Sunday, July 5, 2015

Damned…



…if they do, and damned if they don’t.

Please note: the glee that I obviously cannot hide in this post is due to my pleasure of watching the EU bureaucracy flail; for the Greek people – who have opened themselves up to a who-knows-what tomorrow – I pray for the best.  Whatever opinion one has of the Greek people, the truth is that this entire mess was caused by their politicians and by the bailing-out of European banks. 

The Greeks overwhelmingly vote no; now the drama really begins.  Ambrose Evans-Pritchard spells it out rather plainly:

The shock result effectively calls the bluff of eurozone leaders and the heads of the European Commission and Parliament, forcing them either to back down or carry out drastic threats to eject Greece from monetary union.

That which is unavoidable eventually becomes inevitable, and the Greek voters have served it up on a silver platter.  If Eurozone leaders back down, expect similar popular revolts in other member states.  Alternatively, if they kick Greece out of the club, expect markets to force the issue toward the next sickly patient.

Oh to be witness to the moment when fantasy-dreamtime is jolted into reality.  As they say, to be a fly on the wall…

The EU's leadership was in utter confusion as it became clear during the day that support was swinging back to the "No" camp, despite blanket coverage from the private TV stations warning that a "No" meant Armageddon.

Many European leaders are stuck, having painted themselves into a corner:

Martin Schulz, head of the European Parliament, was still insisting on Sunday that a "No" vote must mean expulsion from the euro, but his view is becoming untenable.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the Commission's chief, is equally trapped by his own rhetoric after warning last week that a No vote would be a rejection of Europe itself, leading to calamitous consequences.

They thought Tsipras and other Syriza leaders would be run out of town after the vote; instead, might we see the EU leadership given the boot?  That would be…luscious!

What to do when rhetoric is faced with reality?  Can they so easily change their tune?  Do they have a plan?  Apparently, not yet:

French president Francois Hollande said he would bend over backwards to keep Greece in the euro despite voting no. He is to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris on Monday to draw up a joint response…

There are mounting signs that the creditors are stepping back from the brink, conceding that they may have to renew talks with Syriza after all, though it is far from clear what this means.

“We didn’t really mean it” will only raise the temperature in other countries saddled with false “austerity”: there is no austerity for banks and other entities who have lent money to Greece, yet this is where the austerity should begin.  Perhaps it will now.

There are a couple of options open to Greece – both of which will only further propel the disenfranchised in other countries to follow a similar path:

"If necessary, we will issue parallel liquidity and California-style IOU's, in an electronic form. We should have done it a week ago," said Yanis Varoufakis, the finance minister.

"The first thing we must do is take away the keys to [governor Stournaras’, a holdover appointee from the past conservative government] office. We have to restore stability to the system, with or without the help of the ECB. We have the capacity to print €20 notes," said [a hardliner in the Syriza Party].

Print their own Euros – won’t that be a kick in the pants!

Let Greece off the hook via some combination of less demanding budgets and/or debt restructuring, or kick Greece out of the Euro and maybe even the European Union.  Damned if they do and damned if they don’t – the perfect position for the bureaucrats and technocrats that shepherded the European project to this point:

Damned.

15 comments:

  1. There are no "good guys" in the Greek default. If you start from the premise that in any struggle (disagreement) there is a right and wrong party, then you will not see the fundamentals involved. The bottom line: The EU is economic/monetary collectivism. Collectivism has never worked anywhere, anytime, in any form. But it sounds good. It is sold as the only humane way to live, trumping individualism/capitalism, which is labeled as "dog eat dog". The irony: Collectivism/socialism has proven to be "dog eat dog".

    We should note this conflict because its over central banking, an evil forced on some Americans, but deserved by all those who brought in on themselves by trusting govt. to rule them. Being ruled is convenient to all who reject self responsibility. They can blame govt. when the suffering begins. But they can't answer the question: "Why did you delegate to others the power to run everybody's life?" They can't admit they self-enslaved, and bear the primary responsibility for trying to avoid self governance.

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    1. You should be careful with sweeping generalizations such as "Collectivism has never worked anywhere, anytime, in any form". If collectivists' goals include putting humans on the moon and sending scores of probes throughout our solar system, then collectivism has worked rather well. So also if the goal is capitalist racketeering, militarism, welfare statism, or theocracy, for collectivists have enjoyed great success from time to time when imposing such foolishness.

