On the solvability of the Euro Crisis and the mood in Germany: Concluding my debate with Kantoos Economics

Kantoos Economics (KE) replied to my post on what constitutes a rational and decent critique of Germany’s stance during this Euro Crisis. After a series of exchanges between us, I think that this dialogue is now reaching its natural limits (click the following for a blow by blow perusal of our debate:  KE1 was KE’s original critique of the Modest ProposalYV1 (my response to KE1), then KE2, then YV2 and finally response YV3 to KE3).  The time has come to agree to disagree on two major issues:

  1. We must agree to disagree on my hypothesis that the Euro Crisis was always extremely easy to solve, as far as the technical, legal and macroeconomic dimension of it is concerned.
  2. We must agree to disagree on our assessment of the German public’s mood toward Greece (and, though less so, on the rest of the Periphery).

On the first point, my claim was never that the Crisis can be made to go away simply and easily. Only that the Euro Crisis could. Following 2008, as I have argued in my Global Minotaur, global capitalism has entered a nasty phase of long term tumult and crisis. This cannot be reversed easily, if at all. However, the particularities of the Euro Crisis (which turn Europe into the global economy’s sick man and a threat to the planet’s chances of recovery) can be dealt with very, very simply indeed (see our Modest Proposal, on which KE and I exchanged long tracts). The fact that our politicians cannot, or will not, see this does not mean that “things are genuinely complicated”. At best it shows that our leaders’ idiocy is deep and complex. 

On my second point, KE is incensed with my suggested thought experiment for discovering the true mood of the majority of Germans toward Greeks. (I asked my readers to imagine that there is a magic button that, if pressed by Mrs Merkel, would end the Crisis for Greeks and everyone else without any costs to anyone. The question was: Would the majority of Germans want Mrs Merkel to press it? Or would they prefer another button that allowed the Crisis to fester with higher costs for everyone and particularly high costs of the average Greek? I suggested that, in truth, the majority of German voters, given a chance, would vote for the latter.) KE’s reaction to my thought experiment surprised me. First, KE confused the question of whether a quick fix (like the imaginary magic button) exists with the utterly separate issue on whether the majority of Germans would want to push it if it existed. Secondly, KE claims that, if such a button existed, the majority of Germans would want their Chancellor to push it. In all honesty, I think that the mood is Germany toward the Greeks is such that the majority would be prepared to suffer a positive cost in order to see that the average Greek suffers a greater cost (convinced as they are that they are responsible for the Crisis and need to be taught a lesson – as opposed to being let off the hook). A very small minority would want Mrs Merkel to press my imaginary button. That KE is denying this surprises me. It also suggests to me that we have reached the limits of our dialogue. Either I am deeply ignorant of the true mood in Germany or KE is in the depths of denial. And since this is an empirical issue, we better leave it at that (unless some pollster in Germany wants to put my hypothesis to the test). 

152 Comments

  • Pollster? In Germany? Like in Greece?

    Let me just reset the tickling machine at 100.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

  • You won’t be surprised that I am convinced your assessment about which button the vast majority of Germans would want the Chancelloresse to press is completely wrong.

    Yes, I think you are deeply ignorant of the true mood in German. You are deeply stuck in prejudices about the Germans. But at least you entertain no open racist views, like some of the Greek commenteers here. Not yet.

    • @VSS:

      “You are deeply stuck in prejudices about the Germans. But at least you entertain no open racist views, like some of the Greek commenteers here. Not yet.”

      Wow! You yourself are one of the racist commentators on this blog and you even dare to complain about alleged Greek racist views?

      What a lousy drama queen you are my teutonic friend!!!

      You made me laugh at least about your funny German localism 🙂

      Go on and whinge in your mommies arms my little German elementary school boy 😉

  • Γερμανία: Κωμόπολη απαιτεί από το Βερολίνο 1 τρισ. ευρώ για χρωστούμενα από το… 1562
    Germany: 1 trillion owes Berlin from 1562 to another town.
    http://www.tsantiri.gr/kosmos/germania-komopoli-apeti-apo-to-verolino-1-tris-evro-gia-chrostoumena-apo-to-1562.html
    And lets not forget Bavaria’s attacks to Berlin.

    Bild’s Dickman is at the board of directors of the Turkish Hurriyet. Planned attack against Greek tourism.
    http://www.tsantiri.gr/media/na-giati-mas-%c2%abvrizi%c2%bb-i-bild-o-omilos-tis-kani-business-stin%e2%80%a6-tourkia.html

    We bought and wrote off Greek debt of 2.5 billions thanks to the Greece-debt-free organisation
    http://www.tsantiri.gr/ethnika-themata/diagrafike-%c2%abelliniko%c2%bb-chreos-ipsous-25-dis-evro-apo-to-greece-debt-free.html

  • You do not need a test.

    The majority in GErmany would be prepared to suffer a positive cost in order to see that the average Greek suffers a greater cost.

    BUT not because Greece is responsible for the crisis, but because Greece needs to be taught a lesson – as opposed to being let off the hook.

    This whole attitude of the ClubMed to use the EU & the Euro to squeeze as much money out of it as possible is just annoying. But on this issue the Spaniards are beating the even Greeks…

    • n eu d

      “This whole attitude of the ClubMed to use the EU & the Euro to squeeze as much money out of it as possible is just annoying.”

      You are quite a funny man. The squeezers accuse the squeezees for squeezing.

    • He is right. For 10 years Greece et al squeezed out as much as it can. Now when they have to repay, they refuse to get squeezed!

    • Pedro

      Well pedro if you are talking about people like Tsohatzopoulos who got wealthy by German bribes ,you are right ,he should get squeezed.

      As for the rest of us ,we made your government very wealthy and do not have to pay anything for your sorry asses.

  • So Billy Clinton smelled oil and came to talk with Samaras AND Papandreou.

    They also talked about the problems in Syria. Sources claim that Billy said many problems in this area and ours are imminent and it would be good for Greece to be at the right side.

    Simitis should have been there too. And Monica.
    ——————-

    Here is a video of Putin talking about NWO and war.

    • @Demetri:

      “They also talked about the problems in Syria. Sources claim that Billy said many problems in this area and ours are imminent and it would be good for Greece to be at the right side.”

      Yes sure and the right side would be obviously the NATO, our beloved German and Turkish friends plus of course our anglo-american saviors!

      How funny they all are 🙂

      The time is ripe for a MEGALI IDEA my friends!

  • Dear Yanis

    You wrote: “…imagine that there is a magic button that, if pressed by Mrs Merkel, would end the Crisis for Greeks and everyone else without any costs to anyone. The question was: Would the majority of Germans want Mrs Merkel to press it? Or would they prefer another button that allowed the Crisis to fester with higher costs for everyone and particularly high costs of the average Greek?”

    I am absolutely certain that the majority of Germans would of course push that button. Asking this very hypothetical question and answering it the way you do in my eyes only expresses that you (and many of the visitors of this blog) seem to agree that Germany WANTS Greece and its people to suffer.
    I think nothing could be not much further from the truth.

    What you and many visitors of this blog interpret as German determination to have Greece suffer is not that but simply the intention not to take infinite risks due to Greece’s crisis. If that leads to the Greek population to suffer, this is regrettable. But the suffering is a side-effect of the reforms that in Germany are seen as a necessity, not the objective.

    A huge difference!
    So I strongly disagree with your theory that Germans would let Greece suffer if there was that “magic button”.

  • “In all honesty, I think that the mood is Germany toward the Greeks is such that the majority would be prepared to suffer a positive cost in order to see that the average Greek suffers a greater cost (convinced as they are that they are responsible for the Crisis and need to be taught a lesson – as opposed to being let off the hook). ”

    VERY WELL SAID MR. VAROUFAKIS! FINALLY YOU GOT IT RIGHT 🙂

    I KNOW THE GERMANS VERY WELL AND KNOW HOW THEY TICK!

    THEIR ELITES HAVE NEVER STOPPED BEEING RACISTS! THE ONLY THING WHICH HAS CHANGED IS THE OBJECTS OF THEIR RACIST OBSESSIONS! IN THE PAST THE JEWS AND NOW THE GREEKS!

    FOURTH REICH UNRAVELLED.

    EIN REICH, EIN VOLK, EIN FÜHRER IS THE NEXT STEP: SEARCHING FOR A NEW EU SUPER-PRESIDENT. SOMEONE LIKE ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER MAYBE??? THEY ALREADY STARTED TALKING ABOUT A NEW EU FÜHRER!

    WATCH OUT A NEW EU PRESIDENT IS ON MERKELS AND SCHOIBLES LIST ONE OF THEIR TOP PRIORITIES.

    CHARLEMAG(n)US IS THEIR FRICKEN BARBARIAN PROGENITOR!

    • GET IT RIGHT. Germany is lending you lot money so you can feed your sorry arses.
      Don’t worry, Germany is getting totally sick of the ingratitude and will soon cut Greece adrift.
      Who the %^$# are you lot gonna blame then?

    • @KC:

      “GET IT RIGHT. Germany is lending you lot money so you can feed your sorry arses. Don’t worry, Germany is getting totally sick of the ingratitude and will soon cut Greece adrift. Who the %^$# are you lot gonna blame then?”

      KC why don’t you rename yourself into KZ, which might fit your attitudes better?

      Wow I am ashamed by all your German solidarity, gentleness and civilized behavior! This is exactly what Barry Fray tried to make us believe here: ” The German people of today are practically all VERY KIND PEOPLE AND VERY CIVILZED”

    • Dear Aristoteles

      Guess what: Racism (as in negative stereotypes about “the others”) is nothing specific to Germany. Sure, Nazism is a particularly horrible example and that happened in Germany.
      But Racism existed before and it hasn’t ceased to exist.

      I don’t think Germany is more racist than any other country in Western Europe (and quite possibly less so, due to the horrific things that happened).

      Shouting and screaming (but capital letters) does not make your statements any better.

      If you were right and it was so clear that Germany is so super evil, racist and seeks hegemony in the EU, how could Greece possibly manoevre itself in such a position, by the way? I think this whole racism obsession comes as quite a convenient allegation to throw at Germany in order to have something else but Greece’s threat with self-destruction to hold against Germany. But not too much foundation there. And quite tasteless, given Germany’s past and it’s efforts to change, apologize and be a “good” European country. You are just upset pushing the “guilt” button does not produce the expected result, so you are getting more and more angry. But this only makes your racism argument more and more incredible. Germany just wants Greece to behave like you’d expect: At least try to limit the burden it represents on the others. Shouting and screaming and seeking responsibility almost 100% with “the evil racist Germans”, “the banks” or whatever is not very mature. You bear some responsibility for your fate! You got yourself into this mess, no evil German plan behind it.
      Maybe one day you can realize this?

      I think Greece may leave the Eurozone within the next four months and then we can see how you do on your own! Finally, you are masters of your own fate, defaulting on your ridiculously high debt and with your own currency, it will get a little harder to blame Germany for everything bad that happens. But you may still find a way!
      😉

    • Martin

      You bear some responsibility for your fate too Martin.
      Why didn’t you the average German magically acquire all the knowledge of the universe and didn’t stop the manipulation of your own corrupted leaders?

      Is it because it is not that simple?

      Responsibility is everywhere Martin except Germany.

      And your politicians bear MORE responsibility than any other.

      The same old stuff. You the mature ones ,have all the excuses ,by using money as the mask. Enjoy the mask for it is full of shit.

    • Dear Demetri
      Of course Germans deserve some responsibility for their fate, too!
      Let’s face it: Introducing the Euro was a bad idea. Or maybe a good idea in principle – but one that we could not get to work (those are the most dangerous ones – like communism: brilliant in principle but when put in place the soviet way…).
      Let’s try to get whatever is necessary done in some dignity and without hurting the citizens involved (poor Germans and poor Greek) any more than absolutely necessary.
      I believe that probably, leaving the Eurozone is best for Greece. Default on the Euro debt and then you are probably out of the worst pretty soon with the new currency devaluating quickly.

