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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 25 Jan '15 10:35
    Greece has and is suffering terribly, perhaps if they had their own currency this might help? Is it possible that membership of the EC created a mind set that led to such acute economic, and now social problems?
  2. 25 Jan '15 10:46
    Greece's fiscal woes are the culmination of a perfect storm: on the one hand, successive governments used cheap euro-denominated credit to fund projects while not raising tax revenue to pay for them, such as the Olympics. On the other hand, stupid investors assumed that euro-denominated government bonds were immune to default and thus enabled the Greek government spending spree. The problems are made worse by the inadequate response of the Greek government, who should have obviously raised taxes on the wealthy massively to avoid crippling austerity measures.
  3. 25 Jan '15 13:14
    I personally think their woes began when they invaded Sparta to try and spread democracy.
  4. 25 Jan '15 13:33
    Originally posted by whodey
    I personally think their woes began when they invaded Sparta to try and spread democracy.
    what happened in the U.S? did the Spartans invade and turn you into a plutocracy?
  5. 25 Jan '15 13:39 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    what happened in the U.S? did the Spartans invade and turn you into a plutocracy?
    The US is too busy trying to become like Greece, going broke spreading their fabulous democracy around the world where their own Congress only has a 10% approval rating.
  6. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    25 Jan '15 13:58
    Originally posted by whodey
    I personally think their woes began when they invaded Sparta to try and spread democracy.
    I don't think Rome and the Achean League were thinking about democracy when they annexed Sparta to the League.
  7. Standard member redbadger
    Suzzie says Badger
    25 Jan '15 14:10
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    I don't think Rome and the Achean League were thinking about democracy when they annexed Sparta to the League.
    its all Greek to me
  8. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    25 Jan '15 14:19
    Syriza shall triumph!
  9. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    25 Jan '15 15:20
    Originally posted by whodey
    The US is too busy trying to become like Greece, going broke spreading their fabulous democracy around the world where their own Congress only has a 10% approval rating.
    Fortunately the US hasn't followed policies like those imposed on the Greeks in 2009; harsh austerity measures which have further reduced aggregate demand. So we don't have 26% unemployment nor has our GDP declined by about 20% since 2010.
  10. 25 Jan '15 15:29
  11. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    25 Jan '15 15:52
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Syriza shall triumph!
    You'll probably be disappointed by their policies if they do:

    SYRIZA is no longer the radical party of the beginning, which called for the exit from the euro and for a default on Greek public debt. Today it is party whose program can hardly be defined revolutionary, and whose label of "radical" left is justified mostly by the drifting of other social democratic party in Europe (for example in Italy and in France) towards the center of the political spectrum, and towards a de facto acceptance of the European macroeconomic orthodoxy. SYRIZA's leader, Tsipras, as the prospects of victory become more concrete, has further softened his tones and is already actively negotiating with the Commission and with the major countries, in view of a compromise on the key points of his program.

    http://www.macropolis.gr/?i=portal.en.the-agora.2134
  12. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    25 Jan '15 16:19 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Greece's fiscal woes are the culmination of a perfect storm: on the one hand, successive governments used cheap euro-denominated credit to fund projects while not raising tax revenue to pay for them, such as the Olympics. On the other hand, stupid investors assumed that euro-denominated government bonds were immune to default and thus enabled the Greek ...[text shortened]... ould have obviously raised taxes on the wealthy massively to avoid crippling austerity measures.
    Richard Wolff nails it here:

    I think the issue in Greece, as elsewhere, has to be explained by a number of conditions that came together. The first problem in Greece was not that they were borrowing too much, but was rather that the lenders to Greece were no longer interested in lending to Greece the way they had been. Many of those lenders had actively pushed Greece into borrowing because they made huge fees off of the national debt of Greece, as they do of most countries. Goldman Sachs helped the Greeks to develop new kinds of accounting that could disguise or misrepresent parts of the borrowing that they were doing, or at least make people think it was less than it was before.

