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All your euros are belong to Greece.
#36
I'd hate to be a 52 year-old public sector worker. Retire next year? Sorry - not for another 15 years!

Seriously, It seems like the problem has been covered up since they joined the EU in 1981. Apparently they included as ASSETS the potential future income from something ridiculous like Airport taxes. Can't remember exactly what but it was really
dumb.

Shame, the Olympics showed that Greek authorities can get their act together when they put their mind to it.

And I can't believe that German seriously suggested they should sell some islands.
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#37
It’s pretty obvious now that countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy should never have joined the Euro until they got their fiscal house in order. The Euro project would have worked a lot better with just the northern European countries – excluding the UK, thank god – which had strong currencies, were not corrupt and managed their finances reasonably well.

Now we are faced with Greece and Spain possibly defaulting on their debt commitments – which will screw many big European banks, especially if Spain defaults – and / or Greece leaving the Euro. It’s possible, though unlikely, that the Euro may break up.

Interested to hear the views of Stelios and other Euro-chewers.
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#38
In Europe much of the discussion is starting to turn into a "Markets vs. States" debate and on this Europe falls on the entirely different end of the scale than the US.
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#39
Yes, political considerations definitely had too much of an influence on the Euro project. One of Gordon Brown’s few good decisions was his refusal to ditch the pound for the Euro. I shudder to think what would have happened to the UK economy if Blair had got his way 8 years ago and we joined the single currency.

I agree that European governments will do anything to support the Euro but what will be the medium / long term political implications? Already a majority of Germans are fuming about baling out Greece and a majority want the Deustchemark back. Leaving the Euro was never considered – there’s no exit clause - but it could happen. If things get a lot worse and the current crop of politicans are voted out it’s not inconceivable that Germany might consider leaving the Euro. Still highly unlikely but not impossible.

Other countries – such as Greece and Portugal – who have few exports and so don’t benefit so much from a falling currency – apart from increased tourism - would face short term chaos from exiting the Euro. All their debts would be in Euros but they would be paying them in weak drachmas. Worst case scenario, but you would think politicians would have learnt to think the unthinkable.
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#40
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bluelouboyle
View Post
Other countries – such as Greece and Portugal – who have few exports and so don’t benefit so much from a falling currency – apart from increased tourism - would face short term chaos from exiting the Euro. All their debts would be in Euros but they would be paying them in weak drachmas. Worst case scenario, but you would think politicians would have learnt to think the unthinkable.

On the contrary. A weaker Euro would be quite beneficial for Greece. Agricultural exports and tourism are two of our biggest money earners and they both benefit from a cheaper currency. The Euro trading for 1,4-1,5 dollars was beyond stupid and it really crippled tourism in Greece from non European countries. Overnight Greece became twice as expensive Turkey and Egypt which are our natural rivals for tourism. We tried basing our economy more on the financial market and exploit the fact we had a strong currency but it blew up in our face.
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#41
I wasn't that clear - I meant if Greece had to exit the Euro, there would be huge short terms problems. For example, how would everything be priced? And all their debt would still be in Euros. Many Eastern European people - whose countries had not yet joined the Euro - took out big mortgages in Euros a few years ago. Then last year when their currencies plunged in the crash they were ruined. Another example of how people you might think be competent, (or at least hope are competent) such as banks and governments, are anything but.
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#42
I think the best argument for why this is not going to end with the expulsion of Greece is that the other "PIGS" would be immediately attacked by the market and cost the stronger economies even more money.
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#43
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bluelouboyle
View Post
I wasn't that clear - I meant if Greece had to exit the Euro, there would be huge short terms problems. For example, how would everything be priced? And all their debt would still be in Euros. Many Eastern European people - whose countries had not yet joined the Euro - took out big mortgages in Euros a few years ago. Then last year when their currencies plunged in the crash they were ruined. Another example of how people you might think be competent, (or at least hope are competent) such as banks and governments, are anything but.

Us exiting the Euro and defaulting would be a fucking disaster for everyone involved. Both for us and for the EU.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cuchulain
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I think the best argument for why this is not going to end with the expulsion of Greece is that the other "PIGS" would be immediately attacked by the market and cost the stronger economies even more money.

