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Krugman: Greece (and Europe) Deserve Democratic Ideals of Syriza


#1

Krugman: Greece (and Europe) Deserve Democratic Ideals of Syriza

Jon Queally, staff writer

As leaders of the Syriza-led government of Greece participate in high-stakes meetings with their European creditors in Brussels on Monday, New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is among those urging the so-called Troika negotiators—representing the IMF, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission—to do what is right by giving Athens the chance to unburden itself from the harshest austerity measures and reach a compromise deal on future lending.


#2

Catastroica - a crowd funded independent documentary film tracking 'privatization' history from Thatcher and Pinochet, from about 1989 in Greece, Russia and neo-liberalism policies forged by Summers and the Chicago School. With Naomi Klein and many others. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZLOUkvtgEM


#3

Sometimes the disease (troika) is so bad you need major surgery to get rid of it in order to survive. It ain't easy but it is necessary.


#4

The comment about the people of Greece "living above their means" is deceptive. Governments borrow money, as well as large multinationals and banks. The guy on the street is forced to pay when these entities miscalculate, mismanage, or flat out cheat. That is what the Troika is refusing to admit, because it place accountability for this mess right back where it belongs--in their court.


#5

Greece's debt started growing long before the EU. Since WW11 Greece's generals, bureaucrats and politicians have lived like kings on the bribes they have routinely accepted from the military contractors courting them. Greece's generals used the fear of Turkey to blackmail successive weak governments into borrowing heavily.

As Angelos Philippides, a prominent economist, explains, "For a long time Greece spent 7% of its GDP on defence when other European countries spent an average 2.2%. If you were to add up that compound 5% from 1946 to today, there would be no debt at all." Athens' fondness for weaponry, and the willingness of Germany and France to feed it, are the historic problem.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/19/greece-military-spending-debt-crisis


#6

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#7

So you just ignore the hedge fund manager attack on Greece eh? Mr Mud why do you come to the defense of bloody billionaires with your argument? What is being done against the Greek people by bankers is a high crime.


#8

Hi, i'm sorry you or anyone got the impression i was defending the criminal hedge funds or billionaires or bankers in any way. i was just pointing out where the 'debts' originated in response to the lies that Greece is in debt because of it's social programs.

That lie is the moral basis used by the billionaires claims to justify the validity of their arguments. IMO the debts are invalid and the 'bailouts' actually designed to pay off the bad loans made by criminal banks to buy needless military hardware and bribes by the arms dealers.


#9

I appreciate the clarification.


#12

Jonny, you have not read most of Krugman's writings over more than the past decade the way I have, so you don't really know what you are saying. It is best to get economic info from a variety of good sources, instead of pretending that one of two know it all.


#14

Well said.


#15

For the Greek request of what amounts to, in our terms, quantitative easing, to be credible, the alternative of leaving the euro has to be credible and politically supported just to leverage the Germans. To talk to German bankers about their long term self interest in having neighboring economies prosperius enough to bup their goods makes long term sense but Greece is not dealing with long term thinkers, they are dealing with sharks. Long term Greek thinking should be how to survive without the Euro and how to finance their own future. Is there a winning economic formula for Greece without the Euro? Do the Greeks think there is? Krugmann should be writing about this issue.


#16

I'll just let Krugman speak here, with his latest blog post:
"OK, this is amazing, and not in a good way. Greek talks with finance ministers have broken up over this draft statement, which the Greeks have described as “absurd.” It’s certainly remarkable. On my reading, here’s the key sentence:

The Greek authorities committed to ensure appropriate primary fiscal surpluses and financing in order to guarantee debt sustainability in line with the targets agreed in the November 2012 Eurogroup statement. Moreover, any new measures should be funded, and not endanger financial stability.

Translation (if you look back at that Eurogroup statement): no give whatsoever on the primary surplus of 4.5 percent of GDP.

There was absolutely no way Tsipras and company could sign on to such a statement, which makes you wonder what the Eurogroup ministers think they’re doing.