    The biggest problem for Greece was the global economic collapse of 2008. Suddenly every major capitalist country, led by the United States, was having to ramp up its borrowing by the hundreds of billions of dollars, and what that meant was that every lender around the world, every bank, every insurance company, every typical lender to a government, suddenly had an immense increase in demand for loanable funds. Many of those borrowers, like the United States, had much higher credit ratings than the Greek government, for all kinds of reasons, and the result was that the lenders saw that they could lend all they want at much lower risk to desperate countries like the United States, trying to dig its way out of a crisis, and so they turned to the Greeks and said, "Why should we lend to you, who are a risk relative to lending to the United States, or Britain, or France, or Germany?" and suddenly the Greeks discovered that their lenders, particularly German and French banks, but others as well, had a more attractive borrower, and suddenly the terms for the Greeks became much more onerous. Interest rates rose, conditions became harsher and the long-standing pattern of borrowing in Greece was suddenly confronted by a serious change of heart of the traditional lenders.

    The second thing, which is just as important, and again, it is true of all countries, not just Greece, is the peculiar political economy of capitalist countries. It works something like this: divide your population into two parts, the mass of working people, the overwhelming majority on the one hand, and the large businesses and the individual, rich 5 percent on the other. Each of these groups wants the government to provide them with all kinds of expensive services. Each of them, at the same time, wishes to pay the minimum possible tax burden on themselves, and each of them, using their relative resources, tries to get out of paying taxes. Big corporations and the rich, because of their resources, are able to hire the tax accounts, the lawyers, and they do a much better job of evading taxes than the mass of people.

    What the mass of people can do is threaten politically to vote against anybody who raises taxes and for anybody who lowers them and are subject to that kind of persuasion. In any case, what happens in capitalist economies is then that the government and the politicians are placed in an impossible position. They dare not raise the taxes on the masses, because that will cost them votes. They dare not raise taxes on corporations and the rich, because that will make the corporations and the rich support their political opponents and their careers will be over. At the same time, they dare not displease either of the two groups by not providing them with the demanded services and supports and subsidies that they have come to assume.

    So what does the government do in that situation? The answer is obvious: It borrows money. By borrowing money, they do not have to raise more in taxes from a population that doesn't want to pay it, and yet they can continue to spend to provide the services that the population demands. And finally, the rich are specifically pleased by this arrangement, because they're the ones who do the bulk of the lending to the government. So they are able to avoid taxation, in which they would have to give money to the government, end of the story, and instead, substitute loans to that government, precisely because they didn't pay the taxes. And that money has to be returned by government to corporations and the rich, and on top of it, paying them interest all the while.

    So the corporations and the rich find this a very attractive arrangement; the mass of people continues to get services without having their taxes raised. Everybody wins, ironically, while the government continues to raise more money in debt. To then blame the government as "living beyond its means," or to not see this mechanism, but somehow to ascribe all of this to some character flaw of people is to make it a personal failing rather than to understand it as a structural and economic arrangement whose irrationality speaks to the absurdity of how capitalist economies are organized and not to some individual failing.

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28505-richard-wolff-on-the-greek-crisis-austerity-and-a-post-capitalist-future
  13. Standard member redbadger
    Suzzie says Badger
    25 Jan '15 16:49
    Originally posted by OdBod
    Greece has and is suffering terribly, perhaps if they had their own currency this might help? Is it possible that membership of the EC created a mind set that led to such acute economic, and now social problems?
    so glad we kept the pound, so much for Adolph Merkels Euro.
  14. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    25 Jan '15 17:13
    The first exit polls are giving SYRIZA a commanding 12.5% lead and suggesting that they might obtain an absolute majority in the Greek Parliament even in this crowded field (the party with the most votes automatically gets 50 extra seats in the 300 member body).

    Far our righties Golden Dawn look to be getting about what they did in 2012 about 7%.

    Exit polls aren't results and they were a bit off in 2012 here (showing a toss-up race when NDP actually won by about 3 but it's hard to envision a more than 12.5% variance between exit polls and results.
  15. 25 Jan '15 19:53
    Many of those lenders had actively pushed Greece into borrowing because they made huge fees off of the national debt of Greece, as they do of most countries.

    Classic leftist blaming others for bad policy. It never amazes me to see how often leftists enable bad decisions by placing blame on others. Greek politicians decided to take on the debt. Greek politicians are to blame.