Monday, July 13, 2015


Let's be clear about what is going on in Greece.  A bunch of European banks made big loans to Greece, and Greece could not pay them back.  All of this "austerity" is about making the Greek people pay the banks back for their bad investments.  None of the money raised by these measures is going to Greece- it's all going to the bankers who made their bad investments.

Well, you know what?  Here's how I thought capitalism is supposed to work:  You make an investment, and if it works, you make money.  If it doesn't work, you lose.  Instead, it is now seemingly established that if you are a big enough bank or brokerage, you have to get your money back, even if that involves crushing the democratically elected government of a country like Greece, and looting your money from innocent people who had nothing to do with your bad loan. 

This is the death of democracy, at the hands of a rich elite who feel so entitled that they believe that someone else has to bear the cost when their gambles don't work out.  I think I need hardly point out that this is exactly what happened in this country after the 2008 collapse, and it's what Republicans did in response to the last depression too, and we know how that worked out.

We are at the point in the US where a few rich people are on the verge of being able to buy the entire country.  These people believe that we owe them a profit on their investments, no matter how foolish or malicious they are.  They also believe that they have the absolute right to overthrow any government that tries to stand up to them.  And every single Republican is fighting as hard as he can to prove that he can sell his soul to them faster than anyone else.

And people call Bernie Sanders crazy.


Poll P. said...

A very important clarification. I shared it on Facebook. People really don't have a clue as to what really happened.

Magpie said...

What happens if you borrow money from the mob?

You pay it back. If you don’t they kill you. i.e. take everything you have.
That’s still illegal, however… unless you are a bank and the people you are destroying never personally made the decision to borrow from you in the first place.

Krugman, unsurprisingly, wrote succinctly somewhere about what is going on.
Elsewhere I have listened to supposedly centrist media skirt around the bleeding obvious while cheerleaders for privatization waved away the financial lives of millions in their rush to say Greece has to surrender economic sovereignty so that poor people can pay for rich people’s failures.

Not even they dispute that money was loaned without due diligence and that Greece should probably not have even been admitted to the Eurozone, but such mistakes are forgiven if you are rich and someone poor somewhere can pay for them. I heard metaphors about not being able to unscramble scrambled eggs or make omelettes without breaking them, the interviewer whom I normally judge to be competent let him get away with it. The glib crassness, the brassy double standard, was terrifying.

Greece’s economy is actually running a moderate surplus, but they won’t ever see the fruit of that because the nation that invented democracy gets to be the one to become an indentured state.

For once I’m actually going to pull an emotive WW2 reference – as much as I am suspicious of that normally:

Can you imagine how this must feel, if you are a Greek citizen? Banksters and politicians in a country that militarily occupied you within living memory now get to tell you how to run your labour markets, what state assets to sell of cheap to rich foreigners, when your shops open or close… etc etc.
Merkel dodged the question about the resemblance of this to the Treaty of Versailles, which had such edifying long term consequences. Maybe she’s just confident the Greeks can rise above the sort of thing the Germans couldn’t, or she’d just rather not think about it.