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BEAT
06-18-2012, 02:25 PM
So as of right now Greece isn't gonna leave the EU, but the population is sill pretty furious at austerity, and they're definitely not the only nation that's doing really bad at the whole money dollars thing.

I wanna see what TT thinks of the whole deal going on in the eurozone.

So yeah.

Discuss.

Nucular
06-18-2012, 02:43 PM
What is wrong with your countries?

I live in greece btw

christoffing
06-18-2012, 02:55 PM
In short I think the euro was a misguided project from the start, and that the current technocratic governments and "austerity measures" imposed on European countries is in large part Big Capital forcing countries at gunpoint (or by proxy, as is happening in countries less directly affected by the Eurozone crisis) to step back and remove large parts of the rights that the European labor movements have fought long and hard for, with little certain financial gain to come off it.

Stiv
06-18-2012, 03:00 PM
Do we know if anybody won a majority in Sunday's election yet? That will kind of determine what happens.

christoffing
06-18-2012, 03:05 PM
I think it's pretty clear Nea Demokratia are winning.

BEAT
06-18-2012, 03:11 PM
What is wrong with your countries?

I live in greece btw

You beautiful son of a bitch.

Dizzy
06-18-2012, 03:30 PM
Karl Marx. On a credit card. (http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/06/15/155106232/the-karl-marx-mastercard-is-here-it-needs-a-tagline?ft=1&f=93559255)

It was only a matter of time before the Deutschmarks...

*shades*

...simply became Marx.



(Yes, I know this joke is ruined by the actual pronunciation of the word. Come up with a better one.)

(Yes, I know this bears no relevance to the thread. Create stronger relevance.)

(Yes, I know I'm asking you to make the post I couldn't. Make the post you wanted me to make.)

Stiv
06-18-2012, 03:40 PM
I think it's pretty clear Nea Demokratia are winning.

These are the austerity guys, right?

Greece is fucked.

christoffing
06-18-2012, 04:06 PM
These are the austerity guys, right?

Greece is fucked.

Yup, they're the pro-euro guys. Now awaits a time of "internal devaluation", meaning further cuts in public spending, salaries and pensions as well as "structural reform" (which I'm assuming isn't just about plugging the holes in the Greek state) to increase the "competitiveness" of the region without sacrificing Eurozone stability.

Torzelbaum
06-18-2012, 07:22 PM
Hey, EU... FU!

T-Brew
06-18-2012, 09:19 PM
Aside from saving government money, what is the purpose of austerity, and how do those whom the austerity measures punish (add a less-dramatic word here, if you'd like) benefit from a bailout?

Morbid Coffee
06-18-2012, 09:43 PM
HOLLA HOLLA MO DOLLA

Becksworth
06-18-2012, 09:59 PM
Karl Marx. On a credit card. (http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/06/15/155106232/the-karl-marx-mastercard-is-here-it-needs-a-tagline?ft=1&f=93559255)

It was only a matter of time before the Deutschmarks...

*shades*

...simply became Marx.



(Yes, I know this joke is ruined by the actual pronunciation of the word. Come up with a better one.)

(Yes, I know this bears no relevance to the thread. Create stronger relevance.)

(Yes, I know I'm asking you to make the post I couldn't. Make the post you wanted me to make.)

I think the tagline is obvious. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeI2LEjrDPM)

ThornGhost
06-18-2012, 10:00 PM
get dat drachma

But seriously, you guys aren't pro-EU? I...don't get Talking Time sometimes.

BEAT
06-19-2012, 12:04 AM
I really don't see the problem with austerity.

That is not me saying YOU GUYS ARE DUMB I'M TAKING AN INTERNET AND GOING HOME that's me asking why someone who dislikes the austerity plan to explain why they dislike it so I can go "Huh I had not considered that"!

Serephine
06-19-2012, 12:16 AM
I really don't see the problem with austerity.

That is not me saying YOU GUYS ARE DUMB I'M TAKING AN INTERNET AND GOING HOME that's me asking why someone who dislikes the austerity plan to explain why they dislike it so I can go "Huh I had not considered that"!

Because as I understand it shit is already really really bad there, and reducing the amount of social aid to the average person who already had nothing to do with the upper level moving and shaking of the economy and feels hell of disenfranchised by the whole thing already under pretty bad conditions is how massive riots and other serious social unrest movements start.

Sanagi
06-19-2012, 12:39 AM
I really don't see the problem with austerity.