      For Germany it remains interesting: What will happen after that? Greece exiting may cause a downward spiral in e.g. Italy, Portugal and Spain – and then the whole Eurozone is doomed…
      Just another grandiose project that’s failed.
      But if it is destined to fail (problem is we don’t know if it truly is and I could imagine that Yanis is right that this crisis, technically, macro-economically, could relatively easily be fixed – but the EU has proved dysfunctional) then we have to stop it at some point.

      European countries will still have an incentive to have a common market, work together to be a substantial power on a global scale (versus the US and China) and this will ensure the EU will continue one way or the other.

      The Eurozone would have needed a banking union and some sort of political union – or full commitment to treaties like e.g. the Maastricht treaty.
      This precondition was not met and now it may be best to call it a day and try to build some less ambitious project.

      Ultimately, what serves the interests of the citizens best is what we should do. The more this crisis continues and the more suffering and hate it produces within and among countries, the more I believe that our current model is not right.

  • Sorry, Vanis, but formal logic is not really your strong point. Your thought experiment with the magic button for Mrs. Merkel is utter nonsense. And from an unproven assumption like this you can conclude everyhing – but without any evidence. That’s a statement of formal logic.

    The problem for the Germans is the the question, how often Mrs. Merkel would have to push the button – even with some costs – as the Greeks would immediately restore the old debt.

    You must stop spending more than you have. This is the button your politicians have to push, and this only once.

    • You are accusing me of using an ‘unproven assumption’, of substandard ‘formal logic’ and a nonsensical thought experiment. First, all assumptions are unproven. By definition. Secondly, thought experiments help us understand, through introspection, our own feelings and thoughts. The purpose of my thought experiment was to help the average German reach into their own thoughts and sentiments to work out if they would be happy with a magical solution that sorts out the Eurozone, and Greece, without any pain for the Greeks and the average citizen of the Periphery more broadly. It was not to describe accurately the choice that Mrs Merkel is now facing. By proposing a different mental experiment (involving Mrs Merkel having to press some other button repeatedly) you are posing another question. Interesting but utterly different. I am quite happy to play that game with you if you first hunour me by answering my question: If you had a choice between:

      Button 1: You press it and the Euro Crisis ends immediately, with a general rise in growth throughout Europe, a sudden collapse of debt for each member-state to below the Maastricht level and no pain for Greek citizens (or for Italians, Portuguese, etc.)
      Button 2: You press it and the Euro Crisis does not go away but continues to bubble along albeit in a controlled fashion. German interest rates remain extremely low, the Periphery’s spreads are high (but not explosive), GDP per capita is falling fast in Greece and the rest of the Periphery, capital continues to fly into Germany from Italy and Spain and, lastly, austerity continues to inflict pain on the average citizen of the Periphery.

      With your hand on your heart, which of the two buttons do you think that the median German voter would opt for? I submit to you that the answer is: Button 2.

      Lastly, regarding your disparaging of my ‘poor’ formal logic, let me make a suggestion: In view of the fact I have trained in formal logic, I have taught formal logic in one of the best universities worldwide, and have authored at least three books using formal logic as their foundation, I would invite you to read these, find evidence of weaknesses in my use of formal logic and, then but only then, I promise to feel hurt by your negative assessment. Agreed?

    • Rolf I could not agree more with your last paragraph. The problem really is very simple to solve.

      Yiannis, with regards to Merkel vs Greece. I think you are missing the point.

      The Greek people and Germany are in complete agreement. Both hate the Greek government for its incompetence and corruption.

      The media tries to tell Greeks Germany is the enemy but this could not be further from the truth, Greeks want the same things as Germans. ie for the Greek government to sort out its finances.

      Greece is not one entity, it is two. The Greek people vs the Greek government.

    • Dear Yanis

      Interestingly, you have slightly modified the “pain button”. It is now:

      “Button 2: You press it and the Euro Crisis does not go away but continues to bubble along albeit in a controlled fashion. German interest rates remain extremely low, the Periphery’s spreads are high (but not explosive), GDP per capita is falling fast in Greece and the rest of the Periphery, capital continues to fly into Germany from Italy and Spain and, lastly, austerity continues to inflict pain on the average citizen of the Periphery.”

      Before, it was “I think that the mood is Germany toward the Greeks is such that the majority would be prepared to suffer a positive cost in order to see that the average Greek suffers a greater cost (convinced as they are that they are responsible for the Crisis and need to be taught a lesson – as opposed to being let off the hook).”

      Spot the difference? In your new version, there would actually be something positive for Germany if they pushed the “pain” button (low interest rates for Germany and capital flow into Germany) while at the same time “periphery spreads are high (but not explosive)”.
      With this new, modified button I can better understand how you can possibly think Germans would want to push it.

      Still, I believe the vast majority is so fed up with the crisis (and does not enjoy seeing others suffer) that they would push the magic “everything’s suddenly fine” button.

      However, if the other button was a tempting option for some, it would not necessarily be in order to enjoy see the others suffer but with your modified version, there’d be some positive consequence for Germany (while the negative impact on the periphery and its citizens would be limited). This makes it more understandable and not outright insulting to assume Germans would want to press it.

    • Yanis, this is my reply:

      You insult me ​​for no reason. As the crisis worsened in 2011, I thought that the citizens of Europe should buy more bonds of countries in financial distress. The people have the necessary money for it. The idea was, in short, a kind of European guarantee for these investments, but only for European citizens. Europeans help Europe, and Europe is honoring it, so to say. I still think the idea is good .

      To give a symbolic example in this discussion, my wife and I bought Irish, Portuguese and Greek bonds with a moderate rate. Interest income is not our goal. We invested 10 000 € and with the Greek Notes 1998 (13) with 7.5% interest rate, we lost a total of 65%.

      Unfortunately, the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag didn’t approve the idea. It was too similar to the “Euro bonds” in discussion and was not understood.

      But therefore I don’t need to put my hand on my heart, if I say I want a solution to the crisis for ALL countries. The proof is in the bank statements.

      Is this enough honor for you?

      Then let me say a word about logic.

      Assumptions are unproven, that’s trivial. But proofs never start with assumptions. Your thought experiment begins with an impossible assumption. Such a button cannot exist. And your conclusion that the Germans would not use it, is therefore not provable or refutable. It is simply polemic, based on your negative prejudice.

      As you have the knowledge of formal logic, as you point out, this is even more embarrassing.

      My “different mental experiment (involving Mrs Merkel having to press some other button repeatedly)” is much more realistic. What the Germans fear the most is a bottomless pit. Although the “haircut” has eliminated a lot of Greece debt, nothing is solved. The country is once more trying to restore the bad situation immediately. The Greeks are not willing to reduce their standard of living by – let’s say – 30% and continue to live beyond their means. And the Germans do not want to pay for this in the long run.

      Why should they?

    • Proofs never start with assumptions? They ALWAYS do. It is quite clear that you are utterly ignorant of the great tradition of rationalist thinking that Germany has bestowed upon the world. Please take your uneducated, bigoted nonsense to some other blog. Henceforth you are barred from this one.

    • “You must stop spending more than you have.”

      That’s what I say since ages, but nobody wants to listen. Not just the Greeks. It is the same all over the planet. Politicians overspend by nature, which is causing havoc for future generations.

    • Yanis, I agree poor Rolf’s understanding of logic is flawed, but isn’t barring him, especially when you tolerate quite a few nutcases here, a bit drastic? Expelling a student from the university just because they haven’t understood your lecture is funny pedagogy.

    • Depressing, worrying, deluded, fanatic, supreme ignorance, some of the words to describe the authors state of mind when he wrote that article.

      If I can highlight a few key points

      “A Nation is Not a Household” – okay, so what can it be compared to? an individual? a large company? a multinational?

      Delusion – “So pretty much “everybody” is wrong. Orthodox understandings of economics, all the “received wisdom” of the past two and a half centuries of economic thinking, pretty much everything that is taught in university macroeconomics courses, pretty much all of the economic and monetary policy making authorities, are simply and fundamentally wrong about how macro economies work. We need to abandon these false worldviews and start over with a true understanding of how our economies work, or we will reap the financial-cum-economic whirlwind of our monetary ignorance.” – what he describes IS accepted wisdom.

      “Economics is Numerical, Not Theological” – No, economics is psychology not physics/numerical

      “Money Creates Demand” – To repeat myself for the 14th time. 3 men on an island, you give everybody a bar of Gold or if you want, a million dollars. Does that create demand and if so, what for?

      “Two Separate Worlds” re money and labour – Worrying

      The writings of a child – “you have to abandon the universal fallacy that all the money already exists in some big gigantic pile that God distributed around the Earth for people to find and that people somehow get this money and deposit it in banks as their “savings” – what gives money value is distributed throughout the world, it is called land & labour.

      “Growth of Economy Has Required Growth of Money” – Not in “numerical terms”

      “Ancient cultures solved these distributional impasses with “clean slates” and “Debt Jubilees”” – Also called “defaults”, bankruptcy etc etc

      “because the money government borrows and spends adds to the incomes that people earn ” – where is the evidence for this?

      etc etc.

      He does have some good points where he praises sound money but he also denigrates the Austrian School. Bizarre.

      Interesting though

    • Richard

      Yes ,Richard everything used today IS USED wrongly.
      There were better economies before the “orthodox” ways you refer to.

      Yes ,Richard ,you are correct about land and labour. It is not the system that is used today though. That is why i said to you in the past that while you are right ,you are wrong now for what is happening NOW.

      The solution he provides is for the system we use today.
      You talk about ways that no matter what you say can not be used today because of the nature of the system.

      That is why Merkel’s (or i should say her masters’) policies are wrong. Not because they are always wrong but because they are wrong NOW.

      And i believe this is on purpose.

    • Richard

      So any person who built a life in the city ,a life that is based not on the old and natural system of “land and labour” ,should just give everything up and move to the country. But wait ,they will need to buy land first. Oops they need money for that. Oops ,there is deprivation of liquidity in the unnatural system we use today.

      What would happen to Germany if they cut the flow?

      Richard you are confusing eras.

      A painter has gone up the ladder to paint a wall. There comes a person that respects the laws of nature (gravity) and removes the ladder under the feet of the painter.

      Oops again.

      Once more. You are right but not now. There are intermediate steps that must be taken. Merkel does not respect anything.
      The nature of the system is such ,that by itself causes unnatural fluctuations and when the bubbles burst ,official tratiors use the crisis to their own advantage. They use the truth of the natural system to tell you that what they now do is correct.

      That is how Merkel respects the laws of nature. Only as an excuse.

    • Why the personal attack on Merkel? All the politicos are working to the same flawed model. They are not evil. They just don’t known any better.

    • Demetri – “So any person who built a life in the city ,a life that is based not on the old and natural system of “land and labour” – Despite everything, you still do not understand what money is.

      I recommend reading “how an economy grows and why it crashes”. This will take you from a desert island to the current day. It is in cartoon form and takes around 4 hours to read.

  • I am an italian journalist writing on Europe (La Repubblica), not an expert in economics. I understand that the debate is closed, but want to say how deeply, knowing rather well Germany, I agree with Yanis Varoufakis. I think it’s interesting for You to know what Roman Herzog thinks about Germany’s “bargaining power” . I refer to what You write on this subject (the possibility of leaving the Eurozone gives Germany “an enormous bargaining advantage”)
    Here is Roman Herzog’s interview to Wirtschaftswoche:http://www.wiwo.de/politik/europa/interview-roman-herzog-das-grundgesetz-verbietet-nicht-die-staatspleite/6874468.html

    barbara spinelli

    • WIRTSCHAFTSWOCHE-Artikel 88 schreibt vor, dass die Kompetenzen der Deutschen Bundesbank auf die EZB übertragen werden können, wenn diese „unabhängig ist und dem vorrangigen Ziel der Preisstabilität verpflichtet“. Sind die politischen Entscheidungen der EZB und das Fluten der Märkte mit einer Billion Euro also ein Verfassungsbruch?

