Criticising Germany: Three principles for the fair assessment of proud nations

Generalising is the first step toward racism. Every sentence beginning with “The Germans believe this” or “The Greeks do that” is an initial slide on a slippery slope leading, eventually, to bigotry. As I have argued before (click here for a video version) there is no such thing as the Germans, or the Brits, or the Greeks for that matter. Our various nations sport as much variety within them as the divergence that we observe between them. Moreover, there is no such thing as the ‘representative’ German, Greek or American. The fact that groups, and naturally nations, are subject to social norms that generate patterned behaviour and mindsets does not annul this point. As long as some gallant Germans fought the Nazis and died in Auschwitz, the claim that ‘the Germans’ are prone to, or responsible for, Nazism is absurd. Similarly, the fact that tax evasion and corruption is prevalent in Greece is no excuse for loose talk about ‘the tax-evading and corrupt Greeks’. Does this, however, mean that one cannot articulate a legitimate critique of Germany, of Greece, of nations in general? In recent months, following the rampant Euro Crisis, much criticism has been piled on Germany. A lot of it (just like its equivalent directed against Greece, Italy etc.) is misplaced and downright offensive, even if founded on many discrete truths (nb. all big lies are so founded). Then again, it is impossible to come to terms with the Euro Crisis’ persistence and evolution unless Germany’s position is critically assessed. So, what are the limits of rational and fair criticism? This is the question I wish to tackle below by offering three principles of fair and useful criticism.

I begin by putting under the microscope my last statement, namely that Germany’s position needs to be critically assessed. What or, more pertinently, who is Germany? I have already claimed that there is no such thing as “the Germans”. But Germany? Surely there is a Germany. First, there is the country itself, as a bounded geography containing people, institutions, economies, governments etc. Then there is a language, a culture, national myths, customs etc. Of course, these constituent parts cannot be, in toto, the subject of the critical assessment that I claimed to be important in our quest for clues on the Euro Crisis’ nature. Clearly, we need a more focused answer to the question: “What is Germany and how can its role before and during the Crisis be assessed?”

One possibility is that, when investigating ‘Germany’s demeanour’, we simply refer to its government, indeed to the trio of German notables made up by the Chancellor, the Finance Minister and the head of the Bundesbank. This seems to be an appropriate albeit constrained form of critical assessment of Germany’s stance during the Crisis. On the one hand it is free of all generalisations, and predicated upon what specific individuals have said or done, but, on the other hand, it fails to investigate the undercurrents that have led these three individuals to the decisions and beliefs that they have reached. Clearly, a broader critical assessment is called for. The trick is to produce it without falling prey to the generalisations that are both politically odious and analytically misleading. Here are some principles guiding legitimate criticism of a country’s stance, with particular reference to Germany in the present juncture.

1st Principle – Analysis: Resisting the fantasy of a monolithic Germany

Consistent with my point that there is no such thing as ‘The Germans’, it is imperative that any analysis of Germany must be based on an analysis of the clash of interests within German society. One may very well argue that “Germany has benefitted from the euro” but, once stated, such a statement or claim must be immediately reconstructed along the lines of an empirical account of how, for instance, a large swathe of Germany’s working class saw their living standards fall, their working conditions deteriorate, and their democratic rights curtailed. Only then can we begin to grasp the levels of resentment within German society which, while in aggregate hugely boosted by the Eurozone’s creation, has been divided between fabulous winners, sorry losers and a middle-of-the-road band of citizens who lie in between but who never fail to fear for a future in a society so badly divided.

Additionally, unless our analysis throws light on the ‘clash of the titans’, i.e. of the tussle between Frankfurt’s financiers and the mighty German industry, we shall never manage to articulate a useful analysis of Germany’s dithering regarding closer integration, eurobonds, a unification of Europe’s banking systems, investment policies via the European Investment Bank etc. Indeed, our penchant for discovering deeper, and often unseen, conflicts within German society must be always alive and eager. Once the financial capital vs industrial capital ‘clash of the titans’ is investigated, we should swiftly move to the ‘interest gap’ between medium sized German manufacturing firms that are reliant on exports without having a foreign production base and the German conglomerates that have shifted much of their production base beyond Euroland. Unless we understand the tensions along this division too, we shall have very little insight into the undercurrents connecting the vast German medium sized manufacturing sector with Frankfurt and Berlin.

In short, it is incumbent upon critical assessors of Germany to take into consideration, and study carefully, the unfolding drama that goes on constantly in the country as a contest of interests, faculties and functions of the different social classes, the different sectors and the different segments within these sectors of Germany’s social economy. If they do, it is utterly impossible to maintain a monolithic, stereotypical and, thus, potentially racist (and hence misleading) view on Germany.

2nd Principle – Synthesis: Assembling the ‘German Position’ on a foundation of sophisticated functionalism

The first principle was about decomposing, about an analysis of, the ‘German Position’ or ‘German Interest’ into elements that are in conflict with one another. But as always, any analytical phase must be followed by a synthetic one if a legitimate view of the ‘German Position’ is to be assembled. How can this be done sensibly and in a manner that is free of generalisation, stereotypes and sentences beginning with “The Germans…”? My answer revolves around the method which I call sophisticated functionalism.

First things first: What is functionalism? It is the tendency to explain certain entities on the basis of their function. E.g. biologists explain the existence of the stomach in terms of a narrative revolving around digestion. Long before DNA was discovered, all theories about our stomachs and their functionings were based on the presumption that stomachs evolved because animals that had them digested food better and, therefore, experienced a major improvement in their ‘evolutionary fitness’. Then came DNA and our functional explanation of stomachs became sophisticated.

Now, the problem with functional explanations in social theory (but often in biology and neuroscience too) is that sloppy theorists can use it to articulate all sorts of nonsense. For example, take the absurd theory that Greece’s Eurozone membership was functional to the interests of some Masonic Lodge. Or that the creation of the EFSF was functional to Germany’s long held plan to conquer southern Europe. Indeed, come to think of it, all idiotic and racist conspiracy theories are based on some idiotic functionalist argument (e.g. German mid-war hyperinflation was functional to the interests of Jews). While, functionalism is essential to social theory (as it is to biology), it is a sophisticated form of functionalism that must underpin any critical assessment of Germany, if it is to be useful not only to the critic but also to the Germans. But what would this sophisticated functionalism look like? Here is an answer:

SOPHISTICATED FUNCTIONALISM

Functional explanations are sometimes regarded as peculiar because they appear to explain something by its beneficial effects. It is the effect of an action rather than an intention which lay behind the action which is used to explain why the action was taken. Such explanations must consist of the following five steps if they are to pass our ‘sophistication test’ and be something beyond conspiratorial: 

(1) X must be shown to determine Y

(2) Y must be shown to be beneficial for some ‘agent’ or ‘agents’ Z

(3) Y must be unintended by Z

(4) We must show that the causal relation between X and Y is unrecognised by Z

(5) Our analysis must demonstrate how Y maintains X by a causal feedback loop through Z.

Example 1: Y=long giraffe neck, X=giraffe’s DNA, Z= giraffe population. Here we need not worry about (3), as no intentions are present or detectable. First, the biologist must demonstrate how the giraffe’s DNA produces the giraffe’s long neck. Then she must demonstrate how the long necks of the giraffes boost their evolutionary fitness which, in a never-ending-circle, maintain the structure of the DNA that produces the long necks.
Example 2: Y=hierarchy in premodern societies, X=unequal gift exchanges, Z=rulers
We have now moved into the realm of social theory. This theory, if it is to hold water, must explain how lavish gifts by rulers to their subservient, which cannot be fully reciprocated, are not only the product of rigid hierarchies but that, in addition, help maintain these hierarchies. Note that, here, the theory becomes more interesting when the causal links are undetected by both rulers and their subservient. Each acts on the basis of their intentions (e.g. the pleasure of gift giving) but, behind their backs, social processes unfold that co-determine their intentions, beliefs and, of course, the hierarchical structure of power.

Let us now see how sophisticated functionalism can offer a foundation for a legitimate critique of the ‘German Position’. Take, for instance, my own ‘allegation’ (see It’s the German Banks Stupid!) that, to understand the toxic structure of the EFSF (the European Financial Stability Fund) one needs first to comprehend the parlous state of German banks. Can such an argument be made without generalisations and without some conspiracy theory? The answer is affirmative and comes in the form of a sophisticated functionalist theory whose elements are:

X=European leaders’ decisions, Y=EFSF’s toxic structure, Z=German bankers

To make my theory stick, I must begin by fleshing out (2) above [since (1) is self-evident], then explain the importance of (3)&(4) [namely, that the bankers do not even need to be cognisant of the manner in which the EFSF benefits them] and, finally, illustrate the feedback loop by which the EFSF’s existence helps maintain, through the actions of German bankers, European politicians’ penchant for these policies.

I know not whether my analysis of these steps is adequate or not. Indeed, my intention is to strengthen the analysis of each of these steps further. What I do know, however, is that this form of criticism is legitimate, resorts to no generalisations and, importantly, contains not an iota of a smidgeon of conspiratorialism.

3rd Principle – Contesting one’s own ‘theory’ of the ‘German Interest’: An example

Consider the critique of Germany’s mercantilism by Heiner Flassbeck (which appeared in a guest post here). I am in broad sympathy with Heiner’s thesis (which is the reason I re-posted his article) and think that it maps out nicely the imbalances that were building up prior to 2008 as a result of policies employed by the German government during the 1990s and early 2000s. It is a thesis that I have often invoked during debates and presentations. Nevertheless, applying my 1st Principle above, I feel the need to re-assess these criticisms and to subject them, in turn, to critical assessment. For if criticism of Germany is not subject to self criticism, the limits of rational and legitimate ‘reproach’ will have been breached.

Let me offer two examples of such self-criticism: The first criticism of Heiner’s critique of German neo-mercantilism (which I have subscribed to in the past) is that it focuses exclusively on Germany, presuming that the rest of the Eurozone was placid and a spectator. The second criticism is more analytical and concerns a common error that both critics and supporters of German policies commit.

Starting with the first criticism, the issue is not the so-called ‘German Interest’ but the combined interests of Europe’s business community (also known as Europe’s Capital). As my friend Joseph Halevi never ceases to remind us, Europe’s Capital is extremely keen to maintain the European Union as a ‘free hunting ground’, as a guarantor of financial rents, as the enforcer of policies that make redistribution extremely hard to effect, of wage deflation and of the shifting of competition from the market for goods and services to the market for labour (i.e. ensuring the maintenance of oligopoly power in the product market while working populations are forced to compete savagely against one another). Yet, at the same time, national bankers, rentiers and (to a lesser extent industrialists) have no interest in seeing the power of the nation-state wane. Their cosy, and highly lucrative, relationship with national politicians would wither if it did. If this is right, then the singular focus on Germany’s role is ill-judged and unfair. France’s elites were as responsible for Germany’s mercantilism as German industry, in the sense that they were happy to concede oligopoly rights to German industry (even in France) for the purpose of coming under of the umbrella of the DM (thereby restraining the French trades unions).

Turning to the second criticism, most of us take it for granted that Germany’s successful squeezing of labour unit costs prior to the Crisis boosted its competitiveness in relation to the rest of the Eurozone (with detrimental effects on the balance of payments of the Periphery). Interestingly, this thesis is propagated both by mainstream German economists and politicians and by critics of Germany’s mercantilism. But, is this thesis correct? Or, to be more precise, is it as straightforward as it sounds?

The first thing to recall is that the Periphery always maintained a trade deficit with Germany. Always! How was this sustainable? Via continual devaluation of the lira, the peseta, the drachma, is the conventional answer. Nevertheless, we must also note that, with the exception of northern Italy, the rest of the Periphery’s competitiveness was never really helped by those devaluations. Greece, for instance, never produced any cars and, thus, the devaluation of the drachma only slowed down the rate at which Volkswagens were being imported; what it never achieved, by definition, was an increase in Greek car exports to Germany. What of other products, like oranges and olive oil? The demand for those was more or less inelastic in Germany and, thus, all that happened really was that the devaluation of the drachma enhanced Greek farmers’ profit margins (especially when the devaluations caused hyper-inflation at home). The same applies to the euro era, when Germany succeeded in squeezing unit labour cost growth (below that of the Periphery plus France) and to maintain an inflation rate well below the Eurozone average: Prices of German industrial goods in the rest of the Eurozone did not fall in Greece, in Italy, in France. All that happened was that German oligopoly profits increased while Greece, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese profitability collapsed (especially after the tide of German finance capital to the Periphery receded in a hurry).

In summary, a nuanced critique of Germany’s role in the Euro Crisis requires not only proper ‘analysis’ (see 1st Principle), sophisticated functionalist synthesis (see 2nd Principle) but, in addition, critical assessment of the critical theories themselves.

Summary and conclusion

I began this piece by claiming that generalisations are the first step on the road to fully fledged racism and, to boot, to highly misleading economic analysis. Germany has been, for a while now, in the firing line from various quarters (including myself) regarding its handling of the Euro Crisis. Can the ‘German Position’ be subjected to rational assessment and criticism without generalisations? I think so, even if – admittedly – it requires considerable skill to stay on a ‘fine line’. In the preceding paragraphs I tried to outline that ‘fine line’ in the context of three principles which we ought to respect when putting together a critique of Germany but, also, of other national governmental stands.

The 1st Principle focused on the need to avoid treating Germany as a monolith with consistent preferences, interests and beliefs. In a recent post, addressed to me, Kantoos Economics takes me to task for stating that Germany benefited significantly from the euro. Does this statement violate the 1st Principle? Yes and no. In one sense, there is no doubt that Germany’s trade balance did benefit. However, it is important to note that this does not mean that the benefits of burgeoning net exports were distributed to all segments of German society. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence suggesting that large parts of the German working class saw their living standards drop substantially. In brief, while it is possible to point to aggregate measures (such as the nation’s trade balance or GDP), it is essential that distributional issues, as well as issues related to the relative bargaining power of various strata or classes, are taken into account in a manner that breaks down any monolithic view.

The 2nd Principle concerns the proper, or legitimate, method for approaching the unconscious, and unintended, feedback effects between different German economic interests, German policy makers’ decisions, and the Eurozone’s fortunes. Crucial to this method is the recognition that many of the outcomes are unintended and that the causal relations (including the feedback effect) which do most of the work of fashioning outcomes escape the mindset of the actors whose choices drive history. In short, there is no conspiracy behind actions which look as if driven by certain interests and beliefs. I gave one example of how such an explanation can work in the context of the EFSF and Germany’s private sector banks. Another example comes from a piece I wrote two years ago (entitled A New Versailles hunts Europe – in which I characterised the bailout terms imposed upon Greece as a New Versailles Treaty). In that article I had written the following lines:

“Retribution was the order of the day, especially in the mindset of a nation [nb. germany] that, over the past century, has accepted its collective punishment gracefully and managed to rise out of the mire through sheer hard work and extensive reform. Greece should to pay for its sins too. For Germans, the cost of saving the Greek state from the clutches of the money markets was not the issue. The issue was that Greece should suffer a deserved punishment for putting at risk a club which gallantly bent the rules to have it admitted as its member. And when the said club is the one issuing the currency in which the German people trade, save and take collective pride, that punishment took on the significance of a crucial bonding ritual.”

Kantoos Economics, again, took me to task for these lines: “This is just flat-out wrong” he said (bold in the original), adding: “And offensive. Germany’s motivation was never retribution. Many German policy makers simply misdiagnosed the crisis as one of public debt alone and argued, correctly according to their diagnosis, that Greece should simply spend less and tax more to get out of it.” I beg to differ. While my 1st Principle bans me from generalisation, this ban cuts both ways: if Germany’s view is not monolithic it can neither be said to seek retribution (against Greece) nor not to seek it! Nonetheless, it is perfectly legitimate to perform the following mental experiment: Suppose that there were a button that the German Chancellor could press to make the Greek debt and the Greek current account deficit go away without any pain for the Greek people. Would a majority of German voters want Mrs Merkel to press it? Or would they prefer a significantly less efficient outcome (in terms of combating the Greek crisis) which is accompanied by significant hardship for the Greeks?

I have no doubt that both the German public and a large majority of German policy makers would opt for the latter; motivated by a mixture of (a) an urge to see that the Greeks are ‘taught’ a lesson (retribution) and (b) a view that such pain is important to deter the spendthrift Greeks (and assorted Peripherals) from repeating their ‘sins’ in the future. In this sense, my statement that Germany  seeking ‘retribution’ was a prime mover behind the Greek Bailout package is utterly legitimate. Having said that, in order to prevent feeding others’ penchant for racist anti-German views, if I were to edit that quotation, I would have replaced “Germans” with “mainstream conventional views in Germany”.

Finally, the 3rd Principle calls for a constant drive to criticise our own criticisms of Germany; to keep on our toes about the possibility that our critical assessment of the Eurozone’s most significant member-state is flawed. Without such self-critical posture, our criticism is bound to verge into the realm of both moralising nonsense and analytical paucity.

Lastly, turning one last time to my two year old (plus) piece on Germany’s mindset when the Bailout conditions were imposed on Greece back in May 2010, and reading it again in the context of the three principles in this article, I am pleased that it seems to pass this new test. Here is how it concludes:

“In this context, turning countries like Greece into sundrenched wastelands, and forcing the rest of the Eurozone into an even faster debt-deflationary downward spiral, is a most efficient way of undermining Germany’s own economy. Assuming, for argument’s sake, that Greece is getting its just deserts, do the hard working Germans deserve a political elite that quickmarches them straight into economic catastrophe?” I do not believe they do. But it has happened before and it may happen again. To quote Keynes’ 1920 book on the Versailles Treaty one last time: “Perhaps it is historically true that no order of society ever perishes save by its own hand.”

Two years hence, Greece has been turned into a sundrenched wasteland. And the rest of the Eurozone has been (and is being) pushed into a debt-deflationary downward spiral. Moreover, these developments are now undermining Germany’s own economy, plunging German workers into an economic catastrophe that they do not deserve. Such criticism of Germany, free of generalisations, predictively accurate, and displaying equal concern for German workers and the pains of the Periphery, is analytically useful because it is ethically and politically legitimate. I stand convinced that the three principles outlined here help us achieve this benign balance when subjecting proud nations to critical scrutiny.

159 Comments

  • The EU and the Euro system has been constantly screwing Germany. You just need to see the ratio of how Germans are represented per capity compared to others. Cyprus, the size of Cologne) has the same voting rights as Germany in the ECB. But it is not the Greeks fault. We need to and will bame the French, who got everybody into this mess.

    • This is the exact same argument made by Serbs in middle 80’s (let me remind you: one person one vote) when they were questioning their position and power into Jugoslavija (how come Crna Gora a.k.a. Montenegro or Slovenija with much less population than Serbia, has the same rights as Serbia inside Jugoslavija?). It is identical argument! (again I remind you what Serbs kept saying: that Jugoslavija was not to the benefit of Serbs etc) I assume you remember the massive destruction that followed this rhetoric…coincidentally, in 2 days is the memorial of the Srebrenica Genocide that was described by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as “the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War”

    • Do you think that any nation would enter any union unless it had the same voting rights as each of its partners? Think again. If Germany or France or Finland or whoever raises its voice and pushes for a different representation system let’s say voting rights/per capita or voting rights per country population or voting rights per ESFS/ESM contribution then it is Game Over for the EU.

      If you feel that you belong in a EU dictatorship because of its representation system then you should also know that this is the only system that could ever work. It has its flaws but the primary principle of unanimity and veto rights is the cornerstone of its stability. Again, realize that without these fundamental principles a European Union would be impossible. The fact that the unanimity principle was de facto abolished by Germany and France in Deauville and I am betting that pretty soon we could see a move for a de jure abolishment as well makes me feel that we are truly heading for a EU dictatorship as the one you are proclaiming. This is the mess we need to get out of and a true EU dictatorship as you speak.

    • The union is not a union if the weight of opinions and decisions are based only on per capita dough of every country. That would be entirely undemocratic.

      Not everything is about money. Unforunately the union fails ,exactly because certain someones acted for money only. It is now that certain European leaders act totally undemocratic ,trying to cover the banks behind the sovereigns. If that hadn’t happen ,the crisis would have been resolved a lot sooner.

      Thank you for saying it is not the Greeks’ fault but that is also inaccurate.
      Everyone is to blame in many different ways ,many of which are impossible to accurately pinpoint.

      We can only be certain about the mismanagement on the European level and for this we do not blame Germans or Greeks or French or anyother.

      The elite has no nationality.

      The blame is on those that knew the mismanagement and still fed the system ,no matter the purpose.

    • No taxation without representation! So, no German taxeuros for Greece when German interests in reasonable government aren’t represented. If the Greeks see that as an intrusion in their inner affairs, they’re free to find other creditors who don’t make any demands for sustainable finances (good luck with that).

    • Gray

      It is your government that makes your money go down a black hole. Not Greece.
      It is your government that blocks all policies that can solve the crisis without taxpayer’s having to foot the bill. Not Greece.

      It is your government that forced all these destructive policies without any democratic procedure ,only blackmails ,not Greece.

      You must love your elite.

    • Gray

      And we wanted to find others. Only that your own government and media went to great lengths to terrorise the Greek people into voting for your corrupted friends.

      You try so much to prove you are better and what is the result? You constantly appear so inferior. You have learned nothing as a nation. Only money.

    • Oh, come on, Demetri, that really is too cheap. All is Germany’s fault, and neither the lousy Greek governments and administration nor the other European powers and the IMF are to be blamed? That’s ridiculous.

    • Gray

      Actually Gray we are the ones that gave a full analysis about what the real problem is and we never accused Germany as a country.

      But everytime we said so the reaction from Germans was that we try to escape responsibility.

      Now that more and more people understand the European manipulation and games of the elite ,everybody is trying to reverse their position and act like we started the whole blame game.

      NOW THAT IS CHEAP.

      When we talk about Germany we talk about the official Germany and we connect it with the elite of every other country ,also Greece.

      So do not take it that personally.

      Your money do not go to Greece. Forget about Greece. Everything that has been heard about Greece is a distraction from the activities of the banksters.

      But the population of Germany acts like they just adore the crimes of their own government ,which is not German ,just slaves of the banksters and do not want to get through their thick skull that we have all been taken for a ride.

      What is most disturbing is the fact that you were all too willing to accept so freaking easily that a small nation and all of its people is to blame for a multi trillion overleveraging of banks.

      And still the first think the Greek people tried to do is get to the meat of things before accusing.

      Now we play the same blame game with you ,also because it is fun for us. Do not worry ,most of us are not racists ,but in no way does that mean that every time you attack us without knowing what the hell you are saying ,we want attack you back.

      This is trully all your own doing. If you do not want it to escalate into something worse then WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE.

      First apologise for all the insults against the Greeks ,something that no German has done ,then fight so that the policies of your government ,as the master slaves that they are ,change and stop hurting people.

      Again. Your money do not go to Greece. WAKE UP.

  • @Kantoos Economics

    Γερμανία, ο νέος εχθρός της Ελλάδας? Yet another response to Yanis’ response.

    “In my original post, I claimed that Yanis had in the past blamed Germany for economically exploiting Europe. I didn’t mean to suggest that he is playing a simple blame game, my apologies. I should have been more precise: the view that Germany has benefited from the euro and that its economic model brought the periphery into these troubles in the first place (the alleged German “mercantilism”), is misplaced in my view. But more importantly, such statements about the German economy open the door to blame games, which is dangerous.

    Because let’s be honest, Yanis: whether Germany on aggregate has benefited or lost from the euro is a question that cannot be answered with a sufficient degree of confidence, there are valid points on both sides, and nobody knows the counterfactual. The same is true for whether German workers have benefited from it, or were hurt. Neither of us should put too much faith into his own analysis and judgement, the German economy is much too complex for that. It is fine to endorse Hainer Flassbeck if one agrees with him, or Hans-Werner Sinn for that matter, but one should also note that there are very well-reasoned positions all the way to the other side. I am somewhere in the middle, arguing that benefits and costs of the euro roughly balance for Germany.

    A strong statement about Germany’s gains, however, opens the door to blame games by others who read it. Let me quote one commentator on Yanis’ blog, accusing Germany (emphasis mine):

    Your government shouldn’t force illegal loans and corrupted deals for imports and artificial standards of leaving in any country and other governments shouldn’t accept. So, not only you grew your economy at the expense of others, now you say it is not logical to pay for the problems caused. Stop crying and pay up. Not the people, but your government. … The whole country of yours should go to jail on a far away planet.”

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Here is my response to Kantoos Economics and all our other German “friends”

    Mr. Kantoos, Let me tell you one very important thing here:

    IT WAS PROMINENT CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL GERMAN POLITICIANS (INCLUDING MERKEL AND MANY OTHERS) AND PROMINENT GERMAN MEDIA WHICH STARTED THE BLAME GAME IN THE FIRST INSTANCE AND LABELED ALL THE GREEKS LIKE A BUNCH OF VILLAINS AND LAZY PROFLIGATES!!!!

    Secondly why are you just posting the comments of some readers and don’t post any of the many racist and even Nazi comments which one can find when reading German newspapers and magazines online these days??? And what is your problem with the statement of this reader? You might disagree with what he says but calling it a a blame game and an accusation of Germany is a funny hypersensitive reaction 🙂 Mr. Kantoos!

    Since you seem to be so overly concerned about an alleged Greek bias and false accusations I won’t answer any of your claims about all that!

    Instead I leave it up to your former minister of foreign affairs to give you a proper answer and prove to you that what the Greeks and others are perceiving more and more about the Germans is not any alleged blame games but unfortunately reflect the latest negative developments in Germany!

    Enjoy reading your former ministers article Mr. Kantoo:

    Joschka Fischer was German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor from 1998-2005

    http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/europe-s-winners-and-losers

    Europe’s Winners and Losers

    BERLIN – Rarely is a high-flying country brought back down to earth in a single night, but that is precisely what happened to Germany recently. In both football (soccer) and politics, the country had come to embody an unseemly mixture of arrogance and denial. It thought itself the measure of all things European, in terms of both the European championship and the European Union. In both cases, it was deceiving itself.

    The same night that Germany was thrashed by the Italians in the championship’s semi-finals, German Chancellor Angela Merkel ran up against the limits of her own powers at the eurozone leaders’ summit in Brussels. Germany’s political course since the beginning of the euro crisis two years ago had left it isolated, and she was no match for an alliance of Italy, Spain, and France.

    Indeed, she had no choice but to concede and agree to far-reaching changes to the EU’s new fiscal compact that will ease refinancing of the crisis countries and their banks. The German dogma of “no payments without counter-performance and control” was thus off the table, and the bargain struck in the early hours of the morning was exactly the opposite of what she had wanted. The fiscal compact had been reduced to a shambles even before Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, approved it later that day.

    In terms of addressing the eurozone financial crisis, however, the agreement reached in Brussels was anything but a breakthrough, because it never transcended the logic of narrow crisis management. It offers no strategy for overcoming the crisis in the south of Europe, which means that the threat to the eurozone has not been removed.

    Politically, however, the agreement amounts to a small revolution, because it has shifted the balance of power within the eurozone: Germany is strong, but not strong enough to get away with isolating itself completely from Europe’s other major players. Decisions that go against Germany are possible.

    There was patent gloating about the German defeat everywhere, only thinly disguised behind strained expressions of solidarity. The full extent of the political damage that Germany’s bailout policy for the eurozone, with its austerity, mass unemployment, and economic depression, has caused in southern Europe remains to be seen.

    If Merkel had wanted the agreement reached in Brussels, the outcome would have marked the beginning of a fundamental revision of the eurozone’s crisis policy – and thus an expression of successful statesmanship. Instead, it is a full-blown defeat for Germany, linked to its firm denial that German policy has sharply reduced the country’s influence in the EU. Yet it clearly has: German influence within the European Central Bank has declined significantly; the German finance minister will not become head of the Eurogroup; and now we have the Brussels disaster!

    But Germany’s defeat, however widely celebrated, holds much cause for concern. First, not everything that Germany is arguing is wrong: the urgent need for medium-term fiscal consolidation and structural reforms to increase the crisis countries’ competitiveness will not go away. Equally important, however, is the reduction of economic imbalances and European policy coordination to enable growth.

