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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Frances Coppola Hits the Nail on the Head. Finally!

Frances Coppola declares that she has come 'off the fence' and writes this outstanding article:

The ECB is irrelevant and the Euro is a failure

My comment to this article is below.

"This is an outstanding analysis! Had you come 'off the fence' earlier, I would not have misinterpreted many of your opinions which, to me, focused far too much on monetary policies and instruments. European elites are always quick to criticize Americans when they intend to introduce the American way of life to other cultures. They accuse Americans of lack of cultural understanding and sensibility. What we have seen in recent years is a dramatic lack of cultural understanding and sensibility WITHIN Europe; certainly within the Eurozone. (Lord) Ralf Dahrendorf said in a 1995-interview with Der Spiegel the following: "The common currency project drills the countries to German behavior, but not all countries want to behave like Germans do. For Italy, periodic devaluations are much more useful than a fixed exchange rate and for France, higher government expenditures are more meaningful than a rigid adherence to stability criteria (which are, above all, an advantage for Germany). Yes, France and Italy go along with German demands if for no other reason than national pride. However, the price for that is very high and it could soon become apparent that it is too high - psychologically, politically and economically...The idea of a common currency union is a big mistake, an adventurous, reckless and mistaken goal which will will not unite Europe but, instead, divide it".
I have been married to a Greek for almost 40 years but only since my retirement 3+ years ago have I spent more time there; about half of the year. And I am only beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to understanding 'how Greeks tick'. Instead of understanding how individual cultures tick and adapting to it, EU-elites have put a value judgement on it: 'if you don't tick the way we think is right, then you have to change'. Good luck! Just a Greek problem? Well, have the French, the Italians, the Austrians, even the Germans - have they radically changed their cultures in the last 100 years? You hit the nail on the head when you said "You can’t overturn tribal and cultural identities that go back thousands of years at the stroke of a few politicians’ pens".

I link below an excerpt from The Encylopedia Britannica 1911 (!) describing Greek mentalities and cultures. Everyone is invited to judge how much those mentalities and cultures have changed in the last 100 years. And now we are expecting that they will change within a few years? And all of that because of the wonderful unifying currency called Euro?"

Encyclopedia Britannica 1911


  1. I don't have any problem with the view of Coppola or with your comments, except for one thing: it is a mistake to conflate the disaster of the eurozone and Greece's economic problems and cultural patterns. To be clear: the eurozone would be a disaster anyway, without Greece, because France and the European Commission (with the tacit agreement of Germany and others) decided to reject the advice of their expert economic commission on the eurozone (which insisted on narrow criteria, so that economies were similar) and instead chose to construct an empire currency, thinking in their Grand Delusion that it could replace the dollar as the global reserve currency. This is the triumph of politics and reckless ambition over professionalism and expertise.

    Greece on the other hand was always a basket case -- partly for the same reason, that is the primacy of politics over economic and social progress. It survived as a peripheral parasite state over recent decades -- sucking out EU funds (and spending them illegally and non-usefully), with large deficit financing funded by international borrowing, and worsening with access to the eurozone money market. Corruption worsened with greater access to foreign money after 1981, and for Greeks this is all quite normal. They actually think that this is how an economy should function -- by stealing, cheating, breaking contracts, giving jobs and contracts to your relatives and friends regarldess of their ability...

    So, has anything changed since 2009? Not much. More awareness of prices, as the country is in economic depression and crisis; a little more care with household expenditure and business costs... That's about it. Structurally, almost nothing has changed. The state institutions are still corrupt and incompetent (especially tertiary education), the schools have very low standards; the IKA clinics are now all closed and the hospitals and hospital pharmacies in severe crisis; the private sector has been bankrupted to the extent of 40% of businesses. And to top it all, ordinary Greek attitudes have changed not one bit. They are just more xenophobic and oscillate between national humiliation and arrogance.

    Greece is not going to escape the mess it is in, following its current trajectory.

  2. Well, Xenos certainly saved me some work. Sometimes some of the Greek principles works, "don't do it today, somebody will do it for you tomorrow". I could not have said it so clear and short. To be more succinct than Xenos, one would have to say that, "Greeks do not have an economic or political problem, they have a problem with their moral values". In short, all we have done is in vain, new economic systems, new political parties. The latest new party (To Potami) has just today published their first concrete suggestion on how to get Greece out of the mess "free lunch for all school children". Well, I don't think that it will save Greece, and I think they are running out of "host animals", but, keep talking Greece.

  3. This was the worst analysis i have ever read. (and yours together) With analysis of the economic data only to have a political conclusion.
    I accept the cultural perception ( The Britannica article) and the meaning you are giving, but as an element of analysis is the only basic principle to explain that eg Greeks in 1911 are the same with those in 2014?
    Greece only geographically formed as it is today after 1947 and after a civil war!
    Today its not the point if euro designed poorly because of different cultures collide but if practical issues are resolved according to the needs of each country, under always a european framework. E.g Austria has the same needs- policy in energy issues with Greece?Do you know that around 4 mil Greeks do not have access to natural gas today?
    Finally, a personal observation, Ralf Dahrendorf has made three marriages, Klaus Kastner as understand, one, both succesful professionally and with good representations of organised states.

    1)the quality of the principles under which a state was builded (founding principles) 2) personal element-character.
    3)Personal element- character in other words wise leadership make 1) to become reality.
    4)We need a leader. As a leader i would choose KK not RD


  4. To understand why Europe is in such a mess, and Greece at the cutting edge of the catastrophe, one has only to read the moronic utterances of leading politicians. They represent simultaneously low IQ combined with malevolent manipulation of popular opinion. Here is the latest piece of lying excresence:

  5. Lets assume the Euro is a failure ... any idea how to rollback it whitout leaving the Germans broke ?
    Ms Merkel surely will be happy when we turn the IT/SP/FR debt into Lira/Pesetas/Franc paper... good luck trying to make this show up well in the balance books.
    Willing or not the Germans now are in exactly like the Italian/Spain/France. Unrolling the Euro is the same as taking a haircut on the IT/SP/FR bonds: they may as well start talking about this.
    (Forgot: we are in a election year so maybe next year...)