Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Power to the people

If the slow motion train wreck of the Greek financial crisis has confirmed any of my beliefs at all, it is these two:

(1)  Your average Greek could not average a pissup in a brewery, nor reliably locate their own arse with both hands and a torch.  As an example of a shambolic inability to organise anything, they make the Italians look methodical by comparison.  Your average Greek's primary abilities are talking loudly, being arrogant, testiculating (that's the act of stand there waving your hands about while talking bollocks), selling fruit and dodging income taxes by only dealing in cash.  Driving full sik and hektik WRXs and getting about the place in tracksuit pants are also defining characteristics.

I love this bit from the article: "state workers make up a fifth of the country’s  workforce and are guaranteed jobs for life as the constitution bans firing of government employees in almost all circumstances".

I can't see how that would ever cause a problem, can you?  Nah.  But of course "Greece's finance minister Evengelos Venizelos said his country would not be made a "scapegoat" for wider debt troubles" - gee, so it's not your fault you've totally screwed your national economy after all then?  (Granted, Ireland has done much the same thing, but you don't expect the Irish to acheive much at the best of times.)

(2)  Popular government doesn't work, because people don't give a damn about anything other than their own short term expediency.  That's both natural and expected, but it does mean that you can't base a system of government on it.  This morning's paper carries a story that the foul rabble are blockading the Greek finance and labour ministries because they don't want vital austerity cuts that are the only way that Greece can meet their budget deadlines to qualify for the next bailout package payment.  Anybody but us, eh?

Personally I think this simply highlights the idiocy of the EU ideal.  Currency pegging *never* works in the long term, because individual economies perform at different rates depending on the productivity of the country, the natural resources available to it, and how efficiently it is run.  That's why Germany runs at a profit and Greece and Ireland are in the shit.  The idea has certainly been mooted but as usual the opposition to it comes from those for whom the subject is taboo for reasons of simple self-interest (again!) -  "discussion is dominated by propaganda and scaremongering, often by employees of banks that stand to lose from such an eventuality".

This paragraph is especially interesting: "there is little doubt among economists that the easiest mechanism for a country to gain competitiveness is to have its currency depreciate... Greece having its own currency is the easiest path to gaining international competitiveness. Cars and iPhones will become more expensive but food might actually become cheaper and employment will pick up within a few months".

Hands up who thinks that the village idiots protesting outside the finance and labour ministries are willing to give up their WRXs and iPhones (and designer Adidas trackie dacks) in the short term to assure the long term survival of the country.  Another show of hands for who believes that your average arrogant Greek would see his national pride slump by having their currency depreciate in the name of national survival, as opposed to carrying on regardless and sailing into armageddon?  Anyone?  Last call, anyone?  Tough crowd, even a Melbourne real estate auctioneer would be hard pressed taking bids from trees around here.

Of course, what's everyone's solution for this?  Germany should pay for it!  They've got plenty of money, after all.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is unpopular with Germans who hold investments in the banks that about to take it in the arse by effectively writing off Greek loans as bad debts, so what do you reckon the chances are that the next pressure will be for Germany to leave the EU too, as it's sick of subsidising the running cock-ups of the incompetant and arrogant?

International monetary politics aside, the other news of the morning is the iFail - nice one Tim, your first effort as CEO was to drop the company's share price by 5%.

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