Thursday, July 2, 2015

My Big Fat Greek Debt Crisis

When I lived in Argentina during the economic and financial crisis of the 1980s, I made an interesting observation. The Argentine economy and its problems were at least as complex as Greece's are today. And yet, a taxi driver could plausibly explain everything during only one trip from the airport to downtown Buenos Aires.

The video below shows the Greek equivalent of the Argentine taxi driver. In fact, he is a Greek-Australian. In only 3:47 minutes he explains what Greece's problems are all about.

My Big Fat Greek Debt Crisis


  1. Yes, I agree with almost all of that -- except the bit about not forgiving the Greek debt. But this is a technical issue, and I am advocating only partial forgiveness and more restructuring/rescheduling.

    However, you will note that he did not criticise the Syriza government, while correctly attacking Pasok and ND. The Germans are still trying to bring back the corrupt politicians such as Samaras -- for the simple reason that Syriza is pushing for policy changes that make sense for Europe as well as Greece. The corrupt political party members remain wealthy and influential, and are a very large part of the YES campaign. Austerity economics had a small impact on their lives, especially as they were the first to take their money out of Greece.

    I suspect that the referendum will divide along class lines, except for the whining pensioners who think that their pensions should be paid in cash and not to bank accounts. This is part of the refusal of change that the taxi driver is talking about.

    1. One hallmark of older adults - and especially the elderly - is that it becomes much, much harder for them to adapt to new developments and adopt new technologies. It is not their fault - it is a consequence of the slow cognitive decline that people undergo as they age. Calling them "whining pensioners" is off-base, and ignores decades of research into human factors.

    2. The problem with your tolerant position is that Europe is rapidly turning into an open air old people's home, where the pensioners are exerting more political influence than the younger generation. Greece was always a gerontocracy, and it always irritated me to be called a "boy" at 40, that young people were told to know their place, while the older generation (in politics, but also in business) quietly embezzled money. But this is actually happening in the UK, now -- with many people on pensions taking home more money than those actually in work doing similar jobs.

      So, regardless of the ageing handicap, I take the view that old people either participate fully in society or are the recipients of goodwill and charity in their old age. Many seem to expect to shape social and political decision making, make no contribution to anything, while actually impeding resolution of problems through their refusal to change behaviour.

    3. Once more: It is not a refusal. It is a cognitive inability to make the kind of changes and adaptations you are asking them for. One day you'll be that age yourself. There is a good chance that you will acquire a disability yourself at some point in your life - statistically, the chance is 1 in 2. Maybe, if this comes to pass, by then you will not be so dismissive anymore.

      Yes, the imbalance between old and young is a huge demographic time bomb, made worse by the face that the pension systems are not sustainable, as you correctly point out by stating that some pensioners make more than people working in similar jobs.

      Incidentally, that seems familiar. Whose country's pension system was tagged as not sustainable all along in the negotiations between Greece and the EU, ECB, and IMF? We can't have it both ways - rail against pensioners' reliance on society, and denounce attempts to make the Greek pension system sustainable. Ultimately, we need find a way to make the system sustainable without excessively burdening the payers (in Greece's case right now the EU taxpayers when all is said and done). I don't have any answers. But I do have to say that I find it disturbing to read your comments as to how Greece is getting screwed by the EU, ECB and IMF, and then turn around and point fingers at a convenient scapegoat in turn.

    4. @Anonymous. There is no scapegoating here. I am pointing to an objective problem that old people just have to face. There are difficulties in old age, and these should be understood. On the other hand, the elderly will have to learn how to accept change. This is as much a matter of will as the other things that you mention.

      FYI, I am not far from the retirement age myself. I worry about how my generation will be treated if we do not make a big effort to fit into the broad society.

    5. Hi Xenos,

      I sometimes wonder if i will ever retire at the rate that the age limit keeps going up. Right as speak, the new request being made is 67 because going ealry retirement will be economically suicidal by then. Im 40 so i have another 27 years Figure they will pump that number up to 75. So i have another 35 years. I have worked for 17 years in Greece and 7 (part time) in the USA, on the books. But i have been working since 10. 2 saturdays out of the month my father would take me to his work to do the most crap jobs out there. It is why am an engineer and i have no quwams about working a garbage man. No job is unhonorable. Doing those meaningless jobs lead to my success and the privelage of having workers in the factory to look me in the eye. Because i know their pain.