    Second, political paranoia is rising on the German right: everybody supposedly just wants Germany’s money; our Anglo-Saxon partners’ real aim is to weaken us; and the financial markets will not rest until Germany has invested all of its wealth and has thus endangered its economic success. Germany is being “betrayed to foreigners” by the opposition, and “good” productive capital is once again being opposed to “bad” speculative capital. In the opinion pages of some German newspapers, anti-capitalism is returning in a new form, which entails nothing less than a renunciation of Europe and even of the West.

    Of course, while the German right threatens to become more nationalistic, history will not repeat itself, because today’s Germany has changed, and so has its political environment. Still, an increasingly Euro-skeptic Germany in the heart of the EU could, given its great economic clout, seriously endanger the European integration process. And, while that would jeopardize Germany’s own interests, practical political action is not always rational, particularly in times of serious crisis.

    The same, incidentally, applies to France, except that the French, unlike the Germans, find it difficult to transfer political sovereignty, whereas for us Germans, it is all about the money. Both of these mental/political blocks are threatening the European project in equal measure.

    Indeed, if the result of the recent summit means that France and Germany will henceforth each forge alliances against the other, while hiding behind verbal expressions of solidarity, we might just as well forget about Europe. Without a functioning Franco-German axis, the European project cannot succeed.

    Both sides will have to decide whether or not they want Europe – that is, full economic and political integration. Economically, they must choose either joint liability and a transfer union or monetary re-nationalization. Politically, the choice is whether to empower a common government and parliament or return to full sovereignty. What we know for certain is that, just as one cannot be a little pregnant, the existing hybrid is not sustainable.

    Last November, Volker Kauder, the majority leader in the Bundestag, bragged that “suddenly Europe is speaking German.” He was wrong. Just as Spain (not Germany) remains the benchmark in European football, so Europe speaks broken English at best. From the standpoint of safeguarding the European project, that is all for the better.

    • Hey that was my post. But it is only a part of it.

      I was a little angry but the German posters on this blog know that i just play the stereotyping blame game as a reaction and tell them not to take it that personally.

      They say ouzo ,i say beer ,they say souvlaki ,i say bockwurst.
      I think we understand eachother perfectly.

      ——————
      It is all the Germans’ fault ofcourse. Even a German baby’s. 🙂
      ——————

    • Demetri, they can’t fool me about who started the blame game in the first instance!

      It was not just a blame game it was in fact a well orchestrated Goebbelian racist hate campaign which our good old German “friends” started!

      Now they are just concerned about the negative international echo since now it is the Germans who become the culprits once again for most other countries!

      C’est la vie my German friends, what goes around comes around!

    • Gray

      As i see it you are a sold soul Gray that want to add fuel to fire.
      Dorian Grays are not to be taken seriously.

  • Thank you for the article, Yiannis! I am caught between this Greek-German fight, myself. You see I am Greek, married with a German and we live in Greece. So, my husband is a “corrupt & lazy Greek” for German Bild Zeitung statistics. As for our 6-years old daughter, she must be a corrupt and lazy Nazi!!! This is Europe’s problem: too many Greeks, Germans, Italians, French etc and just a handful of Europeans…

    • ΅΅too many Greeks, Germans, Italians, French etc and just a handful of Europeans…”

      well said!!

    • (15-08)Correct Georgia. We, the Dutch people pay the most, get very little back, lost our beloved Florin and are overshadowed by the big country’s!
      This is a european problem we never wanted because the EU and the Euro were never popular in Holland.I
      If the eurozone crakes it will crake in Holland or Finland, not in big country. So sorry, now Europeans here. Only Dutch.

      Best regard, Martin

    • @Martin This kind of thinking is bringing Europe to its knees. Instead of understanding that Europe’s real power is its diversity of cultures, ideas etc, we are fighting over its dead corpus about who will get the most of it. Do you really think that the Netherlands is going to make it on its own in a world of economic giants? Not even Germany can do that!

    • Martin

      Everybody thinks they pay more.
      You give money for the banks and we give increasing suicide rates.

      So ,instead of controlling the banks ,you want to blame the European Idea.

      Ok.

      In 10 or 20 years from now ,no matter if you are better or worse in your country and if you have learned how banksters do their business ,you’ll look back and say “How stupid we were. We settle in accusing eachother only because sold out leaders told us to and we lost an opportunity to WAKE UP and build a better future for everybody. The [email protected] Greeks. They were right again”.

    • *The Dutch are paying the MOST the most per capita afterLuxembourg.
      *The problem of Greece is in the French and German banks, but NOT in the Dutch banks!
      *Our pensionfunds own together 870,6 miljard euro.
      *We are an international business country, many of our business partner are outside the EU.
      *We own many big international firm like Unilever, Shell (biggest firm in the world) etc. These firms are operating outside the EU.
      *We are one of the biggest exporters of natural gas and electricity.
      *It is a small kingdom, the Dutch don’t want to get a part from a big Europe. It is a country like Switzerland, absolutely not like Germany and French.

      So we are paying for everybody’s problems except our because we don’t have any….

      Do you now understand the EU is very unpopular in Europe? Europe needs us but we don’t need Europe… That is the sad conclusion..

    • @ Martin I understand that this is a Common Market (still) and not a Union. But tell me Martin, what is a Dutch living in Greece and what is a Greek living in the Netherlands? What if one has a business in both countries? I have assets in more than 2 EU countries.

      Don’t you understand it: there are no countries anymore, just capital flowing from one place to the other. Your international companies, they only have international shareholders. They do not belong to any particular culture, just max profit culture. Remember Saab? It is Chineese now!

      Martin, a Union is something completly different than just money and markets.

    • My dear Georgia now we start talking!

      “A Union is something completly different than just money and markets.”
      Exactly. That’s the point. Martin decrepit exactly (July 10, 2012 at 10:05) “our” (North) point of view.
      (I can’t, his english is much better than mine.)

      We simply don’t want a transferUNION.

      Kind regards, Martin.

    • “My dear Georgia now we start talking! “A Union is something completly different than just money and markets.” Exactly. That’s the point. Martin decrepit exactly (July 10, 2012 at 10:05) “our” (North) point of view. (I can’t, his english is much better than mine.) We simply don’t want a transferUNION. Kind regards, Martin.”

      And we don’t want this German dominated European pseudo-Union any more!!!

      Simple as that, go and flock with your other fellow northerners in Scandinavia. We simply don’t want this travesty show of a “Union” to go on for longer. Call the EU what it really is, just a miserable club of industrial, multinationals and banking interests!

    • Martin Holland

      You say you do not want a transfer union.

      Let us say there is not one. You will still transfer your surplasses elsewhere. You do not escape that. The union is not a “transfer union”.
      The transfers are a part of economy in general ,not of the union.
      The difference is that it was supposed to recycle any advantage inside the EU for any European.

      The problem was that the architecture didn’t allow for good and controlled uses of the transfers.

      The problem was never the transfers. It was that certain someones made the money disappear ,union or not.

      Now the problem is arbitrary rules that the elite do not want changed because the banksters do not want to lose any power they enjoyed till now. And they may very well destroy the EU for that.

      We can not say that the EU is to blame ,simply because they never used it properly.

    • Demetri, once again, the Dutch banks are not involved in the Greek bankingproblems! We are net-payers.
      It is not our party, we only have to pay! South-europe is not a big/intersting tradepartner for Holland. Sorry. So what can we recycle? Greek products are expensive and low quality. Why do you think Greece is importing everything?

      Aristoteles, Sto kalo. I don’t have the slightest idea what Greece can do without our aid. A part of the money is for the banks, partly it is support.
      After the Greek tripled the prices for us, tourist the last 10 years for poor and low quality, how do you want to earn you money? Industry? High Quality products? Cars? Olive oil?
      Greece can’t even feed his own population! And of course you can start to calling names, but give me one thing, one Greek product, what is interesting for us to import!
      It is an simple question, how do you want to make your money? I mean the money your country needs to import your food, petrol, etc?

      Beste regards, Martin.

    • Martin Holland

      Relax ,i am not fighting with you.
      You didn’t understand me. I am not talking about Holland having problems. I explained to you the “transfers”.

      Let us say that noone has any problem. Union or not ,you will transfer your surpluses somewhere. Not Greece necessarily. In Europe it was supposed to happen more between us but the transfers were uncontrolled and the money vanished.

      The deficit is normal. For every surplus country ,a deficit or more counties must exist. Then you have a recycling surplus mechanism which must be controlled so that the transfers go to productive endeavours. So far this is the normal mechanics that should have functioned correctly at a european level.

      Here is where the problems begin. And it has nothing to do with Greece.
      The Germans have defamated us ,have slandered us ,have convinced the world that we are responsible for a multitrillion crisis that started by a big bailout for Germany herself from the inception of the euro. All the manipulation of the flow was controlled by Germany. Where the money went? To the pockets of the Greeks whose quality of life diminished and saw prices skyrocketing? NO. That is why you saw higher prices in Greece.

      Now ,what you call help it is not for the real economy of Greece which was doing good enough. Enough to live. We are a money laundering machine for the irresponsibility of the banksters and especially bundesbank.

      Mark my words ,this will be remembered as one of the biggest crimes in History. That is what Germans do.

      Now as for the potential of Greece ,not only is huge but we already are autonomous enough.

      Things got worst ,exactly because of the forced bailouts that increased the debt. And the reforms are only so that more money and faster can be funelled to the German banks.

      It is not the EU as an idea to blame. It is the use of the EU by those that had the power. They wanted the authority but not the responsibility. They used the power only for them. Not for Europe.

      It is good that in Holland you have no problems. Now know that the problems in Greece are not Greek. And you definitely do not pay for Greece. Everybody pays for Germany.

      And it seems most of the German citizens just love it.
      This is the worst of all.

  • Μακάρι να μπορούσε να ακουστεί η δική σας φωνή ανάμεσα στο κοράκια των Ευρω-συναντήσεων, αντι κάποιων puppets που περιμένουν τον αφέντη τους να κουνήσει τα νήματα, για να χορέψουν και να διασκεδάσουν τα αρπακτικά της Γερμανίας και των υπολοίπων τους.

    Σε πολύ απλά ελληνικά, για να βοηθήσει τυχόν μετάφραση, ΕΙΝΑΙ ΓΙΑ ΚΛΩΤΣΙΕΣ

    Να ξέρετε πως η νέα γενιά βασίζει πάρα πολλές ελπίδες στα λεγόμενα σας, και διαβάζοντας τα άρθρα σας απλά ανακουφίζεται για λίγο. Γι αυτό και η πρώτη λέξη που σας έγραψα ήταν…μακάρι

    Σας εύχομαι οτι καλύτερο στη ζωή σας.

  • Μακάρι να μπορούσε να ακουστεί η δική σας φωνή ανάμεσα στο κοράκια των Ευρω-συναντήσεων, αντι κάποιων puppets που περιμένουν τον αφέντη τους να κουνήσει τα νήματα, για να χορέψουν και να διασκεδάσουν τα αρπακτικά της Γερμανίας και των υπολοίπων τους.

    Σε πολύ απλά ελληνικά, για να βοηθήσει τυχόν μετάφραση, ΕΙΝΑΙ ΓΙΑ ΚΛΩΤΣΙΕΣ

    Να ξέρετε πως η νέα γενιά βασίζει πάρα πολλές ελπίδες στα λεγόμενα σας, και διαβάζοντας τα άρθρα σας απλά ανακουφίζεται για λίγο. Γι αυτό και η πρώτη λέξη που σας έγραψα ήταν…μακάρι

    Σας εύχομαι οτι καλύτερο στη ζωή σας.

    Θέος Κωνσταντίνος

  • I find plenty of ire and anger simply at reading the statements of both Greek and German leaders. You don’t really need to paint the entire populace a certain way or extrapolate, but, for instance, when Germans moralize the value of hard work in their lectures, one may repeat their words and criticize. When Mr. Sinn claims that Greece has received aid 100x over the value of the Marshall Plan that Germany received, one may hold him in contempt. Recently, when eurowide ministers mentioned to a German minister that his use of the ants and grasshopper story was misplaced. First the German cited LaFontaine’s Grasshopper/Ant fable rather than Aesop’s. But LaFontaine’s was radically different and contained a hidden critique of the ant. After a French economist retorted to the German official that La Fontaine also had a fable about an oak despising the “flexibility” of the bamboo. But during a storm, the “stable” oak breaks while the bamboo resists. To which the German replied: “It was not German oak.”

    However one wants to interpret this statement, you can’t get by the boast of superiority. Whether he has transferred other aspects of his personality into this need to show his economic and productive superiority is almost irrelevant. One leaves thinking this person believes he is a superior being.

    Finally, the Aesop fable itself is more nuanced. After the ant prepares for the winter, and hordes his bounty, it’s not enough for him to become miserly with it, but he starts to undo the work of his neighbor ants, poaching their goods and seeking ways to expand his bounty at their expense.

    • We Germans never claimed our politicians are perfect, not even that they’re necessarily nice people. For us, the important point is that they’re at least better than the Greek ones. You shouldn’t expect too much from democracy. It isn’t a prefect system.

      Apart from that – fables, shmables. What we need are target-leading ideas now and not fairy tales! You should care less about stupid catfights and nitpicking and more about realistical proposals. We’re all only wasting our time with all this fingerpointing and wishful thinking. All that nonsense won’t change the reality, which is: a) Germany can’t and won’t provide long term subsidies for the GIPSI’s (no political support for that here) and b) when an Eurozone member can’t manage to achieve an economic recovery, despite generous help that is already at the outer limits of what is politically possible, that government has to draw the unavoidable conclusion. Foot dragging will only prolong the pain.

    • “Foot dragging will only prolong the pain.”

      And who does the foot dragging? The German Trio.

    • Gray

      Anyone with a brain and honest heart knows that what we say here is for the wellbeing of the Germans too. Of everybody.

      You go on and support the banksters.

    • Gray:

      This complicates a bit our plan of Greek hegemony over eurobarbarians.

      Are you sure than your untalented, uncreative, unintelligent, dimmed in many respects politicians of yours are better than ours?

      I mean this is the kind of ridiculous statement that you guys make and then you want us to take you seriously.

      And I don’t mean the entire German nation, of which you are perfect representatives of mediocrity, but rather you and the other miserables who can’t even hold a logical argument but you demand constant attention as if the world owes you an explanation for your incurable condition.

    • “Anyone with a brain and honest heart knows that what we say here is for the wellbeing of the Germans too.”

      How would be even more generous financial support for Greece, paid for by the German taxpayers, be good for Germans? Only if there’s a chance that Hellas will modernize and trigger a sustainable economic recovery (and thus repay the credits and produce psotive headlines for the Eurozone). But the experience of the last years, all the footdragging in Athens, the strikes and riots, the political mess, makes this a very remote possibility. sorry, but I don’t think its in the best interests of Germans to bet an awful lot of money on such a bad chance. That money could be put to much better use in Germany itself, for instance for improving child care services that would benefit single parents and families with two working parents. And for the Eurozone, it probably would be better if the weakest link in the chain would be removed.

      No, really, under a realistic view of the circumstances, it isn’t even certain that more and bigger bailout moneys would be in the interest of the Greek people. They may be better off with a return to the Drachme and with job programs funded by freshly printed banknotes. Those who still believe in a Greek future as an Euro member, despite the total lack of serious improvements during the last years, are only hoping for a miracle.

    • Gray

      Obviously you have no idea what we are saying here or you just act like it.

      Just another victim of your media propaganda or on purpose throwing mud. …
      We do not want bailout money. This is your doing and only yours.

      You had a responsibility to manage the transfers in the EZ and you blew it.

      We do not ask you to pay for Greece. You pay for your own crap and you are exempt from the crisis because we are the ones covering your butt ,by having austerity and people dying.

      You go and change your government …
      And you haven’t payed a dime in the real economy of Greece.

      It is all about your banks.

  • not being Greek or German the urgency of this argument is somewhat lost on me. However, I would still approach it another way. Why not just assume that everything everybody says about the other is part true and part objectification: that the national questions are always there but that class analysis is an infinitely better tool for understanding what’s really going on in the Eurozone.

    In other words, what would Marx say . . . especially if there had never been a first Marx and the second (German Jewish) Marx was writing today and had to make his own unprecedented class analysis of modern Europe.

    • If Marx was alive nowdays he would be mr. Soros.

      Today there is no left-wing or right-wing. Those things don’t exist anymore. There are only 3 classes of people.

      First, the few mega-rich, second, the people that worked hard and managed to buy an “ipad” and third, people that are working extra hard, or negotiating their kidneys, in order to be able to buy an “ipad” someday in the future.

      Civilization misery.

  • ΑΡΘΡΟΓΡΑΦΙΑ ΘΑΝΑΣΗΣ ΛΥΡΤΣΟΓΙΑΝΝΗΣ

    Οι δήθεν εταίροι μας να πάψουν να προσβάλλουν τον ελληνικό λαό
    Στην πολιτική υπάρχουν πράγματα που λέγονται αλλά δεν γίνονται και πράγματα που γίνονται χωρίς να λέγονται. Την ελληνική αυτή ρήση, που κολλάει γάντι στον σημερινό επικοινωνιακό χυλό, κάποιος θα πρέπει να τη μάθει στους εταίρους μας και προπαντός στους ανθρώπους του ΔΝΤ.

    Ο αέρας του επικυρίαρχου, η προκλητική συμπεριφορά, οι ανάρμοστες και αγενείς δηλώσεις να εξαφανιστούν. Ολοι να βγάλουν τον σκασμό και να πάψουν να προσβάλλουν τον ελληνικό λαό, ιδίως τώρα που δοκιμάζεται σκληρά και σε μεγάλο βαθμό εξαιτίας της πολιτικής που επέβαλαν τα συνεταιράκια της τρόικας. Οι κ. Σόιμπλε, Μέρκελ, Λαγκάρντ, Ασμουσεν και λοιποί φωστήρες της σκέψης και της πολιτικής, καλό θα ήταν να σιωπήσουν για κάποιο διάστημα. Για να γίνει αυτό θα πρέπει η ελληνική κυβέρνηση να ορθώσει το ανάστημα και να απαιτήσει να πάψουν να λοιδορούν τη χώρα και τον ελληνικό λαό όλοι αυτοί οι δήθεν εταίροι.

    Το γεγονός ότι μας δανείζουν δεν σημαίνει πως έχουν το δικαίωμα να προχωρούν σε χαρακτηρισμούς και προσβλητικές δηλώσεις. Το ζήτημα δεν άπτεται μόνο της υπερηφάνειας και της αξιοπρέπειας του ελληνικού λαού. Εχει και άμεση πρακτική σημασία αφού, σύμφωνα με τις αρχές της επικοινωνίας, σε καιρούς αβεβαιότητας και ανασφάλειας ο λόγος διογκώνεται, η φήμη μπορεί να αποκτήσει τερατώδεις διαστάσεις οι οποίες δύνανται να αποδιαρθρώσουν ακόμα και καλά οργανωμένες οικονομίες.

    Και τότε η οποιαδήποτε οικονομική πολιτική μπορεί να αποδειχτεί αναποτελεσματική και ανώφελη, γιατί το κέντρο βάρους θα έχει μετατοπιστεί από την πραγματική οικονομία στην επικοινωνία, από την πράξη στα λόγια.

    • Επανέρχεται η γερμανική φυλλάδα Bild: “Δεν φταίμε εμείς που αποτύχατε εσείς”!

      Ο Κάι Ντίκμαν είναι ο διευθυντής της Bild, της εφημερίδας με τη μεγαλύτερη κυκλοφορία σε ολόκληρη την Ευρώπη με πωλήσεις 3 εκ. φύλλα και 12 εκ. αναγνώστες ημερησίως. Πρόκειται για το γερμανικό ταμπλόιντ που δεδομένα έχει δοκιμάσει τα νεύρα μας όλο αυτό τον καιρό που συζητάμε και βιώνουμε την κρίση.

      Ο κ. Ντίκμαν πρόσφατα επισκέφθηκε τη χώρα μας και συγκεκριμένα τη Λέρο. Σήμερα η εφημερίδα «Καθημερινή» δημοσιεύει συνέντευξή του στην οποία ο διευθυντής της Bild δηλώνει χωρίς δεύτερες σκέψεις ότι δεν έχει καμία ενοχή από τον τρόπο με τον οποίο η εφημερίδα του κάλυψε την ελληνική κρίση χρέους. «Δεν ευθύνεται ο αγγελιοφόρος για τις κακές ειδήσεις που κομίζει. Γράφουμε απλώς την πικρή αλήθεια. Όπως τη λέει και η καγκελάριος Μέρκελ», εξηγεί. «Από έναν καλό φίλο θα έπρεπε να έχετε την απαίτηση να λέει την αλήθεια». Συμπληρώνει στις δηλώσεις του στην εφημερίδα.

      This is my reply to our “good friend” Kai Diekman from the Nazi-Bildzeitung: Aίσχος ρε κώλο κοπριτη!!! Oυστ ρε αλητη που θες να μας δώσεις και καλες συμβουλες!!!

      Ιδιαίτερη αναφορά χρήζει η απάντηση του κ. Ντίκμαν στην ερώτηση: «Δηλαδή δεν είναι στόχος σας η έξοδος της Ελλάδας από το ευρώ;». «Δεν είναι αυτό το ζήτημα», λέει, αλλά μετά αυτοδιαψεύδεται, όπως αναφέρει και η εφημερίδα: «Το θέμα είναι πώς θα σταθεί η ελληνική οικονομία στα πόδια της. Και στο πλαίσιο αυτό ίσως θα έπρεπε να εξεταστεί αν είναι σκόπιμο η Ελλάδα να εγκαταλείψει προσωρινά την Ευρωζώνη, όχι την Ε.Ε., για να μπορέσει να υποτιμήσει το εθνικό της νόμισμα και να γίνει ανταγωνιστική», απάντησε.

  • Reality is endlessly complex, even in Europe ;). But what about reducing it to four dimensions:
    1. Northern (or “central”) vs. Southern (or “peripheral”) Europe;
    2. Rich people (also outside Europe) vs. people in Europe who have to struggle to make ends meet;
    3. Politicians and speculators vs. people interested in a healthy real (“Main Street”) economy;
    4. Believers in European integration vs. believers in nationalism;
    OK, and the fifth dimension is called “France” 😉

    Excluding the fifth, very special and glorious dimension, one can still identify sixteen possible interest groups (2x2x2x2). The amount of possible alliances (or “conspiracies”) among these 16 interest groups runs in the hundreds. (The number of possible BILATERAL alliances is 112, isn’t it?)

    I’ve read an interesting analysis by one Matthias Elbers, called “Das Euro Desaster” (The Euro Disaster) on http://www.scribd.com/doc/99210338. It’s only 45 pages. Basically, Elbers says that the real problem is the difference in competitiveness between southern and northern Europeans, which has been exacerbated by flows of money caused by the adoption of a common currency (the Euro). The least damaging solution that he sees, both for the northern and for the southern economies, is that Greece, Spain and Portugal leave the Eurozone in an orderly way so that they can devaluate and regain their competitiveness. He says the real reason that European politicians don’t want Greece to leave, is not that they fear chaos, but that they fear that Greece will show that it can be relatively succesful outside the Eurozone.

    I would be very interested in Yanis’ comment on that analysis. (Sorry, it’s in German.)

  • A superb lesson. Now would there be half of this self-criticism and the real deep wish to come nearer to the centre of (here: economical) problems within other people, a lot of politicians and scientists!
    I am privately researching since quite some time about just such matters – even in cultural affairs can you find certain generalisations that border on a slight form of racism. It is of no matter here, but many german cultural people only needed to say “the eighties” in some ten thousands of debates, and it was clear that they wanted to speak about hell on earth. (In fact, quite a lot of left-wing-ideas were disregarded exactly with the use of such stereotypes. Every single criticism of any next step towards less rights for poor people was called “social romanticism” or “are you one of these sick pre-postmodern éngagée-folks, he he”). I recorded a lot of this stuff over the years to find out what those generalisations mean, why they are used and so on. It is extremely important to ask one self such things, too many just fell into the traps of coolness while they did not ask this, in cultural scenes; or started a kind of over-generalization, like indeed a vast majority of german papers did with “the” greek people.)

    I’ll print this out and put it into “the global minotaur”. A truly excellent read. And as I (last time just this Saturday) always hear the same lies about Greece springing out of the mouths of poor german people, it is even more important to go on, criticising official german policy. It is a rare thing still, and the word has to be spread, that’s for sure. If you’d ever (from reading here I doubt that) would start to think it was all in vain – a little bit of Ernst Bloch reading always helps, maybe the passages where he is a real great storyteller, a “Geschichtenerzähler”. (Is there a greek translation of “Spuren”? At least there should be.)
    A truly wonderful read, your article, thank you very much!

  • “I stand convinced that the three principles outlined here help us achieve this benign balance when subjecting proud nations to critical scrutiny.” Somewhere, somehow all this talk is nice and seems to me quite secondary. Restructure banks, write off equity capital, have unsecured debt holder see their part converted into risk capital, have senior bond holder take a substantial haircut, close down and break up “banksuperstores”. Stop this ponzi of “Rettungsschirme”, all these firewalls mean just more of what should become less, i.e. debt.

    That MUST happen before all and any other proceedings. And then device an economy that grows on sustainable benchmarks in terms of environment, financings,i.e. no debt bubbles (the mother of all bubbles) and the ensuing asset bubbles. Regulate the money business. The sooner this becomes shared grounds amongst the shakers and makers the better. Debt and a system that leads to such debt problems is the issue….and will fan nationalism and worse.

    • And the arrogant nonsense from this German guy Gray (with a different ID for some reason) above, indicates that even-handed and reasonable or rational approaches do not work with at least some Germans. The empirical question is: what proportion of Germans? Is it just the political right and some of their banking cronies (I presume that Gray is in banking), supported by mass media and then influencing the masses through their own lack of knowledge? This is quite plausible — but,Yani, unless you can change the quality of reporting across Europe, then it makes no difference.

      Frankly, what is happening is nationalistic and plain nasty. The logical outcome is the collapse of Europe and possibly war. It’s worth trying to avoid it, but I am not optimistic.

  • To all of you have been supporteers of stealing German tax payer money to pay off the debt of your countries (government & private), I have bad news:

    So far I have been arguing that it is not right that Germany should foot the bill. Let´s assume it would be right and we would spend our savings and future tax revenues for our poor not brothers in the South.

    Now comes the bad news. We can´t we are too poor! Now we need to wonder why the markets do not get it it. It is so obvious:

    – The total German federal public debt is 287% of GDP (82 explicit, 85% public retirement system, 83% public health care system, 38% care system)
    – We have the lowest birth rate per 1000 capita in the world: 8,3. Even without taking on other peoples debt the current domestic debt is not sustainable.
    – The public debt of GIIPS is 3 billion. This is what is talked about, but the bank debt which came into play with Spain recently is 9 billion. Total 12 billion. That is 6 times the current explicit German debt and about 500% German GDP

    So the (for you) bad news is: The Euro is toast no matter what Merkel does or not. The markets just did not get it yet.

    Maybe world bonds or universe bonds would do the trick!

    • n eu d

      WHO STEALS?
      You really want to make things worst between us ,don’t you?
      The euro is toast exactly because of Merkel and after you forced others to pay for your mismanagement. You looked after your interests just fine but you overdid it.

      Noone had to foot any bill. Noone here asked for your money. And the only thing you have been arguing about is to make other people that read this blog think that truly you were arguing about Germany not paying while others ask her too. How twisted of you.

      So many ways ,so many alternatives for the well being of everybody and you support the destructive policies of your masters.

      And yes you have a lot of debt no matter your “reforms”.
      Instead of working with others to rectify the situation you decide to steal from them because with the troubles of your banks ,you would have blown your economy skyhigh. And suddenly it is the Greek’s fault for your own bankers idiocy.

      We have figured you out n eu d.

      You decided it is better for the German taxpayer to back your banks while thinking they pay for others and it is better for the southerns to recycle debt by you giving them forced money that then you take all back ,so that your banks unload their toxic waste ,while at the same time the southerns are forced to privatise everything for nothing.
      You take all the money back and the debt of the southerns increases.

      What a bunch of thieves.

      The only reason you want reforms is so that you take more money from the southerns as fast as possible and then escape this european ponzi scheme you participated in so gladly without hurting your tender “bums” (“asses” and “pricks”).

      COWARDS.

    • @No EU dictatorship:

      As most other Germans you still seem not to get the point my friend!!!

