Monday, October 31, 2011

Greece’s Rhetorical Referendum

The Greek PM has just announced a “rhetorical referendum,” by which I mean that it is asking a question whose answer does not matter. Whatever the Greek people vote for, no big question will have been settled, no divisive issue will have been resolved, and we will have no more information about the public’s mood than we do today. In other words, it is a meaningless referendum. 

The problem, of course, is that there is no real “choice.” Greece has defaulted, even though the default will be more orderly and might not be called a “default.” So when the PM says that the Greek people have to approve the haircut deal to help the country “stave off default,” his claim is Orwellianly ludicrous. There is no choice because the referendum does not offer alternatives as referenda are supposed to do. For lack of a better metaphor it is like letting a vegetarian choose between beef and chicken – you are past the point where the question makes sense. 

All this referendum tells us that this PM is too little for Greece, that he has no backbone and no courage. After having walked you to the cliff, and as the water zeroes in on you both, he will turn and say “should we jump?” as if “yes” means that we somehow all made the decision to jump together, and if we drown it was our joint decision to drown. This referendum is no more than a petty attempt to offload responsibility and culpability by sharing it with the “people” – and in doing so he reminds us how unfortunate we are to have him as our leader in this great hour of need. And we don’t need a referendum to know that.

36 comments:

  1. I was very shocked last night when I read about the referendum. I have no problem with referenda, but he should have announced that earlier, before or during the negotiations about the rescue deal and when there was really a choice or room to negotiate. Now he has affronted each single international partner!

    "All this referendum tells us that this PM is too little for Greece, that he has no backbone and no courage." YOU ARE SO DAMN RIGHT!

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  2. If there were elections, they would be fought on the guise of rejecting the bailout. But I don't think that either party seriously wants to reject the bailout. So we would have elections and then the bailout would be accepted anyway. (whats the point in that?)
    The referendum forces the press and the political parties to discuss the real issues. They can't hide behind their minority.

    So ISTM that this is the exact opposite, the referendum will cut through the rhetoric and force a serious discussion on the actual issues. Each party will have to make a recommendation to its followers.

    If the people want a new government and for the bailout to be rejected then this referendum will give them exactly what they want without the possibility of the elected party backing out after the elections.

    Strategically it is a brilliant move.

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  3. What do you want him to do? Play along with German nonsense?

    The whole (educated and financially sophisticated world) is telling Merkel that the only effective cure is Eurobonds or the pooling of the euro debts.

    Germany insists on her PSI nonsense and half measures that only affirm her complete incompetence of handling the crisis.

    Don't you think it's about time that the German nonsense game is over?

    I don't endorse Papandreou handling of the crisis so far but as fat as I am concerned this is a check mate to Germany's lack of depth is doing what's required.

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  4. One has to be a willful ignoramus not to understand that Germany has destroyed the Greek economy under the pretext of "saving it".

    The true story here is Merkel's complete and utter incompetence of handling the euro crisis.

    The Geram recipe is beyond disgusting.

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  5. I believe it's a good idea to get the approval of the people so that they will own up to the responsibility for enacting the necessary reforms.

    The problem that I have is with the choice that is on the table. Do they accept charity in the form of a 50% write-down of debt or do they default and demand that other European nations pay 100% of the debt for which Greeks are soley responsible?

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  6. One has to be a willful ignoramus to not have figured out that George Papandreou is intentionally destroying his own country's economy, so that he can sell it off to Russians and Chinese.

    China has already bought Greece's port of Piraeus, is set to buy the railways, Russia has bought one of the larger banks, Qatar has bought the other. It is not *Germany* that is winning out of this whole situation, it is Russia, China and their allies of Iran/Qatar, etc. You can see who is benefitting, by seeing which nations are buying all the now cheap property of Greece.

    The whole narrative of the Greek default only makes sense if you think of Karamanlis and Papandreou as both bribed by China and Russia, and intentionally pursuing the dissolution of Europe and the selling-off of their own nation.

    Papandreou's antics are always designed to maximize friction between *other* European nations, while preventing Greece from recovering (his ministries and court still end up forbidding private investments all over Greece for pseudo-ecological reason or pseudo-beaurocratic reasons -- this is not the action of a politician who *wants* his country to recover, these are the actions of a politician that has been bought to see Greece destroyed and the EU dissolved).

