Archive for the ‘crisis’ Category

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Greece is about to be completely dismantled and fed to profit-hungry corporations

The latest bailout has nothing to do with debt, but an experiment in capitalism so extreme that no other EU state would even dare try it.
 
by Nick Dearden
 
Greece is heading towards its third “bailout”. This time €86 billion is on the table, which will be packaged up by international lenders with a bundle of austerity and sent off to Greece, only to return to those same lenders in the very near future.
 
We all know the spiraling debt cannot and will not be repaid. We all know the austerity to which it is tied will make Greece’s depression worse. Yet it continues.
 
If we look deeper, however, we find that Europe is not led by the terminally confused. By taking those leaders at their word, we’re missing what’s really going on in Europe. In a nutshell, Greece is up for sale, and its workers, farmers and small businesses will have to be cleared out of the way.
 
Under the eye-watering privatization program, Greece is expected to hand over its €50 billion of its “valuable state assets” to an independent body under the control of the European institutions, who will proceed to sell them off. Airports, seaports, energy systems, land and property – everything must go. Sell your assets, their contrived argument goes, and you’ll be able to repay your debt.
 
But even in the narrow terms of the debate, selling off profitable or potentially profitable assets leaves a country less able to repay its debts. Unsurprisingly the most profitable assets are going under the hammer first. The country’s national lottery has already been bought up. Airports serving Greece’s holiday islands look likely to be sold on-long-term lease to a German airport operator.
 
The port of Peireus looks likely to be sold to a Chinese shipping company. Meanwhile, 490,000 square meters of Corfu beachfront have been snapped up by a US private equity fund. It has a 99-year lease for the bargain price of €23million. According to reporters, the privatization fund is examining another 40 uninhabited islands as well as a massive project on Rhodes which includes an obligatory golf course.
 
Side-by-side with the privatization is a very broad program of deregulation which declares war on workers, farmers and small businesses. Greece’s many laws that protect small business such as pharmacies, bakeries, and bookshops from competition with supermarkets and big businesses are to be swept away. These reforms are so specific that the EU is writing laws on bread measurements and milk expiry dates. Incredibly, Greece is even being told to make its Sunday opening laws more liberal than Germany’s. Truly a free market experiment is being put into place.
 
On labor, pensions are to suffer rapid cuts, minimum wages are to be reduced and collective bargaining is to be severely curtailed while it is to become easier to sack staff. All of this is far more extreme that many of Greece’s “creditor” countries have implemented themselves. Changes to tax includes a massive hike to that most regressive of taxes VAT, on a wide range of products.
 
Of course, reforms in some areas of Greece’s economy might be a good idea, and indeed Syriza came to power promising to make serious reforms in, for instance, taxation and pensions. But what is being imposed by the lending institutions is not a series of sensible “reforms”, but the establishment and micromanagement of radical ‘free market’ economics.
 
The privatization and deregulation bonanza opens vast new swathes of Greek society to areas where big business has never been able to set foot before. The hope is that this will generate big profits to keep big business growing, as well as providing an extreme model of what might be possible throughout Europe. Although what’s even more distasteful than the hypocrisy of European leaders forcing policies onto Greece that they themselves have not dared to argue for in their own countries, is the cynicism of those same leaders imposing policies that will benefit their own country’s corporations.
 
The intensity of the restructuring program currently being agreed for Greece should dispel any lingering notion that this is a well intentioned but misguided attempt to deal with a debt crisis. It is a cynical attempt to set up a corporate paradise in the Mediterranean, and must be resisted at all costs.
 
Source:
 http://dithen2010.blogspot.ca/
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41