      There are fundamentally three more acceptable and one completely unacceptable way to get rid of debt:

      – First the unacceptable way is making war and stealing the money of others. That was what Hitler and many others did in the past!
      – Now lets come to the acceptable ways, they consist of inflating away the debt, reducing the debt by haircuts or last but not least deleveraging the debt by making everybody pay for the debt!

      Guess what your cookie monster Merkel wants to do! The only problem with the option of deleveraging the debt is that it mostly affects the poorest rather than the richest and so the burden falls on German taxpayers, Greek taxpayers and all other ordinary people in Europe rather than burdening the rich with additional taxes or higher inflation.

      Now there is another dirty game which your government is playing on the back of the Germans and the rest of the Eurozone and this dirty trick is Agenda 2010 and the Hartz reforms!!!

      What are the effects of Agenda 2010 on the German labour prices and costs? It had as a result that salaries didn’t increase at all over the last ten years. In fact many salaries even reduced instead of increasing! Of course the salaries of the big bosses in Germany did tremendously well in contrast to all other salaries 🙂

      Now lets analyse what the effect of the Agenda 2010 is on the rest of the Eurozone! These reforms are the main and utmost factor of the uneven developments of competitiveness in the Eurozone. How is that? Very simple since all the others in the Eurozone increased their salaries while the Club Teutonia reduced the salaries that was the outcome!

      Now what is your cookie monster Merkels plan on that? Does she want to increase the salaries in Germany and hence reduce the differences in competitiveness and improve the standard of living of the poorer Germans???

      NO! NEIN! NEIN! She wants to do the opposite! She wants to implement Agenda 2010 on everybody else in the Eurozone and hence reduces salaries in the whole Eurozone!

      Does all this sound like beeing in the interest of the German people and the the other Europeans? Ask yourself this question.

    • “universe bonds ”

      Yes, we need to extend socialism all over the universe. Otherwise it will not work, because people will have a place to escape to!

    • The best way to deleverage are debt to equity swaps. The owners of the bank debt will become owners of the banks. The current shareolders are wiped out. very simple. Very fair.

      Again, noone forces Greece to stay in the Eurozone. When the EURO was set up, the rules were very clear it was supposed to be a German Mark, not a Italian Lira. So inflating is not an option.

    • n eu d

      That is why you terorrised the average people in Greece?
      Because Greece has the choice of leaving?

      Spare me the talk about rules ,will ya?

      The rules are what your government chooses as it suits it.

  • That’s a rather fair try, Prof Yaroufakis, but after laying an impressive theoretical foundation, you sadly fall back into your old bad habit of presenting unproven assumptions as facts. For instance:
    “there is no doubt that Germany’s trade balance did benefit.” From the Euro? Really? How much? Are you certain that there can’t be any alternative explanation, like that it took Germany ten years to overcome the economical shock of having to create a sustainable economy for 16 miillion East Germans? And how do you explain that GermanyÄs grwoth was falling behind that of the GIPSI’s and that it called “the sick man of Europe” in the early naughts? That doesn’t make sense if Germany profitted much more from the Euro than the other nations.

    “Suppose that there were a button that the German Chancellor could press to make the Greek debt and the Greek current account deficit go away without any pain for the Greek people.” That experiment is irrlevant because it ignores the pain (=costs) for the German people. Of course, the German chancellor should care for the wellbeing of her own people, and not about the Greeks, in the first place.

    “I have no doubt that both the German public and a large majority of German policy makers would opt for the latter; motivated by a mixture of (a) an urge to see that the Greeks are ‘taught’ a lesson (retribution) and (b) a view that such pain is important to deter the spendthrift Greeks (and assorted Peripherals) from repeating their ‘sins’ in the future.” Those aren’t two different motivations, but just different (but distorted) ways of describing the same attitude: That of course it has to be assured that the offender will learn that he shouldn’t repeat his irresponsible lending. You call that “retribution”, but most others will call that “reasonable caution”. Sry, but how would YOU want to assure that Greek governments don’t fall back to nad habits of the past if the offence wouldn’t result in negativeconsequences? This looks as if you hold some strange views about human behaviour, but can you provide historical precedents, or other scientific evidence, that people change their behaviour without any pressure or incentives to do so?

    “Greece has been turned into a sundrenched wasteland. And the rest of the Eurozone has been (and is being) pushed into a debt-deflationary downward spiral. Moreover, these developments are now undermining Germany’s own economy, plunging German workers into an economic catastrophe that they do not deserve.” Once again, you totally ignore the fact that it were the Greek governments in the first place which turned their country into an economic wasteland, by thousands of irresponsible decisions. It’s simply not reasonable to simply ignore that most of the damage was self sustained, sorry. Also, “the rest of the Eurozone has been (and is being) pushed into a debt-deflationary downward spiral”? The whole rest? And by Germany, not by risk weary investors, by unintentionally bad Eurozone-compromises, or by the far reaching consequences of some misguided governments who dangerously rocked the Euro boat? Where’s your case, where’s your evidence?

    But most seriously ofr all, you totally ignore that Germany is acting under the constraints of globalization, like everybody else. Even if it were true that Germany
    was the major villain in the Eurozone, you still would have to prove that that nation had a reasonable chance to act differently, without hurting its own wellbeing. It should be self evident that you can’t reasonably expect a nation to commit economical suicide just to make life easier for its neighbors. Well, you didn’t prove that at all, and I’m certain you can’t. Complain as much as you want, but single nations don’t have any chance to successfully go against the hypercapitalist flow in these times of huge international moneys dictating the ways of global economy. Only a cordinated effort of all the major industrial nations of this world will be able to reign that in, but that is just science fiction yet. Germany is simply a bit better at swimming in these shark invested waters, but we didn’t create this mad world. We just try to survive, like everybody else. And those who point fingers instead of using both arms to keep up will be eaten. Not our fault, sorry.

    • Oops, I forgot one point: “Moreover, these developments are now undermining Germany’s own economy, plunging German workers into an economic catastrophe that they do not deserve.”
      Where’s that catastrophe? All I can find in the news are reports about excellent export numbers. And Germany would rather join a new Eurozone, together with other economically stable nations, than being ruined by trying to keep Southern shipwrecks from drowning.

    • You definitely have a point. But the Eurozone was also pushed by German high finance and multinational industries. There has been “growth” for these branches that was (putting it mildly) not shared equally with workers, in terms of job creation and salaries. Harz IV is very hard on unemployed people in Germany.

      This whole thing about pitting countries against each other is taking attention away from the real, social issue. The Eurozone project has been designed by and for financial, industrial and political elites in both the northern and southern countries (e.g. Germany and Greece), at the expense of the vast majority of the people who live there (corrupting many of them in the process, by offering them temporary, illusionary benefits that were dependent on bubbles created with bubble-Euros). Now these elites try to continue this project by turning the Eurozone into an oligarchic dictatorship. These elites have turned not only against the poor, but also against the middle class, saying in effect: “We have played it nice for ten years, but now we are going to make you pay for that.” The resemblance with classic mafia techniques to recruit people, is striking.

      So yes, I agree with you that Germany should not let itself be blackmailed by mafia techniques from the south. But neither should the German people let themselves be blackmaild by the techniques of their own mafia bosses.

      For ALL Europeans, it is time to stand with their own feet on honest ground again. Only then can we begin to see where help is really needed and justified. Not help to continue the mafia structures, but help to make it possible for individuals to rebuild an honest life, characterized by work, but not by slavery.

    • are the Eurogroup chiefs not blackmailing the rest of the world through the IMF? Mexico just ponied up $10 billion for use in Europe. $10 billion!! MEXICO!!!! Isn’t that a form of blackmail?

    • @Mike: although in initial social transactions we assume “good faith”, there is no reason to assume that with Gray. He has appeared quite enough here, and on other websites, with anti-Greek and pro-German rhetoric for us to reject such an assumption.

      My assumption is that he is employed in German banking — and this is self-interested propaganda. There is a lot of money still at stake, so you can expect a lot of organised propaganda (as there was against Tsipras) by those who have been “gaming the system” for the last 25 years.

    • Gray

      ———————
      “Sry, but how would YOU want to assure that Greek governments don’t fall back to nad habits of the past if the offence wouldn’t result in negativeconsequences?”

      By not having your own government terrorise the Greek people into voting for the same corrupted politicians with whom your corporations they did business for so long and so much they liked it.
      ———————

      “Germany was the major villain in the Eurozone”

      Germany as a country is not the major villain ,it just happens that you are the perfect slaves for your masters. WAKE UP.
      ———————

      “It should be self evident that you can’t reasonably expect a nation to commit economical suicide just to make life easier for its neighbors. Well, you didn’t prove that at all, and I’m certain you can’t.”

      That is exactly what your forced policies are doing to you and especially the southerns ,only to save your banks. Noone attacks Germany personally. WAKE UP.
      ———————

      “Well, you didn’t prove that at all, and I’m certain you can’t. Complain as much as you want, but single nations don’t have any chance to successfully go against the hypercapitalist flow in these times of huge international moneys dictating the ways of global economy.”

      Everything has been proven again and again. It is a common tactic to cause confusion by going back to other arguments of yours that have in the past lost credibility when the other party now mentions something else. Correct that single nations do not have the power to go against the hypercapitalist flow. And what Germany does? Blocks any creative flow.
      So the hypercapitalist IS Germany.

      The above is also a contradiction of yours since later you mention that Germany is just fine.
      ———————

      There are policies that do not require from any taxpayer to foot any bill.
      And who blocks these policies? Your government. Why? Because they are the best slaves of the bankers.
      It is the banks that everyone pays for and you have the cowardish attitude to hide behind the Greeks by defamating them and trying to convince the world that the whole nation deserves it.

      That is how Germany looks at her own interest or does she think that again the world will do a favour to her and give her more free money ,no matter how many people she hurts?

    • @Guest (Xenos)

      From what Gray Goods writes here, I wouldn’t assume he is in the pay of the banksters. Most banksters (including German and Greek banksters) want Germany to be in the ESM. They say: “Yeah, save the banks with taxpayers’ money, and make an end to democracy so that we can rule Europe through the ECB, the ESM and other non-elected bureaucracies and lobbies!”

      Gray Goods says: “Save the savings of average German taxpayers by not trying to save southern European banks and governments who are so deeply in debt that all the German taxpayers’ money won’t be able to save them.” That is a very different message.

      The only things Gray Goods seems to forget, is that part of the bad guys’ headquarters are actually in Germany, and that average Greek people had to go along with a corrupt system in order to survive, both before and after the Greek entry to the Eurozone. And yes, the majority of these same average Greeks elected corrupt politicians. But – surprise, surprise! – the majority of the Germans did the same.

      Everywhere in Europe there was this huge manipulation going on, brainwashing people that the Euro was a source of affluence and stability. Until it could not be hidden anymore that the affluence was based on the creation of very unstable bubbles, mostly in the south, but also in the north. Look at the Dutch housing bubble, for instance: not as extreme as the Spanish one, but it’s been slowly deflating for some years now. The German export to southern Europe, based on German money flowing to the south through cheap credit, made possible by the common-currency-windowdressing effect, can be regarded as a bubble created by elites in Germany AND South European countries, in brotherly cooperation.

  • Thanks Yanis,
    as a Greek living in Germany for 23 years, I concentrate the problem to the German intellectual elite. All people that I communicate with in my business environment, never have showed the slightest sign of having lost respect towards me, as a Greek, or having changed their appreciation for my work. This makes me believe, that the large majority of the German intellectual elite is not easily influenced and instrumentalized by the populists and I think they very much agree with your posting, Yanis.

    But the big problem is the following: this majority of the intellectual elite remains silent. This is – I hate to say, once again in history – the great responsibility, that this class refuses to bear. Is it fear to loose face and social standing, is it just complacency?… If these people do not speak up and take the risk that goes with it, there will be no positive influence to be expected from Germany. I very much hope, that this attitude will changed.

    • I do not know many people here who make more than EUR 250k p.a. after taxes that publically say they are against the EU & Euro. Privately this is a totally different story.

  • Good news. Juncker to remain for another 2.5 years = Germany loses. Yeah, yeah right. Not the entire country of Germany, just the German trio.

    Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg premier considered a founding father of the euro, will remain as head of the eurozone finance ministers group, an EU source said Tuesday.

    Due to step down in exactly one week, on July 17, Juncker’s peers in the 17-nation eurozone requested he remain for a full two-and-a-half-year term as head of the so-called Eurogroup, the source said at the close of Eurogroup talks.

    It had initially been thought that Juncker, who has held the post since 2005, would remain in the job only temporarily.

    Juncker himself had suggested he could stay on for a further six months.

    Finding a successor has been tricky, with the most likely new candidate, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, running into French opposition.(how does it feel Herr Minister?)

    French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici earlier said Juncker should stay on until a “possibly more lasting solution” was found to the debt crisis.

    P.S. Imagine that. France beating Germany into submission. Right, not the whole of France. Just 3 Frenchmen beating another 3 Germans. We certainly need to stay politically correct in victory. 🙂

    • Dear Dean
      Your comments are always refreshing.
      I think it’s a bit childish to be so happy about Mr. Juncker staying on and seeing that as great because you see it as a German defeat. No idea if that is really the case but even if it was…

      The problem with “defeating” Germany is that, apparently incomprehensibly for you and some others, Germany does not see itself as living off the rest in the EU. If you can read statistics and have a bit of common sense, I think it is rather hard to see Germany the way that seems to be the consensus in this blog among most non-Germans.
      That Germany exports more than it imports is the opposite of explointing the others. Whether or not it is always wise is another question. But it means that Germany gives stuff to other countries and gets back less.
      The difference is partly being consumed by purchasing services (for e.g. holidays in Greece) and partly saved and invested in e.g. Greece. So in principle, Germany provides capital to e.g. Greece.

      That always makes a nice target just as the jews were hated for providing capital (and killed at will when it became inconvenient to service the loans) for hundreds of years.
      But the loans were always very welcome, be it in medieval times by jewish money lenders or now by Germans.
      The question is what’s done with the money. Some of the German money sent to Greece and others was a present, delivered as EU funds for e.g. infrastructure. No worries there – Greece can keep e.g. the bridge / road, etc and does not have to pay anything back. I am not aware that Greece has been exactly grateful for this support it has received for decades, by the way. But that is another matter.
      Some of the money was given to Greece as loans. As we know now for way too low interest rates, at least for the last 13 Years of so. If Greece had used this money wisely in order to set its economy on a path to sustainable growth, invest in an education system that works, upgrade infrastructure, modernize the government and its administration, etc the money could have been a win for Greece and the wealth created through the wise investment of the capital could have easily been paid back and everybody would have been happy: Germany would have got its loans back and earned a moderate interest on it. Greece would have been richer than before – benefitting from cheap (too cheap!) loans from Germany.
      But as has become painfully clear over the last 3 Years, Greece splashed the money. Some of it has been invested wisely, but the majority was just consumed.

      That is a shocking observation and it does not get any better with Greece finger-pointing at Germany and hating German creditors for not just writing off all of the money lent immmediately.

      For me, this in principle is incomprehensible. Such irresponsible behaviour and no conscience of having done something wrong.

      Fascinating.

      Now we have to get out of this mess. Getting into it was easier.
      Germany is obviously willing to write some of the loans off (it has done so already) and more will follow as the Greek debt burden clearly is way too high, still. But it can’t and won’t subsidize a system that long-term can’t work and short to mid term will bankrupt Germany. As you know, German debt is not exactly small and our population is ageing and gently shrinking. So the last thing we need is having Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece offload their debt on us. This won’t fly.

      Also, as Yanis pointed out, you should stop seeing Germany as a monolithic block. It is not. The export industry and the banks have different interests. The lower and middle classes have interests that are partly interlinked with the industry and banks and partly opposite.
      It is all quite complex.
      But Germany is neither as rich nor as big as everybody seems to imply. There is a limit in terms of what it reasonably can carry. Germans are heavily taxed already. Many work hard and have not seen their real wages increase over the last 13 Years or so.

      So there is not too much sympathy in the general public to hear that all the forsaken consumption in order to get fit and prop up the East of Germany and the south of Europe was not enough and we have to provide even more funds. This time to people that hate us and see us as Nazis.
      The social security level has been reduced significantly over the last 10 Years and there is not much acceptance to reducing it further. Taxes are high and can’t really be increased much without killing the cow Greece and others want to milk.
      Another 13 Years of flat or shrinking wages then? Don’t think so!
      So we have to be a bit careful with German money here, if you like it or not.
      Germany has been a net contributor to the EU for decades. Even in times when it was struggeling financially (with the reunification costing hundreds of billions) it still provided what it “owed” and helped keeping the others afloat / providing nice funds for countries such as Greece to use for infrastructure, agriculture, etc.

      The allocation of capital was not handled as well as market theory would suggest. That is a painful experience for everyone, not only Greece.

      I think it would be an illusion for Germany to think that they will get everything back that they (recklessly) lent to Greece. And it would be an illusion for Greece to believe that if they only shout loud enough Germany will just provide the money. For it can’t as we have to be fair and keeping the rest of the EU afloat is way beyond our means.

      So some clever solution like the Moderate Proposal might be the answer, but the more centralized / shared the debt becomes, the more Germany will insist on the others following some basic rules of good governance.

      This is not primarily because Germans are evil and like to see others suffer. It is natural for a creditor to be wanting to see its money back. Same for the other few net contributors (Austria, Netherlands and Finland). You should pray they continue to be solidaric with e.g. Greece. For if they loose patience it will become politically almost impossible for German politicians to sell to the population that unfortunately, we now have to do it alone while e.g. Finland looks after its own interests.

      Understanding the other side like Yanis admirably has tried with his analysis is a good foundation.

    • @Dean Plassaras. Good news??? 3 rats beating 3 other rats in the steering cabin while the Euroship goes down. What’s the big deal? It would be better if some of these rats go down into the hold and start repairing the various leaks, while others get the lifeboats ready, in case it’s already to late (because they’ve been spending their time fighting each other in the steering cabin for the past four years, and shouting through the intercom that “everything is under control”, like the captain of the Costa Concordia – or what was the name of that Italian cruise ship?).

    • Martin

      And you Martin with what you wrote you think you understand the other side?????

      Oh ,please.

      YOU DO NOT GIVE MONEY TO US.
      AND WE NEVER ASKED THE BAILOUTS.

      IT WAS IN YOUR INTEREST TO DO IT SO THAT YOUR BANKS UNLOAD THEIR CRAP ON US.

    • Martin:

      I think your superb talent in self-effacing narratives is completely wasted here.

      Why don’t cut and paste this splendid commentary of Teutonic mythology and post it to H.R.H Pavlo’s blog who would actually pay you for your input. True to his northern background, you see, he is full of ideas but no takers.

      Now, any time you wish to have a stimulating but factual conversation you can always come back here but not without doing your homework.

      http://www.periscopepost.com/agora/

    • @ Martin

      Of course, 100% correct. And honest. However, you obviously address an audience that is not able or even willing to listen and try to understand. Don’t distrurb tehm with facts while they cultivate their various prejudices.

      Thus, your (and Yanis’, for that matter) efforts are in vain, unfortunately.

    • Dear Demetri
      You wrote: “YOU DO NOT GIVE MONEY TO US.
      AND WE NEVER ASKED THE BAILOUTS.

      IT WAS IN YOUR INTEREST TO DO IT SO THAT YOUR BANKS UNLOAD THEIR CRAP ON US.”

      Your government asked for the bailout.
      And it did not only save German banks – it also saved e.g French and Greek banks that were able to offload their rubbish on the ECB’s balance sheet (and other EU institutions that now have the stuff).

      That was great for the banks. But it also saved Greece for an uncontrolled default. Maybe you will be able to experience a default in the near future and it probably would be even worse than what you’ve had in the last 2 Years or so.
      I think the idea was that bailing out Greece was in everybody’s best interest – that of Greece and that of the banks (some of them Greek).

      So not only an evil German plan as far as I understand it.

    • vss

      You who were actually the first to start the blame game in this blog when we were trying to get to the meat of things talk about prejudice and honesty?

      We do not expect anything else from you. You insult others ,then you wear your kindness mask and you act like it is the others fault.

      Once more you spoke like a true coward.

      We have given a full analysis about what is wrong and you do not accept it because Germany is to blame as well.

      We also know the future. When everybody finds out about the European mismanagement ,you will reverse your attitude and start acting like you are the victims. That is all you ever do.

    • Martin

      It must be very rewarding for you to talk about the complexities in Germany while excluding the complexities in Greece.

      Wasn’t it you that said not to refer to the past and focus right here and right now?

      What happened Martin? Is it suddenly obvious that your government abused her power and want to revert to previous arguments which have also been beaten to the ground by us?

      We have repeatedly said that we do not want to accuse a whole nation and we certainly understand the problems of a country.
      But i guess this argument is only good when the likes of you use it.

      When you started the blame game it was all good ,now you have the nerve to say that Yanis had admirably tried to understand the other side.

      We always understood the problem. You try to escape it.

      Instead of apologising and accepting your responsibilities in all this mess ,you want to play the teacher?

      You are the most patronizing and most “kindly” insulting person i have ever read in here.

      In this blog the very first who started the worst of the worst was vss.
      Teach him.

      Although i doubt anyone of you can be tought how to behave.
      Your right. No problem. Now give what you owe ,not as bailout but as creative energy and shove off.

    • Martin

      Not an evil plan Martin but surely a stupid one.
      The bailout was NOT needed. Specific reforms were needed on European level first and true investments.

      And when i say we didn’t ask for the bailout first i mean the Greek people. The Greek population didn’t want anyone taxpayer paying. Noone had to.
      Then i mean the decisions of the Eu leaders to use the so called bailout and offer it to the Greek government slaves. The Greeks (not so Greeks) just said yes. Yes to everything. Because supposedly there were no alternatives.

      Many solutions existed. We have said all of these a million times.
      It was the Troika that wanted the same government that mismanaged the money and used as an excuse the whole Greek nation calling them lazy and that they need reforms so that they all learn how to behave.
      This will not go away easily.

      Most mistakes in this and for this crisis have nothing to do with the individual problems of Greece or any other country and everything to do with European mismanagement.

      Remember that for every surplus country a deficit country must exist ,no matter if in a union or not. Also for every other action of every country an opposite force must exist.
      All the positives were transfered to the North and all the negatives to the South. We became for you the garbage site of the European economy. The least you could do is control the transfers ,block corruption and reform the trade relations.

      The Eu was supposed to be an economic union as well. It was only a currency union. The trade relations were never reformed. This way the southerners didn’t increase their own (whatever they had) exports. While the north increased their own to the south with shady deals.

      The individual reforms now are only to increase the rate of unloading toxic waste. For nothing else. No real economy ,no nothing.

      Yes ,every bank benefited. Did the nation of Greece? No.
      Who would have the biggest problem if we had gotten out then? Germany and France. Who benefited the most then? Who showed solidarity and who didn’t?

      Why do you have this thought that we connect our pain with money? It is you that do that. We were willing and are willing to feel pain ,our own pain for our own country and also for Europe. Not the pain you escape because of our austerity.

      I personally do not and did not want to default. If we default now it will be a forced default as the bailout was. No matter if it is a good solution or not. We should have prepared but didn’t do that because of the so called trust and european solidarity.

      They broke every law only to bailout the banks and insulted us all the way to the bank. WAKE UP. How many people must die for you to understand?
      And they continue to insult us even when now it is evident that they were wrong ,just because they will lose face if they admit their mistake.
      Immaturity in all its glory.

      Now they want to recapitalize the banks directly but they block it actually because of the so called risks and that they now have to think for their own countries interests. Risks they themselves increased.
      And still they use the reforms as an excuse. That if they recapitalize the Spanish and Italian banks directly is because they reformed. BS. The reforms have already been rendered null and void.

      They broke every law so that your country can become a giant. The reforms and the restructuring of Germany have nothing to do with it. Without the use of the EU you would have never managed to become what you are. You would have been ok just not a giant. And still your life didn’t get any better. And still you acquired debt over your own arbitrary limit. Why you support them ,it is beyond me.
      Then they broke every law to overleverage the banks.
      And they broke every law to pass their policies during the crisis ,using with much hypocricy the fact that Greece entered the EU with the help of Goldman Sachs ,while every country did the same and while each and everyone of them has ties with Goldman Sachs.

      They want us to reform because “we should follow the rules”. That is a joke. There is no Germany and there is no Greece in these games. WAKE UP. Only people getting hurt.
      They broke the law by using bailouts and then refered to the rules of EU ,when every rule they themselves broke for their interests long before the crisis.

      THEY BLEW IT BIG. And now you say you have to think for your interests and why should the taxpayers pay for the south.
      The Northern taxpayers do not pay for the south. Everybody payes for everybody.

      You know it would be easier if everybody accepted their responsibilities in all of Europe and all work together for this but it was better for your government to accuse the southerns for everything. Otherwise any manipulation from Germany till this point would have become known immediately. Maybe they thought “Things are difficult ,if we do not manage to rectify the situation at least let others take the blame for everything.”

      That may be the evil and very childish plan. Not to lose face and power.
      Now it seems they just let the EU disintegrate by itself while acting that they do something for it ,the same policies because they do not want to admit the mistake and lose face. Instead of just admiting it they let more people get hurt.

      Also now they will act as they look after the interests of Germans so as to gain support if the country is to leave the zone.

      When they look at people ,they see euros. Nothing else.

      There never was a union. They always looked at their interests. Now bugger off.

    • @Demetri:

      “Martin Not an evil plan Martin but surely a stupid one”

      No my friend it even looks to me and some others that it wasn’t simply a stupid plan but a vicious plan from the very beginning from the ECB (aka GERMAN BUNDESBANK No. 2) and Germany!!!

      What Koo is saying about the start and the cause of the credit bubbles and the ECB’s involvement is just the tip of the iceberg!!!

      The ECB (aka German Bundesbank No. 2) did much more to the detriment of Greece and all the other peripheral countries than what Koo is mentioning and here comes the whole story from a Greek technical analyst.

      It is amazing how the Greek crisis did get ignited and by whom and how exactly. Read very carefully and make your own conclusions!

      Η κρίση ξεκίνησε με τη διάσωση της Γερμανίας απ’ το Νότο
      Στις αρχές της δεκαετίας του 2.000 η Γερμανία βρέθηκε αντιμέτωπη με το σπάσιμο της φούσκας τεχνολογίας και τηλεπικοινωνιών που οδήγησε στην παρ’ ολίγο κατάρρευση εταιριών κολοσσών των δύο αυτών κλάδων, προκαλώντας ένα γενικότερο χρηματοοικονομικό πανικό που αντέστρεψε τη ροή των επενδυτικών κεφαλαίων και έσπρωξε τη χώρα στην ύφεση. Αντί τα κεφάλαια να βρίσκουν το δρόμο τους προς τις γερμανικές τράπεζες και τα γερμανικά περιουσιακά στοιχεία, αποδημούσαν, με τους επενδυτές να πουλούν οτιδήποτε γερμανικό και μεταξύ άλλων και τα γερμανικά τραπεζικά και κρατικά ομόλογα. Η ρευστότητα άρχισε να εξαντλείται και τα επιτόκια των γερμανικών ομολόγων πήραν την ανιούσα κάνοντας δυσκολότερη τη χρηματοδότηση της οικονομίας σε μία περίοδο που το κόστος από την απορρόφηση της ανατολικής Γερμανίας εξακολουθούσε να δημιουργεί πολύ αυξημένες ανάγκες.

      Το επιτόκιο του 10ετούς ομολόγου της χώρας σκαρφάλωσε γοργά από το 3,6% στο 5,6%. Το ευρώ βρέθηκε σε ελεύθερη πτώση και έχασε περισσότερο από το 20% της αξίας του έναντι του δολαρίου προκαλώντας ερωτηματικά για την ίδια τη βιωσιμότητα του. Η Γερμανία δεχόταν επίθεση απ’ τις αγορές και έβλεπε τα περιουσιακά της στοιχεία να υποτιμούνται, συμπεριλαμβανομένου και του νέου νομίσματος της. Η μόλυνση της απ’ τον ιό της νομισματικής κρίσης ήταν γεγονός.

