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The Poisoned Chalice: From Eurozone to Dead Zone
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James Galbraith’s articles and interviews collected in his book Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice trace his growing exasperation at the “troika” – the European Central Bank (ECB), IMF and EU bureaucracy – which refused to loosen their demand that Greece impoverish its economy to a degree worse than the Great Depression. The fight against Greece was, in a nutshell, a rejection of parliamentary democracy after the incoming Syriza coalition of left-wing parties won election in January 2015 on a platform of resisting austerity and privatization.

The world has seen the result: In contrast to the support given to countries with right-wing regimes, the ECB and IMF tightened their financial screws on Greece. The incoming finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis – who had been Galbraith’s faculty colleague at Austin, Texas – asked Galbraith to join him in February to help develop an alternative to the austerity being demanded. They were optimistic that reason would prevail: an awareness that the creditors’ program of “cutting wages and income without providing any relief from private debts (such as fixed mortgages) merely deepens debt burdens and forces people into bankruptcy and foreclosure.”

This book reflects Galbraith’s disappointment at how matters turned out so disastrously. In early June, a month before the July 5 referendum in which Greek voters rejected ECB-IMF demands by a heavy 61.5 percent, he thought that the government would fall if it capitulated. “So this option is not a high probability.” But that is just what did happen. Tsipras surrendered, prompting Varoufakis to resign the next day, on July 6.

A week earlier Galbraith had spelled out what seemed to be the inherent logic of the situation: Tsipras “could not yield to the conditions being demanded. So then the onus will be back on the creditors, and if they choose to destroy a European country, the crime will be on their hands to all to see.”

Tsipras did yield, and the Greece’s economy was destroyed by the Eurozone getting its way and imposing insolvency within the euro, not by forcing it out of the euro and leaving it bankrupt resorting to anti-Cuba or anti-Iran-type sanctions. Galbraith’s book presents the prosecutor’s case for what ensued. By May 3, he wrote to Varoufakis that he found “no prospect for development inside the current economic structures of the Eurozone.”

The essays in this book present Greece’s experience as an object lesson for other countries seeking to free themselves from right-wing financial control. The IMF and ECB do not even consider their destruction of Greece’s economy to be a failure. They continue to impose an austerity doctrine that was shown to be fallacious already in the 1920s.

The EU Constitution imposes debt deflation and austerity

Galbraith expressed his “epiphany” already in 2010 that a “market-based” solution was a euphemism for anti-labor austerity and a reversal of political democracy. “In a successful financial system, there must be a state larger than any market. That state must have monetary control – as the Federal Reserve does, without question, in the Untied States.” That was what many Europeans a generation ago expected – for the EU to sponsor a mixed public/private economy in the progressive 20th-century tradition. But instead of an emerging “European superstate” run by elected representatives empowered to promote economic recovery and growth by writing down debts in order to revive employment, the Eurozone is being run by the troika on behalf of bondholders and banks. ECB and EU technocrats are serving these creditor interests, not those of the increasingly indebted population, business and governments. The only real integration has been financial, empowering the ECB to override national sovereignty to dictate public spending and tax policy. And what they dictate is austerity and economic shrinkage.

In addition to a writeoff of bad debts, an expansionary fiscal policy is needed to save the eurozone from becoming a dead zone. But the EU has no unified tax policy, and money creation to finance deficit spending is blocked by lack of a central bank to monetize government deficits under control of elected officials. Europe’s central bank does not finance deficit spending to revive employment and economic growth. “Europe has devoted enormous effort to create a ‘single market’ without enlarging any state, and while pretending that the Central Bank cannot provide new money to the system.” Without monetizing deficits, budgets must be cut and the public domain sold off, with banks and bondholders in charge of resource allocation.

As long as “the market” means keeping the high debt overhead in place, the economy will be sacrificed to creditors. Their debt claims will dominate the poisonedchal market and, under EU and ECB rules, will also dominate the state instead of the state controlling the financial system or even tax policy.

Galbraith calls this financial warfare totalitarian, and writes that while its philosophical father is Frederick Hayek, the political forbear of this market Bolshevism is Stalin. The result is a crisis that “will continue, until Europe changes its mind. It will continue until the forces that built the welfare state in the first place rise up to defend it.”

To prevent such a progressive policy revival, the troika promotes regime change in recalcitrant economies, such as it deemed Syriza to be for trying to resist creditor commitments to austerity. Crushing Greece’s Syriza coalition was openly discussed throughout Europe as a dress rehearsal for blocking the Left from supporting its arguments. “Governments from the Left, no matter how free from corruption, no matter how pro-European,” Galbraith concludes, “are not acceptable to the community of creditors and institutions that make up the European system.”

ORDER IT NOW

Opposing austerity is called “contagion,” as if prosperity and rising living standards are an economic disease, not national bankruptcy being enforced by the ECB and EU bureaucracy (and the IMF). To prevent Podemos in Spain and similar parties in Portugal and Italy from mounting a recovery from eurozone austerity, these financial institutions support right-wing governments while tightening the screws on Left governments. That is what happens when central banks are made “independent” of democratic electoral politics and parliamentary control.

Galbraith’s month-by-month narrative describes how the IMF and ECB overrode Greek democracy on behalf of creditors and privatizers. They sought to undermine the Syriza government from the outset, making Greece an object lesson to deter thoughts by Podemos in Spain and similar parties in Portugal and Italy that they could resist the creditor grab to extract payment by a privatization grab and at the cost of pension funds and social spending. By contrast, conciliatory favoritism has been shown to right-wing European parties in order to keep them in power against the left.