That is not me saying YOU GUYS ARE DUMB I'M TAKING AN INTERNET AND GOING HOME that's me asking why someone who dislikes the austerity plan to explain why they dislike it so I can go "Huh I had not considered that"!
I had this reaction at first, too. "Austerity" just means spending less in order to balance the budget, which seems pretty smart. What I didn't immediately understand is Europeans expect their governments to do useful things. Austerity in practice means less of that.

Nucular
06-19-2012, 01:14 AM
I really don't see the problem with austerity.

That is not me saying YOU GUYS ARE DUMB I'M TAKING AN INTERNET AND GOING HOME that's me asking why someone who dislikes the austerity plan to explain why they dislike it so I can go "Huh I had not considered that"!

Austerity is dumb because basically the worst thing for a government to do in a recession is to spend less money. The government spending less money leads to less things being made and the makers of those things having less money etc. etc. until the economy takes a hit that's much bigger than the actual amount of spending that's reduced. I could bust out the models and econ terms if you want, but basically the time when Greece should be balancing its buget and cutting spending is when the economy's doing just fine and can take the hit IE the opposite of what is going on now. Funny thing is that politicians always forget to cut spending when times are good like they're supposed to, because then the guy you're running against can go "he made the economy worse" and be correct (in the short term). Then you wind up with crazy inflation (See: Lyndon B. Johnson).

Unless you're an Austrian economist or something, in which case beep boop government bad no spending boop gold models and data what are those?

locit
06-19-2012, 01:20 AM
Unless you're an Austrian economist or something, in which case beep boop government bad no spending boop gold models and data what are those?
Since I began studying economics my biggest question has always been how are these people so popular?

Olli T
06-19-2012, 01:47 AM
Funny thing is that you can't kick someone out of the euro - when the federalists were drafting the contracts, they missed the possibility of forcibly removing one of the participating countries. Greece can leave if they choose to do so by themselves.

What happens if Greece leaves the euro and brings back the drachma? They will of course face a strong devaluation of the drachma, but it will not improve their export industry, as they're pretty much exporting as much as they already can anyway. Thus, they will print more money and an inflation will follow. Inflation of the drachma would not help with the foreign debts, but domestic debts will be easier to pay off. Greeks banks would be kind of screwed, though. Greek euro-savings might be safe (and even increase in relative value), but that depends a lot on how the details of the transition would happen.

ThornGhost
06-19-2012, 06:46 AM
Austerity is dumb because basically the worst thing for a government to do in a recession is to spend less money.

Again, like BEAT, I'm not arguing the other side here, but what about a country that's teetering on the edge of bankruptcy like Greece? They don't have the money to spend and have already been bailed out by other countries in the EU multiple times in recent memory.

Greece's problem is much worse than the global downturn. When the coffers run dry, what are the options besides increasing revenue and decreasing spending?

Eddie
06-19-2012, 07:47 AM
I'm not as invested in knowing about the crap happening in Europe as I probably should be, but it seems to me that the problems in Greece are not easily summed up in a single bullet point (Euro! Tax evaders! Public sector! etc).

Austerity is an ugly word, but much like there isn't a single bullet point that sums up the problems in Greece, I don't know if there is a single bullet point (Get out of the Euro! Go after tax evaders! Reduce the public sector! etc.) that can describe the solution.

In other words, I would suggest that some amount of austerity is necessary to help Greece (just as it's necessary to negotiate with the European Union and go after tax evaders). The question is just how much.

- Eddie

Büge
06-19-2012, 08:40 AM
HOLLA HOLLA MO DOLLA

holla holla fewer €

christoffing
06-19-2012, 02:54 PM
Again, like BEAT, I'm not arguing the other side here, but what about a country that's teetering on the edge of bankruptcy like Greece? They don't have the money to spend and have already been bailed out by other countries in the EU multiple times in recent memory.

Greece's problem is much worse than the global downturn. When the coffers run dry, what are the options besides increasing revenue and decreasing spending?

I don't really have a solution, but decreasing spending in times of economic crisis is basically strangling the economy.

The main problem with the austerity measures, however, is a strictly humanitarian one. The Greek people are going to have to suffer through extreme, humiliating poverty for the benefit of other Europeans because of mistakes their politicians and people above them made. Society is falling apart and all the rest of the world can be arsed to say is basically "you've got yourself to blame".

