Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
All your euros are belong to Greece.
#1
Well, 146 billion of them at least.

We all knew this was coming, despite Germany's grandstanding. Looks like Greece is going to have to make some extremely tough decisions. Doesn't seem their citizens are too happy with things as they are.
Reply
#2
Perhaps their economy would be in better shape if they hadn't banned video games.
Reply
#3
I'm interested in Stels opinion on all this obviously and what it's like on the ground right now for ordinary Greeks.
Reply
#4
Quote:

He unveiled austerity measures and tax rises worth 30billion euros (£26billion) including:

˜An increase in the retirement age from an average age of 53 to 67;#
˜Government workers to lose annual bonuses worth an extra two months' pay;

˜Ten per cent tax rise on alcohol, cigarettes and petrol;

˜Three-year wage freeze in the public sector;

˜Early retirement will be limited or abolished altogether;

˜VAT increase from 21 per cent to 23 per cent.

Keep in mind, this bailout does not put them in the clear... Greece is still really fucked, they're just not fucked before June 1st, 2010.
Reply
#5
Quote:

Originally Posted by The Rain Dog
View Post
I'm interested in Stels opinion on all this obviously and what it's like on the ground right now for ordinary Greeks.

Sure, why not. Sorry for the wall of text that follows.

First if you don't mind a little history lesson about how I believe we got here. After the 1821 revolution, Greece was never what you'd call a stable country. Starting with getting an Austrian king imposed on us as a condition for getting international recognition as a free country and ending with losing 38% of Cyprus and the Junta getting ousted, the years from 1974 until now have been by far the longest period in our history without a coup, a war (civil, regional or world) fought in our country and with a stable political system. The left was pretty much persecuted up until the Communist Party was legalized by the conservative government that took over in 1974. Now despite our political troubles the '50s and the first half of the '60s were pretty prosperous economically for those with access, i.e. not in the Left. WWII and the Civil War left Greece with about 15% human casualties and about 25% of structures (houses, roads, railroads, etc) damaged. Once things stabilized there was huge building boom. Couple that with the Greek merchant marine fleet really taking off and Greek economy regularly posted gains of around 15% per year. There was also a quite large development in heavy industry in sectors complementary to shipping and construction. Economically things were looking pretty good.

Then came the first blow. The Junta in trying to solidify its control over the Greek higher class, which regarded them as hillbillies and below them, started a campaign to essentially take control of the private economy. They began heavily subsidizing industries that were deemed 'loyal' and making life difficult for those that weren't. This easy access to no questions asked government funds practically crippled any forward drive and desire for development of the private sector. Even after these assholes were sent to jail, we went straight into the oil crisis. Nonetheless the fundamentals of the economy were still pretty sound due basically to a very frugal management of the economy by the government. There wasn't a big public debt and the budget was still under control.

Which takes us to 1981 when shit really hit the fan. That was when the Socialist party took over. They won the election by promising that they would offer those on the Left, which admittedly were usually left out, a piece of the pie. They did that not the correct way, by growing the economy and therefore the pie, but by creating eventually hundreds of thousands of positions in the public sector and by indiscriminately employing people in them. They also raised the wages of those already in the public sector like mad. My mother who was a nurse saw her wage more than double in the first eighteen months. Finally they went from one extreme to the other regarding unions. Instead of beating, jailing or exiling their members as happened until 1974 they gave them carte blanche. The combination of the low hanging fruit of the public sector, its reliance on government subsidies, the unions running rampant and the nationalization of every failed large business essentially destroyed the private sector. The only way for the government to support this policy was by borrowing obscene amounts of money. Something that was easy because as I said until 1981 the fundamentals were sound. So at the end of the '80s we were in a pretty large hole.

During the '90s the government oscillated between a more centrist version of the Socialist party and the Conservatives. They both concluded that the way for the country to go was tourism, the service industries and the stock market. For a while it worked, too. We were making money had over fist. Even every other Joe Shmoe wanted to get in the market. People were selling real estate and businesses to get cash. Money was abundant and cheap. Until the market crashed in '99. Along with it it took most of the public sector's capital and evaporated almost every last bit of cash from the market. By now it was practically impossible for us to climb out of our hole by ourselves.

During the '00s we thought that we could make do by leveraging a strong euro so we could borrow enough to get by. So we started lying through our teeth to get into the euro and since things were going well everyone decided to look the other way and carry on with business as usual. This last crisis put an end to that. Everyone stopped lending us money and we got to where we are now.