    EU will escape the crisis only if it figures all this out and throws Greece out of the euro at the very least, hopefully outside of the EU altogether.

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  7. Are u Greek people seriosly so incompetent? Are you seriously believing that any European citizen or leader caused your situation? Do you really think that Sarkozy or Merkel or whoever, who are governing their own countries and not your underdeveloped shithole which you call Greece, have decided the konkrete measures of the IMF lead Troika??? Holy shit!! Your ignorance, lack of education and the impact of your corrupt press on you is shocking me!!!

    You want Eurobonds so that we tax payers in(developed) Europe pay extra for your economic incompetence and the mess you have created? Dream on, selfish bastards! And I recommend you to read serious bloggs (e.g. this one!!!) and magazines and not your crappy Greek yellow press so that you finally get more knowledge than a 3 years old!

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  8. I am really fed up by reading all this comments blaming German politics or - even worse - "the Germans" for the Greek crisis. If you have a simple way out of the situation, please describe this way and encourage the Greeks to take it! No one forced Greece to take the decisions they have taken in the last ten years. Stop blaming others, but go ahaed with a fair and sustainable solution!

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  9. How does it feel to be a Greek?

    Your neighbours (Macedonia, Turkey, Albania etc.) hate you. The rest of the modern world is sick of you because you threaten its wealth and economy even though help is offered. Moreover, you blame others for your misery but at the same time the only thing you do is protesting, striking and doing nothing productive to change your own destiny. Honest and smart Greeks (like Nikos) must watch you destroying your own country from the distance.

    So, how does it feel to be a Greek? I must say: I don't want to know it!

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  10. If only we Greeks could export our Conspiracy Theories(tm) and Blame Shifting(tm) we'd be in the black in a week.

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  11. For most people in Germany it must be rather frustrating to read some of the comments that come from Greece these days: Germany has been (for decades) one of the biggest net contributors to the EU budget (by far the biggest in absolute terms, and one of the biggest per capita and in relation to GDP), and Greece is one of the biggest net receivers of funds (the biggest per capita, if I remember correctly). Germany is now again contributing billions of euros to yet another bailout, even though bailouts are against the rules of the monetary union and even though this is increasingly unpopular in the German electorate. Together with other European countries, Germany is at the same time taking on enormous financial risks to "save the euro".
    And yet some people in Greece rail against Ms Merkel and "Nazi Germany".
    It seems clear now that it was a mistake from the beginning to allow Greece into the euro zone. I understand Nikos' point that the chances of reform may be better with Greece inside the euro zone, but are there realistic chances for that?
    It seems to me that European integration has gone too far in the monetary union. Each country must be responsible for its own finances and suffer the full consequences if it overspends. Otherwise we will go to collective irresponsibility in Europe.

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  12. Since it is my first comment in this blog, I'd like to thank Nikos keeping for this blog. With a very few exceptions I completely agree with your posts and I'm happy to have a inner view from the Greece. Our news do not always have the necessary background information available to make the picture complete. As an Estonian it is also very easy to agree with you, because we solved our crisis by inner devalvation (cost cutting) and restructuring the economy, which is actually the only way to solve that kind of crisis.
    But I actually wrote this post, because it absolutely amazes me, how even readers on this blog keep accusing Mrs Merkel for mishandling the situation! I cant imagine, what kind of paths typical protesters mind wonders and the "no" is rather likely result. I consider referendum firstly a political suicide and secondly I'm afraid this cynical maneuvre may cause nations inability to pay the bills in a very short notice. If controlled default is painful, then uncontrolled default is likely to cause total collaps of the economy and social system. Violent clashes with casualities are very likely, followed by massive emigration of the most valuable part of the workforce. It may take country back for decades. Anyhow it's massive-massive gamble from your PM from my point of view. Regaining trust will require an "unhuman effort" now.

