Tag Archives: greece

Greece wants to save Europe, but can it persuade Europeans?

By Pavlina Tcherneva
Cross posted from aljazeera.com

Most analysis of the Greek debt crisis ignores an important reality: While Greece may be the villain du jour, every eurozone nation is profoundly short of cash. That’s because of a well-acknowledged, but not fully appreciated, flaw at the heart of eurozone financial architecture that converted a historically unprecedented number of nations from issuers of their own currency to users of a common currency.

Greece is simply the first country to experience the extreme consequences of that loss of monetary sovereignty. With no independent source of funding, no currency of its own, no central bank to guarantee its government liabilities, it has had to ask others for help. And as a condition for securing that help, Greece has until now been forced to consent to radical austerity policies.

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Get a TAN, Yanis: A Timely Alternative Financing Instrument for Greece

By Rob Parenteau

The recent election of an explicitly anti-austerity party in Greece has upset the prevailing policy consensus in the eurozone, and raised a number of issues that have remained ignored or suppressed in policy circles. Expansionary fiscal consolidations have proven largely elusive. The difficulty of achieving GDP growth while reaching primary fiscal surplus targets is very evident in Greece. Avoiding rapidly escalating government debt to GDP ratios has consequently proven very challenging. Even if the arithmetic of avoiding a debt trap can be made to work, the rise of opposition parties in the eurozone suggests there are indeed political limits to fiscal consolidation. The Ponzi like nature of requesting new loans in order to service prior debt obligations, especially while nominal incomes are falling, is a third issue that Syriza has raised, and it is one that informed their opening position of rejecting any extension of the current bailout program.

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The BBC Dismisses a Real Greek Economist as a Sexy “Ideologue”

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: Valentine’s Day 2015

In its web version, the BBC “News” has you click on a tease titled “Yanis Varoufakis, charismatic ideologue” to access a story dated February 13, 2015 entitled “Profile: Yanis Varoufakis, Greek bailout foe.” Neither the tease nor the title make any sense. Varoufakis is the Greek finance minister. Except, of course, we’re reading this in the BBC, so the description actually reads “Greece’s left-wing Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.” Funny, the BBC never describes the head of the ECB as “the ultra-right-wing” economist Mario Draghi or Jeroen Dijsselloem, the Dutch Finance Minister and troika hit man as the “ultra-ultra-right-wing” non-economist.

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Jobs for Greeks and for Americans, Too

By L. Randall Wray

Here’s a nice piece:

The Workers’ Think Tank: With an eye on the United States and Greece, scholars at the Levy Economics Institute are developing plans to ensure full employment, by Sasha Abramsky, February 2, 2015, The Nation.

As Sasha notes, the Levy Institute has a novel approach to fighting unemployment: JOBS! Hardly anyone ever thinks about that–that the cause of unemployment is lack of jobs.

For some reason, virtually all policy-makers and economists (including progressives) think that jobs will magically appear. True, some suggest that US unemployment is created because China (et.al.) “steals” jobs that are rightfully due to America. Hence, the solution is to steal them back.

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Jobs for Greeks

By L. Randall Wray

With Syriza in the driver’s seat, Greece now has some hope for the end to austerity imposed by Germany and the Troika.

Here’s a good short piece by C. J. Polychroniou, a research associate and policy fellow at the Levy Economics Institute. As he explains, what Syriza wants is no more—and no less—radical than what the USA did in the 1930s to deal with its Great Depression: “the bulk of Syriza’s economic program for addressing the catastrophic crisis in Greece, which has evolved into a humanitarian crisis, is inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs”.

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Syriza Wins in Greece: NYT and WSJ Still Get Their Re-Writes Wrong

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: January 26, 2015

I wrote a column Sunday, January 25, 2015 as the Greek election results became sufficiently clear to know that Syriza was receiving a strong plurality from the voters and as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal posted on their websites the first reaction news columns. I criticized the dishonest nature of both paper’s coverage (actually non-coverage) of what austerity inflicted on the Greek people. Both of those initial columns have now been modified, so I have looked to see whether they improved their candor in their re-writes. The updated NYT column still contains this clunker.

“Syriza’s victory is a milestone for Europe. Continuing economic weakness has stirred a populist backlash from France to Spain to Italy, with more voters growing fed up with policies that require sacrifice to meet the demands of creditors but that have not delivered more jobs and prosperity.”

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Syriza Wins and the NYT and WSJ Coverage Competes for Mendacity

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: January 25, 2015

The Wall Street Journal and the New York Time’s eurozone reporters, who share the same unshakable devotion to TINA and austerity as the Murdochized WSJ news staff have been thrown into a panic by Syriza’s electoral successes in Greece.

Both papers are freaked out, as are the Germans, about the potential for Greece to spark a wave of rejections of the troika’s infliction of austerity in a manner similar to how the infliction of self-destructive austerity programs pursuant to the Washington Consensus’ demands led to the “lost decade” and the democratic election of what is now over a dozen Latin American candidates running on anti-austerity platforms. The Washington Consensus was drafted and named by an economist at Pete Peterson’s International Institute. Peterson is a Wall Street billionaire whose mission is causing debt and deficit hysteria and plugging the joys of austerity and unraveling the safety nets. His greatest goal is privatizing Social Security – producing hundreds of billions in additional fees for Wall Street.

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The NYT Gives S&M Advice to the Greeks: Stand by Your Sadist

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: January 24, 2015

The New York Times’ coverage of the eurozone crisis remains execrable. Sometimes, however, it is so bad that it achieves brilliant, albeit unintentional self-parody.” The latest example is a column that, for the NYT, is in the top 5% of its efforts on Europe. Even at its best (least worst) the paper cannot help itself.

The January 23, 2015 column is entitled “After an Anxiety-Filled Campaign, Greek Voters Consider a Turn to the Left.” It does admit that Greece’s economic condition is horrific.

“After five years in which the country’s economy has shrunk by 25 percent and the number of jobless has risen far beyond what its creditors ever predicted….”

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The BBC and the Economist Combine to Try to Defeat Syriza

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: January 20, 2015

As the Greek election nears, the mainstream media is ramping up its efforts to attack Syriza. As I have often explained, the trauma caused by the Washington Consensus’ economic malpractice in inflicting austerity on Latin America led to the election of a substantial number of leaders opposed to austerity and the troika’s infliction of austerity may lead to a similar dynamic in the EU. The BBC and The Economist agree that this could occur – and it terrifies them. A January 19, 2015 BBC article, presented as news rather than opinion, is entitled “BBC Democracy Day: Europe ‘faces political earthquakes.”

The article abounds in unintentional self-parody. First, the article admits austerity is a major driver of the “political earthquakes.” For reasons that pass all understanding the BBC hired the Economist’s “Intelligence Unit” to write what any right-wing BBC columnist would have written for no additional fee. Given that the Economist is one of the entities most culpable for the economic malpractice of inflicting austerity on the eurozone the idea that it is good journalism for them to opine about their opponents is sad or laughable depending on how one responds to absurdity.

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The Triumph of Radical Right Economics in Greece – At the Hands of “Socialists”

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: January 19, 2015

In my January 18, 2015 column, I explained that German Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s sweetest triumph was successfully extorting George Papandreou, Greece’s Prime Minister, head of the Greek Socialist Movemnt (PASOK), and President of the Socialist International, to inflict austerity and a war on workers’ wages on the Greek people.  I quoted a passage from the Papandreou administration’s  May 3, 2010, “Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies” (the Papandreou Plan) agreeing to the European Commission’s (EC) austerity and anti-worker demands that was made part of The EC’s  Occasional Papers No. 61 “The Economic Adjustment Programme for Greece” (May 2010).

In this column I explain how radically right-wing the Papandreou Plan was and the completeness with which it embraced rather than resisted the troika’s theoclassical nostrums that forced Greece, Italy, and Spain into gratuitous second Great Depressions.  In Greece’s case, the Merkel Great Depression has proven more severe and longer in duration than the Great Depression of 80 years ago.  The EC’s Economic Adjustment Programme for Greece description of the Papandreou Plan was accurate.  The Greek leaders “strongly own and support the [austerity] programme policies and objectives.”

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