Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Perennial Greek Question: ποιος φταίει?

Every language has expressions which are difficult, if not impossible, to translate into other languages. The German "Gemütlichkeit" would be one of them. The Greek "φιλότιμο" would be another one.

When I first came to the US as a young student and when I was still brushing up my English, I couldn't find a translation for a phrase which most young people in German-speaking countries grew up with at the time: "Du bist schuld!" Literally translated, that would have meant "You are guilty!" but short of sending people to the electric chair, Americans didn't use that phrase. Instead, they would say "It's your fault!". The English translation of Dostoyevsky's famous novel is "Crime and Punishment". The German translation is "Schuld und Sühne" (Guilt and Repentance).

To accuse someone of his or her fault is a perfectly proper assignment of responsibility because it can be rationally discussed. To accuse someone of guilt is something which can destroy a personality over time because there can never be a rational discussion about that.

This was a long way of introducing a comment by an anonymous reader which I reproduce below. Its focus is on ποιος φταίει except that the author is rather clear as to whose guilt it really is.

"A closer look at the Eurozone shows imbalances building up from the very beginning—with money rushing into the periphery countries in the misguided belief that eliminating exchange rate risk had somehow eliminated all risk.

This illustrates one of the key flaws in the construction of the Eurozone: It was based on the belief that if only government didn’t mess things up—if it kept deficits below 3% of GDP, debt below 60% of GDP, and inflation below 2% per annum—the market would ensure growth and stability. Those numbers, and the underlying ideas, had no basis in either theory or evidence. Ireland and Spain, two of the worst afflicted countries, actually had surpluses before the crisis. The crisis caused their deficits and debt, not the other way around.

The hope was that fiscal and monetary discipline would result in convergence, enabling the single-currency system to work even better. Instead, there has been divergence, with the rich countries getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and within countries, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. But it was the very structure of the Eurozone that predictably led to this. The single market, for instance, made it easy for money to leave the banks of the weaker countries, forcing these banks to contract lending, weakening the weak further.

Economists assessing the prospects of a single currency arrangement some quarter century ago emphasized the importance of sufficient labor mobility and an adequately large common budget to buffer against shocks as well as sufficient economic similarity among the countries. But the euro took away two of the critical instruments for adjustment—the exchange and interest rates—and didn’t put anything in their place. There was no common deposit insurance, no common way of resolving problems in the banking sector, and no common unemployment insurance scheme.

Equally important, these early discussions ignored the importance of intellectual convergence: There is a huge gap in perceptions of what makes for good policies, especially between Germany and much of the rest of Europe. These differences are longstanding. Thus, the austerity policy—which Germany thought should have brought a quick return to growth—has failed miserably in virtually every country in which it has been tried. The consequences were predictable, and predicted by most serious economists around the world. So too, many of the particular structural reforms have actually weakened the countries on which they have been imposed, lowering growth and increasing their trade deficits.

So please get off this bandwagon that Greece and Greeks are responsible for their own failure because all evidence points to the exact opposite. The eurozone is failing miserably not Greece or the Greek people. What you are asking us to do in response to the crisis makes absolutely no sense to me. It only makes you(the austerity crowd) look better because you are responsible for the mess. And by you I mean the conservative part of Europe with its roots to monarchies and absolutism. You can't talk to the Greeks like you do because we are inherently free people; free of despotism and free of blind obedience for the benefit of the rulers. We don't like rulers in Greece; we are against ruling classes. O.k.?"

Well, Ok. But still: some form of a response ought to be permitted.

I observe that I have different answers to the above questions depending on the environment I am in. When I am in a 'Germanic' environment where everyone blames the Greeks for their terrible failure ("wasting our good tax payers' money"), I tend to argue like the anonymous commentator above. When I am in a Greek environment and when I get the victim's plea as above, or rather the assignment of guilt, I react differently.

There really isn't any specific point in the above comment which I could counterargue with substance. Yes, the Euro was an 'unfinished product' which was put into operation for political considerations far too soon. The EU itself, via the Delors Report of 1989, pointed that out. All the problems which the Euro later on ran into were spelled out in that report ("sudden stop", etc). One of the members of the Delors Commission (Karl Otto Pöhl, then president of the Bundesbank) later said: "When the report was formulated, I did not think that a monetary union would become reality in the foreseeable future. I thought perhaps sometime in the next hundred years. I thought it was improbable that other European countries would simply accept the model of the Bundesbank".

