My duel with Deutsche Bank exec, Wolfgang Nowak (on CBC Radio)

Here is my reply to Wolfgang Nowak, Deutsche Bank executive and former Merkel advisor, telling CBC that Greece should be thrown out of the Eurozone.  Click here for Mr Nowak’s audio 

90 Comments

  • These people, like Novak, have constructed a neo-nationalist narrative that is entirely without economic rationale and is essentially populist and simplicist. To argue that the situation with Greece is like lending money to your unemployed neighbour — this indicates that either the guy is a total moron (which I doubt) or is a political manipulator seeking to define the agenda to promote certain vested interests. We do not even have to speculate on what those interests are, since they are stated quite clearly in his employment relationship — Deutsche Bank.

    Basically, a tissue of lies and irrelevant half-truths, spun into a superfically plausible narrative to carry the German population unthinkingly into propping up banks and destroying actual economies and people’s lives. The proponents of this stinking shit are vermin of the worst type — that is, who pretend to be civilised and educated decent people. We have seen this before from Germany, and had to deal with it very aggressively.

    • I think we have to try to not oversimplify things – but not make them more complicated than they are either:

      First Point:
      Greece has way too much debt. There is no doubt about it. Even after the partial default, it is still too much and needs to (and will be) reduced. The reduction should, however, take place in the course of negotiations between Greece and its creditors / the EU / ECB. Otherwise Greece’s relations with its lenders (that it will continue to need in the years to come) will be completely messed up. There is a potential “win-win” here for both Greece and the rest of the world in trying to make a possible exit of Greece of the Eurozone and a reduction of the debt burden as little chaotic as possible.

      Second Point:
      Debt burden aside, Greece has a major problem with competitiveness and internal governance. Both needs to be fixed because even with a huge debt reduction, Greece would otherwise not become a “normal” country that more or less lives within its means and governs itself in a responsible way. This (Second Point) is linked to the First Point in that it makes not too much point from a creditors’ perspective to reduce Greece’s debt burden when at the same time, the underlying problems that led Greece into this over-indebtedness situation have not been resolved.
      Greece needs to become a responsible country that governs itself well, collects taxes and enforces the rule of law. It should not support cronyism and voters should not forget their personal responsibility for the fate of their country. When, like in the past, voters tend to consistently vote for those parties offering ever more “goodies” such as creating safe and well-paid jobs in the public sector that are unnecessary for country and cost a lot, this will not work.

      I can see that you don’t want to be walked all over by Germany and others, but you really need to get your house in order. When you fix the second point, solving the first point will be much easier.
      As long as the outside world keeps giving in on the first point, the second point will not be possible.
      Because that would just prolongate the disastrous internal governance that led Greece to this dead end.

      Both needs to happen: Ehe first point can’t be implemented without the second point. And without the offer of the first point as probably the Greek society won’t find the will to reform itself from within (or it would take much longer / be even more painful that it will be in any case) if the first point isn’t brought to the negotiation table.

      A seperate issue and related to the financial crisis as it begun in 2008 in my eyes is whether or not it is wise to prop up banks, etc.
      That should not be the worry of Greece now.
      The best Greece can do for itself and the world is not to tell others what to do but sort out its own mess. It is disproportionately huge considering Greece’s size and a huge drag on the others, both in terms of time, management capacity and financial resources.
      Implementing the second point is your duty both in terms of your own population and future of your children and also in order not to be an unneccessarily huge burden for the already troubled Eurozone and world economy as a whole.

      References to an “aggressive Germany” and the Nazi past are both unnecessary and unhelpful. They make the Greek feel better but contribute nothing towards a solution of the current mess.

    • Martin: you fail to understand what is happening.

      (1)Yes, Greece rang up massive debt in the 2000s without Greek people knowing. There is no way that debt can ever be repaid: it is quite out of the question.
      (2) Greece should have defaulted on the debt, with partial restructuring, right at the outset. Maybe it should also have left the euro the, but this is more debatable.
      (3) Greece did not do so, because it was prevented by Germany and France, and its wimp of a PM (papandreou) proved even more useless than expected. They blocked this action to save European banks — but especially German and French ones.
      (4) IN return, Greece got “help”. In reality, this help was fuck all for Greece, and 95% of the hundreds of billions went to Greece’s creditors. The money loaned by German banks was at high interest rates, so that Germans continued to make money out of Greece, even in this crisis.
      (5) There was no help for Greece, and a lot of punishment — with demands for running a balanced budget immediately by massively taxing the Greek people and cutting all state expenditure. Merkel has openly stated that she intended to punish the Greeks.
      (6) The result is that the Greek economy has been in depression for 4 years and is collapsing. People are now starving and living on hte streets. The issues of economic competitiveness, of a balanced state budget, of managing the difficult social insurance system, etc are completely irrelevant! Germany has destroyed the Greek economy with these measures, and is determined to continue.

      By hte way, I am not Greek. I do not defend Greece automatically, and many of my publications over the last 15 years about Greece have been very critical indeed. This is about the appalling conduct of German politicians within the eurozone; and there are direct parallels with Nazi Germany. The fact that you cannot see it, is because you are German, does not make it untrue.

    • @Martin,
      “References to an “aggressive Germany” and the Nazi past are both unnecessary and unhelpful.”

      But references to “lazy Greeks”, “tax evader Greeks” and so many more that we have seen the past 2,5 years and we hear every day from your media and your people are constructive and helpful…good to know!

    • @Martin

      Let’s say I your arguments are valid.

      Could you please write a similar diatribe replacing Greece with Italy and Spain.
      I would like to know how you feel about the “new” bailout targets.

    • Dear estrangeiro
      The situation that Italy and Spain are in is serious, but I am more optistic both about their economic shape (quite competitive, less of a gap to fill) and the willingness to accept the economic realities by the population and the skill and determination by the political class.

      Both have their oown massive problems (Italy the huge debt the governmen’s accumulated) and Spain got it’s popped real-estate bubble and consequently unhealthy banks.
      Bt for both countries, the prospects are much better than for Greece.
      At least I hope so.

    • Dear ΤΟΥΡΙΣΤΑΣ
      It sure is very hard to fight clichees – but of course silly stereotypes of Greece (lazy, etc) are not helpful either.
      Personally, I find being called a Nazi more insulting than being called lazy – but both is not appropriate, at least not as a generalization.

    • Dear Guest (xenos)
      The parallels you see between the current situation and Nazi Germany are based on the observation that both now and in the period 1941-44 most of Europe was economically connected, in one “block” (now Eurozone, then Nazi-occupied Europe) and that Germany was / is the most powerful nation in the centre of the system.
      But that is a pretty superficial similarity – and the differences in my eyes are way bigger than the parallels:
      Today whe have the rule of law – not the case back then
      Today Germany is a creditor of the majority of the rest of Europe (meaning that Germany has actually transferred wealth to other countries – even if nobody seems to be willing to see this) while back then, Germany was a debtor, transferring goods and services from the otehrs to Germany.
      Today, the EU and the Eurozone are a community of nations that has come together volutarily and every member in principle has the right to leave
      Today we have democracy, everywhere
      Today we don’t have a world war with millions of dead soldiers and civilians

      I will end here but apart from some similiarities if you look on the map and compare Nazi-occupied Europe then and the Eurozone or EU now, I don’s see any similarities.

