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The Greece Blame Game

by Frank Schnittger Mon Jul 20th, 2015 at 08:56:41 AM EST

Now that the EU has effectively taken over the running of Greece, it follows, logically, that it should also be held responsible for the outcome of its policies. So what happens if Greece goes further into even deeper recession, the debt becomes even more unsustainable, and the "reforms" do not bring about the turnaround in economic performances that neo-liberal economic "theory" says they will?

It's those lazy Greeks of course!  It's the untrustworthy left wing Government that didn't implement the reforms properly! And the slightest upward blip in performance will be treated as overwhelming proof that "the reforms are working" whilst the widespread evidence of poverty and decline will be ignored.

And what will the European "left" do then?  The maiden speech by 20 year old Scottish MP, Mhairi Black, is instructive (h/t Helen).

Parties which have lost touch with the growing under classes in our societies have no idea what is really going on. Perhaps a "study group" of high ranking politicians will visit Greece; stay in 5 star hotels, listen to a few think tank presentations, talk to a few waiters, and declare all is well.

After all the people living on the street don't vote and don't really count.

Meanwhile Schäuble is playing a clever game. By floating the negotiated Grexit option and declaring his lack of confidence in the "reform" programme, he is insulating himself and his government from criticisms that austerity doesn't work when the economy shrinks further and the debt becomes even more unsustainable.  "We told you so", we offered you the Grexit option but you turned us down!

Apparently Schäuble has discovered that debt write-downs aren't legal within the Eurozone. But what about the debt write-down in 2010?  Can only banks write down debts? So why were banking debts transformed into sovereign debts then?  To make a further write-down impossible?   But it was the banks which Greece borrowed from.  What the banks did later to lay off their responsibilities isn't Greece's problem.

Meanwhile Merkel is trying to play good cop to Schäuble's bad cop.  It's not going well...


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I have this theory, anecdotally verified, that the intelligence of a political culture varies inversely to the power of that culture.  In that context the stupidity of the vast majority of US political culture is easily explained. The new victim hood being displayed in German political culture "they want our money and we are always blamed when things go wrong" is a second data point confirming the theory. Conversely, Greek political discourse seems positively enlightened by comparison "proving" the legitimacy of my hypothesis.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 20th, 2015 at 09:21:08 AM EST
Out favorite German Economist  Hans-Werner Sinn has already published editorials in which he claims that the deal can not work because the Greeks are lazy and will only steel Germany money... I am paraphrasing a little of course.

He is way ahead in the blame game.  

by rz on Mon Jul 20th, 2015 at 09:41:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's more, supportive evidence than austerity will ever have.
by rifek on Mon Jul 27th, 2015 at 12:55:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As the austerity dinosaurs wrap themselves into Calvinist robes and gather to pile the wood around the stake before the burning, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew flies into Paris and Brussels to talk with Christine LaGarde.  The IMF works with a majority of US money.  Looks like we have to save Europe's ass again.  Greece has an economy the size of the State of Tennessee which isn't all that large.  Uh, guys, this isn't doing a thing for the EU's credibility in the eyes of the world, despite German right-wing desire to look like the injured party and point the finger at the Greeks.  God knows, the Greeks deserve the sneers over their incredibly bad governance over decades, but do the German, EU, and ECB top pooh-bahs have to act like a bad Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera?  
by Rolfyboy6 (rolmsted@hawaii.rr.com) on Mon Jul 20th, 2015 at 05:32:36 PM EST
Let us remember that part of Greece's problem is the aftermath of a military government that was supported cheerfully by the US as an anti-Communist measure.

And before anyone says "that was forty years ago", the US still hasn't sorted the aftermath of its civil war.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 02:31:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU wasn't around then to drop the ball.
by Rolfyboy6 (rolmsted@hawaii.rr.com) on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 04:11:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece was invited to join the EEC as soon as the dictatorship was gone. It was part of its avowed mission to promote democratization.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 04:40:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The US wants Greece to stay in the Euro. Greece now will stay in Euro. Mission accomplished.
by rz on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 04:41:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but it's dog in a manger politics. They don't want Russia our China to buy it.

They didn't want Hawaii either but didn't want anyone else to have it.

Not a great basis for mutual friendship...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 07:34:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is what I wanted to imply.
by rz on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 07:35:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, the US does want Greece to stay in Europe and we have the will to do it.  And the cash.  And no "Commissions" meeting in Brussels for eight months trying to decide what to do while a political faction in one country took over all action.
by Rolfyboy6 (rolmsted@hawaii.rr.com) on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 12:18:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US want Greece to stay in Europe... and used its awesome power of geography to make it happen!
by rz on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 01:53:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, no gridlock in Washington.

(And what cash?)

by IM on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 03:24:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect the only reason why every debate in Brussels dodged discussing the geopolitical role of Greece is because it would have handed Tsipras leverage.

Before Tsipras decided to fold and Varoufakis stepped down, I suspected this elephant might even have been in play.

by Bjinse on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 03:45:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You had German Green MEPs in the Euro Parliament blasting Tsiprsa to his face for visiting Russia--as though the Germans and others don't try to cut deal with the Russians.