Ok, so we've settled that: the Euro was an unfinished product, some countries benefited from that and other countries suffered. And Greece suffered tremendously. And, in consequence, Greeks should rally in the call against the EU with the two most harmful words of the Greek language: εσύ φταις!

Such a call again the EU would appear even more justified when considering how much Greece had achieved without the EU in the half century prior to joining it:

"Greece’s average rate of growth for half a century (1929–1980) was 5.2 percent; during the same period Japan grew at only 4.9 percent. These numbers are more impressive if you take into consideration that the political situation in Greece during these years was anything but normal. From 1929 to 1936 the political situation was anomalous with coups, heated political strife, short-lived dictatorships, and a struggle to assimilate more than 1.5 million refugees from Asia Minor (about one-third of Greece’s population at the time). From 1936 to 1940 Greece had a rightist dictatorship with many similarities to the other European dictatorships of the time and during World War II (1940–1944). Greece was among the most devastated nations in terms of percentage of human casualties. Right after the end of the war a ferocious and devastating Civil War took place (in two stages: 1944 and 1946–1949) after an insurgency organized by the Communist Party. From 1949 to 1967 Greece offered a typical example of a paternalistic illiberal democracy, deficient in rule of law, and on April 21, 1967, a military junta took power and ruled Greece until July 1974, when Greece became a constitutional liberal democracy. The economy of Greece managed to grow despite wars, insurgencies, dictatorships, and a turbulent political life."

So that is quite a remarkable success story! Whoever interrupted or even halted it would deserve the blame of εσύ φταις! So let's read further on.

"Seven years after embracing constitutional democracy the nine (then) members of the European Community (EC) accepted Greece as its tenth member (even before Spain and Portugal). Why? It was mostly a political decision but it was also based on decades of economic growth, despite all the setbacks and obstacles. 

When Greece entered the EC, the country’s public debt stood at 28 percent of GDP; the budget deficit was less than 3 percent of GDP; and the unemployment rate was 2–3 percent.

But that was not the end of the story. Greece became a member of the European Community on January 1, 1981. Ten months later (October 18, 1981) the socialist party of Andreas Papandreou (PASOK) came to power with a radical statist and populist agenda, which included exiting the European Community. Of course nobody was so stupid as to fulfill such a promise. Greece, with PASOK in power, stayed in the EC but managed to change Greece’s political and economic climate in only a few years. 

Today’s crisis in Greece is mainly the result of PASOK's shortsighted policies, in two important respects: 

(a) PASOK's economic policies were catastrophic; they created a deadly mix of a bloated and inefficient welfare state with stifling intervention and overregulation of the private sector; and 

(b) The political legacy of PASOK was even more devastating in the long-term, since its political success transformed Greece’s conservative party (“New Democracy”) into a poor photocopy of PASOK. 

From 1981 to 2009 both parties mainly offered welfare populism, cronyism, statism, nepotism, protectionism, and paternalism. And so they remain. Today’s result is the outcome of a disastrous competition between the parties to offer patronage, welfare populism, and predatory statism to their constituencies."

So what is the answer to the question ποιος φταίει? I suppose like everything else in life: it depends on a combination of factors. Sometimes, it is more prudent to abdicate the search for the ultimate truth and focus on pragmatic solutions for a problem.

PS: the above quotes are taken from the paper "Greece as a precautionary tale of the welfare state" by Prof. Aristides Hatzis.


  1. Obviously Merkel is to blame when in 2008 she declared that there was no eurozone solidarity and every country was on their own. This gave the signal for the market wolves to attack and ravage Greece.

    Thankfully now Merkel is learning its place:

  2. You speak of who is to blame when there is undisputed evidence that the Berlin imposed austerity does not work and will never work?

    1. @ AnonymousMarch 18, 2017 at 2:44 PM
      Quote: "austerity does not work and will never work"
      You mean Greece is a failed state without foreign funding? Tough luck.


    2. Urs:

      Greece is an occupied state. Last I checked Greece was a remote province of the 4th Reich destroyed on purpose to send a message that resistance to Berlin is futile.

    3. @ Anonymous March 22, 2017 at 4:42 PM:
      The Greeks can easily free themselves from "occupation". Leave the EZ or even better, leave the EU alltogether. Deal?