T-Brew
06-19-2012, 11:51 PM
That seems to be where the stereotype that "Greeks are lazy and only work three hours a day and retire at the age of 45" becomes useful: it allows one to justify thrusting millions of people into abject poverty. American politicians use the same reasoning when they suggest cutting social programs to the needy ("they deserve it because they're lazy, unproductive members of society"). The word deserve seems particularly useful to the justification of certain economic philosophies.

christoffing
06-20-2012, 08:53 AM
That seems to be where the stereotype that "Greeks are lazy and only work three hours a day and retire at the age of 45" becomes useful: it allows one to justify thrusting millions of people into abject poverty. American politicians use the same reasoning when they suggest cutting social programs to the needy ("they deserve it because they're lazy, unproductive members of society"). The word deserve seems particularly useful to the justification of certain economic philosophies.

Well, for one I find that kind of reasoning absolutely gross. On a personal level because it assumes the person saying so in no way has been helped into their position, which is almost never true, and on a societal level because of course people are going to take the benefits their given, and if people don't want to work 8 hours a day for 40 years, then maybe that's unnatural in the first place. Assuming that working is the only morally sound way to live pisses me off.

Secondly, while it's true that certain parts of the Greek population has those benefits (which is mostly a fault of the corrupt Greek political system, where parties bargain with what I think is some sort of guild-like institutions, buying votes in exchange for monopolies, raised pensions etc.), the Greek work harder and longer hours, in worse conditions and for worse pay, than almost any other people in Europe. The average age of retirement is also just around the standard.

So yes, there are huge problems with the Greek public sector, but more than anything it's that large amounts of money disappear through the cracks rather than actually benefiting the people, not that the Greek just laze about and expect their government to pay for it.

The reason it's used that way is because it's great propaganda for those dogmatic Thatcherites and Austrians who still claim the welfare state pacifies people and kills the economy. "Do we really want to end up like Greece?".

ThornGhost
06-20-2012, 10:04 AM
Corrupt officials are largely to blame for the entire crisis. The Wiki page says there was something like €20bn in avoided taxes yearly, with a black market of €65bn which is 25% of GDP. Additionally, officials were lying on their reports to the EU regarding their budget and debts, making the outlook look better. Their numbers have actually been bad enough to get kicked out of the EU for several years now.

You would hope in these situations that the Greek people would recognize the corruption in their own system and fix it. They are making some progress, but is it fast enough? If EU officials step in and take control, then there's a huge hit to autonomy and the right to representation. Though I don't blame other EU nations for their trepidation in lending to Greece if they know that a huge percentage goes unchecked to corrupt pockets.

Inflation would be a viable (if ugly) route towards a less crippling position if Greece had control of its own currency, but it does not.

In a way, I look at the EU kind of like a pre-Civil War United States. You have a weaker "federal" government but "states" are largely free to pursue their own goals. I don't understand how the EU really expects to keep this thing from happening with the kind of blind trust it has going on between nations. They may have to consider building a stronger federal-level government to keep things in line.

christoffing
06-20-2012, 10:19 AM
Corrupt officials are largely to blame for the entire crisis. The Wiki page says there was something like €20bn in avoided taxes yearly, with a black market of €65bn which is 25% of GDP. Additionally, officials were lying on their reports to the EU regarding their budget and debts, making the outlook look better. Their numbers have actually been bad enough to get kicked out of the EU for several years now.

As Olli T pointed out, you can't actually get kicked out of the EU. You have to leave of your own accord.


In a way, I look at the EU kind of like a pre-Civil War United States. You have a weaker "federal" government but "states" are largely free to pursue their own goals. I don't understand how the EU really expects to keep this thing from happening with the kind of blind trust it has going on between nations. They may have to consider building a stronger federal-level government to keep things in line.

They are already considering that, but large parts of the EU is highly skeptical to that idea. National autonomy and the right to set your own political goals, and run your own institution, is far too important to be thrown away because of an economic crisis. I'm not that familiar with american history, but even if the states could have their own laws, I assume they did not have wildly different political systems, court systems, welfare systems etc?

It's important to note also that the EU, unlike the US, has no official common language, and apart from the Eurovision (lol) and the European football championships, share very little in terms in of culture. Making it one nation under a federal government would just be taking the same issues that got us here in the first place (jamming together a bunch of economies and cultures) even further. The EU has a long way to go before we're able to properly take those steps, and placing even more power in the hands of Brussels is hardly going to sound appealing to the people in countries that feel that they've been dragged in the gutter by those very people.