      I sometimes wonder when i am 60-65 or 75 if i will have someone like myself who will pity me enough to understand that i can't work as hard as 25-50 year old?


    6. @V: Yes, I share your views. I do not expect to retire, so the retirement age is a fiction. I do not wish to retire, but age does slow one down and also limit the number of hours for working.

      Interestingly, in the UK the age discrimination is so bad that anyone over 50 is very unlikely to get a decent job. The reason seems to be partly as you state -- that they want to exploit people and older people are less able to be exploited -- and partly because managers fear people with actual ability and experience. We have moved far away from a meritocratic society: doing as you are told, for medium pay, is far more useful than being highly skilled and arguing with the senior managers.

      This is a large part of the explanation of why banks have damaged the global economy so badly: they prioritised efficiency (that is, following orders and making a quick buck) over informed strategy and economic expertise. I remember well being told by merchant bankers how their research division had no economists in it, but all had PhDs in mathematics and computing -- in order to construct the formulae for complex derivatives and trick the world out of money in the billions or trillions.

      One could call this criminal behaviour; it seems that neoliberal politicians do not. Instead, they use taxpayers' money to prop up the banks that engaged in these crooked games. And Greece is the first country that has been brought to its knees through the alliance between politicians and banks.

      Of course, there is much culpability of Greek governments of the past -- but did you notice that the Troika prefer to attack Tsipras (who had nothing to do with this) rather than the ND and Pasok politicians responsible? indeed, they seem intent on bringing Samaras back into power, merely because they can control him more easily. Varoufakis is hated, because he understands economics better than any finance minister in the EU. Again, the opposition to meritocracy that is now prevailing.

  2. This video is no langer available........

    1. It works when I click the link.

    2. You have to wait quite some time for a second feed to connect, it seems, once you are on the page.

  3. Mr. Kastner,

    Well Karamanlis made his speech. Nothing greater than a warning. No plan. But the news coming in is astounding. If you couple this speech with the rumors of the new possible Russia/Greco plan, do you believe we (Greece) are at the middle of geopolitical game? This speech coming from a former prime minster who backed down in the end because he was going to be "removed" by the CIA, for collaborating with Russia in 2005-2008 for the then pipeline and possible silver backed currency?

    What is your opinion? I would like to know. Economical collapse is one thing becoming the USA's new cuba is another.


    1. Obama has been heavily involved with the Greek situation since Syriza came into power. Quite what his role is, I don't know -- but it is unlikely to be encouragement of Greece to leave the euro and do deals with Russia!

    2. @ V
      Only recently was I made aware of the fact that US financial institutions have, by far, the largest exposure to Greek banks. They stand at over 10 BEUR whereas France, the next one, stands at 5 BEUR. This could well be hedge funds with whom one does not need to have sympathy but even a failing hedge fund can cause trouble. This might explain partially why the US is so concerned.

      I don't think Greece can politically become the next Cuba for the US. Greeks are far too divided a people. Observing almost 200 years of history, I fail to see how Greeks can ever show a united front in any cause, certainly not as far as Russia is concerned. Greeks were haggling with one another even during the War of Liberation! The Russians don't like to have potential trouble-makers as partners.

      But Greece can definitely become the economic Cuba of Europe (figuratively speaking): low domestic economic value creation; dependent on 'gifts' from abroad. But maybe one day Greeks will have the enlightening which the Castros of Cuba are having for some time now, namely that good relations which countries which can make foreign investments and whose citizens can spend tourist money, even if they are of a different ideology, is a prudent strategy.

    3. Mr. Kastner,

      Financial Institutions aside from the IMF? Who are they? Or are the banks or investment firms invested into the IMF?

      Hedge funds. Can you give me quick explination of hedge funds 101?

      I do not understand what is there to gain when you hedge billions on a grexit or you hedge on a stable greece. How do you make money on this in one direction or another? If there are hedges for a grexit some other hedge losses respectively? This all comes in to play with cds and derivatives? Which i have no clue about.

