Let’s talk about what the EU’s “austerity” for Greece has really meant.
There have been a series of loans from international and national institutions to cover liabilities of those who would be hurt by a default on Greek bonds. It hasn’t reduced Greece’s debt or improved its balance of payments. Coupled with the imposed cuts in benefits and increase in taxes in Greece, rather than encouraging growth, the German Empire, oh excuse me, rather, EU, has forced the collapse of the Greek economy as a way of imposing collective punishment on the people of Greece, while shifting the burden of a Greek default from private investors to EU taxpayers.
Copyright © 2015 Henry Edward Hardy
I don’t see the problem with a Greek default, return to the drachma, devaluation, and reconstruction. The default means some big hedge fund folks will lose billions. Cry me a river. C’est la guerre.
Russia defaulted in 1998, and it is getting near default conditions now due to western sanctions.
Argentina defaulted in 2002, but now has brought 93 percent of the defaulted bonds out of default in the 2010 debt restructuring.
Cyprus defaulted on sovereign bonds in 2013.
A small country like Greece defaulting shouldn’t be a problem for the world community. It will be painful enough for Greece without deliberately trying to undermine the left-wing and technocratic and intellectually competent government or to punish the people as a whole for their democratic vote.
As a younger nation, the USA suffered repeated economic collapses and national bank failures. The Panic of 1819. The Panic of 1837 and the collapse of the Second Bank of the United States. The Panic of 1873. The Panic of 1907. The collapse of the Bank of the United States (a private bank) in 1931 which started the Great Depression. Please some lessons learned people. This isn’t something which never happened before and means the Greeks have to be ostracized. The market will punish them for a default. Unless and until they redeem the defaulted bonds, Greece will pay a premium on any future debt it issues.
If the capitalist leaders actually understood and believed in liberal capitalism they would let things take their course and let those who made bad investments eat the losses. And if they were wise social democrats the would make a safety net to bring Greece back to full employment and a favorable balance of trade and payments. What we are seeing from the EU and the international bodies is more akin to mercantilism.
Trying to force a Greek collapse to punish them for defaulting on some bonds is quite stupid and petty. And did the walruses of the right really see off Yanis Varoufakis because he was way cooler then them, actually understood economics, and said snarky meanspirited things about them? Boo hoo.
Copyright © 2015 Henry Edward Hardy
Dear Ms. Bellafante,
I read your article in the Sunday New York Times website with great interest:
It is a remarkable piece of right-wing propaganda masquerading as a news story.
You pretend to have had difficulty discerning what the message of the groups involved is.
Please allow me to summarize for you.
The message is that the USA is becoming more and more a plutocracy.
They decry that this growing economic inequality is accompanied by growing political inequality, the destruction of the middle class, and social and economic disenfranchisement of the poor.
They criticize, as you pointed out in a backhanded way, the doctrine of corporate citizenship, wherein corporations are given “rights” covalent with, and contrary to, the rights of citizens.
They point out the injustice of a legal system which mandates the judicial killing of a poor black man in the name of justice even though the evidence against him is largely now discredited.
If you were having trouble taking seriously the criticism of corporatism as antithetical to popular democracy, I suggest you read Prof. Joel Bakan’s “The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power“.
As Robert Reich pointed out in his piece, “The Limping Middle Class” in the New York Times on September 3, 2011, the 5 percent of Americans with the highest incomes now account for 37 percent of all consumer purchases, according to research from Moody’s Analytics. As Reich noted,
“When so much income goes to the top, the middle class doesn’t have enough purchasing power to keep the economy going without sinking ever more deeply into debt — which, as we’ve seen, ends badly… The economy won’t really bounce back until America’s surge toward inequality is reversed.”
Your article was not objective coverage. You made your lede not the “5 w’s and h” of a real news story. Instead you chose to focus on the most freakish and unbalanced participant, from the perspective of normative values, that you could find. Your entire piece was belittling and apparently intended to “otherize” and isolate the participants.
You seem to have the opposite idea of the duty of the news media from that articulated by former CBS News President and Edward R. Murrow producer Fred Friendly, “Our job is not to make up anyone’s mind, but to open minds — to make the agony of decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking.”
Your article seems to have been deliberately constructed to belittle, to obscure the message, and to give people reasons not to think, and not to question authoritarianism and greed as organizing principles of society.
You made no mention of the shocking and illegal police-state tactics being used against these brave and principled, nonviolent protestors.
Shame on you, Ginia Bellafante. Shame, shame, shame.
Henry Edward Hardy
Somerville, MA, USA
PS This letter and your entire unedited response may be posted on my social media platforms and on my blog, https://scanlyze.wordpress.com
Copyright © 2011 Henry Edward Hardy