    4. You can't leave the EU. Membership is forever.

    5. It's the Eurozone where membership is "forever" (or, as Juncker once said, until some smart lawyers find a way around the treaties...). Anyone can follow the Brit example and leave the EU (thus automatically leaving the Eurozone).

    6. KK:

      Obviously only the Greeks could have a referendum to leave the EU or not. Otherwise no one could force them to do it and therefore membershio is for life until if and when the Greeks and only the Greeks decide otherwise.

  3. @ kleingut: A few remarks:

    1) The Title "Schuld und Sühne" is not a proper translation but rather an attempt to give the title a deeper and broader sense. A newer (and much-lauded) translation by Svetlana Geier uses "Verbrechen und Strafe" which is exactly what "Prestuplenje i Nakazanje" the original title means.

    2) Gemütlichkeit can be translated into english as cosiness or snug feeling. I don’t think that it is something you can not express in another language.

    3. Thank you so much for the link to the Hatzis paper. It proves that proper economic thinking is not limited to the countries of the center, northernes, germans or whatever the anonymous reader you reproduced would call them but can be found even in Greece.


  4. "Though fiscally conservative, Ferguson agrees, berating Berlin for its “fetish” with austerity, which has had “tremendously harmful consequences on Greeks’ standard of living.” “There is simply no justification for that,” he says.

    “The worst things the Germans did in relation to Greece is that they always waited until the last minute to approve the release of loans, thus maximizing the toxic uncertainty,” adds Ferguson.

    Elaborating on his argument, he places it in the broader historical context of Germany’s policy toward Europe: “When you build a monetary union aimed at a deeper unification of Europe, you can’t then reject the idea of transfer union. The difference between Helmut Kohl and Angela Merkel was nicely summed up by Kohl himself when he accused her of putting Germany first and Europe second. I don’t think that Kohl would have treated Greece as Merkel and [Finance Minister Wolfgang] Schaeuble have.”

    The Scottish academic dismisses the notion that Merkel is the West’s last hope. “She may be gifted tactically, but strategically she has been a disaster” for Europe, Ferguson notes."

    Source: the disgusting cesspool of publication known as ekathimerini.

  5. The "εσύ φταις" is the conlcusion, the "katálixi" of factors that interact, but with different meaning,among people,different perception for economic interests,for ideology,knowledge,logic, different approach for what is ethical etc.
    The criteria for every choice from the process of political selection, to constitutional changes or smoking in cafes, vary and is manifested differently. Eg an educated unemployed thinks that he has nothing to loose whatever happens in economic area but an economist with employment believes the opposite.
    The first has nothing to loose the second many.
    But its not the knowledge, it's common sense, or the pragmatic fact that the number of idiots explaining theoritical physics is quite analogic to those working in "laiki agora".
    In Greece this is high to the sky.
    Scientific analysis, social observation, disappointment, plain lies and reality, conspiracy theories and real problems for the middle class for every society.
    If some polls question people for example, was the Thessaloniki programme of Tsipras implementable the vast majority would say yes or no?
    But a different question for other countries
    How in Netherlands people vote for far right parties, if the economy is in very good condition?
    Why people in UK voted to leave EU when the long term benefits are important and the unemployment rate is near 4.8%?
    The problem for Greece is the basic line of understanding the principles of interest, the lack of enlightment years to define some basic rules and protect achievements. Its like been maladjusted for logical conclusions. Its easier to accuse europe than yourself, to accept Russia than Sweden as a state of law.
    Its a judgement issue which in most people based in disappointment.
    The economic and political elites that theoretically should give example in matters of principle never demanded independed institutions based on the state of law from economy to universities, schools to justice and public administration.

    Germany,France,Sweden, Austria have an organitational structure that propably give people the ability to define principles but probably the knowledge not necessary the educational to understand the importance of logical approach.
    But again the theme is that many people don't believe that have anything to gain, they lost their faith.

    1. Hold on a minute. Why this inferiority complex towards Europe?

      What you call Europe is nothing but a remnant of the Roman Empire administration and therefore a product of slavery.

      What you have to understand is that empire is the default position in governance by a central authority when all other forms of self-governance have failed.

      In other words to be ruled by an empire is a clear admission of inability to govern yourself by democratic principles.