      I think it is absolutely wrong (and of course insulting) to see today’s Germany as similar. It is absurd.

    • “Yes, Greece rang up massive debt in the 2000s without Greek people knowing”

      Bwahahahaha 🙂

    • vss

      Did all the Germans know about the pan-european German corporation corruption?

    • Martin

      Since Germany decides unilaterally and only mentions cooperation when denying others propositions ,there is no unified Europe ,no democracy etc.

      The problem is that you do not want balance. You do not even know how the system works and you think that because Germany has a heavy industry ,knows everything.

      With this policies Germany wants to redistribute wealth from others to her now that her banks are in trouble.

      Why didn’t she ask for reforms before?
      Because the worst corruption is hers.

      What we are saying is very specific.
      You take responsibility for your own mistakes as we for our own.

      You don’t.

    • @Martin

      Sorry but I refuse to consider your response as an honest answer or of any value since you deliberately avoided to apply the same standards you did on your comment on Greece.

      Let me get this straight. The money of hard working German taxpayers suddenly don’t seem to have as much value when sent to failed banks in Spain or Italy with it’s 120% debt/gdp ratio of public debt?
      Why is it morally acceptable to have “sinned” by creating and living in a banking eurofest driving a real estate bubble? I do know Spain. I visit for business or pleasure at least 15 times a year. My friends were flipping house and property near the coast and living high on the profits. Why is that considered moral by you whilst a Greek janitor would earn 1000 euros a month instead of 600 in line with the perceived competitiveness of the Greek economy (according to you)?
      I want you ire to be equally distributed. Is that too much to ask?
      Why has the Italian state, with historically high debt (even higher than Greece’s at times) did nothing about it over the euro decade? Heck, why didn’t they do something over the 2+ years that Greece has been under the whip? Is it incompetence or incapacity? Either way, your faith in them has nothing to do with facts but it’s just wishfull thinking.

      Rather, I would call it intelectually dishonest to say the least.

    • @Martin

      We do not have rule of law; it is collapsing everywhere — in the USA, in Europe, and it was always weak or missing elsewhere. Basically, there is a long-term trend to asymmetry — that powerful companies and governments should only look in conformity with law (and even then, not always) whereas ordinary citizens should do as they are told. You have only to look at the situation with wikileaks to see this, but there are thousands of other cases.

      We do not yet have war, this is true. It may take some time to get there. Moreover, just as WW2 was very different from WW1, doubtless WW3 will be very different from both. We do have early signs of state internet war, mainly in the Middle East. The belief is that the USA is financing and managing this.

      My comments about Germany now are not about superficial historical similarities; they are derived from Germany’s economic weakness (that relies on the euro), the neo-nationalistic debate that is tending in the direction of older Nazi philosophy (with modifications), and the role that Germany has now allocated itself within Europe. For 45 years, Germans were afraid to get involved in European politics; indeed, they were told not to do so. That changed with reunification, and Germans are repeating the Teutonic arrogance and mistakes of the Third Reich. You may not think that you are going in the direction of a Fourth Reich, you may not intend it, but you are.

    • @VSS

      “Bwahahahaha ”

      So….you believe this is a conspiracy,designed in cooperation between the government and the people?

    • Dear Estrangeiro
      I don’t think that the situation of Spain or Italy is at all brilliant – it is just a bit less desperate than that of Greece.
      I don’t think it was morally great to let the Spanish housing bubble develop – and neither was it great that Italy did nothing to reduce its government debt over the last 10 Years.
      But that, I guess, is the problem with the EU in a way: It consists of individual countries that still have a lot to decide. Which, in principle, is good.
      …but if things go drastically wrong, the others get hit by the fallout, too.
      So there is moral hazard: You can approve some goodies for yourself / your client group / your nation. Then, if this leads to the collapse of the economy, the others have to rush to help you as otherwise the whole common financial structure of the Eurozone would come down.

      There is an anology between what has happened on a national level in the EU (Germany, Finland, Netherlands and Austria on one side and “club med” on the other, currently being joined by France) and on the level of economic sectors on the other side (financial sector and the rest):

      One part is transferring resources to the other.
      The club med has been receiving resources from Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Finland and on a national level, the financial sector as received resources from the other parts of the economy.
      On both levels, it has to be said that in hindsight, those resource transfers were mistakes.
      …and now we have to live with the consequences and see how we can adjust the system so that going forward, it does not continue to produce misallocation of resources.
      Easier said than done!

    • @Martin

      I should warn you that I have a vomit reflex whenever I hear the phrase “moral hazard”. If you cannot understand why, there is little point explaining.

    • Martin

      The true and great misallocation of resources happens now ,not before.
      The “bailouts” made things worst. More bad debt is increasing for nothing.

      If a surplus country wants to keep functioning it MUST transfer the surpluses and use them effectively. Not through the corruption of its own corporations and the elite in the receiving country.

      The problem was the too much excessive bad debt of the banks everywhere. Not the natural transfers.

      Add the corruption ,the wrong use of the resources by the elite everywhere ,the decision to use the sovereigns as scapegoats to cleanse themselves and you have what we have today.

      That the consensus everywhere is that the transfers were wrong ,is simply because people have no idea what they are talking about and because of the media misinformation so that banks cover their butts.

    • Dear Demetri

      I fully agree that it is a core point that the use of the resources transferred / invested by e.g. Germany was not truly monitored.
      Partly I guess it was corruption (on both sides) and partly I would imagine it was that belief that “the market” will always lead to the right results / most efficient way to allocate money and channel investments.
      We now know that was not the case.
      Germany should have way more thought about what good (or bad) the transfers ultimately do and, yes, fight corruption more because I agree it is ultimately only in the interest of the parties involved in the deal that’s “lubricated” by corruption – but not in the interest of the societies where both parties of the deal are based.

  • I just saw that your reply will be broadcast later tonight.
    So ignore my comment before.

  • Well, for me, who I am living in Germany, this is so embarrassing… It is so revealing, that the intellectual elites in this land, which understands itself, as the land of poets and musicians is collectivelly so misguided and unwilling to challenge itself… When their economic theory doesn’t work, then the people are to blame. How, will these people come to question their theory?

    • For us the threory works well. It just does not work with all cultures. I do not ask the ClubMEd to adapt, I want everybody keep his cultural identity. This is what made Europe great.

      So please canwe have our low inflation strict austerity way of life back up here and the South can have their high inflation, high government spending way of life back?

  • “To argue that the situation with Greece is like lending money to your unemployed neighbour”

    This is absolute nonsense. It is like lending money to your bankrupt unemployed neighbor who has no chance of getting a job, because he is30% too expensive and unwilling to reduce his price.”

