Monday, April 4, 2011

Greece, the Eurozone and the Garden of Eden

Once upon a time there was a country in the Balkan peninsula, living in the Eden of the Eurozone. They were told to keep the Stability Pact to avoid deficits and debt. Instead they succumbed to temptation of low interest rates, generated huge trade deficits and ran up public debt to 130% GDP plus. Now with the IMF/ EU bailout, they are suddenly in Eurohell. The question is whether God was right in expelling Adam and Eve or should he have simply killed the snake? Let us consider below.

Their politicians were always spending money to buy votes and creating deficits financed by rising public debt for which the citizens cheered, promised that others would foot the bills and they would get endless benefits. They were delighted to discard their national currency and give up their monetary policy. They saw this as a national emancipation.

Ideally they would have liked the EU to guard their borders and undertake their national defense so they could spend less in doing so themselves. They consider that this another reason why it is the fault of the EU that they are so much in debt and they have been had.

Some think that the Russians would give them a cheaper loan in exchange for military bases and they did not actually need the IMF/ EU facility in the first place. Others say that this would be a viable alternative to liberate themselves from the Euro 50 bn privatization suggested by the IMF and made mandatory by the EU. They feel feel that private investment is bad and most entrepreneurs are crooks, but at the same time they should pay for all their entitlements.

They are furious and feel that IMF/ EU Memorandum is illegal and has robbed them of their national sovereignty. They are also upset that the Germans and other EU trading partners made profits on selling them their goods. They consider their high spreads from declining credit rating to be usury, unfair and grounds for walking away from the debt.

Generally everyone else is to blame but themselves. They just want some more 'cheap' debt without conditions. They cannot understand why they cannot continue to live on other people's money. How outrageous for those who pay to have any rights to impose their terms! They should be the ones to decide how to spend the money of others.

Here they have bitten the forbidden fruit of unlimited cheap credit, but they have yet to gain from the Tree of Knowledge. Contrary to the biblical version of Eden, they think that they are still wearing clothes and there is further paradise in the EU, but actually they are increasingly naked......

Also their creditors are naked because they do not seem concerned enough about limiting their losses rather than still dreaming about getting out whole.

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