      ROMAN HERZOG: Ich würde es umgekehrt sagen: Der Grundgesetzverstoß wäre es, wenn man zu lange wartet, diese Übertragung zu widerrufen. Ich bin da für schonungslose Drohungen in den Verhandlungen.
      (….)

      WW: Lohnt es sich, unser Grundgesetz für Europa aufzugeben?

      RH: Das ist doch gar nicht nötig. Diese Krise ist nur aus Fehlern entstanden. Ich muss also nicht die ganze Verfassung ändern, sondern nur die Fehler korrigieren und künftig vermeiden. Im vorauseilenden Gehorsam, quasi auf Vorrat gar eine neue Verfassung auf den Weg zu bringen, weil ich später einmal möglicherweise an Grenzen stoßen könnte, davor kann ich nur warnen.

      WW:Warum?

      RH: Weil dann vor allem darüber diskutiert würde, ob das Staatsziel Tierschutz ausreichend gewürdigt ist und auch für Wanzen und Läuse gilt. Aber die Frage von Regierung und Parlament wäre bestimmt kein großes Thema. Die ist aber entscheidend.

      WW:Also nicht die Verfassung jetzt schleifen, sondern lieber als Druckmittel in den Verhandlungen einsetzen?

      RH: Genau so. Sollte sich später herausstellen, dass es wirklich Probleme gibt, kann man immer noch nachjustieren. Dann dauert halt alles ein wenig länger. Die meisten europäischen Staaten gibt es seit dem 10., 11. Jahrhundert. Und wir regen uns auf, wenn eine so grundsätzliche Frage zwei oder drei Jahre länger dauert.

    • @ spinelli

      Where exactly does he say “the possibility of leaving the Eurozone gives Germany “an enormous bargaining advantage”?

    • Here two abstracts of the interview to Roman Herzog:

      WIRTSCHAFTSWOCHE-Artikel 88 schreibt vor, dass die Kompetenzen der Deutschen Bundesbank auf die EZB übertragen werden können, wenn diese „unabhängig ist und dem vorrangigen Ziel der Preisstabilität verpflichtet“. Sind die politischen Entscheidungen der EZB und das Fluten der Märkte mit einer Billion Euro also ein Verfassungsbruch?

      ROMAN HERZOG: Ich würde es umgekehrt sagen: Der Grundgesetzverstoß wäre es, wenn man zu lange wartet, diese Übertragung zu widerrufen. Ich bin da für schonungslose Drohungen in den Verhandlungen.
      (….)

      WW: Lohnt es sich, unser Grundgesetz für Europa aufzugeben?

      RH: Das ist doch gar nicht nötig. Diese Krise ist nur aus Fehlern entstanden. Ich muss also nicht die ganze Verfassung ändern, sondern nur die Fehler korrigieren und künftig vermeiden. Im vorauseilenden Gehorsam, quasi auf Vorrat gar eine neue Verfassung auf den Weg zu bringen, weil ich später einmal möglicherweise an Grenzen stoßen könnte, davor kann ich nur warnen.

      WW:Warum?

      RH: Weil dann vor allem darüber diskutiert würde, ob das Staatsziel Tierschutz ausreichend gewürdigt ist und auch für Wanzen und Läuse gilt. Aber die Frage von Regierung und Parlament wäre bestimmt kein großes Thema. Die ist aber entscheidend.

      WW:Also nicht die Verfassung jetzt schleifen, sondern lieber als Druckmittel in den Verhandlungen einsetzen?

      RH: Genau so. Sollte sich später herausstellen, dass es wirklich Probleme gibt, kann man immer noch nachjustieren. Dann dauert halt alles ein wenig länger. Die meisten europäischen Staaten gibt es seit dem 10., 11. Jahrhundert. Und wir regen uns auf, wenn eine so grundsätzliche Frage zwei oder drei Jahre länger dauert.

    • Dear Ms. Spinelli
      Having read the article myself, I can’t see much that supports the view that Germany may want to leave the Eurozone (or should aggressively use this “option” for bargaining). Neither can I find anything in there that would suggest we’d like Greece to suffer.
      Sorry.
      I think after all and even though this whole debate is emotional because it involves feelings of national pride, etc, we should not forget that one way to interpret this whole thing is conflicting interests.

      In principle, Germany (and e.g. Austria, the Netherlands and Finland) would like the southern countries to sort this mess out on their own, with as little transfers or risk taking for us as possible in the process.

      The crisis countries on the other hand want the exact opposite: As little change as possible (and as slowly as possible) with Germany etc taking as much risk and “rewarding” the south with as much transfers (preferably permanent) as possible.

      This is natural. That’s politics.
      Now, what we are seeing is that both sides are arguing about the compromise.
      Not proof that Germany is evil or Greece is lazy. It is natural to look after your own interests, isn’t it?
      What Greece so far does not have seemed to understand is that e.g. Germany won’t just “hand over” the money. Greece gets loans (at below market rates) and continues to benefit from the EU transfer programs (structural funds and agriculture, etc) but in principle, Greece has to do the job. At least for the first couple of years, Greece was to some degree in denial which hasn’t helped to make Greece more popular in Germany.

    • vss ,Martin

      No ,really now. Are you totally numb?

      Here is what spinelli wrote:
      “I refer to what You write on this subject (the possibility of leaving the Eurozone gives Germany “an enormous bargaining advantage”)”

      Do you see where it says “You”? The “You” refers to Yanis having said that, as he has.

      Go learn how to read first ,will you?

      The reference to Roman Herzog is for the overall behaviour of Germany pertaining to “bargaining power” ,also amongst their own people.
      Spinelli connects Herzog’s opinion with Yanis’ comment.

      (The dot you see at the end of every sentence is called a “full stop”).
      From what planet did you come to Earth?
      ———————

      Martin

      The same old stuff.

      “Bad southerns. Why do you want our money when we owe you? Shame on you.”

      Not to mention that the people of these countries do not want to have anything to do with “your” money.

      The whole world is on to you and you still continue.

  • I am pretty sure that you are right about Germany, Yani. I have many contacts there, including family, and the effect of the sustained propaganda campaign against Greeks that the media have carried out over the last few years is evident. Most Germans believe that their country has no responsibility for the euro-mess, that Greeks are lazy and feckless, and that everyone should be very grateful for the great efforts that Germans have made to save the worthless southern Europeans from themselves.

    Germany is in mass denial. You can see the symptoms from the German idiots who come here and attack Greece: why they do this, I cannot understand. It is presumably part of some moralistic-religious cultural ceremony that Germans need to convince themselves that they are right to behave in the way they do. My only comment on this, is that we have seen it all before — and it led to very nasty things. The prognosis for all of Europe is very bad, with Germans in charge.

  • Everyone is in complete denial; there are solutions to the underlying problems staring the likes of Mrs Merkel full in the face; but just how bad does it have to get before they admit the truth and change direction?

    • Solutions for the South at the expense of the North. Why are you not honest about the implications for the North?

  • Yanis, KE lasted longer than Krugman did. In fact, K’s response to Keen’s critique of his macroecon position was I thought, for someone in his position, pathetic. K certainly doesn’t like to be told that he doesn’t understand someone’s position or that he misinterpreted or misrepresented it. Even if the originator or the position says that he did this.

  • German executives are sure Europe is tanked and they are sailing with a compass that assumes that self fulfilling prophesy. And also makes the most for them given the expected outcome.

  • The Euro crisis would require three conditions for its solution.

    1. All member countries must have a robust tax system with no deadweight costs. The only tax system that satisfies this requirement is an ad valorem tax on the annual rental value of land as the principal source of public revenue.

    2. A system is in place to recycle wealth from the centre to the periphery ie to those countries with geographical ie locational disadvantage.

    3. The recycled funds are spent on good infrastructure or redistributed in the form of citizens’ income.

    Since there is no chance of any of these conditions being met, the Euro crisis in insoluble.

    • Henry, you do not get it. The root cause is the divergence in competitveness over time. Not the geographical loction. The geographical location as not changed much since the Euro was introduced. The labor unit cost differences have changed a lot!

    • These are assertions, not economic arguments. Since none of the existing economic literature (as far as I know) concurs with your assertions, you are not entitled to make them. If you can provide some sort of formal proof of why these assertions are correct, then we can examine how strong the arguments are. In the absence of such proof, I presume that everyone will simply ignore the assertions. Why did you make them?

    • Pedro

      Actually Pedro ,this crisis in Greece IS ABOUT geographical location too.

      “The root cause is the divergence in competitveness over time.”

      And the root cause for the divergence is………….. (think something German).

  • I like this thought experiment a lot, but I think there is an additional angle to this. My feeling is that in a poll the majority of Germans would vote to the press the ‘Solve Crisis’ button, just to make a benevolent impression. However, if it was possible to anonymously press the ‘Fester Crisis’ button without this action becoming too apparent the majority of Germans would do so. This is exactly what Mrs. Merkel is doing and I believe the reason for her popularity. Deep down, a lot of Germans have the vague feeling that they are asked to pay more than their share for Europe and that Germany’s current economic success (although it has not resulted in increased wages) is begrudged them. So they would think it unfair to let others who have been “squandering away their money” off the hook but would not admit openly that they want the crisis to go on. On top of this, even the vaguest possibility of the existence of a ‘Solve Crisis’ button is vehemently rejected by the majority of Germans.

    • @kurms:

      You are spot on my friend! Your psychogram of the contemporary German political system and the overall German society is pretty accurate!

      Kudos!

  • I think that the simplified button experiment has some vaildity in abstractly depicting the public mood in Germany. Living in Germany myself I know rather well how most people I happen to interact with feel and think about the problems nowadays: In the German public discourse there is a dominant strand which consists in ascribing to what is assumed as ‘German’ specific attributes expressing superiority and the other, particularly southern people, the opposite, cementing its inferiority. That is a continuation of what was the basic foundation of the Nazi discourse – basically each fascistic discourse – though in a different symbolic manifestation. I think the discussion here of what ‘racism’ consists of seems to be rather flawed. Of course it is not a valid assumption to name an abstract German entity as ‘Nazi’ simply on the fact that after the defeat in WW2 the party was dissolved and forbidden, so that there is no formal successor organization of that party. But that does not mean that the ideological and socio-psychological preconditions of that formal political manifestation would have been themselves eradicated in the course of the postwar forced formal democratization. So, in my eyes it is valid to assume that to understand how the inhumane horrors and insanity would have been possible one has only to interact with nowadays Germans as those preconditions are deeply rooted in the public discourse – btw I think that the same is true of all the other forms of historic fascism Europe has been infested with. In a general sense, calling someone a German nazi based on his nationality is of course only an insult (though it may express a kind of helpless exasperation in face of what German political and economic power has been performing) but has nothing to do with racism. Racism consist in assigning oneself abstract positive attributes in a race context while attesting some other the opposite. The racist is fundamentally dependent of what he denigrates, since he can only prove his superiority by constantly abstractly producing its formal opposite. And, thats exactly what the mainstream public discourse in germany does nowadays and thats why it is – in modified form – reproducing the racisms the nazi system relied upon – even wihout political identification with a nazi party.
    On the other side, in a sense it is comprehensible that those who suffered the historical nazi terror were not able or willing to make out the minority of Germans who opposed the nazi regime and so recurred to ‘generalizations’.

    • Salvo

      Great post. There are ofcourse similar analyses for the “bad” characterisitcs of the Greeks and any other race.

      The problem ,that most people do not seem to want to understand ,is that these “bad” characteristics ,which are senseless stereotypes ,were used as a cover up ,for the real causes of this crisis ,that either one likes it or not ,it has nothing to do with the population and culture of any country.

