Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Thanks for the informative and thought-provoking diary.

Wanted to make sure I understood the following passage correctly:

As the citizens took on higher loans to maintain their standard of living, the rich made exponential profits. The problem Greeks face now is that the government is trying to deliver some hard news about the realities of the global markets. The Prime Minister complains that Greece has been attacked by speculators--and he's right. The problem is that, when banks and so-called investors are involved in the greater part of your economy, you cannot give them a reason to attack you and create the kind of psychological doubts (really, warfare) that will make you vulnerable. Greece has given the speculators ample ammunition, by fudging statistics and losing control of their social security system. When you enter this global market run by bankers, you must protect your flank. You must cut the social welfare system, because the race to the bottom is swift. So, austere measures will be taken, at the EU's behest. People will lose jobs, have their pensions cut, salaries cut (and these are the measures the people have already grudgingly agreed to, the EU has a lot more austerity in mind).

Did "maintain their standard of living" include not "cut their social security system"?  Would this dynamic apply a priori to other new EU member states (current and future) who adopt the euro and have a relatively generous social security system?  Could those other countries avoid this fate if they simply refrained from "fudging statistics" and minimized corruption)?  Could Greece itself have?

Your construal of the EU reminds me of leftwing construals of the IMF and the Washington Consensus.  And I'm left a bit confused about who is imposing these hardships on Greece, the bankers & pseudo-investors with their speculative attacks, or the EU with its dictates and demands for more "austerity".  And then your thesis sentence suggests a conflation if not identification of both bankers and the EU with "global markets", given the preceding excerpt:

Indeed, my thesis is that global markets practically dictate that our social system is dismantled, that a new division between working classes be created.

I am not querying out of skepticism, but merely confusion.

Here's to hoping that Greek stubbornness prevails in the end.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Fri Feb 12th, 2010 at 01:51:52 AM EST

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