    • Pedro

      Well ,what you said is also nonsense but don’t let that keep you down.

      Be charged with authority and confidence ,for this are two traits any illiterate must have to spew intellectual pus all over the place.

    • Pedro please stop advertising your racism, misanthropy, ignorance and economic illiteracy. A good start to the latter would be trying to figure out the mechanics of the difference between a solvency crisis and a liquidity crisis.

  • There are a few logical misteps here:
    According to this bank executive, a solution to the European problem arises if throwing Greece out of the eurozone… thus without solving the problem!

    Technocratic populism is far more dangerous than political one…!

  • Did he just say that our Greek propaganda is discusting to the Germans?
    Do they know where they live and who they support????????

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
    :mrgreen:
    😆

    • Germans have changed from lording over others their military superiority to lording over others their manufacturing superiority.

      Yes, Germans, you are superior! Happy now? Can Greece catch a break now?

    • Ilia:

      Could you please stop demoralizing the Germans? 🙂 We want this to be a fair fight.

      And Chrysis Avgi says that all Germans are pure blood.

      So, could you please stop with your Syriza propaganda? 😉

    • You see, we can even turn people from Afrika and the Balkan into valuable members of a civilized society.

    • Ilias

      No you don’t understand.

      When the Germans refer to their national team ,they refer to the guys applying glue on the shoes of the other teams’ players and finding ways to manipulate the score.

      But they are only a small percentage. Most of them are not smart enough to think. They just labor under the instructions of their masters.

    • @ Pedro

      I don’t know if you did it on purpose, or if you even noticed, but that comment of your is one of the most racist and prejudiced statements I have seen in a long time. Disgusting.

    • @Pedro

      I would love to hear you say that in a room full of Africans and Balkans. Even in jest, the “civilizing-the-savages” routine is hugely offensive, and is exactly the sort of narrative that is stoking violent nationalist movements across Europe. I didn’t take your comments/insults seriously before, and still don’t, but you’re proving that even (or especially) the grossly uninformed can be dangerous.

    • Pedro

      “You see, we can even turn people from Afrika and the Balkan into valuable members of a civilized society.”

      Aah ,the arrogance!!!

  • From the web of debt blog

    A part of an article posted on June 19, 2012 by Ellen Brown
    ————————

    http://webofdebt.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/why-the-senate-wont-touch-jamie-dimon-jpm-derivatives-prop-up-u-s-debt/
    ————————-

    Propping Up a Pyramid Scheme

    Is there no alternative but to succumb to the Mafia-like Wall Street protection racket of a covert derivatives trade in interest rate swaps? As Willie and Kirby observe, that scheme itself must ultimately fail, and may have failed already. They point to evidence that the JPM losses are not just $3 billion but $30 billion or more, and that JPM is actually bankrupt.

    The derivatives casino itself is just a last-ditch attempt to prop up a private pyramid scheme in fractional-reserve money creation, one that has progressed over several centuries through a series of “reserves”—from gold, to Fed-created “base money,” to mortgage-backed securities, to sovereign debt ostensibly protected with derivatives. We’ve seen that the only real guarantor in all this is the government itself, first with FDIC insurance and then with government bailouts of too-big-to-fail banks. If we the people are funding the banks, we should own them; and our national currency should be issued, not through banks at interest, but through our own sovereign government.

    Unlike Greece, which is dependent on an uncooperative European Central Bank for funding, the U.S. still has the legal power to issue its own dollars or borrow them interest-free from its own central bank. The government could buy back its bonds and refinance them at 0% interest through the Federal Reserve—which now buys them on the open market at interest like everyone else—or it could simply rip them up.

    The chief obstacle to that alternative is the bugaboo of inflation, but many countries have proven that this approach need not be inflationary. Canada borrowed from its own central bank effectively interest free from 1939 to 1974, stimulating productivity without creating inflation; Australia did it from 1912 to 1923; and China has done it for decades.

    The private creation of money at interest is the granddaddy of all pyramid schemes; and like all such schemes, it must eventually collapse, despite a quadrillion dollar derivatives edifice propping it up. Willie and Kirby think that time is upon us. We need to have alternative, public and cooperative systems ready to replace the old system when it comes crashing down.

  • All Germans are the same aren’t they! Its not just this guy!

    I think we have to blame first our own useless and stupid politicians for having involved us in this Eurozone and the EU!

    This was from the very beginning designed and planned to be the new Fourth Reich and why the f*ck did we want to be part of that???

    Secondly we have to make sure that we ask the Germans now immediately that they pay the war reparations and forced war loans back to Greece! Not in 20 years but now!
    Easy as that!

    If you doubt what I am saying about the Fourth Reich why don’t you just take a look at what the Nazis and their President of the Reichsbank Dr. Walther Funk were preparing as a plan b in case they would loose the war. The book “Die Europäische Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft ” was a transcipt of a Nazi conference and some seminars on a new European Economic Community and it was published in 1942!!!

    http://www.ausmeinersicht.com/Die%20Europaische%20Gemeinschaft_Zwischenstation%20in%20die%20neue%20Weltordnung.htm

    http://www.silentmajority.co.uk/eurorealist/Germany1942/index.html

    • Read the translation of this Nazi Book in english so you understand who invented the EU in the first instance!

      EUropean Economic Community
      By
      ReichsWirtschaftMinister u. President der Deutschen ReichsBank Funk;
      Professor Dr. Jecht, Berlin; Professor Dr. Woermann, Halle;
      Dr. Reithinger, Berlin; MinisterialDirektor Dr. Benning, Berlin;
      Gesandter Dr. Clodius, Berlin, und GauWirtschaftsBerater Professor
      Dr. Hunke, Berlin

      Mit einer EinFuhrung von:
      GauWirtschaftsBerater Professor Dr. Heinrich Hunke
      President des Vereins Berliner Kaufleute und Industrieller
      HerausGeGeben von dem
      Verein Berliner Kaufleute und der Wirtschafts – HochSchule
      Und Industrieller Berlin

      Published BERLIN 1942
      Second edition 1943
      Haude & Spenesche VerlagsBuchHandlung Max Paschke

      http://www.silentmajority.co.uk/eurorealist/Germany1942/wordfiles/PAMPHLET01.rtf

    • “All Germans are the same aren’t they! Its not just this guy!”

      All Greeks are the same, arent they! Them all are Venizoloses, Papandreous, Papadopouloses, Mitsotakises, Simitises, Karamanlises, Papadimoses, Lavrentiadises…

      No? Why not?

  • Yanni, do you know that the BBC has interrupted your interview when you were on air live?

  • Jim Rogers: “I may ask you: Why should the hard working German taxpayer pay money, so that Greeks can sit on the beach and drink wine and the bankers can keep their Lamborghinis. That is absurd.”

  • What an hypocrite! Germany, especially germans banks, are profiting with the greek and others tragedy. They designed Eurozone according to their interests, lended money to everyone to sell theirs goods, often corrpting officials (as was the case of submarines in Greece and Portugal) and now they have this moralist stance!