    • @Salvo:

      Very well said! I couldn’t agree with you more. This is exactly what I said before:

      THE GERMAN ELITES HAVE NEVER STOPPED BEEING RACISTS! THE ONLY THING WHICH HAS CHANGED IS THE OBJECTS OF THEIR RACIST OBSESSIONS! IN THE PAST THE JEWS AND NOW THE GREEKS!

  • Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, über alles in der Welt???

    “SPD und Grüne gefährden den Wohlstand Europas“ (A. Dobrindt of course means Europa=Germany)
    AND
    “Die SPD vertrete die Interessen der sozialistischen Internationale!!!”

    CSU-Generalsekretär Alexander (he should change his Greek name into a German name like for example Armin or Alfred or Adolf or Albrecht) Dobrindt poltert laut: Die SPD vertrete die Interessen der sozialistischen Internationale, meint er. Und als Schuldigen an der Euro-Krise macht Dobrindt gar einen einzelnen Oppositionspolitiker aus.

    „Inzwischen ist deutlich geworden, dass ein erheblicher Teil der Schuldenkrise auf das Konto von Herrn Steinmeier geht“, sagte CSU-Generalsekretär Alexander Dobrindt in einem Interview mit der „Welt“ vom Montag. In seiner Funktion als Kanzleramtsminister habe der heutige SPD-Fraktionschef Frank-Walter Steinmeier den Euro aufgeweicht. „Mit seiner Lockerung der Stabilitätskriterien hat er sich als Brandbeschleuniger der Euro-Krise erwiesen.“

    Wow I really wonder how come Alfred, Armin, Adolf, Albrecht Dobrindt doesn’t suggest to open up some re-education camps for this “bloody” socialists with their hidden internationalist agenda 🙂

    Who knows what he might come up with next!

    Stay tuned for our next nationalistic political soap opera from good old Germany 🙂

    http://www.myvido1.com/wUVRnUahkQ4RmMadlUtNXP_biergarten-nazis

  • Germany cannot save the world economy. The problem is obviously nor Germany neither Greece. The problem is that 30 trillion are in the hands of few people that never pay taxes.

  • Germany has benefitted, is benefitiing and will benefit hugely from a continued low Euro. I would love to know of ALL those who were complicit in the fraud of Greece entering the EU. The general public, however, will be kept in the dark and fed the propaganda of blame.

    • I see that I am “benefiting” from higher cost of imported cost every time I go shopping or to the gas station.

      The German people did not benefit from the Euro. The owners of export companies did.

      The Euro was an idea of French politicians to be able to play a role on the world stage. Using German weight they are able to act as EURO officials, which they never would be able to with their miserable french Franc.

  • When I first discovered this Yanis blog I was impressed by the economic analyses. And just to be clear I also agree that Germany should bail out Greece really in its own self-interest (and quit using attacks on the Greeks for political cover). But to see Yanis
    now slip into an “attack the Germans” mode is VERY DISAPPOINTING. And not helpful. As others have pointed out, the “thought experiment” is just a vaguely disguised way to throw mud. I am American but have been living in Berlin for 15 years and I can tell you a few things that you (and particulary those like “Aristotoles” – a disgrace to that appellation!) don´t know: The German people of today are practically all PACIFISTS. How does THAT fit into your schema? Talk about a “4th Reich” is beyond absurd. Is it so hard to understand that the people in ANY country might have reservations as they watch TRILLIONS apparently leave their country for foreign ports? For Christ´s sake! Show some UNDERSTANDING. German workers – i.e. the German “people” – took a big hit under Schroeder and his gang in the early 2000s, a reduction in pay and benefits that helped launch the import economy to its success. So in this they PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH! This is to be lauded! And lastly, since you seem so enamored by thought experiments: If Germany were bankrupt and the Greeks were the ones being asked to save them, would they sign the check for those goddam Nazis and murderers?

    • Dear Barry, You must be confusing me with someone else. First, I am not in a “attack the germans mode”. I am critical of all the political leaders in the Eurozone (the Greek ones more than anyone else). And I also go to great lengths to argeue against generalisations that are the slippery slope leading to outright racism. See this for example: http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2012/07/09/criticising-germany-three-principles-for-the-fair-assessment-of-proud-nations/

    • @Barry Fray:

      “(and particulary those like “Aristotoles” – a disgrace to that appellation!) ”

      A discrace is what you are Mr. Fray so why don’t you shut your dirty mouth in the first instance instead of insulting me!

    • It is reasonable to expect Germany to recycle funds to Greece as part of EU cohesion. But Greece needs a robust tax system ie land value taxation http://www.landvaluetax.org up and running honestly, efficiently and transparently, and the recycled funds must be used effectively.

      That is not going to happen so Greece will have to suffer the consequences until the nation grasps the nettle.

    • @Barry Fray:

      “I am American but have been living in Berlin for 15 years and I can tell you a few things that you (and particulary those like “Aristotoles” – a disgrace to that appellation!) don´t know..”

      Are you so bovine that you even can’t imagine that others might be also knowing Germany very well???

      Do you really think that you are the only foreigner who ever lived in Germany mein guter, einfältiger, deutschamerikanischer Freund?

      What are you going to tell me about the Germans what I don’t know already? You are not long enough in Germany to lecture me about the Germans and German habbits!

      You don’t know with whom you are talking but as any ignorant you jump to baseless conclusions. That says much about your character together with your brainless insult in the first instance!

    • Yes ,German workers took a big hit.
      Their own politicians sucked their blood and it is the same politicians that are responsible for the defamation of the German public today as for the defamation of the Greek public too.

      As our own are responsible too. What many of us have been saying is that the German population accepted this “blaming game” very easily.
      And there are ofcourse Greeks that would have done the same.

      Stupid people exist everywhere.

      We have also distinquished the people from their governments ,although many times we refer to them generally as “the Germans” ,”the Greeks” etc.

      Still ,no matter the innocense of the German public ,if you are attacked ,you attack back.

      For there are certain individuals that are here only to spew poison against a whole population and cover the manipulation of the governments.

      Yes ,the German public is innocent and they should understand once and for all that their money are not coming to Greece for Greece.

      How can people that have lived difficulties themselves accuse so easily a nation ,that even today is attacked in various ways?
      Everybody is acting like money is the only problem.

    • Why I can´t leave a reply to a reply is an unfortunate mystery but….Yanis, just the fact that you see the “slippery slope” as leading to “racism” instead of what it should be – Nationalism – tells me that you chose that mistaken word because it plays to the negative German image from the past (your slip is showing). Then you refute my “attack Germany” accusation by saying “I am critical of all the political leaders in the Eurozone ” when your “thought experiment” had nothing to do with politicians but rather the German PEOPLE pushing buttoms! What is that? And please tell me that you do see the other comments that are so hateful and vituperative – that is YOUR doing!

    • If I targeted my mental experiment at the German voters it is because it is Germany that holds the key to the decisions which could save the Eurozone today. As for the content of comments on my blog, and while I do not want to shed my responsibility, I would ask you to judge me on the basis of my words. Not of those authored by commentators here. The fact that on both sides there is much anger, and even some hate, simply reveals the nasty underbelly of this Crisis.

    • Yianni, are you saying Germany want to destroy the Euro.

      If not, then you must believe they are doing what they think they need to, to save it.

  • For what it’s worth I think the very unmuddledness of your thought experiment makes it useless.
    To quote Galbraith: Few can believe that suffering, especially by others, is in vain.
    If you remove this believe by fiat then you change the question. Even after the racist campaign in the German media most who wish calamity onto Greece have to think that it is for their own good in order to be able to look into a mirror.

    • I speak to Germans regularly and I can tell you that are in solidarity with the Greeks.

      The people in Germany have a problem with the Greek government not the Greek people, Greeks need to realise this.

  • Yanis: “I think that the mood is Germany toward the Greeks is such that the majority would be prepared to suffer a positive cost in order to see that the average Greek suffers a greater cost (convinced as they are that they are responsible for the Crisis and need to be taught a lesson – as opposed to being let off the hook). A very small minority would want Mrs Merkel to press my imaginary button.”

    This is plain wrong among other things because of the reason that the average german learned by an extensive media coverage that – cf. Yanis principle 1 – on the one hand there is a greek “elite” which benefited from the greek style to run the government and shape the malfunctioning state (maybe 5 – 10 %) and on the other hand the broad majority of greek people who is not responsible for the mess at all but is now suffering badly.

    The broad majority of germans knows this very well. Do you really think, Yanis, the average german is as stone-hearted and sadistic to be pleased to watch the average greek suffer from a state of affairs he is not respnsible for? And some now having to take their children to “SOS-Kinderdörfer”?

    • Markus you are wrong. Greece has constantly over promised and under delivered. We are sick and tired of it. Let´s put an end to it. At least this cost is known.

    • I did not read the thought experiment as implying that Germans are “stone-hearted and sadistic”. On this I most certainly would not agree. The crucial phrase is “the mood of the Germans”: this mood has been established by several years of social manipulation by the mass media and politicians. It is profoundly cynical and hostile to the Greek nation. Do you not see any pattern from the past? Such as German thinking about the Poles, the Jews, etc? Most of us in the rest of Europe (I am not Greek) do see this, and worry where Germany is going.

    • “Such as German thinking about the Poles, the Jews, etc?” – Probably the most racist and ignorant comment I have read anywhere for a long time. Congratulations to you and your prejudices.

      “The crucial phrase is “the mood of the Germans”: this mood has been established by several years of social manipulation by the mass media and politicians. It is profoundly cynical and hostile to the Greek nation.” – You are absolutely clueless about the the “mood of Germans”. Germans have a problem with the Greek state and so do the Greeks. Germans have absolutely no issue with the Greek people.

      If anyone is suffering from social manipulation it is you.

      Let me tell you why the majority of Greeks have a problem with Germany. The majority, if not all of the TV and print media in Greece is controlled by unions. The unions have a vested interest in not reforming the country. If Greece carried out normal reforms the unions would be smashed.

      In short you cannot believe a word being said by the Greek media they all have a vested interest in things staying as they are.

      Either with Greece being a dependent on Germany or Greece returning to the Drachma. Either way the Greek media does not care, as long as the unions maintain their power.

      When you look at the situation from this perspective it is obvious why the Germany is being vilified and why the Greek politicians are sabotaging the Greek economy.

    • @Richard:

      You said this: “If Greece carried out normal reforms the unions would be smashed. In short you cannot believe a word being said by the Greek media they all have a vested interest in things staying as they are. Either with Greece being a dependent on Germany or Greece returning to the Drachma. Either way the Greek media does not care, as long as the unions maintain their power. When you look at the situation from this perspective it is obvious why the Germany is being vilified and why the Greek politicians are sabotaging the Greek economy.”

      Hey Richard with all due respect my friend but isn’t it the other way around in that German media and politicians have vilified the Greeks rather than what you want to believe?

      What you say sounds like complete denial or perversion of reality!

    • Hi Aristoteles – Now we are getting somewhere!

      “that German media and politicians have vilified the Greeks” – I have never read anything of the sort. What I see coming out of Germany is Merkel and Schauble attacking the Greek government which is exactly what Greeks should be doing!

      This is more evidence of the spin being put on the German media by the Greek media outlets, which the sole aim of poisoning Greek opinion against Merkel.

      Some links detailing how Merkel is helping Greeks and punishing the Greek government.

      http://independence4wales.com/2012/merkel-greece-free-to-stay-in-euro-no-matter-what

      http://independence4wales.com/2012/merkel-continues-to-fight-for-greece

      http://independence4wales.com/2012/germany-pushes-for-greek-default-for-the-sake-of-greeks

    • @ Guest (xenos)

      “Do you not see any pattern from the past? Such as German thinking about the Poles, the Jews, etc? Most of us in the rest of Europe (I am not Greek) do see this, and worry where Germany is going.”