      We Greeks, as sons and daughters of democracy - in other words a political governance system whereby participating citizens have skin in the game -, we have very little in common with a modern day empire called the EU which hides none of the fact that is a byproduct of another unholy and despotic construct called the Holy Roman Empire.

      So instead of being an eager follower of inferior systems what you need to do as a Greek is to systematically get rid of the influences of anti-Greek constructs such as despotic Rome and its fllawed byproduct Byzantium, barabarian Germany and its sattelites posing as successors to Rome mixed with a religious overtone (i.e. Christianity which is nothing more than a Roman invention for ruling the empire).

      What you are suggesting is backwards regression by asking us to adopt a system which Rome invented at the same time it openly admitted that the Greek civilization was far superior to her own and therefore subject to relentless copying and adaptation by her.

      So why would we follow the structures and insitutions of slavery and begin to see the world through the eyes of those who copied us and have nothing original to offer? Is it a virtue to develop a sick adherence to statism a la barbarian Germania for Greece or rather a clear indicator that we are lost in iterations of what our own civilization and intellectual achievements have already rejected as inferior products?

      Stop having this lust with the concept of Europe and realize instead that we are the alpha and the omega of what it means to be European. And there is no more powerful indicator of being lost as a nation when people like you want us to adopt the flawed interpretations of the virtues of Greek life by those who have expoited such virtues over the years and never rose to the occasion of being worthy of such endeavor.

      The solution to our problems can only be found in the rediscovery and celebration of ourselves and not those who in their best efforts fall short as nothing more than poor imitators of the Greeks.

    2. I like your prose very much and I think some of your statements are priceless ("Christianity is nothing more than a Roman invention for ruling the empire"!). Still, I am reminded of what a compatriot of yours once wrote, namely that " a Greek does everything he can to widen the divide between desire and reality."

    3. 1) You make a parallelism, Europe-Roman Empire and slavery.

      Geographically the core of Europe is defined by the borders of the European Union, where we can trace back the origins of that geographical entity to the Roman and Carolingian empires, (the latter emerging in the 9th-10th century), several centuries after the collapse of the Roman Empire.
      About 80 % of the total population of the Roman Empire around the year 100 AD lived within the present borders of the European Union.

      What I’ m suggesting is that history during the years was not a static picture, but a constant series of events where people after successive wars, peace agreements form a union in Europe for better cooperation and peace and encourage scientific discoveries, in innumerable areas, cure diseases, develop political theories, sign trade and economic agreements etc.
      How the history would be in Europe if for example Soviet Union was not participated or denounce Yalta Treaty?
      History is not a straight line.
      After so many events in history, so many breakthroughs the Roman Empire governing model is still implemented?

      2) What i am suggesting with "εσύ φταις" is the measure, and the principles of possible misjudgment, in current events. Our everyday life is full of examples with mistakes in judgements. This is happening to everyone either individual, a house or a country.
      But here is the important issue:
      How can I approach (I am not sure at all) a decent critic about issues based in common sense?
      You accept that you don't want to change anything in Greece?
      But why then the economic crisis started?
      Is the crisis mostly economic, political or institutional?
      Thomas Jefferson was saying "Educate and inform people. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."
      Aristoteles was saying: "Who is a citizen? Citizen is able to govern and to govern"
      The education is not only the development of technical skills, how a doctor can make an operation, but the core issue is to adjust, accept and share the governing principles of independended institutions in order the good characteristics of the state to integrate to a system sensible with the good influences from other people and other systems.
      The issue is not to adobt but to sit with other people and share good practices in economy, politics, education etc.

      3)Paul Veyne in the “The Roman Empire” underline that the universal civilization of Roman so much of it, is Hellenic.

      "Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit" "Captive Greece captured her rude conqueror."


    4. Oratio:

      Rome's unending admiration for classical Greece is a given. The question for modern Greece is a simple one: Should Greece comply with Roman variations of today's Europe or Greece (Hellas) lays down the law and says to the Europeans that the only genuine version of Europe is that of Greeks and not Romans. That's an academic question but is very important to define because it sets the right perspective.

      And the right perspective is as follows: Does Europe benefit more acting as a quasi-empire or as product of past empires? or Europe maximizes benefit by acting as a group of free states according to the Greek version of freedom which promotes fruitful competition rather than exhaulting obedience? That's very important for Greek ownership of any program because forced obedience is not a Greek trait. Only logic and debate could persuade Greeks to embrace something not dictatums.