This stabilization program is very severe. The majority of the Greek population will lose about 10 to 15% of their annual income, instantly. And that's discounting the hikes in various taxes. But besides a certain expected numbness and anxiety for the future the people are taking the hits in stride. The Communists are bleating as always but they never wanted Greece to be prosperous anyway so it's not a big loss. The unions will make a lot of trouble the coming weeks but in the end they'll only make themselves even more marginalized. One thing I keep hearing from regular working people is: "Greece went though much more difficult stuff in the past. We'll get through this and fuck anyone who thinks otherwise." Because there's nothing that motivates a Greek as some foreigner claiming that he's in any way inferior. The people will take this and even more if only so they can have the pleasure of telling those who go on about 'those lazy Greeks' and 'beggars' to go fuck themselves once things are fixed. The people's reactions kind of make me feel nice in a way.

Sentimentality aside most of the people I've talked to, including myself hope the government sees this as an opportunity to reboot and finally properly structure the economy so this will not happen again. I hope they do because this is probably the last chance the current political system is ever going to get.
Reply
#6
Quote:

Originally Posted by stelios
View Post
The people's reactions kind of make me feel nice in a way.

This description of the average greek reaction made me smile a lot, as it reflects every greek I've known and been mates with growing up here in the city with the third largest greek population in the world.

Thanks for the background stel, it's fascinating and I wish your country the very deepest luck and hope for the future that this is the catalyst to get your economys shit together. Will you struggle personally as a consequence of this if I can ask?
Reply
#7
Quote:

Originally Posted by The Rain Dog
View Post
Thanks for the background stel, it's fascinating and I wish your country the very deepest luck and hope for the future that this is the catalyst to get your economys shit together. Will you struggle personally as a consequence of this if I can ask?

Personally, no. At least at first. The measures have wisely left the private sector alone for now. The market is cooling down a lot though so it's going to be tough to stay open. We mostly deal with IT for companies and educational institutions and orders have been way down lately. Whatever will be, will be. Who knows, maybe I'll get out this in better condition than I went in.

As for the reactions keep in mind what I said about this being the current system's last chance. At the first indication of them fucking up the mother of all shitstorms is going to break out.
Reply
#8
Is the political climate amongst regular citizens as toxic as it is here in the states? I mean, does 48% of the country actively blame and hurl insults at the other 52% (and vice versa), or are most of the citizens simply pointing their fingers at the government itself?
Reply
#9
Quote:

Originally Posted by stelios
View Post
Then came the first blow. The Junta in trying to solidify its control over the Greek higher class, which regarded them as hillbillies and below them, started a campaign to essentially take control of the private economy. They began heavily subsidizing industries that were deemed 'loyal' and making life difficult for those that weren't. This easy access to no questions asked government funds practically crippled any forward drive and desire for development of the private sector. Even after these assholes were sent to jail, we went straight into the oil crisis. Nonetheless the fundamentals of the economy were still pretty sound due basically to a very frugal management of the economy by the government. There wasn't a big public debt and the budget was still under control.

Which takes us to 1981 when shit really hit the fan. That was when the Socialist party took over. They won the election by promising that they would offer those on the Left, which admittedly were usually left out, a piece of the pie. They did that not the correct way, by growing the economy and therefore the pie, but by creating eventually hundreds of thousands of positions in the public sector and by indiscriminately employing people in them. They also raised the wages of those already in the public sector like mad. My mother who was a nurse saw her wage more than double in the first eighteen months. Finally they went from one extreme to the other regarding unions. Instead of beating, jailing or exiling their members as happened until 1974 they gave them carte blanche. The combination of the low hanging fruit of the public sector, its reliance on government subsidies, the unions running rampant and the nationalization of every failed large business essentially destroyed the private sector. The only way for the government to support this policy was by borrowing obscene amounts of money.

Can I be the asshole and ask what difference is the above scenario from the "Government By Crisis" being rammed through at every turn by the Obama administration?
Reply
#10
Quote:

Originally Posted by The Closer
View Post
Is the political climate amongst regular citizens as toxic as it is here in the states? I mean, does 48% of the country actively blame and hurl insults at the other 52% (and vice versa), or are most of the citizens simply pointing their fingers at the government itself?

Not toxic at all. We know better by now. We're in this together and we either all make it or none of us. It's the fucktards in charge of the big parties that rightfully get the vitriol.

Quote:

Originally Posted by TzuDohNihm
View Post
Can I be the asshole and ask what difference is the above scenario from the "Government By Crisis" being rammed through at every turn by the Obama administration?