On the surface, the troika’s “solution” – paying creditors by bleeding the economy – seems obviously self-defeating. But this seeming failure appears to be their actual aim: foreclosure on the assets of the indebted economy’s public sector under the banner of its version of R2P: Responsibility to Privatize. For Greece this means its ports, islands and tourist centers, electricity and other public utilities.

The ECB and IMF accelerated Greece’s economic collapse by demanding a rise in the VAT from 23 percent, making tourism in the islands more expensive. “The plain object of the creditors’ program is therefore not reform,” Galbraith points out. Instead of helping the economy compete, “Pension cuts, wage cuts, tax increases, and fire sales are offered up on the magical thought that the economy will recover despite the burden of higher taxes, lower purchasing power, and external repatriation of profits from privatization.” Privatized public utilities are turned into “cash cows” to enable buyers to extract monopoly rents, increasing the economy’s cost of living and doing business.

The European Union’s pro-creditor policies are “written into every European treaty from Rome to Maastricht,” overriding “the vision of ‘sustainable growth’ and ‘social inclusion’” to which they pay lip service. Reinforcing the ECB’s monetary austerity is the German constitution, imposing fiscal austerity by blocking funding of other countries’ budget deficits (except for quantitative easing to save bankers).

The financial warfare being waged by the ECB and IMF

This is not how the EU was supposed to end up. Its ideal was to put an end to the millennium of internecine European military conflict. That was fairly easy, because warfare based on armed infantry occupation was already a thing of the past by the time the EU was formed. No industrial economy today is politically able to mount the military invasion needed to occupy another country – not Germany or France, Italy or Russia. Even in the United States, the Vietnam War protests ended the military draft. Warfare in today’s world can bomb and destroy – from a distance – but cannot occupy an adversary.

The second argument for joining the EU was that it would administer social democracy against corruption and any repeat of right-wing dictatorships. But that has not happened. Just the opposite: Although the European Union treaties pay lip service to democracy, they negate monetary sovereignty. The IMF, ECB and EU bureaucracy have acted together to collect the bad debt left over from their reckless 2010 bailout of French, German, Dutch and other bondholders. In behavior reminiscent of Allied demands for unpayably high German reparations in the 1920s, their demands for payment are based on predatory junk economic theory claiming that foreign debt of any magnitude can be paid by imposing deep enough austerity and privatization sell-offs.

So the arena of conflict and rivalry has shifted from the military to the financial battlefield. Along with the IMF and ECB, central banks across the world are notorious for opposing democratic authority to tax and regulate economies. The financial sector’s policy of leaving money and credit allocation to banks and bondholders calls for blocking public money creation. This leaves the financial sector as the economy’s central planner.

The euro’s creation can best be viewed as a legalistic coup d’état to replace national parliaments with a coterie of financial managers acting on behalf of creditors, drawn largely from the ranks of investment bankers. Tax policy, regulatory and pension policies are assigned to these unelected central planners. Empowered to override sovereign self-determination and national referendums on economic and social policy, their policy prescription is to impose austerity and force privatization selloffs that are basically foreclosures on indebted economies. Galbraith rightly calls this financial colonialism.

The asset grab promoted by the IMF and ECB is incompatible with reviving Greece or other southern European economies (not to speak of the Baltics and Ukraine). The theory is unchanged from that imposed on Germany after World War I – the theories of Jacques Rueff, Bertil Ohlin and the Austrians, controverted by Keynes, Harold Moulton and others at the time.[1]My book Trade, Development and Foreign Debt (2002) reviews the German reparations debate over “capital transfers” with regard to how austerity actually reduces the ability to pay. Their victorious role in this debate has been expurgated from today’s public discourse and even from academia. What passes for economic orthodoxy today is an unreformed (and incorrigible) austerity economics of the 1920s, pretending that an economy’s debts can all be paid simply by lowering wage levels, taxing consumers more, making workers (and ultimately, businesses and government) poorer, and selling off the public domain (mainly to foreigners from the creditor nations).

Galbraith contrasts economists to doctors, whose professional motto is “Do no harm.” Economists cannot avoid harming economies when their priority is to save bankers and bondholders from losses – by bleeding economies to pay creditors. What the IMF calls “stabilization programs” impose a downward spiral of debt deflation and widening fiscal deficits. This forces countries to sell off their land and mineral rights, public buildings, electric utilities, phone and communications systems, roads and highways at distress prices.

ORDER IT NOW

At first glance the repeated “failure” of austerity prescriptions to “help economies recover” seems to be insanity – defined as doing the same thing again and again, hoping that the result may be different. But what if the financial planners are not insane? What if they simply seek professional success by rationalizing politics favored by the vested interests that employ them, headed by the IMF, central bankers and the policy think tanks and business schools they sponsor? The effects of pro-creditor policies have become so constant over so many decades that it now must be seen as deliberate, not a mistake that can be fixed by pointing out a more realistic body of economics (which already was available in the 1920s).

Given the eurozone’s mindset, Galbraith asks whether Greece may be better off going it alone, away from the IMF/ECB “hospice” and its financial quack doctors. Saving the economy requires rejecting the body of creditor demands for austerity by central planners at the IMF, ECB and other international institutions.

Any sovereign nation has the right to avoid being impoverished by creditors who have lent sums far in excess of the amount that can be paid without being forced to engage in privatization selloffs at distress prices. Such demands are akin to military attack, having a similar objective: seizure of the indebted economy’s land, natural resources and public infrastructure, and control over its government.