  • Why is nobody proposing import tariffs (into Greece) for specific goods and a limited time ?

    I see this as the only way to increase demand for local prodcts and help the creation of at least a bit local industry.

    • They would be illegal. There is a common tariff for the EU for external goods, and within the EU there is free trade (except for pharmaceutical products, which I am told the French have deliberately fucked up).

    • So what? Noone cares about the law and contracts since May 2010 anyways. It would be chance to fix the root cause, not just a band aid…

      On top of that there should be capital controls in some form to avoid that Greeks can send their money away.

    • @no EU

      This is just foolish talk. If you abandon the precepts of the Treaty of Rome then you may as well dissolve the EU. In extremis, short-term derogations can be tolerated for emergency reasons: this is not the case here, since you need time to alter economic structure.

      Moreover, I infer from your moniker that you are opposed to European federalism anyway. Your comments have to be interpreted as destructive rather than constructive.

    • I have nothing against European Federalism if it is done via referendum in all countries and the subsidiarity principle is kept.

      It is better to have an exception to the no tariff rule than have a uncontrolled destruction of the EU.

  • My dear Teutonic and Greek friends!

    Did you all have a chance to read the book which I referenced and which was published back in 1942 by the leading Nazi economists about the development of a European Economic Community!

    So is nobody really surprised in here that the European Community and the EU have been Nazi Germanys Plan B in case they loose the war?

    I am surprised to see that nobody noticed and responded to this very interesting posting 🙂

    Was the EU the plan of the Nazis from the very beginning?

    What does this teach us in the current situation then?

    • Aristoteles

      Just because certain people create a crisis for their advantage and exploit it ,doesn’t mean that the realization of this plan is the ultimate purpose.

      Having said that ,we keep an open mind for everything.

    • @Martin:

      “Germans today are still all Nazis….”

      Who said that?

      I said just this:

      “Was the EU the plan of the Nazis from the very beginning?”

      My answer to that is that the Nazis had a plan for a unified European Economic Community!!! So Yes most likely!

      “What does this teach us in the current situation then?”

      We have to be very carefull that the new EU doesn’t become the same thing as what the Nazis originally planned to implement!

      I have German friends so I won’t ever say something like that all Germans are Nazis!

      I would rather say that most Germans are not very clever and too easily manipulated by their own elites! And this is dangerous enough.

    • Dear Aristoteles
      Ok, you did not write it as a clear statement but asked a “question”. But – at least for me – it read as a bit of a statement when you see it all together (“So is nobody really surprised in here that the European Community and the EU have been Nazi Germanys Plan B in case they loose the war?” together with “Was the EU the plan of the Nazis from the very beginning?”).
      Anyway, I think it is an interesting question but I think we do the Nazis too much good if we assume they were fighting for something like what we have now.

      Of course, in their plan, Europe would be united and so they made some plans for that, not all of them plain evil but to some extent trying to create mutual benefit for Germany and the other countries (or at least trying to persuade the others to believe that).
      Some of the economists that worked on the book may have been quite pragmatic people and their “technical” knowledge probably helped to not see the world exclusively in a distorted Nazi way.
      Whatever, I am sure what we have now is not what the Nazis had in mind and I am happy that we got this version of a united Europe and not the Nazi variant.

    • @Martin,

      You know what Augstein Junior said about Merkel?

      She is not a conservative, she is a radical! So the reasonable Germans need to keep an eye on her otherwise she might be the cause of another huge European desaster!

    • An interesting article about Merkels role as Terminator of Europe!!!

      Picture of Merkel here:
      http://klausbaum.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/anlaslich-der-bundestagswahlwerbung-2009/merkel-terminator/

      Which world leader poses the biggest threat to global order and prosperity? The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Wrong. Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu? Nope. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un? Wrong again.

      The answer is a mild-mannered opera fan and former chemist who has been in office for seven years. Yes, step forward, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, whose solution to Europe’s financial crisis – or lack thereof – has brought the continent, and perhaps the world, to the edge of a second Great Depression. “World Bank warns that euro collapse could spark global crisis”, read the headline on the front of the Observer on 17 June.

      With apologies to Mike Godwin and his eponymous law, Merkel is the most dangerous German leader since Hitler. Her eight predecessors – from Konrad Adenauer to Gerhard Schröder – presided over a manufacturing miracle at home and the rehabilitation of Germany’s reputation abroad. Under Merkel, however, the country finds itself isolated once again, loathed and feared in equal measure.

      Cartoons in the newspapers of Germany’s neighbours have depicted the chancellor with a Hitler moustache or wearing a spiked, Bismarck-era military helmet. Commenting on the phenomenon, the columnist Jakob Augstein observed: “Her abrasive pro-austerity policies threaten everything that previous German governments had accomplished since World War II.” Merkel, Augstein rightly noted, is “a radical politician, not a conservative one”.

      Neighbourhood bully

      Merkel did not cause the financial crisis; that (dis)honour still belongs to the world’s “top” bankers. But her deficit fetishism and obsession with spending cuts are exacerbating the continent-wide debt-and-growth crises that threaten to upset more than six decades of pan-European unity and stability.

      Then there is her bullying tendency. The majority of Greeks voted on 17 June either to delay or to cancel the EU-imposed austerity plan; up popped Merkel the next day to warn: “No departures can be made from the reform measures . . . We have to count on Greece sticking to its commitments” – and to slap down her foreign minister, who had suggested that the EU might give Greece more time to do cuts.

      Merkel prefers to fiddle as Athens burns – and Madrid and Rome, too. Youth unemployment in Spain and Greece is hovering around 50 per cent; in Italy, a third of 15-to-24-year-olds are out of work. Riots beckon as Europe’s far right attracts new supporters. It is ironic that the leader of a nation paranoid about and offended by any mention of its Nazi period seems so relaxed about the rise of anti-austerity, neo-Nazi parties across the EU, from Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France to Greece’s black-shirted Golden Dawn to the fascists of Jobbik, now the third-largest party in Hungary’s parliament.

      Merkel’s supporters argue that this is unfair. She is, they say, standing up for hard-working Germans who are weary of bailing out their feckless southern European neighbours. This is nonsense. First, figures released by the OECD show that the “lazy” Greek worker labours for 2,017 hours per year, which is more than the average in any other EU nation – and more than 40 per cent longer than the average German works. So a little less Schadenfreude, please.

      Second, it isn’t just southern Europeans who are revolting against fiscal sadism. In May, Mer­kel’s Christian Democrats suffered a humiliating defeat in an election in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia. It was the party’s worst result in the state since the Second World War. Ordinary Germans are starting to acknowledge that austerity isn’t working.

      But Merkel won’t budge. She is a purveyor of the conventional wisdom which says that the economy is like a household that can’t borrow or spend more than it earns. But economies are not households – or credit cards! – and common sense tells us that the solution to a downturn caused by a prolonged drought in demand is not to reduce demand further (by slashing spending). History teaches us that the Great Depression wasn’t helped by Herbert Hoover’s cuts in the US and, in pre-war Germany, it was mass unemployment, not hyperinflation, that propelled Hitler to power in 1933.

