Thursday, July 02, 2015

Greece is the Word

When a nation is in a financial crisis it’s not always best to think like a banker. A banker cares more about his money than about the people involved. (It's easier that way.) There are certainly hard truths we need to face about the Greek crisis, and difficult problems that need to be fixed. But is a crisis the best time for a banker to extract his late fees and penalties? Does it matter if Greece recovers from this? For many of the financial experts discussing it, the money is less abstract than the people.

In the Guardian, Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz returns us to a more rational discussion of what is involved and what will restore Greece’s financial health.

Even the conservative Daily Telegraph has a negative view of how Europe’s bankers have handled this. This writer says the Euro bankers set Greece up to fail.

Europe is a far different place than it was in the era of Keynes. We took Keynes' advice after WW2. By then we knew from grim experience not to treat a fallen nation the way Europe treated Germany in 1920.

I have an idea: look at how Germany was helped by the Marshall Plan after WW2. Maybe Greece would be treated better now if they'd invaded Europe instead of joining it.

From the Economist

From the London School of Economics

From TruthOut

German bankers think Greece has already been helped enough. The point is, after WW2 Germany was helped until they recovered. There should be mechanisms put in place that help repair the problems that caused the Greek crisis. Instead the European bankers, apparently, prefer to create a profitable lender-borrower relationship, and profitable relationships are meant to last, creating longterm profits for the lender. Did the European banks base their rescue plan on the model of payday lenders? (From the Guardian)

The Greek finance minister takes a very dim view of austerity.

The austerity model fails wherever it is tried. Why? Because it doesn't allow recovery. Instead it extracts the pound of flesh from the corpse of the debtor. Only money exists in the world of these bankers. No people, no communities, no societies, no nations, just money.

Economist Lars Syll on the failed austerity model

In Europe as in the U.S., it’s a case of Kiss Up, Kick Down. Pay the rich, gouge the poor. In any failed transaction the fault always lies with the poorer party. He always pays the penalty. (From the Washington Post)

Here are some key views from the bankers’ table via the New York Times

If Europe were a federal system like the U.S., the crisis in one state would matter to everyone. This idea gets a fuller airing at VOX.

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