      Η χρονική στιγμή που χτυπήθηκε η Γερμανία ήταν ιδιαίτερης σημασίας: ο βασικός της εμπορικός εταίρος, οι ΗΠΑ, κυλούσαν σε μία βαθιά ύφεση. Ο αναδυόμενος οικονομικός γίγαντας, η Κίνα, βρισκόταν ακόμη στα πρώιμα στάδια εισαγωγής προϊόντων του δυτικού πολιτισμού και δε μπορούσε να τραβήξει την γερμανική οικονομία έξω απ’ την ύφεση. Η Ευρώπη, δεν είχε ακόμη ενιαίο νόμισμα και οι περισσότερες χώρες έβρισκαν ακριβά τα γερμανικά προϊόντα όταν τα μετέτρεπαν στο εθνικό τους νόμισμα. Ποιος, λοιπόν, θα μπορούσε να έρθει προς διάσωση της;

      Προκειμένου να αντιμετωπίσει την κρίση της, η Γερμανία χρειαζόταν άμεσα στο ευρώ όσο το δυνατόν περισσότερες χώρες. Παραβλέποντας την πραγματική τους ικανότητα να προσχωρήσουν στην ΕΕ, υποδέχτηκε σε αυτήν ανέτοιμα για την Ένωση κράτη, όπως την Ελλάδα, την Ισπανία και την Πορτογαλία και στη συνέχεια χρησιμοποίησε την Ευρωπαϊκή Κεντρική Τράπεζα (ΕΚΤ) ως αντλία που τα φούσκωνε με φθηνό ρευστό ώστε με την πλεονάζουσα ρευστότητα τους να μπορούν να αγοράζουν τα ακριβά γερμανικά προϊόντα.

      Μέσα στα πλαίσια αυτής της πολιτικής η ΕΚΤ μείωσε τα επιτόκια του ευρώ από το 5% στο 2%, διατηρώντας τα σε αυτά τα επίπεδα κόντρα στις μακροοικονομικές ανάγκες της ευρωζώνης για περισσότερο από δυόμιση χρόνια, μεταξύ του 2003 και 2006. Στα τέλη του 2005, όταν τα αμερικανικά και τα βρετανικά επιτόκια ξεπερνούσαν το 4% και τα αυστραλιανά το 5% τα ευρωπαϊκά εξακολουθούσαν να κυμαίνονται στο ιστορικό χαμηλό τους, 2%.

      Το φθηνό χρήμα δημιούργησε φούσκες περιουσιακών στοιχείων στα κράτη του ευρωπαϊκού Νότου που είχαν μόλις υιοθετήσει το ευρώ, προκαλώντας αυξήσεις ρεκόρ στον κλάδο κατοικίας, στην καταναλωτική πίστωση, στις χρηματιστηριακές αγορές και αλλού.

      Χωρίς να έχουν, πλέον, τον έλεγχο της νομισματικής τους πολιτικής, οι κυβερνήσεις του Νότου ήταν πολύ πιο δύσκολο πολιτικά να σταματήσουν την υπερβολική ανάπτυξη της ρευστότητας για να προστατεύσουν τις οικονομίες τους και πολύ πιο εύκολο να ‘πουλήσουν’ στους ψηφοφόρους τους ως πραγματική, την πλασματική ανάπτυξη που δημιουργούνταν. Η ενίσχυση του πληθωρισμού που αναπόφευκτα ακολούθησε, έκανε τις χώρες του Νότου λιγότερο ανταγωνιστικές. Ρίχνοντας το βάρος τους περισσότερο στην αντιστάθμιση των κοινωνικών συνεπειών του πληθωρισμού παρά στην αντιμετώπιση του, οι κυβερνήσεις του ευρωπαϊκού Νότου προέβησαν σε αυξήσεις μισθών και συντάξεων, που σε συνδυασμό με την παράταση της πολιτικής χαμηλών επιτοκίων της ΕΚΤ προκάλεσε περαιτέρω ενίσχυση των πληθωριστικών πιέσεων.

      Από το 2002 που η Ελλάδα μπήκε στην ευρωζώνη μέχρι το 2007 που οι φούσκες στην αγορά κατοικίας, στο χρηματιστήριο, στην πίστωση και στην κατανάλωση είχαν φτάσει στα όρια τους, η ΕΚΤ διατήρησε το μέσο επιτόκιο του ευρώ κοντά στο 2,7%, ρίχνοντας κηροζίνη σε μια φωτιά που έμελλε να κάψει την ευρωπαϊκή περιφέρεια αρχίζοντας απ’ την Ελλάδα.

      Το 2005 ο διευθυντής οικονομικών της επενδυτικής εταιρίας Nomura σε συζήτηση του με ανώτατο αξιωματούχο της ΕΚΤ παρατήρησε πως ήταν άδικο να εξωθούνται οι χώρες της ΕΕ εν αγνοία τους στη διάσωση της – υπεύθυνης για την κρίση της – Γερμανίας, με το να φουσκώνονται εσκεμμένα οι οικονομίες τους μέσω μίας παρατεταμένης πολιτικής νομισματικής χαλάρωσης απ’ την ΕΚΤ ώστε να αγοράζουν γερμανικά προϊόντα. Ο αξιωματούχος της ΕΚΤ του έδωσε την εξής απάντηση: ‘αυτή είναι η έννοια ενός ενιαίου νομίσματος: επειδή η Γερμανία δε μπορεί κατ’ εξαίρεση να υιοθετήσει ένα πακέτο τόνωσης η μόνη άλλη επιλογή είναι να σηκώσει όλη την Ένωση μέσω της νομισματικής πολιτικής’.

      Οι τράπεζες δανείζονταν απ’ την ΕΚΤ με σχεδόν μηδενικό κόστος και στη συνέχεια κυριολεκτικά κυνηγούσαν τους πολίτες να δανειστούν χρήματα προκειμένου να αγοράσουν σπίτια, αυτοκίνητα, άλλα προϊόντα που ειδάλλως είτε δε θα μπορούσαν είτε θα το σκέφτονταν πολύ πριν δανειστούν για να τα αποκτήσουν. Η ΕΚΤ ήταν σα να είχε προμηθεύσει κάθε πολίτη της ΕΕ με μία πιστωτική κάρτα παροτρύνοντας τον να τη χρησιμοποιήσει. Αυτό έκανε τους πολίτες των κρατών του Νότου να μάθουν να ζουν πέρα απ’ τις πραγματικές τους δυνατότητες όσο η Γερμανία απολάμβανε ένα μέγα πακέτο διάσωσης της οικονομίας της. Η Siemens και άλλοι γερμανικοί κολοσσοί κατέγραφαν κέρδη ρεκόρ εξαιτίας του εμπορίου τους με το Νότο και αυτά αντικατροπτίζονταν στις τιμές των μετοχών τους στα μεγαλύτερα χρηματιστήρια του κόσμου, πολλαπλασιάζοντας τον πλούτο τους.

      Ενδεικτικά των αποτελεσμάτων της πολιτικής χαμηλών επιτοκίων της ΕΚΤ στην Ελλάδα είναι τα στοιχεία για την αγορά κατοικίας και την αγορά αυτοκινήτου. Οι άδειες για την ανέγερση κατοικίας το 2006, πέντε χρόνια απ’ την υιοθέτηση του ευρώ, ήταν κατά 800% περισσότερες απ’ ότι το 2001, τελευταία χρονιά προ ευρώ. Οι πωλήσεις αυτοκινήτων πολλαπλασιάστηκαν. Τα ‘φθηνά’ ιαπωνικά, ιταλικά, γαλλικά και άλλα αυτοκίνητα που ο Νότος επέλεγε κατά κόρον στη δεκαετία του ’90 ανταλλάχτηκαν με ακριβά και πολυτελή γερμανικά. Μία συγκριτική ανάλυση των πωλήσεων καινούργιων και μεταχειρισμένων αυτοκινήτων μεταξύ του 1998 – έτος καλπάζουσας ανόδου του χρηματιστηρίου Αθηνών με εκρηκτική άνοδο στις πωλήσεις αυτοκινήτων στην Ελλάδα αλλά προ της υιοθέτησης του ευρώ – και του 2007 – έτους όπου η φούσκα πίστωσης έφθανε στην κορύφωση της – είναι αποκαλυπτική:

      το 1998 πουλήθηκαν 60% περισσότερα ιταλικά αυτοκίνητα απ’ ότι το 2007
      το 1998 οι πωλήσεις καινούργιων γερμανικών αυτοκινήτων πολυτελείας ανήλθαν στις 7 χιλ. – το 2007 ανήλθαν στις 23 χιλ, παρουσιάζοντας αύξηση μεγαλύτερη του 300%
      το 1998 πουλήθηκαν συνολικά 30 χιλ, νέα γερμανικά αυτοκίνητα ενώ το 2007 πουλήθηκαν 80 χιλ.
      το 1998 πουλήθηκαν 17.5 χιλ μεταχειρισμένα γερμανικά αυτοκίνητα πολυτελείας, ενώ το 2007 πουλήθηκαν 65 χιλ.
      το 1998 πουλήθηκαν συνολικά 46 χιλ. μεταχειρισμένα γερμανικά αυτοκίνητα ενώ το 2007 144 χιλ.
      το 1998 οι πωλήσεις μεταχειρισμένων αυτοκινήτων για τις πρώτες 20 μάρκες έφτασαν τις 197 χιλ. και το 2007 τις 500 χιλ.
      Ακόμη πιο ενδεικτικό του τρόπου με τον οποίο το ευρώ λειτούργησε ως ένα πακέτο διάσωσης της γερμανικής οικονομίας απ’ το Νότο, είναι το μέγεθος των εξαγωγών της Γερμανίας στην Ελλάδα, τα δέκα χρόνια που προηγήθηκαν της δημιουργίας του ευρώ και τα δέκα χρόνια που ακολούθησαν αυτής (στοιχεία: ΔΝΤ). Στην πρώτη περίοδο – προ ευρώ δεκαετία – η Γερμανία εξήγε στην Ελλάδα προϊόντα ύψους, περίπου, 35 δις δολαρίων. Στη δεύτερη περίοδο – μετά ευρώ δεκαετία – οι γερμανικές εξαγωγές στην Ελλάδα αυξήθηκαν στα 70 δις δολάρια, καταγράφοντας άνοδο της τάξης του 100%. Στα έτη 1997-1998 οι εισαγωγές γερμανικών προϊόντων είχαν ανέλθει στα 7,7 δις δολάρια. Δέκα χρόνια αργότερα, στα έτη 2007-2008 η Ελλάδα εισήγε γερμανικά προϊόντα ύψους, περίπου, 21,5 δις δολαρίων σε μία αύξηση κοντά στο 300%.

      Οι αυξημένες εισαγωγές γερμανικών προϊόντων απ’ την πολιτική φουσκώματος του Νότου ίσως να μη δημιουργούσε τόσο μεγάλο πρόβλημα αν η Γερμανία ανταπέδιδε τη χάρη αυξάνοντας τις εισαγωγές της απ’ τους εταίρους της. Όμως έκανε το αντίθετο. Ενδεικτικά, οι εισαγωγές ελληνικών προϊόντων απ’ τη Γερμανία το 1992 ήταν 2,2 δις δολάρια και το 2002, έτος υιοθέτησης του ευρώ ανήλθαν στο 1,7 δις δολάρια.

      Μέσα σε λίγα χρόνια απ΄ την υιοθέτηση του ευρώ το εμπορικό πλεόνασμα της Γερμανίας ξεπέρασε αυτό της Ιαπωνίας και της Κίνας φέρνοντας τη στην πρώτη θέση στον κόσμο σε εξαγωγές χάρη στον ευρωπαϊκό Νότο και τα υπόλοιπα κράτη της ευρωζώνης, αφού σε αυτά στηρίχτηκε το μεγαλύτερο ποσοστό της ανάπτυξης των εξαγωγών της. Προκειμένου η ίδια να προφυλαχτεί από τη δημιουργία φουσκών στο ‘σπίτι’ της, έλαβε μέτρα μείωσης της ρευστότητας και ακολούθησε μία αντιπληθωριστική πολιτική η οποία όξυνε περισσότερο τις αποκλίσεις με τους εταίρους της κάνοντας το Νότο ακόμη λιγότερο ανταγωνιστικό.

      Με τις γερμανικές τράπεζες γεμάτες, πια, με ρευστό αλλά χωρίς ευκαιρίες στη χώρα τους εξαιτίας της αντιπληθωριστικής πολιτικής που βάσει σχεδίου ακολουθούσε η Γερμανία, η νέα χρυσή επενδυτική ευκαιρία εντοπίστηκε στην αγορά ομολόγων των κρατών του ευρωπαϊκού Νότου, τα οποία ενώ θεωρούνταν μηδενικού ρίσκου εξακολουθούσαν να παρέχουν αξιόλογα επιτόκια. Τώρα ήταν οι ίδιες οι κυβερνήσεις του Νότου που μπορούσαν να δανειστούν με ολοένα χαμηλότερο κόστος και να χρηματοδοτήσουν τα ελλείμματα που στο μεταξύ δημιουργούνταν από την έκρηξη στην κατανάλωση.

      Μέχρι το 2007 το σχέδιο διάσωσης της Γερμανίας είχε πετύχει: η χώρα είχε ξεπεράσει την ύφεση χωρίς να χρειαστεί να αυξήσει το χρέος και τα ελλείμματα της, είχε μετατραπεί σε πρώτη εξαγωγική δύναμη στον κόσμο έχοντας εκμεταλλευτεί την απογείωση της πίστωσης στην ευρωζώνη αλλά αποφεύγοντας, εντέχνως, τις συνέπειες για την ίδια και παράλληλα είχε αναστήσει τη χρηματοοικονομική της αγορά και είχε σώσει το τραπεζικό της σύστημα. Στο μεσοδιάστημα, όμως, είχε ζώσει το Νότο με ωρολογιακές οικονομικές βόμβες.

      Ακολούθησε η αμερικανική κρίση, η οποία εξελίχτηκε σε ένα παγκόσμιο τσουνάμι. Οι ωρολογιακές βόμβες στην ευρωζώνη άρχισαν να πυροδοτούνται αλλά η βλάβη σε κάποιες απ’ αυτές, όπως στην Ελλάδα, αποδεικνύονταν μικρότερη απ’ την αναμενόμενη. Ο ‘διεφθαρμένος’, ‘τεμπέλης’ και ‘σπάταλος’ Έλληνας είχε την πρόνοια να αποταμιεύει τμήμα των χρημάτων του απ’ τα χρόνια της πλασματικής ανάπτυξης με αποτέλεσμα οι καταθέσεις να αποτελούν μία ασπίδα στις όποιες χρηματοπιστωτικές πιέσεις, ενώ οι ελληνικές τράπεζες, είτε από έλλειψη τεχνογνωσίας είτε εξαιτίας μίας σύνεσης που αντανακλούσε το γενικότερο ελληνικό χρηματοοικονομικό συντηρητισμό, είχαν αποφύγει να επενδύσουν στα σύνθετα επενδυτικά στεγαστικά προϊόντα που κατέστρεφαν την αμερικανική αγορά κατοικίας και μόλυναν την ευρωζώνη. Ως αποτέλεσμα η ροή κεφαλαίων δεν αντιστράφηκε στην Ελλάδα, τα κεφάλαια παρέμειναν στη χώρα και το ελληνικό τραπεζικό σύστημα κρατήθηκε όρθιο και μετά το τσουνάμι, στηρίζοντας ταυτόχρονα και την πολύ εξαρτημένη, πλέον, απ’ αυτό ελληνική οικονομία.

      Το σκάσιμο της αμερικανικής φούσκας κατοικίας, η αμερικανική τραπεζική κρίση, η μετεξέλιξη της κρίσης σε διεθνή, η παγκόσμια και ιστορικών διαστάσεων οικονομική ύφεση, το διεθνές χρηματιστηριακό κραχ μετοχών και η εκτίναξη των τιμών πετρελαίου και τροφίμων σε ιστορικά υψηλά επίπεδα τιμών ήταν μερικά απ’ αυτά με τα οποία είχε έρθει αντιμέτωπη η Ελλάδα μεταξύ 2006 και 2008 και κόντρα σε κάθε πρόβλεψη είχε αντέξει.

      Η πτώχευση της Lehman Brothers το Σεπτέμβριο του 2008, όμως, μετέφερε την κρίση ρευστότητας σε ένα άλλο επίπεδο, κάνοντας τη χειρότερη απ’ οτιδήποτε είχε δει η παγκόσμια οικονομία επί 80 χρόνια. Η Αμερικανική Κεντρική Τράπεζα παρείχε μυστικά δάνεια ύψους, σχεδόν, 10 τρις δολαρίων σε αμερικανικές και διεθνείς τράπεζες προκειμένου να αποτρέψει το απόλυτο χάος και μείωσε τα επιτόκια του δολαρίου σε ιστορικά χαμηλά επίπεδα, κοντά στο μηδέν. Οι ελληνικές τράπεζες, βέβαια, δεν έλαβαν κρυφά δάνεια απ’ τις ΗΠΑ.

      Αντί η Ευρωπαϊκή Κεντρική Τράπεζα να ακολουθήσει το παράδειγμα της Αμερικανικής μειώνοντας τα επιτόκια του ευρώ ανταποκρινόμενη στις πρωτοφανείς οικονομικές συνθήκες, προέβηκε σε αύξηση (!) τους κάνοντας την ήδη υπό εξαφάνιση ρευστότητα στην ευρωζώνη πανάκριβη και ακόμη πιο δύσκολο να αντληθεί. Στα τέλη του 2008 και ενώ τα επιτόκια του δολαρίου είχαν μειωθεί κοντά στο μηδέν, τα επιτόκια του ευρώ είχαν αυξηθεί πάνω απ’ το 4% στο υψηλότερο επίπεδο ετών.

      Ενώ στα χρόνια που η ρευστότητα ήταν πλεονάζουσα και προκαλούσε φούσκες και πληθωρισμό η ΕΚΤ διατηρούσε τα επιτόκια στο 2%, την ώρα της ιστορικής κρίσης που χρειαζόταν φθηνό χρήμα για να αποφευχθεί ο αντιπληθωρισμός και να αντιμετωπιστεί η ύφεση, η ΕΚΤ προχώρησε σε αύξηση των επιτοκίων προκαλώντας ένα ακόμη καταστροφικό χτύπημα στην ευρωζώνη και ειδικά στις χώρες του Νότου.

      Πίσω από αυτήν τη φαινομενικά παράλογη και προφανώς καταστροφική νομισματική πολιτική της ΕΚΤ, κρυβόταν και πάλι τα συμφέροντα της Γερμανίας, η οποία είχε εμπλακεί σε έναν άνευ προηγουμένου νομισματικό πόλεμο με τις ΗΠΑ, προσπαθώντας να εκθρονίσει το δολάριο με το να αυξάνει τα επιτόκια του ευρώ προσελκύοντας έτσι κεφάλαια απ’ όλο τον κόσμο στη Φρανκφούρτη, η οποία και διεκδικούσε, πλέον, με αξιώσεις απ’ το Λονδίνο το ρόλο του νέου ευρωπαϊκού χρηματοοικονομικού κέντρου.

      Η απάντηση των ΗΠΑ ήταν η κατακόρυφη άνοδος του δολαρίου και η επαναπροσέλκυση κεφαλαίων σ΄ αυτό, κάτι που προκάλεσε την κατάρρευση της αγοράς εμπορευμάτων. Καθώς οι επενδυτές έφευγαν απ’ τα εμπορεύματα και αναζητούσαν ασφαλές καταφύγιο για τα κεφάλαια τους, άρχισαν να επιστρέφουν στις ΗΠΑ αποχωρώντας απ’ την Ευρώπη, γεγονός που οδηγούσε στην πώληση περιουσιακών στοιχείων σε ευρώ και έτσι και τραπεζικών και κρατικών ομολόγων της ευρωπαϊκής περιφέρειας τα οποία και για πρώτη φορά απ’ την υιοθέτηση του ενιαίου νομίσματος δοκιμάστηκαν σκληρά.

      Στα τέλη του 2008 με αρχές 2009 τα CDS και τα επιτόκια των ελληνικών, ισπανικών, πορτογαλικών και ιταλικών ομολόγων μπήκαν σε ανοδική τροχιά αφού οι διεθνείς επενδυτές πουλούσαν κάθε τι συνδεδεμένο σε ευρώ εξαιτίας των πολιτικών επιλογών της Γερμανίας.

      Ήταν εκείνη η χρονική στιγμή την οποία επέλεξε ο πρώην Πρωθυπουργός της χώρας, κ. Σημίτης, για να απευθυνθεί στην ελληνική Βουλή σχετικά με την κατάσταση της ελληνικής οικονομίας, αποφεύγοντας να βρει ευθύνες οπουδήποτε αλλού πέρα απ’ την Ελλάδα και θέτοντας θέμα αποκλεισμού της απ’ τις αγορές και προσφυγής της στο Διεθνές Νομισματικό Ταμείο, σε μία ομιλία που αν δεν είχε αντιμετωπιστεί με ψυχραιμία από την τότε κυβέρνηση και αντιπολίτευση θα μπορούσε να έχει τινάξει τη χώρα στον αέρα ένα χρόνο νωρίτερα απ’ ότι τελικά συνέβη.

      Το πρόβλημα, ωστόσο, δεν ήταν ελληνικό αλλά πρωταρχικώς ευρωπαϊκό και έτσι οι χώρες της ΕΕ στράφηκαν για βοήθεια στην ΕΚΤ ζητώντας ένα πανευρωπαϊκό σχέδιο προστασίας των τραπεζών. Ο Γάλλος Πρόεδρος Σαρκοζί προώθησε αυτήν τη λύση αλλά η Γερμανίδα Καγκελάριος Μέρκελ ήταν κάθετα αντίθετη απορρίπτοντας την προστασία του τραπεζικού συστήματος από την ΕΚΤ και επιβάλλοντας τη στήριξη των τραπεζών με εθνικά κεφάλαια.

      Ακόμη και μετά απ’ αυτήν την καταστροφική απόφαση της Γερμανίας και ενώ η Ελλάδα αναγκάστηκε να στηρίξει τις τράπεζες της με κρατικές εγγυήσεις, κατάφερε να αποφύγει τα χειρότερα και να φτάσει στο Νοέμβριο του 2009 αποδυναμωμένη μεν αλλά έχοντας διατηρήσει την πιστοληπτική της βαθμολογία στο Α, έχοντας πετύχει να δανείζεται με επιτόκια κοντά στο ιστορικό χαμηλό της, έχοντας αποτρέψει την κατάρρευση της αγοράς κατοικίας, έχοντας προσελκύσει αρκετά διεθνή επενδυτικά κεφάλαια ώστε το χρηματιστήριο της να καταγράφει τη μεγαλύτερη άνοδο στον κόσμο σε ετήσια βάση, έχοντας έναν τραπεζικό κλάδο ισχυρό, και συνεχίζοντας συνεχίζει να εμπνέει εμπιστοσύνη στο εξωτερικό και το εσωτερικό της έτσι ώστε και να μπορεί να χρηματοδοτεί το χρέος της αλλά και να απολαμβάνει μεγάλες εισροές στις ελληνικές τράπεζες, μετρώντας αθροιστικά τις μεγαλύτερες καταθέσεις από ιδιώτες και επιχειρήσεις στην ιστορία της. Πράγματι, το ελληνικό τραπεζικό σύστημα είχε προσελκύσει νέες καταθέσεις ύψους, περίπου, 22 δις ευρώ το 2007, οι οποίες ενισχύθηκαν κατά επιπλέον 30 δις ευρώ το 2008 ενώ ακόμη και στο 2009 οι ελληνικές τράπεζες είδαν τις καταθέσεις να αυξάνονται κατά 10 δις ευρώ.

      Χρειάστηκαν, ωστόσο, μόλις μερικές εβδομάδες πανικού της κυβέρνησης Παπανδρέου για να αντιστραφεί αυτή η μακροπρόθεσμη τάση και να αρχίσει ένα καταστροφικό κύμα εκροής καταθέσεων. Μόνο τον Ιανουάριο του 2010 εγκατέλειψαν τις ελληνικές τράπεζες κεφάλαια ύψους 5 δις ευρώ, με το έτος να κλείνει με εκροές ύψους 29 δις ευρώ. Από το Δεκέμβριο του 2009 μέχρι τον Απρίλιο του 2012 οι ελληνικές τραπεζικές καταθέσεις είχαν μειωθεί από 238 δις ευρώ στα 166 δις ευρώ, καταγράφοντας πτώση κατά 43%. Περίπου το 85% των εκροών προήλθε από ιδιώτες αποτυπώνοντας τον πανικό που κατέβαλλε τους Έλληνες πολίτες.

      Ακόμη χειρότερα, ο διεθνής πανικός μεταφράστηκε σε μαζικές πωλήσεις ελληνικών περιουσιακών στοιχείων, μεταξύ των οποίων και μετοχών, τραπεζικών και κρατικών ομολόγων, με τα κεφάλαια να μεταφέρονται απ’ την Ελλάδα στη Γερμανία προς αναζήτηση ασφάλειας. Ιδιωτικός και κρατικός τομέας αποκλείστηκαν απ’ τις αγορές κεφαλαίων και η χώρα δε μπορούσε πια να χρηματοδοτήσει το χρέος και τα ελλείμματα της.

      Είχε έρθει η ώρα της Ελλάδας να χρειαστεί βοήθεια απ’ τη Γερμανία. Η μεγαλύτερη οικονομική δύναμη της ΕΕ, όμως, είχε άλλα σχέδια καθώς είδε στην ελληνική και στην ευρωπαϊκή κρίση μια διπλή ευκαιρία:

      α) να πετύχει την έξοδο της ίδιας απ΄ τη μεγαλύτερη ύφεση στην ιστορία της με το να μετατραπεί σε πόλο έλξης κεφαλαίων εξασφαλίζοντας ένα μέγα πακέτο τόνωσης βασιζόμενο στην αστείρευτη ρευστότητα και στο χαμηλό κόστος κρατικού δανεισμού της

      β) να προωθήσει τη δημιουργία των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών της Ευρώπης κάτω απ’ την ηγεμονία της, σχέδιο που είχε εκπονηθεί αλλά είχε μείνει στάσιμο απ’ τα τέλη της δεκαετίας του ’80 και το οποίο αποτυπώνεται με μεγάλη σαφήνεια στα απόρρητα έγγραφα εκείνης της περιόδου που αποχαρακτηρίστηκαν μόλις προσφάτως.

      Σήμερα, περισσότερο από δυόμιση χρόνια απ’ το ξέσπασμα της ελληνικής κρίσης, η Γερμανία έχει προχωρήσει πολύ στην υλοποίηση των δύο αυτών στόχων. Όσον αφορά στον πρώτο, η οικονομία της αναπτύχθηκε με τους μεγαλύτερους ρυθμούς απ’ την επανένωση της χώρας, καταγράφοντας παράλληλα μία σειρά θετικών ρεκόρ δεκαετιών. Καταλυτικό ρόλο σε αυτό έπαιξε το πακέτο τόνωσης που απόλαυσε η Γερμανία από τη μεταφορά κεφαλαίων απ’ το Νότο στις τράπεζες της αλλά και από τη μετατροπή της σε καταφύγιο κεφαλαίων απ’ όλο τον κόσμο, γεγονός που τη βοήθησε να δανείζεται με ιστορικά χαμηλά επιτόκια. Η μελέτη της ροής τραπεζικών καταθέσεων μεταξύ των κρατών του Νότου και της Γερμανίας αποκαλύπτει τη δημιουργία μίας αρνητικής συσχέτισης που ξεπέρασε το 0,8. Δηλαδή περίπου στο 80% των περιπτώσεων οι εκροές απ’ το Νότο κατέληξαν σε εισροές στη Γερμανία (στοιχεία: Budensbank). .

      Το ισοζύγιο στο Target 2, το Μάιο του 2012, έδειξε πλεόνασμα ύψους 660 δις ευρώ για τη Γερμανία, 146 δις ευρώ για την Ολλανδία και 45 δις ευρώ για τη Φινλανδία. Οι χώρες αυτές απολαμβάνουν χάρη στην κρίση πακέτα τόνωσης που αντιστοιχούν στο 23-25% του ΑΕΠ τους. Την ίδια στιγμή το αντίστοιχο έλλειμμα για τις χώρες του Νότου αντιστοιχεί στο 20-60% του ΑΕΠ τους (20% για Ιταλία, 23% για Ισπανία, 60% για Ιρλανδία, 50% για Ελλάδα).