The difference is that when these things happened in Greece there wasn't any sort of crisis. It was just the government throwing money away trying to buy the electorate. There wasn't any end game planned either.
Reply
#11
Great wall of text, gave me some good insights into your politico-economic past, plus I love reading very long posts.

Stelios, you're a good guy and I like you a lot - but as a fellow european (and economist) I can't help but think: fuck you Greece (Greek politicians that is). You lied, begged, borrowed and stole get into the Eurozone and now that shit your gvts pulled has bit you all in the ass. Sorry to hear it man, but things are tough all over - you don't deserve the money because of the long-standing comical mismanagement of your economy (as shown) and the fact that there is no reason to think that anything has changed (why stop lying when you get paid anyway) in the way the economy is managed. It's like the wall street bail out of countries but with more austerity taxes.

I just hope that tourism isn't hit by this, but it's inevitable.

Good luck with everything dude, I hope it all works out.
Reply
#12
Quote:

Originally Posted by TzuDohNihm
View Post
Can I be the asshole and ask what difference is the above scenario from the "Government By Crisis" being rammed through at every turn by the Obama administration?

Are you fucking serious?
Reply
#13
Quote:

Originally Posted by stelios
View Post
The difference is that when these things happened in Greece there wasn't any sort of crisis. It was just the government throwing money away trying to buy the electorate. There wasn't any end game planned either.

There is arguably manufactured crisis in America. Obama is utilizing a Cloward-Piven strategy in order to achieve his end game of a centrally planned economy that is hostile to the private sector.

I can only see America following the same pathway but whereas Greece has the EU to bail them out America has no one able to keep us afloat if this dangerous game of central planning plays out.

All good thoughts headed your way and for your countrymen in weathering this and coming out better on the other end.
Reply
#14
Apparently he is serious.
Reply
#15
Don't worry, Tzu, when Obama declares himself Caliph he can just ask Muslims worldwide for a loan of a few dollars each.
Reply
#16
Surely China could bail you out? Again.
Reply
#17
Quote:

Originally Posted by stelios
View Post
Not toxic at all. We know better by now. We're in this together and we either all make it or none of us. It's the fucktards in charge of the big parties that rightfully get the vitriol.


Novel concept.
Reply
#18
Tzu, your politics remain absurd, as always (IMHO, that is. People have said the same about my politics)


Anyway, I was just going to say that the hey day of Megas Alexandros must be looking pretty darn good to the Greeks these days. His empire was the richest the world has ever known, and the greeks lost it due to dunderheadedness when they poisoned their king. Now look at whats become of them.
Reply
#19
Quote:

Originally Posted by mr_adam
View Post
Stelios, you're a good guy and I like you a lot - but as a fellow european (and economist) I can't help but think: fuck you Greece (Greek politicians that is). You lied, begged, borrowed and stole get into the Eurozone and now that shit your gvts pulled has bit you all in the ass. Sorry to hear it man, but things are tough all over - you don't deserve the money because of the long-standing comical mismanagement of your economy (as shown) and the fact that there is no reason to think that anything has changed (why stop lying when you get paid anyway) in the way the economy is managed. It's like the wall street bail out of countries but with more austerity taxes.

I can't really protest your sentiment. By now, it's out of anyone's hands anyway. Let's just hope that by some miracle our government wises up and makes things right so we can pay you guys back eventually.
Reply
#20
Quote:

Originally Posted by Princess Kate
View Post
Tzu, your politics remain absurd, as always (IMHO, that is. People have said the same about my politics)


Anyway, I was just going to say that the hey day of Megas Alexandros must be looking pretty darn good to the Greeks these days. His empire was the richest the world has ever known, and the greeks lost it due to dunderheadedness when they poisoned their king. Now look at whats become of them.

Remind me, just how did Alexander accomplished that again?
Reply
#21
Fury on streets over Greek austerity cuts

Quote:

A nationwide general strike has gripped Greece in the first major test of the socialist government's resolve to push through unprecedented austerity cuts needed to avert fiscal meltdown.

Protest fever swept the country with public transport paralysed, ferries not leaving the docks and air traffic grounded as unions went on the warpath against the latest wave of spending cuts and tax hikes.

Hundreds of thousands of civil servants kicked off the protests on Tuesday and a group of about 200 communists also stormed Athens Acropolis, unfurling banners reading "Peoples of Europe, Rise Up."