These demands are at odds with parliamentary democracy and national self-determination. Yet they are written into the way the eurozone is constructed. That is why withdrawal from the current financial regime is a precondition for recovery of economic sovereignty. It must start with control over the money supply and the tax system, followed by control over public infrastructure and the pricing of its services.

The future of Europe’s Left

What led governments (although by no means all voters) to accept a supra-national pan-European authority was the trauma of World War II. It seemed that nation-states were prone to making war, but a United States of Europe would not fight – at least, not internally. But the authority that has been put in place is financial, pro-creditor and anti-labor, empowered to impose austerity and turn the public domain to into privatized monopolies.

The EU cannot be “fixed” by marginal reforms. Greece’s treatment shows that it must be recast – or else, countries will start leaving in order to restore parliamentary democracy and retain what remains of their sovereignty. The financial sector’s ideal is for economies centrally planned by bankers, leaving no public infrastructure unappropriated. Privatized economies are to be financialized into opportunities to extract monopoly rent.

The gauntlet has been thrown down, posing a question today much like that of the 1930s: Will the alternative to austerity, debt deflation and the resulting economic breakdown be resolved by a pro-labor socialist alternative, or will it lead to a victory by anti-European right-wing parties?

What makes the situation different today is the remarkable extent to which today’s European parties calling themselves Socialist, Social Democratic or Labour have accepted privatization and opposition to budget deficits. This shift reverses what they urged at their origins more than a century ago. So the problem is not only to resist the right wing of the political spectrum; it is to reconstruct a real European left.

Galbraith’s book has important implications for the policies needed to save the eurozone from being turned into a dead zone along the lines of Latvia’s disastrous oligarchic “success” story. (Drastic emigration and declining after-tax wages are the “Baltic Miracle” in a nutshell.)

If European Left does not succeed in creating an alternative to eurozone austerity, right-wing nationalists will lead a withdrawal campaign. Golden Dawn in Greece, France’s National Front, along with Hungarian, Austrian and Polish nationalist parties and Britain’s UKIP are moving to fill the vacuum left by the absence of a socialist alternative to financialization under ECB and IMF dirigisme.

Michael Hudson’s new book, Killing the Host is published in e-format by CounterPunch Books and in print by Islet. He can be reached via his website, mh@michael-hudson.com

[1] My book Trade, Development and Foreign Debt (2002) reviews the German reparations debate over “capital transfers” with regard to how austerity actually reduces the ability to pay.

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Stogumber says:

    I’m not convinced of the wisdom of actual EU policy. In particular I resent the idea of selling public property to foreign proprietors. And in my eyes, in case of predatory lending the creditor is as much responsible as the debtor (the previous Greek governments).

    That said, I don’t trust Galbraith’ mantra of deficit spending. What if deficit spending does not “revive employment and economical growth”? Hudson expressively discusses historical examples for austerity politics, but he doesn’t discuss examples of deficit spending. (I’m a layman. It seems to have worked well for Hitler, but seems to have been a failure for Roosevelt. So there might be particular conditions which must be met.)

    Also the idea that European austerity politics contradicts democracy seems preposterous. The Greek people may democratically resolve that their creditors have to cut the losses, but are the creditors (who have no say in this) really obliged to follow this resolution? Of course, the Greek people could leave the EU and then declare the debts void (which is what Hitler did), but then they have to abstain from taking new credits (which Hitler was prepared to do, but which Tsipras was not prepared). A man who wants a new credit can’t be rebellious at the same time.

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    • Replies: @Che Guava
    Good point. Although they had been preparing to leave the eurozone, getting ready to issue a new drachma, as was widely reported at the time.

    Since the creditors are dirty rotten creeps (don't forget the Goldman Sachs role in providing advice that dug a deep hole for Greece) that may have been enough to repudiate the debt.

    Neither a borrower nor a lender be.

    I would add, with the exception of rare small sums, repaid ASAP, among personal friends.

    Know that is not how things work.
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  2. jim jones says:

    I foresee the joy of the Greek people when Deutsche Bank collapses

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    • LOL: Che Guava
    • Replies: @Wally
    Then who will pay the Greek bills?

    Certainly not the lazy, corrupt Greeks.
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  3. woodNfish says:

    If European Left does not succeed in creating an alternative to eurozone austerity, right-wing nationalists will lead a withdrawal campaign.

    Yeah, because the elitist and intrusive and idiotic policies of the unelected Eurocrats in Brussels about immigration and other sovereignty destroying policies have nothing to do with Europeans pushing to leave the EU.

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  4. Renoman says:

    Europe is a sinking ship, it is comprised of many cultures who all hate each other. No one wants Arab and African migrants, they do not blend well and are too radically different for it ever to work. That and everyone hates Islam. Briton has gone and those guys will do Anything for money so you know there’s none there. No money, no way forward, too many people, no work means war. Get in the coffin business if you really wanta get rich.

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    • Replies: @Epaminondas
    History would tend to side with you.
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  5. Would any of this have been possible without the groundwork of the bankers in respect to the financial dictatorship imposed on the American taxpayers in 1913?

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    • Replies: @JSmith
    "The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences... The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations."