      Fiscal self-flagellation

      In a study published in 2010, analysts at the International Monetary Fund found just two cases, out of 170 examples across 15 advanced economies between 1980 and 2009, in which cuts in government spending turned out to be expansionary for the economy overall. They concluded: “Fiscal consolidation typically has a contractionary effect on output.”

      Merkel’s insistence on fiscal self-flagellation, her unwillingness to countenance any fiscal stimulus by Germany or an easy-money policy by the European Central Bank, have pushed depressed countries such as Greece further into depression. The recent announcement at the G20 summit in Mexico that Merkel may now be willing to allow eurozone institutions to buy up the debt of crisis-hit member countries is too little, too late.

      This isn’t just about geopolitics or macro­economics. Europe’s austerians have blood on their hands. Suicide rates are up by 40 per cent in Greece; the birthplace of western democracy is being remorselessly reduced to the status of a developing country. Meanwhile, Merkel, as the US economist Robert Kuttner wrote earlier this month, “continues to pursue Germany’s narrow self-interest . . . [because] Germany benefits from the rest of Europe’s suf­fering in two ways – expanded exports and dirt-cheap money”.

      In denial and bent on austerity über alles, Merkel is destroying the European project, pauperising Germany’s neighbours and risking a new global depression.

      She must be stopped.

    • Carrefour & BNP are leaving Greece too. And you do not get insurance for delivering to Greece.

  • Very eloquent response! Thank you!

    Two questions:

    [1] on the issue of Deutsche Bank and other banks and financial institutions +profiting+ from the ongoing crisis and bailouts, is there a source that provides actual figures on this; ideally not just in connection with Greece or Portugal, but rather at a more global level? To what extent is all this disaster profitable to some? and how profitable roughly?

    [2] on the issue of German taxpayers paying for Greeks to be “grilling in their backyard,” again, are there figures available (over the last several years) that quantify and itemize in +net+ terms what went from Germany to Greek civil society and back?

    Some readily available data, tables and figures quantifying the different flows would be useful here; also to understand what lies ahead, e.g., now with Spain. [BTW, I think this also applies to the “Modest Proposal” — some appendices with macroeconomic data accompanying the claims and proposals would be very useful.]

    Thanks again!

  • As a Greek with a background in the Scandinavian finance industry that had the misfortune of being on the other side of the telephone line with Deutsche bank traders and execs, I second the point of prof. Varoufakis.

    While pretty much every banker in the Nordics (and have no doubt that in small cities like Copenhagen we all hang around in the same bars to drown our sorrows in Tuborg beer cans after the US close at 22.00 CET, therefore we do all more or less know and talk frequently to each other) accepted our huge responsibility for the financial crisis, the Germans pretty much thought that they had done everything right and well, if the whole world nearly came apart, it was completely by accident, like “oops, where did my Tier1 go??”. The tone and rationale of most German bankers is unbelievable, much more so when DB is alive solely by virtue of the US taxpayer buying back all the crap that these idiots had bought from AIG at 100 cents on the Dollar.

    These guys are a bunch of semi-illiterate morons that can’t even properly address the name of the countries they shamelessly bash. There is no country in the world called “the Greece”, there’s only “Greece” or “the Hellenic Republic”.

  • what single persons can do against mighty Nowak. (This post is based upon a blog comment by Rudolf von Waldenfels which somehow disappeared. )

    I think what Rudolf described (is Varoufakis right, is Nowak or Sinn right?) is the problem all people flooded with news by many german/british and so on media share.

    What could germans do in such a one-sided mess? I deeply admire Yanis Varoufakis. You’d have gone mad would anybody have told you as a 4 year old kid what your ears had to suffer later in life, from about 2008 onwards.

    So what we have to do not only in Germany – as at least a growing part of people have a “feeling” that it cannot be right what we are told. (the complete lack of empathy in reports from Nowak or Mr. Sinn and others are saying something, for example. At least a few people feel this is dumb, wrong.)
    So…single persons outside this blog can…

    1) yes, repeatedly told – learn economics. Only very few outside of this blog in Europe know about economics. Read, compare. Feelings are wonderful and funnily enough often wrongly disregarded, but not sufficient to know things.

    2) Ask ourselves (this was addressed to Rudolf von Wadenfels) WHY Nowak, Sinn, german politicians like CDU-Merkel, SPD-Steinmeier and Green-Özdemir (continuing bail-out, just giving more time), FDP-Rösler (calling Greece “insolvent”[!]) and so on and on – talk like they do. What is their goal?

    3) Talk to people. Nothing will change without.
    Live from Hamburg, this week, a huge market:
    – “I was in Greece 4 times for holidays. At the beach there was this stand. The man was saying he didn’t pay taxes. He just threw 20 letters away, nothing happened. That would be *impossible* in Germany! … So you see how the Greeks are.” Oh yeah, oj oj. Such a overdose of wisdom clears all world problems, hoooray.

    How to stop the “I know it all and “the” XYZ are…” talks? For a minute? In a small place down here^^?

    an example, taken from everyday’s life. Soccer. the break!

    Think, you all were talking about football. Friday Greece will play Germany. 1/4-finale at the Euro. Background: Karagounis got an unjustified 2nd “yellow card” last game and. (A personal sad thing, alas, he missed the 2004 final too).
    Now imagine this talk, and it happens all around:
    Some speak about the match, are sure Germany will win. They say: “Oh, Karagounis can’t play, that’s bad for Greece”. Now! You and a friend can answer:

    – “Oh, don’t worry. Karagounis will play the half-finals again.”

    And yes, it works. A few moments of silence. Astonishment in all faces (I tested it.). Then someone might shout “wott? you think Greece will win!!!??!!!) –>That was the moment. The break! A little room between the flood of news and – someone. Don’t underestimate this, single persons can’t reach millions and create such „little empty rooms for thought“.

    We must aim for something like this in political debates. More difficult than talking sports, yes. But that’s a way, all things go slowly.
    “The break”. “Confuse a cat, puzzle a puma” (Monty Python’s).

    Two gardens – Nowak’s lobby-garden and il giardino della fantasia (+ economia^^).

    You could call this socratic „room“ of thought a garden. A place where new thoughts grow like flowers in spring or ideas fall into like snow falls in January, well, okay, in the north. These places are „enlightening“. They also would stop the grey, untrue Nowak-examples of gardens. In his so-called “periphery” gardens sit bad girls, working nothing, and mighty Nowak plus „german tax payers” had to feed them all, oj oj.

    Read this blog and others, and then go out and talk to all kinds! Il giardino della fantasia, the garden of the imagination, der Zaubergarten, magi-trädgård, tell me a greek name – the empty room, the sudden break to stop wrong repetions. This is not fantasy, this is how brains actually work!
    What else can we do surrounded by this eternal repetition?