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  13. I agree with the referendum as dangerous as it is. Greece and Greeks are responsible for their own country. Greeks have been fighting these changes all the way from the beginning i think is time to own their decisions instead of having someone else deciding for them. If the European Union or the Euro or the world Economy collapses with the Greek Economy is not the responsibility of the Greeks but is the responsibility of the rotten foundations that was built upon. The Greek economy was built in ROTTEN Foundations that is way i fail. Is time for everyone to own their actions present and past.

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  14. I do enjoy reading your blog as my premier source of objective analyses and valuation of Greece's current issues. I am not in Greece myself, and have quickly learnt that relying on the plethora of news outlets who only feed their simple minded readers simple answers, finger pointing and nationalist furor just wouldn't do.

    However, this time I have the impression that you let your emotions get the better of you, too. Maybe I am mistaken, but from the outside Papandreou's choice to call for a referendum doesn't seem that absurd after all.
    We see violent clashes in the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki, never ending strikes, people who call the current government traitors, etc.
    How could he possibly go on with any much needed measures if the people of Greece don't want any more of it?
    How else could he possibly prove that those unionists' voices, Samaras' ridiculous claims that they have the easy solution are the irrational drivel they actually are?
    There is so much hatred coming from inside Greece right now, there just had to be some dramatic step.
    France with its 1.6 trillion Euro debt, Germany with its 2.1 trillion Euro debt are cutting back on spendings at home, but are handing out billions to Greece. The Slowak PM just committed political suicide in order to enable the EFSF, but all we see from the outside is how Greek union leaders are clinging on to their beloved privileges, how an ND leader had rather his country would go to the dogs before he even considered talking with PASOK and find feasible compromises, how Greek media is stamping foreheads with the word Nazi.

    Maybe you could analyse some of those peoples' motivations, because in all honesty I just don't understand ND, the unions, the Greek media anymore. Do they actually believe what they are saying, what are their goals and where are they trying to get with these kind of actions?

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  15. Xari, Thanks for your comment.

    You're absolutely right that I let my emotions take over in this case - but even in retrospect I stand by the statement.

    The fact that the government is unraveling today further proves the point that when faced with such pressure, a referendum of this sort is not useful at all because it does not offer a meaningful set of choices or a meaningful chance to have a proper conversation. All it does is say, "it's either default or this deal" but it does not allow questions about whether this deal was avoidable or not, and whether a stronger government could have made a lot more progress towards reform. In the end, it is coming across as another form of blackmail and this time the rest of PASOK is calling the bluff.

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  16. Ari Katsari:

    This is not about Greek internal politics; it transcends them. I actually think that Samaras with his hard-nosed position will be much better for Greece and a pure nightmare for the Germans.

    As to you claim of sale of assets to others than the Germans, the truth is that Merkel broke Greece so that it can buy it on the cheap. Unfortunately for her and her Teutonic merchants on the cheap, they belatedly realized that owning a Greek state company without the consent of organized labor employees was a task in futility.

    This is able evidence in Der Spiegel (the Germans are good at cataloging things) over the past two years (you can find all articles under the topic of Euro Crisis) admitting way in advance the sinister and disgusting German plan.

    This latest PSI nonsense approved last week was already declared an effective bankruptcy by Fitch.

    So, Greece choices are "..or bankruptcy"? What's the difference of an orderly bankruptcy a la Germania and a disorderly bankruptcy a la Papandreou? None, I tell you.

    The Germans better go back to the drawing table and approve the Eurobond yesterday! Do you hear me? YESTERDAY!!

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  17. Niko Tsafo:

    This is not about PASOK or bluffs or politics. Feel free to think whatever you want to think about PASOK and its lack of depth.

    This is about what is beneficial for Greece. If Samaras (who I believe has staked his position very carefully that there will be a renegotiation of terms) is the better choice, then Samaras is the better choice.

    The bluff here is Merkel's. Merkel thought that with minimal, incremental and obstructionist steps would be able to kick the can down the road. No way. The bluff has been called and Merkel is going down. She will be known in history as the not so bright German that dynamited the euro.

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  18. The atmosphere is so poisoned in Greece that the electorate will find it much easier to vote "no" on the bailout package for any of a host of plausible reasons. Samaras essentially says he could have worked out a better deal, saved government jobs, and preserved pensions. This is not only dubious, but outright impossible.