    -- Carroll Quigley (CFR member, Bill Clinton mentor), "Tragedy and Hope", 1966, pg 324
    , @annamaria
    Yes. As the author writes, "The financial sector’s policy of leaving money and credit allocation to banks and bondholders calls for blocking public money creation. This leaves the financial sector as the economy’s central planner."
    The EU has been suffering from financial Bolshevism.
    Planned economy in the former USSR was a disaster for ordinary people. For example, both Ukraine and Russia, these breadbaskets of Eastern Europe, were reduced to the famine-stricken regions; as a results, the Soviet government started looting the national treasures in order to import grain for the starving populations.
    The name "troika" for the European Central Bank (ECB), IMF and EU bureaucracy is on point. "Troika" was an "instrument of extrajudicial punishment" for the Stalinist court system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NKVD_troika
    The ideological inflexibility of the EU "troika" relates directly to the insatiable thirst for power by the financial directorate.
    PS: The beginning of the 20th century saw various expressions of dictatorship (including the financial dictatorship). Complementing the totalitarian ideology for societal structures, there were also attempts at dictatorial approach to artistic spaces in fine arts. - The museums of modern art are still coping with the often unnatural and inhuman (and sloppy) outbursts of these attempts.
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  6. Miro23 says:

    Outsourcing should have been part of this article. It’s a central feature of the Neoliberal “World is Flat” idea and was greatly enabled by the EEC administration to please their Neoliberal friends. They received higher corporate profits while off shoring European manufacturing and employment and dumping the social costs onto government.

    The Euro is a separate issue (here in Spain), that kicked off an enormous speculative real estate boom while interest rates fell from 15% to 2% with junk sub-prime bond backed financing. Everyone was guilty here, the public turning to speculation, the banks lending to anyone, and the government denying the bubble (Iberian Tiger) and grabbing as much as possible in taxes to shower the public with welfare benefits (in return for votes).

    In fact, looking from here, outsourcing is the main issue.

    Over 30 years in Spain, I have seen what the “liberal international order” has done to local industry. Many inland villages and towns specialized for generations in manufacturing toys, hats, shoes, clothing, textiles, lamps etc. with a good local market and exports throughout Europe. They weren’t rich but they were getting by as self-supporting skilled artisans making a good contribution to the national economy.

    However, now, the “liberal international order” means that everything that can fit into a shipping container comes from China, and whole towns are unemployed, with miles of derelict factories and warehouses and whole families often living from a single (minimal) pensioners benefits.

    The government parrots “free trade” and EEC rules, while what buying power’s left is funneled to China through 100% Chinese import store chains like Sprinter (sports clothing), Decathalon (sports goods), Alehop (gifts), DonDino (toys) or Chinese general stores in every high street.

    This is plainly crazy, with EEC rules only supporting the profitability of outsourcing corporations.

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  7. JSmith says:
    @Bob Loblaw
    Would any of this have been possible without the groundwork of the bankers in respect to the financial dictatorship imposed on the American taxpayers in 1913?

    “The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences… The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.”

    – Carroll Quigley (CFR member, Bill Clinton mentor), “Tragedy and Hope”, 1966, pg 324

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  8. szopen says:

    What is right-wing about international, globalist institutions destroying the national state?

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  9. Art says:

    James Galbraith’s articles and interviews collected in his book Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice trace his growing exasperation at the “troika” – the European Central Bank (ECB), IMF and EU bureaucracy – which refused to loosen their demand that Greece impoverish its economy to a degree worse than the Great Depression.

    Another spelling for “troika” – Rothschild.

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  10. “In a successful financial system, there must be a state larger than any market. That state must have monetary control – as the Federal Reserve does, without question, in the Untied States.”

    Does Michael Hudson of all people have to be reminded that the Federal Reserve is not a state entity?

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  11. Che Guava says:

    Since it is the central point of Hudson’s article, I’ll start by saying that Tzipras was a fool and betrayed his people. The best solution would have been to dump the euro and return to the drachma
    ASAP. It would have meant pain and difficulty for some time, but would have avoided the invasive process imposed by the troika.

    The EUSSR is such a bizarre entity.

    Run by what, since ‘new left’ days, has increasingly passed for ‘the left’ in the mass media, plenty of ex-trots and other strange leftists among the commissioners, leaders of ‘centre-left’ parties in and MEPs from member states that were not formerly Warsaw Pact members, parts of the USSR, or parts of Yugoslavia.

    So they have this oddly strict neocon/neolib (they are identical on macroeconomics) orthodoxy on capitalist economics, combined with bizarre and harmful social policies.

    The weird social policies include policies towards the people that are antithetical to the populations on accession (we must rescue all invaders that we can, and land them on our shores, for one).

    That is supposed to be the expression of their still being ‘good progressive’ people today. They like to avert their eyes from the simple fact that most of the invaders are opposed to all of their ‘doubleplusgoodthink’ on social policy.

    Much more weird social policy shit on top of that.

    Hegel’s history repeating, tragedy then farce formulation doesn’t quite seem to work here.

    The EUSSR is more farcical than its predecessor state, but its end game is far more tragic.

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    • Replies: @jacques sheete
    I agree. Varoufakis wanted to do that but couldn't, so he honorably resigned. Tsiparas sold out.

    I just got back from Greece, and it's really sd to see how "dead" it is. I have little doubt that the python is strangling the US in a similar fashion.

    I could go on a bit except that I need to make another trip today.
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  12. Che Guava says:
    @Stogumber
    I'm not convinced of the wisdom of actual EU policy. In particular I resent the idea of selling public property to foreign proprietors. And in my eyes, in case of predatory lending the creditor is as much responsible as the debtor (the previous Greek governments).

    That said, I don't trust Galbraith' mantra of deficit spending. What if deficit spending does not "revive employment and economical growth"? Hudson expressively discusses historical examples for austerity politics, but he doesn't discuss examples of deficit spending. (I'm a layman. It seems to have worked well for Hitler, but seems to have been a failure for Roosevelt. So there might be particular conditions which must be met.)

    Also the idea that European austerity politics contradicts democracy seems preposterous. The Greek people may democratically resolve that their creditors have to cut the losses, but are the creditors (who have no say in this) really obliged to follow this resolution? Of course, the Greek people could leave the EU and then declare the debts void (which is what Hitler did), but then they have to abstain from taking new credits (which Hitler was prepared to do, but which Tsipras was not prepared). A man who wants a new credit can't be rebellious at the same time.

    Good point. Although they had been preparing to leave the eurozone, getting ready to issue a new drachma, as was widely reported at the time.

    Since the creditors are dirty rotten creeps (don’t forget the Goldman Sachs role in providing advice that dug a deep hole for Greece) that may have been enough to repudiate the debt.

    Neither a borrower nor a lender be.

    I would add, with the exception of rare small sums, repaid ASAP, among personal friends.

    Know that is not how things work.

    Read More
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  13. tamako says:

    If European Left does not succeed in creating an alternative to eurozone austerity, right-wing nationalists will lead a withdrawal campaign. Golden Dawn in Greece, France’s National Front, along with Hungarian, Austrian and Polish nationalist parties and Britain’s UKIP are moving to fill the vacuum left by the absence of a socialist alternative to financialization under ECB and IMF dirigisme.

    The gap will be filled, there’s no question about it. It’s just a question of how much gap will be filled in – any victory won will have to be decisive enough to secure control outright regardless of establishment maneuvering. Golden Dawn in Greece is closest to doing so outside the Visegrad Four, and they’re only pulling in <40% support in the country (that should actually be enough to take control of a majority of all parliamentary seats there, but I haven't seen breakdowns by region). I don't count FPÖ in Austria, because that's only for the Presidency, though it would be a major victory if they do pull it off.

    It's also worth noting that the ECB has outright refused to include the Greeks in their QE program despite the fact that the Greeks were most in need of it, and that the large (((banks))) outright complained ab0ut the resulting yield depression as a result of the program in other parts of the European Union.

    As a side note:

    Galbraith contrasts economists to doctors, whose professional motto is “Do no harm.” Economists cannot avoid harming economies when their priority is to save bankers and bondholders from losses – by bleeding economies to pay creditors.

    Economics is math backed by psychology and philosophy, not necessarily empirical figures.
    A corollary of this is that economics is as inherently flawed as psychology is.

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  14. Rehmat says:

    Foreign ownership of national assets is nothing but an ‘economic occupation’ by Rothschild, and other vultures.

    In Canada, there is hardly any heavy industry or nuclear plant which is not owned by United States.

    Greece and other nations should follow Iranian Constitution which bans leasing or sale of national assets to foreign economic and military powers.

    Last year, one of the top Greek religious leaders, Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus, blamed ZIONIST MONSTER for country’s most problems. He also claimed that “Adolf Hitler was an instrument of world Zionism and was financed by the renowned Rothschild family with the sole purpose of convincing the Jews to the shore of Europe and go to Palestine and the new empire.”

    On December 22, 2010, Robert Mackey accused Seraphim at The Jew York Times, of saying during a interview that Jews were behind Greece’s financial problems, and Holocaust was orchestrated by Zionist Jews. He accused international Zionism of trying to destroy family unit by promoting one-parent family and same-sex marriage…..

    https://rehmat1.com/2015/12/23/top-bishop-zionist-monster-controls-greece/

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  15. @Renoman
    Europe is a sinking ship, it is comprised of many cultures who all hate each other. No one wants Arab and African migrants, they do not blend well and are too radically different for it ever to work. That and everyone hates Islam. Briton has gone and those guys will do Anything for money so you know there's none there. No money, no way forward, too many people, no work means war. Get in the coffin business if you really wanta get rich.

    History would tend to side with you.

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  16. @Che Guava
    Since it is the central point of Hudson's article, I'll start by saying that Tzipras was a fool and betrayed his people. The best solution would have been to dump the euro and return to the drachma
    ASAP. It would have meant pain and difficulty for some time, but would have avoided the invasive process imposed by the troika.

    The EUSSR is such a bizarre entity.

    Run by what, since 'new left' days, has increasingly passed for 'the left' in the mass media, plenty of ex-trots and other strange leftists among the commissioners, leaders of 'centre-left' parties in and MEPs from member states that were not formerly Warsaw Pact members, parts of the USSR, or parts of Yugoslavia.

    So they have this oddly strict neocon/neolib (they are identical on macroeconomics) orthodoxy on capitalist economics, combined with bizarre and harmful social policies.

    The weird social policies include policies towards the people that are antithetical to the populations on accession (we must rescue all invaders that we can, and land them on our shores, for one).

    That is supposed to be the expression of their still being 'good progressive' people today. They like to avert their eyes from the simple fact that most of the invaders are opposed to all of their 'doubleplusgoodthink' on social policy.

    Much more weird social policy shit on top of that.

    Hegel's history repeating, tragedy then farce formulation doesn't quite seem to work here.

    The EUSSR is more farcical than its predecessor state, but its end game is far more tragic.

    I agree. Varoufakis wanted to do that but couldn’t, so he honorably resigned. Tsiparas sold out.

    I just got back from Greece, and it’s really sd to see how “dead” it is. I have little doubt that the python is strangling the US in a similar fashion.

    I could go on a bit except that I need to make another trip today.