Wednesday's walkout, the third general strike in as many months, comes as the government races to push the austerity drive through parliament, looking to its comfortable majority there to pass the package on Thursday.

Reply
#22
It sounds worse than it is actually. Hundreds of thousands of protesters? Please.

Except for the fuckers defacing Acropolis. I wish the police just threw them off the cliff along with their banners.
Reply
#23
Quote:

Originally Posted by stelios
View Post
It sounds worse than it is actually.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/wo...ce.html?src=me

Quote:

At one point, Reuters reported, protesters set fire to a building and a witness saw firemen evacuate at least four people. “There are probably people trapped in the building,” fire officials said in a statement before the news emerged that people trapped in the building had died. The police blamed what were called “hooded youths” for setting fire to the building.

The Greek fire brigade reported that three people died in the building, a branch of the Marfin Bank on the route of a protest march into the city center, according to The Associated Press. It had apparently been attacked with gasoline bombs.

Reply
#24
Why do I have a feeling that if the Federal government ever tries to drastically rein in Social Security or public employee benefits/salaries we're going to be surprised at the reaction we get?

In California, you basically look at the any of the government sector unions the wrong way and they lose their shit.
Reply
#25
Quote:

Originally Posted by Overlord
View Post
Why do I have a feeling that if the Federal government ever tries to drastically rein in Social Security or public employee benefits/salaries we're going to be surprised at the reaction we get?

In California, you basically look at the any of the government sector unions the wrong way and they lose their shit.

I doubt most people would be surprised.

The U.S. public sector currently enjoys salary and benefits packages that range from 30-100% more than their private sector counterparts. All financed through taxpayer dollars.

These are the dangers of teaching a populace they are entitled to the fruits of another's labor.
Reply
#26
Quote:

Originally Posted by TzuDohNihm
View Post
These are the dangers of teaching a populace they are entitled to the fruits of another's labor.

Yet conservatives have been telling the top 5% of earners in this country that they're entitled to the fruits of the labor of the other 95% of the country for the last thirty years. Weird.
Reply
#27
Sad but still not indicative of a danger for widespread violence. This was not the work of protesters. The people who did this are professional troublemakers that are half on the police's payroll as informants and half getting an 'allowance' on the sly by various political parties and underworld figures. They try to use protests or football matches to hide into and start trouble to serve their dual purpose. First provide an excuse for forceful police intervention during protests that didn't need it and second so they can be used by parties mostly on the Left as indications for some non existent imminent popular uprising, therefore justifying their existence. The only long run consequence this tragic incident will have is that they will finally get the squeeze put on them and they'll have to scurry into some sewer and hide for a few months.

I may sound like Baghdad Bob, but this was definitely not the first shot in a war. It was a bunch of piece of shit junkies accidentally doing more damage than they intended.
Reply
#28
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cuchulain
View Post
Yet conservatives have been telling the top 5% of earners in this country that they're entitled to the fruits of the labor of the other 95% of the country for the last thirty years. Weird.

I'm not sure what you're on about.

Perhaps you're referring to producers who create jobs and wealth and are then entitled to the fruits of the labors of the people they employ? Entirely different concept and you know it.
Reply
#29
Shock Doctrine, anyone?
Reply
#30
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jan
View Post

Oh god yes, to the letter - stel?
Reply
#31
Pretty much. The stuff that was coming out of journalists' mouths the week prior to the announcements was apocalyptic. Most logical people more or less predicted the measures quite accurately. But the mainstream media would have you believe and are still trying, that we're mere days away from having to search through dumpsters for food while evading bands of post-apocalyptic cannibals. So when the austerity plan was announced the people's reaction was much more subdued.

Considering how we love to throw fits over anything and the unprecedented severity of the various measures, I'd say this level of unrest is probably a best case scenario for the government. It's just sad that those fucking junkies had to fuck their job up so badly and kill these poor people.

For example when a policeman killed some kid last year the episodes were much much more serious than they are now. Inversely proportionate even.
Reply
#32
Germans are, understandably, not too happy about this.
Reply
#33
Quote:

Originally Posted by The Rain Dog
View Post
Oh god yes, to the letter - stel?

So never let a good crisis go to waste, eh?
Reply
#34
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jan
View Post

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Rain Dog
View Post
Oh god yes, to the letter - stel?

This so $%$ing much.
Reply
#35
Make no mistake, measures had to be taken. In fact they seem pretty fair. The methods described in Shock Doctrine are mostly used to keep the popular unrest manageable.
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)