I guess it’s possible that they’re just fools — that they don’t understand that Greece 2015 is not Ireland 2010, and that this kind of bullying won’t work.

Alternatively, and I guess more likely, they’ve decided to push Greece over the edge. Rather than give any ground, they prefer to see Greece forced into default and probably out of the euro, with the presumed economic wreckage as an object lesson to anyone else thinking of asking for relief. That is, they’re setting out to impose the economic equivalent of the “Carthaginian peace” France sought to impose on Germany after World War I.

Either way, the lack of wisdom is astonishing and appalling."


#17

Nineteen50, the "disease" is not merely the troka but the entire Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE, or the 'Empire Of Chaos" as Pepe Escobar calls it, or the Global Capitalist EMPIRE that William Robinson correctly diagnoses:

"The U.S. state is a key point of condensation for pressures from
dominant groups around the world to resolve problems of global
capitalism and to secure the legitimacy of the system overall. In this
regard, “U.S.” imperialism refers to the use by transnational elites of
the U.S. state apparatus to continue to attempt to expand, defend, and
stabilize the global capitalist system. We are witness less to a “U.S.”
imperialism per se than to a global capitalist imperialism. We face an
EMPIRE of global capital, headquartered, for evident historical reasons,
in Washington." [caps added]

Robinson, William I. (2014-07-31). Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity (p. 122). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.

The cause of all our 'issues' or 'symptom problems' including; expanding wars, Wall Street looting, vastinequality, environmental destruction, domeist tyranny, et al. is the disease of cancer --- the cancerous tumor of Empire which is underLYING our entire "ailing social order", but which requires a good doctor to adequately diagnose it:

As Zygmunt Bauman hauntingly puts it, “In the case of an ailing social order, the absence of an adequate diagnosis…is a crucial, perhaps decisive, part of the disease.”13

Berman, Morris (2011-02-07). Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire (p. 22). Norton. Kindle Edition.


#18

They are the major tools.


#19

Yes. It is important to bear this in mind without blindly blaming the lenders. It is complex. The people of Greece, through their elected government, borrowed money, much of it to buy F-16s and submarines from Germany, so who is more responsible, those who borrowed it or those who lent it? The underlying problem is that there is no entity to vet loans (an underwriter, if you will). But what right should anyone have to prevent me from making a mess of my own finances (I do badly enough without any help at all!)?


#20

Please! why does everyone refuse to see the wood in the trees?
There is one, and only one, cause of all our economic woes. During the early 1900's our stupid/corrupt politicians signed away our Sovereign "rights" , that allowed us to print and issue our own interest free, debt free money; and since then we have all become "debt slaves". Our rights to print and issue our own money out of thin air were ceded to private banking Corporations, thus now, we borrow all our money from them, and they simply print it out of thin air, and charge us interest for the privilege. Given the nature of our economic cycles, the booms and busts, it is virtually impossible for us ever to repay all such debts, especially since, when they print our borrowings, they do not also print the money to cover the interest repayments. This particular economic consequence was recorded centuries ago in the well known fable about the boy who possessed a goose that laid "golden" eggs; he sold the goose for a paltry sum and forever thereafter he was destitute.

The remedy for our problems is simple; we abrogate any agreement previously made, reclaim our Sovereign "rights" to print and issue our own debt free interest free money.

This will enable us to stop income-taxing of individuals; we may pay everyone that needs it a social wage, based on a break even computation, this will eliminate poverty and deprivation; those in receipt of the Social wage will be encouraged into employment, without loss of this Social wage, and to work for any employer for additional income, mutually agreed between them. this gives control of work and income to the "workman". Employers will gain a workforce of people willing to accept much lower wages than previously paid, thus making the employer production cost significantly lower; plus, the employer no longer collects taxes for the Government. The employer Corporation/business will pay tax annually as usual. The collection of V.A.T. or G.S.T., consumer taxes will cease.

All Government expenditures will be provided by the planned issue of our own debt free interest free money using legislation approved by Parliament. Health, Education, University courses, Infrastructure of all kinds, etc. etc.