    With Mr. Steinbeck (I have it on good authority that at least here Mr. Varoufakis would agree, read the recommendations in his global minotaur):
    “awright. Don’t make speeches to yourself. Get goin, Al'” (p.155, bantam pocket edition, “the grapes of wrath”)

    That’s what single persons can do – in a mightily hostile landscape outside at the moment. We know Nowak’s thoughts now. We need to persuade people not to believe him, and fantasy shares economics for that. The aim is to puzzle confuse and make them think, using wit and fantasy. Internet is nice, but go out too and talk to all kinds. (and if you feel a little ironical sing the Internationale now, or “always look on the bright side of life” – it’s somehow the same.)

  • @Martin,
    “References to an “aggressive Germany” and the Nazi past are both unnecessary and unhelpful.”

    Sadly, it is impossible to put such recent events as the Second World War behind us. It is the sons and daughters of the personalities who launched or were victims of that war who are today driving policies. It is not enough to pretend that events which happened a mere 70-80 years ago won’t have an impact on events today. We must take such recent history into account. In no way has enough time passed that the Germans should be taking such an arrogant tone with the rest of the continent.

    Russia is still feeling the effects of having half of its habitable territory burnt to the ground. Greece is still suffering from it’s occupation and civil war, and, apparently, Germany is still suffering from the same arrogance and egotism that lead Europe on the path to destruction.

    • Dear KenLayIsAlive
      Of course WW2 is not so long ago that we can (or should) simply forget about it / consider it irrelevant for today’s problems and behavioural patterns. Certainly, in terms of interpreting the world it is obviously still very much in people’s heads.
      Which can be painful from a German perspective but is of course understandable.
      Anyway, I would just like to suggest we don’t automatically assume that Germans haven’t changed at all and still are the monsters they were in the Nazi period.
      Of course it is possible to interpret the world in that way and to some extent it is only human to do so.
      But I strongly believe it is plain wrong and leads to wrong conclusions. The vast majority of Germans is ashamed of what happened then and would never ever want to do anything like that again.
      On the other hand, trying to be different can also go to the other extreme of not being able to look after your legitimate interests which is asking too much.
      Here, we just should try to see that different nations (especially in such a tense situation) have different interests and preferences. And with the Eurosystem, they are more bound together than they ever were before. Which was easy to ignore when things seemed to go well (2002 – 2007) but becomes painfully clear now.

      So if Germans see that they are held responsible / have to continuously feed money into e.g. Greece (beyond the agricultural and structural EU subsidies that Greece receives anyway) to support what as seen as an inefficient system, this won’t be accepted long-term.
      But that is not at all proof that German is still a Nazi country or anything like that.
      Of course, if you want to you can always find confirmations for stereotypes: There are lazy Greeks and there are nationalistic Germans.
      But I would imagine both are a minority and we should see them as such and focus on the real issues, not try to settle historic bills.

    • Martin

      The inefficient system is the uncontrollable transfers that go to wrong hands. They are not the transfers themselves. Otherwise Germany loses too.

      No reforms will matter in Greece or anywhere if at the end ,the banks ,the elite don’t reform themselves. Everything will be repeated ,some other place ,some other time.

      One more time. You feed nobody with the transfers. They are not a gift.
      If you want to continue to be in surplus and have power ,you have the responsibility to direct the excess energy in a usable form. This energy was received in the first place because in the union ,for being good neighbours and all ,exports of specific countries in the union were increased. Germany to Greece for instance.

      It is a recycling mechanism ,but it has been inefficient because it occured uncontrollably and the money went back to the elite while the Greek taxpayer was receiving the burden for it.
      German corporations were in it as well.

      If you think you would have had these surpluses anyway you are fooling yourself.

  • Martin,

    Do you not understand that Germany’s surpluses need to be “funded” by deficits elsewhere?

    If you did not have the “Club Med” hinterland to export to and a cheap currency you would be in a dire economic situation, not dissimilar to Japan (which has a vastly overvalued currency and can never seem to create enough domestic demand for its output).

    • Dear Robert
      I agree with you that running such a huge current account surplus is not healthy.
      If reflects a living standard in Germany that is lower than it could (and should) be by taking money out of the domestic economy and investing it elsewhere.
      As we all know now, many of the “investments” German banks made were often not exactly wise ones. They invested in all sorts of useless assets such as CDOs, ABS, etc – all stuff that apparently, they did not truly understand. Ultimately, that lead to a significant part of the German savings that were invested abroad to be without value and in effect that just given away to foreign sellers / banks of such “products”.
      That was the painful experience in 2008-2010.
      Now, 2010-2012 (and longer, I am afraid) the next painful realisation is that also the investments made in Eurozone coutries outside Germany are partly lost. Because Greece defaults on its debt and others may follow. And banks that cannot service debt they have against German creditors need to be saved – ultimately by German taxpayers.
      So this system in retrospect was crazy, from a German perspective.
      I think it is healthy for a mature economy that depends on raw material imports with an ageing and gently shrinking population to have some extent of surplus.
      This can be to everyone’s benefit: Other countries could use the received funds well, increase and speed up their economic development, leading to higher living standards of the local population of the receipient of the investments. When the economy grows, servicing the debt won’t be a problem and Germany will receive interest on the investments – a “win-win” for both.
      But excessive current account surpluses obviously lead to lousy investments and deprive the German domestic economy of investments needed and lowers the German living standard unnecessarily.
      I would hope that the German political and economical elite isn’t so blind as not to see this.
      Gently but surely, this has to be tackled – I am convinced it will be.
      In the course of the (painful) adjustment processes between the Eurozone core and the periphery that is currently under way, these inbalances will be reduced. Here’s an interesting article (unfortunately in German) that states that actually, a good way of the path to adjustment has already been gone:
      http://www.ftd.de/politik/europa/:konkurrenzfaehige-euro-krisenstaaten-deutsche-industrie-buesst-massiv-an-wettbewerbsfaehigkeit-ein/70053136.html

    • Everybody understands that not all countries can have a surplus at the same time.

      However, apparently a lot of people here on this blog apparently don’t understand that it is not and never was in Germany’s interest to be permanently in a surplus position. A trade equilibrium by every party, somewhere close to +/- 0, is the one and only long term sustainable model for ALL nations.

      That’s exactly why Germany pushes her partners for restructurings and reforms instead of shoveling over more or less unconditionally more and more money. Only if Greece, Italy, Spain and so on become so competitive that they can develop a sustainable trade equlilibrium, they (and the eurozone) can survive and prosper.

      Endless transfers are NOT sustainable. Permanent trade deficits or surpluses are as well NOT sustainable. It is for countless good reasons idiotic to demand from the partners with surpluses to artificially weaken themselves. Instead the partners with deficits must strengthen themselves. That’s the one and only way to go.

    • They simply believe that we (the eurozone members) can all be net exporters simultaneously by exporting to the rest of the world.Talk about ignorance.

    • vss

      You are talking about competitiveness beyond and above the rhythm this production can be absorbed.
      The only way this can be done is if we go into business with Mars.
      Aliens haven’t appeared yet. (at least officially 😛 ). Sorry.

  • @xenos:

    I should warn you that I have a vomit reflex whenever I hear the phrase “moral hazard”.

    For me, xenos, it is the phrase “cost-benefit analysis.”

  • @xenos:

    I should warn you that I have a vomit reflex whenever I hear the phrase “moral hazard”.

    For me, xenos, it is the phrase “cost-benefit analysis.”

  • Years before the crisis the consensus was that the US had ‘sacrificed’ in favor of global demand, and that specifically the German export supremacy was cemented by this sacrifice which was in turn, among others, the cause of the huge current account deficit of the US.

    The rhetoric seems quite familiar these days when discussing Germany’s exports and the rest of the EU. This argument implies somehow a ‘mechanical-behavior’ of consumers (gov’t or private). The German government, did not forced the US-consumers or its government to consume German goods the way they did (and still do), nor did the German government (or Deutsche Bank, even though I’m not a big fan of them) forced the Greek government or its nationals (or others) to borrow the massive amounts that have them bankrupt or buy any imported goods. Germany accounts for less than 1% of the global labour force, yet its exports account for roughly 10% of global exports. German exports do well, because the products (and production methods) are excellent on their own right!

    What I am trying to say is that ‘just’ because credit was available, does not mean that the Greek government was forced to take it! Or at least waste it in the usual corruption schemes, instead of putting it to good use bringing the country into the 21st century! Sure, sub-prime lenders in the US knew what they were doing, but when it comes to Governments, I believe, it is very hard to make that argument. However, I do think that, by the same account, if the Banks lost their money to sovereigns… they should have done a better judgment call in the first place… bail out the people, not the banks.

    I don’t think that austerity alone is the answer, but a lot of things have got to change in the peripheral countries. Especially, responsibilities need to be recognized. Actions speak louder than words. It is very easy to say: mea-culpa, now hand in the money! The corrupt Greek governments, the permissive people that elected them and put up with them for so long? More than a blame game it’s a wake-up call. Where do we go from here?

    Angie said yesterday (paraphrasing): “…the crisis has shown that more Europe, and not less, is the answer…”

    Dear Yanis, I really like your blog… hope you’ll find the time to comment 😉

    • Couldn’t agree more.
      A small correction though.
      In Europe the exports of the surplus countries were artificially increased by cutting production in the receiving countries.
      In other words ,the governments weren’t forced because they were in it.

      And the people did not know about it. German ,Greek whatever.

  • VERY INTERESTING WHAT THE GERMANS HAVE IN THEIR MIND!!!

    This Spiegel article sucks out loud:

    Δηλητηριώδες και προκλητικό δημοσίευμα του Spiegel για την Κύπρο “που δεν ελέγχει ούτε τα εδάφη της” , λίγες ημέρες πριν αυτή αναλάβει την Προεδρία της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. «Καταστρόφιας και Πανίκος» είναι ο κακεντρεχής έως προσβλητικός τίτλος του άρθρου αφού αναφέρεται στον Πρόεδρο της Κύπρου και στον επικεφαλής της Κεντρικής Τράπεζας. «Από την 1η Ιουλίου θα βρίσκεται στην κορυφή της Ενωμένης Ευρώπης μια χώρα….

    που ελέγχει μόλις τα 2/3 των εδαφών της…Η Κύπρος είναι όμως αυτή την εποχή στα πρωτοσέλιδα για άλλους λόγους. Στον κοινό αγώνα κατά της κρίσης, ο Πρόεδρος Χριστόφιας -τον οποίο χαρακτηρίζουν σκωπτικά «Καταστρόφια»- και ο επικεφαλής της Κεντρικής Τράπεζας Δημητριάδης, το μικρό του Πανίκος, προβληματίζουν τον υπόλοιπο κόσμο» γράφει το δημοσίευμα.

    Το περιοδικό περιγράφει την οικονομική κατάσταση της χώρας αλλά και τη στασιμότητα στην επίλυση του Κυπριακού. «Ακόμη και το στάτους κβο είναι παράξενο» επισημαίνει και συνεχίζει :
    «Για πολύ καιρό και σε κάθε περίπτωση μέχρι τα τέλη της προηγούμενης εβδομάδας, δεν είχαν ξεκαθαρίσει στους πολίτες εάν η Κύπρος θα γίνει η πέμπτη χώρα που υπάγεται στους μηχανισμούς στήριξης, εάν θα έρθουν χρήματα από την Κίνα για να αποφευχθεί η χρεοκοπία ή εάν θα αναλάβει για άλλη μια φορά η Ρωσία» αναφέρει.

    Σύμφωνα με το Spiegel «τα δάνεια δισεκατομμυρίων για την Ελλάδα εκτροχίασαν τους ισολογισμούς των τραπεζών και την οικονομική αρχιτεκτονική όλης της χώρας» παρότι αναγνωρίζει ότι η Κύπρος είχε υγιή ανάπτυξη και σχεδόν πλήρη απασχόληση και συγκαταλεγόταν στις οικονομικά σταθερές χώρες της ΕΕ.

    «Στην πραγματικότητα όμως η Κύπρος δεν εκπλήρωσε επαρκώς τις υποχρεώσεις της στο πεδίο της δημοσιονομικής πειθαρχίας. Και τώρα, στα πρόθυρα της χρεοκοπίας, οι μεταρρυθμίσεις είναι επιτακτικές…Το ότι η χώρα ζούσε πάνω από τις δυνατότητές της δεν το παραδέχονται όλοι. Ούτε ο Πρόεδρος Χριστόφιας» καταλήγει το δημοσίευμα.

    • “Να μην επιτραπεί στην Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία να ασκήσει την προεδρία του Συμβουλίου της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, λόγω της προσφυγής της στους ευρωπαϊκούς μηχανισμούς στήριξης”, εισηγείται ο επικεφαλής του Οικονομικού Συμβουλίου των Γερμανών Χριστιανοδημοκρατών (CDU) Κουρτ Λάουκ. Αποστάσεις λαμβάνει από την συγκεκριμένη θέση το γερμανικό υπουργείο Εξωτερικών.

      Σε σχετική ανακοίνωσή του, ο κ. Λάουκ κάνει λόγο για «ευρωπαϊκό παράδοξο», όταν, όπως λέει, «ο σκύλος τίθεται επικεφαλής των αποθεμάτων λουκάνικων» και ζητεί να απαγορευτεί στις χώρες οι οποίες έχουν ενταχθεί σε πρόγραμμα οικονομικής στήριξης να ασκούν την εκ περιτροπής προεδρία της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, θεσπίζοντας ως κριτήριο «όχι το μέγεθος, αλλά την αξιοπιστία κάθε χώρας».

