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Thread: Interesting article on Greece

  1. #1
    Senior Member CroMagnon's Avatar
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    Sep 2006

    Interesting article on Greece

    He doesn't paint a very pretty picture of Greek society. It is a 5 year old article, but I ran across it searching for new on the current state of Greece. Does anyone know this writer? Does he paint an accurate picture or does he have a hidden axe to grind?

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  3. #2
    I certainly know the writer. He's the guy who wrote "Moneyball" and "The Big Short." He's very well connected to Wall Street, especially Goldman Sachs. I'm seriously conflicted about the whole Greece thing. Its obvious that the Greeks mismanaged themselves into this situation and that is why some many of the early articles had this kind of tone. However, they really have been punished for being part of the Eurozone -- many of the usual adjustments that a Greek central bank would make to ease their problems are impossible when the central bank is in Germany and Greece is a tiny fraction of the whole Eurozone economy. Worse yet, to the Greek people it seems like they have abandoned national control and ceded most all decision making to the EU. As you might imagine, this is not terribly popular.

    The other fascinating this is that both sides have a lot to lose and the consequences are unknowable. Portugal and Ireland aren't really that much better off than Greece. Heck, even Spain could go sideways. Further, aside from the German bank, no european governmental institution seems able to make and/or stick to a decision.

    No one in the rest of Europe really wants to provide direct help to Greece. It isn't much of a union, tbh.

  4. #3
    Senior Member CroMagnon's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    From what I can see this is a screwed if they do, screwed if they don't. Most of the money the Greeks will be loaned will go to the EU banks that made the earlier loans. If Merkel and the EU don't make a deal those will be huge losses for those countries. At the same time I have no idea how you reform the culture of tax evasion, bribery and mistrust that seems entrenched in Greece. I know I would not feel comfortable loaning them money if changes weren't made, but I also fully realize that those changes would likely end up in riot filled streets. A truly difficult situation. Part of me thinks they would be better off on their own. Go bankrupt or some other mechanism and then as you say they could control the value of their currency relative to others to try and make doing business with them more attractive. Though who would trust them after going bankrupt. Doomed either way I'm afraid.

    They basically lied their way into the EU and now I think the EU is stuck with them.

  5. #4
    Just when I thought it couldn't get any more complicated, the IMF wade in.

    I'm starting to wonder if any nation that is less prosperous that those in northern Europe has a hope in the EU. It's a shame, because I rather like the idea of the single currency.

  6. #5
    Senior Member CroMagnon's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Is it because they're less prosperous or because they overspend? And this question come from a liberal who believes in the safety net and helping those who are less fortunate. I'm all for giving someone a hand when in trouble, but when you don't appear to try to use that help to get out of trouble I have a hard time feeling generous the next time.

    I'm sure there is a ton of history behind all of this that I'm ignorant of, but I read an article the other day about "Tax Evasion" being a national sport in Greece. The article also made it clear that they come by some what honestly as they have had little trust in the governing bodies for some hundred years. But at some point if that attitude doesn't change they will sink themselves. Seem very much a chicken egg question for them. What comes first? Trust in the government or a trustworthy government. Wish Bull was still around to laugh at that last statement.
    Last edited by CroMagnon; 07-15-2015 at 10:13 AM.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by CroMagnon View Post
    Is it because they're less prosperous or because they overspend?
    In the case of Greece, both.

    For some of the other countries, I do think they could end up in trouble that isn't of their own doing. Not being able to control the interest rates is a big problem if you have an economic downturn.

  8. #7
    Senior Member wade's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
    This was a good read, thanks Cro.

    I had a longer reply typed up, but the forum timed me out before I posted. *Here's my ignorant cliff note thoughts:

    - Someone helped cook the books. *International investment banks, lawyers, auditors. *They all made a fat dime to get Greece into the EU, and I hope they are investigated. *That initial fat dime needs to be refunded to the citizens of Greece.

    - All of the bailouts and IMF proposals are probably just a case of throwing good money after bad. *I live in harrisburg, PA and I can promise you that type of thing only ends in tears. *

    In the case of my city, we have the county, state and feds providing some relief. *I can still expect "austerity" in the form of doubling or tripping of my local property taxes and utilities fees. *I guess I can swallow that, but only if the book cookers are brought to justice... all of them, and not just a scapegoat or two. **

    I know this is apples to oranges thinking on my part, but I treat all fruit in high regard.*

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