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The Grim Reaper Knocks on Greece's Door


#1

The Grim Reaper Knocks on Greece's Door

Eric Margolis

PARIS – As the squalid drama of Greece’s bankruptcy unfolds, many alarmists claim the European Union is about to disintegrate. British and Americans are cheering the ills of the EU. On top of all this, it’s a blazing 39.8 C here in the City of Light.

In spite of all the bad news from Greece, we must not lose sight of the miracle on the Rhine.


#2

The destruction of antiquity must end. Babylon, Palmyra, now Athens. Please consider where my logic is going, because "time" did not start in THAT place.


#4

H mm, wasn't it the technocrats that got them into this, by lending them money they knew they would end up not being able to pay back. Then, using that leverage to get concessions, e,g. privatization of public assets, cutting of wages, and pensions.
What a tangled web they weave, then stand back and blame the those caught in it while wrapping them up for breakfast.
In my opinion Margolis makes a good argument for why some think that capitalism and democracy are not compatible. Thank you Eric for that!
Al thou I don't believe your thinking processes would allow that idea to develop very far without setting off warnings!


#5

"They must be made to pay taxes – at bayonet point if necessary." Eric Margolis.

Hey, Eric, how about putting a bayonet in the backs of your corporate friends in the U. S. and Europe and make them pay their taxes.


#7

I can only assume this is a piece of satire. Otherwise....WTF!?


#8

Surprised at Margolis' views, here.

Greece, please say oxi!


#9

Given CD's commendable mission "to inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good,"
I was surprised to see this apology for the Troika appear on the site.


#10

This article is full of charged words suffused with the preferred pro-banks, Western narrative:

"The EU’s biggest mistake to date has been its too rapid expansion to encompass nations that were not ready for membership or association. Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania were prime examples. Greece used Goldman Sachs to cook its books to meet EU minimum membership requirements. So, apparently, did Italy."

Note how blame is placed on Greece, as a whole, for the “cooking of its books.” No mention is made that elites made deals with banks that profited the banks by stealing from The People: Classic Shock Doctrine stuff coached in the "one size fits all," The-people-are-interchangeable-with-its-elite narrative frame.

"Because Greece makes little and exports even less, its people have been living on borrowed money and not paying taxes."

Isn’t this the right wing framing of U.S. families on welfare or food stamps? It's classic "blame the victim." Very Calvinist: "You did not meet the imposed rules so you will be punished" style.

"This weekend, Greeks will apparently vote on whether to remain in the EU under draconian conditions of austerity and restraint – realistic economics – or quit the EU and return to the old days of the ever-wobbly drachma, a notorious Mediterranean funny money worthy of Zorba the Greek."

So austerity—in the form of diminished pensions, no jobs for young persons, and major losses to working people is “realistic,” and the alternative is that not-stable, “wobbly drachma.”

Why would C.D. publish this right wing pabulum?

"Unfortunately, Greece’s current far-left government appears to be ready to commit Hellenic hara-kiri rather than end or curtail cherished socialist programs and start seriously collecting taxes."

Note the knock to the “far-left” and the use of the term Hari-Kari… a slick way of saying, “Obey the West (via the Central European bankers) or die!

"A European-wide bank crisis is unlikely since most of Greece’s zillions in debts are now owed to amply-funded EU institutions rather than individual banks."

Yeah…how about all those “zillions.” Bet Mr. Margolis thought that the U.S. taxpayers' bank bailouts to the tune of many trillions "saved the economy."

Margolis’ substantial lack of empathy shows in this brutal statement:

“In fact, some observers, this writer included, believe the EU would be better off without the bleeding wound of Greece.”

By all means! Cut off that wound!

How in keeping with the austerity of the Shock Doctrine. Make them pay!!!

"Greece needs a financial and social revolution to clean out its Augean stables of corruption, peculation and malfeasance. They must be made to pay taxes – at bayonet point if necessary."

This is a pathetic paean to Disaster Capitalism. Not C.D.’s finest choice, and hardly Mr. Margolis’ finest. Yuck


#11

Haha. I'd been waiting for this kind of article for some time - something that offers a slightly different take from the EU thrashing so common on CD for the past few days or weeks.

