Who needs an army when you have economists and central bankers? This is the reality we face in an era where debt and austerity are the weapons wielded by modern imperialism.
In the aftermath of the Greek referendum rejecting austerity, an odious debt still hangs over the Greeks like a sword. In a real “free market” the banks that loaned Greece the money would take a huge loss, their managers would be fired and the banks shareholders would have taken a beating. But these day the bankers are sacrosanct and it’s the debtors who end up paying.
Democracy and the individual lives of citizens must be sacrificed to the demands of the banks.
The world elite are united in their belief that the bankers must have control over democratic states. Democracy is fine as long as it conforms to capitalist diktats. If it doesn’t, well, ask the Greeks what it’s like to suffer for the last 5 years.
Even the IMF has admitted that Greece needs a debt write down. This debt, owed largely to French and German banks, is un-payable and should never have been forced on the Greek citizens.
The Greeks had the gall to elect a left-wing government to end the brutal austerity that has ruined their economy and left them with a larger debt than before. Syriza came to power with a democratic mandate to defy the austerity imposed by the “troika” – composed of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. So for that the Greeks must suffer for thinking that they could avoid their proper punishment through democratic politics.
Here’s economist Paul Krugman summing up the medieval treatment of the Greeks by the European Central Bank.
“The truth is that Europe’s self-styled technocrats are like medieval doctors who insisted on bleeding their patients — and when their treatment made the patients sicker, demanded even more bleeding. A “yes” vote in Greece would have condemned the country to years more of suffering under policies that haven’t worked and in fact, given the arithmetic, can’t work: austerity probably shrinks the economy faster than it reduces debt, so that all the suffering serves no purpose. The landslide victory of the “no” side offers at least a chance for an escape from this trap.”
Nevertheless, the Greeks are derided as lazy and shiftless by the corporate media. It’s all a fucking economic morality play.
Economist Michael Hudson has been on a tear in graphically depicting how the Greeks are being forced to to pay for the sins of the bankers who loaned Greece the money that was lent to Greece but went right through Greece to pay the French banks and the German banks, and to enable the American Wall Street banks to make a killing.
“What they want is the same thing that warfare wants. They want the land, and they want a tribute in the form of interest. Basically, the Eurozone went to Greece and said: look, we’re going to–as in case Spain’s Podemos party or other countries who want to not pay their debts–we’re going to use you as an example and we’re going to wreck you. Financial technocrats were put in place to serve the domestic oligarchy and foreign bondholders. Greece was under financial attack just as deadly as a military attack. Finance is war.”
Debt and austerity are like warfare without the tanks and dive bombers. It’s an attempt by our financial overlords to trump democratic control and make the market the master.
We’ve witnessed the same sort of neoliberal policies here in the US in the aftermath of the Wall Street crash with austerity and cutbacks leading to privatization of essential public infrastructure and seizure of land and property by the banks. Exhibit-A is Detroit, a once large vibrant manufacturing metropolis that’s been transformed into a hellhole. This quest for control is also visible in trade policies like the TPP, TTIP and TISA that essentially represent a corporate coup d’état.
What can the Greeks do in the face of this financial terrorism?
Instead of stewing in their own misery, Greeks need to repatriate their money into Greek banks, all of their money. They need to clean out their bank accounts in Switzerland, Luxembourg, and London, and deposit this money into Greek banks. Hundreds of billions of euros. That would immediately solve the bank-run crisis.
They need to pay taxes on this money. And they need to pay their taxes for the last 20 years, all of their taxes, including penalties. They need to do so pronto, and with a smile. This is about Greece after all, the country they’re so proud of, and that needs them in this hour of duress. Knowing this, they’ll gladly stop cheating on their taxes from now on, at all levels, from the fruit seller on the street or the doctor that takes cash for her services or even the oligarch. Budget crisis solved!
We can do the same thing by investing our money in local markets and credit unions. Our economy doesn’t need to be run by and for the too big to fail banksters. An economy that works for all Americans makes things and provides services that we need. The US has a sovereign currency where we can create money ourselves rather that giving this power to bankers. Also, we don’t really need these sorts of global corporate trade treaties like the TPP. The US all by itself is an enormous market that we the people could participate in rather than watching our jobs depart for low wage, no regulation Third World countries.
It’s up to us. We can create an economy that works for us or we can await the fate of the Greeks.
According to investigative journalist Greg Palast, what’s happening to Greece is a bug not a feature. Palast managed to interview the economist who designed the Euro who confirms some of my longtime suspicions about the European Union.
“The imposition of the euro had one true goal: To end the European welfare state. For Mundell and the politicians who seized on his currency concept, the euro itself would be the vector infecting the European body politic with supply-side Reaganomics. Mundell saw a euro’d Europe as free of trade unions and government regulations; a Europe in which the votes of parliaments were meaningless. Each Eurozone nation, unable to control neither the value of its own currency, nor its own budget, nor its own fiscal policy, could only compete for business by slashing regulations and taxes. Mundell said, “[The euro] puts monetary policy out of the reach of politicians… Without fiscal policy, the only way nations can keep jobs is by the competitive reduction of rules on business.”