      Ο χριστιανοδημοκράτης πολιτικός διερωτάται «πώς μπορεί η Κύπρος να αναλάβει αυτόν τον ρόλο» και θεωρεί «απαράδεκτο τα άλλα κράτη-μέλη να δέχονται να αναλαμβάνει την προεδρία μια χώρα η οποία προσέφυγε στο μηχανισμό διάσωσης”. «Με ποια εξουσία μπορεί η Κύπρος να δώσει αξιόπιστη ώθηση στην προσπάθεια για σταθεροποίηση», τονίζει και συνεχίζει: «Πώς μπορεί να αναλάβει την διαχείριση κρίσης, όταν βρίσκεται η ίδια εν μέσω κρίσης; Δεν θα μπορέσουμε ποτέ να θεραπεύσουμε την Ευρώπη, εάν ο Πρόεδρος βρίσκεται ξαπλωμένος στην μονάδα εντατικής θεραπείας με μια ιδιαίτερα μεταδοτική ασθένεια».

      Από το γερμανικό υπουργείο Εξωτερικών ωστόσο διευκρινίστηκε ότι η Κύπρος, «κατά την διάρκεια της εξάμηνης προεδρίας της, θα έχει το καθήκον να αναλαμβάνει δράσεις προς το συμφέρον της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης και των μελών της, όπως κάθε κράτος που έχει ασκήσει την προεδρία του Συμβουλίου της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης».

    • Only fools listen to the neo-nazi Spiegel and Bild.
      They have proven again and again that they are neo-nazi papers.

      All insults and no logic. The EZ architecture allowed Germany to gain power and revert back to the same ambitions of no democracy and total control of Europe.
      This is the first time i personally say something like that.

      Insulting Cyprus? CYPRUS?
      The Germans?

      It is becoming a joke.

      Let’s get out of the Euro once and for all.
      I want out. We backed off enough for them.

    • @Demetri:

      H (καταστροφική) μέθη του Βερολίνου

      Τελικά, είναι εντυπωσιακό πόσο ελάχιστα σοβαρά παίρνουν οι πάντες την ηγεσία του Βερολίνου: Η ίδια η Γερμανίδα καγκελάριος έχει δηλώσει ότι δεν πρέπει να περιμένει κανείς κάτι σημαντικό (ούτε) από αυτή τη Σύνοδο Κορυφής. Επίσης, μόλις χθες είπε, για δεύτερη φορά σε δύο ημέρες, ότι ευρωομόλογα δεν υπάρχουν. Εχει ξορκίσει κάθε σκέψη για κοινή ανάληψη του χρέους σε ευρωπαικό επίπεδο. Εχει πει σε όλους τους τόνους και η ίδια και ο υπουργός Οικονομικών της Γερμανίας ότι όλα αυτά δεν υπάρχουν.

      Κι όμως, μοιάζει σαν κανείς να μην τους ακούει. Ακόμα πιο εντυπωσιακό, είναι το πόσο «μέτριους» θεωρούν τελικά κατά βάθος πολλοί τους Γερμανούς ηγέτες στη δυσκολία να ερμηνεύσουν την πολιτική τους που οδηγεί την Ευρώπη στο χάος. Λοιπόν, όχι: έχει έρθει πια η στιγμή να παραδεχθούν όλοι την πραγματικότητα: οι Γερμανοί και οικονομικά πολύ καλά γνωρίζουν, και εικόνα της κατάστασης πλήρη έχουν.

      Οι Γερμανοί δεν κάνουν λάθος για να χρειάζεται απεγνωσμένα να τους εξηγήσουμε όλοι οι άλλοι το «σωστό»: οι Γερμανοί κάνουν απλώς αυτό που έχουν αποφασίσει. Αυτή είναι η πολιτική τους. Ακολουθούν πιστά και συστηματικά το δρόμο που έχουν επιλέξει. Ξέρουν πολύ καλά τους κινδύνους τους. Απλώς, όλα όσα όλοι οι υπόλοιποι θεωρούν κίνδυνο, στο Βερολίνο τα βλέπουν ως ευκαιρία: γι αυτό και δεν αλλάζουν πλεύση, γι αυτό και παραμένουν αμετακίνητοι στην πορεία που μας οδήγησε ως εδώ.

      Αυτή τη βασική συνθήκη πολλοί αδυνατούν να την αντιληφθούν και, πολύ περισσότερο, να την παραδεχθούν. Όμως, αυτή ακριβώς είναι η πραγματικότητα που οδηγεί στο χάος. Όχι τώρα, εδώ και δυόμιση χρόνια, από την αρχή της κρίσης. Όμως δεν άλλαξαν στάση από την πρώτη ημέρα μέχρι σήμερα. Πώς είναι δυνατόν να περιμένει κανείς ότι θα αλλάξουν τώρα; Κάτι τέτοιο, δεν πρόκειται να συμβεί. Για τον απλούστατο λόγο ότι αυτή είναι η εθνική πολιτική τους.

      Επιτέλους, πρέπει κάποτε να γίνει κατανοητό ότι αυτό που για τόσες χώρες της Ευρώπης, αλλά και για τη διεθνή οικονομία, αποτελεί τρομακτικά επικίνδυνη κρίση, για το Βερολίνο αποτελεί ευκαιρία μεγιστοποίησης της πολιτικής, οικονομικής και θεσμικής του ισχύος.

      Επιτέλους, πρέπει να σταματήσουμε να «υποτιμούμε» τη γερμανική ηγεσία λέγοντας ουσιαστικά ότι δεν καταλαβαίνει τι κάνει. Καταλαβαίνει και πολύ καλά μάλιστα. Εμείς δεν θέλουμε να καταλάβουμε.

      Οι Γερμανοί έχουν αποφασίσει εδώ και πολύ καιρό και δεν αλλάζουν τις αποφάσεις τους. Είναι βέβαιο ότι οδηγούν στην καταστροφή. Όμως, καλώς ή κακώς, το γνωρίζουν και δεν τους ενδιαφέρει. Κι όπως εμείς δεν είμαστε σε θέση να στήσουμε στα πόδια του ένα κράτος που δεν δουλεύει σωστά, έτσι κι εκείνοι δεν είναι σε θέση να διαχειριστούν τη δύναμή τους. Πάντα τους τυφλώνει.

      Τώρα, τους έχει τυφλώσει το «όνειρο» μιας Ευρώπης υπό τη γερμανική λογική και ηγεσία. Τους έχει μεθύσει. Δεν πρόκειται να το εγκαταλείψουν, ούτε την ώρα της τελικής κατάρρευσης… Αυτή τη μέθη, θα την πληρώσουμε όλοι μας, θα την πληρώσει η Ευρώπη, θα την πληρώσουν στο τέλος κι οι ίδιοι. Αλλά, η απόφασή τους, δεν θα αλλάξει. Γιατί; Επειδή, ακόμα και σήμερα, πιστεύουν ότι μπορούν να πετύχουν τον εξωφρενικό, αντιευρωπαικό, εθνικό, μεγάλο τους στόχο…

      [Του Γεώργιου Π. Μαλούχου, από tovima.gr]

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