Greek Mythology

If you tell yourself lies long enough, pretty soon you start to believe them yourself. The Greek people are living in an alternate reality, they simply deny that their entire country has become a ward of the EU state. They still want their cake and ice cream:

However bad their prospects, many Greeks seem to think that since money to bail them out was found in the past, it will be found again, whatever politicians say.

Nor do they believe that Europe will simply cast them loose, despite growing signs that Greece is heading for the exit from the single currency and towards the economic and social catastrophe that would follow.

And how do they put things to right? Why just do this:

“There’s a lot of money in this country, they just need to tax the rich and it would solve so many problems,” said seamstress Argiro Maniati, 55.

Working furiously at her sewing machine surrounded by tall piles of mended clothes her customers can’t afford to collect, Maniati fully embraces the myth that Greece’s membership of the euro can never die.

Soak the rich! Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?

Sounds just like the Obama platform.

Like many Greeks who punished mainstream parties in a fruitless May 6 election that has brought Greece to the edge of a political abyss, she thinks politicians have exaggerated the threat of euro expulsion to scare up votes for failed policies.

“The big parties brought us here, to poverty and suicide, and they are terrorising us to make us accept tough measures.”

In what many foreign partners see as the great Greek paradox, opinion polls show over 75 percent of Greeks want to stay in the euro, but two thirds oppose an international bailout, a lifeline which came with harsh salary, pension and job cuts.

Frankfurt and Brussels say it is impossible for Greece to have one without the other: no bailout means no euro and a return to the drachma – “drachmageddon”, as some Greeks call it.

Greek officials have admitted that the state will run out of cash next month. The EU and IMF have warned Athens will get no more funds unless it meets fiscal targets and pushes reforms, including finding about 11 billion euros worth of cuts by June….

With about three weeks to go before the next election, there is no sign on the streets of Athens that people are coming to grips with the real choice they face.

“Even if we go bankrupt we need to tell them clearly that we won’t leave the euro in any event. They’ll have a bankrupt country in the euro, which means other countries can go bankrupt as well and the whole euro zone will blow up,” said electrician Thanasis Zahariadis, 47.

“So they won’t let us go bankrupt, no way. These are just threats. I’m going to vote anti-bailout.”

This one is gonna hurt.

25 thoughts on “Greek Mythology

  1. Utah,

    You and I both know that, if Greece fails, it will spell the end of the EU – not because of Greece alone, but because Greece is just the cannary in the coal mine. Spain, Italy and others will follow.

    And we also know that, if the EU fails, it will present the Western world with a more perilous threat than WW II. If the EU fails, the U.S. will be lucky to survive, let alone project the power necessary to keep Russia and Middle Eastern countries in check. The bear may finally be able to take over Europe without having to fire a shot (you should undertand the implications of European dependence on Russian energy better than most).

    This is very likely the beginning of a global financial crisis that will end in a paniced cry for global governance. And if that happens, it will be the end of freedom in this world for a long, long time (barring the entry of the cloud rider).

    • I’m not sure that Russia has the appetite for all of Europe but they really would like to get the old band back together. The former USSR and her satellites would suit Putin just fine. Russia is looking for a hedge against China’s power. China is a threat to us but I think the Russians see them as a greater threat along their shared border.

      • Good point. The bear and the dragon have been enemies for a long, long time. Still, as for Western Europe: the bear has a huge appetite, and he has never bothered with the possibility he could bite off more than he can chew – and who can blame him. He never has in his entire history, so why should this concern him here, now – especially in the face of what they will perceive as a position of advantage and power?

    • I tell you what. This one is too important for you and I to get into it (you seldom believe anything I tell you, we just get bogged down in a spat and that causes others to lose the importance of the issue at hand).

      So, why don’t you ask the boss to explain it? Seriously. 🙂

    • Kells, the problem is that the financial systems are so interconnected and the other countries are so close to the edge that when the dominoes start to fall, they all go over.

      Then some people look for other people to blame, when the blame starts, the shooting isn’t far behind, then the weak ally with the strong and we are right back to where Europe was in 1914 or 1939. Germany is the only glue holding the EU together and the rest of Europe still hates them for the devastation of WWI and WWII – even Germany’s old friends in Italy are not to keen on them right now…and they really resent that the Krauts are now holding the purse strings.

      Don’t forget that all it took to start WWI was a single bullet to the head of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by a Bosnian-Serb student. They keep it under wraps but the EU is a tinderbox right now and the rise of neo-Nazi ideology is everywhere…

      • Utah,

        Do you think there is anything to the idea that that monk who set himself on fire in Tunisia and sparked the Arab Spring might actually be the next Arch Duke Ferdinand moment? Unless I am missing something, that whole mess in the Middle east is spilling over into the economic mess in Europe. It may be the only thing necessary to upset what little stability is left in the EU. And if the EU does collapse financially, it will open an opportunity for the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe (not to mention a focus for the pent up anger in the Middle east).

