Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Greek tragedy to kill Euro, and more

UPDATE: do yourself a favor and read the Economist article on Greece, including corrupt trade unions that are confident that Europe will keep bailing them out and thus why make sacrifices.  I sure hope that Greece votes itself out of Europe.  So Venezuela like, also, in that mentality of worry not, we will always be able to loot the state/Europe/the rich/[insert constituency of your choice].
I have had very little sympathy for the Greek tragedy playing now.  It has been at least two decades that people in the know were aware that the Greeks were taking Europe for a ride, chuleandosela, as we would say in Venezuela.  The father of the current Greek prime minster is the one who taught the Greeks to use European development funds to buy votes by spending them in populist measures in lieu of hard investment.  The New Democracy simply followed suit and it became a competition as to which side knew best to milk Europe.  Why Brussels allowed it is one of the interesting chapters to be written about the European Union history books.

Thus all the Greeks rioting because suddenly the possibility to be done with the unaccountability and impossibility of firing public workers affected their living standards left me cold, just as the "indignados" at the Puerta del Sol tired me within the first week.   Note, I do admire their persistence and their desire to go down with their boots on, but this is a lost battle, at least in the terms chosen by these people.  Because if they win, in Spain or in Wall Street, things will actually be worse for all, including for them first as Chinese model of workforce will become the only option in many places.

But today the Greeks did finally something right: the prime Minister did the first thing really to atone for all his father legacy of pimping: he will ask the Greeks in a referendum whether they would accept the European terms for their debt "relief" (all irony intended).  Note: it is a lose-lose proposition for the Greeks because the referendum is going to ask them whehter they want to be poor under Europe conditions or under their own conditions (out of the Euro zone).  But at least they will recover their dignity as it will have become a choice for them and not an imposition.

And yet it is reckless for Papandreou.  Because his referendum (almost forced by the idiocy of New Democracy) is going to affect more than just the Greeks.  In fact, depending on how the debate proceeds it could affect deeply the European Union survival as it is.  For better maybe but more likely for worse as the only option would become a definite two speed Europe.

And if it affects Europe it will also affect the rest of the world, and it will affect Venezuela even more.  At least Colombia has chosen its camp and will sink or swim with the US.  And I do not know about you but no matter what people like Castro and Chavez think the US has always found ways to rebound, either through left wing policies (New Deal) or right wing ones (Reagan).  But if the E.U. sinks, Chavez, or his own people after kicking him out, will have to surrender Venezuela remains on a silver platter to the US just as Cuba is about to do as soon as the Castro's croak.  At least with a relatively strong and united Europe, Chavez or his successor could play them to avoid to fall completely into US (dependence), but now.... 

Never have I felt as tonight that Venezuela was in such danger to lose control of its future.  We are the same hoi polloi as the Greeks but believe it or not, they are in better shape than us as they know at least how to entertain tourists.  We do not even have that.


  1. Anonymous3:02 PM

    The European Union was created not to deliver Europeans to postmodern bliss but to save them from the hell that began almost a century ago in 1914 and did not really stop until the Continent lay in ruins in 1945 [there are many quotes to this effect by a number of pundits].

    Now the stupid Greeks (you use stronger adjectives in your post) want to bring everyone down in Europe with their sinking ship. I hope that sense will prevail in the end, but nothing much should be expected from the inventors of Democracy turned populists.

    The people who run the US economy seem to be counting on the Euro to fail for some short term gains in the US. Good luck to them facing up to the Chinese. Are people in the US thinking that Europe poses a greater threat to their wellbeing than China?

    Anyway, we are safe now that the Greek government are replacing the heads of the armed forces with party stalwarts. To ensure the result of the referendum goes their way? Doesn't this remind you of someone?


  2. "Why Brussels allowed it is one of the interesting chapters to be written about the European Union history books."

    The answer is not so complicated.Socialism has redistribution of wealth as its main goal.Those who should have sounded the alarm were sympathetic to poorer member countries trying to milk the system for their own benefit.

    If the EU 's survival depends on its weakest link I don't think they have much to look forward to ; There will always be some weaker country messing up and the other ones allowing it to do so.

    Some economists hope for a more unified EU, but with 27 very different countries I don't see them agreeing on that yet.

  3. firepigette

    I am not so charitable: the Europeans have had a soft spots for the Greeks since Navarino, in the 1820ies (I think 1824 but I could be wrong and no time for wiki).

    Apparently the Europeans are still under the impression that Pericles is the Mayor of Athens and that the life style remains Spartan. They have not realized yet that Byzantium and the Turks changed a few things and that as far as I am concerned today's Greeks are of the same mentality than the Middle East, except that they are Christians. In other words people who for historical reasons have had to learn how to pimp for survival.

  4. Pete

    I agree with you, too many North Americans have been rooting for the failure of the E.U. Even in the UK they have come around, refusing to enter it fully but at least understanding that the UK will benefit as much of the EU as that one would do from the UK.

  5. Anonymous7:23 PM

    If you develop a cancer, you cut it out. They should expel Greece out of the Eurozone so that they can return to their Drachma. It would be very hard at first since Greece would surely default. But Europe can recover and a pretty goo signal would be sent to the rest. Do your homework or get the hell out!

  6. Sigh.

    No comments.

  7. HalfEmpty11:34 PM

    I am forced again to agree with Kepler. :(

  8. Anonymous11:35 PM

    The U.S. has just as much at stake with the EU as anyone else. Those on Wall Street are too stupid to see that. Not only does the U.S. have financial ties with them, they are holders of their debt and vice versa. The only one who poses a threat to the U.S. well being is the U.S themselves.

    The fact that it has reached this point in the EU only goes to show that a "One World" currency will not work. The problem with socialism as extreme as this case is that they eventually ran out of other people's money.

  9. OK, I have to clarify my sigh:
    Greeks should get out of the eurozone. They have cheated, etc. Now: that's only half of the story and you are probably hearing only that half because you argh not going to 'ear it frhom de Frhench.
    French banks - and others, German and gringo ones too - profited on a massive scale from the Greek bonds...and they very well knew what was going on, and they don't want to pay for it - it's not 50% what they should account for and see as lost here.

    Besides: you have to understand how markets are working now. They don't function anymore like they did 5, 10 years ago. The optimization of trading software has reached such levels that things have started to go damned wrong and
    speculation has run completely amok. There has to come a tax on those transactions on transactions on nothing, but the gringos and Britons (basically the same) do not want that.

    Los van a joder bien feo si siguen así. No será solo Europa la que salga cogeando de esta.

    Zhongguo ren hen gaoxing...esos chinitos están brincando en una pata.

  10. Kepler,

    a wee mistake:

    it is 'ze Frhench', not 'de Frhench'...i think you are confusing French with Dutch here...sorry, just saying :)


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