      Όσον αφορά στο δεύτερο στόχο της, η Γερμανία αναδείχτηκε ως ο αδιαμφισβήτητος ηγέτης της ΕΕ, θέτοντας και επιβάλλοντας τους κανόνες της και προχωρώντας στην εμβάθυνση της ευρωζώνης με μεγαλύτερα βήματα από ποτέ. Η παράδοση εθνικής κυριαρχίας σε ευρωπαϊκά και υπό γερμανικό έλεγχο ιδρύματα είναι η νέα τάση που μετατρέπει τη Γερμανία σε ευρωπαϊκή αυτοκρατορία, χάρη στην ελληνική και την ευρωπαϊκή κρίση.

      Αυτό που δεν έγινε ποτέ αντιληπτό απ’ τις ελληνικές κυβερνήσεις, είναι ότι όπως κάθε άλλη ηγέτιδα δύναμη μίας νομισματικής ένωσης, η Γερμανία δε θα κάνει ποτέ τίποτε που να εξυπηρετεί το γενικό ευρωπαϊκό συμφέρον αν δεν εξυπηρετείται πρωτίστως το δικό της. Η εταιρική αλληλεγγύη ισχύει μόνο από τον πιο αδύναμο προς τον πιο δυνατό. Η Γερμανία θα αντιμετωπίζει πάντα τις πιο αδύναμες οικονομικά χώρες με αλαζονεία και θα επιδιώκει να ισχυροποιείται εις βάρος τους αφού αυτός είναι ο μόνος τρόπος για να διατηρήσει τον ηγετικό της ρόλο. Δε χρειάζεται να κοιτάξει κανείς πολύ μακριά για να καταλάβει πώς λειτουργεί μία κυρίαρχος δύναμη σε ένα νομισματικό σύστημα και αρκεί να δει τις ΗΠΑ, που με το δολάριο εκμεταλλεύτηκαν ολόκληρο τον κόσμο από το 1945 και μετά.

      Δεν είναι τυχαίο πως ήταν η Γερμανία που ηγήθηκε της αλλαγής του προηγούμενου νομισματικού συστήματος στις αρχές της δεκαετίας του ’70, οργανώνοντας έναν κατά το ήμισυ επιτυχή νομισματικό πόλεμο εναντίον του δολαρίου, στην προσπάθεια της, τότε, να βάλει τέλος στην αμερικανική νομισματική κυριαρχία καθώς ήταν η ίδια που βρισκόταν στη θέση του αποδέκτη των συνεπειών του τρόπου λειτουργίας των ΗΠΑ μέσα στα πλαίσια της.

      Ούτε είναι συμπτωματικό που απέτυχαν και οι τρεις προσπάθειας δημιουργίας μίας ευρωπαϊκής νομισματικής ένωσης με επίκεντρο το γερμανικό μάρκο, αφού η Γερμανία δρούσε πάντα με τον ίδιο τρόπο, εκμεταλλευόμενη τους εταίρους της τόσο σε καιρούς ηρεμίας, ώστε να προωθεί τη δική της ανάπτυξη όσο και περιόδους κρίσης, πιέζοντας για περισσότερο έλεγχο, δημοσιονομική και πολιτική ενοποίηση.

      Τελικά, βέβαια, δεν έχει τόσο σημασία τί κάνουν οι άλλοι και αν αυτό μας βλάπτει ή μας βοηθά αλλά το τί κάνουμε εμείς για να αμυνθούμε ή να βοηθήσουμε τον εαυτό μας. Και κοιτώντας πίσω στο χρόνο θα διαπιστώσουμε εύκολα μερικά απ’ τα δραματικά λάθη των τελευταίων κυβερνήσεων που πέρασαν απ’ την Ελλάδα.

      Η κυβέρνηση Σημίτη έκανε πολιτική της σημαία την είσοδο της Ελλάδας στο ευρώ αποτυγχάνοντας να προετοιμάσει τη χώρα σωστά γι’ αυτό το ιστορικό γεγονός και αφήνοντας την, εν γνώση της και προκειμένου να εξυπηρετήσει τα συμφέροντα της, εκτεθειμένη σε εξαιρετικά μεγάλους κινδύνους. Οι ευθύνες του κ. Σημίτη γι’ αυτό είναι διαχρονικές και βαρύτατες.

      Η κυβέρνηση Καραμανλή δεν έκανε αυτά που έπρεπε για να προστατέψει τη χώρα απ’ τις αρνητικές συνέπειες της εισόδου της στην ευρωζώνη. Με ατολμία και χωρίς αίσθηση της ιστορικής του ευθύνης ο κ. Καραμανλής απόλαυσε πολιτικά τα θετικά της υιοθέτησης του ευρώ, αποτυγχάνοντας να εκμοντερνίσει και να ενδυναμώσει τη χώρα ώστε να αντιμετωπίσει τους δαίμονες του παρελθόντος και τις προκλήσεις του παρόντος και του μέλλοντος.

      Η κυβέρνηση Παπανδρέου πανικοβλήθηκε και πανικόβαλε έναν ολόκληρο κόσμο για το άγνωστο (;) δημοσιονομικό έλλειμμα, λειτουργώντας ως μεγεθυντής και πολλαπλασιαστής των προβλημάτων της οικονομίας και οδηγώντας, ουσιαστικά, τη χώρα στην πτώχευση απ’ το Νοέμβριο του 2009 εφόσον ήταν δεδομένο πως η Γερμανία δεν υπήρχε περίπτωση να αναλάβει τις δικές της ευθύνες. Μελετώντας κανείς οικονομική ιστορία είναι μάλλον απίθανο να βρει πολλά αντίστοιχα παραδείγματα που ένας άνθρωπος πανικόβαλε τόσους πολλούς. Οι ηγέτες δεν πανικοβάλλονται και το κυριότερο δεν πανικοβάλλουν τους υπόλοιπους γύρω τους, πόσο μάλλον έναν ολόκληρο πλανήτη. Εκτός και αν ο κ. Παπανδρέου γνώριζε πως η ανθρωπότητα απειλούνταν με εξαφάνιση και ότι μόνο αυτός μπορούσε να την προστατέψει, δεν είχε κανένα πολιτικό έρεισμα και καμία νομιμοποίηση να θυσιάσει την Ελλάδα. Οτιδήποτε ακολούθησε του ‘Πανικού Παπανδρέου’, ήταν η συνέχεια μίας προδιαγεγραμμένης τραγωδίας.

      Οι χώρες είναι υπεύθυνες για τις επιλογές και τα λάθη τους και η Ελλάδα έχει πολλά και διαφορετικής βαρύτητας δικά της λάθη να κατανοήσει, να αναγνωρίσει και να διορθώσει. Αλλά με το να αποδέχεται ευθύνες που δεν της ανήκουν, να αυτοδυσφημίζεται διεθνώς και το κυριότερο να αδυνατεί να αντιληφθεί και να αναδείξει τις ευθύνες και το ρόλο άλλων σε ιστορικής σημασίας γεγονότα και καταστάσεις, διαπράττει ένα αυτοκτονικό λάθος.

      Σε τελική ανάλυση κάθε κράτος πρέπει να έχει τους δικούς του μακροπρόθεσμους, εθνικούς και υπερκομματικούς στόχους. Η Ελλάδα πρέπει να αναγνωρίσει και να κατανοήσει αυτούς των υπόλοιπων κρατών που την επηρεάζουν άμεσα και έμμεσα και επιτέλους να προσδιορίσει και να επιδιώξει τους δικούς της. Αν κάνει η ίδια αυτό που πρέπει θα μπορεί και να βοηθά τον εαυτό της και να προστατεύεται από εξωτερικούς κινδύνους αλλά και να νομιμοποιείται να αποδίδει ευθύνες στα κράτη που λειτουργούν με τρόπο βλαπτικό για το σύνολο. Και η Γερμανία, τουλάχιστον στα πλαίσια της ευρωζώνης, είναι σίγουρα ένα από αυτά.

      Πάνος Παναγιώτου
      Χρηματιστηριακός Τεχνικός Αναλυτής
      Διευθυντής GSTA Ltd, WTAEC Ltd

    • Martin

      Not to mention the lack of confidence caused in the markets ,with the unbelievably stupid statements of Merkel and friends.
      One would think that they worsened the situation on purpose.

      Whatever they did they should have done by thinking scenarios that wouldn’t have hurt the average person. Period.
      You think that we as Greeks should prove to you that we deserve your cooperation. You should prove to us that following your rules will not lead to any more manipulation. Period.

      And when talking about the past know the facts better. We Greeks have survived the internal and foreign manipulation all these years ,exactly because we opposed such rules. Not because we are undemocratic but because of the many attacks Greece has experienced.
      The comparison that you worked and built your economy doesn’t cut it.
      Never were we in peace for something more in Greece.
      And the money received from Greece as you say ,well ,they were never received for Greece.
      So we organised individually.
      The state corruption remained. Together with foreign corruption.
      So ,making the Greeks follow rules who are also proven to be manipulative more than honest is highly unlikely. We have nothing to prove.

      And another thing. In the EU let us say that we had a super state. We decide as a country not be more competitive beyond a level. Why? Because that is how we like it. We do not have ambitions of becoming a giant. This has no effect whatsoever to other countries as long as the transfers and the trade relations in the EU are well balanced.
      Why am i saying this? Isn’t it obvious?
      No matter our competitive problems ,this is of no concern to you.
      And you have no right to ask for anything about it if it doesn’t cause any problem. Any real problem. Not any Troikish problem.

      Now do not get me wrong. We need reforms. We also know we need true partners. And you have proved you are not them. You just have the money right now. Or to be more precise ,not the money. The power to control the flow.
      What is of concern to you as a citizen of a country is to know the reasons why the deficits of the deficit countries increased more than they should and how.
      The personal lives of the Greeks have nothing to do with that.
      Look behind the governments. And mostly your own government.

      How will they make the Greeks follow these rules? By them (Troika) wanting the same corrupted individuals in power? By not controlling the transfers? By insulting us on a personal level? In a country were so much manipulation has occured? NO WAY.

      Understand that government and people are not the same thing in Greece.
      Now ask your self? Who the Troika helps? Whatever decision was made ,it was made without the people.

      The American government used to say: “You are either with us or against us” for the so called war against terrorism.
      The Troika did the same thing. You either receive money in the form of bailouts and reform (for whom and for what reason? we have already explained) or you get out.

      We should have done something similar in the beggining ,so that you too can feel the pain of your banks going bust but unfortunately the people do not have that power. You don’t either. Your government is not German. Just some people with power.
      Anyway we do not have to give you a choice by ourselves.

      You yourselves once more in history suceedeed in making the Greeks ,the spiritual filter of this world. Congratulations.
      You are either with the people of Greece or with the corrupted governments.

      So once again ,bugger off.

    • @ Demitri

      “We also know the future.”

      So you are fortune tellers? Anyway, would probably a good idea to know your past. Take this, written in 1854 by a french guy. And still true.

      “Observations générales sur la situation financière de la Grèce. — La Grèce vit en pleine banqueroute depuis sa naissance. — Les impôts sont payés en nature. — Les contribuables ne payent point l’État, qui ne paye point ses créanciers. — Budget d’exercice et budget de gestion. — Les ressources du pays ne se sont pas accrues en vingt années.

      Le régime financier de la Grèce est tellement extraordinaire et ressemble si peu au nôtre, que je crois nécessaire, avant d’entrer dans les détails du budget, de placer ici quelques observations générales.

      La Grèce est le seul exemple connu d’un pays vivant en pleine banqueroute depuis le jour de sa naissance. Si la France et l’Angleterre se trouvaient seulement une année dans cette situation, on verrait des catastrophes terribles : la Grèce a vécu plus de vingt ans en paix avec la banqueroute.

      Tous les budgets, depuis le premier jusqu’au dernier, sont en déficit.

      Lorsque, dans un pays civilisé, le budget des recettes ne suffit pas à couvrir le budget des dépenses, on y pourvoit au moyen d’un emprunt fait à l’intérieur. C’est un moyen que le gouvernement grec n’a jamais tenté, et qu’il aurait tenté sans succès.

      Il a fallu que les puissances protectrices de la Grèce garantissent sa solvabilité pour qu’elle négociât un emprunt à l’extérieur.

      Les ressources fournies par cet emprunt ont été gaspillées par le gouvernement sans aucun fruit pour le pays ; et, une fois l’argent dépensé, il a fallu que les garants, par pure bienveillance, en servissent les intérêts : la Grèce ne pouvait point les payer.

      Aujourd’hui elle renonce à l’espérance de s’acquitter jamais. Dans le cas où les trois puissances protectrices continueraient indéfiniment à payer pour elle, la Grèce ne s’en trouverait pas beaucoup mieux. Ses dépenses ne seraient pas encore couvertes par ses ressources.

      La Grèce est le seul pays civilisé où les impôts soient payés en nature. L’argent est si rare dans les campagnes, qu’il a fallu descendre à ce mode de perception. Le gouvernement a essayé d’abord d’affermer l’impôt ; mais les fermiers, après s’être témérairement engagés, manquaient à leurs engagements, et l’État, qui est sans force, n’avait aucun moyen de les contraindre.

      Depuis que l’État s’est chargé lui-même de percevoir l’impôt, les frais de perception sont plus considérables, et les revenus sont à peine augmentés. Les contribuables font ce que faisaient les fermiers : ils ne payent pas.

      Les riches propriétaires, qui sont en même temps des personnages influents, trouvent moyen de frustrer l’État, soit en achetant, soit en intimidant les employés. Les employés, mal payés, sans avenir assuré, sûrs d’être destitués au premier changement de ministère, ne prennent point, comme chez nous, les intérêts de l’État. Ils ne songent qu’à se faire des amis, à ménager les puissances et à gagner de l’argent.

      Quant ami petits propriétaires, qui doivent payer pour les grands, ils sont protégés contre les saisies ; soit par un ami puissant, soit par leur propre misère.

      La loi n’est jamais, en Grèce, cette personne intraitable que nous connaissons. Les employés écoutent les contribuables. Lorsqu’on se tutoie et qu’on s’appelle frères, on trouve toujours moyen de s’entendre. Tous les Grecs se connaissent beaucoup et s’aiment un peu : ils ne connaissent guère cet être abstrait qu’on appelle l’État, et ils ne l’aiment point. Enfin, le percepteur est prudent : il sait qu’il ne faut exaspérer personne, qu’il a de mauvais passages à traverser pour retourner chez lui, et qu’un accident est bientôt arrivé.

      Les contribuables nomades, les bergers, les bûcherons, les charbonniers, les pêcheurs, se font un plaisir et presque un point d’honneur de ne point payer d’impôts. Ces braves gens se souviennent qu’ils ont été Pallicares : ils pensent, comme du temps des Turcs, que leur ennemi c’est leur maître, et que le plus beau droit de l’homme est de garder son argent.

      C’est pourquoi les ministres des finances, jusqu’en 1846, faisaient deux budgets de recettes : l’un, le budget d’exercice, indiquait les sommes que le gouvernement devrait recevoir dans l’année, les droits qui lui seraient acquis ; l’autre, le budget de gestion, indiquait ce qu’il espérait recevoir. Et comme les ministres des finances sont sujets à se tromper à l’avantage de l’État dans le calcul des ressources probables qui seront réalisées, il aurait fallu faire un troisième budget, indiquant les sommes que le gouvernement était sûr de percevoir.

      Par exemple, en 1845, pour le produit des oliviers du domaine public, affermés régulièrement aux particuliers, le ministre inscrivait au budget d’exercice une somme de 441,800 drachmes. Il espérait (budget de gestion) que sur cette somme l’État serait assez heureux pour percevoir 61,500 drachmes. Mais cette espérance était au moins présomptueuse, car l’année précédente, l’État n’avait perçu, pour cet article, ni 441,800 drachmes, ni 61,500 drachmes, mais 4457 drachmes 31 centimes, c’est-à-dire environ un pour cent sur ce qui lui était dû.

      En 1846, le ministre des finances ne rédigea point de budget de gestion, et l’habitude s’en est perdue.

      L’État ne veut pas prévoir en principe qu’il ne sera pas.payé de ce qui lui est dû. Mais quoique les budgets suivants soient plus réguliers dans la forme, l’État continue à solliciter vainement ses débiteurs récalcitrants ou insolvables.

      Une dernière observation qui m’est suggérée par l’examen des différents budgets de 1833 à 1853, c’est que les ressources de l’État ne se sont pas accrues sensiblement dans ces vingt années.

      De 1833 à 1843, la recette moyenne de chaque année a été de 12,582,968 drachmes 9 lepta. La dépense moyenne a été de 13,875, 212 dr. 39 lepta. Le déficit annuel, de 1,292,244 dr. 30 l.

      En 1846, les recettes espérées se montaient à la somme de 14,515,500 dr.

      Le budget de 1847 était le même que celui de 1846, sauf une augmentation espérée de 360,725 dr. 79 1. sur les recettes.

      Depuis cette époque, les revenus de l’État ont subi une diminution considérable :

      En 1850, par l’affaire Pacifico et le blocus du Pirée, qui arrêta le commerce maritime des Grecs pendant toute une campagne, tandis qu’un hiver extraordinairement rigoureux tuait des troupeaux entiers, faisait périr un grand nombre d’oliviers et d’arbres à fruits, réduisait des deux tiers l’exportation de l’huile, et des neuf dixièmes la récolte des citrons et des oranges ;

      En 1851, par la disette de céréales, qui condamna la Grèce à importer des blés pour 12 millions de drachmes au lieu de 2 millions, et fit sortir du pays une grande quantité de numéraire.

      En 1852, par la maladie de la vigne, qui détruisit les deux tiers de la récolte du raisin de Corinthe, et enleva au trésor un de ses principaux revenus ;

      En 1853, parla disette dont nous souffrons encore, et dont les Grecs, épuisés par quatre années déplorables, souffrent plus cruellement que nous.”

    • vss

      1854 vss? Are you totally stupid? A few years after the revolution?
      That is your argument?

      So i should just mention the time you were hanging from trees then.

      From the beginning of the euro to here and now all the manipulation from Germany was a big bailout to save herself from the German economic crisis of the time. That is why they let Greece in. To have more people to export.

      Your government crimes become known to everybody. And for one last time i will say to you ,as a citizen to another ,you are either with the truth or with the corrupted governments (whatever nationality). How the hell can you support them? What have they given to you?

    • vss

      We never had free ,really free money and outside help from others to acquire knowhow as you did. And we NEVER manipulated the money of others so that we can save our economy.

      So yes, we may have problems ,and still as individuals we offer to the world. Even if that means leaving our country.

      You just cause problems. Since we accepted to do business with the likes of you ,it serves us right to have debt again.

      At least we are honest about it.
      Not like you.

      THIEVES AND COWARDS.

    • Aristoteles

      I was just trying to be more kind. Not that i suceed. Far from it.

      Is there an english version of it? Or maybe the Germans could just translate it.

      This is a piece that should get everywhere.
      I have become so sick of the Germans. And the worst part ,as i have said again ,is that the citizens of Germany just love what is happening.

      Can they be so unbelievably stupid? 😡

    • vss

      “Ces braves gens se souviennent qu’ils ont été Pallicares : ils pensent, comme du temps des Turcs, que leur ennemi c’est leur maître, et que le plus beau droit de l’homme est de garder son argent.”

      Sure. We do not pay to those that steal from us. Simple as that.

      If you had the problems of the Greeks ,and no free money from America you would have done nothing. You are thieves and you continue doing that. You want everything.

      The powers that gave Greece loans to free herself ,then got most money back by increasing interest rates.
      Greece could not handle it.

      Then the Germans came ,years later the powers brought a German King in Greece were he got most of the money.
      During dictatorship Papadopoulos wanted to peg the drachma with oil and make drachma ,then the forth most powerful currency in the world ,the first. Yes ,we knew about oil from back then.

      The Americans didn’t like this so they used their “Jackals” (CIA) to bring down the dictatorship.

      We never had a reason to trust the state with all these attacks against Greece and all this manipulation.
      Greece is the only civilized country in the so called civilized world that is attacked so much by many.

      History attacks, military attacks, economic attacks and more

      Thank you for this piece. You remind us how naive we are.
      And still compared to us ,you are worthless human beings.

    • @ Demitri

      “And still compared to us ,you are worthless human beings”

      Ah, is that so? Well, well. If there ever was a racist on this blog, he is identified now.

    • vss

      You are right vss. As time passes i am becoming a racist.
      I should have that looked into. You on the other hand don’t need to. That is how you appeared in this matrix of life. It is not your fault you know. It just happens.

      You see ,if an innocent person is convinced by manipulators to attack and kill me ,even though i will know that person to be innocent ,i will not let him kill me just because he/she is stupid.

      So ,if some innocent Germans do not have a clue of what is going on and/or have no will to escape the German “Plato’s cave” their government has built for them ,as time passes and things get more difficult ,i won’t care a bit about them ,not because of insensitivity but because of my will to focus on my life only.

      I guess i am no Socrates to die for you. Only one existed.

      That is the kind of racist i am.

      I have already warned you as a citizen to another.

  • “I began this piece by claiming that generalisations are the first step on the road to fully fledged racism and, to boot, to highly misleading economic analysis.”

    I agree entirely. I suggest to go beyond the analysis developed in this post and investigate at that light the meaning, i.e., the referent or referents, of the verbal expression “European Union”.

  • Dear Yanis
    I like your approach.
    By the way: The German “Sachverständigenrat für Wirtschaft” (loosely translated as “Council of economic advisors”) – an important body that has a lot of influence in Germany – has come up with a proposal to solve this crisis that contains the central idea of your “modest proposal”! Maybe they’ve been inspired, maybe it’s just chance – or maybe something like the modest proposal is simply the only way out… Whatever, it’s unfortunately only in German but should be very interesting as I am sure this thing is currently discussed in the German ministries of finance and economics – and maybe between Ms. Merkel and her economic adivisers:
    http://www.sachverstaendigenrat-wirtschaft.de/fileadmin/dateiablage/download/publikationen/sg2012.pdf

    What are your thoughts?

  • Richard Koo Talked To Some German Politicians, And They Admitted To What They REALLY Think About Greece

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/richard-koo-on-german-politicians-and-greece-2012-7#ixzz20DMiHMuy

    Some great stuff in the latest note from Nomura’s Richard Koo regarding a trip he took to Germany.

    Koo writes:

    There was a unanimously held belief that nothing will improve without extensive structural reforms and that any aid provided in the absence of such reforms will do little more than buy time.

    One influential parliamentarian, for example, argued forcefully that Greece was not yet a modern nation-state and that it continued to operate under the ideas and systems of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. He felt this had to change before further aid could be provided.
    Greece’s tax collection system was singled out for special criticism. The same politician spoke of a Greek friend who tried to report to the local tax authorities that he had a pool at his house but was told not to declare it since the paperwork was so troublesome.

    Another individual remarked that many of Greece’s democratic institutions are run on the basis of personal and historical connections and that it was difficult to believe that elections were decided on the basis of policy debate.

    This comment prompted one person to note that Greece had been allowed into the euro because it was the cradle of Western democracy, but today’s Greece shared little with that nation. He felt it had clearly been a mistake to let the country into the euro.

    Another representative said that, regardless of what happens in the short term, Greece should ultimately leave the eurozone, devalue its currency, and rebuild its economy to restore competitiveness.

    Overall, for those believing that Germany might be open to quick measures, Koo’s note is a disappointment.

    One politician apparently saw this moment as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to pursue Germanic-like structural reforms in Southern Europe, and than these reformers were only possible in a crisis. Thus, Koo notes, even a worsening economic crisis isn’t reason enough to to change the current path, since the worsening crisis just means a greater impetus for reform.

    (A skeptic might note that the crisis isn’t cause Greece to reform, but rather voting for Neo-Nazi and communist politicians, but that’s neither here nor there.)

    If there is one positive near-term takeaway, says Koo, it’s that one politician connected to Merkel might see the benefit in fiscal stimulus if combined with structural reforms.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/richard-koo-on-german-politicians-and-greece-2012-7#ixzz20DMpGlx1

    • Dear Aristoteles
      If what you write / Koo reports is true, then I think it is actually not too bad. Most of what’s in there isn’t too shocking – it’s kind of what you’d expect from a frustrated German government that is trying to figure out what is going on in Greece, kind of unable to make sense of it.

    • @Martin:

      “Dear Aristoteles If what you write / Koo reports is true, then I think it is actually not too bad. Most of what’s in there isn’t too shocking – it’s kind of what you’d expect from a frustrated German government that is trying to figure out what is going on in Greece, kind of unable to make sense of it.”

      What you call not too bad is what I call another insult. We had enough of these fricking German insults. Our tolerance is exhausted.

      PS. I would advise the fricking German politicians who made these uninformed comments to first study history before they make such iliterate statements about the Eastern Roman Empire 🙂

    • Aristoteles

      You see how Martin connected what Koo said with Greece’s fake “problems” while Koo talks about the real bailout of Germany?

      Well Martin ,then it is not to bad for you to pay for the frustrated Greece which European problems she has are not at all real. You made them ,you pay for them.

    • Aristoteles,

      After reading the Business Insider article you linked to, I had two reactions.

      The first one is outrage for the views indiscriminately expressed against the whole Greek nation. I hope most in this thread would share this reaction.

      The second reaction, though, was the feeling that I heard the same things before. So I did a search and found the place where I read them:

      Interview with Greek Writer Nikos Dimou: ‘We Like to Live Beyond Our Means’
      http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/interview-with-greek-writer-nikos-dimou-on-crisis-a-837024.html

      The point is that many people (even those one would not expect) are busily spreading these views, for reasons they only know.

      In other words, with due respect to all who might think differently, I agree with Varoufakis on this: is not wise to treat nations as monolithic entities.

      Thanks.

    • @Magpie:

      This guy Nikos Dimou is a controversial figure in Greece. He subscribes to a strange philosophical perspective of identity so although he is a Greek citizen he does not consider himself ethnically Greek (defining his ethnic identity differently than majority of the Greek population). He has been widely accused in Greece of intolerance towards Greek citizens!!!

      You can find for any stupidy the right person!

      The more interesting question for me is what is the hidden agenda of Spiegel and all the other German mainstream media???

    • @Magpie:

      This is a much better analysis of our real Greek identity. Unfortunately just in Greek:

      http://youtu.be/waEuGdp6HRw

      ΓΡΑΜΜΑΤΑ ΣΠΟΥΔΑΜΑΤΑ. Ο κ. Δημήτρης Νατσιός, δάσκαλος, συζητά με τον κ. Γιώργο Καραμπελιά, εκδότη, συγγραφέα.

    • Magpie

      Some problems:

      1) Many Germans translate whatever Nikos Dimou said ,as they want.
      Especially with the media propaganda they have there.

      2) Nikos Dimou confuses childish behaviour with immaturity and doesn’t refer to the context of the Egyptian priests’ comment.

      3) Nikos Dimou doesn’t have a clue that the individual problems of every country and any culture have nothing to do with the broader crisis.
      —————–

      So he too falls in the German trap of connecting personal Greek behaviour with the crisis ,as the EU leaders intented.

      All in all ,he is right. We like to overdo it. It is nobody’s business since we hurt nobody and especially since the crisis is not ours.

      Noone lived beyond one’s means ,even if a Greek wanted to ,simply because of constantly higher prices and diminishing quality of life.
      And if a Greek lived beyond one’s means ,it is his problem. He worked for it ,he pays for it. Period.

      No German will cover the vast European manipulation behind our habits.

      Nikos Dimou should lift his eyes from the books and look around him.

    • Dear Aristoteles
      Sure, if Nikos Dimou says something that in part confirms some of the impressions outsiders have from Greece (ginving fairly plausible arguments in my eyes) then this can only be…
      …PART OF THE GERMAN GLOBAL CONSPIRACY!!

      Merkel struck again!

      😉
      We bought him, it’s obvious. And then this was published, in the official German propaganda ministry publication called “Spiegel”.

      What we can absolutely exclude as an explanation is that he actually shares his view and that this view is partly right.

    • @Martin:

      I didn’t read Mr. Dimous interview when I answered to Magpie about him!

      Now having read his oppinion I can simply repeat what I said about him beofore:

      Nikos Dimou is a controversial figure in Greece. He subscribes to a strange philosophical perspective of identity so although he is a Greek citizen he does not consider himself ethnically Greek (defining his ethnic identity differently than majority of the Greek population).