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    • Agree: Che Guava
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  17. gwynedd1 says:

    I don’t care how, but the economic rent must be recycled into the local economy that supports it. Otherwise it leads to poverty and decay. Too bad most people don’t even know what that is.

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  18. annamaria says:
    @Bob Loblaw
    Would any of this have been possible without the groundwork of the bankers in respect to the financial dictatorship imposed on the American taxpayers in 1913?

    Yes. As the author writes, “The financial sector’s policy of leaving money and credit allocation to banks and bondholders calls for blocking public money creation. This leaves the financial sector as the economy’s central planner.”
    The EU has been suffering from financial Bolshevism.
    Planned economy in the former USSR was a disaster for ordinary people. For example, both Ukraine and Russia, these breadbaskets of Eastern Europe, were reduced to the famine-stricken regions; as a results, the Soviet government started looting the national treasures in order to import grain for the starving populations.
    The name “troika” for the European Central Bank (ECB), IMF and EU bureaucracy is on point. “Troika” was an “instrument of extrajudicial punishment” for the Stalinist court system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NKVD_troika
    The ideological inflexibility of the EU “troika” relates directly to the insatiable thirst for power by the financial directorate.
    PS: The beginning of the 20th century saw various expressions of dictatorship (including the financial dictatorship). Complementing the totalitarian ideology for societal structures, there were also attempts at dictatorial approach to artistic spaces in fine arts. – The museums of modern art are still coping with the often unnatural and inhuman (and sloppy) outbursts of these attempts.

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  19. Wally says: • Website

    And the obvious lesson is:

    If you can’t pay back other peoples money, then don’t take their money in the first place.

    That is unless the intention was to never pay back the money. Hmm.

    No pity for the Greeks, a notoriously lazy, unproductive, communist inclined people.

    If European Left does not succeed in creating an alternative to eurozone austerity, right-wing nationalists will lead a withdrawal campaign.

    There’s no IF there, it is happening now.
    The Left doesn’t have and never has had an alternative to theft.

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    • Replies: @Art
    If you can’t pay back other peoples money, then don’t take their money in the first place.

    The lender also has a responsibility - if you loan money to someone who may not be able to pay it back - then you must accept the possibility of a bankruptcy.

    The money lent to Greece by Germany went right back to Germany.

    There are NO good guys here.
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  20. nickels says:

    Just finished ‘Killing the Host’, highly recommend it.
    But also read Michael E Jones ‘Barren Metal’ and ‘Libido Dominandi’.

    The Jone’s books provide a nice compliment for Hudson’s, showing how ‘liberalism’ is the tool used by the parasite to numb the mind of the Host.
    Jones also attacks the very foundations of classical economics, linking them with heartless Darwinism, whereas Hudson defends them.

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  21. greeks got royally fucked over by their supposed hope, Tsipras.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wally
    The Greeks fucked themselves by taking the money with terms they agreed to.

    No pity for lazy Marxist Greeks.
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  22. The Greek’s original sin was joining the Euro under false pretences. They had their years of false plenty. Time has come to pay. For Germany, supporting tiny Greece was a price worth paying for the political gain.

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  23. mcohen says:

    one wonders if turkey was attacked from the rear by russia whether greece would help.

    anyway the truth …..the magic

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-16834815

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  24. Art says:
    @Wally
    And the obvious lesson is:

    If you can't pay back other peoples money, then don't take their money in the first place.

    That is unless the intention was to never pay back the money. Hmm.

    No pity for the Greeks, a notoriously lazy, unproductive, communist inclined people.


    If European Left does not succeed in creating an alternative to eurozone austerity, right-wing nationalists will lead a withdrawal campaign.
     
    There's no IF there, it is happening now.
    The Left doesn't have and never has had an alternative to theft.

    If you can’t pay back other peoples money, then don’t take their money in the first place.

    The lender also has a responsibility – if you loan money to someone who may not be able to pay it back – then you must accept the possibility of a bankruptcy.

    The money lent to Greece by Germany went right back to Germany.

    There are NO good guys here.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete
    You are correct. There's a reason interest is charged for money lent. The lender takes a risk also.

    And this simple minded claim irks me to no end..."If you can’t pay back other peoples money, then don’t take their money in the first place."

    While that's often true between individuals, it doesn't hold for whole nations. One cannot blame the Greeks for their predicament since the majority of them had no say in either selecting their greedy, complicit leaders, or their acceptance of the debt.

    One of the crimes of any type of "rule" is the ability of a few crooks to saddle whole populations with debt and other charges while paying little themselves. It would be closer to ideal if the politicians could be held personally responsible for repaying the debt as well as reparations to those they've used in their complicity with the usurers and war mongers.
    , @L.K
    Art:

    The lender also has a responsibility – if you loan money to someone who may not be able to pay it back – then you must accept the possibility of a bankruptcy.

    The money lent to Greece by Germany went right back to Germany.
     
    Exactly.
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  25. On the one hand, EU policy toward Greece is hugely destructive and brutal. On the other hand, the Greeks are a bunch of lazy scroungers who choose to borrow huge amounts of money to pay themselves for doing nothing. My sympathy is limited.

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  26. Wally says: • Website

    An incorrect argument.

    The Greeks cannot pay what they owe, but they want more.

    “The money lent to Greece by Germany went right back to Germany.”

    No it didn’t. Haven’t you been paying attention?

    The Greeks have not / cannot pay back the money THEY borrowed, but still want more.

    I loath the EU, but the lying Marxist Greeks deserve what they get on this one.

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  27. Wally says: • Website
    @jim jones
    I foresee the joy of the Greek people when Deutsche Bank collapses

    Then who will pay the Greek bills?