      Truly, this financialization is really confusing to say the least.

      As for your comments on Greece. We have been fighting each other since ancient times. Like i said we were successful back then because there we less opponents. Nice observation of greece for russia and the usa. very true. Which also ratifies the fact that our place is within the eu, aside from the current events.

      We had a discussion here in one of the offices today. The difference bewteen Greece and cyrpus is that Cyrpians unite in difficult times. Greeks do not. If we do not unite now or at least a large majority we can not make headway. Sometimes i feel like a one of those ship workers pulling the trireme across the corithian delta of ancient times. Even though the load rests on the few, our efforts do not go in vain.

      There are alot of poor people in Greece and am sure you are aware of this. Do we not have a responsibility for them? They are not all freeloaders, they are simple people whom simple lost their jobs.

      I was speaking last night with my land lady. Owner of the apartment i live in, to give her the electronic deposit receipt for the rent. She began to tear. She is a sweet old lady of 83, who has worked all her life with her husband to create something, meanwhile both her children who have their own families are both unemployeed. The live on her rents and pension. She confides in me because she does not want to express her distress or weakness to her children and family. She has become the literal backbone of the family. She told me crying, that in ww2 was much better because there was one goal. Find food and avoid patrols. The only thing you feared was dying. She cried, now this new war leaves her completely helpless and would certainly prefer the feelings of dying of ww2. She is scared for her life because both choices given are bad and worse al while being helpless. She asked me what to do. I supported her with lame-ass everyday sayings to remain strong and to stop watching the tv. I then told her that she can depend on me to receive her rent from me as long I have my stable job 1st of the month as always. She screamed crying! YES BUT I CAN'T ACCESS MY MONEY! Can't describe the distress of the lady and did my best to remain strong for her. I told this will all end soon and to have some patience. What else could i tell her. Just wanted to tell you on the above.


    4. NYT writes about investments of 10 Bio€ only from american hedgefonds:
      May other financial istitutions add up?

    5. I now found the reference and I was wrong about France. US financial institutions come first with 11,8 billion. Then UK financial institutions with 8,4 billion. Finally, German financial institutions with 5 billion (all in USD). All the others are peanuts.

  4. And now - a message from the Honorable President of the European Parliament, German Martin Schulz.
    Greece needs a "technocratic government" after Yes vote
    President of the European Parliament, German Martin Schulz has callled for Alexis Tsipras to resign and be replaced by technocrats if Greeks decide to vote 'Yes' on Sunday.

    Mr Schulz, speaking to German paper Handelsblatt said his faith in Syriza had reached "rock bottom" and Mr Tsipras displayed the traits of a "demagogue".

    "New elections would be necessary if the Greek people vote for the reform programme and thus for remaining in the eurozone and Mr Tsipras, as a logical consequence, resigns."

    "If this transitional government reaches a reasonable agreement with the creditors, then Syriza's time would be over. Then Greece has another chance."

    Mr Schulz added that Mr Tsipras was: "unpredictable and manipulates the people of Greece, in a way which has almost demagogical traits."

    "My faith in the willingness of the Greek government to negotiate has now reached rock bottom".
    Telegraph - UK

    1. I find it absolutely disgusting that this asshole (who is supposed to represent all the peoples of Europe) should speak like this about an elected government.

      It is time that Germans were put in their place. They are lucky to still have their country, and nobody will ever forget the horrors that they perpetrated on the world.

      Schulz should be kicked out of the Parliament before he brings it into complete disrepute.