      Granted, collectives tend to fail in ugly ways. Still, in the meantime, before failure, a collective can be a success even when reckoned by the expectations of many of the collectivists, who frequently live to a ripe old age and die peacefully in their beds.

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    2. You can't eat space probes.

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  2. It all comes about from wanting things you cannot afford.
    So by lying to themselves (ourselves?) and agreeing to borrow money from the future that hasn't made the money yet, you gamble that the money will be there when the future arrives.
    Well it has arrived, and they still want more money from the future, because the present is intolerable to the lifestyles they have grown accustomed to.
    I think the best quote here was, when the unavoidable becomes the inevitable.
    If the creditors keep enabling the Greeks, they will all go to hell in a handbasket.
    Austerity by agreement, or austerity by fighting Nature, pick your poison.

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  3. A point of order: "This entire mess was caused by their politicians", and the politicians were chosen by the Greek people, or some of them, and tolerated by most, or all, of the Greek people. So the Greek people are not entirely innocent.

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    1. Perhaps "entire" was too strong a word. I will come down to 98%, as those who stand to make billions are quite effective at manipulating those who are in it for hundreds.

      Not to excuse those who are manipulated, only to recognize the tremendously effective toolkit developed by and available to those doing the manipulating.

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    2. Indeed, let us not excuse those little, greedy people who were in it for the hundreds and without whose participation perhaps just 9.8% of the mess might have been made. Likewise, we should not excuse the very poor here in America, for they too are the architects of much of their suffering on account of ancient vices---greed, impatience, etc.---which utterly at odds with correct self rule, i.e. autocracy, and with the establishment of sophisticated civilization among many peaceful autocrats.

      A pox be upon Aristotle, or whoever it was, for twisting language such that contemporary political commentators feel free to use "autocracy" as a pejorative and synonym for collectivist despotism by one person. If I recall correctly, the twist was made in Nicomachean Ethics. Or maybe it was by translators. At any rate, when speaking English there's an adequate Greek word for the idea, and that word is μόνος. Hence monocrat. So let us hear no rmore from the left, or anyone, about an autocrat necessarily being a person who craves totalitarian power or all. That could betray projection of their own cravings, and we shouldn't want it to be so easy to figure them out.

      P.S. It so happened that when I typed autocracy in to translate.google.com. the word returned was απολυταρχία, apolytarchía. So maybe there's hope yet to clean up the English language and systems of politics used by the many English speaking peoples.

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    3. Investigating (exposing) the “toolkit” might be an interesting exercise. It appears the public at large is totally oblivious.

      The pursuit of illusory ends is not unique in the practice of governance. But marketing has taken it to such extremes that even the rather dull marks may be able to recognize the bowl of illusory porridge.
      TomO

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    4. “…let us not excuse those little, greedy people who were in it for the hundreds…”

      No excuses, only recognition that most of the 7 billion people on this planet have accepted slavery as a condition without even realizing they are slaves. Are they all blameless? No. Yet this only goes to demonstrate the power of those on the other side.

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    5. “Investigating (exposing) the “toolkit” might be an interesting exercise.”

      Public funding of education and central banking are the two key tools; from these, all others flow. Knocks the legs out from under either of these two, and eventually the entire structure will wither away.

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    6. Self-chosen enslavement?
      What we can say, is that the average Joe is basically envious of someone else's success and wants some of that sweet action, without actually earning it. It is true that politicians exploit it to the fullest, but the wretched sentiment must be there first to be exploited with demagoguery.
      They may not know they are slaves, but what they really wanted was for the more successful people, or their ideological, religious or political opponents to be slaves to their demands and needs. So what they got was what they wanted for others. They threw the boomerang and it landed in their face.
      I have absolutely no sympathy for people like that as long as they continue to use the gun of state coercion and then whine when someone uses it against them.

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  4. P.s., books, not book.

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  5. As a man who well knew said,
    “Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hand and at whom it is aimed.”

    Did I pick this up on your blog?

    TomO

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    1. Not to my knowledge. But it is pretty good!

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  6. “Which is the greater crime: to rob a bank or to own one?” - Bertold Brecht

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