      His statements in the Spiegel interview are consistent with his strange perspective of Greek identity 🙂

      You say this: “And then this was published, in the official German propaganda ministry publication called “Spiegel”

      I fully agree with you since I haven’t seen even one positive article by Spiegel, Bildzeitung, Focus or Welt about Greece over the last two plus years! What do you call that? Sounds very much to me like a well organized media campaign my friend! Or do you still believe that your media are independent and neutral 🙂

  • “I have no doubt that both the German public and a large majority of German policy makers would opt for the latter; motivated by a mixture of (a) an urge to see that the Greeks are ‘taught’ a lesson (retribution) and (b) a view that such pain is important to deter the spendthrift Greeks (and assorted Peripherals) from repeating their ‘sins’ in the future. ”

    Yes we do!

    • Pedro

      Good plan Pedro. Then you will invent a time machine and mind control devices to keep everybody from not acting as you do not wish in the future.

      I guess you have already planned your own genetic modifications so that your future generations will be better than you and are sure 100% for that. So why not “punish” others?

  • Whenever I read an analysis of the current european crisis from I progressive economist like you, it always comes to my mind the Lennon’s quote: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” To depict the current situation, the above mentioned quote would have been changed by Lenin as follows: “Class struggle is what happens to societies while progressive economists are busy trying to compose modest proposals for economic crisis”. 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

  • Of course we should also apply the lesson to criticizing “Greeks”. Because it should be possible to articulate criticism, that is not racist, even though it may be difficult to hear. Same principles apply.

    • @Xenofon,

      “Of course we should also apply the lesson to criticizing “Greeks”. Because it should be possible to articulate criticism, that is not racist, even though it may be difficult to hear. Same principles apply.”

      Xenofon,

      Have you seen what this fricking Kai Diekman from the Nazi-Bildzeitung is saying?

      “Ο κ. Ντίκμαν πρόσφατα επισκέφθηκε τη χώρα μας και συγκεκριμένα τη Λέρο. Σήμερα η εφημερίδα «Καθημερινή» δημοσιεύει συνέντευξή του στην οποία ο διευθυντής της Bild δηλώνει χωρίς δεύτερες σκέψεις ότι δεν έχει καμία ενοχή από τον τρόπο με τον οποίο η εφημερίδα του κάλυψε την ελληνική κρίση χρέους. «Δεν ευθύνεται ο αγγελιοφόρος για τις κακές ειδήσεις που κομίζει. Γράφουμε απλώς την πικρή αλήθεια. Όπως τη λέει και η καγκελάριος Μέρκελ», εξηγεί. «Από έναν καλό φίλο θα έπρεπε να έχετε την απαίτηση να λέει την αλήθεια». Συμπληρώνει στις δηλώσεις του στην εφημερίδα. ”

      Of course what Mr. Varoufakis is saying doesn’t seem to apply in the same way to the Teutonic media and politicians! No they are just giving us “good advices” like work harder you lazy mediterenean bas…s and spend less money you profligate southerners and throw the cheater-Greeks out of the Eurozone etc.

      I suggest the complete opposite! We should be greatful indeed for all their good words and pay them back in their own coin 🙂

  • @Martin:

    “I think it would be an illusion for Germany to think that they will get everything back that they (recklessly) lent to Greece. And it would be an illusion for Greece to believe that if they only shout loud enough Germany will just provide the money. For it can’t as we have to be fair and keeping the rest of the EU afloat is way beyond our means.

    So some clever solution like the Moderate Proposal might be the answer, but the more centralized / shared the debt becomes, the more Germany will insist on the others following some basic rules of good governance.

    This is not primarily because Germans are evil and like to see others suffer. It is natural for a creditor to be wanting to see its money back. Same for the other few net contributors (Austria, Netherlands and Finland). You should pray they continue to be solidaric with e.g. Greece. For if they loose patience it will become politically almost impossible for German politicians to sell to the population that unfortunately, we now have to do it alone while e.g. Finland looks after its own interests.”

    Martin,

    In my view the best for Greece is to default on all its external debt and leave both the EU and the Eurozone! I don’t see any reason to stay in such a fricking Dis-Union of creditors, banksters, and economic exploiters. The EU shall go to hell (where it finally belongs to) and the Germans shall have their union with their own kind! You fit much better with your dutch and your finish friends. Build your Lega Nord and let us have our own Club Med! To call that what happened over the last two+ years solidarity from the Germans and all the other creditors is an insult to my moral value system and my own cognition .

    Btw. What you are proposing here was from the very beginning the plan of the German elites! They simply didn’t tell you that before but here is something new for you:

    The Entire Crisis In Europe Started With A Big ECB Bailout Of Germany

    Great note from Nomura’s Richard Koo, looking at the so-called “competitiveness problem” of the Southern European nations.
    Rather than some inherent problem found there, Koo says that what happened is that after the 2000 tech bubble collapsed (a bubble which Germany shared heavily in) the ECB used exceptionally loose monetary policy to stimulate the economy, so that Germany wouldn’t have to revive its economy via fiscal policy.
    This didn’t do much domestically in Germany (which was suffering from a balance sheet recession) but did really rev up the bubbles in the periphery, causing the boom in imports from Germany, thus putting the periphery in debt, and boosting Germany’s export sector, rescuing it from the post-tech-bubble funk.
    Says Koo:
    The countries of southern Europe, which had not participated in the IT bubble, enjoyed strong economies and robust private- sector demand for funds at the time. The ECB’s 2% policy rate therefore led to sharp growth in the money supply, which in turn fueled economic expansions and housing bubbles.

    Wages and prices increased… leaving those countries less competitive relative to Germany.
    In short, the ECB’s ultra-low policy rate had little impact in Germany, which was suffering from a balance sheet recession, but it was too low for other countries in the eurozone, resulting in widely divergent rates of inflation.

    As Germany became increasingly competitive relative to the strong economies of southern Europe, exports grew sharply and pulled the nation out of recession. Germany’s trade surplus quickly overtook those of Japan and China to become the world’s largest, with much of the growth fueled by exports to other European markets.

    ECB, not southern Europe, responsible for competitiveness gap

    In 2005, I told a senior ECB official that it was unfair to force other countries to rescue Germany by boosting their economies with loose monetary policy without requiring Germany to administer fiscal stimulus, when it was Germany that had become so deeply overextended in the bubble. The official responded that that is what a unified currency means: because Germany could not be granted an exception on fiscal stimulus, the only option was to lift the entire region with monetary policy.
    In other words, there would have been no need for such dramatic easing by the ECB—and hence no reason for the competitiveness gap with the rest of the eurozone to widen to current levels—if Germany had used fiscal stimulus to address its balance sheet recession.
    The creators of the Maastricht Treaty made no provision for balance sheet recessions when drawing up the document, and today’s “competitiveness problem” is solely attributable to the Treaty’s 3% cap on fiscal deficits, which placed unreasonable demands on ECB monetary policy during this type of recessions. The countries of southern Europe are not to blame.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/richard-koo-the-entire-crisis-in-europe-started-with-a-big-ecb-bailout-of-germany-2012-6

    • Oh, Koo? The guy has no clue. He ignores the fact that Germany underwent a whole set of hurtful restructurings for the workforce, built up the broken GDR economy of 16 million people and even though permanently was by far the largest net contributor to the EU. He also ignores that the CLUB med build up bubbles like housing (Spain), Banking (France), public sector (Greece), banking (Cyprus), to name just a few, w/o doing anything (like Germany did) to build up an economy that is NOT based on an endless influx of foreign money.

      “if Germany had used fiscal stimulus to address its balance sheet recession” is particularrly stupid, since it would have increased the (already very high) debt level of Germany even further. Germany opted for a better, sustianable way, even if it was much, much harder for its population.

      Thus, Koo is full of BS, period.

    • @VSS:

      “…if Germany had used fiscal stimulus to address its balance sheet recession” is particularrly stupid, since it would have increased the (already very high) debt level of Germany even further. Germany opted for a better, sustianable way, even if it was much, much harder for its population. Thus, Koo is full of BS, period.”

      Of course Koo the Chief Economist of Nomura Research is another bullshitter according to your expert view 🙂

      And of course it seems that you didn’t understand what he was saying! He said exactly that Germany didn’t use fiscal stimulus to address its balance sheet recession because it would have increased the debt level of Germany even further!!! So instead the “neutral” ECB (aka Deutsche Bundesbank no. 2) stepped in to “ease” Germanys problem by reducing the ECB’s interest rate to record low levels so that the southern countries could lend cheap money and buy enough German products so that they support Germanys recovery!!! At the end the ECB’s (aka Deutsche Bundesbank no. 2) cheap money helped Germany get out of recession to the by increasing the debt levels of all the others who know have high debt levels thanks to the ECB’s (aka Deutsche Bundesbank no. 2) “neutral” and “balanced” monetary policy!

      Thank you ECB (aka Deutsche Bundesbank no. 2) and thank you Germany for your splendid solidarity!

    • Dear Aristoteles
      You write: “…In my view the best for Greece is to default on all its external debt and leave both the EU and the Eurozone!…”

      I think that defaulting on its debt and leaving the Eurozone would be an option for Greece (and maybe the only real way out given the economic and political realities).
      However, I don’t think this would be fun: Greece would have to pay very high interest rates on any new debt. Maybe a good thing as it would prevent Greece from taking on much new debt in the first place. But to completely default on 100% of the debt would be very unusual (especially in times of peace). I don’t know what implications that would have in terms of Greece continuing to be a member state in the EU etc. Leaving the EU would not necessarily be in Greece’s best interest (it would loose the subsidies for infrastructure, agriculture, etc – and it would potentially loose access to the common market).
      Maybe, settling for defaulting on, say, 80% or so could be an option. But somewhere around 80% it would have to be as the Drachma would probably fall to around 50% of the EUR and so 20% of the remaining debt (of 160% of GDP) would only be 32% – but worth 64% in terms of GDP with the EUR effectively doubling against the Drachma. It will be challenging to pay the debt off with very high interest rates Greece will have to pay it would have to do that and find it difficult to roll over the debt.
      But here, maybe a compromise such as accepting, say, 20% or so of the exisiting debt but paying it off over 30 Years and paying only 2% interest on it in the mean time could be kind of acceptable for the creditors and still managable for Greece.

      The adjustment process in your scenario (default, leaving Eurozone and possibly EU) in terms of balancing the budget would be even more brutal than it would be according to the very unpopular Troika plans. The budget would have to be balanced right away – something the EU has never asked for. So I wonder a bit: If Greece is prepared to endure the hardship the option outside the Eurozone and EU would entail – probably it would have then been able to make it within the Eurozone and the EU. But the will does not seem to be there, so maybe you really have to leave (though it seems suboptimal for both Greece and the rest)…

      But on the positive side, the debt would be gone/reduceed to a managable size and this would enable Greece a fresh start.
      The Greek banking system would be bankrupt with all that this entails – also probably a bit of difficulty paying for vital stuff such as basic social security, pensions, pharmaceutical products, petrol, etc etc.
      But at least the competitiveness issue would be solved in one go – the Drachme would devalue and suddenly, services and products from Greece would be very competitive. Maybe, there would be another scenario that would decrease the pain for both Greece and the rest of the Eurozone – but so far that has not worked so maybe, your solution would be best, who knows…

    • @Martin:

      “But to completely default on 100% of the debt would be very unusual (especially in times of peace). I don’t know what implications that would have in terms of Greece continuing to be a member state in the EU etc. Leaving the EU would not necessarily be in Greece’s best interest (it would loose the subsidies for infrastructure, agriculture, etc – and it would potentially loose access to the common market)”

      100% default on all external debt, that’s my suggestion. We don’t need the EU. Greece is a rich country. Full of natural ressources (gas, oil, gold, aluminum, etc.) , a lovely place for holidays (not just for German and dutch tourists) and very fertile agriculture. No we don’t need any subsidies which make people lazy and we also don’t need to import second class produce from other EU countries in exchange for the EU’s subsidies 🙂

      “The adjustment process in your scenario (default, leaving Eurozone and possibly EU) in terms of balancing the budget would be even more brutal than it would be according to the very unpopular Troika plans.”

      No, it wouldn’t!!! It would be difficult for a three to a six months period and after that the adjustment would be over. After the 3 to six months Greece would be doing marvelously just as did Iceland, Argentina and other countries who defaulted in the past! No rocket science to understand that.

      “The Greek banking system would be bankrupt with all that this entails”

      For the ordinary Greeks this would mean nothing:-) For the bank owners that would be a desaster since the banks would be nationalised, but I don’t care too much about the bank owners for the time beeing at least.

      “also probably a bit of difficulty paying for vital stuff such as basic social security, pensions, pharmaceutical products, petrol, etc etc.”

      Not at all my friend:-) Without an interest rate burden the basic social security, pensions etc. can be paid out of the national budget!

      Most pharmaceutical products can be produced locally since 80 percent are generics! For the rest Greece can import the remaining pharmaceutical products either from the EU or from Russia or from China or the US. I wouldn’t worry too much about the 20 percent which will have to be imported.

      Now on petrol and energy: Our electricity production is autonomic since we have plenty of lignite! We already produce 20 percent of our petrol in Greece and can extend that easily to 60 percent over the next five years since the whole of the eastern mediterenean is full of natural gas and petrol! The rest we will have to import but with our given foreign exchange accrual that’s going to be a snap:-)

      Even the devaluation of a new currency isn’t such a problem since Greece could either peg its new currency to either the USD or the Russian Ruble or simply create the new currency on a silver or gold standard!!! I should mention to you that we have gold ressources in Greece so even a silver or gold standard might be the right thing when the new currency is introduced so that the devaluation is under control of the Greek central bank.

      No Martin, we don’t need the EU. The EU needs Greece but if worst comes to worst we don’t need the EU. We might even establish our own Union with people who want and deserve a real Union and not a Germanic travesty show of a Union:-)

      Who knows what will happen in the near future! We are living in exciting times !

    • vss

      He didn’t ignore anything of what you said.
      What he said is that you want to be exempt from your own responsibilities about the shared problems.

      When it suits you you said that this is what a Union is all about ,now that your banks are in a mess ,it is all the fault of others.

      Germany being the largest contributor of the EU does not give her the right to manipulate the flow so as to cover her self from her own mistakes. Period.

      And the fact that that you restructured it was good for you till a point but the problems of the financial markets surpass any kind of restructuring and thus have no meaning to refer to them. Also they have no relation to the crisis.

      At some point in time everybody got hurt. We had austerity two times before 2000. So?

      This crisis is all about your own european mismanagement and what ever you want to say more and more people understand that. You chose to mismanage the whole EU and now you use as an excuse that it is the lack of reforms in other countries while you had restructured.

    • Martin

      At the beginning of the crisis noone had to default and noone had to foot any bill.
      Aristoteles now wants that simply because he is fed up by the Troika’s manipulative games.

      Now that the banks have been “cleansed” through the debt of the sovereigns ,everybody talks about Greece leaving. At first they (Troika)didn’t want that simply because you would have blown skyhigh your own economy. Your banks held a lot of toxic waste.

      There were many ways for the toxic waste to stop being toxic but the choice of your Merkel was covering it up behind the sovereign debt.

      That is their “solidarity”.

    • “You chose to mismanage the whole EU”

      Blabla. The EU is managed by the commission, in which the ClubMed had and has a majority since it existed. Same for the ECB. So would you pls. stop with such stupidly wrong claims?

      BTW. As for them banksters, I showed already several times that the french banks were much more exposed to the ClubMed and deleveraged just between Q1 and Q4 2010 about ten times more money than German banks. All the taxpayers money that was taken to support ailing (mostly French) was channeled there by Trichet, Strauss-Kahn and Lagarde. French, not German people. Will you EVER recognise these facts?

      And as I am about it: Emporiki ist for Crédit Agricole (not Deutsche Bank or so) a bottomless pit since it was taken over in 2006. Crédit Agricole is a French bank, not a German one.

      Guys, you can be as racist as you want, but pls. dont be that stupid to blame only the Germans if others, especially the French, but also Itralians, Spanish and others cause problems.

      And, of course, most of all, the Greeks themselvese are responsible for the state of their country. As long as this simple truth is denied, there will never be a better future for Greece.

    • vss

      “Will you EVER recognise these facts?”

      We do. And what they choose to do now? To simply use all these situations for their interests. Hypocricy called solidarity.

      As for the state of our country it once more has no relation to the true causes of this crisis. Not any other country either.

      Lastly we attack NOT the country Germany but the official Germany with all the other countries’ elites. French ,Italian ,Greek ,Spanish. They are all the same.

      It seems you refuse to accept these facts because you will have to accept your country’s part in this mess too. Ofcourse after such insulting ,why should you apologise? Not a good policy. You will lose your precious face.

      We also attack you because it is your government that has the power to manipulate everything right now.

      But the most important reason we attack you ,is because you do not accept your own European responsibilities and you support your criminals. Once more the global problems were caused by your side. Period.

      Once more you will get money and nothing else. No respect ,not anything.

      Continue to say whatever you want vss. Whatever.

    • vss

      If you wanted the truth vss ,you would try to understand the cycles of civilization.

      Every empire ends at some point in time. Now it is the Greeks that have fallen. So? It happens.

      Many many problems exist in Greece. Some have no apparent reason.
      You should know better. We surely do not escape anything.
      Not in this blog.

      Ofcourse there are Greeks that are lousy. As there are Germans.

      Simply you do not want to share the burden that was also caused by your own policies. You all want to escape as a country.

      Hell ,in your culture ,even the couples do not share the bill when they eat out. Even if one of them has a problem caused by the other one. We should have never expected anything from you. Yes ,that is all our mistake.

      It is a cultural problem.

    • @Demetri:

      “Hell ,in your culture ,even the couples do not share the bill when they eat out. Even if one of them has a problem caused by the other one. We should have never expected anything from you.”

      I LIKE IT 🙂

      Tell them the truth and don’t bother my friend!!!

    • Dear Aristoteles
      I am a bit unsure – for e.g. Argentina the default was probably really the right thing. And maybe it would be for Greece. However, it would be painful and I don’t think it is easy to tell what is more painful: enduring pain in order to try to avoid default or at least to default in “an orderly fashion”.
      Or simply defaulting with all that entails. Sure tourism would keep bringing in cash – and some natural resources that you may have. But either they (e.g. oil, gas, lignite) have a value in which case there should be a way to use the anticipated income from that (or a part of it) now by e.g. selling concessions to Shell and the like. Or (which I believe) their value is not as high as what we would hope or the success finding and producing the stuff is uncertain. In which case I wouldn’t bet an economy on it…
      But I agree it is truly a very difficult question to assess what is in Greece’s best interest now. Could be either – default or not to default. If Greece defaults in an “unorderly fashion” this probably would be seen as yet another, final blow Greece delivers to the EU / Eurozone and would not make Greece’s life easier in years to come in terms of dealing with the others. And I would doubt that having Russia as a sponsor is much better than Brussels. Or do you want to be Putin’s colony?

      Dear Demetri:
      I do agree with you that the crisis has not been managed very well. But from both sides – Greece’s leadership and also the Troika.

      However, in terms of assessing the situation in Greece when the crisis hit (and before), have a look at this statistic, please:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greece_public_debt_1999-2010.svg

      The statistic suggests that Greek public debt was virtually flat in terms of the debt / GDP ratio from 1999 to about 2005. This was a time of relatively strong economic growth which is why even though the debt increased in absolute terms, the ratio debt / GDP remained more or less stable. But the course was risky: A bit like in the UK – if you stimulate growth in the good times, you have not much buffer to do anything when there is a downturn because the government balance goes massively in the red immediately as government income goes down while expenditure (unemployment benefits, etc) goes up. I am sure the political and economic elite in Greece was aware of that. It was common sense. They did not care whether or not their growth model was sustainable. As we clearly see today, it was not. My point is the following:
      Even though on paper Greece’s debt situation looked reasonably stable at first sight it was not because it desperately depended on economic good times to continue. And if we know one thing in economics than that’s that good times end one day and bad times occur again and again. Together with the deteriorating competitiveness, the high government debt was a very dangerous starting point for Greece to enter the worldwide downturn in 2008.
      As you can see in the statistics, Greek government debt rose exponentially from about 2007. Way before Merkel messed everything up!
      This trend was clear to continue for some time as the chain of disaster could only have been broken by

      – Massive help from outside. This would have been difficult to justify for a country that was in denial it had any kind of problem while e.g. Italy had admirably succeeded in carrying the load of its own huge debt, which wasn’t easy. Why help Greece and not Italy (or Portugal, etc)? Also, it seemed that Greece was in a classic situation of self-inflicted disaster: There was no need for it to be in such a situation and it had done everything it could to insist getting into this kind of situation (fiddling with statistics, breakinig Maastricht rules, etc). So jumping to help is not a natural reaction, especially as Greece was in denial and the government tried to get elected insisting “the money is there”.

      – The other way out would have been a strong effort from Greece. The kind of discussions that are held now, (inside Greece too, I believe) should have taken place already in 2000-2006:
      Do we absolutely need the high level of consumption we buy with taking on debt?
      Is it fair on the next generation?
      Will it work long-term?
      Will it get us in a situation that we don’t want to be in?
      Or, latest when it was clear for everybody to see that Greece was blowing up (2009). With mobilizing all resources such as harsh budget cuts, throwing in the gold reserve of Greece, immediately implementing taxation and maybe introducing some “national emergency” tax on the wealthy (e.g. 20% on wealth above 100’000, payable over the next five years). This could have stabilized the exponentially growing debt. But none of this happened. The non-sensical path continued right till Greece hit the wall: In early 2010. By then, the situation was truly desparate. But that was not Merkel’s fault. Greece had done not very much to prevent this from happening and it had the chance, again and again, to deviate from its disastrous path or at least slow down before hitting the wall. None of this happened. To now say it’s been the greedy bankers and the stupid / evil Germans is not convining.

      I think it is this what frustrates me and some other Germans / northern Europeans: Greece is a lovely country and it really did not need to get itself into this mess. But it did and that can happen. Bad things have happened to Germany, too and we got a second chance and we are grateful for that.
      But before you get a second chance, you need to analyse what went wrong and credibly change. Otherwise you don’t deserve a second chance. Greece has taken painfully long and still is partly in denial.

      On the upside: I read yesterday in the financial times that, painful as it’s been, the last couple of years have had some effect on the sustainability of the Greece’s government budget and the competitiveness of its economy. Though everything looks terrible on paper, things may improve. As they say: Things have to get worse before they get better. Maybe the “getting worse” bit is almost behind Greece and from e.g. 2013 on it can go up again. Sometimes, statistics can lead us the wrong way: Greece’s situation was way more desparate than it looked in the statistics in 2008 – and maybe it is better now in reality than statistics suggest. I would hope so.

    • Martin

      I totally agree with you for the stupidity of Greece.
      Let me say again that here noone has ever denied all this freaking manipulation from the Greek traitors against Greece.

      That is one reason the Greek population denied the help while it was forced on us and accepted easily by the Greek parliament.

      Although as you say this “help” delayed the “great depression” it destroyed the real economy. It delayed the worst because of the cleansing of the banks through attacking the periphery.

      The other reason we the population denied the help ,is because we know that the deficit of a country is NEVER a cause but a symptom.
      The cause is uncontrolled cheap credit and malinvestment.

      When Germany accepted Greece and Portugal ,with the help of Goldman Sachs ,was to escape from her own telecommunications ,energy and financial bubbles. Instead of doing the right thing in your own country ,which would ,at first ,cause unemployment etc etc. ,she treated the EZ as a country (correct) but manipulated the rates so that she wouldn’t have to experience the negative effects that were in order ,for her to escape from the bubbles (incorrect ,immoral ,manipulative). In other words ,the negative effects were transported to the south. This led to ,cheap credit in the south ,increasing cost of living and while the wages seemed to increase they were a lot low compared with costs. This also led people to find more jobs ,(many Greeks were working to 2 and 3 jobs).

      The above led to personal debt. So the phrase “living by their means” has no meaning at all since the EZ caused the standards of leaving to fall.

      All the money of the population were vanishing and production was not increasing in the real economy by the private sector.
      The money that the state got from the EU ,were vanishing either in the pockets of the elite or were going back to Germany by deals with corrupt corporations and financial gambling.

      (My father ,a commercial navy cook ,gave a lot of money to “the house of the sailor” for his pension. “The house of the sailor” was the richest welfare organisation in Greece. Suddenly ,before 2005 ,we learn that it was bankrupt because they played the money with international banksters. Then many Greeks stopped paying insurance on purpose. WE DO NOT PAY A STATE THAT STEALS FROM US.)

      Corruption (much connected with Germany) ,and manipulation of rates (again connected with Germany) ,plus incredible Greek traitors and Portugeuse and Italian and Spanish and Irish = no possibility for healthy development. Greeks have a habit of understanding these matters. So in order for the money not to vanish in the banking system for financial jokes and for more money to circulate faster in the real economy they created an anti – bubble mechanism. What is this? Not reporting the 2nd and 3rd job. Tax evasion. This tax evasion actually delayed the crisis since the money weren’t being absorbed back in the core.

      In other words since no money could be created in the EZ ,if the money were getting scarce ,production was getting harder. The money that were going to the core and especially Germany were then returning as more debt ,the so called transfers. Only that ,as i have said before ,they were totally uncontrolled ,exactly as a banker wants it.

      Add the fact that a prerequisite for Greeks to receive the so called agricultural subsidies was to cut agricultural production (and in other sectors) and you have the perfect wealth transfering mechanism from the periphery to the core.

      The fact that you give money is no help. Think of the way these money came to be ,for you to give as high interest loans.
      That is how Germany got out of the bubbles and increased its rate of development so much in 10 years ,while in honest conditions it would take 30 and more.

      The Maastrich criteria also Germany couldn’t handle simply because it is impossible. All the rules broken were first from Germany herself.

      You also kept your wages low and domestic demand low ,while the cost of living in the periphery increased. So the competitiveness gap increased while no more production in Greece AND the rest of the south was possible ,no matter the efforts of the private sector. All these decisions and responsibility for controlling the rates was Germany’s. There never was an EU and EZ because Germany never cared for anyone else.

      Spain and Italy were not in such a trouble because although the EZ itself delayed their development immensely they already had a lot of momentum from before and they showed some increase. They could have shown a lot more outside the EZ.

      The idea of EU is brilliant. The manipulation of Germany is brilliant too. Cheap credit ,plus malinvestment on purpose ,plus uncontrollable transfers ,plus expensive cost of living = larger deficit.

      And remember the deficit by itself is normal. The problem now is that a global recession was near and your banks have overleveraged intensely. Also on Greek debt when they knew the above situation was anomalous.

      So they covered all this manipulation behind “Greeks are lazy ,they are uncompetitive ,they live beyond their means ,they want a free lunch”. Who? The Greeks who bust their asses working to escape all this manipulation? They also hide behind the housing bubble of Spain which bubble is ofcourse Spain’s but the banks knew.

      Then your Merkel comes and makes all money scarce by giving more debt on debt in the form of bailouts and plunging the private sector into depression. She scares the markets that lose confidence and rates on bonds increase. She imposes austerity that creates a deep deflationary environment and asks on top assurances. That is a joke.
      Now she says she will not accept debt mutualization ,a debt she helped increase. Last time i checked, your country sells debt ,as everybody. It is the others’ debt she doesn’t like after she destroyed their economy more to cleanse the banks. All the EU and EZ was a big manipulation.

      These policies are a last attack of what was already happening in Europe. The crisis didn’t start in Greece. Greece was a conscious choice.

      Also if you say that the conditions inproved the last couple of years ,think how they could be ,when the population of Greece was stalling everything because we wanted elections and while everyone back then was saying that things get worse?

      If they are better then it has nothing to do with the reforms but exactly because we stalled them. Also if now ,certain someones support this ,it is because they already got what they wanted ,by having Samaras as a PM and they distract you again saying that the good things was their doing and not the Greeks’ reactions.

      So now ,if a German says we are a third world country ,it is correct.
      When he says we want to live with the standards of Germany it is hypocric ,since the EZ was the reason our standards of living fell. And when he says we want your money ,well guess what ,IT IS OUR MONEY THAT WE WANT BACK.

      First of all you do not have higher standards. Your own government is fooling you. Second the potential you have for higher standards of living ,although your government depresses it in a fascist manner ,you owe it to the periphery.

      Stop supporting your government. THEY DESTROYED US.