  5. Bunker News!

    PM eyes deal after ‘no’ vote, otherwise retreat

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sought to appear upbeat on Thursday as campaigning got under way ahead of Sunday’s referendum on proposals by Greece’s creditors,
    Referendum divides coalition partner

    A serious rift appeared within the ranks of the junior coalition party Independent Greeks (ANEL) over the upcoming referendum on Thursday, with party leader Panos Kammenos ejecting one MP who said he would vote “yes” to proposals by creditors.
    Athens mayor warns Greeks against rejecting Europe

    Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis called for unity on Thursday, ahead of a critical referendum on Sunday but also stressed the dangers that a vote against the creditors’ proposals could have on Greece’s future prospects
    Greek shipping companies are eyeing Cyprus as a safer harbor

    A number of Greek shipowners have in recent days been examining the option of setting up subsidiaries in Cyprus, in an effort to shield themselves from a further heightening of the financial and banking crisis in Greece.
    Islanders witness the first shortages

    Problems are growing for Greek tourism enterprises as a result of the government’s decision last week to call a referendum.
    The world according to Tsipras

    Whatever the government predicted turned out wrong, and now, at the last moment, instead of trying to deal with the consequences of his mistakes, Alexis Tsipras is attempting to distort our reality. The prime minister and his government are like fabulists who, when they are caught out, resort to ever greater tales to cover their previous ones. After the failure of his plan to throw off the yoke of creditors while continuing to take their money, Tsipras now tells us that the result of the referendum that he called – in which the country’s future depends on how the dice will fall – will have no consequences.

    In the world according to Tsipras, a “no” vote will strengthen his hand in negotiations with creditors. If Greece finds itself out of the eurozone, perhaps even the European Union, and if the Greek economy collapses, it will not be the fault of the prime minister and his government but rather of evil foreigners and their local lackeys who campaign for a “yes” to further negotiations. In this world, “no” does not mean a rift with our partners but rather a return to a Europe of principles. It is as if we are called to believe that by setting ourselves on fire we will make our partners better people and everyone will be a winner.

    It is not rare in history for a distorted view of reality to lead to mass self-destruction. Now that Greece is in the company of countries that defaulted on the International Monetary Fund (Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe), a story from South Africa in the mid-19th century may come in useful. At the time, a leader of the Xhosa tribe, which was in continual warfare with white settlers, believed a prophecy that if his people killed all their cattle and destroyed all their crops, their dead warriors from the past would rise up and join them in driving the white people into the sea. This act of self-destruction, though, did not save the Xhosa. Within two years, more than 40,000 of them had starved to death and, instead of getting rid of the settlers, the rest found themselves at their mercy.

  6. And by the way, Klaus, this last post by Anonymous at 7.27 PM, July 2, has NOTHING AT ALL to do with your article. It is blatant propaganda and troublemaking against Greece. You should be ashamed to allow your blog being taken over by these crooks.

    1. Let me be perfectly clear on one point: there may be commentators who make comments unrelated to an article and there may be commentators who make propaganda (like yourself) but there is, to the best of my knowledge, only one commentator who uses foul and absolutely unacceptable language; of late calling people assholes.

      Make up your mind as to who should be ashamed of himself here.

    2. I don´t do propaganda. I do - my own view and facts. It is in the borderlands of views and facts things can happen - and that is Europe's big advantage - between east and west we search for the best mix.
      Hopefully that is still allowed in Greece context - and hopefully one can speak freely with an open mind.
      I post exclusively info that I personally find interesting and thinks could be of public interest too.
      I am a private citizen in Europe with no affiliations - I am not into politics - just an interest for matters at hand in Greece - and the bigger global context it stands in.
      I don´t want to provoke bad feelings - Greece is a nice beautiful - sometimes magic country - I have been there several times - that belong to the European context.
      If somehow some of my posts are unrelated - or out of place - I trust Mr. Kastner won´t publish. (That has happen.)

      There is surely - at any time - much good will for Greece in Europe - when they can gather round the project to make a better day.
      Greece is on the brink - with young and educated people emigrating - and at present just a chaos.
      Eurozone and EU:s time will come - but it is now time for Greece to help themselves and you will have all support you want.
      Personally I think this will not be done through socialism - been there, done that - but rather ordinary people gathering in a context that initiate free enterprise and personal development in a new an innovative way.

      “Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.”
      Nikos Kazantzakis - Zorba the Greek


    3. @Klaus: it says something about personal values, whether one considers strong language to be more important than upholding basic decency and democratic principles. The language I have used is commonplace and acceptable across society, although not always in public. It is far from polite, because I think the people who are damaging Europe do not deserve any respect or politeness at all. I realise that as a former banker you are not accustomed to speaking openly and rudely about those with power. That is a luxury that independent commentators possess, and in my view the world is a better place for the honesty attached to it.