  6. Honestly, I didn't have the patience to read the whole article. I am tired. Tired of reading the same stuff over and over again. Tired of the never ending crisis. Tired of watching my life go down the drain. Tired.

    Let's just agree that the fact that Greece has failed to recover after three stabilization programs means that these stabilization programs were faulty, eh?

    1. You think? It's because they feed us nonsense.

    2. @Jim Slip March 19, 2017 at 5:36 PM:
      "Let's just agree that the fact that Greece has failed to recover after three stabilization programs means that these stabilization programs were faulty, eh?"

      No, it means that Greece has failed to turn into a country where foreign investments make sense.


    3. @AnonymousMarch 21, 2017 at 8:35 AM

      "No, it means that Greece has failed to turn into a country where foreign investments make sense."

      This should have been the goal of the stabilization programs. A financing program that just sets fiscal targets is a failure waiting to happen, which is what has transpired. Some of us have warned about this from the beginning, that Greece won't become an export-orientated economy and the strict fiscal targets will only make the recession worse. The zombified banking sector is another major fault of the stabilization programs. With the depression having rendered most of the private sector insolvent, the financing of the economy is all but impossible, even when it comes to exports. To expect FDI to cover that gap is wishful thinking.

    4. The eurozone in general is not a place for FDI except by participants of the eurozone which by definition is not FDI.

      There is no way for Greece to attract foreign investments in dollars, the British pound, yen and yuan as the destroyed remote province of the 4th Reich. Not even the 4th Reich wants to make investments in a country whose main purpose is to serve as an example of what happens when the 4th Reich is resisted.

    5. @Jim Slip March 22, 2017 at 1:00 PM:

      The hint is in the name you used: stabilization programs. They saved Greece from falling (even further) off a cliff (ie. declaring default on their sovereign debt). Turning the country into a place where investors want to put their money is the job of your government.


    6. @ Anonymous March 22, 2017 at 4:39 PM:

      Quote: "The eurozone in general is not a place for FDI except by participants of the eurozone which by definition is not FDI."

      I disagree:
      1. The EU is and should be a place for FDI. Why do you think the EU is not a place for FDI? Because of the relatively high wages?

      2. FDI are investments made by companies or individuals from one country in another country. There is no need that the currency of the country the investor comes from is different to the currency of the country the investment is made in to fit the definition of FDI.


    7. @AnonymousMarch 23, 2017 at 2:23 PM

      The stabilization programs were supposed to do more than just stave off bankruptcy. They were supposed to turn the Greek economy around, hence the conditions and reviews that came along with them.

      FDI and increased exports were never gonna cover the gap of a defunct banking system and an insolvent private sector. They would help, but not replace a functioning domestic economy (largely caused by the programs themselves).

      That's not to say that the Greek governments did a good job at managing the economy. If they had, Greece wouldn't have gotten bankrupt in the first place. It's to say that the European lenders did an equally bad job at designing the bailouts, whose strict fiscal consolidation sabotaged the internal devaluation that was supposed to take place.

    8. @ Jim Slip March 23, 2017 at 11:19 PM
      FDI and increased exports would cover up or offset Greece main problem - her current account deficit. The foundations of a functioning economy are property rights, rule of law, strong institutions, a skilled and willing labour force,
      a business minded government etc etc. No foreign programs can replace the above.


    9. @AnonymousMarch 24, 2017 at 7:50 AM

      This is good academic talk but the reality is this: the bailout programs set in motion a debt deflation spiral and assumed that lower labor costs were enough to make Greece grow. Since this is reality and not textbook economics, they failed. That makes them faulty.

  7. Klaus: your disingenuous description of the eurozone as an "unfinished product" is totally incorrect. You are attempting to rewrite history, and succeeding primarily because the European Commission, France and Germany have almost entirely concealed that history.

    As I have posted many years ago on Varoufakis' blog -- when both you and I discussed there regularly, but you seem conveniently to have forgotten this evidence -- the original plan for the eurozone was designed by Prof Michael Artis with a world class team of economists specialised in monetary union. Their expert report was expected to be the basis of the technical foundations of the eurozone.