      You are in self-denial and all this negative media propaganda against the Greeks makes you think that we have something to prove to get a second chance. WE? No thank you. You got FREE MONEY without proving anything. Especially the Greeks have nothing to prove.

      Also WE DO NOT WANT A SECOND ANYTHING. WE WANT YOU TO WAKE UP.

    • Martin

      And finally stop confusing the financial sector with the real economy ,stop taking everything in isolation ,and stop thinking that stimulus itself stops development. The private sector always develops. There is only one reason it can not. Real money vanish from the state in many different ways. Deflation. Period.

      And what you call common economic sense is simply tottaly Bullshit.

      In order to have a private sector increase you need a healthy government deficit. Not a deficit by manipulation of rates.

      The healthy deficit is the opposite force of private development.
      The deficit of the Greece and others and the decrease of the southerns “actions” is because financial manipulation that has nothing to do with the real economy.

      The policies of Merkel just give the final blow.

      http://www.creditwritedowns.com/2012/05/why-cant-people-understand-national-accounting.html

      http://www.creditwritedowns.com/2012/07/euro-current-account-currency-sovereignty.html

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/libor-they-all-knew–and-no-one-acted-7942451.html

      http://www.creditwritedowns.com/2012/03/monetary-transmission-mechanisms.html

      http://www.creditwritedowns.com/2012/01/greek-german-work-hours-compared.html
      ————————-

      By Yves Smith

      “First, we need to make sure there are no more bailouts. While the bailouts have prevented a Great Depression for now, they have engendered a deep sense of cynicism and resentment which has negatively impacted credit and growth. Second, we need to know that our largest financial institutions are well-capitalized enough to withstand large economic shocks. Without this knowledge, no one can separate liquidity from solvency — exactly the problems banks had during the Great Depression. Third, we need to enforce regulations through sound regulatory oversight and civil or criminal penalties. Self-regulation is a pipedream promoted by corporatists. And we see that time and again where regulations are not enforced, financial institutions turn to excess that leads to panic and crisis.

      Doing these three things will not magically turn our economy around and get credit flowing again. But these steps are essential to restoring trust in our financial institutions and government. Restoring that trust is the first and most important step in getting our credit markets to work the way they are supposed to — in a way that enhances and insures our individual liberty, rather than the false privileges of corrupt financial institutions.”

    • Martin

      There is only one truth and it is called:
      “THE FLOW”

      If the money that leave from a country for any purpose and go elsewhere is controlled ,noone can manipulate anything. Union or not.

      This is the most important regulation. Anything else that is presented to you ,complex usually ,is affecting the population more while the financial institutions remain uncontrolled to manipulate the flow as they wish and affect any value at any instrument ,any way they want and for whatever reason they want. They distort the real economy.

      If the transfers are controlled any internal manipulation of any country is of no concern to anyone else. You just do not need to give a damn since you will be able to know and see that your country’s money are not used in shady ways. Period.

      So while the reforms are good for a country ,they have nothing to offer for the european management. In this environment the reforms do the exact opposite. Get more money to the core by debt ,for debt ,with debt ,created by the creditors themselves.

      A brilliant cycle.

      Martin ,i have many times heard that we Greeks use our sentiment on this. I present all the facts ,and you try to distort them. On purpose or because YOU ARE sentimentally attached to your government and do not want to accept their manipulation. I do not give a damn about my government. We are “anarchs”. That is what they always fear from the Greeks.

      What are you Martin? Are you slaves with an easy life?

    • Martin

      Ok ,one last thing.

      Everybody accuses Greece like she is outside this world of finance and she did everythink on purpose. Also the Germans are very happy with the positives of their country like they too are not connected to anyone else.

      Sorry man ,but it is impossible to have positives without negatives. If you have all the positives ,who the hell has the negatives of your economy and you are so arrogant to accuse them? The Greeks and others ,but you chose the Greeks mostly.

      And who is the one who is responsible for Europe’s management the most (flows ,rates etc. etc.)? Germany.

      Instead of balancing acts ,you created extremes and now you intensify them. The final blow. And you hide behind the bad truth of others which is also connected with you.

      YOU CAN NOT ESCAPE.

    • @Unserious Sam

      The EU is controlled by the Council of Ministers, not by the Commission (which is a secretariat, more or less). Who dominates in the Council of Ministers is a political matter — as opposed to voting, which is set out in Treaty form. Since 1957, Germany and France have dominated; there is some interference from the UK (who usually opt out of everything and sulk) and very little from Spain and Germany.

      Even your analysis of the operation of the EU is completely wrong. It is clear that you have no understanding of what has been going on.

    • Dear Demetri
      The two of us quite possibly compete for writing the longest comments in here… 😉
      A lot of the stuff you write I can in some way understand and I appreciate that the whole situation Greece has been in has been humiliating and highly frustrating for its citizens, too.
      I just think that you make everything a bit too much into a big conspiracy – which I believe it is not.
      I don’t believe Germany let Greece (and Portugal or whoever) into the Eurozone in order to help Germany after the tech-telecom-bubble burst in 2000. That is all a bit too much conspiracy for me.
      Plus it makes everything look like Germany is in control of everything and everything that happened must have happended because Germany was in one way or another behind it.

      A bit of a scary pattern of thinking (happened to the jews in the 20th century). A scapegoat is always great because you have somebody to point to and say: “it was him / her / them – we did nothing wrong”!

      It takes your responsibilty (“guilt” if you want) away – because there is nothing that could have been done differently because mightly Germany imposed its will.
      But it also makes you smaller than you are – you are an independent, democratic nation with a great history and an educated population. You have a lot of say about what happens in your country. And Germany has a lot less than you think. Now, Germany in a way really has a lot of power, because everybody wants our money (which is not handed over without conditions which makes the country apparently extremely unpopular). But before this crisis struck, Germany was just one country, a little bigger (but not much) than the UK, France and Italy. It had no authority to set the rules as it pleased – and it had no authority to single-handedly decide everything that was going on in the EU. That is just too much conspiracy for me.

      Oddly, by the way, Greece overall (government, households and companies combined) is not that indebted. Check this out – you will be surprised:
      http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/mgi/research/financial_markets/uneven_progress_on_the_path_to_growth
      (Exhibit E4 on page 5 of the pdf “Full Report”).
      It is only the government that accumulated way too much debt. And that was really not Germany’s fault – it was the democratically elected government of Greece that had control (or not) of the Greek government debt. It was up to them to ensure that Greece’s government debt remains on a level that is acceptable. You are an independent country – so that is a privilege and a responsibiliy. Plus Germany even made the Greek government sign it when they entered the Eurozone.

      Anyway, nobody knows what is truly going on behind the scenes. Maybe Germany is truly as mighty and evil as it seems to many – but I don’t think so.

    • Martin

      Remember Martin ,when i say Germany and use the “You” i do not mean the people and the country.
      Yes i do mean the government but in no way do i distinquish it from the Greek government or most other governments. They are all connected through large financial institutions with the power to manipulate the markets at wish for their own purposes. Goldman Sachs ,JP Morgan etc etc.. And they do have a one world ,one country ,one religion directive. Hell ,they have admited it themselves. They have also admited it that they consider that an external threat is needed to reach their goals. Someone to blame for something so as to pass policies getting them closer to their goals.

      The government of Greece is one of the worst ,not because of power but because they are freaking pathetic little slaves.

      I do not want to scapegoat Germany by saying she and only she is the cause of our problems. Eventually they are your (citizens’) problems too. By you losing money. But not everybody truly wants your money. Money are a cycle. And if the cycle is manipulated then to whom do the money really belong to? Let us go deeper than that now.

      Germany too is a scapegoat. Not by us. By the financial world who has the control of the lifeblood of the economy.

      As i have said before ,”the devil” resides in your country ,because this is where more power is. If “the devil” wants to control power and a country does very well and has the ability to affect others ,is it not most possible that “the devil” will try to control the power centers of this country first and foremost by rendering the country’s government his primary slaves?
      Maybe “the devil” helped this country himself from the beginning to become great ,so as to establish his control center there.

      And what is the greatest trick of “the devil”? To convince everybody that he doesn’t exist.

      So we have many layers of covering up the controls. Germany was used ,(and found the opportunity to use situations for her own interest – anybody would). That is why i say Merkel is found between a rock and a hard place. Between her own country and the banksters whom she too serves.

      This is the sequence of scapegoating from down – top as i see it.

      Greece is the ultimate scapegoat. The rest of the southerns follow. Then comes France because she acquired more toxic waste. Then from the outside we have UK cooperating unofficialy with US manipulating rates. Then we have the “complacency” of the rest of the northern surplus nations of Europe. Then comes Germany with the power ,although plasmatic ,to manipulate everything in Europe. And lastly we have the banksters that give all the directives through a web of financial institutions.
      The banksters are again connected ,closing the circle ,with US ,UK ,Germany and France because it is reported that in these countries the big heads live. Bosses above the banksters. The Master banksters. The Godfathers. Certain names we have heard again and again.
      So “the devil” is very well hidden.

      We can be 100% certain for all of this web till the point of directives emanating from the financial institutions. After that it gets trickier. They are the big bosses after all.

      And the biggest advantage that they have with all these layers is that if something gets out in the public and they can not pass their policies through the first scapegoat ,they then will use the second scapegoat with it’s own personal problems as excuses to pass their policies. And so on and so forth.

      And now the best part ,that is our advantage. Nature herself.

      No matter if all of the above are true and/or accurate ,no matter the web of deception and the depths of it ,even “the devil” is bound by the forces of the flow.
      So ,noone needs to worry who is telling the truth and who not ,if a conspiracy theory is true or not and if it is true how deep it goes.
      Noone needs to know but that doesn’t mean we should not look for the culprits of any true crime.

      Noone needs to know and get confused by all of these because the ultimate solution to stop the manipulators is:
      “TO CONTROL THE FLOW”

      Then we can continue the research to find criminals.

      Even if certain powers want to control the world ,well, it is a very hard work and they have to try really hard to keep people from finding out that everything can be reversed in no time. Keeping imbalances is a really hard job and ofcourse unnatural. So ,yes ,no matter the complexity of the web of deception ,till a point there are people that truly want to manipulate others for their own interests.

      We have it going easier ,if only we understand that the markets need multilateral controls. Then all this work of theirs to sustain imbalances goes to the dustbin of history. As long as we do not go there with them.

      The biggest problems of humanity were created because not of the difficulties of situations but because of the perception of the humans themselves that the situations are difficult and complex. This is how deception works. It actually is very easy to solve everything. In no time. The biggest trick of all is the unnatural perception of natural complexity or simplicity.

      We take everything in isolation ,we thing the complex as simple and the simple as complex and generally we do everything opposite. My father used to call me “reverse year of 13 months”. Then he baptised me “of 15 months” and finally “of 21 months”.
      Knowing the identity of the flow is more inportant than the individual characterisircs of any point ,person ,state where the flow passes through. We focus too much on one point ,like a number of debt to gdp ratio, but we do not know the history behind it and the identity of the flow or flows that affected this point.
      The correct approach is to always have in mind that there are many points.
      If we think that there are many points with many characteristics ,and a flow that affects them ,the identity of the flow IS PRIORITY.
      The gazillion characteristics of the points are then easier to understand. Everything else appears like magic after that.

      The education of today does not teach us how to develop but how to use specific knowledge in specific ways for specific purposes. In other words we are “living mobile hard drives with limited focus”. But noone can just make a person not to think at all. Still the manipulators have succeeded just fine for many years.

      Time to kick their butts.

  • Yanis, transformational growth both socially and personally depend on this kind of deep analysis and questioning of one’s own depth of perception. A good example of this is using an example to explain a difficult conception or new conception. The other party or even part of you to use the metaphor of brain theory ( left/right hemispheres or triune ) since we ourselves are not one “thing” might “understand” that concept on one “level” we generally however cannot functionally call on this new tool at will as old patterns predominate (socially and personally). This mostly results in a search for truth actually reinforcing the old structures (I “hurt” myself doing yoga so I’ll stick with tv, doctors and ice cream even more forcefully). I feel this is a good method for getting lasting sustained results in greater awareness after all the personal is political. I would like to address to two things you wrote today. The first is about “un-intended consequences”.

    Even if the results of sophisticated functionalism are by the very definition not intended (pause) by the very fact that we are conscious actors (pause) until we become conscious of them and more move to and successfully change the behavior and the results to something acceptable to ourselves (in relationship to others affected) than we are in an unconscious conspiracy against our own evolution (personally and socially). This is a very hard truth to accept because of our own personal responsibility. I feel this much better way to understand this instead of the Boolean (true AND not true) short hand so many use now days “it’s a little bit of both”. I would not have said this if you had not laid the ground work with your thought provoking post.

    Second point much shorter. We are so use to reinforcing each others biases that your move to bring into relief the action of retribution (the result of conscious or unconsciously intended monolithic behavior) essentially as a sliding scale not mutually exclusive , stating quite clearly that non-retribution like non-violence operates in an entirely transcendent domain so the correct action for the constituents would be not to vote at all.

    FP

    Kind of far out Huh ?

  • It’s all just good old “divide and rule” strategies, works every time – as ordinary people are distracted by nationalistic propaganda and a cultivated hatred of the “other”. Meanwhile the various elites, which know no boundaries or nations, are laughing all the way to the bank.

  • “Love intends all Yies for Z” and a question.
    Dear Yannis,
    Somewhere within the sophisticatedly legitimised critique of the feedback-loop between EU political decisions , Germany’s macro and micro economics, its class-segregation, the ethics of retribution and the punishment of Greece’s stereotype, there’s definitely –I think- place for the following two:
    a) the Weberian functionality of the protestant ideology and
    b) the Freudian link to post-economic, non-determininistic (though causally interlocked) functionalities i.e. relations of power stemming from conjunctures such as the Panoussian {Jimmy and the Music Brigades} German tourists’ perspective.
    Now, un-intentionality – as you say- saves the loop from being conspiratory. However, when such deeply rooted factors, as the (a) and (b) above are, get intentionally stirred or manipulated (as they definitely have been), we are forced to verge on [the so-called] vulgar Marxism as to the functional properties of ideologies [i.e. in masking “real” power relations and corresponding economic interests]. Then, ‘conspiracy’ may be another word for ‘intentional manipulation’ as applied by certain social groups to achieve economic gains.
    What may restore, though, your (slightly Popperian?) method to develop criteria for legitimate (fortunately not objective) criticism to its functional strength is the non-deterministic character of Freudian causalities. Following Foucaultian trajectories of genealogies, such power relations comprise an analytical canvas which can be superimposed over economic causalities. Within this canvas, desire for/and power generates complex webs where intentionality and awareness may not (or cannot) be located on a strategic sequence of decisions and/or actions.
    In other words, Y may be unintended by Z, but all Yies emerge as functional consequences of a system intended to serve Z’s desire for power.

    I am completely ignorant as to “game theory” but I wonder whether your analysis and all the above related to it, could be mathematically described via the named theory’s mathematics?

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and for making us thinking and re-thinking
    Andreas

    • “In other words, Y may be unintended by Z, but all Yies emerge as functional consequences of a system intended to serve Z’s desire for power.”

      And that is what i am saying when i say that:
      Whoever controls the flow ,the broader and most important tool of the societal frame ,controls everybody and everything.

      There is only one truth in this universe and is the flow of energy.
      When we give the power of manipulation of that flow (in human economy the money supply) to a person ,that person is simply powerful.

      If that person controls the only tool that is used globally for everything ,then no matter the many results of different actions ,no matter the Ys ,that person has all the time in the world to either wait or force certain situations for the materialization of one’s goals.

  • “Generalising is the first step toward racism.”

    Sometimes but not always. All Germans are speakers of the German language. Is this a generalisation that leads to racism? I think not and we have already found at least one generalisation, which is absolutely valid. And this generalisation regards the the most important component of cultural anthropology, which is language. We should simply be open to the possibility that, as there is a german language, there is a deeper german culture as well, which is shared by a crucial part of the Germans and is inherited from generation to generation by means of upbringing and education. Philipp Rösler has become a perfect German through this procedure (i.e. a great zealot of values like “Sparen” and “Moralisieren”), although he is from a different “race”. Excluding (or even denying) the cultural differences inside Europe from the discussion about the eurocrisis is not the most productive way to approach this issue.

  • Kλεμανσώ: «Στον Γερμανό μπορείς μόνο να υπαγορεύεις, όχι να διαπραγματεύεσαι!»

    Ευτυχώς υπάρχει και η Ιστορία, για να μας θυμίζει ότι η ανθρωπότητα πολλές φορές επαναλαμβάνει τα λάθη της με μαθηματική ακρίβεια.

    «Πιστεύω ακράδαντα αυτό που αναφέρει και η γερμανική ψυχολογία, ότι ο Γερμανός καταλαβαίνει μόνο μέσω εκφοβισμού, ότι δεν είναι γενναιόδωρος, ούτε μετανοεί κατά την διάρκεια διαπραγματεύσεων, ότι θα προσπαθήσει να σε εκμεταλλευτεί με όποιο τρόπο μπορεί και δεν δεσμεύεται ακόμα και να ντροπιαστεί για να κερδίσει, διότι δεν έχει τιμή, υπερηφάνεια ή οίκτο. Για αυτό δεν πρέπει ποτέ να διαπραγματεύεται κανείς με τους Γερμανούς, ούτε να επιδιώκει συμφιλίωση, πρέπει απλά να του υπαγορεύει. Είναι ο μόνος τρόπος για να σε σεβαστεί και για να τον αποτρέψεις από το να σε εξαπατήσει».

    Λόγια του μεγάλου φιλέλληνα Γεώργιου – Ευγένιου – Βενιαμίν Κλεμανσώ ( 1841 – 1929 ) αναφερόμενο στην ανάλυση της γερμανικής ψυχολογίας και την στάση των γερμανών διαπραγματευτών σε συσκέψεις.

    Όλα αυτά αναφέρονται στο βιβλίο του John Maynard Keynes, επίσημου αντιπρόσωπου του Βρετανικού Υπουργείου Οικονομικών στην Διάσκεψη Ειρήνης.

    Ο Keynes τα αναφέρει όλα αυτά στο βιβλίο του ‘’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace ‘’, το οποίο έγραψε τον Νοέμβριο 1919 στο Kings College Cambridg.

    Το βιβλίο αναλύει τους όρους της Συνθήκης Ειρήνης που υπεγράφη μεταξύ Συμμάχων και Γερμανίας στο Παρίσι.

    Για την ιστορία η Συνθήκη μέσα σε όλα είχε και την διαπραγμάτευση μέτρων για την αντιμετώπιση των οικονομικών προβλημάτων της Ευρώπης και τα προγράμματα μέτρων που έπρεπε να εφαρμοσθούν από την Γερμανία ( με άλλα λόγια Μνημόνια ) για την πληρωμή των αποζημιώσεων, που καταλογίσθηκαν στην Γερμανία, για τις καταστροφές που προκάλεσε με τον Α΄ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο.

  • Hi Yanis, a good ‘start’ so to speak. Looking forward to the next pieces.

    Glad someone like Kantoos is holding you to account, and that you are willing to share that and address it in a constructive manner. Hopefully it means an even more refined analysis for the benefit of your readers.

    Also glad that you will continue to try and avoid useless generalisations at the nation-state level. Apart from stupid racists, it seems the general media and politicians also seem to have caught this bug.

    Keep up the good work.

  • I guess I am more sensitive to these issues than most people on this blog, or maybe I’ve been living as a stranger in a strange land for far too long now. But I find the article good in theory, and just that. Let me explain:

    I am Greek and have lived away from Greece (in Europe as well as in US) for more than ten years. I kind of know the landscape on both sides. Four years ago, I would have jumped without flinching onto any decent job in, say Germany, in order to be able to live in Europe, a short flight away from home. Now, if I had to choose between a job in Germany and an equivalent job in US or Canada (other personal factors aside), it would be a very tough call. Do I want to live surrounded by prejudice against me? Do I want to be second rate citizen, or risk having to get uprooted from wherever my kids are born, just because of the rise and fall in a national (and nationalist) frenzy?

    I have been rereading Arendt’s “Eichmann in Jerusalem”. What I find the most disconcerting, is the feeling you get from those pages for how much a society can fool itself that it is civilized, that a complete breakdown of moral order simply cannot happen, when terror is around the corner. Of course, I am not passing the blame for racism towards Germans. If anything, us Greeks should be most deeply ashamed for allowing the serpent’s egg to hatch. But then again, the recession has only struck our population so far. What if…?

    The attitude that one has towards Germany, whether they choose to generalize or not, is one thing. And then, the everyday experience of countless GIPSIes as well as Germans, Dutch, Finnish, and what have you is a completely different story. The latter, can be more important to everyday people, and more influential as far as where societies go. The European dream is breaking down. Where we go from here, nobody knows. But everybody better be cautious.

    • I am not so sure if the attitude towards Greeks is any different in the US, UK or Germany. Even my South Americans friends joke about Greeks these days. But maybe I just have the wrong friends… or there is really something wrong with Greece.

      A German economist phrased it very well this week on TV. “The Club Med has the productivity of third world countries. At least most of them are below emerging countries. The difference is that the third world & emerging countries aknowledge where they stand. However the Club Med wants to have the same living standard as we in Germany. In order to achieve this they are trying to set up transfer mechanisms like the ESM”.

    • I know this makes me a bad person, but I hope the euro blows up just so these people get a rude awakening.

    • @NEIN EU DIKTATUR:

      NEIN, NEIN MR. No fricking clue!!!

      I devote this video exclusively to you my teutonischer Freund, enjoy it talks about you 🙂

      http://youtu.be/wmin5WkOuPw

      Enjoy and laugh about our dire living conditions since soon your world as you know it will be doomed and than we will start laughing about your misery 🙂

      Enjoy reading this article my strategically illiterate German friend:

      http://english.pravda.ru/world/americas/26-03-2012/120891-third_world_war-0/

    • n eu d

      Hehe. All the Eu was a transfer mechanism so that Germany can escape its own bubbles. That is why she accepted Portugal and Greece.

      While in the EZ ,cost of living in the southern countries skyrocketed ,wages although they seem increased are very low compared to costs and then you have the cheap credit. This leads to personal debt ,which again for the problems of the EU it doesn’t matter as much. Only for the individuals that carry the debt. In time also the debt of the governement got more expensive. Add the corruption with the corporations and you have an increased deficit. While in the EZ ,the German imports diminished and the German exports increased.

      Remember ,never take anything in isolation.

      Even if what the German economist is saying is true now ,Germany got the money first and overleveraged playing financial games together with other countries banks. Why didn’t she do anything about it. She is in the control center.

      Let me also remind you the reason for the memorandum.
      To cut the deficit from 160% to 120% after the memorandum itself got our 109% to 160%. Do you see anything wrong here?

      Also again the deficit of a country never matters as a cause.
      Here. And with an austrian perspective so that you can see why your government is manipulative.
      http://www.creditwritedowns.com/2012/05/why-cant-people-understand-national-accounting.html

      The EU mismanagement has nothing to do with the southerns. Especially Greece and Portugal are too small and insignificant.

      Think man ,think.

    • n eu d

      Oh and what is very wrong with Greece as you say is the fact that people are ignorant in any country and believe your media propaganda.

      That is what is wrong with Greece AND your friends.

    • Dimitri A.

      No Dimitri ,it does not make you a bad person. It seems there never were an EU and EZ. So let it go to the depths of hell.

    • Dear Aristoteles
      I have read the Russian article – have you?
      Whenever it talks about Germany, it doesn’t paint the hysterical picture of it being evil, seeking world dominance, etc.
      Otherwise, the article shows a probably quite representative insight into Russian strategic thinking.
      No doubt there is a risk of war – but I think the author is too apocalyptic.
      Apart from Israel / the Palestinians I don’t see an issue that would have the potential for a major war. And yes, I think the west should use it’s power for forcing Israel into an agreement with the palestinians in order to finally end this stupid, boring conflict.
      Israel won’t succeed in getting rid of it’s Palestinians in the occupied territories. Neither will the Palestinians get rid of the Jews.
      It’s about time they both realise and accept this.
      But the Russian article sees the world in a bit peculiar way: bad is only NATO / the US while e.g. Iran with it’s maniac president who repeatedly boasts about eliminating Israel is not mentioned as a problems.
      Ahmadinejad is part of the problem as he gives Israeli hardliners good reasons why to be hardliners themselves.
      I find the articles world view too one sided and simplistic, but interesting.

    • Maybe many of you have missed it, but the current status of WTO & GATT is far beyond what it was when the EU was founded. So the EU is not really needed anymore.

  • @Martin:

    “Dear Aristoteles
    I am a bit unsure – for e.g. Argentina the default was probably really the right thing. And maybe it would be for Greece. However, it would be painful and I don’t think it is easy to tell what is more painful: enduring pain in order to try to avoid default or at least to default in “an orderly fashion”.
    Or simply defaulting with all that entails. Sure tourism would keep bringing in cash – and some natural resources that you may have. But either they (e.g. oil, gas, lignite) have a value in which case there should be a way to use the anticipated income from that (or a part of it) now by e.g. selling concessions to Shell and the like. Or (which I believe) their value is not as high as what we would hope or the success finding and producing the stuff is uncertain. In which case I wouldn’t bet an economy on it…
    But I agree it is truly a very difficult question to assess what is in Greece’s best interest now. Could be either – default or not to default. If Greece defaults in an “unorderly fashion” this probably would be seen as yet another, final blow Greece delivers to the EU / Eurozone and would not make Greece’s life easier in years to come in terms of dealing with the others. And I would doubt that having Russia as a sponsor is much better than Brussels. Or do you want to be Putin’s colony?”

    My answer to Martin:

    The natural ressources have a value but selling now concessions might be very bad since these contracts might be done under pressure/supervision of the Troika and might in effect be fire sales!!!

    The other problem which needs to be fixed beforehand is the endless problem with our Turkish “friends” (we have many friends like the Turks, the Germans, the Dutch, the Finnish sauna friends, etc.). We need to get rid of this problem and this is much better achieved with the help of the Russians or the Chinese or both!!!
    The EU and the NATO are becoming less reliable for us and at the same time less useful too! So Russia is an alternative in both respects namely the exploitation of the natural ressources and the defence against any Turkish agressions!

    Now if Greece defaults in an “unorderly fashion” this will be seen as primarily Germanys fault and not Greece’s fault! So I guess it will mean happy times for Germany with all its other European ex-Eurozone friends 🙂
    Greece needs to blame solely the Germans (and all their other northern partners) and their inhumane policy towards Greece as the reason why it leaves the Eurozone and I guess that won’t be difficult to understand for most others except of corse for the Germans. But who cares at the end if this happens 🙂

    “And I would doubt that having Russia as a sponsor is much better than Brussels. Or do you want to be Putin’s colony?”

    The Greeks can see what the Berlin-Brussels dictate means to them:

    – Poverty
    – Humiliations
    – Oppression
    – Disregard for the Greek democracy and the Greek constitution
    – Insults
    – Uncertainty
    – Powerlessness in its own decision making and that of the EU and especially the ECB
    – Ruthless behaviour by our alleged European “friends”

    So I guess it is a no brainer that Russia is a much better alternative at this junction in our history. Simple as that! Greece has nothing to loose but much to win from a closer cooperation with Russia!

    • Dear Aristoteles
      i hope your government does not go for Russia and China. I mean, Brussels / the EU and the ECB is all a bureaucratic monster, very complex and sometimes absurd.
      But I would prefer it a hundred times to being dependend on Putin’s good will. Don’t do that…

      Regarding debt and stuff, have a look at page 5 of the document you can access on this page clicking on “Full Report”:
      http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/mgi/research/financial_markets/uneven_progress_on_the_path_to_growth

      If you really hate captalists, don’t forget the UK!
      They’ve got the biggest debt in the financial sector in comparison to their GDP. France, Italy, Germany and Spain are roughly on one level.

      I do by the way think that the financial sector needs way tighter regulation (and a supervision that works and ensures the regulation is actually enforced). But that is nothing specific to Germany. Germany’s banks (as I understand it) were more specialized in stupid investments, blowing a part of the accumulated current account surplus of Germany. Germany is pretty good at many things – but banking it can’t do very well…

      But again: I think that is more incompetence than being evil or anything like that. The biggest sufferer was Germany itself because our incapable financial sector mis-allocated resources.

