Sunday, July 12, 2015

Saving Greece in two quick, easy steps

To say that Greece is in trouble would be an understatement. In January, the Greeks elected the far-left Syriza party because of its promises to end austerity measures. The victorious leftists formed an incompetent government (led by Alexis Tsipras) that pushed the economy off the cliff. While the country was spiraling downward, Mr. Tsipras decided to use several millions of the last precious euros available in Greece to hold a rush referendum about whether to accept creditors' conditions (?!), though Greek constitution, maybe for a reason, explicitly bans referendums on fiscal matters. The vote took place on July 5. The majority of participants voted against the deal, as the Prime Minister had advised them. After that, all hell broke loose, and now Greeks are staying in lines in front of ATM machines to obtain a maximum of 60 euro per day.

Nevertheless, many Greeks are still out of touch with reality and are now railing that the creditors have "humiliated" them. "What is at play here is an attempt to humiliate Greece and Greeks, or to overthrow the Tsipras government," said Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Vice-President of the European Parliament and member of the Syriza party. When economist Megan Greene tweeted: "Earth to Greece: blackmail really really REALLY is not going to work. The ones with the dosh lost patience long ago", Greek users replied: "who is blackmailing who? I think ur a little bit lost", "very interesting the choice of the word "blackmail" to describe letting people decide for themselves (i.e., Democracy)", "Greece to earth:Greece is tired of blackmails too." They still don't get that Greeks are not entitled to having luxury lives at other people's expense, and that democratic vote cannot give you unlimited access to other people's money.

If you are a Greek and you have read thus far, you belong to the important minority of those who understand that income is determined by productivity of labor rather than wishful thinking. I guess, you are wondering what to do in this dire situation. I can offer an approach that proved successful during the Bulgarian crisis of 1996-97. Indeed, the situation in Bulgaria was milder, because nobody could accuse us in destroying an international currency (we had a hyperinflated national currency) and, besides, all sums relevant to Bulgarian economy, such as the debt and the GDP, were - from the viewpoint of international financial institutions - pocket money. Nevertheless, it is a fact that the method worked, and it is worth trying, especially after trying so many things that have never worked anywhere, nor have they been expected to.

Here is how to save Greece in two quick, easy steps:

1. The rant of touchy Mr. Papadimoulis contains a grain of truth: EU countries and financial institutions don't want to see Prime Minister Tsipras anymore. So Greek patriots should stop waiting in front of ATMs like sheep and instead take to the streets and riot until their parody of a government resigns.

2. After successfully implementing Point 1, some decent, credible person with sense and basic economic knowledge in his head should be appointed as caretaker Prime Minister and urgently sent to negotiate. (I think e.g. Mr. Samaras will do.) His difficult job will include, among other things, to convince the annoyed creditors that the Greeks have learned their lesson, have reformed and are now a brand new nation, nothing to do with the people who voted so foolishly at the parliamentary elections half a year ago and the referendum a week ago.

Good luck!


Charles N. Steele said...

As good as anything I have read on Greece, and much more amusing. I especially like the riot advice in point 1, and agree.

Charles N. Steele said...

As good as anything I have read on Greece, and much more amusing. I especially like the riot advice in point 1, and agree.

Maya M said...

Thank you!
Now, with the migrant crisis in Europe out of control after Ms. Merkel invited all mankind to come and settle in Germany, I'd appeal to Germans to riot and oust her, but they have never been good at this :-(.