    The left is saying that the Troika's package is designed to only further exploit the Greek people and suck wealth from the economy. (They talk about monopolies exploiting the proletariat--what they fail to mention is that the unions appear to have the upper hand regarding bargaining power.) That the Greek economy has sucked wealth from the rest of Europe and kept the economy afloat with all of its debilitating imperfections for something like 30 years simply is ignored.

    Does anybody really believe that elections will solve anything? It's like--to use a tired metaphor--rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

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  19. Nick K.

    Before getting too deep into the blame game, consider this very simple proposition:

    Who told you that the German plan approved last week was either optimum or beneficial (not only for Greece but the rest of the world as well)?

    It clearly is not and as such it has to die. This was a Hail Mary pass because Germany refuses to do what all credible economists are telling her to do. Which is that only a pooling of European debt will solve the pronounced problem.

    If Germany refuses to abide by expert advice then this is Germany's problem. Just leave Greece out of it because it is deep down immoral to ask Greeks at this point to undergo useless and ineffective sacrifices so that they can appease German quest for more time to futility.

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  20. Dean Plassaras -- once again: reality proves you wrong, because reality shows us that it's not Germany but Russia and China that are buying Greece on the cheap.

    Reality also showed us, that it was the supposedly leftist, anti-West parties that kept burning Athens. It was the supposedly leftist anti-West parties that kept sabotaging industry -- blockading roads, destroying, burning shops, closing any factory, and by law hindering and sabotaging any investment. It is the supposedly lefting worker unions that barely offer a peep of opposition when something is sold to Russia or China on the cheap, but by law or by violence or by open murder they prevent any investment by western nations.

    In short it was the parties that had political connections to China and Russia that most contributed to the Greek bankruptcy, and same with prime minister Karamanlis whose chief contributions was 1) in bankrupting Greece 2) in making deals with Russia (the Russian tanks, the Russian gas pipeline)

    Now all the same parties that sold Greece to Russia, are accusing *Germany*, with the explicit purpose of demolishing the unity of the EU -- while they keep selling all that remains of Greece to Russia.

    There have now even arisen some new political proto-formations (e.g. "Spitha" by Theodorakis) that openly ask that we offer military bases to Russia and China so that they take away our debt. While at the same time those supposed patriots will accuse of treason anyone who dares suggest selling land to Western *investors*.

    In short: here's what the leading political philosophy is nowadays: that giving military bases to Russia and China is good, that letting Western people build e.g. car factories is *bad*.

    So shame to you for spreading lies and accusation about Germany, while at the same time begging for their money. I feel ashamed on your behalf, and on behalf of all Greeks who are giving the world the impression of parasites, and bandits, and *muggers* -- while at the same time they seek a political and military alliance with the biggest non-democracies in the world.

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  21. Aris:

    Do me a favor and put Greek internal politics aside for this conversation, because they truly do not matter.

    The real enemies of Greece delight in seeing Greeks eating the flesh of other Greeks.

    We are not talking about building toasters or cars here a field that Germany might have some skill. We are talking about modern finance and the only experts in this game are Americans(they wrote the book and all rules in it). For the Germans to attempt to control capitalism in its present form, is beyond pathetic.

    Name me one German economist with a Nobel prize or any contribution in the field of finance/economics. Right, there isn't any.

    Let me ask you this. When you need dental work do you go to your neighborhood butcher or a certified dentist?

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  22. Dean, please stop embarrassing yourself with your crude conspiracy theories that try to put the blame on others.
    A) yes there was a Nobel loureate in economy from Germany, there are even quite a few from France, the UK, Norway etc. (plus the USofA are battling economic failures as well)
    B)Germans and Germany don't rule the Eurozone but have to negotiate compromises with the other members, all of whom have their own agendas.
    Angela Merkel is responsible to the citizens of her country and her coalition, who all reject Eurobonds out of fear that it will cost the German public even more tax money without the Greek mentality of spending money that's not theirs not changing one bit.
    Private German companies who invest in Greece and buy Greek companies are just that, private. They act on their own, for their own benefits. The German government and the German people couldn't care less for the Greek country beyond the fact that Greek abuse of EU institutions and money are threatening to render us all bancrupt.

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  23. Dean Plassaras, you are obviously not an Economic expert because otherwise you would know that...

    - EFSF bonds are technically Eurobonds since they are jointly backed by each Eurozone member
    - EFSF Eurobonds have an AAA rating only because French and Germans (the ones you see as your enemies) are backing them
    - The abolishment of any domestic bonds would not solve any problems, but it would threaten France's and Germany's credit rating, hence also the rating of the EFSF bonds and any support for Greece
    - The European rescue deal is supported by the USA, they would have done exactly the same, they have just another opinion about details
    - The Troika's policy, which is lead by the IMF and which you probably don't like, is a neoliberal policy, hence it is an American policy (or better: liberal Tea party policy)
    - the USA are not a role model for fiscal policy since their economy is not only worse than the European one including Greece, it is also the most unfair western society with the biggest wealth an income spread

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  24. To further elaborate, the political dimension of the crisis has boiled over. Cooler heads will likely not prevail because of the emotional shouting matches going on and political parties doing what they do best--jockeying for new elections.

    In the past, the Greek body politic has been all too willing to cut off its nose in order to spite its face. The people don't realize that the entire country was in on the take (due to inflated pensions, cushy jobs, protections for union labor, state owned enterprises that enriched workers but impoverished consumers, and perks, benefits, and long vacations that certainly few enjoy in other Western countries).

    Icelanders--people who are not known for confrontational politics--voted in a referendum against bailing out foreigners who lost money in their banks.

    I don't think a referendum on the question will pass because voters will be easily swayed by emotional arguments from all sides. These arguments will focus the blame on others (foreigners, Germans, American monopolies, you name it), not on themselves or their system of government.

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  25. The Greeks can no longer be trusted - leave them to it and don't give them any more free money!

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  26. Stavros is the proprietor of a bar in Greece. He realises that virtually all of his customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronise his bar. To solve this problem, he comes up with new marketing plan that allows his customers to drink now, but pay later. He keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

    Word gets around about Stavros’s “drink now, pay later” marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Stavros’s bar. Soon he has the largest sales volume for any bar in Greece. By providing his customers freedom from immediate payment demands, Stavros gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, he substantially increases his prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages. Consequently, Stavros’s gross sales volume increases massively.

    A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognises that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Stavros’s borrowing limit. He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral. At the bank’s corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into Drinkabonds and Alkibonds.

    These securities are then bundled and traded on international security markets. Naïve investors don’t really understand that the AAA relating to the bonds means ‘All Alcoholics Anonymous’ and seem to think that it is some coveted status symbol. Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb, and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation’s leading brokerage houses.

    One day, even though the bond prices are still climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Stavros’s bar. He informs Stavros.

    Stavros then demands payment from his alcoholic patrons, but being unemployed alcoholics they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Since Stavros cannot fulfil his loan obligations he is forced into bankruptcy.
    The bar closes and the eleven workers lose their jobs. Overnight, Drinkbonds and Alkibonds drop in price by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank’s liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

    The suppliers of Stavros’s bar had granted his generous payment extensions and had invested their firms’ pension funds in the various Bond securities. They find they are now faced with having to write-off his bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. His wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations, his beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.

    Fortunately though, the bank, brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multi-billion euro no-strings-attached cash infusion from their cronies in the EU. The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who have never been to Greece, never mind drunk in Stavros’s bar for free.

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  27. I don't debate with anonymous folk.

    If you want to check out my credentials then Google my name and ask yourself whether you want to debate these issues with me to begin with.

    Go to the blog of Yanis Varoufakis so that we don't have to re-create the wheel as to what the outstanding issues are.

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  28. This referendum,even in the event of the Greek people's voting for the new bail-out agreements(which I think we will,because most of us are very aware of what bankruptcy and return to the drachma mean,is beyond disastrous,because one)it transmits a negative message to the financial markets and more importantly,2)it sends a negative message to European countries.Imagine if the referendum is approved?Many countries within the Euro-zone that are sceptical of providing more bail-out packadges may in turn demand a referendum on bolcking more contribution to the EFSF.Greece desperately needs better leadership.

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  29. Read and learn.