    One day, shortly before my visiting professorship in Italy expired, we met for coffee. He was in shock, and told me that he had received a phone call from the European Commission telling him (a) they rejected the expert report; (b) he was not allowed to publish it; (c) he was not allowed to report its rejection to the press, as they had signed secrecy agreements with the Commission. Of course, he should not have told me, either.

    What follows is the key evidence. He asked the Commission why. They told him that they were not prepared to put anything in writing, but over the phone "If we followed the advice of your committee, countries like Greece and Portugal might never get into the eurozone." He responded that this was possibly true, using the criteria recommended in the report. It would depend on their future economic development. Why did they worry about this? Their answer: "We intend that Greece and Portugal should join almost immediately, regardless of economic issues." They also informed him that they would make their own technical report in-house, rapidly.

    Of course, they gave it to a second-rate German economist, who did as he was told. Here is the evidence that this was no incomplete plan: this was a deliberate and conscious decision by the European Commission, and presumably France and Germany (I cannnot imagine the Commission acting without their explicit approval) that politics trumps economics. They were not concerned with the potential damage to the Greek economy, or to the eurozone itself. They were not bothered with expert studies, because polticians' empty heads are far more important than the detailed studies of experts.

    So, Klaus: kindly concede that the eurozone design was made in defiance of the best advice, had no concern for the economic implications of involving disparate economies in a monetary union, and that those politicians and bureaucrats responsible for this decision are guilty of dereliction of duty, and bear personal culpability for the damage done to Greece and other weaker economies in the eurozone. The fact that they have invoked official secrets to cover up their incompetence makes their behaviour all the more disgusting.

    1. Well, what should I say? I have googled Prof. Michael Artis and while he seems to have had an interesting career, there is nothing I could find - not even in an extensive obituary - which would suggest that he has done much famous writing about the Eurozone, not to mention the possibility that anyone - other than you - might attribute to him the first plan for the design of the Eurozone.

      It doesn't speak a lot for his intellectual integrity if a phone call from the EC suffices to shut him up forever. And, as you recognize, he apparently had no qualms about violating the alleged EC secrecy agreements with you. I simply can't imagine that any report of such alleged magnitude would not have made it to the public sooner or later.

      Did you ever ask him who is was dealing with at the EC? Doesn't sound to me like he was dealing at a very high level.

      I don't want to offend you but, frankly, you sound very gullible and you seem to take everything for face value that some frustrated academic tells you in his frustration over a rejection. And, of course, anyone who sees things differently is immediately "second-rate". Again, it doesn't strike me like the coffee conversation you had at the time had the historic significance which you attribute to it.

      Regarding your last paragraph: thank you for restating what I have written on several occasions.

      Just one minor point. If one had made a survey about 10 years ago whether the Euro was good or bad for Greece, I think the unanimous verdict by Greeks and non-Greeks would have been that the Euro was a success story, particularly for Greece.

    2. You are the gullible one. You clearly have no understanding at all of how the European Commission hands out such contracts. I do. Moreover, Artis was my former teacher and and a fellow academic in the same unversities entrusted me with confidences that I am now breaking. Of course, the record of the contract has been expunged from official records. Are you so foolish that you expected to find a record of this?

      You need to get to grips with the corruption of the real world, Klaus, instead of just taking your inflated pension and not questioning anything.

      And for your information, in my own work I have been directly pressured by politicians to reach the research conclsions demanded. This I have always refused to do: the result is that I have great difficult gaining new research contracts, despite the recognised high quality of everything published. This is the hard reality of European poltics.

      Basically, you are just a conformist who fits into the world as politicians define it. That increases one's pay: it does not entitle one to claim to be solving problems or even have a moral right to host a blog claiming to be promoting intelligent discussion about the future of Greece. Your position is 100% hypocritical.

    3. @ Anonymous March 21, 2017 at 2:00 PM:
      Quote: "Basically, you are just a conformist"

      Basically you, dear Anonymous, are an idiot if you think you can convince anyone to believe your made up conspiracy stories have any foundation in reality.


    4. Anonymous, dear, I am a bit familiar with publication by the EU, or published for them. I would also have inside network or contacts. Maybe it is worth to solve the riddle.

      Thus could you give us a little more information. When did the story you relate occur? Maybe the list below helps?