      Unlike many of your contributors here, some of whom seem to be deranged, I have NEVER posted propaganda. Nor will I do so.

      I am very tolerant of different viewpoints, but I am not tolerant of abuse of power and propaganda -- wherever it comes from. As I have told you before, if you want your blog to be a propaganda site for neoliberal far right views, then you could have the honesty to say so. You should have noticed that, unlike many other blogs, there is a preponderance of very right wing views here.

    4. There are many places in the internet where you can easily insult other people with dirty words. If you succeed insulting him, the discussion usually switch from open and fact based toward violating and totally ignorant.
      I am glad that this is a place where the host, Klaus Kastner, takes care for civilized manner so we can have a fair tempered discussing place to exchange facts and personal opinions, not violating insults.
      Starting with dirty words and insults (I finished counting the number of your propagandistic, even rassistic insults toward Germany) is the contrary of tolerance. If you dont feel it, please try to temper down yourself and switch the mental clothes. Sometimes that help to understand.

    5. Really, Xenos?

      "I am very tolerant of different viewpoints, but I am not tolerant of abuse of power and propaganda -- wherever it comes from."

      -- That is lie number one. Your behavior is the opposite of tolerance. You constantly belittle, abuse, and put down people who profess a viewpoint that does not fit within your biases. Everything that does not fit a leftist worldview is quasi automatically labeled as propaganda by you, and accompanied by all kinds of personal attacks. It's Klaus's blog, so if he lets you comment, more power to him, but I can state right here and now that I sign blog comments with my real name everywhere else. The only reason I do not do this here is because of specifically you and your constant abuse of others.

      "Unlike many of your contributors here, some of whom seem to be deranged, I have NEVER posted propaganda. Nor will I do so. "

      -- And that is lie number two. Let's take the Oxford dictionary definition:

      "Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature,"

      -- Check, fits your behavior with triple exclamation marks. (Everyone of course has his or her own bias, but many have enough humility to recognize this.)

      "used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view"

      -- Check, fits your behavior with triple exclamation marks again.

      I have a Greek wife and children with dual citizenship. I've lived in Greece for years, but left after it became apparent that perpetual budgets cuts were the only "reforms" that successive Greek governments were capable of accomplishing. I have a lot of respect for both Klaus's and KTG's blogs, even though I do not always agree with them. I have a lot of respect for most commenters on both blogs, even the ones where I feel like banging my head on the table for their logic and chain of argument. That is because they are able to present an honest, heartfelt viewpoint without resorting to the kinds of insults and personal attacks that you do. I'm here to learn, to keep tabs on what is going on in Greece - especially with all the worry we have about my in-laws -, and it has gotten to the point where your tirades detract from the value of both KTG's and Klaus's blog posts.

    6. @Anonymous. You are accusing me of being a liar. This is highly insulting and incorrect. I have no doubt that I am the most honest person you have ever conversed with; I do not lie, to the point of its being a defect.

      Now, you may not agree with my analysis of the situation, you may not like what I say or the way in which I say it, but they are not lies.

      And I do not engage in propaganda. Full stop. I am sorry that you do not understand what I am saying: I can only presume that you are the sort of person who is more concerned with formalities than with substance. That is a mirror image of my own personality and I do conflict professionally and personally with people of the conformist variety. What you describe as "tirades" are a genuine belief that we are going through a terrible period of European history, with mostly Germans shaping the mistakes, stubbornly refusing to listen to more competent opinions and not gasping their errors.

      AS for your not signing your name here, I have never approached or harassed anyone from internet activity, other than to send a polite email. On the contrary, I and others have many times been harassed -- especially by the far right.

      I apologise if my posts are of no value to you. I suggest that you pay no attention, if that is the case. It does not give you the right to try to lecture me.

  7. I.M.F. Says Greece Needs Debt Relief, but Blames Government Lapses - NYT Times July 2, 2015

    No doubt the Yes/No media will use it to bolster their respective cases - but will it change anyone's vote, or encourage them to vote or not ?

