oritteropo AU

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Comments to oritteropo

radx says...

If we take for granted the need for cost cutting, it would be only logical, if not an outright neccessity in a democracy, to leave the details up to the local representatives. Payment of X Euros expected by mm/dd/yy, figure it out yourselves.

Why do it any other way?

Well, you know the three most discussed possibilities as well as I do: shock doctrine, an attempt to force Syriza to commit political suicide, and bureaucratic automatisms.

During the first stages of this facade, I would have put my money square on shock doctrine. The measures are just too damn beneficial to the "there is no society" kind of thinking. It's horseshit, economically, and tremendously damaging, socially.

Replacing Syriza with the Old Guard seems quite appealing, given the behind-the-scenes deals with the nepotistic elite as a means to facilitate a smoother transitition once those pesky commies are out of the picture. The vitriol against Varoufakis is just staggering in this regard. News of the World got nothing compared to what our respectable media has hurled at Varoufakis and Tsipras.

My take on the automatisms on the other hand is rooted in how our politicians and our public has been arguing this entire time. Neoliberalism is the gospel, dissent is heresy. Privatisation is good, cutting wages is good, flexible labour market is good, taxation of wealth is bad, deficit is bad, surplus is good. They drank the kool aid, they are in it hook, line and sinker.

And as a result, the diagnosis is always the same, and so is the treatment. And fuck me for using this ass of a metaphor, given how the language used is the most subtle means of manipulation. "Rescue" the Greeks, "drowning" in debt, "tighten your belt". How about: food only on five days a week, grandma gets to croak on diabetes and your baby boy dies of diphtheria.

Yes, I had a fucked up day. The discussion in parliament about the "Greek problem" was a disgrace and high treason of the humanistic ideas that are supposed to be the foundation of the European Union.

oritteropo said:

The thing I really don't understand is why the creditors are so insistent that it is ONLY the poor who have to lose out. I mean, the welfare system is a large expense but not the only one... surely they could get a few bob for some of their old military aircraft?

radx says...

Folks on the street haven't been all too friendly towards the Greeks for some years now, and the exhaustion caused by this mess only added to an attitude of "just get it over with" over the last year or so.

For nearly three years, I have tried to provide counter-arguments whenever someone went off on a tirade against the Greeks (and others) during a conversation with me, or generally around me. You can't really try to explain the birth defects of the Eurozone in 20 seconds or less, but just having some raw data ready at hand (pensions, wages, state of the healthcare system, etc) was usually enough to get people thinking.

But today was different. Today was ugly. Three times I was involved in an ad-hoc discussion about Greece and three times people couldn't care less about the facts at hand. It always boiled down to "we've paid enough, they need to piss off". Period. End of story. People turned sour, big time. All this time, I had never been yelled at, or laughed at, not even once. Until today.

Worst of all, a friend of mine with family back in Greece stopped arguing altogether. What's the point, she said...

radx says...

Yanis Varoufakis ‏@yanisvaroufakis 6h6 hours ago

Capital controls within a monetary union are a contradiction in terms. The Greek government opposes the very concept.


Again, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDWzGm1W0WY&feature=youtu.be&t=8s

The head honcho of the Bank of Greece is hardcore conservative, and the move was anticipated, but the communication again... wtf indeed.

radx says...

The leaked counterproposal is fucked up. Nevermind my ultra left wing preferences, opposing higher taxes on corporations while cutting benefits for the poorest of the poor is fucked up. That's fuel for the anti-European parties. They can paint themselves as the protectors of the plebs against those feudal overlords in Brussels and Berlin with this kind of shit.

radx says...

There are depressingly few journalists who call Osbourne out on his permanent-surplus horseshit....

While we're on the subject, the rhetoric from the left flank of Syriza against austerity seems to be shifting from failed policy to tool of class warfare. Or maybe it's just getting reported more prominently.

The IMF, and Lagarde especially, is also receiving more heat by the day for letting themselves get dragged into this troika business by Strauss-Kahn.

Yet in all this, there still isn't anyone willing to pull the trigger.

They all try to appease the mighty gods of the economy, with austerity chosen as their way of showing penance.

oritteropo said:

The next announcement should be that any downturn in the economy is the fault of Labour, and that the solution is more austerity!

radx says...

Apparently, Gidiot is about to offer his own Victorian version of what our local buffoons instituted under the label "Schuldenbremse".

oritteropo said:

I was a little bemused to read this http://gu.com/p/49h6n/stw article on the UK's voluntary austerity. If you look at where they're spending money (tax cuts for the rich, who don't spend money) and where they're saving it (taking from the poor, who do) you have almost guaranteed an economic slowdown.

radx says...

They came up with plenty of ideas and concepts, if you were to believe them. But none of it can be turned into legislation as that would be a unilateral act, and unilateral acts are a red line for the Troika. Meanwhile, the Troika insists on a comprehensive plan and opposes any form of piecemeal reform, so they can't even get an agreement on things they agree upon.

Again, that's what Varoufakis says. Maybe he's full of shit, maybe they all are.

Like you said, a fresh round of muddling through might be what's ahead of us. Should things go sour instead, it truly would be an epic fuck-up. Some twenty years down the road, historians will probably do their best Rocco impressions when looking at this mess.

oritteropo said:

That leads to the thought that, as not all government expenditure is equal, surely a Greek government with more than usual amount of economic nous could surely come up with something.

Or, alternatively, agree to kick the can down the road for another 9 months.

radx says...

Varoufakis is on stage at an IMK gig in Berlin right now. It was ~40 minutes of old news, really, at least if you've been following the developments over the last couple of months.

The interesting bit is that he's still making a clear commitment to a permanent primary surplus. For a country as devastated as Greece, that's austerity. Some argue that a 5% deficit over 5-10 years would be required to get Greece back on track, Bill Mitchell and Jamie Galbraith even make the case for running a 10% deficit to get some traction.

Since Varoufakis has to be aware that a primary surplus of any size is still contractionary, I wonder what funky accounting voodoo he has in mind to circumvent this contradiction. Just surplus recycling via the EIB? Who knows...

Edit: the ongoing panel discussion is interesting though.

Edit #2: the recording is now up again:
http://www.boeckler.de/veranstaltung_54282.htm (Varoufakis' talk begins at 12:30)

Edit #3: SPON has a piece on it this morning and one of the first comments correctly calls them out on it.

newtboy says...

I was unaware of that. Thanks

oritteropo said:

English is the official language of India, although the current Hindu nationalist party is trying to push Hindi as an alternative, and one of the official languages of Singapore (along with Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil).

It's not the official language of the others, but is widely spoken.

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