Thursday, August 9, 2018

Michael Roberts — Greece: on parole

Backgrounder on Greece (and the IMF and Eurocrats). A sad tale of elite rule and rent extraction off the back of ordinary workers with no power or influence — unless they rise up angry and are willing to pursue it.

Michael Roberts Blog
Greece: on parole
Michael Roberts


John said...

Greece needs a tough bastard who can run through Death Valley!

California is ablaze and what does Magic Mike think to himself? "I can run through that!"

Konrad said...

Greece will never recover as long as Greece continues to use the euro.

If your nation has a huge trade deficit, and your nation’s government cannot create its spending money out of thin air, then your nation will have catastrophic foreign debt, and therefore a catastrophic depression.

Q. Why doesn’t Greece dump the euro and go back to using drachmas?

A. Because the Troika bribes Greek politicians to keep the euro.

Q. If Greece is so worthless, then why are bankers and the Troika so keen to keep Greece in their claws?

A. As an overall nation, Greece is a disaster. However Greece has certain assets that oligarchs want, such as tourist spots, maritime ports, and so on. The Troika has seen to it that these assets have all been privatized (i.e. given to oligarchs and bankers).

Q. If the solution is so simple (i.e. dump the euro), why can’t average Greeks see it?

A. Greeks are blinded by their national character. First, Greeks have an inferiority complex with regard to Europe. They think that if they dump the euro, they will be even more disrespected than they are now.

Second, and more importantly Greeks hate each other. They have the least nationalistic solidarity of any nation in Europe. They have been this way for millennia, with Greek city states constantly warring with each other. There have been a few brief periods of national solidarity (e.g. the Italian / German occupation during WW II), but these are exceptions.

By “hating each other” I mean that every Greek thinks that every Greek around him is rich, but is hiding his money somewhere. Every Greek thinks that every Greek around him evades taxes. This illness, combined with the inferiority complex I noted above, makes the average Greek imagine that the euro keeps every Greek around him “honest” and “accountable.”

It’s stupidity, but this is why Greece lets itself be walked on by the Troika. (“If Greeks all beg us to enslave them, then we shall oblige them.”)

John said...

Konrad, a lot of what you say is undoubtedly true. But there is surely another aspect to this. Greece is little more than a mafia state run by a tiny few for their own interests, and before that a fascist mafia state set up by the victors after world war two to ensure the socialists who rescued the country from the Nazis would never be in a position to run the country. The Greeks have been able to overthrow the fascism but the mafia nature is proving impossible to overthrow using Greek democracy because it's so corrupt. While it is true the Greeks are pro-EU, we never ask why? Why do they support a transnational neoliberal regime that's hellbent on destroying their country? It seems to be it's either that or the mafia state, and they may have a chance with the EU. That seems to be their calculation. Like you, I don't think it'll work out at all well and will probably lead to the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn as a government in the not too foreseeable future. But I do understand why they're prepared to do whatever it takes to get the mafia off its back.

It's all terribly sad, and Syriza has become one of the most perverse jokes in world politics, although some way behind the "democracies" who arm Salafi wackos to the teeth, unleash them on the rest of the world and then claim that the "democracies" have to intervene to stop these monsters.

Calgacus said...

John, the Greeks are not so pro-euro, I haven't checked since Tsipras's betrayal of the referendum, but polls were showing back then that they were the most anti-euro country in the EZ by far, and that small but clear majorities explicitly favored leaving the Eurozone. So the result of the referendum was no surprise to me, though the size of the majority was.

Since then, well, it is a horrible story. The problem is not that Tsipras is corrupt, although the people who advised him are. He is just a brainwashed idiot who insanely despairs when things are looking up and the Greeks have gone along with him out of their sane despair and crazy lack of belief in their own democracy and selves.