Yes, it appears that Greece has been chosen as the battlefield for this particular conflict. And if it will ensure long term financial stability in the EU I'm kind of glad for us to take the bullet now. It's not like we don't deserve it.
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#44
In my humble opinion we are witnessing the bare and naked consequences of the birth deficits of the Euro through the brutal prism of the Washington consensus driven market forces we unleashed decades ago.

The euro is one of the most impressive economic achievements in the history of European integration, which in itself is marvelous given the historical background. However, from the moment of inception the common currency always lacked the flanks of a common economic and financial politic on EU level. And I´d wager the argument that this was done under cold calculation by many member states. It was always blatantly obvious that the PIIGs where well within the Maastricht criteria in the flexible views of political and economical opportunism only. Especially Germany, up until very recently Nr. 1 export nation in the world, did profit exceptionally under the economic imbalancies of the Euro zone. After all, with the internal market taking up the lions share of German exports, the Euro ensured a steady flow of export profits without currency swaps. All this while strangling the spending power of national citizens. While other countries like France have taken the opposite approach of substitute and strengthen the national spending power instead of focusing on other fields of economy.

Given this incoherent and sometimes downright at odds economic political mosaic on the national level that is in no way embraced by a meaningful strategic policy on EU level you have a recipe for disaster in these days and age. The frantic activism of the EU, the before unheard of active role of the ECB and the amount of money taking into hands to change the odds in this huge gamble does only cover the short comings and inherent systemic deficits that are anything but an open invitation to the financial industry exploit these very failures.

And the biggest problem is that one can only cry foul so much since we where putting up the legal and economic framework for this situation in place despite knowing full well about the risks and weaknesses.

One can only hope that this situation will eventually lead up to a real european approach to economic politics that don´t stop at the internal market and the common currency.
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#45
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jan
View Post
One can only hope that this situation will eventually lead up to a real european approach to economic politics that don´t stop at the internal market and the common currency.

From your mouth to our provincially "It's better to be the big fish in a small pond, rather than a small fish in a bigger pond" leaders.
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#46
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part.
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#47
I called it.

German-Franco call for EU ban on short selling.
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#48
AThings are kicking off in Greece. It looks like the austerity measures will just be past, therefore ensuring yet another EU bailout. But this will just delay the day of fiscal reckoning. Instead, why not restructure the debt, possibly paying it off over a longer time period? The investors will take a 'haircut' but that's better than a Greek default.

This mess proves that the Euro project was horribly designed. Monetary union without fiscal union, or at least similar fiscal plans, is a recipe for disaster.

Stelios, I hope your company is doing ok. What outcome are you hoping for?
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#49

We're doing quite shit, actually. The whole private sector is in shambles, which is funny since it is the public sector that needs to be razed to the ground if we're to actually recover. Something that doesn't seem to be in the minds of either the government or the EU. The government seems content with squeezing the life out of private employees and pensioners making the obscene amount of money of 500 to 700€ per month while leaving the public sector, what's left of their powerbase unmolested. The EU, led by the Germans, only wants Greece to make enough money to pay the monthly installments to their banks and damn the long term. Meanwhile I have to put up with every dumbass "journalist" and financial "analyst" supposedly in the know in western media keep going for the easy target of the lazy (wrong as fuck) no tax paying (impossible for anyone on a salary or pension to cheat in his taxes) Greeks and their huge salaries ( 540€ median pension for the non public sector, less than 700€ salaries for people with university educations) causing all this. The only person dealing with this that seems to have spent more than a weekend actually being in Greece is the one writing the Charlemagne blog at the Economist.

Fuck them all, I don't give a shit anymore. Let everything crash, I'm smart, I'll make do in the end. The only thing I regret is not leaving for Britain when I was 19.

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#50

Americans should be watching Greece closely.

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#51


Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Daywalker View Post

Americans should be watching Greece closely.



At this point we all should. They're like the canary in the coal mine right now, the economic equivilant of Franz Ferdinand swanning around just asking to be assassinated.

For what it's worth Stel, we've got the largest greek population in Melbourne outside of Greece (as I'm sure you already know - hell I'm guessing you have friends or family out here), the weather is varied, the people are relaxed and intelligent and there aren't riots going on down the street.

You're welcome here if it comes down to fending off the enraged hordes with sharpened sticks while desperately foraging for food and petrol.

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#52

Having just moved to LA I have front row seats for any crazy that happens.

Will the United States go all crazed like the Greek? I doubt it.  At least not on their scale.

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#53

Anarchy or Totalitarianism?

Whoever wins we lose.

Welcome to the end of the golden age.

Where we go from here is a choice I leave up to you.

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#54

I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about stuff that will happen to the US based on what's going on here. Your chrash dominoed into ours but their reasons are diametrically opposite.And so are the tools each of us has to deal with it. I could go into more depth about what I believe caused this shitstorm but I wouldn't want to bore anyone.

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#55

Facts and insight are never boring!

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#56
A

The reason America should be watching closely is due to them being the most exposed to Greek debt out of any nation. If Greece defaults it could start a second global recession, but that's looking more and more unlikely.
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#57


Quote:
Originally Posted by stelios View Post

We're doing quite shit, actually. The whole private sector is in shambles, which is funny since it is the public sector that needs to be razed to the ground if we're to actually recover. Something that doesn't seem to be in the minds of either the government or the EU. The government seems content with squeezing the life out of private employees and pensioners making the obscene amount of money of 500 to 700€ per month while leaving the public sector, what's left of their powerbase unmolested


I've been trying to work out how to say this politely, but I can't, so fuck it. Is this general demonisation of the public sector rife in Greece? I only ask because at the moment The Conservatives are trying to dismantle the Public Sector in Britain and the more right leaning newspapers are leading with stories about lazy Public Sector workers and golden handshake pension packages. I can't help but read that you want to see the Public Sector razed to the ground and think of you as somewhat right-wing. But that could be because I don't understand the situation in Greece.

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#58

People seem interested so I might as well try. Sorry about the long post and the history lesson in advance.

To make a long story short, the last 37 years have been the longest period of domestic stability and unbroken democracy since the founding of the modern Greek state. From the first time Greece went bankrupt in 1897, which by the way led to a five decades long state monopoly on various commodities so that our loans could be paid, we've been involved in four regional wars, two world wars, three dictatorships (one fascist, two nationalist), a civil war and various massive population displacements, the biggest of those being the one in 1922 which amounted to almost 20% of the country's population. During the 1940 to 1948 period for example casualties amounted to 15% of the population. So we really haven't had time to ingrain ourselves with any sort of civic responsibility, since most of the time half the country was busy trying to kill the other half. Still, since the Greeks have traditionaly been quite frugal and hard working, the mostly conservative governments managed to keep a pretty nice rate of developement going. The biggest problem was that the left was outlawed until 1974. And after decades of constant manhunts they were naturally determined to get theirs. No one can blame them. Up to then they couldn't be employed in the public sector, the army, the police, things were pretty shitty for them.

So we're at 1974. The prime minister then, was determined to drag the country into Europe no matter what. So for the next few years he ran a pretty tight ship. Even thought the country seemed to be going well, the people weren't seeing much of an improvement. Which brings us to the modern socialist party. It was founded in 1975 by the father of our current prime minister based on enabling the up to then discriminated against people to get a taste of power. They eventually won the elections a year after Greece was accepted in the EEC. Then they proceeded to do what they promised and "redistribute the wealth." But because they were bullshit socialists, with no intention of cutting ties with the ruling class, they didn't redistribute the wealth that already existed. Based on the fact that the Greek economy was up until then pretty tightly run they went on a borrow and spend spree, in the form of an explosive expansion of the public sector both in numbers and benefits. My mother who was a nurse at the time, saw her pay more than double in just over 18 months. The economy just couldn;t handle it. Inflation and deficit spiralled out of control but whenever time came for the bills to be paid the government would devalue the currency. So that brings us to the end of the eighties with an economy completely reliant on outside borrowing in order to function.

Now it's the nineties. The socialist goverment has fallen and the right once again takes over. Since they have been brow beaten for a decade though, they lack the fortitude to implement any sort of a recovery program. For a few years things stagnate, neither getting better nor worse. But then a deus ex machina appears in the form of the stock market. Both the right governement and the subsequent socialist one look to the market as the savior of our deficit riddled economy. Anything that isn't nailed down is thrown into the stock market. The ASE index lifts off from 800-900 points to almost 6000. A feeding frenzy in which not only the state but almost anyone with money to spend joins in ensues. When the bubble bursts it takes with it not only large parts of the states reserves but most of the liquid assets of the market. Almost overnight the Greek economy goes from cash heavy, to being completely credit dependent.

It's 2000 and the governments start lying through their teeth. They're cooking numbers like crazy in order to hit the goals the EU sets. Everyone including the European Commission knows that, but money is still cheap and every lender thinks that they can fix things by throwing more money at them. The banks are making out like bandits, though. Until the crash happens and suddenly everything grinds to a halt. Which brings us to now.

With a cash starved private sector. Zero private investment. A hillariously overstaffed public sector. A disorganized, incompetent and illogical tax system based on basically ransoming taxes from those without the means to cheat it. These are the things that need fixing. But neither the EU nor the government seem interested in fixing these. They'd rather ransom as much money out the same people as possible without even a slight thought towards the future. Just make the next payment. That's what's pissing me off.

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#59

I don't say this often, but that's a great, fascinating, post.

Thanks for sharing.

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#60

stelios, thanks for that summary. I feel horrible for what is happening in your country, but I also find it hard to fully understand the situation, so your insight is greatly appreciated.

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#61

Yea, great post Stellios.  Isn't it true, things could never have gotten to this point, if Goldmen Sachs didn't cook the books and help hide the debt?

I'm sure you're correct that the EU knew the books were cooked, but did everyone really know the books were cooked?  Because if they knew Greek securites were laden with so much hidden debt, why would all these banks be exposed to billions of dollars worth of them?  It seems to me Greece, the EU, and Goldman Sachs colluded to get Greece into the Euro Zone, at the expense of other investors.

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#62

EUROSTAT came out numerous times over the years and asked us to correct our books because they were iregular. Each and every time the issue was buried after what I can only assume was political and financial pressure. Everyone and their illiterate grandmother knew the books were cooked.

Not trying to divert blame by the way. 90% of our problems come from grosss mismanagement. Everyone else turning a blind eye to them only postponed the inevitable.

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#63

If you're up for it, and you're not busy boarding up the windows and heating up that can of stewed tomatoes, any chance of an update from the coalface Stelios?

How long do you give your government before the now (surely) imminent default?

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#64

Well, after dragging our feet for almost two years the committee finally decided to put the knife on our ridiculous government's throat. So instead of choking the fuck out the market trying to squeeze blood from a stone, the public sector is coming up to the chopping block. Finally. Of course being so late in doing so made sure that we won't see the light for the better part of the next decade but hey, we made our own bed. But I don't see an actual default coming up. The cost of that is bigger than the cost of them actually bailing us out.

Anyway, screw Greece. We've been through worse stuff. We'll eat shit until the time comes we can stop. Then we'll go back to business as usual.

What really worries me is Europe. I'm a pretty hardcore, borderline fanatical European federalist and I really want us to see that only by tight integration and unification we will be as strong as we are supposed to be. If that means giving up national sovereignty, so be it. I find this brand of 19th century nationalism, besides absurd, quite antithetical to what being Greek is supposed to be. There's all this whining about being puppets of foreign organizations and national this and that. Nonsense. I want to grab these people and remind them that not that long ago we still referred to ourselves as Romans. For fuck's sake the second most famous saying during our Independence was is "I was born a Roman and I will die a Roman."

Bah, I'm rumbling. I just hate seeing so much potential wasted because of stupid ideologies.

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#65

So, stel - this referendum huh? Thoughts?

Quote:


Is Athens ready to quit the zone?


Steven Erlanger 
November 3, 2011 - 3:00AM

THE crisis of the euro zone has finally hit the potholed road of real politics, with the Greeks now openly questioning whether their commitment to Europe and its single currency still matters more to them than control over their own future and economic well-being.

During the two-year financial crisis, the wealthier countries of northern Europe, led by Germany, have insisted that their heavily indebted brethren in the south radically cut spending in return for emergency loans. They have stuck to that prescription even though austerity has undermined growth and increased unemployment in Greece, Spain, Portugal and now Italy, betting that people in those countries would swallow the harsh medicine because their only alternative is to default and possibly leave the euro zone altogether.