  8. Interesting... much is up my alley - but there is more to it.
    Change is on its way - maybe in about two years or so - things are ready.

    Mises Weekends
    Patrick Barron: The Greek Crisis and the Impossibility of the Euro

    Patrick Barron on Mises Weekends

    July 2, 2015Patrick Barron - Jeff Deist

    Patrick and Jeff discuss European integration, which pits creditor nations like Germany against hapless debtors like Greece under the yoke of the Eurozone. With the Euro operating as a political project rather than a real currency, spendthrifts like Greece chronically find themselves unable to service debt. Greece, says Patrick, represents an example of Say's Law in action and a clear refutation of Keynes's belief that creating artificial demand via cheap credit stimulates production.

    Think Greece can't happen here? Look no further than California, with its public pension crisis and huge debts.

    If you're looking for a sober and hard-hitting analysis of what's really at issue in Greece, stay tuned for a great discussion with Patrick Barron.
    (23 min audio interview)

    Greece illustrates 150 years of socialist failure in Europe

    Greece cannot pay its debts...ever. Nor can several other members of the European Union. That's why Europe's elite are loath to place Greece in default. If Greece is allowed to abrogate its debts, why should any of the other debtor members of the EU pay up? The financial consequences of massive default by most of the EU members is hard to predict, but it won't be pretty. Europe has built a financial house of cards, and the slightest loss of confidence will bring it crashing down.

    The tragedy of Europe has socialism at its core. Europe has flirted with socialism since the late nineteenth century. Nineteenth century Bismarckian socialism produced two world wars. Leninist socialism slaughtered and enslaved hundreds of millions until it collapsed, mercifully without a third world war. Yet, not to be deterred, in the ashes of World War II Europe's socialists embarked on a new socialist dream. If socialism fails in one country, perhaps it will succeed if all of Europe joined a supranational socialist organization. Oh, they don't call what has evolved from this dream "socialism", but it is socialism nonetheless.

    Socialism will not work, whether in one country, a multi-state region such as Europe, or the entire world. Ludwig von Mises explained that socialism is not an alternative economic system. It is a program for consumption. It tells us nothing about economic production. Since each man's production must be distributed to all of mankind, there is no economic incentive to produce anything, although there may be the incentive of coercion and threats of violence. Conversely, free market capitalism is an economic system of production, whereby each man owns the product of his own labors and, therefore, has great economic incentives to produce both for himself, his family, and as surplus goods to trade for the surplus product of others. Even under life and death threats neither the socialist worker nor his overseer would know what to produce, how to produce it, or in what quantities and qualities. These economic cues are the product of free market capitalism and money prices.

  9. I find it hilarious that Guest should attempt to censor a blog where he is-----------------------a guest. It's a bit like evicting the hosts guests from the party.

    1. I agree!
      To many people use their brains for game-play and control - and their uncultivated feelings for frustration and manipulation.
      Consciously or unconsciously.
      Being cultivated is to demonstrate mastery and channel oneself in a defined sensitive manner in a dance for two - preferably in an innovative way with contrasts.
      You have to games in the world - the Finite game - and the Infinite game.
      The first is all about quantities - the later is about qualities - and timing...

      Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall

      Through the corridors of sleep
      Past the shadows dark and deep
      My mind dances and leaps in confusion.
      I don't know what is real,
      I can't touch what I feel
      And I hide behind the shield of my illusion.
      So I'll continue to continue to pretend
      My life will never end,
      And flowers never bend
      With the rainfall.

      The mirror on my wall
      Casts an image dark and small
      But I'm not sure at all it's my reflection.
      I am blinded by the light
      Of God and truth and right
      And I wander in the night without direction.
      So I'll continue to continue to pretend
      My life will never end,
      And flowers never bend
      With the rainfall.

      It's no matter if you're born
      To play the King or pawn
      For the line is thinly drawn 'tween joy and sorrow,
      So my fantasy
      Becomes reality,
      And I must be what I must be and face tomorrow.
      So I'll continue to continue to pretend
      My life will never end,
      And flowers never bend
      With the rainfall.

