t cover it here.

  18. Hugh

    What is happening to ordinary Greeks is a feature, not a bug. It is kleptocracy in action. Kleptocracy is inherently totalitarian in nature. People don’t generally understand this because they can not bring themselves to accept what is happening all around them.

    In the US, we have infrastructure that has fallen apart, a poorly functioning educational system, millions thrown out of their homes by criminal banks, 30 million disemployed, 40 million on food stamps, 50 million without health insurance, college education is being priced out of the reach of the middle class, pensions have become a thing of some forgotten past, 401ks have vaporized, Social Security and Medicare are under constant attack, the two parties barely even attempt to hide their contempt for their supporters. And yet despite all this most people cling to a belief in a rapidly disappearing “normalcy”.

    Even most here probably think that kleptocracy isn’t really totalitarian in nature. That that goes too far. Banksters are bad yes, even a plague, but they aren’t like Communism and Nazism, not really. Godwin’s law and all. Besides not everyone is a full-fledged bankster.

    But look what they have done to us. Look what they are doing to Greece. Something like 50,000 Americans now die each year from lack of health insurance. Our kleptocratic elites killed them as surely as if they had put a gun to their heads or marched them off to a gas chamber. Those people are just as dead.

    Do you really think that those who have stolen trillions and have the deaths of hundreds of thousands of their own fellow citizens on their hands are anything but evil?

    But you might say that not everyone who supports the kleptocrats is equally guilty of their crimes. And you would be right.

    Hannah Arendt wrote about this in the phase where totalitarian movements are still coming to power.

    The world at large, on the other side, usually gets its first glimpse of a totalitarian movement through its front organizations [Think of these as the two parties, the media, and academics to name a few]. The sympathizers, who are to all appearances still innocuous fellow-citizens in a nontotalitarian society, can hardly be called single-minded fanatics; through them, the movements make their fantastic lies more generally acceptable, can spread their propaganda in milder, more respectable forms, until the whole atmosphere is poisoned with totalitarian elements which are hardly recognizable as such but appear to be normal political reactions or opinions.

    Sound familiar? Looked at the national news recently? Heard a campaign speech by any of the candidates? Our public discourse has been poisoned for a reason. Totalitarianism can not abide normalcy. As bad as things are, it is our sense of normalcy, perhaps just our memory of it, that keeps we of the 99% from being completely crushed by the looters. But crushing us, just as Greece is being crushed now, is and has always been the plan. It is a necessity because kleptocracy can not truly exist as long as the normal that is in us survives.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Thank you, Hugh. Elegant and thoughtful response to Yve’s post. I have considered what has occurred in Greece to be an iteration of their “Shock Doctrine” that is in many ways similar to what has occurred elsewhere.

      Remedies?… Prosecute and/or sue the privately owned and controlled central banks and those who are complicit in the Hague?

      Here in the U.S., We the People of the United States might consider suing the privately owned and controlled Fed and their shareholders under RICO and for restitution for the damages they have caused We the People? No sovereign immunity since they are all privately owned corporations and are considered “persons” and citizens under the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision? Just sayin’.

    2. F. Beard

      I see this more as a tragedy than a kleptocratic conspiracy. We’ve had our experiment with an “elastic money supply”, “credit-creation” and usury and it doesn’t work. It’s not just a few or many bad actors; the system stinks and has for a long time.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Hugh, great work. But *not a bug, not a feature* but a modus operandi.

      Extractive Capitalism in Latest Stage is brutal application of “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE” for the enactment of gross Lebensraum by the .01% and their trickle-down .99% Agents of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        And just because they are NOT YET using guns, tanks, and boots on the ground in Europe and the U.S.A. does not mean these are not War Crimes. See the latest from MICHAEL HUDSON at http://www.therealnews.com anent what’s going on in Greece within the *Euro*pean FRAME, esp. with regard to Lebensraum by the .01% (he doesn’t use that word, but he expresses its meaning).

    4. Fiver

      Excellent comment. But I think we’ve not seen anything yet – from here on out, barring what amounts to some form of genuine revolution, it’s going to feel like we are in a permanent crisis at best punctuated by a couple brief false dawns. We needed to be in a completely different place by 2012 in order to forestall a gathering global calamity. Trying to get back to a place that is gone and should’ve been buried is costing everyone’s kids a great deal more than “lost growth”.

  19. F. Beard

    At what exchange rate, who can predict? dirtbagger

    The Greek government could create quite a bit of demand for drachmas by levying a high (and inescapable) property tax. If one can’t pay afford high taxes then one can’t afford a nice Greek estate, I say.

  20. abprosper

    In the longer run, international trade needs to come to as much of a complete stop as possible till every nation has a robust and productive economy of their own. Share the wealth and work.

    if there is any surplus, trade with peers for luxuries.

    This keeps nations like China and Germany from profiting off the backs of their neighbours and enables real growth.

    For various internal reasons its going to be a bit of a challenge for Greece but it is possible.

    As to that old saw by Bastiat about trade and war, well no.

    1st, the median age in Europe is too high to support any kind of war.

    2nd While Mercs from say China or Africa could be hired but that’s unlikely in a Social Democratic state as its too expensive.

    3rd Also if their neighbours really are that bad, which I doubt well nothing stops the nations from getting a few nukes.I hate to go all Dr. Strangelove but nukes keep the peace better than anything.

    1. F. Beard

      but nukes keep the peace better than anything. abprosper

      I agree since they can “reach out and touch” the PTB where they live (or at least the fallout can).

  21. Fiver

    Oh that Greece had defaulted when it should’ve, and blown every hedge fund and bankster on the planet to the Moon and we all had another chance to get it right rather than merely strengthening their hands. Two years is a long time for top predators to prepare. What is keeping Greece from defaulting now? Is it the next loan that will largely evaporate in debt repayment, or is it the tens of billions of that next loan tagged to pay out to PIS holdouts that the politicians need to deliver?

    In any case, I’ve thought default and EZ exit was always the best option in the full knowledge it will not be at all easy. The German people are screwed either way. Ditto French, Italian, Irish, American, Japanese, Chinese, Indian and everyone else with an economy completely warped by the process of corporate globalization.

    “Someone” and others rightly ask what it is Greece actually CAN do should it default. My suggestion is some form of Constituent Assembly that essentially excludes the current leadership class and focuses on what sort of future CAN be built in a world dominated by very large, hostile corporatist entities and their still-captured governments. And I’d suggest an end to blaming Germany, or Merkosy, etc., and the start of doing what needed doing long, long ago, i.e., the dismantling of the Greek elite structure. Greece should act as if it’s setting the example for the rest of Europe.

    And to learn from example, Greece right now ought to pay serious attention to the best living model of struggle against very long odds and that is Cuba – NOT as a political model, but as a model for a Cupboard Is Bare, shared-sacrifice, make-it-work-with-what-you-have economy that sustainably delivers the most important goods and services. Because believe it or not, that is where we are all headed not far down the road, not a “we’re all poor” world, but one with radically different ideas of what “wealth” even means – unless we leave it in the current hands, and the path spiraling down the toilet.

    1. miroc

      It is interesting how the Greek nation could survive thousands of years and is on its knees just after ca. 50 years of communist government.

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