      Checked some, but did I miss something essential. Or did he offer a completely different perspective then his earlier work in the larger monetary context?

      Below I copied a couple of articles for your convenience. Would you be so kind and tell me what I should read. I am sure you know his work. If there is something relevant that e

      Testbook several reprints, offically 4, but inofficially six. Thus very cheaply available as used book. Amazon, also via or Google books. To the extend I could I took a long at forward and articles.

      ˆThe Economics of the European Union: policy and analysis.
      Artis, Michael J; Norman, Lee; Oxford 1st ed. 1994, (rep. 1995) 2nd 1997,
      Artis, Michael J; Nixson, Fredrick; Oxford 3rd 2001, (3. ed. reprint 2005), 4. ed. 2007
      articles Michael Artis + Forward:
      Chapter 2, The European Economy, Mike Artis and Nick Weaver, p. 32-60
      Chapter 13, European Monetary Union, Mike Artis, p. 346-366


      The UK economy: amanual of applied economics
      Ed. by M.J.Artis, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 14 edition 1996

      The Euro : a challenge and opportunity for financial markets
      Artis, Michael J.; Weber, Axel A.; Hennessy, Elizabeth., London/NY 2000

      The Central and Eastern European Countries and the European Union
      Artis, Michael ; Benarjee, Anindya ; Marcellino, Massimiliano, Cambridge/NY 2006

      International economic policy coordination
      Artis, Michael ; Ostry, Sylvia
      London : Routledge & Kegan Paul : Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1986, 89 pages

      Wages and prices in europe: a test of the German leadership thesis
      Artis, Michael J., ; Nachane, D., London: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 1989, 19 pages

      On identifying the core of EMU--an exploration of some empirical criteria
      Michael J. Artis and Wenda Zhang, San Domenico, Italy: European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre, 1997

      Membership of EMU - a fuzzy clustering analysis of alternative criteria
      Michael J. Artis and Wenda Zhang;, San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy: European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre, 1998

      Core and periphery in EMU - a cluster analysis
      Michael J. Artis and Wenda Zhang; San Domenico, Italy: European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre, 1998, 28 p.

      Close to balance or in surplus'-a policy-maker's guide to the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact
      Michael J. Artis, Marco Buti, San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy: European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre, 2000, 38 p.

      The UK and the EMU
      Artis, Michael John, San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy: European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre, 2000, 37 p.

      The exchange rate - a shock-absorber or source of shocks? - a study of four open economies
      Michael J. Artis and Michael Ehrmann, 2000

      Counter-inflationary policy in the framework of the EMS
      Artis, Michael J., London: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 1992, 22 p.

    5. When years ago Prof. Sin brought up the problem of target-2 imbalances I learned from an involved expert that this 'defect' in the construction of the Euro was well known at that time.
      Politicians did not want to touch that hot issue for fear of burning their fingers... The majority was too eager not to endanger introduction of the Euro.

      For this reason I am also inclined to believe your story about Prof. Artis.


  8. Free trade theory is, in the abstract, powerful. It dictates that if all nations concentrate on selling what they are most efficient at producing, leaving the rest to others, everyone will benefit. Accordingly, if the United States is not as efficient at producing steel as it is at producing computer code, it should stop producing steel and produce more computer code. The theory of comparative advantage that Ricardo laid out makes a great deal of sense abstractly, and the international system has since been in awe of the principle.
    This principle has two problems. The first is distribution. Ricardo wrote at a time when labor was fungible. A farm laborer could adjust to working in a factory in 1800, for example. Therefore, as product profitability shifted, new products would be produced, and laborers would shift jobs.
    Steel workers are not computer coders, and they probably won’t learn the skill. Labor is no longer fungible. The outcome of this is that when you close steel mills to take advantage of software product, GDP may increase, but so will the worst kind of unemployment: non-cyclical unemployment that leaves workers without an equivalent salaried job for the rest of their lives. In some social Darwinian sense this is acceptable, but in extending social Darwinism to politics, politicians are not going to let that happen.
    The second problem is timing. A favorite phrase of economists is “in the long run.” The problem is that that human clock and the economic clocked run at different rates. Over the next 50 years, abandoning an industry to concentrate on another makes sense. But to a 45-year-old worker, this means his life will be ruined. Put enough lives at risk and the political system will intervene. True, we are depriving people 50 years down the road of the payoff, but our willingness to immiserate ourselves and our children for the wealth of the unborn doesn’t exist. The political system is constantly intervening in the economic system and imposing suboptimal solutions on the economic system. But the economic system is constantly producing solutions that are politically unsustainable.
    The distribution of the wealth of nations and the time it takes for the payoff are things that really don’t come to the fore until you have a massive shift in political reality triggered by a major economic malfunction. The 2008 crisis was not a normal cyclical event. It was not the kind of normal irrationality markets practice. Instead, it changed the entire economic dynamic of most of the world. That has triggered a massive political shift. Free trade was easy to absorb prior to 2008. The situation for many was deteriorating, but cushioned by growth, and not progressing that quickly. After 2008, deterioration accelerated and the cushion kept getting thinner and thinner.