The turmoil in the government of Prime Minister George Papandreou means that Greece is about to call that bet. Many Greek politicians appear to be calculating, at this late stage, that they have more to lose by sticking to Germany's terms than by risking a messy default, and even going it alone with their old currency, the drachma, outside the euro zone.

Austerity, in other words, is facing its first really big political test.

Mr Papandreou's decision to press for a popular referendum on the bailout was the inevitable result of Greece's loss of sovereignty to Brussels and the International Monetary Fund.

A Greek rejection of the deal could at the very least put new pressure on the European Central Bank to continue to prop up heavily indebted nations by buying their debt or even becoming a lender of last resort, like the US Federal Reserve. That is a step that is anathema to Germans, who see it as violating European treaties to benefit irresponsible nations. But treaties can be changed, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy still considers the bank to be the best answer to the problem of how to set up a firewall to protect the vulnerable as they try to fix themselves.

NEW YORK TIMES

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/is-athe...1mvp3.html

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#66

And after Greece, Italy! (stupid WSJ paywall, the story is the headline).

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#67


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rain Dog View Post

So, stel - this referendum huh? Thoughts?


First of all, there's NO way the people vote against the EU. Absolutely no way. There are several parties that would like to hijack this popular discontent and spin it into some anti-European sentiment. It is not.

What pisses me off is their stupid timing. I may be certain of the outcome but it is not a sentiment shared by everyone. Especially the markets. And if there's one thing we do not want at this point is uncertainty. Things are precarious enough without having a live grenade potentially about to go off. You want to ask the people what they want you witless moron? DO IT WHEN THERE IS TIME FOR ANYTHING ELSE TO BE DONE!

I'm so pissed off. After two years of the Greek economy crumbling, they thought to have a referendum now? After the rest of the EU finally grew some balls and decided to take actual measures? I'm mad at everyone. I'm at the point where if I wasn't afraid that us defaulting could drag the EU down and give the anti-EU UK cunts and their US based "special relationship" pimps the satisfaction, I'd be all for it. Thinking of my country as being a burden to others makes me fume.

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#68

Referendum called off: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-03/europe-s-financial-crisis-dominates-g-20-talks-as-greek-government-teeters.html

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#69

Of course it was. Fucking shithead for a prime minister. The good news is that even if he makes it past the weekend he won't see the end of next week.

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#70
A[quote name="stelios" url="/community/t/123095/all-your-euros-are-belong-to-greece/50#post_3220721"]


First of all, there's NO way the people vote against the EU. Absolutely no way. There are several parties that would like to hijack this popular discontent and spin it into some anti-European sentiment. It is not.

What pisses me off is their stupid timing. I may be certain of the outcome but it is not a sentiment shared by everyone. Especially the markets. And if there's one thing we do not want at this point is uncertainty. Things are precarious enough without having a live grenade potentially about to go off. You want to ask the people what they want you witless moron? DO IT WHEN THERE IS TIME FOR ANYTHING ELSE TO BE DONE!

I'm so pissed off. After two years of the Greek economy crumbling, they thought to have a referendum now? After the rest of the EU finally grew some balls and decided to take actual measures? I'm mad at everyone. I'm at the point where if I wasn't afraid that us defaulting could drag the EU down and give the anti-EU UK cunts and their US based "special relationship" pimps the satisfaction, I'd be all for it. Thinking of my country as being a burden to others makes me fume. 


[/quote]

Well, I suppose I qualify as a UK quasi-cunt. I am not anti EU but I have always been against the Euro and have never liked the pompous wankers in charge of the EU. Even in University - 13 years ago - it seemed stupid to include so many divergent economies in one currency. Monetery union without fiscal union equals big problems. You're right Stelios, closer integration - fiscal and possibly political - is needed in the long term, to stop this mess happening again. But in the short term they need to put a firewall around Greece to stop healthier countries like Italy and Spain defaulting.

Personally, I'm not sure Greece was ready to join the Eurozone back in 02, but the self-serving EU politicians didn't want to admit it and lose face.
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