Saturday, August 6, 2016

Lull Before The Storm?

"The relative calm in Greece this summer compared to last year’s chaos may lead outside observers to believe that the country’s financial problems are on their way to being resolved. After all, the national government, led by the far-left Syriza party, seems committed to implementing the bailout program it signed last year. And negotiations are already under way for a deal on debt relief" - writes Yannis Palaiologos in the WSJ.

Well, as an 'outside observer', I would agree with this assessment. Where I used to post an article every other day or so, I am now moving towards every other week or so. The recent change in the electoral law and the planned changes in the constitution have perhaps awakened some interest temporarily but it quickly faded away. And the refugee crisis has become sort of quiet, too.

Luckily, there is still Yanis Varoufakis who is always good for some excitement. His Plan X of the spring of 2015 had hit the headlines again because of what Prof. James Galbraith had written in a book about it. This prompted a letter to the Ekathimerini by 23 'US-educated Greeks' taking this Plan X apart. Which, in turn, prompted a response letter to the Ekathimerini by Prof. Galbraith where he demonstrated that the 23 Greeks had not done their homework. Finally, The Moral Apostle Varoufakis had to sum up the situation with a message from the moral high ground titled "Let's talk about academic-journalistic ethics, shall we?"

Well, that was entertaining and it reminded me how much more fun it was when Varoufakis was around to demonstrate how easy it was to run an economy into the ground (except for those who were run into the ground).

Joking aside, I spoke with my friend Yiannis in Thessaloniki in preparation for our return to Greece later this month. I told him how happy I was to see that things in Greece had seemingly stabilized and become 'quiet'. Yiannis laughed at me and told me it was high time to come to Greece to find out what the situation was really like. Yes, he said, the situation seems stabilized and quiet but he warned that this was only the lull before the storm and that the storm would break out soon.

Well, I look forward to hearing more about the upcoming storm from Yiannis.


  1. Can you provide a link to the expression of disapproval of "Plan-X" by the "23 US-educated Greeks"? Was it reported by Ekathimerini. (They tend NOT to publish full texts of such documents, don't they?)

    1. I noticed that there was something wrong with my links and I corrected it. The letter you are interested in is here:

    2. there is a link on the DiEM25 website.

  2. I don't see a lull, but I don't see a storm either. What I see is a continuation of what has been happening for the past 6-7 years: Greece being unable to grow it's exports, and hence the state's attempts to run a surplus squeezing the private economy. Obviously the world economy is very weak and out of whack, while the Eurozone continues to be in turmoil. That's all.

  3. A lull in the storm? Yes, it is August, Syriza & Co are on rotating duties, each coming in a few days to throw a stink bomb or a comforter on the people, who mostly don't care.
    Tsipras try to convince the rest of Club Med that they can all get debt relief if they stick together (never strong on math).
    Dendas will declare Hellenikon an archaeological site. The land because Alexander is buried there and the buildings because Greeks invented flying (Ikarus). There are rumors that Piraeus port will be declared an archaeological site because of the battle of Salamina. Skourletis won't sell the 17% PPC shares, and states that it is official government policy.
    Elena Kountoura bombards us with percentages of rising tourist arrivals and revenues, ex. arrivals from Turkmenistan have gone up by xx% and revenue by yy%.
    Mouzalas has not mentioned the M country for a while.
    Katrougalos says that there will be nor pension cuts neither worker firings in his lifetime (he's got life's like a cat, this is the fourth time).
    Dritsas promise all islands exemption of all taxes (it was a condition for spending his holidays on Santorini).
    Flambouraris (Minister of State for Coordinating Government Operations) has not said a word (wise).
    That was only the gossip, I shall leave the more existential problems to you,like "what do they intend to live from in the future"?
    Presently the only growth industries are human smuggling, tax evasion, black work and APS offering reading of your future in coffee grounds.
    Welcome back, es gibt viel zu tun, hauen wir ab.