        Or am I just seeing too many parallels between now and the rest of history?

        • I think that you may be right there is a strong Islamic undertow in the whole of the EU right now and the position of the Islamists is allegiance to religious ideology first, government second.

          I think it will more likely be a hugely successful terrorist attack somewhere in Europe that sets it off. The EU is ignoring terrorism even more than they are the financial realities of the financial crisis.

          • Honestly, I was hoping you’d tell me I was imagining things again. But I knew you wouldn’t.

            Utah, stay safe over there. Americans will ultimately get blamed for all of this (then the Jews).

  2. I don’t know who is the most insane; the Greeks, the idiots who bought Greek bonds (the banks) or, the EU for wanting to keep Greece in the fold. The EU should have bid farewell to Greece two years ago. and concentrated on the rest of the PIGS plus France. These countries must cut spending and also cut taxes drastically. In other words, Success = Austerity + Growth. The idea that growth can come from more taxes and more spending is more evidence of the insanity I mentioned earlier.

    • You might try asking a direct question. Speaking only for myself, I’ve never been good at reading sign language through smoke screens from a thousand yards – but maybe Utah can do it better. He seems to be better at everything else you enjoy.

    • Kells: I haven’t been avoiding the question, I had a client dinner tonight…

      One domino isn’t the issue, it is the other domino that it takes out with it when it goes down. If Greece can’t pay and defaults, that takes trillions out of circulation and it devalues the Euro – the Euro gets devalued, inflation rises and people can’t afford basic needs. People who depend on the government for support don’t get it then the public starts going hungry. Hungry people are not rational people and society breaks down until some force returns to restore order.

      It is Mickey Mouse money but as long as everybody has confidence in Mickey the game can continue, when people lose confidence that Mickey will pay them for goods and services, the game stops. Modern culture operates on the promise of payment, not a hard mechanical exchange. Every time you use a debit card, that is a promise that your bank will pay from a ledger at the bank – if you have a $2,000 balance, that doesn’t mean that there are 2,000 one dollar bills in a shoebox at the bank with your name on it – that means that you and the people in the financial system trust the bank to have $2,000 worth of credit to give instead of actual cash. Banks in the US have reserve requirements ranging from 0% to 10% depending on the amount of total deposits – the 10% break is at $71,000,000 so that means that if your bank has $100,000,000 of deposits, they are only required to have $10,000,000 in cash on hand at any one time. If your bank is under $11,000,000 in deposits, they don’t have to hold any cash.

      In short, when financial institutions lose confidence or exhaust their reserves, they fail and if you didn’t get your hard currency in exchange for your deposits before the crash, you ain’t getting them. When an economy loses liquidity, the currency is no longer fungible and the system grinds to a halt. Bad stuff – and Greece is right on that ledge.

      So there you go…

        • Well, I’ll not lie; I swoon when he croons……still…. While I understand the devaluation of the Euro were Greece to make its grand exit, I don’t understand how they (Greece) could not thrive on their own monetary system…..

          I did seared tuna with a Greek salad tonight. How odd…….

          • Because Greece would LITERALLY be using monopoly money at that point. They are so far in debt and have nothing to speak of in the way of assets that any money they print as an independent nation would be useless. It would be like Wiemar Germany: you’d need a wheelbarrow full of the stuff to buy a cup of coffee. When that happens, people go hungry, and when people are hungry, they will sell their souls, and when people sell their souls, you get NAZI Germany, or Communist Russia/China or any of a countless other Godless regimes that have solved their economic pressures through mass murder (fewer mouths to feed that way).

          • Greece could manage their economy better with the drachma because they could choose their own monetary policy and the value of their currency could “float” to accommodate it..but today, they can’t control it because monetary policy is controlled by the European Central Bank.

            The perception is that Greece has already borrowed far more money than they will ever be able to pay back. The ECB is throwig money at them in the hopes that they can stave off the crisis long enough for Greece to get stabilized because it isn’t about getting the debt paid off, it is about the rest oft he EU having confidence that Greece will make the payments on the debt without fail. Right now the market values confidence and predictability over settling the debt.

            In a modern financial system, the most important thing is liquidity – the ability to keep the flow of credits and debits moving from payer to payee. When the system becomes illiquid, that is to say that those entries can’t be made…remember, there is not actual cash trading hands because the system doesn’t operate that way. You get a credit to your account and someone else gets a corresponding debit.

  3. Pingback: The Islamization of France | The Rio Norte Line

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