      Does this statement imply that you think Germans are more prone to ethnocentrism (racism, anti-semitism etc.) than people from other countries? English, French, Italian, Greek?

    • @Markus

      No, I did not imply that. However, cultural differences may result in different consequences from apparently similar social phenomena in other countries. For example: hatred of Jews (and also of gypsies) was widespread across Europe for centuries before the Third Reich. From my reading of German history, along with some personal accounts related to me by Germans who lived through the Nazi period, I most certainly know that even during the horrors of that period, the great majority of Germans were no different from the British in their anti-semitism. Yet, Germany behaved very differently from Britain.

      Let me put it more concretely: every virtue, in certain circumstances, becomes a vice. German organisational skills when used for certain ends are far more dangerous than occurs with most other EU countries. It is this direction that I urge you to think about, because Germany is trying to shape Europe (again); I do not think have any confidence that this is in the interests of Europe, when all the evidence shows clearly that German politicians are primarily (if not exclusively) interested in Germany and specifically in Germans.

    • No Greeks love people from other countries, especially thri close relatives from Turkey

    • @Richard: as I am not Greek, and have little ability in the language, I do not rely on Greek media for my information. Nor do I think most Greeks have any confidence in Greek media, so they try to read more widely.

      I find it revealing that you choose to attack trade union influence as pernicious and have nothing to say about the many other deficits in the Greek mass media. You are doubtless right that unions number among the vested interests that oppose change, but they are only one interest group among many. What about the power and influence of banking in the eurozone? What about the European politicians from France and Germany who still refuse to accept responsibility for the crisis, and seek to shift blame onto Greeks and other southern Europeans? What about the benefits that Germany is accruing from the crisis, with capital inflows and a lower exchange rate as the euro slowly collapses?

      As far as being accused of racism is concerned, I think I know rather better than you do what the term actually means. We are not precluded from criticising German history, German culture and German policies — on the spurious grounds of political correctness. After the German media and politicians have shown themselves openly hostile to Greece and actually racist with lies, false statistics and misrepresentations, it is a bit much to read complaints when anyone comments on Germany.

    • “Nor do I think most Greeks have any confidence in Greek media, so they try to read more widely. I find it revealing that you choose to attack trade union influence ” – I chose the media trade unions because the control all of the media in Greece ergo they set the agenda.

      About the other stuff, for another time.

      “After the German media and politicians have shown themselves openly hostile to Greece and actually racist with lies, false statistics and misrepresentations” – Please, show me one article where “Germany” attacks Greeks instead of the Greek government. If you find one then I will stand corrected. As it stands the only people than think Germans have a problem with Greeks is the Greeks, see media influence in first paragraph for the reason

    • “Please, show me one article where “Germany” attacks Greeks instead of the Greek government. If you find one then I will stand corrected. As it stands the only people than think Germans have a problem with Greeks is the Greeks, see media influence in first paragraph for the reason”

      Don’t try to fool us my friend!!!

      Your nonfactitiousness is unbearable and insults our cognition!!!

      Betrüger in der Euro-Familie – CHEATERS IN THE EUROFAMILY:

      http://www.focus.de/magazin/videos/focus-titel-betrueger-in-der-euro-familie_vid_15672.html

      More racism from the German FOCKUS magazine here:

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/27422046/2000-Jahre-Niedergang-Focus-Magazin-No-08-2010

      About the anti-Greek hate campaign of the Bildzeitung:

      http://www.bildblog.de/18326/leitfaden-wie-hetze-ich-gegen-ein-land-auf/
      and more here:
      http://www.bildblog.de/tag/pleite-griechen/

      More about the Bildzeitung here:

      Die Hetze der Bild-Zeitung gegen „die Griechen“

      Seit Monaten hetzt die Bild-Zeitung gegen Griechen und Griechenland. In verschiedenen Variationen immer dieselbe Botschaft: „Die Griechen machen unseren Euro kaputt!“ Was „die“ falsch machen, erkennt man daran, was „wir“ richtig machen:

      „Hier arbeiten die Menschen bis sie 67 Jahre alt sind … Deutschland hat zwar auch hohe Schulden – aber die können wir auch begleichen. Weil wir morgens ziemlich früh aufstehen und den ganzen Tag arbeiten. Weil wir von unserem Gehalt immer auch einen Teil für schlechte Zeiten sparen. Weil wir fitte Firmen haben, deren Produkte rund um den Globus gefragt sind.“ (10.3.10)

      Die Deutschen leben also, um tagein tagaus von früh bis spät zu arbeiten, bis sie alt sind. Das tun sie für ihren Staat, damit sich der neue Schulden leisten kann. Deutsche sind fleißig und zu Opfern bereit. Warum also ist der Euro „unser Euro“? Nicht weil wir ihn haben, sondern weil wir ihn möglichst wenig beanspruchen. Wir sagen zwar „unser Euro“, aber das „unser“ besteht darin, dass wir uns ihm, d. h. seiner Vermehrung unterwerfen und ihr nicht im Wege stehen. Damit sorgen wir auch dafür, dass wir fitte Firmen haben. Für die arbeiten wir tagein tagaus von früh bis spät, schonen ihren Personalkostenetat, und wenn sie uns nicht mehr brauchen können, murren wir, mehr aber auch nicht – sonst wären sie ja nicht fit.

      Dass wir so sind, haben auch die im Ausland gemerkt, bloß finden die das nicht so toll wie wir. „Man rümpft in Frankreich schon länger die Nase über die Lohnzurückhaltung der deutschen Gewerkschaften und die dadurch entstandene Senkung der Lohnstückkosten in Deutschland, zumal sie den französischen Export empfindlich stören.“ (FAZ, 16.3.10) Und die französische Finanzministerin Lagarde beschwert sich: „Deutschland hat seine Lohnstückkosten und seine Arbeitskosten insgesamt seit gut zehn Jahren im Vergleich zu seinen Partnern gesenkt und sich dadurch auf den Exportmärkten Wettbewerbsvorteile verschafft.“ (SZ, 15.3.10)

      Aus berufenem Munde erfährt die deutsche Arbeiterklasse also, was mit ihr angestellt wird bzw. was sie mit sich anstellen lässt. Hier spricht eine französische Politikerin über die Konkurrenz der Staaten: Deutschland verschafft sich Wettbewerbsvorteile auf den Exportmärkten, und das passt der Ministerin nicht, denn das ist zum Nachteil Frankreichs – und ein bedeutendes Mittel in dieser Konkurrenz, wenn nicht das wichtigste, ist die Kostengünstigkeit und Dienstbarkeit des für diese Konkurrenz zu benutzenden Volkes. Sie sagt: „Deutschland hat seine Lohnstückkosten und seine Arbeitskosten insgesamt gesenkt“, nimmt also die Leistungen der Unternehmer beim Lohndrücken unmittelbar als Erfolg der Nation und auch die deutschen Gewerkschaften haben sich mit ihrer „Lohnzurückhaltung“ in den Dienst der Nation gestellt.

      Diese Äußerungen der Ministerin haben hierzulande für eine gewisse Empörung gesorgt. Nicht deswegen, weil man den Wahrheitsgehalt ihrer Behauptungen bestreiten würde, sondern weil man das als Angriff auf die von Deutschland eroberte Konkurrenzposition und das dafür eingesetzte Mittel verstanden hat. Und dieses Mittel und dessen Einsatz in gewohnter Manier lassen wir uns nicht madig machen, geschweige denn wegnehmen. Exporterfolge auf Kosten anderer Nationen durch Verarmung und Ausbeutung zu erzielen – das soll unfair sein? Dagegen muss sich die deutsche Politik entschieden verwahren:

      „Herr Schäuble … wies die Kritik seiner europäischen Gegenspieler, einschließlich … der französischen Finanzministerin zurück, dass Deutschlands Exportmodell irgendwie für die Not der schwächeren Länder verantwortlich sei. ‚Ich möchte sehr klar, ruhig und besonnen die Kritik in Abrede stellen, dass die, die ziemlich erfolgreich im Wettbewerb sind, für die Probleme anderer verantwortlich zu machen sind.‘“ (Financial Times, 17.3.10)

      Der deutsche Finanzminister steht ausdrücklich zum deutschen Erfolgsmittel im „Wettbewerb“ um nationale Aneignung von Reichtum. Er stellt klar: Wer bei der Volksverarmung schwächelt, trägt selbst die Verantwortung für ausbleibenden wirtschaftlichen Erfolg! Und Kanzlerin Angela Merkel pflichtet ihm bei:

      „‚Dort, wo wir stark sind, werden wir unsere Stärken nicht aufgeben‘, sagte sie im Bundestag … Es ist falsch, sich nach demjenigen zu richten, der am langsamsten ist.“ (Spiegel Online, 22.3.10)

      Wenn ein Politiker zum anderen sagt: „Du hast es eben nicht geschafft, dein Volk so herzunehmen wie ich“, dann redet er nicht über die Faulheit anderer Völker und er beschwert sich nicht ausgerechnet über die. Es ist zwar jetzt große Mode, dem griechischen Staat Versagen in Form zu großer Rücksichtnahme auf sein Volk vorzuwerfen, aber sollen sich deutsche Politiker wirklich gewünscht haben, dass Griechenland sich toll aufbaut und Deutschland Konkurrenzniederlagen zufügt? In Wahrheit ist es doch so, dass Griechenland in der innereuropäischen Konkurrenz immer weiter zurückgefallen ist, was darum und nur darum ein Problem ist, weil das griechische Geld eben auch der Euro ist. Wenn nun die Finanzmärkte griechische Staatspapiere immer mehr in Zweifel ziehen, dann ist das eine Krise des Euro – Deutschland sähe es zu gern, wenn man diese Krise lokalisieren, also ganz auf Griechenland begrenzen könnte, aber bei einer Gemeinschaftswährung ist das kaum möglich, wenn überhaupt. Das sind die Sorgen deutscher Politiker: Die Überlegenheit Deutschlands in der Konkurrenz wird den Finanzmärkten sicherlich gefallen, wenn sie aber die konkurrenzlerische Unterlegenheit Griechenlands – dann Portugals, Spaniens etc. – zum Gegenstand ihrer Spekulation machen, dann kratzt das eben auch die Gemeinschaftswährung an und Deutschland wird in Mitleidenschaft gezogen. Mit dieser Lage gehen die deutschen Politiker so um, dass sie einerseits ein „Rettungspaket schnüren“, das den Staatsbankrott Griechenlands und seine Wirkungen auf den Euro verhindern soll. Dieses Rettungspaket wird andererseits an die Bedingung geknüpft, dass der griechische Staat, der seinen Bürgern bisher unverantwortlicherweise erlaubt hat, „über ihre Verhältnisse zu leben“, endlich „seine Hausaufgaben macht“, nämlich durch ein rigoroses Sparprogramm die Solidität seiner Schulden wiederherstellt.

      Das ist das Stichwort für die Bild-Zeitung. Sie verdolmetscht ihren deutschen Lesern das Konkurrenzverhältnis zwischen den europäischen Staaten und dessen Wirkungen auf den gemeinsamen Euro nun so, dass sie Völker gegeneinander antreten lässt – sie tut so, als wären die die Macher in dieser Konkurrenz. Sie tut so, als hätten es die Völker in der Hand, was aus „unserem Euro“ wird, und da fällt Bild bezeichnenderweise als das Mittel, den Euro zu stärken, genau das ein, was die Politiker sich zuvor gegenseitig als „Senkung der Lohnstückkosten“ und „Lohnzurückhaltung“ vor die Nase gehalten haben – nun aber als die Tugend des Verzichts und der Leistungsbereitschaft. So wird die Bild-Leserschaft dazu angestachelt, ihre Dienste für das Kapitalwachstum im Land und die erzwungenen Einteilungskünste, die damit einhergehen, als freiwillig erbrachte Leistung hochzuhalten und Stolz auf ihre Tugendhaftigkeit als Arbeitsleute zu empfinden, von der angeblich alles abhängt. Sie haben als mustergültige Deutsche das Ihre dazu getan, Deutschland voranzubringen. Unter dieser Bedingung erkennt ihnen die deutsche Presse das Recht zu, das Griechenvolk als minderwertig zu verachten. – Na, großartig!