ThornGhost
06-20-2012, 10:38 AM
As Olli T pointed out, you can't actually get kicked out of the EU. You have to leave of your own accord.

Oops, you're right there. I think I was misunderstanding something. They were falling outside of the monetary union guidelines. I know you have to meet those to adopt the Euro, but I'm not going to pretend to know what happens to those that have adopted it and then dropped the guidelines.

They are already considering that, but large parts of the EU is highly skeptical to that idea. National autonomy and the right to set your own political goals, and run your own institution, is far too important to be thrown away because of an economic crisis. I'm not that familiar with american history, but even if the states could have their own laws, I assume they did not have wildly different political systems, court systems, welfare systems etc?

It's important to note also that the EU, unlike the US, has no official common language, and apart from the Eurovision (lol) and the European football championships, share very little in terms in of culture. Making it one nation under a federal government would just be taking the same issues that got us here in the first place (jamming together a bunch of economies and cultures) even further. The EU has a long way to go before we're able to properly take those steps.

Yeah, I wasn't suggesting it be implemented because of Greece, simply that it may be one long term solution to combat the factors that led to the crisis in the first place.

And to some degree, the early pre-Civil War states did have widely converging cultures. Now admittedly, these were considerably earlier on in their development than the EU countries and were likely more easily malleable, along with existing in much simpler times. These differences, however, eventually led to the US Civil War and the strengthening of the federal government after.

T-Brew
06-20-2012, 10:42 AM
Well, for one I find that kind of reasoning absolutely gross. On a personal level because it assumes the person saying so in no way has been helped into their position, which is almost never true, and on a societal level because of course people are going to take the benefits their given, and if people don't want to work 8 hours a day for 40 years, then maybe that's unnatural in the first place. Assuming that working is the only morally sound way to live pisses me off.

Secondly, while it's true that certain parts of the Greek population has those benefits (which is mostly a fault of the corrupt Greek political system, where parties bargain with what I think is some sort of guild-like institutions, buying votes in exchange for monopolies, raised pensions etc.), the Greek work harder and longer hours, in worse conditions and for worse pay, than almost any other people in Europe. The average age of retirement is also just around the standard.

This, along with what I'm reading at the moment, brings up a Nagging question: why does Western society worship the idea of work? Certainly we need to perform work in order to have a set of resources with which we survive. But where did the idea that "conducting business is its own reward" enter the collective consciousness? When it is quite clear that such an ethic only benefits (to a disproportionate degree) a small minority of individuals, why is it that my boss works 80 hour weeks with no overtime for his meager salary while his direct superior is literally a billionaire?* Since when does conducting the business of civilization require enslavement to the pursuit of capital, which is considered by many to be the highest objective of a free individual?

I should probably go live in a fucking commune.

*I know this sounds silly, but I work for a very strange company.

Olli T
06-20-2012, 12:58 PM
As Olli T pointed out, you can't actually get kicked out of the EU. You have to leave of your own accord.
Actually, I said you can't get kicked out of the Euro. Possibly true for the EU as well*, but with the Euro it's even more hilarious.

Oops, you're right there. I think I was misunderstanding something. They were falling outside of the monetary union guidelines. I know you have to meet those to adopt the Euro, but I'm not going to pretend to know what happens to those that have adopted it and then dropped the guidelines.
They wouldn't have been allowed to join the Euro if they had been honest in their reports. Now that Greece's in, the other Euro countries can't make them leave. It's possible that the other Euro countries could agree to change the terms of the contract, but for some reason or other this is considered, especially by Germany, to be a last resort scenario - possibly bad precedent?

* there isn't a procedure for leaving the EU voluntarily. Not sure about involuntarily, maybe there's some clause like "if you start a war against another EU country you're out"

Kirin
06-20-2012, 01:08 PM
(Edit: this was in response to T-Brew's post, Olli's snuck in between)

No, I'm totally with you. Once upon a time, in order to have anyone with a middle- or upper-class lifestyle, you had to build your riches on the backs of a poor peasantry or slaves or some other under-class, because it just plain took that many people toiling away on farms (or later in factories) to generate the level of production that supported the higher tiers of society. Increasingly, that is just no longer true. Automation and technology mean our levels of potential production per person are hundreds or thousands of times higher than they used to be. We don't *need* a permanent underclass anymore. And yet, the cultural tropes of it are so in-grained, we seem to have a hard time giving it up.

Fredde
06-21-2012, 06:55 AM
I thought this thread was about Star Wars.