    This ought to conclude this debate.

    Der Spiegel opinion: Bravo, Mr. Papandreou!

    http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/soziales/0,1518,795189,00.html

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  30. Dean, you don't debate with anonymous folk. That's fine with me. Your so called credentials did nothing to convince me that your overly simplistic conspiracy scares are coming from anyone other than a regular dude with no more of a clue than the rest of us. What sets you apart is the fact that you like to spice things up. Citing a commentary by a journalist in a private magazine as proof of a German scheme just disqualifies you further.

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  31. Sad to see these comments about "Greeks" or "Germans". It's the 1% political elite that concocted this awful mess (EU and euro).

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  32. Too much emotion and too much history. The key issue is where from here, not why did we get into this mess and who is to blame - Greeks for spending too much or banks and Governments for lending/borrowing too much. That's University - Greece now has its degree in poor economics already.

    The fact is that Greece has huge debts. If a person has huge debts that it cannot pay, it declares insolvency or comes to a normally tough repayment arrangement with creditors and takes the bitter pill of no more credit and living more modestly over time until it can get on its feet. It can happen to anybody - often it's bad luck.

    There is no good news other than that unlike in times gone by, they do not hang you but..... they still take over your household..... So the complaints about the Chinese and Russians buying Greece for a song are the result of bad economic management or bad luck, and Greece has to swallow the bitter pill as if Greeks were the shareholders of this bankrupt company: Greece Inc. . There is no alternative.

    When creditors make an offer, the debtor often does not have a choice, like Greece. It is usually 'take it or leave it'.

    That the Germans led the agreement to be offered is natural as at the end of the day they are the leading 'banker' of the bailout.

    Irrespective of the fact that it is amazing that this deal was not immediately implemented by the Government, the real issue that Greece has to come to terms with is that the times ahead will be very tough.

    When one goes bankrupt, one does not drop one's standards by small margins. The re-adjustments are often drastic. Any politician that goes to the Greek public trying to promise any better will be nothing but a lier.

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  33. Dean Plassaras,

    instead of offering reasonable arguments, you are telling people to google your name to convince them of your "credentials". What a poor performance!!! I have done that and I haven't found anything convincing.

    You are demanding something with has already been decided and is about to be installed, namely Eurobonds. But it seems you haven't understood that! It proofs your lack of economical understanding.

    Instead of blaming others, I recommend you to read Nikos blog carefully to enhance your economic knowledge. And I offer you a very good article about the current Greek mess, published in one of the worlds most renowned magazines:

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/newsbook/2011/11/euro-zone-crisis

    If you keep on blaming others for what is your own fellow countrymen's fault, I can offer you some enlightenment for your own psyche:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

    "Cognitive dissonance is a discomfort caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. ... Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying..."

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  34. As I said:

    Come to Yani Varoufakis blog to get some religion on the subject that you seem so much out-of-depth:

    http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/

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  35. Dean Plassaras, I see you live in California. Well I live in Athens, and the people that I saw burning the city down weren't Germans. They were Greeks. The last time the Germans did anything bad to us was in World War 2. The last time the Americans did anything bad to us was in the time of the junta. Since then, we only have ourselves to blame.

    So shut up already about blaming Germans, and start blaming the Greeks. Or come to live here and see how easy you'll find living among the gangs of both left-wing and right-wing thugs that burn down both shops and banks -- while at the same time screaming about all the supposed crimes of foreigners against Greece.

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  36. I usually agree with your well reasoned opinions, but not in this case, sorry. Afaics the referendum will be about two very different alternatives: The EU rescue plan, or no more foreign credits at all (as Merkel & Sarkozy have made clear) and thus a default triggering a return to the Drachme (because that's the only way left the government can produce money to finance the state). So, in a way, the Greek people really will have to vote on the Euro! And as a democrat, I see it in a positive light that the people will make this decision of the highest national importance. After all that cheap criticism, finally everybody will have to bear the responsibility for the fate of the nation! I hope this will lead to a change of thinking in many minds.

    I have posted a more lenghty opinion on this on my bad ole blog, if you're interested:
    http://caffeinesoldier.blogspot.com/2011/11/greek-referendum-good-or-bad.html

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