    Certainly not the lazy, corrupt Greeks.

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  28. Wally says: • Website
    @Astuteobservor II
    greeks got royally fucked over by their supposed hope, Tsipras.

    The Greeks fucked themselves by taking the money with terms they agreed to.

    No pity for lazy Marxist Greeks.

    Read More
    • Replies: @annamaria
    "No pity for lazy Marxist Greeks."
    You mean that the Marxist Goldman Sachs had been helping the Marxist Greek government for the lasting benefit for the Greek people?
    Lets' have some history lessons:
    "In 2013, Greece was spending about 2.2 percent of its GNP or roughly $10 billion on the military. It was strongly urged to spend at least that amount by NATO...
    Another “secret” from the past that returns to haunt statesmen today is that Greece got caught up in clever, but perhaps illegal, manipulation of accounts. Led by the American banking firm of Goldman Sachs, the previous conservative government of George Papandreou did a $15 billion “swap” to hide Greek indebtedness,... Goldman Sachs was alleged to have made hundreds of millions of dollars in the deal taking that money into its corporate coffers while leaving the debt behind in Greece." https://consortiumnews.com/2015/07/12/secret-history-of-the-greek-crisis/
    "The trading costs on the swap rose because the deal had a notional value of more than 15 billion euros, more than the amount of the loan itself, said a former Greek official with knowledge of the transaction who asked not to be identified because the pricing was private. The complexity of the deal helped Goldman reap a bigger payday—but in fact, the loan was so confusing that even the Greece government had trouble understanding it and thought it was much cheaper than it actually was. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-secret-goldman-sachs-greece-deal-thats-described-as-a-very-sexy-story-between-two-sinners-2012-3
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  29. annamaria says:
    @Wally
    The Greeks fucked themselves by taking the money with terms they agreed to.

    No pity for lazy Marxist Greeks.

    “No pity for lazy Marxist Greeks.”
    You mean that the Marxist Goldman Sachs had been helping the Marxist Greek government for the lasting benefit for the Greek people?
    Lets’ have some history lessons:
    “In 2013, Greece was spending about 2.2 percent of its GNP or roughly $10 billion on the military. It was strongly urged to spend at least that amount by NATO…
    Another “secret” from the past that returns to haunt statesmen today is that Greece got caught up in clever, but perhaps illegal, manipulation of accounts. Led by the American banking firm of Goldman Sachs, the previous conservative government of George Papandreou did a $15 billion “swap” to hide Greek indebtedness,… Goldman Sachs was alleged to have made hundreds of millions of dollars in the deal taking that money into its corporate coffers while leaving the debt behind in Greece.” https://consortiumnews.com/2015/07/12/secret-history-of-the-greek-crisis/
    “The trading costs on the swap rose because the deal had a notional value of more than 15 billion euros, more than the amount of the loan itself, said a former Greek official with knowledge of the transaction who asked not to be identified because the pricing was private. The complexity of the deal helped Goldman reap a bigger payday—but in fact, the loan was so confusing that even the Greece government had trouble understanding it and thought it was much cheaper than it actually was. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-secret-goldman-sachs-greece-deal-thats-described-as-a-very-sexy-story-between-two-sinners-2012-3

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  30. @Art
    If you can’t pay back other peoples money, then don’t take their money in the first place.

    The lender also has a responsibility - if you loan money to someone who may not be able to pay it back - then you must accept the possibility of a bankruptcy.

    The money lent to Greece by Germany went right back to Germany.

    There are NO good guys here.

    You are correct. There’s a reason interest is charged for money lent. The lender takes a risk also.

    And this simple minded claim irks me to no end…”If you can’t pay back other peoples money, then don’t take their money in the first place.”

    While that’s often true between individuals, it doesn’t hold for whole nations. One cannot blame the Greeks for their predicament since the majority of them had no say in either selecting their greedy, complicit leaders, or their acceptance of the debt.

    One of the crimes of any type of “rule” is the ability of a few crooks to saddle whole populations with debt and other charges while paying little themselves. It would be closer to ideal if the politicians could be held personally responsible for repaying the debt as well as reparations to those they’ve used in their complicity with the usurers and war mongers.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art

    One of the crimes of any type of “rule” is the ability of a few crooks to saddle whole populations with debt and other charges while paying little themselves
     
    Just say - Rothschild.

    It has been going on for centuries.

    It has to stop!
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  31. annamaria says:

    “It would be closer to ideal if the politicians could be held personally responsible for repaying the debt as well as reparations to those they’ve used in their complicity with the usurers and war mongers.”
    Correct.

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  32. Art says:
    @jacques sheete
    You are correct. There's a reason interest is charged for money lent. The lender takes a risk also.

    And this simple minded claim irks me to no end..."If you can’t pay back other peoples money, then don’t take their money in the first place."

    While that's often true between individuals, it doesn't hold for whole nations. One cannot blame the Greeks for their predicament since the majority of them had no say in either selecting their greedy, complicit leaders, or their acceptance of the debt.

    One of the crimes of any type of "rule" is the ability of a few crooks to saddle whole populations with debt and other charges while paying little themselves. It would be closer to ideal if the politicians could be held personally responsible for repaying the debt as well as reparations to those they've used in their complicity with the usurers and war mongers.

    One of the crimes of any type of “rule” is the ability of a few crooks to saddle whole populations with debt and other charges while paying little themselves

    Just say – Rothschild.

    It has been going on for centuries.

    It has to stop!

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    It has been going on for centuries.
     

