I am not Greek.
Two years ago, or thereabouts, I was calling for Grexit. I fully admit it. I’m guilty. One day, however, during the buildup to the OXI vote, as I thought on the situation, I realized that I am little more than an outside observer who happens to have a seething hatred for neoliberalism, and a great bone to pick with the concept of the EMU.
Hate and a bone to pick didn’t justify my hardline stance; observation and facts did, but then I thought, “Regardless of what observation and facts tell me, who am I anyway to tell these people what to do?”
You see, I cannot stand watching people suffer, and in the case of Greece, the people are made to suffer deliberately by the Troika. I cannot have that. So, there is anger there, and I want, first and foremost, to end the suffering. But, as I am not Greek, I cannot fully comprehend what it is to be Greek, nor the unique political and cultural situation. What if the people wanted to stay in the union for reasons that I didn’t know? If so, then perhaps other solutions besides Grexit have genuine merit, allowing the people to remain and yet eliminate the suffering. So, I began to rethink my hardline stance and rather than continue to go off half-cocked, I sought the opinion of my good friend, Stavros. Why?
Because, unlike me, he is Greek.
Over the course of several weeks, he provided me with a unique perspective on the situation, and for which, I was and still am enormously grateful. And that perspective Stavros gave me, demonstrated that, for all of the corruption and other problems, it really all boiled down to one thing: the people didn’t want to leave as much as they wanted an end to austerity.
As I said, I am not Greek. Because of that fact, I did not think it proper for me to pretend to tell the Greek people what is in their best interests. And so, my hardline stance softened. If this is what the people want, then who am I to oppose it?
TANs or EURO-Gs on offer were viable solutions given the unique situation. This would have allowed the Greek government the freedom to do many things that were beneficial for the public’s well-being, if only the government were of the mind to deal with corruption and other internal problems. If the government would simply direct the solution at full employment and the public purpose, the suffering would ease, and then we could refocus on reforming the EMU with a central fiscal authority. The challenge of convincing the government of Greece to spend for the people, in my mind, was far easier and more likely, than giving the Troika a black eye.
It was the same idea as the spend now for prosperity and end the suffering immediately, then tax the rich later argument which I’ve made for years: EURO-Gs now and end the suffering, then deal with EMU reform later. So, at that point in time, a hardline stance felt wrong to me. I began to feel that calling for Grexit at that time, was me considering an end to the suffering of the Greek people second to eviscerating the EMU. And so, my hardline stance ended.
Three cheers for OXI!
Then, during the crisis talks, I watched as the Troika strong-armed Greece into committing economic suicide. There was to be no mercy, precisely because Greece dared to stand up to the Troika with the OXI vote. Greece would have to be taught a harsh lesson for such “insolence”, which would also serve as a warning to nations such as Spain and Italy if they happened to get any funny ideas from Greece. The deal was completed, and I knew from reading the details that Greece was fucked; right and proper fucked.
My hardline stance began to return. The more time wore on, the more it came back. 2016 saw me talking exit for Greece, Italy, Spain – the whole periphery – in private company.
For the uninitiated, the above article and data represents the results of madness; sheer bloody madness. The IMF, a thoroughly useless organization which should be closed down and several of its officials imprisoned, declares that even though austerity has wrecked Greece, it’s not wrecked enough for the IMF’s tastes, and so Greece requires further reforms to pensions and tax.
Fucking outright madness!
Well, let me tell you why.
As Bill Mitchell points out this morning, investment has collapsed:
“For the 9 years shown, total investment has gone from 100 to 32.4 while dwellings investment has gone from 100 to 3.7. Yes, you read that correctly. Investment in housing stock has shrunk by 96.3 per cent. Investment in transport equipment has gone from 100 to 12.2 index points. Investment in ICT has gone from 100 to 54.4 index points. Other machinery and equipment from 100 to 61.3.”
The IMF solution to the problem? Greece hasn’t collapsed enough, so let’s see if we can make it collapse further. You have a fall in GDP of around 28%, and even the IMF states that high unemployment will persist, at least for the next 33 years, but who cares right? More cuts are needed!
I need not remind anyone that the IMF recently admitted that it destroyed Greece to help the Eurogroup, and even with that admission, it calls for further pension reforms?
This entire vulgar affair is nothing more than a deliberate attempt to pillage and decimate Greece, and I do not care who says otherwise. If they deny it, then they’re full of shit. I agree fully with Mitchell when he says that:
“It is almost impossible to envisage how a government could allow this to happen unless it had lost all authority and an external force, with no long-term vested interests in the welfare of the nation were running the show.
Which, of course is exactly what has happened to Greece. The IMF officials who swan in an out, bullying Greek government bureaucrats have no stake in Greece. The European Commission officials have no real stake.
They will retire on luxurious pensions to somewhere having left behind a total disaster for the Greek nation.”
And so, I am back to my hardline stance. Enough is enough. There is no hope. Every viable solution was rejected, including Mosler Bonds, in favour of Troika solutions.
This time around, it’s not about telling people what is in their best interests; it’s about getting them out of a building that’s about to collapse. It’s about convincing them to say, “fuck this shit!” and mean it.
Look, it is simply from a rational, humane, caring perspective when I say that Greece should exit, reinstate the drachma, spend for full employment and give Brussels the fucking finger. Italy and Spain should do the same.
Bring it all down.
Fuck this shit.