It is really an astonishing show in Europe.

This blame game thing is old and needs to end. It seems all the energy is bound up in it, very little in actual solutions.

by Upstate NY on Fri Jul 24th, 2015 at 11:06:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But its all about the blame game now.. who cares what is actually happening in Greece - Bild readers???

It's about ensuring right wing politicians maintain their hegemony at home and marginalizing all others.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 24th, 2015 at 11:51:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it true that Greece's economy is smaller than Tennessee'$  as I read somewhere recently?

If so that really puts the US economy in proportion

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jul 20th, 2015 at 08:50:40 PM EST
Greece is about 1% of the EU economy and less than 2% of the Eurozone economy. And the US is big, too.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 12:42:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why do people care about the size of Greece's economy? The real lesson here is to other countries which would attempt to defy the tyranny of grinding capitalism. "Fuck with us and see what happens."

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 06:58:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"pour encourager les autres"

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Jul 21st, 2015 at 09:11:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because you can deal leniently with a small economy without incurring big costs. Can't do that with a big economy.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Jul 31st, 2015 at 11:39:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece: Operation "mutation of the Left" has started!

http://bit.ly/1MepvGB

by nmb on Wed Jul 22nd, 2015 at 06:39:29 AM EST
"Now that the European citizens realized that Europe became a brutal financial dictatorship, ..."

But have they?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Jul 24th, 2015 at 09:46:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<looks around> Not much.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sat Jul 25th, 2015 at 05:11:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When you look at it from a "conservative" point of view, the whole crisis shows a remarkable degree of solidarity and cohesion amongst the Eurozone minus Greece. Only France, Italy and Cyprus made some muted noises about the need for compromise, everyone else was gung-ho to stick it to the Greeks and their leftist government, and all ended up voting in unison.

The parameters for how the EZ is going to "work" in future have been clearly laid out after a period of uncertainty, and conservative governments throughout Europe have stood firm and united against a challenge to their "values".

The fact that it is all based on an economic nonsense similar to the old Gold standard is neither here nor there - merely a tragedy for Greece which "deserves what it gets" for grievous violations of those standards - and must now serve as an object lesson for leftist movements everywhere and "pour encourager les autres" weak-kneed centrist governments in France, Italy etc.

Of course if this all leads to a Great Depression amongst the centre big nations in the EZ then all bets are off - on the logic that they are To Big To Fail and that it is in everyone's interest to bail them out.   Greece, not so much, although they may be thrown a few crumbs later if they behave themselves in the meantime just to show how compassionate we conservatives truly are.

Tsipras and his Government, meanwhile, are left swinging in the wind, an example to others, and no use to anyone: an embarrassment to the left, and utterly expendable for the right - after a period in which they have served as useful idiots to demonstrate the error of their ways and the triumph of Schäublism...

"Grexit" struggle tests Germany's power duo Angela Merkel and Wolfgang Schaeuble - The Economic Times

Until now Merkel and Schaeuble were seen as a good cop, bad cop act that worked together to get the most favourable deal for Germany," said a senior official who has worked closely with both. "But that was always premised on the idea that they had the same goal. This time on Greece they didn't. We got the result that the bad cop didn't want."

Schaeuble may not have got his "Grexit", but the 72-year-old doyen of German politics, has emerged strengthened and unbowed. If Greece slips again, his Plan B is on the table.

Gruff and irascible, Schaeuble is the longest-serving member of the German parliament. He led the negotiations on German reunification in 1990 only to be shot and crippled by a deranged man a week after the merger of East and West was completed.

He has soldiered on in a wheelchair ever since, driven by a passion for politics and for European integration.

In recent weeks he has surged past Merkel in popularity polls and solidified his cult status in the conservative wing of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Some German media are calling Schaeuble the "shadow chancellor".

Merkel looks more vulnerable than at perhaps any time in her 10-year reign. She is more dependent on Schaeuble than ever to hold the party together. At the same time, the past weeks have shown that she has very little control over her minister.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 25th, 2015 at 05:59:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the average Italian, Spanish, Portugal person doing differently now, now that they obviously don't want to suffer the same fate as the Greeks? Are they foolish enough to believe that the attitude, "Oh, the Greeks had it coming. That kind of shit couldn't happen here." will save their sorry asses?

I'm one to talk/type. Wait till a Repub gets into the WH.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jul 27th, 2015 at 05:55:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect the message they are getting is "be glad you're not in Greece, work harder and things will improve (if you have a job), and your conservative government has kept you out of trouble so don't do any stupid shit like voting for Podemos et al"

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 27th, 2015 at 06:05:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the "message" but what are they doing? Following the message, not thinking for themselves?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jul 27th, 2015 at 06:46:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Goodbye Troika: Germany Rides Into Its Greek Colony On The "Quadriga"

Zero Hedge quotes:

The source from the [European] Commission also noted that the group formerly known as Troika is now being renamed as "Quadriga", to note the inclusion of the ESM in the talks.

"Quadriga is the name inspired by Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker for the new Greek project" the Commission source said, adding that "the EU side is a bit nervous of not knowing the IMF stance."


by das monde on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 05:18:42 AM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 at 12:22:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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