Most CD comments dwelled on the misery imposed on the average Greek in the street, the pensioners and especially those in the lower middle/lower classes of Greek society. Few, however, have alluded to the fact that what is happening in Greece isn't something new: many other countries - besides Argentina - in the non-European world had suffered thus and worse in the past. And the culprits weren't the bad Germans or French bankers, but institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF (with the latter, and a few other US economists, having the cheek to lecture their EU "partners" this time). Can one forget so easily how the IMF managing director, Michel Camdessus, with folded arms and looking arrogantly at Suharto's signing away the "austerity" measures that threw millions of Indonesians out of work, destroyed the livelihood of millions more, and sparked bloody riots that ended with the overthrow of the Indonesian dictator? What happened in Indonesia was repeated, with somewhat the same sad consequences in many Latin American and East Asian countries (except, notably, China which at the time didn't buy into neo-liberal economics yet).

One man did voice out against the IMF/World Bank "solutions" and he was Malaysia's Dr Mahathir. The Malaysian leader refused to solicit IMF "help" and his country survived the currency run with its economic enterprises remaining largely intact. For that Mahathir was jeered, belittled, and denounced by many a Western "expert" (later those people did admit their "mistake" but of course it was a painless admission when the crisis was over and they were proven wrong).

So I'm with most CD readers on the plight of the weakest sectors of Greek society. But I'm with Margolis when it comes to the condemnation of EU bankers, not because the latter are right, but because what they're doing isn't something uniquely wicked: their prescription has all along been that of Metropolitan Center. It's quite unfair to hurl epithets such as "Nazi" and "fascism" and, in some cases, even hint at the innate cruelty of the Germans into the bargain.


#12

Right-on analysis! I didn't read your post when I essentially commented stating similar things. This is a really regrettable item from Margolis. He's probably having lunch with Victoria Nuland and Susan Rice.


#13

Eric, not Robert.


#14

Thanks, I'll change it.


#15

From the very beginning, the goal of the EU and IMF (with a little help from Goldman Sachs) has been to wrest control of Greece's vast, untapped offshore oil and gas reserves from its rightful owners, the Greek state. The troika will then sell exploitation rights to Anglo (read: not Chinese, not Russian) oil companies for pennies on the dollar, and apply the resulting pittance as "partial" payment on the country's debt.

Am I surprised Herr Margolis failed to mention this? Not really.


#16

Social transfers as a percentage of GDP in OECD countries. latest stats. This the percentage of total GDP going to thing like pensions and poverty relief programs.

Sweden 31.3 percent
France 28.7 percent
Germany 27.3
Denmark 27.3
Austria 26.1
A number of other european countries all higher before we get to Greece.
Greece 21.3

Of those expenditures in Greece the single largest is 12.3 percent or over 50 percent for old age pensions.

Mr Margolis suggests that old people on pension surrender their pensions to the Bankers. This is what "austerity" is all about. The Greek elderly must have less so the bankers can have more and I would point out Germany spends a lot more of GDP on Social spending than does Greece.

This is how Colonialism worked. The wealth of the Colonies was transferred from those countries to the richer countries so as to support a higher standard of living in those richer countries. The workers in the Colonies had the output of their labor stolen .The MONEY being lent to Greece has nothing to do with "hard working Germans producing goods as the lazy Greeks lay at the beach". Money is created out of nothing by the banking system and is not created as a measurement of "hard work" or even "value of goods produced". This money , created out of nothing , is being used to steal the wealth created by the workers labor in the way of interest payments,

It is the persons in control of the capital and the money supply that are the leeches and not the Greek working class.

Oh and might I finally add as rebuttal to the Bullcrap being offered here by Mr Margolis.

The average Greek works 2042 hours per year.
The average German works 1371 hours per year.

The average American works 1790 hours per year.

What advice i might offer the Greeks is "beware of bankers bearing gifts"


#17

Typical liberal capitalist crap from a typical Toronto liberal capitalist Canuck.

What the hell is this pathetic commentary doing here?


#19

"They must be made to pay taxes – at bayonet point if necessary." Eric Margolis.

That statement reminds me of the one that Largarde made a few years back about the Greek people needing to pay their share of income taxes, "They need to step up is how I think she put it.
Then someone reminder her that as a member of the UN, she pays no income taxes on her I think it is $450,000 dollar salary? Oops!
She did however apologize for that little error, but still pays no income taxes. Oops again!


#20

"Hey, Eric, how about putting a bayonet in the backs of your corporate friends in the U. S. and Europe and make them pay their taxes."

Good, good, good, I like it!


#21

And now we know that most of this article was nothing more than wishful thinking ...


#22

OK, a correction - Margolis is technically a USAn - but better known for his Toronto Sun tabloid columns, his Canadian vitamin cocompany, and spends most of his time in Canada. And I'm using "liberal" in the classic economic sense.


#23

Mr. Margolis, is giving an Oscar winning performance as the south end of a north bound jackass. Though he may be edged out for the Oscar by MSNBC's own Morning Ho and his crew of political brown nosers!