    “Care not for fine horses or chariots with handsome harness, adorned with gold886 and silver, which swift interest will catch up with and outrun, but mounted on any chance donkey or nag flee from the hostile and tyrannical money-lender, who does not demand land and water like the Mede,887 but interferes with your liberty, and lowers your status.

    If you pay him not, he duns you; if you offer the money, he won't have it; if you are selling anything, he cheapens the price; if you don't want to sell, he forces you; if you sue him, he comes to terms with you; if you swear, he hectors; if you go to his house, he shuts the door in your face; whereas if you stay at home, he billets himself on you, and is ever rapping at your door.”

    Plutarch, Morals, Chapter 23, “Against Running in Debt” c. 100 AD

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/23639/23639-h/23639-h.htm...
     
    BTW: Thanks to annamaria and to nickels, whose comment is correct as well.
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  33. nickels says:

    I have to agree with Hudson and Michael E Jones that debts should be written down for a number of reasons.

    1) Historically it worked.
    2) Most loans are predatory, given in the time of need or under false pretences or propaganda.
    3) Creditors take no risk without the potential for writedowns.
    4) If Loans aren’t written down, tax payers end up footing the bill for wild speculation by the 1%
    5) Exponential accumulation is a force that NOTHING can sustain.
    6) Historically it is obvious that creditors get richer and richer and richer and the result is strangulating debt deflation of the economy.
    7) Usury is not Christian.
    8) Creditors sit on their shiny behinds doing absolutely nothing, contributing absolutely nothing and get rich.
    9) Exponential accumulation of wealth always leads to control of government and the control of utility monopolies, hence extortion.

    10) Screw the rich.
    11) Pitchforks are sharp.

    -d

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  34. @Art

    One of the crimes of any type of “rule” is the ability of a few crooks to saddle whole populations with debt and other charges while paying little themselves
     
    Just say - Rothschild.

    It has been going on for centuries.

    It has to stop!

    It has been going on for centuries.

    “Care not for fine horses or chariots with handsome harness, adorned with gold886 and silver, which swift interest will catch up with and outrun, but mounted on any chance donkey or nag flee from the hostile and tyrannical money-lender, who does not demand land and water like the Mede,887 but interferes with your liberty, and lowers your status.

    If you pay him not, he duns you; if you offer the money, he won’t have it; if you are selling anything, he cheapens the price; if you don’t want to sell, he forces you; if you sue him, he comes to terms with you; if you swear, he hectors; if you go to his house, he shuts the door in your face; whereas if you stay at home, he billets himself on you, and is ever rapping at your door.”

    Plutarch, Morals, Chapter 23, “Against Running in Debt” c. 100 AD

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/23639/23639-h/23639-h.htm&#8230;

    BTW: Thanks to annamaria and to nickels, whose comment is correct as well.

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    • Replies: @Art
    Plutarch, Morals, Chapter 23, “Against Running in Debt” c. 100 AD

    JS - nice quote - thanks.

    For most of Christian history lending at interest was a sin – so that dirty job of usury was left to Jews. It was thought to be a job on the level of selling crack. That is how Jew ghettos got started in big Euro cities.

    There is NO need for usury. The Jews have so screwed up the banking system that today they are charging negative interest rates on savings. Such a deal!

    Art
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  35. Art says:
    @jacques sheete

    It has been going on for centuries.
     

    “Care not for fine horses or chariots with handsome harness, adorned with gold886 and silver, which swift interest will catch up with and outrun, but mounted on any chance donkey or nag flee from the hostile and tyrannical money-lender, who does not demand land and water like the Mede,887 but interferes with your liberty, and lowers your status.

    If you pay him not, he duns you; if you offer the money, he won't have it; if you are selling anything, he cheapens the price; if you don't want to sell, he forces you; if you sue him, he comes to terms with you; if you swear, he hectors; if you go to his house, he shuts the door in your face; whereas if you stay at home, he billets himself on you, and is ever rapping at your door.”

    Plutarch, Morals, Chapter 23, “Against Running in Debt” c. 100 AD

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/23639/23639-h/23639-h.htm...
     
    BTW: Thanks to annamaria and to nickels, whose comment is correct as well.

    Plutarch, Morals, Chapter 23, “Against Running in Debt” c. 100 AD

    JS – nice quote – thanks.

    For most of Christian history lending at interest was a sin – so that dirty job of usury was left to Jews. It was thought to be a job on the level of selling crack. That is how Jew ghettos got started in big Euro cities.

    There is NO need for usury. The Jews have so screwed up the banking system that today they are charging negative interest rates on savings. Such a deal!

    Art

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  36. L.K says:
    @Art
    If you can’t pay back other peoples money, then don’t take their money in the first place.

    The lender also has a responsibility - if you loan money to someone who may not be able to pay it back - then you must accept the possibility of a bankruptcy.

    The money lent to Greece by Germany went right back to Germany.

    There are NO good guys here.

    Art:

    The lender also has a responsibility – if you loan money to someone who may not be able to pay it back – then you must accept the possibility of a bankruptcy.

    The money lent to Greece by Germany went right back to Germany.

    Exactly.

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  37. Ace says:

    So expansion of government (reversing privatization) and increasing budget deficits are the path to revitalizing the European left? Doesn’t the left recognize the rudiments of productive activity and the stupidity of paying for leftist goodies with more debt?

    A lot of previously “normal” thinking is now being questioned. Tired socialist nostrums of the first part of the last century need to be rethought as well.

    How about living within our means as the new normal? Is that anathema to socialists?

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