    2. I really do not get your point. It seems to be some sort of made-up logic. Obviously, we are all guests here on Klaus's blog. Obviously, none of us can censor remarks, other than Klaus. These facts do not preclude anyone from stating an opinion on the matter.

      Or is your idea that power determines freedom to act, that those in control cannot be challenged on their conduct? That does seem to be the general belief across Europe now (as in the 1930s), and especially from certain countries. How history repeats itself.

  10. Now that the creditors reject IMF's latest report on greek debt sustainability, you can attach the taxi driver as proof.

    1. On the IMF report:

  11. As for the world according to Tsipras, hard to say.
    Mr. Tsipras is the born perjurer. When caught in a lie he will tell a bigger one to patch it up. This is not unusual in Greece, but the grand scale of it is truly unique. It may explain his popularity with the voters. To do something on a grand scale, as a nation, on the international scene, has always attracted Greeks. To return to the 5th century BC and the fame of the Republic of Athens has always been alluring for Greeks, it is however not healthy, you get yourself a megalo hangover when you open your eyes to the 21th century world.
    For me the most intriguing question is if he believes his own lies. Is he a cynic or just self-delusional? Is he like Jean-Claude Juncker? Who lies through his teeth, but who you can deal with knowing that you know that he know that------. Or is he totally living in his parallel world? Many Greeks spend considerable time in a parallel world, but are forced (by mundane things such as earning a living) to return to the real world in between. If Tsipras has been living in his parallel world all of his life, thereby denying reality, then I understand the various politicians who have given up negotiating with him.

  12. Halftrue propaganda buzz-pieces - is now blatant lies from Varoufakis.
    Since the 2007-08 financial crisis, 405,666 Greeks have left the country + everone that cannot vote = a lot of people that cannot vote.

    A reader in the Netherlands has sent us this. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister and president of the Eurogroup, spoke after the Dutch cabinet meeting today with regard to Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’ comments on a deal being in the offing.

    According to Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, Dijsselbloem called this “completely incorrect” and said: “He [Varoufakis] made that up completely. No new proposals have been sent to Athens,” adding: “We are not near a solution.”

    Many thanks for the translation to our reader in The Hague, Rik Remeijn.
    Google plus

    30m ago15:22

    At least half a million Greeks are unable to vote in the referendum – unless they return to the country before Sunday’s poll. Under Greek law, people must travel home to where they are registered for voting.

    Since the 2007-08 financial crisis, 405,666 Greeks have left the country, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical office.
    Guardian - LIVE

    Make no mistake - Eurozone and EU will go down in a couple of years - but that don´t excuse this government bad performance - with a socialistic gameplay nothingness in over 5 months which simply is not serious.
    The referendum is a political ploy to hide and save themselves behind.
    Behind their nice faces there are culture Marxism and big gov. plans for Europe.

  13. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says he’ll sign a deal on Monday either with “yes” or “no” vote; not an option for Greece to leave euro

    What a primadonna m*r*nic statement...on Planet Tsipras.
    Why not sign the deal last week - or last months...?
    What makes him thinks that things don´t change during this referendum period...???
    One thing for starters - the present government will not have trust or commitment to the whole thing.

    What a mess.

    Or even better - why didn´t this government create a real comprehensive action plan for to renovate Greece from the ground up and then went to Brussels (instead of catwalking) with a big big systemic commitment and put that on the table and said: This will we do - no more funny stuff - a total makover - and make the enterprises and economy vital again - position Greece for the future - give us your best support and write off a good deal of the debt!
    And they would have had it!

    Some clips from the Guardian - LIVE

    Whatever the referendum outcome, the ECB is unlikely to significantly increase ELA [emergency liquidity assistance to Greek banks] limits any time soon. Cyprus was able to gradually loosen capital controls because of a decisive and credible commitment to reform. This is not possible in Greece. Our latest scenario analysis suggests an exit probability of around 67%.
    Oxford Economics

    A ‘Yes’ vote: a semi-stable outcome at best.

    A ‘No’ vote would significantly increase the odds of Grexit, though some hopes remain that it could be avoided.

    The bank has also looked at the impact on financial markets.

    Clearly, markets are more in wait-and-see mode than in outright panic. Nevertheless, we expect the referendum to set the tone for next week, but whatever the result, we believe the markets are willing to move on to other issues, and we expect credit markets to normalise following the summer period.

    Economists at Société Générale


    Helen Smith in Athens writes:

    Sunday’s referendum has, almost overnight, turned into a fight for political survival for Syriza. The anti-austerity movement that took Europe by storm, when it was swept into power on the back of popular discontent in January, now faces an existential battle. “In Europe they want to squelch us because they only want one policy, the doctrine of neo-liberalism, to succeed,” the administrative reform minister Giorgos Katrougalos said earlier today.

    There is growing acceptance that prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ high-stakes gamble calling the referendum may well backfire. The “yes” vote has swelled in recent days as big name political and cultural figures have come out in support. If the outcome on Sunday is a massive turnout in support for the “yes” vote, it will augur political developments with Tsipras and his radical left Syriza party possibly even having to step down on Monday. If the vote is “no,” as the government has urged, Athens’ relationship will break down further. “They have made it clear Schauble, Merkel, and others that they don’t want to deal with us,” one minister told me requesting anonymity. “It is very difficult to say if we will be here on Monday. A lot is in Tsipras’ hands. Our biggest concern, now, is the division we are seeing [between the two camps] and how we are going to handle it.”

    Speculation was rampant on Friday that in the event of a resounding ‘yes’ a national unity government might have to be formed after the referendum possibly led by technocrats or figures outside the political arena. Athens’ mayor George Kaminis, a professor of constitutional law and Yannis Boutaris, the mayor of Thessakoniki, are possibilities.

    “It is very difficult to see a better agreement [emerging with creditors] in the event of a ‘no’ vote,” said the political commentator Alexis Papahelas. “A ‘yes’ vote is going to be difficult and the Europeans have made a lot of mistakes but it will at least keep us at the core of Europe.”
    (left-leaning paper for those of us who are propaganda sensitive)

    To top it off....

    Ironically, many Greeks who are no fans of the political opposition [backing the Yes campaign] and cast ballots in favour of prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza party in January, are now supporting the Yes campaign for fear that Athens’ relationship with Europe might otherwise be irreparably damaged.

    “I will be voting yes with a heavy heart but there is no other way,” said Anna Papandreou in what has become a commonly expressed sentiment in recent days.
    (left-leaning paper for those of us who are propaganda sensitive)

    Maybe a national unity government might be the absolutely best option after the referendum possibly led by technocrats or figures outside the political arena.
    I myself believe that some form of interim government - under maybe 5 years - where no politicians is included - but authorities and experts in different fields would manage and build the country and root out the corruption - would be an interesting prospect - if it was possible and under certain circumstances - but of course - it´s up to the Greeks.

    1. I wouldn't describe The Guardian as left, but that is not to dispute its reporting here. I think the situation has become crystal-clear, that the Germans will not make a deal of any sort with the current government, because they are completely hostile to its socio-economic priorities. In that case, it makes not a jot of different whether the result is NAI or OXI, because in either case Germany/Troika will refuse a deal in order to topple the government.

      Varoufakis has made absurd claims that he is 100% sure that the banks will open on Monday (or Tuesday). He seems to be relying on the determination of the Commission to cut a deal and the willingness of Tsipras to go along. This ignores the political determination of the German government to destroy Syriza.

      Of course, accepting the Troika proposals (and ignoring the suppressed technical report of the IMF that Greece needs a massive new loan) automatically consigns the Greek people to a form of slavery in perpetuity. The option presented to them is likely to be the one allegedly contained in the referendum -- accept our sucking your economic blood for decades or leave the European Union.

      As I keep on reminding people, this is a replay of the fascist period of the 1930s -- with modern variants. Germany will go down in history for yet another shameful episode in Europe, yet few in Germany (as during the Third Reich) seem to grasp the import of their views and actions.

  15. Surprises me that none of the pundits I've read are positing the referendum as a vote of confidence in Messrs Tsipras and Varoufakis - where Oxi is positive and Nay is negative.

    Is it anything other than that?