Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Paying attention to what's happening in Greece.

Why is it that amid the discussion of bailouts and debt and money, no one seems willing or able to explain why several million Greeks should be made to pay a price in impoverishment for the misbehavior of international bankers and wretched politicians?

Greek villagers' secret weapon: Grow your own food, by Gregory Katz (AP - The Big Story)

KARITAINA, Greece (AP) — Ilias Mathes has protection against bank closures, capital controls and the slashing of his pension: 10 goats, some hens and a vegetable patch.

If Greece's financial crisis deepens, as many believe it must, he can feed his children and grandchildren with the bounty of the land in this proud village high in the mountains of the Arcadia Peloponnese.

Happily, Bernie Sanders has had something coherent to say about Greece. Our Republicans presumably are busy searching for Bible passages.

“I applaud the people of Greece for saying ‘no’ to more austerity for the poor, the children, the sick and the elderly ... in a world of massive wealth and income inequality Europe must support Greece's efforts to build an economy which creates more jobs and income, not more unemployment and suffering.”

Sanders spots the element that's usually missing as the bankers do their numbers fetish -- you know, the piece about dignity.

Greek Voters to Eurozone: We Can’t and Won’t Do This Anymore, by Maria Margaronis (The Nation)

... “We won’t be saved by Yes or No,” said a gentleman in his 80s. “It’ll be bad either way. But one thing will change: They’ll know they don’t have our agreement for what they’re doing to us. The government may have made mistakes, but the position of the Europeans has been cruel, oppressive, humiliating, shockingly inhuman. They’ll get their money. But they have to realize we need time to recover first.”

I'm looking for lessons wherever I can find them.

Greek referendum: smart response from Tsipras, but triumph may be brief, by Larry Elliott (The Guardian)

... David Marsh, of the thinktank OMFIF, said: “The failure of the creditor countries, led by Germany and the Netherlands, to recognise a central maxim of guerrilla fighting – the enemy will always surprise – provides a key reason for the Oxi win. If you’re outnumbered, practise the unorthodox. Tearing up the rules of Brussels conduct, Tspiras and Varoufakis, his finance minister-cum-field marshal, have outmanoeuvred and divided the surplus states by constantly re-engaging, over five months, from unexpected, demanding and outrageous battle positions.”

Yanis Varoufakis blogged his resignation with these important words.

I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum. And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride. We of the Left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office.

Prior to his resignation, an excerpt from Varoufakis's book provided closing context: Greece this time. Who's next?

Angela Merkel has a red and a yellow button. One ends the crisis. Which does she push?, by Yanis Varoufakis (The Guardian)

Bankruptocracy is as much a European predicament as it is an American “invention”. The difference between the experience of the two continents is that at least Americans did not have to labour under the enormous design faults of the eurozone. Imagine their chagrin if the citizens of hard-hit states (eg Nevada or Ohio) had to worry about a death embrace between the debt of their state and the losses of the banks who happened to operate within the state.

Additionally, Americans were spared the need to contend with a central bank utterly shackled by inner divisions and the German central bank’s penchant for treating the worst-hit parts of the union (the eurozone, that is) as alien lands that had to be fiscally waterboarded until they ceased to obey the laws of macroeconomics.

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