    • Richard

      No richard.
      Greeks have problem with Germans because even the average German attacked Greeks thanks to your media defamation of the Greeks and we have many stories to back it up.

      Recently they stopped a Greek student at a German airport and didn’t allow him to travel to Engand because he didn’t have his student ID in his pocket but in his laggage.
      So now you check student IDs as well??????

      And do not tell me this was just one event ,because these “one event” situations are getting a lot lately.

      As for Greek media ,most people in here research many alternate views so spare us the talk about what the average Greek things ,especially after all these German attacks.

      The opinion of the average Greek the last years was not built by Greek media but by German action. Most Greek media is to preserve the status quo as you say ,as is the same with German media. But after the attacks ,most Greeks got active in founding out things that were hidden.

      You just keep supporting policies that are proven to be destructive and you Richard constantly give me links of articles that are written by YOU ,while you do not accept any other opinion.

      And while Merkel attacks the Greek government as you say ,we simply know this to be a lie for your average German eyes only.

      The elites are one and the same.

    • I would as well be very interested in getting to know any article from a more or less serious german newspaper where bad sentiments to the greek people taken as as a whole have been published. (Not the Bild-Zeitung and the like, please, which you can’t take serious at all.)

      Statements in blogs you can’t really consider as serious mass media arguments either. In blogs, as everybody knows, a lot of dodgy, weird people sometimes write a lot of rubbish – this one excluded, of course 😉

  • @ Yanis

    I’m a psychoanalyst by profession. If you would lie on my couch, I would stress that what you feel about the german attitude to the greek people is YOUR thinking, YOUR phantasy. How come?

    (Don’t take this all too serious…)

    • Why don’t you psychoanalyze this for us:

      “On July 27, 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion in China, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany gave the order to act ruthlessly towards the rebels: “Mercy will not be shown, prisoners will not be taken. Just as a thousand years ago, the Huns under Attila won a reputation of might that lives on in legends, so may the name of Germany in China, such that no Chinese will even again dare so much as to look askance at a German.”

      This speech gave rise to later use of the term “Hun” for the Germans during World War I. The comparison was helped by the Pickelhaube or spiked helmet worn by German forces until 1916, which was reminiscent of images depicting ancient Hun helmets. This usage, emphasising the idea that the Germans were barbarians, was reinforced by Allied propaganda throughout the war. The French songwriter Theodore Botrel described the Kaiser as “an Attila, without remorse”, launching “cannibal hordes”.

      The usage of the term “Hun” to describe a German resurfaced during World War II. For example Winston Churchill referred in 1941 to the invasion of the Soviet Union as “the dull, drilled, docile brutish masses of the Hun soldiery, plodding on like a swarm of crawling locusts.” During this time American President Franklin D. Roosevelt also referred to the German people in this way, saying that an Allied invasion into the South of France would surely “be successful and of great assistance to Eisenhower in driving the Huns from France.” Nevertheless, its use was less widespread than in the previous war. British and American WWII troops more often used the term “Jerry” or “Kraut” for their German opponents.”

    • You sully your profession by attempting to use psychoanalysis as a weapon of argument and implied superiority.

      Not only that but the “YOUR thinking, YOUR phantasy” accusation is neither based on nor backed up by any rational argument, common sense, or evidence.

    • anon_ “”YOUR thinking, YOUR phantasy” accusation is neither based on nor backed up by any rational argument, common sense, or evidence.” – I would have to disagree completely.

      Germans not having any prejudice against the Greeks is a “rational argument”, it is “common sense”, or and the “evidence” show it to be true.

      if you disagree please give some links to support your argument

    • “anon_ “”YOUR thinking, YOUR phantasy” accusation is neither based on nor backed up by any rational argument, common sense, or evidence.” – I would have to disagree completely. Germans not having any prejudice against the Greeks is a “rational argument”, it is “common sense”, or and the “evidence” show it to be true. if you disagree please give some links to support your argument”

      What you say is complete crap!!!

      Here is the proof and if you need more of it I can send you tons more!!!

      Betrüger in der Euro-Familie – CHEATERS IN THE EUROFAMILY:

      http://www.focus.de/magazin/videos/focus-titel-betrueger-in-der-euro-familie_vid_15672.html

      More racism from the German FOCKUS magazine here:

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/27422046/2000-Jahre-Niedergang-Focus-Magazin-No-08-2010

      About the anti-Greek hate campaign of the Bildzeitung:

      http://www.bildblog.de/18326/leitfaden-wie-hetze-ich-gegen-ein-land-auf/
      and more here:
      http://www.bildblog.de/tag/pleite-griechen/

      More about the Bildzeitung here:

      Die Hetze der Bild-Zeitung gegen „die Griechen“

      Seit Monaten hetzt die Bild-Zeitung gegen Griechen und Griechenland. In verschiedenen Variationen immer dieselbe Botschaft: „Die Griechen machen unseren Euro kaputt!“ Was „die“ falsch machen, erkennt man daran, was „wir“ richtig machen:

      „Hier arbeiten die Menschen bis sie 67 Jahre alt sind … Deutschland hat zwar auch hohe Schulden – aber die können wir auch begleichen. Weil wir morgens ziemlich früh aufstehen und den ganzen Tag arbeiten. Weil wir von unserem Gehalt immer auch einen Teil für schlechte Zeiten sparen. Weil wir fitte Firmen haben, deren Produkte rund um den Globus gefragt sind.“ (10.3.10)

      Die Deutschen leben also, um tagein tagaus von früh bis spät zu arbeiten, bis sie alt sind. Das tun sie für ihren Staat, damit sich der neue Schulden leisten kann. Deutsche sind fleißig und zu Opfern bereit. Warum also ist der Euro „unser Euro“? Nicht weil wir ihn haben, sondern weil wir ihn möglichst wenig beanspruchen. Wir sagen zwar „unser Euro“, aber das „unser“ besteht darin, dass wir uns ihm, d. h. seiner Vermehrung unterwerfen und ihr nicht im Wege stehen. Damit sorgen wir auch dafür, dass wir fitte Firmen haben. Für die arbeiten wir tagein tagaus von früh bis spät, schonen ihren Personalkostenetat, und wenn sie uns nicht mehr brauchen können, murren wir, mehr aber auch nicht – sonst wären sie ja nicht fit.

      Dass wir so sind, haben auch die im Ausland gemerkt, bloß finden die das nicht so toll wie wir. „Man rümpft in Frankreich schon länger die Nase über die Lohnzurückhaltung der deutschen Gewerkschaften und die dadurch entstandene Senkung der Lohnstückkosten in Deutschland, zumal sie den französischen Export empfindlich stören.“ (FAZ, 16.3.10) Und die französische Finanzministerin Lagarde beschwert sich: „Deutschland hat seine Lohnstückkosten und seine Arbeitskosten insgesamt seit gut zehn Jahren im Vergleich zu seinen Partnern gesenkt und sich dadurch auf den Exportmärkten Wettbewerbsvorteile verschafft.“ (SZ, 15.3.10)

      Aus berufenem Munde erfährt die deutsche Arbeiterklasse also, was mit ihr angestellt wird bzw. was sie mit sich anstellen lässt. Hier spricht eine französische Politikerin über die Konkurrenz der Staaten: Deutschland verschafft sich Wettbewerbsvorteile auf den Exportmärkten, und das passt der Ministerin nicht, denn das ist zum Nachteil Frankreichs – und ein bedeutendes Mittel in dieser Konkurrenz, wenn nicht das wichtigste, ist die Kostengünstigkeit und Dienstbarkeit des für diese Konkurrenz zu benutzenden Volkes. Sie sagt: „Deutschland hat seine Lohnstückkosten und seine Arbeitskosten insgesamt gesenkt“, nimmt also die Leistungen der Unternehmer beim Lohndrücken unmittelbar als Erfolg der Nation und auch die deutschen Gewerkschaften haben sich mit ihrer „Lohnzurückhaltung“ in den Dienst der Nation gestellt.

      Diese Äußerungen der Ministerin haben hierzulande für eine gewisse Empörung gesorgt. Nicht deswegen, weil man den Wahrheitsgehalt ihrer Behauptungen bestreiten würde, sondern weil man das als Angriff auf die von Deutschland eroberte Konkurrenzposition und das dafür eingesetzte Mittel verstanden hat. Und dieses Mittel und dessen Einsatz in gewohnter Manier lassen wir uns nicht madig machen, geschweige denn wegnehmen. Exporterfolge auf Kosten anderer Nationen durch Verarmung und Ausbeutung zu erzielen – das soll unfair sein? Dagegen muss sich die deutsche Politik entschieden verwahren:

      „Herr Schäuble … wies die Kritik seiner europäischen Gegenspieler, einschließlich … der französischen Finanzministerin zurück, dass Deutschlands Exportmodell irgendwie für die Not der schwächeren Länder verantwortlich sei. ‚Ich möchte sehr klar, ruhig und besonnen die Kritik in Abrede stellen, dass die, die ziemlich erfolgreich im Wettbewerb sind, für die Probleme anderer verantwortlich zu machen sind.‘“ (Financial Times, 17.3.10)

      Der deutsche Finanzminister steht ausdrücklich zum deutschen Erfolgsmittel im „Wettbewerb“ um nationale Aneignung von Reichtum. Er stellt klar: Wer bei der Volksverarmung schwächelt, trägt selbst die Verantwortung für ausbleibenden wirtschaftlichen Erfolg! Und Kanzlerin Angela Merkel pflichtet ihm bei:

      „‚Dort, wo wir stark sind, werden wir unsere Stärken nicht aufgeben‘, sagte sie im Bundestag … Es ist falsch, sich nach demjenigen zu richten, der am langsamsten ist.“ (Spiegel Online, 22.3.10)

      Wenn ein Politiker zum anderen sagt: „Du hast es eben nicht geschafft, dein Volk so herzunehmen wie ich“, dann redet er nicht über die Faulheit anderer Völker und er beschwert sich nicht ausgerechnet über die. Es ist zwar jetzt große Mode, dem griechischen Staat Versagen in Form zu großer Rücksichtnahme auf sein Volk vorzuwerfen, aber sollen sich deutsche Politiker wirklich gewünscht haben, dass Griechenland sich toll aufbaut und Deutschland Konkurrenzniederlagen zufügt? In Wahrheit ist es doch so, dass Griechenland in der innereuropäischen Konkurrenz immer weiter zurückgefallen ist, was darum und nur darum ein Problem ist, weil das griechische Geld eben auch der Euro ist. Wenn nun die Finanzmärkte griechische Staatspapiere immer mehr in Zweifel ziehen, dann ist das eine Krise des Euro – Deutschland sähe es zu gern, wenn man diese Krise lokalisieren, also ganz auf Griechenland begrenzen könnte, aber bei einer Gemeinschaftswährung ist das kaum möglich, wenn überhaupt. Das sind die Sorgen deutscher Politiker: Die Überlegenheit Deutschlands in der Konkurrenz wird den Finanzmärkten sicherlich gefallen, wenn sie aber die konkurrenzlerische Unterlegenheit Griechenlands – dann Portugals, Spaniens etc. – zum Gegenstand ihrer Spekulation machen, dann kratzt das eben auch die Gemeinschaftswährung an und Deutschland wird in Mitleidenschaft gezogen. Mit dieser Lage gehen die deutschen Politiker so um, dass sie einerseits ein „Rettungspaket schnüren“, das den Staatsbankrott Griechenlands und seine Wirkungen auf den Euro verhindern soll. Dieses Rettungspaket wird andererseits an die Bedingung geknüpft, dass der griechische Staat, der seinen Bürgern bisher unverantwortlicherweise erlaubt hat, „über ihre Verhältnisse zu leben“, endlich „seine Hausaufgaben macht“, nämlich durch ein rigoroses Sparprogramm die Solidität seiner Schulden wiederherstellt.

      Das ist das Stichwort für die Bild-Zeitung. Sie verdolmetscht ihren deutschen Lesern das Konkurrenzverhältnis zwischen den europäischen Staaten und dessen Wirkungen auf den gemeinsamen Euro nun so, dass sie Völker gegeneinander antreten lässt – sie tut so, als wären die die Macher in dieser Konkurrenz. Sie tut so, als hätten es die Völker in der Hand, was aus „unserem Euro“ wird, und da fällt Bild bezeichnenderweise als das Mittel, den Euro zu stärken, genau das ein, was die Politiker sich zuvor gegenseitig als „Senkung der Lohnstückkosten“ und „Lohnzurückhaltung“ vor die Nase gehalten haben – nun aber als die Tugend des Verzichts und der Leistungsbereitschaft. So wird die Bild-Leserschaft dazu angestachelt, ihre Dienste für das Kapitalwachstum im Land und die erzwungenen Einteilungskünste, die damit einhergehen, als freiwillig erbrachte Leistung hochzuhalten und Stolz auf ihre Tugendhaftigkeit als Arbeitsleute zu empfinden, von der angeblich alles abhängt. Sie haben als mustergültige Deutsche das Ihre dazu getan, Deutschland voranzubringen. Unter dieser Bedingung erkennt ihnen die deutsche Presse das Recht zu, das Griechenvolk als minderwertig zu verachten. – Na, großartig!

    • At least you take my suggestion serious, to take social psychological phenomena into account – psychological mechanisms like projection and scapegoating, which often operate in an unconcious mode. Everybody should take the influence of these mechanisms into consideration, independent of his profession. (I mean what I say: „…should take into consideration“, and not: „… should be convinced of those mechanisms being the correct explanation for a given social phenomenon“.) Yanis is a Greek and to me he seems deeply identified with a Greek perspective on the crisis (let alone the very same psychological identification of some other debaters here).

      When I read this discussion about Yanis’ thought experiment, I was surprised and worried about having to realize that the feelings and phantasies of a lot of intelligent debaters are filled with bitterness and resentfulness – an indication that the crisis is starting to invade the mind and psyche of people. Of course I ask myself (as everybody should do), how will those feelings influence the forming of opinions and judgements about the causes of the crisis and about the role certain countries play. Again, you don’t have to be a psychoanalyst to know that in a crisis like this fingerpointing, playing the blame game and being preoccupied with the question of guilt is all to common. So you better try to sort out which explanations are reasonable and which make use of the scapegoating mechanism. Especially commenting statements in a blog of an university professor one should be allowed to raise these questions.

    • @Markus Wichmann:

      “Especially commenting statements in a blog of an university professor one should be allowed to raise these questions.”

      Of course you are allowed to raise these questions here but let me ask you just one question too:

      Have you raised the same questions with your own German compatriots and in regards to the venomous German anti-Greek tirades in various German media and worst of all in the blogs of these same German media?

      If your answer is yes, than I take my hat off to you Mr. Wichmann!

      If your answer is no however, than I ask you to better spare us with your pseudo-psychological prepossessions!

    • Dear Dean
      In what way is the stupid speech given by Kaiser Wilhelm II given 112 years ago relevant to the modest proposal or our discussion here in general?
      The sole purpose can be, and surely is, to find another argument for your thesis that Germany is still the same. A theory you probably would not go for when it comes to Spain, the UK or any other country when it comes to their imperial past. But Germany has not changed at all, sure.
      Prejudices make life simple – but can also easily lead to a distorted understanding of the reality.

    • @ Aristoteles

      “…then I ask you to better spare us with your pseudo-psychological prepossessions!”

      As I said: angry, bitter, resentful…

      Do you think that a mood and attitude like this leads you and others to a sane and well-balanced judgement?

    • @ Markus Wichmann:

      Mr. Wichmann you didn’t answer my original question so I repeat it to you:

      “Have you raised the same questions with your own German compatriots and in regards to the venomous German anti-Greek tirades in various German media and worst of all in the blogs of these same German media?
      If your answer is yes, than I take my hat off to you Mr. Wichmann!
      If your answer is no however, than I ask you to better spare us with your pseudo-psychological prepossessions!”

      So your answer is no to my above question, isn’t it?

      Let me remind you of your own article which shows your own real disposition:

      http://denkraum.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/der-euro-als-unfriedenstifter/

      Let me try to answer now your question since I am trying to give you a well-balanced response now 🙂

      You said: ” angry, bitter, resentful… Do you think that a mood and attitude like this leads you and others to a sane and well-balanced judgement?

      Let’s do a little behavior analysis here on my own behaviour!

      ABC – Antecedent, Behavior and Consequence:

      The antecedent in my case was all the German tirades about my country (Greece), my nation (Greco-Roman nation) and my race (the Mediterranean race)!

      My behaviour shows bitterness, anger and disenchantment!

      Now the really interesting question is this: Will the consequence (all the ongoing political developments and negative statements about my country, my people and myself) reinforce my behaviour or not and if so what will happen next?

      Anyway lets leave your and my”Küchenpsychologie” aside since I agree with you in most of your points:

      “Nach meinem Eindruck wird ein ökonomisch implodierendes Europa immer wahrscheinlicher. Darauf ist die Bevölkerung der hochentwickelten Industriestaaten jedoch nicht im Mindesten vorbereitet – weder in Nordeuropa noch in anderen Regionen. Die Schockwellen werden mehr oder weniger die gesamte Weltwirtschaft erfassen.”

  • Sorry Yansi but you phrased your button experiment differently:

    “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?”

    Given this phrasing it bears down to “Would the germans want Greece to suffer?”. You can not count on people taking costs for germany and the whole EU into account if you do not integrate it in your mental experiment.
    So actually you now started other mental experiments – how would germans choose if they would have costs – and we both know germans would most likely take the options where they precive lower costs. Perception is what really matters, because only that what is percived will lead to decisions.

    The Economic Theory has failled so far. Not in the way, that it didn’t foresee the financial crisis or now the EU crisis and espeically not how it was unable to stop these from ocurring, but from the way most of the theory, the ideas, and the solutions are communicated.
    Selling anything as Truth which is no the Truth won’t work out in the long-term.
    So one has to honest and allways try to emphasize on how you one be wrong. There aren’t a lot of things more hilarious in the world, than some labour economist using a model whereas unemployement is allways freely choosen, who fails to realize that his model won’t be taken serious by an average citizen (at least when the citizen learns this), but still thinks he don’t need to emphasize on the weaknesses within the used model and how it might still be helpful. And it is really sad to see how some economist seem to be trying to teach students such a model while only mentioning in a depndant sentence why some could make such an important assumption.

    So thanks Yanis for trying to communicate but i’m afraid you also might need to emphasize here and there a bit more. Because it would be really sad if your seemingly good ideas are getting lost just because your message was to short to transport all of the information.

    Best Regards.

  • “Either I am deeply ignorant of the true mood in Germany or KE is in the depths of denial.”

    One of the most dangerous things to do in this world is investigating the deeper psychology of the Germans. They don’t like to look deep inside their hearts and they really hate it when someone else does. You are absolutely right in asserting that “the mood in Germany toward the Greeks is such that the majority would be prepared to suffer a positive cost in order to see that the average Greek suffers a greater cost”. But some Germans don’t accept it, because they don’t have a clear awareness of the consequences of their words, their actions and their true mood. After five or six “Bier” is everything “egal” (it makes no difference) anyway…I admire your attempt to make a reasonable dialogue with the people who are desperately trying to destroy the purchasing power of other people that buy…their products (and according to them “leben über ihre Verhältnisse”), but it is simply not possible…

    • @Gray Goody:

      “Simply exit the allegedly German controlled Eurozone! It’s so easy. Be gone already!”

      There is an old Greek saying which goes something like that:

      Ρε oυστ να χαθείς και άι σιχτίρι από δώ !!!

      It is difficult to translate into German from ancient Greek though 🙂

  • Professor Varoufakis

    By barring Rolf you show yourself to be exceedingly ‘touchy’ to his riposte on formal logic and you are lamentably abdicating from your Kazantzakian character. And are you going to allow Narcissus to CANCEL Kazantzakis?

  • “I am deeply ignorant of the true mood in Germany”
    Indeed, you are. Sure, we would press the button IF it wouldn’t cost us anything! But all your solutions would have to be financed in large part with our money, directly (through transfers) or indirectly (tzhrough higher inflation). No, thanks.

    • You just confirmed that you have not read our Modest Proposal. It is, of course, your right to ignore. However it is, you will agree, odd that you keep visiting this site (which was created to discuss the Modest Proposal) but refuse to engage with it.

    • Which modest proposal? You released several versions. I vaguely remember reading them and finding that they all rely in some way ot the other on the more afluent Eurozone nations guaranteeing the debt making of the troublemakers, without this buying them influence over the decisions and policies of the borrower governments. How shall this lead to any improvements, please? You pretend the GIPSI politicians will unselfishly start to act responsibly, even though especially the Greek ones proved that they won’t, every single time in the last decades.

      Sorry, but your modest proposals are just one way streets from the North to the South, thinly veiled plots to create a regular money transfer on an enormous scale. If you would apply game theory to your ideas, you would find that there are no rules in them that would push the players towards acting in a way that leads to outcomes that are desirable for the Eurozone. Instead, you waste your time with “mental experiments” that are just an idle excercise in applying prejudices. If you would put all that time and energy into creating plans for reforms of the Greek political, administrative and economic system, something good may come out of this. But your focus on finding new creative ways to shower Greece with other people’s money essentially only helps the forces that want to preserve the status quo, that want to see the giant Augias’ stable left in its rotten state. Excuse me pls for not being impressed at all about this.

    • @Yanisv:

      Yanni it is worthless even to talk with some nutcases here!

      You are wasting your precious time , it’s just like talking to a brick wall 🙂

  • @Eva:

    “Which MEGALI IDEA exactly? The one that destroyed us in the past?”

    I am somewhat surprised that you say MEGALI IDEA destroyed us in the past!

    What are you refering to? The Asia Minor Disaster?

    I am not suggesting a MEGALI IDEA to the disantvantage of any other nations or peoples!

    I am suggesting a peaceful, inclusive to the benefit of everybody MEGALI IDEA which is bigger than any racial, ethnic or even religious discrimination!

    • In that case I suggest you find a new term. Something like The Decent/Virtuous/Worthy Idea. The term
      Megali idea is too tainted.

  • As a German, I am not sure if really a great majority would prefer the solution inflicting more pain on the presumed economic sinners. But I would agree, that at least a large part, perhaps even a small majority, would do. I do not think, however, that this choice lies in some deep and enigmatic Germanness. It is rather part of the old liberal economic school of thought, or should we better say “ideology”, which is in fact very widespread in Germany and even might correspond in a special way with protestant German traditions and other social structures.
    According to that ideology, the one who fails economically did not behave rightly and deserves punishment. That holds as well for individuals as for nations. But if you take for example the novels of Charles Dickens you might also find many charakters expressing that view – not Germans but Victorian Englishmen … . You will find these views expressed by a lot of nowadays American Republicans, too.
    The divide therefore is one between the Right and the Left and not between different Nations. In fact the German economic “elite” – businessmen, most economists, economic advisers to the government and central bankers (and also large part of the population) ARE deeply conservative and therefore inclined to inflict punishment. It is, however, not a question of nationality or national psychology, but of ideology.

    • This has very little to do with the Germans apart from, as I understand, a massive debt outstanding from World War 2.

      If countries do not have robust tax systems they will get into trouble. And if their tax systems are robust but have a large deadweight cost they will still get into trouble.

      There is only one tax which is both robust and has not deadweight cost and that is an ad valorem tax on the annual rental value of land.

      That is the thing to focus on, not the attitude of Germans. It is irrelevant.

    • henry1941

      Yes ,the tax is important ,but it never was the real problem.

      Everything is being magnified today for specific purposes.
      Read my response to Klaus under the last article of Yanis.

    • hans is mainly right, I think. But I would replace “punishment” with “consequence”. Fascists want to punish, ordinary conservatives don’t bother about that. They just leave people standed, abandon them to their fate.

    • @Markus Wichmann:

      “hans is mainly right, I think. But I would replace “punishment” with “consequence”. Fascists want to punish, ordinary conservatives don’t bother about that. They just leave people standed, abandon them to their fate.”

      I agree with you Markus in what you say. Now tell me just one thing:

      How far right do you think Markus Soeder CSU is when he says this:

      “We need to make an example of Greece. So that others will not break agreements!!!”

      Did he alredy cross the Rubicon? Apply your above judgement to this nutcase my friend!

    • He is far right! If he already crossed the Rubicon to the fascist side, I don’t know. Openly not, but in his heart and mind there may be “faschistoid” tendences.

    • ” He is far right! If he already crossed the Rubicon to the fascist side, I don’t know. Openly not, but in his heart and mind there may be “faschistoid” tendences.”

      Markus, this is exactly what scares many people again. It seems to the other Europeans that some German political circles and industrial interests are embarking on some terrible and dangerous old traits!

      The developments of the last few years are scary and don’t promise a positive future.

    • I understand that. But you should take into consideration that our real fascist party NPD was never in the Bundestag because of the 5 % barrier in Germany and will not cross that 2013 either.

      In the CSU, which is active only in Bavaria, but in the Bundestag belongs to the CDU/CSU group of menbers of Parliament, there are some far right politicians, but not a lot.

      There is no reason at all to worry that these people will be backed by a majority of german voters any time. On the contrary, the CSU is loosing terrain in Bavaria, and the social democrats are gaining ground (like the awkward new party “Pirates” – backed by the internet community).

      On the other hand, Chrysi Avgi got nearly 7 % in Greece at the last election. I understand, that is because of the crisis which is straining Greece. But there is a certain amount of fascist people in every country. It’s not a german speciality – nowadays.

      If you’d like to read what Germans and the german press is thinking about the current situation in Greece I would recommend the English Website of Spiegel Online: http://www.spiegel.de/international/search/index.html?suchbegriff=Greece . That should give you a serious, more or less balanced impression about that.

      Regards, Markus

    • ” Fascists want to punish”

      Hm, maybe.

      “ordinary conservatives don’t bother about that. They just leave people standed, abandon them to their fate.”

      Not sure if this is restricted to conservative people. Everybody has limits for his generosity and patience. Of one bites the hand which feeds him to often, the hand will for good reasons not come back.

    • Sorry folks but there is now plenty of evidence from the behavioural sciences that the vast majority of humans are prone to paying a price (not of course necessarily in monetary terms) so as to punish those whom they think as perpetrators of some ‘wrong’ act. It is in our ‘nature’, so to speak. And it is not a bad thing. The question is: How do we judge the rightness of wrongness of acts? How do we separate rightful punishment from scapegoating.

    • Yannis – “The question is: How do we judge the rightness of wrongness of acts? How do we separate rightful punishment from scapegoating.” Do we need to judge? Let every individual decide what punishment they think is right

    • Such ‘liberalism’ led many in the 1930s ‘individually’ to decide that the worst punishment should be dished out to the Jews, the Roma, the differently minded…

    • Why do Greek always have to elevate things to the level of war and destruction!

      I thought we talking about one person punishing another for behaving badly. For example borrowing money, not paying it back and the person “punishing” the other person by not lending to them again/withholding services/friendship/telling others about the bad loans.

      As a simple example.

      About wars etc etc, that is a completely different subject. I have never met anyone that wants to kill anyone else, so I don’t think you need to worry about individuals starting wars. , government okay, they love it, but your neighbour?

    • @yanis

      “…there is now plenty of evidence from the behavioural sciences that the vast majority of humans are prone to paying a price (not of course necessarily in monetary terms) so as to punish those whom they think as perpetrators of some ‘wrong’ act. It is in our ‘nature’, so to speak.

      I doubt that this is true in such a broad, general meaning. To my knowledge it would depend on the sort of wrong act, on the way and “amount” the person who would or would not pay a price for the punishment is affected by the wrong act, on the personality of this person (there a big personality differences regarding the proneness to the desire to punish other people – it is not in the nature of everybody, if at all), and on other circumstances.

      In my view this discussion suffers from not taking into account all those differences and instead generalizes to much.

    • An interview held with Bavarian Minister of Finance Söder in the BILD Newspaper underlines the cruelty of the attitudes involved at the side of conservative German politicians.
      http://www.bild.de/politik/inland/interview/so-friedlich-wie-auf-diesem-foto-blieb-unser-gespraech-ueber-die-eurokrise-nicht-teil-1-25496026.bild.html

      Söder says: if somebody threatens to tear you with him into an abyss, you have to cut the rope. Furthermore he wants to statuate an example with Greece. A very martial and entirely aggressive diction.

      Somehow it’s a point for Yanis Varoufakis thesis: The General Elections are approaching and if Söder hopes to get votes playing on these sentiments, he analyses the general German mood in the same way.

    • In my view it is completely misleading to cite Markus Söder, who probably is the furthest right-wing of the well-known politicians in Germany, in order to draw any conclusions about the general mood in Germany. Söder is not representative at all for the political sentiment in Germany.

      Besides from that it was not him who said there should be an example made with Greece, it was the interviewer:

      “SÖDER: Nach meiner Prognose sollte Griechenland bis Jahresende ausscheiden. Jede neue Hilfsmaßnahme, jede Lockerung der Auflagen wäre der falsche Weg.

      BamS: An Athen muss ein Exempel statuiert werden, dass diese Eurozone auch Zähne zeigen kann.”

    • Markus, Söder said that phrase about the example at least 2 times. Once in Ney york and the first time on German TV news in the morning.

  • Kurie varoufaki alitheyei to parakatw sxolio?

    *
    Anonymos | 29/07/2012 20:46

    Αν ακούστε τι παιχνίδι παίζει η Ελλάδα με τα Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) θα καταλάβετε, γιατί οι Γερμανοί έχουν λυσσάξει μαζί μας: Οι ελληνικές τράπεζες, λόγω αδυναμίας πρόσβασής τους στο ευρωσύστημα τον Μάιο, αναγκάστηκαν προσωρινά να προσφύγουν στον Μηχανισμό Έκτακτης Ρευστότητας (ELA) και κατάφεραν να αντλήσουν 124 δισ. ευρώ(!!!!!). Η Τράπεζα της Ελλάδος κατάφερε σε ένα μήνα να εκδώσει τόσο λογιστικό χρήμα, όσο μπήκε σε μορφή βοήθειας μέσα στα 3 τελευταία χρόνια. Και αυτό χωρίς να ρωτήσει κανέναν. Η ΕΚΤ εκβιαζόμενη έτσι από την Τράπεζα της Ελλάδος αναγκάστηκε τον Ιούνιο να καλύψει το 50% αυτών των 124 δισ. ευρώ με δικό της χρήμα. Οι Γερμανοί βλέπουν ότι η Ελλάδα έχει βρει μηχανάκι που τυπώνει πληθωριστικό χρήμα και έχουν τρελαθεί. Για να μας σταματήσουν χρειάζονται 2/3 των ψήφων στην ΕΚΤ, πράγμα που χωρίς την σύμπραξη του Νότου δεν γίνεται. Αν και η Ισπανία ακολουθήσει αυτή την πρακτική, τότε γερμανικός εφιάλτης του υπερπληθωρισμού ίσως γίνει πραγματικότητα. Το μειονέκτημα αυτού του μηχανισμού είναι το υψηλό επιτόκιο. Τραβώντας τέτοια ποσά με τέτοιο κόστος, μάλλον βουλιάζεις την τράπεζα παρά την σώζεις. Το χρήμα όμως δεν χάνεται ποτέ, αλλάζει μόνο χέρια. Οι άκαρδοι γερμανοί βλέπουν κατά σύμπτωση την ελληνική ολιγαρχία να αγοράζει το Βερολίνο και το Μόναχο. Βλέπουν έλληνες εφοπλιστές έχουν σαρώσει τα πλοία των εφοπλιστών του Αμβούργου, γιατί οι τελευταίοι μαστίζονται από την άρνηση των τραπεζών να επαναχρηματοδοτήσουν πλοία, ενώ οι Έλληνες δεν δείχνουν να επηρεάζονται από την έλλειψη ρευστότητας στον κλάδο. Βλέπουν τον Λάτση να αποπλέκει την EFG από την Eurobank. Που πήγε τόσο χρήμα; Τι έγιναν οι ιδιωτικοποιήσεις; Αντί η Έλληνες να πουλήσουν, αγοράζουν real assets τραβώντας άπειρο εικονικό χρήμα από τράπεζες-ζόμπι και ξεφτιλίζοντας έτσι το κοινό νόμισμα. Αντί στη χώρα της Χρυσής Αυγής να μιλάμε για το τέταρτο γερμανικό ράιχ, ας αναρωτηθούμε, γιατί τα ΜΜΕ την ελληνικής ολιγαρχίας μας κρύβουν τόσο καλά τους λόγους της αγανάκτησης των γερμανών

    • Ανοησίες. Χωρίς το ELA δεν θα υπήρχαν τράπεζες σήμερα. Η χρήση του γίνεται σε πλήρη συνεργασία με την ΕΚΤ και στο πρότυπο αυτών που έγιναν στην Ιρλανδία.

  • ως απλος πολιτης κυριε Βαρουφακη γιατι δεν εχω δικαιωμα να διαβασω και να μαθω τα αποτελεσματα της μελετης της Black-Rock για το ελληνικο τραπεζικο συστημα?με λεφτα του καθε φορολογουμενου πολιτη δεν τα πληρωσε η ελληνικη κυβερνηση?αντιθετα κανουν τα κουμαντα τους και βλεπω ενα μερος της Αγροτικης παει στην Πειραιως, η Eurobank αλλαζει δομη στο ιδιοκτησιακο της, τα κομματα χρωστανε εκαττομυρια στις τραπεζες απο την χρηματοδοτηση τους.Επισης ποτε δεν εμαθα και δεν μπορω να δω τους ορους πωλησης της Ολυμπιακης, ποσοι βγηκανε σε προωρες κα υψηλοτατες συνταξιοδοτησεις, και που το κοστος θα βαραινει το ελληνικο δημοσιο για τα επομενα 20-30 χρονια, τα ιδια και σε ΟΤΕ και σε ΔΕΙ..Κατα τα αλλα ειμαστε η χωρα που γεννησε την Δημοκρατια! Ειμαστε και η χωρα που δεν υφισταται πλεον η Δημοκρατια εδω και πολλα χρονια.!.

  • just read this here on the mood of us germans and Im deeply stunned you think that we would want to press Merkel the suffer button for Greece… in my opinion mood here in Germany is not that favourable towards Greek elite and the way things were and are done in Greece, also it´s not a nice feeling to hear Greek press saying Germany is guilty for the economic crisis in Greece when “we” actually are paying lots of money, so why should Germany pay and be blamed and insulted for paying, instead if we did nothing perhaps we wouldn`t be blamed?
    OK this to the feeling but we are VERY far from pressing your suffer button, actually we like Greece a lot, thinking of the culture, music, food and Otto Rehagel….

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