on razor’s edge…
Greece is on razor’s edge.
The fact that Greece is bankrupt is not only the result of the “hubris” of the Greek State, the Greek politicians and, inevitably, Greek society. No matter how much they wanted to borrow money in order to spend and spend and spend, they would have not been able to do so unless someone lent them the money.
The Greek State, the Greek politicians, and the Greek society at large did not build a creditworthy profile on their own. Greece became a member of the Eurozone on 1st January 2002. Without this membership there would have not been any of the huge loans made to the country.
Back in 2009, one of the architects of this mess, Kostas Karamanlis, had the courage to announce that he fucked up and that the country is in deep trouble. Nobody listened. The paramount issue in the other politicians’ minds was to capitalize on this rare instance of honesty and directness.
George Papandreou won the 2009 elections and propelled the already bankrupt country into receivership.
The problem is that Papandreou did not have the guts to find a solution. He found the easy way out. Complete surrender to the IMF, the European Union, and the European Central Bank.
The so called troika came to Greece and implemented an austerity program that could not have worked even in a healthy economy.
Five years later, Greece is a destroyed country. And there is no future in sight.
There is a new government in Greece, led by SYRIZA, a left-wing party. But since they were elected in January 2015, they have done very little to give even an indication of a solution in sight.
Instead they have wasted huge amounts of time trying to arrive at a “honorable” compromise with Greece’s creditors.
Greece has no future as things are today. The debt cannot be paid back. The economy is in shambles. The State is a huge mechanism that spends money and produces very little. The tax regime is flawed and discourages any investment. The judicial system is antiquated and ineffective.
It is not only the economy. It is a lot more.
The problem with Syriza is the key problem of the Greek society.
They want to use a magic wand to rectify the problems of the past without paying any price. The price in this case is the Greek State. Ironically enough, the Greek State, the edifice built by the Americans after the Greek Civil War of 1945-1949, has been the primary instrument of the populist governments which ruled Greece. An instrument of power, control, and absolute neglect of any rules of an open economy. In this respect, Greece has never had capitalism. Greece always had (since 1945) State Capitalism.
We all know that in real life there is not magic wand.
Syriza are so much dazed by the vision of the rejuvenation of the corrupt and inefficient State, that they forgot to try and find a solution to the Greek problem.
They have been repating the non-sensical statement that Greece belongs to Europe, but have not elaborated a policy to address the crisis of the country.
Today we find ourselves yet again on razor’s edge, with the creditors trying to push Syriza in a corner “take it or leave it”. More taxes will be applied if the creditors have it their say, taxes to be paid by the usual suspects, the pensioners and the salaried citizens, who have no ability to paid all these additional taxes, let alone the ones already in place.
Replicating George Papandreou’s lazy approach (let the others do the work, I only bring them in), Syriza have discovered that this only lets the fox in with the chickens.
Too little too late.
The irony is that it is not only Syriza who have no plan whatsoever for Greece to recover. The same applies to all the other political parties. Firstly and mostly New Democracy, led by Mr. Samaras, who today screams that Greece is going back to the Drachma. The fallacy of accepting the Euro as a given is the capital offence committed by Mr. Samaras. Of course he is not the only one.
And the people?
We have reinvented “Deus ex machina” and named her “Pride”.
No more than that.
Just so that I do not give to the reader the impression of criticism without any view on what to do, I believe that Greece does not belong to the Eurozone and we should get out. The sooner the better.
One might ask “what is the plan? are you prepared?” and so on.
Given what has already happened in the country, both as a result of the creditors plans and the plans of the local politicians, one might be tempted to follow the well-established Pirandello plan.
“Tonight we improvise!”
But this would be unnecessary. The potential pitfalls and risks are known. It does not take a genius to put things together. All that is needed, is something we have not had in the last 40 years. The desire and determination to achieve a collective goal that will eventually improve our situation, without having unreal expectations.