  9. What is to blame for the the disaster in Greece is gross insincerity towards and rampant manipulation of the Greek people.

    The insincerity/manipulation case goes roughly like this:

    Greece has no longer a government because it is a brutally occupied country. It has the appearance of a government so that public anger for such illegal condition is not directed to the occupiers themselves but rather to Greek politicians who are products of "fair elections" (in other words manipulated and prefabricated election outcomes designed to give the false appearance that Greeks have and therefore could exercise free will).

    Because most Greeks are not sophisticated in matters of modern finance, they have instead internalized that something is seriously wrong and therefore are pre-occupied in finding the "guilty".

    The guilty of course can be found everywhere and in any variation possible but the main purpose of such abundance of guilty parties is to hide the occupiers who are both criminals and uber unfriendly to Greece.

    So instead of the Greeks having a clear sense of who governs them and why, they instead are consumed with witch hunts of familiar faces which in most cases means domestic guilty product. You see chasing the domestics as the guilty party is easy: we know who they are, we speak the same language and we have seen or heard proof of their bad behavior before.

    Anyone who is trying to demonize the occupiers is deranged, uneuropean, populist and uber unsophisticated.

    Anyone who chases the Greek political class of known low performance standards is right on target. It must be them because who else who does not speak Greek knows how to mislead Greeks?

    So here we go, a staged performance where the bloody criminals roam free in the halls of Bundesstag and their incompetent local representatives (who by the way the Greek people voted for so Greeks slaves actually have free will afrer all- you see????) are roasting in public discontent.

    So the occupiers' logic is simple: you want better results so please chose between pre-approved candidates who will give a pre-approved variation of the occupier's medicine. And please don't look in Berlin for the guilty! Oh no, no! Please look at your own trash whom we Berliners wholly own to explain and convince of our occupation plan. Voting or no voting makes no difference to the occupier because of course the guilty party must be(HAS TO BE) one of the political choices so generously offered to the occupied.

    So here we go. Therefore, the job of incompetent Greek political parties is not that their country is occupied and themselves have no solution to the occupation but rather that they better understand what the occupiers want and are willing to apply it with the least possible pain.

    Deception is the Art of War; or so Sun Tzu told us 6000 years ago but I guess since we all die and new idiots are born then we never learn.

    1. @ Anonymous March 22, 2017 at 5:19 PM:

      The usual bullshit. Greeks are by no means responsible for their own mess. It is - as usual - the responsibility of foreigners (brutal occupiers) who have the impertinence to set conditions for their help. How dare they?
      The problem with this narrative? Nobody, not even the Greeks themselves, believe it anymore.


    2. Ok, it is ultimately about war? That makes sense.

      What's the relationship between let's say the "Art of War" and Game Theory, to ride one of my hobby horses once again?

      What in your opinion would be the best narrative?

      The power of the narrative - legatum institute

      And how could it be framed to evade raising suspicion of serving any special interests? A true win-win approach. True democracy for everyone? No Machiavellian power politics as usual? Who of us is "disinterested" in the sense of free from selfish motives? I am not so sure about that.

      A narrative that not only can get Greek support, but ideally is able to make it into the corridors of power and beyond. A narrative, like the initial EU "Utopia" for a better world were Europeans don't fight each other. No doubt a rapidly changing environment needs a different narrative. Ideally with an eye on the larger context.

      Ioannis Glinavos: Brexit - #Article50 and the end of the beginning

      Pat Lang on US war, politics and society post 911

  10. Bottom line: Greece is not particularly open and/or friendly to new investments: