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The Greek Tragedy
Beware of Greeks Casting Votes
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  • Mark McCarthy

    Any thoughts on the prospects of Golden Dawn? They were the party many people were writing about a couple of months ago.

    • Kevin

      Good point. Now that the current government is thought of as being center-right, it’s the left wing crazies who are ascendant.

  • Pete

    Why shouldn’t the Greeks be impatient with the EU?

    Why shouldn’t all of Europe — aside from the parasitic elite — be impatient with the EU?

  • Andrew Allison

    Tsipras is running on a platform of “renegotiating” the terms of the bailout, i.e., writing off even more Greek debt and ending the agreed-to reforms. If, as seems likely, his party were to be able to govern, it would be difficult for him not to follow through on that. Tsipras is gambling that the EU will cave in rather than declare Greece to be in default. I think this overlooks the the fact that if Greece is allowed off the reform hook, countries whose economies are large enough to bring down the Euro and are also resisting reform, notably Italy, will be emboldened to demand the same. Will Germany finance continued profligacy? I rather doubt it.

    • michaelj68

      Tsipras is going to play a game of chicken with the Germans. See what happens.

      • Kevin

        I wonder if he will also be playing against the Italians and perhaps the Spanish and others too. A reform minded government in Italy or elsewhere in Southern Europe needs a foreign boogie man (aka The Germans) insisting on unpopular reforms in order to push them through. If the EU lets Greece slide, the domestic pressure on the Itlaian, Spanish and maybe Fenrch and other governments to halt difficult and unpopular reform measures will become insurmountable. On the other hand if the EU does not cave into a Syriza government and the resulting chaos occurs in Greece it might well strengthen the hands of reformist governments in Italy, etc. as they can then gave a real life example of why abandoning unpopular reforms would be a disaster. Perhaps…

    • f1b0nacc1

      The Germans have already financed profligacy, but mostly on the part of their banks, which lent the money in the first place. Just to be clear, the Germans are not interested in what happens to the Greeks, either as a nation or as individuals, but they ARE interested in what happens to their banks, which are seriously overexposed in not only Greece, but Italy, Spain, Portugal, and France as well. If Greece defaults, those other states (which all have similar problems with debt) as well as others (the Balkans come immediately to mind) will be strongly tempted to do the same, which would devastate the German banking sector. Given the very heavy government involvement in the banks in Germany, such a wave of losses could easily collapse the German government, which is a threat that Merkel takes very, very seriously. Forcing the German middle class to eat the losses via write-offs or by allowing the currency to inflate isn’t particularly popular, but Merkel has enough of a majority in the Bundestag to muscle it through.
      It is important to remember that Germany has financed a big part of their economic growth of the last decade ‘investing’ in the Latin bloc of the EU, essentially playing a huge game of arbitrage with these corrupt and inefficient economies. This worked out very well for them, and for the eurocrats who rode this wave to greater power. Unfortunately, it looks as if their game is over, and now the time is rapidly approaching to clean up the mess, something that I don’t think anyone in the EU really has the stomach for. The truth of the matter is that the southern tier of states was NEVER going to be as productive or thrifty as the northern tier, and the northern tier was never going to move away from their somewhat rapacious banking practices. The idea that these two wildly divergent cultures could exist in the same currency union was foolish from the beginning (really, only a political class hell-bent on their own aggrandizement would have ignored the problems inherent in the design), but at this point it is far too late to pretend that there is an easy way out.
      The Greeks will default sooner or later, as there is simply no scenario where they can ever pay off the debts that they have already incurred, but less the ones that they will need to keep their completely unproductive economy afloat. Italy, Spain, and yes, even France are not too far away from the same ugly endgame. This is where the blue states are heading in the US as well, unless we can use this as a cautionary tale.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The Euro and the EU will disintegrate just like the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact did 25 years ago.

  • Justwaitinforchange

    Let us be clear – The Greeks spent themselves into oblivion. They should be kicked out of the euro and have their crappy little currency and revert to the third world nation that they are.

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