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If the ECB and IMF were not demanding Austerity Now!, then we wouldn't be having this discussion, because Ireland would be perfectly able to repay the debt in due time. But Austerity Now! is what is being demanded, and what will cause Ireland to default. Well, better to default now, and let the people who are demanding Austerity Now! eat the losses, than first crash the Irish economy and then default, leaving the Irish public in a smoking crater and the people who are demanding Austerity Now! still eating very nearly the same losses.
Defaulting is a zero-sum game. Not defaulting is a negative-sum game.
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
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