GRAVEDIGGERS

 

Tassos Symeonides
(RIEAS Academic Advisor)

Copyright: www.rieas.gr
One thing that was plainly clear since the beginning of the political-economic crisis that continues to consume Greece and her people was this: Such is the burden of the Greek sovereign debt that few, if any, countries, and certainly not Greece, could actually hope to muster enough resources to re-pay if not all at least an appreciable part of the loans.

This is a harsh truth that all Greek politicians refused to recognize publicly. In fact, as in the case of the former prime minister, Yorgo Papandreou, there were statements to the effect that “Greece will pay back everything, down to the very last cent.”

All Greek politicians, and especially those controlling the two main political parties, New Democracy and Pasok, missed no opportunity, in defending the Motherland, to draw “red lines” which they readily broke as soon as the Troika cracked the whip. Both the Greek politicians and the Troika have settled into this well rehearsed grave-digging game: the former practice their bombastic nonsense about how they will reverse the crisis by being “tough” with the creditors and the latter watch and then deliver yet another lethal blow to the “tough guys” from Athens coming to the door with caps in hand.

This unique exercise in political beggary has yielded not even an iota of change in the fanatic posture of our “partners;” they are still very much committed to death by austerity despite the fact that the Armageddon consuming Greece has been repeatedly shown that has the exact opposite result from the one supposedly intended, i.e. recovery.

It takes very little understanding of economics for anyone to realize that an economy deprived completely of cash, and with unemployment at 25% and growing, faces a cataclysmic event that can actually destroy the country as we know it. But neither the Greek politicians nor the Troika seem to care about this preordained truth.

Mr. Samaras, just like his coalition partners, has failed to explain what does he think will happen if Greece finally declares her debt void and null and returns to the drachma without exiting the European Union.

The EU rumor mill continues to do an excellent job in feeding speculation of a Greek exit from the Eurozone, i.e. the realm of the common currency, but it is understandably mum on Greece’s EU membership. Those who understand the convoluted schemes of the Brussels bureaucracy claim that there is no treaty avenue for expelling Greece from Europe completely.

With the latest austerity package worth over 11 billion euros being worked out around the Athens-Paris-Berlin operating theater, the moment has arrived for the Greek politicians to explain convincingly why such death wish gestures benefit the Greek people.

The Troika won’t let up, meantime: its “experts” continually discover more “black holes” which need to be plugged with further “economies” imposed on a system that has very little to offer at this advanced stage of the genocide. The deadlock, to Greece’s grief, is obvious. Borrowing more money to pay the lenders, without a penny going toward reconstruction, makes no sense at all and is already endangering the very existence of the country.

So, let the current grave-diggers head to the dustbin of history and let Greece try the last, desperate avenue open to her: default with a complete, unilateral write off of the whole of the sovereign debt. The alternative — decades of helot existence under the knout unless the EU caves in earlier — is as unacceptable as the present situation.

Greek politicians were never adept at the game of chicken. They have apparently failed to notice that even the “bravest” among Greece’s plethora of vilifying critics are silent on what would be the impact of a Greek blowout upon the already creaking edifice of “united” Europe. One minimum result would be the “markets” immediately turning their guns upon other weak EU “partners” — namely Spain and Italy — which could succumb under relatively modest pressure and thus send the common currency into a headlong retreat toward dissolution.

We need no grave-diggers any longer.

SUNDAY, 26 AUGUST 2012 09:29

http://www.rieas.gr/research-areas/editorial/1835-gravediggers.html

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