Provided that all of these expenditures are actually "spent" into circulation they will not create inflation; inflation will occur, for instance, when too much money chases too few "goods". The Government must own and run it's own Bank, just like the original Commonwealth Bank. No Private Bank or Corporation will be permitted to create money, under any guise; our financial system will revert to one of "sound " money. Sound money is that which turns around sound borrowing and lending, controlled by being liquid cash, backed by the ownership of assets, and strict criteria keeping them in balance; borrowing and lending outside of these criteria, characterised as "high risk", will be permitted between parties willing to accept such risk, and then, only when it involves their own wholly owned assets.

Interest rates in the private sector will be set by the private sector. The floating exchange rate will be converted into "fixed" rates decided by Government, and as decided between Sovereign Nations and embodied in trade agreements. Our currency will not be traded on "Exchanges", our Nation will be immunised against the manipulated predations of the "Market".

The foregoing explains the broad brush strokes involved, but in summary we would have a Nation with little or no foreign debt, a Nation whose domestic economy sits on a solid unshakeable base, a Nation better able to compete in the wider World, a Nation without poverty whose peoples are empowered to think and work for themselves, a Nation rescued from the avarice of the "Money Lenders", and above all, a Government able to be free and Independent, instead of being owned by Corporate money and influence. This is named "The Universal Economy" because it will operate anywhere.

For those who doubt the efficacy of this proposal, I suggest they study the United States example. The clever banking Corporations engineered the U.S. dollar to be the Worlds reserve currency. Ever since the U.S. has been printing money out of thin air, the only Nation to do so, now they have military bases in more than one hundred and seven Nations, they have engineered regime change and wars in countless Nations, and recently have printed trillions of dollars, called quantitative easing, and poured it into foreign banks and financial Institutions trying to prevent the next meltdown; but it is not working because their printed money was not spent into circulation, instead it inflated the prices of shares and real estate, the bust cometh.


#22

German folks are used to having to go through hardship, to cut back on private spending and to save money in order to pay back their debt and rebuild the country again and again - from the Thirty Years War to the present. Neighboring conflicts have always taken their toll in this middle country and it has been easy prey for vultures due to its political fragmentation. Especially during the last century Germany has been a major source of conflict and hostility in Europe and the world, however even the atrocious Nazi Third Reich did not happen without cause. German tax payers also observe the gradual and disturbing social decline of the working middle class and the accumulating wealth of the rich. They have rebuilt the largely destroyed country after WWII, yes, with the generous support of the USA, they have paid for the unification with East Germany. Today, German tax payers are forced to bail out Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Greece. How should that work? They are made to shoulder the financial load - not the banks. While all the other countries have been making progress, Greece has been stagnating, despite tremendous financial infusions. And ironically, hardly any of the bail out capital has been received by those who really need it in Greece (no difference to the situation in the US). The rich in Greece have been tolerated to take their money abroad, no taxes were paid, no structural changes were undertaken. At the same time the ECB is starting to print Euros Dollar-style - which causes German savings accounts, pensions, etc. to dwindle. And again, the Greek secretary of finance is asking for even more money to throw on bad money already spent, while he intends to reemploy the civil servants - who are not really a guarantee that anything - even a iota - may change in the near future. The US is not really innocent for the Greek dilemma - all major recent financial clashes have originated in Wall Street and American investors have continuously found ways to suck blood from the ailing EU countries. Now we are facing a new war in Europe - also ignited by US Cold War stupidity and expansionist phantasies. Again, German people are looking forward to shouldering another load - no, not the banks and corporations, the normal working people. They are used to it, and fed up with it, while at the same time being bashed with the old Nazi-club whenever anyone dares to object. No, the EU does not need any advice from the US.


#23

anal retentive 'wolfgang' is certainly representative of the failed banks whose loans were designed to tax the PIGS with austerity assuring some hand warming profits for a time to come. all this is blowback from obama's failure to not reward failure. it is epidemic and global, and has the potential to ping pong all over the economies that can least handle it. wall street and the fed deserve to get what they design. more failure!!!