Greece: Out of the Mouth of “Foreign Affairs” Comes the Truth

By Bruno Adrie

In an article by Mark Blyth titled “A Pain in the Athens: Why Greece Isn’t to Blame for the Crisis” and published on July 7th 2015 in the magazine Foreign Affairs, one discovers surprising statements, which are all the more surprising when one knows that this magazine is published by the Council on Foreign Relations that gathers the American élite, the New-Yorker banking élite being there for the most part (about this subject, see: Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter, Imperial Braintrust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy, 1977).
According to the author, “Greece has very little to do with the crisis that bears its name”. And, to make us understand this, he invites us to “follow the money—and those who bank it”. According to him, the origins of the crisis are not to be looked for in Greece but “in the architecture of European banking”. Indeed, during the first decade of the euro, European banks, attracted by easy money, granted massive loans in what the author calls “the European periphery”, and, in 2010, in the middle of the financial crisis, banks had accumulated impaired periphery assets corresponding to 465 billion euros for French banks and 493 billion euros for German banks. “Only a small part of those impaired assets were Greek”, but the problem is that, in 2010, Greece published a revised budget equivalent to 15% of the GDP. Nothing to be afraid of actually since it only represented 0.3% of the Eurozone’s GDPs put together. But, because of their periphery assets and above all a leverage rate* twice as high—that is to say twice as risky—as the American banks’, European banks feared that a Greek default would make them collapse. This is what really happened. The banks’ insatiable voracity led them, as always, to act carelessly, and, as they did not accept their failure, as always, they made sure that others would foot the bill. Nothing new under the golden sky of the Banking Industry, unless, this time, it went a bit further than usual.
These banks set up the Troïka program in order to “stop the bond market bank run”. And no matter if it increased unemployment by 25% and destroyed the third of the country’s GDP. It doesn’t make much difference to the bankers. This is what the rescue plans have been used for. Apparently aimed at Greece, they were created by and for the major European banks. Today, given that the Greek can no longer pay French and German banks, even the European taxpayers are solicited.
Greece was only a pipe through which French and German banks, for the most part, saved themselves. On the total amount of 203 billion euros that represents the two rescue plans (2010-2013 and 2012-2014), 65% went right to the banks’ vaults. Some people even go so far as to say that 90% of the loans did not pass through Greece. This approach, expressed in the columns of Foreign Affairs, cannot be seen as heterodox. It is even confirmed by the ex-director of theBundesbank, Karl Otto Pöhl, who acknowledged that the rescue plan was meant to save the banks, and especially the French banks, from their rotten debts.
Therefore, despite the fact that Germany defaulted on his debts four times in the XXth century, he will go on insisting that Greece pay, with France supporting him. However little some people like it, like the ignorant and wordy French philosopher whose décolletage every one knows but whom no one wishes to hear anymore, François Hollande hasn’t been generous to Greece. It is quite the contrary that happened, it is Greece that has been generous, and forced to be, to the French banks, before these very banks call on French taxpayers, when they were celebrating their revolution, their heads full of a firework of prejudices.
Mark Blyth finishes his article by saying what Frédéric Lordon developed in his article (in French) “Le crépuscule d’une époque”, namely that the European Central Bank does not play the role of a central bank and does not act like a politically independent bank.
According to him, we never understood Greece because we refused to see this crisis as what it is actually: the continuation of the private banks rescue plan that started in 2008.
One wonders how the French, who are so clever and so ready to give their opinions since they know everything about everything, can go on supporting the insane vociferations of the know-it-all from this little Parisian journalistic world, which is described by the excellent Pierre Rimbert in his article (in French) “Syriza delenda est” in the Monde Diplomatique, July 2015. Rather than burying Greece, we’d better off get rid of the proud and twisted faces of Demorand, Elkabbach, Giesbert, Baverez, Barbier, Aphatie, and others, by sending them carp in the desert in the middle of traitorous scorpions and venomous snakes which are their respectable and mute brothers.
~ Bruno Adrie (translated by Clara Piraud)
~ see from Mark Blyth and Matthias Matthijs, The Future of the Euro, Oxford University Press, 2015
http://www.globalresearch.ca

Ένα πολύ ενδιαφέρον άρθρο για την ελληνική οικονομική περίπτωση και πώς το βλεέπει ο τύπος του εξωτερικού.
Το άρθρο υποστηρίζει ότι τη μεγαλύτερη ευθύνη για το τωρινό οικονομικό πρόβλημα της Ελλάδας φέρουν οι Γερμανικές και Γαλλικές Τράπεζες που εκμεταλλεύτηκαν την ευκαιρία κατά τη διάρκεια της πρώτης δεκαετίας του ΕΥΡΩ εγκρίνοντας τεράστια ποσά ΕΥΡΩ σαν δάνεια στις χώρες της περιφέρειας (The European Periphery), με άλλα λόγια στις χώρες Ελλάδα, Ιταλία, Πορτογαλία, Ισπανία. Από τις επενδύσεις τους αυτές ένα πολύ μικρό ποσό ήρθε στην Ελλάδα. Αλλα οι Γαλλικές και Γερμανικές τράπεζες αποκόμισαν απ’ αυτά τα δάνεια κέρδη 465 και 493 δισεκατομμυρίων ΕΥΡΩ αντίστοιχα.
Όταν παρουσιάστηκε η κρίση του 2010, που απλώθηκε στην Ευρώπη από την Αμερική, οι τράπεζες αυτές σε κίνδυνο να χρεωκοπήσουν κι αφού η ισολογιστική τους κατάσταση ήταν πραγματικά δραματική, αντί να καταφύγουν στους Γάλλους και Γερμανούς πολίτες-φορολογούμενους και καταθέτες που θα πλήρωναν τα σπασμένα, μετέφεραν τις χασούρες στους πληθυσμούς των χωρών της Νότιας Ευρώπης (λογιστικό τέχνασμα της κεντρικής τραπεζιτικής πολιτικής της Ενωμένης Ευρώπης) στις χώρες της περιφέρειας, Πορτογαλία, Ιταλία, Ελλάδα, Ισπανία (PIGS).
Αυτές οι απόψεις γράφτηκαν στις στήλες του περιοδικό Foreign Affairs και υποστηρίχτηκαν από τον πρώην διευθυντή της Γερμανικής Κεντρικής Τράπεζας (Bundesbank) Karl Otto Pohl.

Για να μη λένε τουλάχιστον ότι όλα τα κακά ξεκίνησαν απ’ την Ελλάδα.

Η ανωτέρω περιληπτική μετάφραση του άρθρου από τα αγγλικά στα ελληνικά έγινε από το Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
http://www.authormanolis.wordpress.com