      There, I believe we could all agree that more regulation and generally defining a role and enforcing it for the financial sector that benefits the society as a whole (and not primarily the financial sector) is necessary!

    • @Martin:

      “…. I mean, Brussels / the EU and the ECB is all a bureaucratic monster, very complex and sometimes absurd.”

      If it just was that, I wouldn’t bother that much!

      First of all we shouldn’t talk about Brussels when in effect it is Berlin which dominates the EU and the ECB. Brussels is simply a wildcard for Berlin 🙂

      The EU and the ECB (under the guiedance of Germany and France) have shown their unbelievable oppression and domination of all the smaller and less powerfull nations.

      I guess many people in the periphery states see the EU as a dictatorial regime and a system of domination and subjugation nowadays!

      So why should we the Greeks worry then about a closer cooperation with Russia and some other potential allies? Is Mr. Putin more dictatorial and more patronizing than the German dominated European Central Banksters or than Frau Merkel you think???

      ” But I would prefer it a hundred times to being dependend on Putin’s good will. ”

      You forget that we the Greeks don’t have much in common with you the Germans or the Dutch or the Finnish etc. We are the same stock of people as the other Mediterraneans and especially the Italians but what connects us with the Northern Europeans? Not much I fear.

      Now having said that, we share the same faith and cultural heritage with the Russians and the other Christian Orthodox nations of Eastern Europe. Why shouldn’t we bond with people who have more in common with us than the Germans and the other Northern Europeans do?

      As I mentioned already in the past: The EU and the NATO are becoming less reliable for us! So Russia is becoming a very interesting strategic alternative for Greece.

      Now you also say this: “I have read the Russian article – have you?
      Whenever it talks about Germany, it doesn’t paint the hysterical picture of it being evil, seeking world dominance, etc.”

      First of all the author of the Pravda article doesn’t bother about Germany since Germany is strategically just a part of NATO. The NATO-Russian relations are the focus of this “apocalyptic” article!

      Does this prove at all that Germany isn’t the big conpsirator behind the current Euro crisis and the even further political “integration” (you should read subjugation) of the EU?

      Have you noticed what your “Integration”-frenzy German politicians want to implement???

      What Merkel and Schoible are saying all the time about further “integration” is solid prove to me and many others that they were prepared from the very beginning to take advantage of the crisis and drive their own sick political agendas of further disempowerment of all European nation states and the undemocratization of the European continent!

      Merkel and Schoible seem to have very sick ideas and dreams of a unified Europe!!!

      Before they realize their dreams I hope Greece will leave this scum of a European Union!

    • Martin

      Just to get things done ,be done with the ways of today and finally move all of us to better days ,i could go with that.
      This is a compromise that is very much needed but there is one problem. The people responsible for all of this do not compromise. They just seem to. Until the chance comes to do everything all over again. So we have to get rid of them once and for all.
      No compromises. Jail for the culprits (of all nationalities) and financial regulation.

      The system can be very specific. I can not accept someone not being very good at it.

      Even if someone has no idea about how things work and you put him before a computer ,saying to him that he will be a user and controller of the economy by keeping certain “living” parameters in good relation with each other ,pressing keys ,he would do a fine job.

      Although an oversimplification ,you get the point.

    • Dear Aristoteles
      In terms of leaving the EU and trying your luck with Russia, Greece is of course free to do that. I still think it is a very bad idea. EU must feel to Greece now a bit like a mother that used to be loving and now suddenly has stopped breastfeeding and insteads shouts at the child that she sees as misbehaving.

      Leaving that “angry mother” would be tempting but make sure you don’t swap it for something / somebody even worse. Look at how Russia is treating e.g. Ukraine. I could not understand how you would deliberately go for that. Also, I think it would be wishful thinking to believe that Putin would be happy to throw hundreds of billions of Euros or USD at you. They need their money in order to shut up the population which is getting more and more unhappy. Plus investing into infrastructure and an industry that can do anything else but pump oil and gas out of the ground or build weapons.
      If the oil price falls any further, Russia will have difficulties. It is, after all, quite a bit behind western Europe in terms of the economy, human rights, etc. Again – I could not understand how you would swap EU membership for being Putin’s puppet.
      And Merkel, though for sure not popular in Greece at the moment, is in my eyes way better as a powerful leader to deal with than Putin.

      You write: “Does this prove at all that Germany isn’t the big conpsirator behind the current Euro crisis and the even further political “integration” (you should read subjugation) of the EU?”.

      I am sure from a Greek perspective you can interpret things that way. But Greece is behind in terms of economic development and the flow has been from the center to Greece (for decades), not the other way round. As we all can witness at the moment, a good part of what’s been given to Greece as loans may be lost to its creditors, some of them German.
      In what way all this points to some “conspiracy” that Germany is behind in order to dominate the wold or the EU is beyond me.
      Germany just wants to cut its losses. Which is a rude awakening for Greece but has nothing to do with dominance.

      What Germany wants would eventually lead to a competetive Greece that can be a full, proud member of both the EU and the Eurozone. If Greece does not want that and instead throw itself into “daddy” Putin’s arms then I wish you all the best!

      And if you simply want to keep following your prefences and take life a little easier, then leaving the Eurozone but staying in the EU could be a compromize. Just an idea.

  • BREAKING NEWS, BREAKING NEWS!!!

    What is the role of a German bankster in the escalation and provocation of the Greek crisis???

    The mentioned German is the managing director of Moodys in London and he is considered by the Italian public prosecution as one of the fraudsters behind the falsified informations about Greece and Italy which triggered and escalated the crisis in the first instance.

    Στο εδώλιο στελέχη τoυ οίκου Moody’s για πλαστές αναλύσεις κατά Ελλάδας & Ιταλίας!

    Αντί για την Ελλάδα, τελικά οι οίκοι αξιολόγησης θα συναντήσουν τη Νέμεση στην Ιταλία για το έγκλημα που διέπραξαν εις βάρος της χώρας μας, αλλά και άλλων χωρών χρυσιμοποιωντας την Ελλάδα ως το πρώτο πιόνι του παζλ για να ρίξουν στο βάραθρο τις οικονομίες και των λοιπών νότιων χωρών της ευρωζώνης.

    Kαι κατ’αυτό τον τρόπο να θησαυρίσουν με τα στοιχήματα χρεοκοπίας, αλλά και να δώσουν την δυνατότητα στους προστάτες τους, τις κρατικές αρχές των χωρών τους, βασικά των ΗΠΑ, να ελέγξουν γεωστρατηγικά χώρες όπως η Ελλάδα ή και η Ιταλία. Χώρες οι οποίες πήγαιναν να ξεφύγουν από τον σφικτό εναγκαλισμό της Δύσης, συνάπτοντας συμφωνίεςς τεράστιες γεωστρατηγικής και ενεργειακής σημασίας με την Ρωσία.

    Μην ξεχνάμε ότι σύμφωνα με όσα έχουν έρθει στο φως από ττα τηλεγραφήματα των υπηρεσιών του αμερικανικού υπουργείου Εξωτερικών, ο Σίλβιο Μπερλουσκονι που ανακάστηκε σε παραίτηση λόγω της οικονομικής κρίσης που εν πολλοίς οι ίδιοι οι οίκοι προκάλεσαν, χαρακτηριζόταν από τους Αμερικανούς “φερέφωνο του Πούτιν”!

    Ο Αμερικανός πρέσβης στη Ρώμη, Ρόναλντ Σπόλι, ανέφερε στα τηλεγραφήματα ότι ο Ιταλός πρωθυπουργός είχε αναλάβει προσωπικά την εφαρμογή των συμφωνιών με τη Μόσχα.

    “Ο Μπερλουσκόνι είναι φερέφωνο του Πούτιν”, ανέφερε ο πρεσβευτής και προσέθετε ότι “η οικογένεια του Πούτιν επισκεπτόταν την βίλα του Μπερλουσκόνι στη Σαρδηνία με έξοδα του ίδιου του «Καβαλιέρε». Ενώ και ο Ιταλός πρωθυπουργός είχε επισκεφθεί τη βίλα του Βλ.Πούτιν στο θέρετρο Σότσι”.

    Τον Ιανουάριο του 2009 ο Ρ.Σπόλι έγραψε ότι «ο Μπερλουσκόνι θαυμάζει το “μάτσο”, αποφασιστικό και απολυταρχικό στυλ διακυβέρνησης του Πούτιν που ο Ιταλός πρωθυπουργός θεωρεί ότι μοιάζει με το δικό του».

    Κια ακολούθησε το παιχνίδι των διαφόρων οίκων με την οικονομική αποκαθήλωσή τυο, όπως αποκαλλώθηκε και ο Κ.Καραανλής.

    Τώρα, όμως η ιταλική δικαιοσύνη έχει “σφίξει” τους οίκους και πέρα από τις διώξεις που ήδη έχουν γίνει κατά της Standard & Poors, έρχονται νέες διώξεις και κατά στελεχών της Moody’s, οι οποίοι “έπαιξαν βρώμικο και κατευθυνόμενο παιχνίδι με την Ελλάδα και την Ιταλία”.

    Η εισαγγελία της πόλης Τράνι, της νότιας Ιταλίας, ετοιμάζεται να ζητήσει την παραπομπή σε δίκη δύο κορυφαίων στελεχών του οίκου Moody’s, με την κατηγορία της χειραγώγησης της αγοράς και προσπορισμού παράνομων κερδών από το χρηματιστήριο. Πρόκειται για τον υποδιευθυντή του οίκου Moody’s, Ρος Αμπερκρόμπι, και του επιχειρησιακού διευθυντή των χρηματιστικού τομέα, Γιοχάνες Βάσσεμπεργκ.

    Σύμφωνα με τους εισαγγελείς, οι εκτιμήσεις για την κατάσταση της Ιταλίας, που δημοσιοποιήθηκαν στις 6 Μαΐου του 2010, «υπεδείκνυαν, με ηθελημένο τρόπο, στις αγορές, μια σχέση ανάμεσα στην κατάσταση της Ελλάδας την οποία ηθελημένα παρερμήνευαν στις αναλύσεις τους και της επικινδυνότητας που ενείχε το χρέος των ιταλικών τραπεζών. Σχέσεις και κίνδυνοι, όμως, που την συγκεκριμένη χρονική στιγμή ήταν ανύπαρκτοι, και θεωρήθηκαν υπαρκτοί μόνο λόγω της εκτίμησης του οίκου αξιολόγησης». «Οι δυο ιθύνοντες παρείχαν στις αγορές διαστρεβλωμένες πληροφορίες» αναφέρει ο εισαγγελέας Μικέλε Ρουτζέρο.

    Η έρευνα του Τράνι ξεκίνησε ύστερα από καταγγελία των ιταλικών ενώσεων καταναλωτών Adusbef και Federconsumatori, οι οποίες χαρακτηρίζουν «αφόρητο το συνεχές σφυροκόπημα, με την έκδοση αξιολογήσεων που λειτουργούν ως ωρολογιακοί μηχανισμοί για την εξυπηρέτηση κερδοσκοπικών συμφερόντων».

    Οι υπεύθυνοι των Adusbef και Federconsumatori, Έλιο Λανούττι και Ροζάριο Τρεφιλέττι, ευχαρίστησαν δημοσίως τον εισαγγελέα Mικέλε Ρουτζέρο για το μέχρι τώρα έργο του.

    • Aristoteles

      Falsified information to cause disturbance to the markets?
      I could have never imagined! 😀

  • In response to Martin:

    “EU must feel to Greece now a bit like a mother that used to be loving and now suddenly has stopped breastfeeding and insteads shouts at the child that she sees as misbehaving.”

    No the EU feels to the Greeks as another try of Germany to dominate Europe. As I told you already this is what the German dominated EU means to the ordinary Greek:

    – Poverty
    – Humiliation
    – Oppression
    – Disregard for the Greek democracy and the Greek constitution
    – Insults
    – Uncertainty
    – Powerlessness in its own decision making and that of the EU and especially the ECB
    – Ruthless behaviour by our alleged European “friends”

    Does this feel like a mothers behaviour to you? Not to me to be frank unless the mother which you mention is a bad monster b.tch 🙂

    “Look at how Russia is treating e.g. Ukraine.”

    Tell me since you know that much, how is Russia treating Ukraine???

    “Also, I think it would be wishful thinking to believe that Putin would be happy to throw hundreds of billions of Euros or USD at you”

    Who is saying that Greece needs hundreds of billions? Without the interest burden and without the Merkel dictated internal devaluation Greece will have a budgetary surplus so no need to get not even one billion from anyone!

    “They need their money in order to shut up the population which is getting more and more unhappy.”

    Who is saying that? Your Bildzeitung, Spiegel, Focus, Welt and all your other propaganda medias? Come on wake up, or do you think your media is independent and neutral?

    “Plus investing into infrastructure and an industry that can do anything else but pump oil and gas out of the ground or build weapons.”

    We need good and affordable weapons and technical know how for oil and gas exploitation. So sounds like a good fit to me 🙂

    “If the oil price falls any further, Russia will have difficulties. ”

    Sure if the oil price falls, but oil price is only increasing as long as I know 🙂

    “Again – I could not understand how you would swap EU membership for being Putin’s puppet.”

    Again how come you think that Putin will treat one of his strategic allies as bad as Frau Merkel and her EU treats us??? Is Putin behaving like that to Syria? Or is he standing firm at the side of his ally? Is Russia prepared to support the governement of Syria even against a NATO attack? I guess you don’t know Mr. Putin at all since else you wouldn’t say that!

    “And Merkel, though for sure not popular in Greece at the moment, is in my eyes way better as a powerful leader to deal with than Putin.”

    Martin, you made me laugh here! Your Merkel is not a political leader at all she is just a marketing assistant of your big companies, multinationals and banks!!! She would be wetting her pants if she was faced with any serious decission to take herself 🙂

    ” But Greece is behind in terms of economic development and the flow has been from the center to Greece (for decades), not the other way round. ”

    That is absolute crap! Read the current accounts data from the Bank of Greece and the Deutsche Bundesbank and you will see that the flow was exactly in the opposite direction namely from Greece to the other Eurozone countries. The data about Target 2 is also openly availlable so don’t bother us with wrong economic data.

    “In what way all this points to some “conspiracy” that Germany is behind in order to dominate the wold or the EU is beyond me.”

    I have said it already but you seem not to get it still:

    Have you noticed what your “Integration”-frenzy German politicians want to implement???

    What Merkel and Schoible are saying all the time about further “integration” is solid prove to me and many others that they were prepared from the very beginning to take advantage of the crisis and drive their own sick political agendas of further disempowerment of all European nation states and the undemocratization of the European continent!

    Merkel and Schoible seem to have very sick ideas and dreams of a unified Europe!!!

    “Germany just wants to cut its losses. Which is a rude awakening for Greece but has nothing to do with dominance.”

    If Germany and all its satelites want to cut its losses it should leave the Eurozone!!!
    Very simple, leave the Eurozone and setup your Deutsche Mark 2 with all your other collaborators. That would help the other Eurozone members get out of your trap and would also allow you the Germans to have the currency which you dream of 🙂

    “What Germany wants would eventually lead to a competetive Greece that can be a full, proud member of both the EU and the Eurozone”

    I couldn’t care less about beeing a “proud member of both the EU and the Eurozone”. Unfortunately our own miserable and useless politicians don’t see it that way. So I guess it will take some more time before our political elite will retire and than Greece will do what it needs to do in regards to the Eurozone and the EU.

    The EU and the NATO are no longer reliable partners for Greece so we need to find viable alternatives!

    Btw. I recommend to you and all the other readers Oswald Spenglers The Decline of the West (Der Untergang des Abendlandes). He has predicted what you are about to witness over the next few decades. He was one of the few great German minds I have to admit.

    • Dear Aristoteles
      You write: “Tell me since you know that much, how is Russia treating Ukraine???”
      Have you seen the news in the last few years? Russia is treating Ukraine like…
      …a big country may be treating a small, relatively powerless country in the absence of rules: Without too much respect, bossing it about, trying to dominate / mid-to long term aquire it and switching off the gas supply whenever it suits (preferebly in Winter, of course).
      Basically, Russia is trying to do with Ukraine what you always claim Germany wants to do with Greece: Dominate it (and eventually swallow it).

      That you take Putin’s / Russia’s role in the current Syria crisis as proof of what a great, reliable ally Russia makes is a bit sick in my eyes. They primarily want to keep selling weapons to this ridiculous regime – and they want to keep their wonderful naval base in Syria. Not sure what to do with Syria – but Russia’s approach is neither helpful nor respectful in terms of Syrian lifes, human rights, etc. How can you admire that??

      In terms of what you write EU membership feels like for the average Greek these days (Poverty, Humiliation, etc): You still haven’t got it that Greece got itself into this mess, have you? Greece is an independent country with a democratically elected government. It’s not a regime where you could justifiably argue that the population did not have much to do with what the government did. Greece’s population is in the privileged position to be able to vote. Your problem if you kept voting for corrupt idiots over decades. Nobody forced you to do that. Quite the opposite. But many voters did obviously not care what their behaviour and the kinds of governments they elected would mean for Greece long-term. They enjoyed the day / did not want to pay taxes / wanted a safe, cushy government job, etc. Now you are in a big mess – and it’s entirely your own fault!! You can keep shouting and screeming and trying to blame it on others – but that does not change the facts.

      You are laughing about the idea of a unified Europe. Bad luck for your if you view prevails: What other reason would there be, please, for the others focusing so much of their energy and risking so much financially in order to prevent Greece from self-destruction? You enjoyed it while you received transfers and now you reject there are rules (that Greece signed) that were the precondition to being allowed into the club. Now, facing utter failure, you suddenly realize you don’t like the rules / there is a conspiracy, etc. Pathetic!

      The ouflow of capital from Greece to e.g. Germany reflects your wonderful elite leaving the sinking ship. Of course, Greece did not bother to tax them properly. If you need money, there is always the EU, ECB and the whole world to turn to. The whole purpose of the outside world to exist is so that Greece can have a nice time.
      For decades, Greece has had a current account deficit. This means that you received funds, period.

    • @Martin:

      Wow you surprise me now my German friend! And I thought that you were at least one of the good Germans 🙂

      And now you start suddenly moralizing about the Greeks and the debt and so on?

      Are you a saint or a prophet or at least morally so superb that you even dare moralizing about our whole nation???

      You either give me a very good answer to my question or otherwise we have a Greek saying which goes like that: The road to heaven is small and difficult to walk but the road to hell is very broad and easy to walk along so ask yourself on which road you are walking 🙂

      Deutschland ist der größte Schuldensünder des 20. Jahrhunderts !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Griechenlands Pleitekarriere lässt sich nicht überbieten? Doch – von Deutschland, sagt der Wirtschaftshistoriker Albrecht Ritschl im Interview. Er warnt: Die Bundesrepublik muss sich in der Euro-Krise zügeln, sonst könnte sich die Stimmung gegen das Land drehen.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Herr Ritschl, Deutschland tritt in der Debatte über weitere finanzielle Hilfen für Griechenland wie ein Besserwisser auf. Die Bundesregierung handelt mit ihrer Unnachgiebigkeit nach dem Motto “Geld für euch gibt es nur, wenn ihr das macht, was wir verlangen.” Ist diese Haltung gerechtfertigt?

      Ritschl: Nein, dafür gibt es keine Grundlage.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Das dürften die meisten Deutschen anders sehen.

      Ritschl: Das mag sein, aber Deutschland hat im 20. Jahrhundert die wohl größten Staatspleiten der jüngeren Geschichte hingelegt. Ihre heutige finanzielle Stabilität und ihren Status als Oberlehrer Europas verdankt die Bundesrepublik allein den USA, die sowohl nach dem Ersten als auch nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg auf sehr viel Geld verzichtet haben. Das wird leider immer wieder vergessen.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Was genau ist damals passiert?

      Ritschl: Die Weimarer Republik hat von 1924 bis 1929 auf Pump gelebt und sich das Geld für ihre Reparationsleistungen des Ersten Weltkriegs von Amerika geborgt. Diese Kreditpyramide krachte in der Wirtschaftskrise 1931 zusammen. Das Geld war weg, der Schaden für die USA gigantisch, der Effekt auf die Weltwirtschaft verheerend.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Ähnlich war es nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg.

      Ritschl: Da hat Amerika gleich dafür gesorgt, dass nicht wieder hohe Reparationsansprüche an Deutschland gestellt wurden. Bis auf wenige Ausnahmen wurden alle solchen Forderungen auf die lange Bank geschoben, bis zu einer künftigen Wiedervereinigung. Für Deutschland ist das lebenswichtig gewesen, es war die eigentliche finanzielle Grundlage für das Wirtschaftswunder. Zugleich mussten aber die Opfer der deutschen Besetzung in Europa verzichten, darunter auch die Griechen.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: In der jetzigen Krise sollte Griechenland zunächst 110 Milliarden Euro von den Euro-Staaten und dem Internationalen Währungsfonds bekommen. Jetzt soll ein weiteres Rettungspaket verabschiedet werden, das ähnliche Dimensionen haben dürfte. Es geht also um sehr viel Geld. Wie groß waren denn die deutschen Staatspleiten?

      Ritschl: Gemessen jeweils an der Wirtschaftsleistung der USA war allein der deutsche Schuldenausfall in den dreißiger Jahren so bedeutsam wie die Kosten der Finanzkrise von 2008. Im Vergleich dazu ist das griechische Zahlungsproblem eigentlich unbedeutend.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mal angenommen, es gäbe ein globales Ranking der Pleitekönige. Auf welchem Platz würde Deutschland landen?

      Ritschl: Deutschland ist Schuldenkaiser: Nach der Schadenshöhe im Vergleich zur Wirtschaftsleistung gerechnet ist Deutschland der größte Schuldensünder des 20. Jahrhunderts – wenn nicht überhaupt der jüngeren Finanzgeschichte.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Selbst Griechenland kann nicht mit uns mithalten?

      Ritschl: Nein, das Land spielt an sich eine nebensächliche Rolle. Nur die Ansteckungsgefahren auf andere Euro-Länder sind das Problem.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Die Bundesrepublik gilt als Inbegriff der Stabilität. Wie oft war Deutschland denn insgesamt pleite?

      Ritschl: Das kommt darauf an, wie man rechnet. Allein im vergangenen Jahrhundert mindestens drei Mal. Nach dem ersten Zahlungsausfall in den dreißiger Jahren wurde der Bundesrepublik 1953 von den USA ein Schuldenschnitt – im Englischen “Haircut” – verpasst, der das Schuldenproblem von einem voluminösen Afro-Look auf eine Vollglatze reduzierte. Seitdem stand Deutschland glänzend da, während sich die anderen Europäer mit den Lasten des Weltkriegs und den Folgen der der deutschen Besetzung abrackerten. Und selbst 1990 kam es noch zu einem Schuldenausfall.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Wie bitte?

      Ritschl: Ja, der damalige Kanzler Helmut Kohl weigerte sich damals, das Londoner Abkommen von 1953 umzusetzen. Darin war festgeschrieben, dass die deutschen Reparationszahlungen aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg im Falle einer Wiedervereinigung neu geregelt werden. Man hat nur die Bedienung kleiner Restbeträge abgewickelt. Dabei ging es aber um minimale Summen. Reparationen hat Deutschland nach 1990 nicht gezahlt – von den Zwangsarbeiterentschädigungen mal abgesehen – und auch die im Zweiten Weltkrieg aus den besetzten Ländern herausgepressten Kredite und Besatzungskosten nicht getilgt. Auch gegenüber Griechenland nicht.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Anders als 1953 in Deutschland geht es bei der aktuellen Diskussion über die Rettung Griechenlands ja weniger um einen “Haircut” als vielmehr um eine Verlängerung der Laufzeiten der Staatsanleihen, also eine “weiche Umschuldung”. Kann man dann überhaupt von einer drohenden Pleite sprechen?

      Ritschl: Auf jeden Fall. Selbst wenn ein Land nicht zu hundert Prozent blank ist, kann es pleite sein. Genau wie in den fünfziger Jahren im Falle Deutschlands ist es illusorisch zu glauben, die Griechen könnten ihre Schulden jemals alleine abtragen. Und wer das nicht schafft, ist eben pleite. Nun muss festgelegt werden, wie hoch die Ausfallquote der Staatsanleihen ist, auf wie viel Geld die Gläubiger des Landes also verzichten müssen. Es geht dabei vor allem darum, den Zahlmeister zu finden.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Der größte Zahlmeister dürfte Deutschland sein.

      Ritschl: Darauf läuft es wohl hinaus, aber wir waren auch reichlich sorglos – und unsere Exportindustrie hat von den Aufträgen gut gelebt. Die Anti-Griechenland-Stimmung, die in vielen deutschen Medien verbreitet wird, ist hochgefährlich. Und wir sitzen im Glashaus: Nur durch den weitgehenden Schulden- und Reparationsverzicht seiner Kriegsopfer aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg ist Deutschlands Wiederaufstieg möglich geworden.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Deutschland sollte sich also mehr zurückhalten?

      Ritschl: Deutschland hat im 20. Jahrhundert zwei Weltkriege begonnen, den zweiten davon als Vernichtungs- und Ausrottungskrieg geführt – und anschließend haben die Feinde die Reparationszahlungen ganz oder in beträchtlichem Umfang erlassen. Dass die Bundesrepublik ihre wirtschaftliche Blüte der Gnade anderer Völker verdankt, hat auch in Griechenland niemand vergessen.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Wie meinen Sie das?

      Ritschl: Die Griechen kennen die feindlichen Artikel aus deutschen Medien sehr gut. Wenn die Stimmung im Land umschlägt, alte Forderungen nach Reparationszahlungen laut und auch von anderen europäischen Staaten erhoben werden und Deutschland diese je einlösen muss, werden wir alle bis aufs Hemd ausgezogen. Da könnten wir im Vergleich dankbar sein, Griechenland auf unsere Kosten luxuszusanieren. Wenn wir hier der Stimmungsmache folgen und den dicken Emil geben, der die Zigarre pafft und nicht zahlen will, dann werden irgendwann die alten Rechnungen wieder präsentiert.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Wenigstens zum Schluss noch ein paar versöhnliche Töne: Wenn Sie eine Lehre aus der Geschichte ziehen, welche Lösung wäre derzeit die beste für Griechenland – und Deutschland?

      Ritschl: Die Pleiten Deutschlands im vergangenen Jahrhundert zeigen: Das Vernünftigste ist, jetzt einen echten Schuldenschnitt zu machen. Wer Griechenland Geld geliehen hat, müsste dann auf einen beträchtlichen Teil seiner Forderungen verzichten. Das würden einige Banken nicht verkraften, also müsste es neue Hilfsprogramme geben. Für Deutschland könnte das teuer werden, aber zahlen müssen wir so oder so. Und immerhin hätte Griechenland dann die Chance auf einen Neuanfang.

    • Dear Aristoteles

      You wrote:”Wow you surprise me now my German friend! And I thought that you were at least one of the good Germans

      And now you start suddenly moralizing about the Greeks and the debt and so on?

      Are you a saint or a prophet or at least morally so superb that you even dare moralizing about our whole nation???”

      Is this in response to my comment from 17 July, 15.19?

      If it is, then I am a little lost. I just tried to comment on your comment (it’s getting complicated) – but did not really do much “moral bashing” of Greece – or did I?

      Most of what I wrote was about your preference for Putin’s Russia instead of the EU and NATO.

      Do you mean the ending of my comment where I refer to your statement (a bit in contrast to the facts) that the flow of funds was from Greece to Germany and not the other way round. I was referring to the last few decades, not WWII, WWI, Osman times or whatever.

  • Yanisvaroufakis wrote: “Or would they prefer a significantly less efficient outcome (in terms of combating the Greek crisis) which is accompanied by significant hardship for the Greeks?

    I have no doubt that both the German public and a large majority of German policy makers would opt for the latter; motivated by a mixture of (a) an urge to see that the Greeks are ‘taught’ a lesson (retribution) and (b) a view that such pain is important to deter the spendthrift Greeks”

    No I wouldn’t prefer the less efficient outcome and neither would the Germans I know. But after reading you I think you would act like that against Germany. This makes me sad and less willing to spend money on Greece.

    BTW: Do you also think that southern Germans want to teach a lesson to northern Germans just because they do not want to pay the expenses of northern Germany? Or that Germans want retribution against, say, Nigeria or Japan, because we don’t want to pay their debt?

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