The Reality of Greek Debt

After months of seemingly fruitless negotiations between the Greek government and its creditors the IMF have now walked away and the country faces its ‘moment of truth’, according to Bloomberg yesterday. I would argue that it is not only Greece’s moment of truth but also that of its creditors.

There is a mind-set amongst the Greek people that takes a manana attitude to everything and particularly the payment of taxes and other financial responsibilities. Please, this is not a judgement but a simple observation of a national attribute that is well known internationally.

I have been to Greece and its islands on a number of occasions and fell in love, not only with the terrain but also the people and their way of life. So too have the bankers and politicians, indeed many own properties there, giving them a first-hand insight into the Greek way of Life.

With this knowledge why have they have been lending Greece more and more money over the decades, turning a blind eye to their already bankrupt state and growing inability to repay the equally growing debt? Yes, the situation has also been aggravated by corrupt Greek officials, who have played an integral part in this abuse to cover their incompetence and mismanagement of the country and its resources.

As the politicians and bankers rant, rave and throw more toys out of the pram at the ‘Greek Problem’ let us just look at what is really going on. We are told of massive “right offs” of Greek debt, “haircuts”, stability mechanisms (whatever they are) and debt restructuring that have been applied to the problem. In spite of this vast ‘massaging’ by the experts, the country is still sinking under its debt obligation. My question is, just how did Greece come to amass such an incomprehensible amount of debt?

Am I missing something or are we seeing here a repeat of the 2008 sub-prime banking scandal? Instead of naïve and ignorant people being sold mortgage debt they had no chance of repaying however, we are now dealing in countries. The only benefactors of this debt overload, like the sub-prime fiasco, are the banks and businesses who are vacuuming up the county’s assets at heavily discounted prices, whilst turning the people into a nation of beggars.

The fact that the banks have mirrored the sub-prime experience, by lending on bad risks to gain higher interest, is now being submerged in a propaganda smokescreen to divert attention away from yet more bad banking practices. Sympathy is poured upon the German taxpayers and other member states for coming to try and rescue “those irresponsible Greeks”. What utter nonsense!

Who was it that engineered this assistance but a bunch of incompetent bureaucrats whose blind ambition to get as many member countries into their club as possible resulted in a total lack of respect or consideration for existing members and how their money was managed and lent out?

Now it has all hit the fan and Greece is fighting back, as Iceland did, we are seeing the millennia old strategy of ‘divide and conquer’. The Troika is seeking to deflect attention away from its own incompetence and greed by blaming the Greeks for abusing German aid, stoking internal member conflict at a time when the club should be closing ranks, as all other clubs do in such circumstances.

What is lost in all of this posturing is that if Greece, as the pundits suggest could happen, does opt out, go through a couple of years of pain with the drachma and then return to some sort of financial stability not currently possible, the credibility of the global financial system and the euro will be tarnished for good, if they both last that long.

Be under no illusion, Greece is in a power struggle that will affect all of us into the future. If the banks win again, as they did in 2008, debt will become the tool of enslavement and profit the ruler of our lives, as social contracts are ripped up globally. TTIP is yet more of the same writing on the wall, as Brussels secretly supports this odious, democracy wrecking trade agreement.

I am no fan of the EU in its current fragile political and financial format. It is designed by politicos and bankers for politicos and bankers, with the people who pay for it pushed farther and farther into the background as cheap employment fodder to be hired and fired at will.

Life is so much more than debt and profit. We owe it to our young to fight back and create a world where individual human endeavour, the family and social cohesion are not only nurtured but prized and rewarded . . . Our beautiful Planet also has a vested interest and anxiously looks on as well!

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes