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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  1197 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Piketty: Germany has no standing to lecture other nations on debt.

    Am I wrong in remembering that part of the reason Germany went out of control and Hitler came to power was due largely in part to the overwhelming burden of post WWI Wartime Reparations?

You're not wrong in remembering that. It's an oft-repeated trope that the prevailing economic powers have an incentive to make you believe. You are wrong in believing it, however.

    The Treaty of Versailles and the 1921 London Schedule of Payments required Germany to pay 132 billion gold marks (US$33 billion) in reparations to cover civilian damage caused during the war...With the collapse of the German economy in 1931, reparations were suspended for a year and in 1932 during the Lausanne Conference they were cancelled altogether. Between 1919 and 1932, Germany paid less than 21 billion marks in reparations...Despite Keynes' arguments and those by later historians supporting or reinforcing Keynes' views, the consensus of contemporary historians is that reparations were not as intolerable as the Germans or Keynes had suggested and were within Germany's capacity to pay had there been the political will to do so.

Wikipedia

    The international community decided to work with both Germany (West Germany?) and Japan after WWII to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.

There was no international community. There was Europe in ruins, Russia in starvation mode, and three defeated Axis powers.

"You can have vengeance or you can have peace. You can't have both."

- Woodrow Wilson to Harry Truman, 1945

Accounting for inflation, the US spent FOUR TIMES AS MUCH rebuilding Germany, Japan and the rest of Europe as the Germans were SUPPOSED to pay for WWI (but didn't). In effect, American reparations for WWII were about fourteen times as much as Germany's reparations for WWI and, not to put too fine a point on it, we won the fucking war.

The bigger issue is this:

The last eighteen months or so of WWI were bankrolled by the USA. This had the effect of sharpening the deflection curve of a protracted war of attrition... it did NOT cause a German defeat. WWI ended in an effective stalemate brought on by the fact that the US wasn't willing to go bankrupt driving the war into Germany. As a result, the only industry and body politic left whole after WWI was Germany. France, Belgium and England were all effectively broke and they wanted their money back. Meanwhile the US had loaned Britain and France 2.25 billion (roughly half Germany's promised war reparations) and the only way to get that back was if there was actual industry in Europe.

Plus, you know. Germany didn't owe the US anything so making Britain and France get their money some way other than Germany worked out better for the US geopolitically. And hey - it's always easier to strike a trade deal with a fascist government than a free-trade one. And there were lots of Americans who thought Hitler was just dandy.

The United States has effectively bought world dominance through three world wars, two hot and one cold. Did you know that the USSR was offered the Marshall Plan? Stalin turned it down because he didn't want the USSR to become a vassal state of the US the way Germany and Japan effectively did. Now that Europe is trying oh-so-hard to counterbalance the USA, Germany is insisting that they can't waste money on those spendthrift Greeks because they know that if Greece goes to shit it will be American troops that will march on Athens.

The Great Game is not played by rules readily learned by ordinary citizens. It's mostly pretty dirty.




Ezana  ·  1197 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Now that Europe is trying oh-so-hard to counterbalance the USA, Germany is insisting that they can't waste money on those spendthrift Greeks because they know that if Greece goes to shit it will be American troops that will march on Athens.

You're going to have to explain this. I can't imagine a scenario where the US occupies Greece.

kleinbl00  ·  1197 days ago  ·  link  ·  
Ezana  ·  1197 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I don't see how either of those apply to the current situation.

kleinbl00  ·  1197 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Rather than play "follow the bouncing ball" why don't you tell me how the Yugoslavian breakup is nothing like the current Greek crisis.

Ezana  ·  1194 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Greece isn't a multi-ethnic state; there are no competing national identities within it borders and no threat of ethnic cleansing.

Sorry about the delayed reply, I don't seem to get notifications for second-level replies.

kleinbl00  ·  1194 days ago  ·  link  ·  
Ezana  ·  1194 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm aware of the immigration crisis. If Golden Dawn came to power, we wouldn't see rival Greek and Immigrant armies, like in Yugoslavia. You'd probably see the ongoing anti-immigration violence heighten a bit, but the country would break apart in ideological civil war before XA could begin some kind of mass-murder campaign. If we're looking for historical analogies, Spain in the 30s fits the Greek worse-case scenario a lot better than the breakup of Yugoslavia.

kleinbl00  ·  1194 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Now you're triangulating. The argument was that Greek unrest could lead to American occupation. Now you're saying comparisons to Serbia are invalid because the Spanish Civil War is a better model.

This is a disingenuous way to conduct conversation and I won' t do it anymore.

b_b  ·  1197 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Now that Europe is trying oh-so-hard to counterbalance the USA, Germany is insisting that they can't waste money on those spendthrift Greeks because they know that if Greece goes to shit it will be American troops that will march on Athens.

In addition to the reasons you cite, I think Germany has an ulterior motive to wanting to keep Greece (and other weak Eurppean economies) in the Euro. Namely, Germany is the largest export economy in Europe, and if I'm not mistaken, the second largest in the world. Greece, Portugal, et al. keep the Euro artificially low, and the shittier they get, the weaker the Euro gets. At the time of writing this the Euro costs $1.11. Remember when the Euro cost $160? Not so good for BMW sales, is it? BMW, Audi and Mercedes are the leaders in the luxury market, and keeping their, Siemens', TyssenKrupp's, and the rest of their heavy industry's products 30% cheaper around the world sure isn't hurting the German economy.

Germany wants Greece to squirm. It was pointed out by the leader of the CEPR recently that the ECB made history last week when it became the first central bank ever to deliberately cause a financial collapse when they cut Greece off (for anyone not familiar, the whole point of a central bank is to facilitate finance). They will hem and haw, but they definitely will not kick Greece out of the Euro. What happens to Germany when they're trading in Deutsch Marks, or even a currency that only includes Benelux and France? That easy money they've had recently dries up. BWM may be cooler than a Cadillac or a Lexus, but it looks a lot cooler when they all cost $50k. Doesn't look so great when the Caddy comes in $25k under in the same segment.

No matter how much money the "bailouts" cost Germany in nominal terms, a strong Deutsch Mark will cost them a lot more. Of course they can't say that out loud, so they keep toeing the line about "moral responsibility". The easiest way to tell if a leader is lying is to examine their remarks for appeals to morality.

kleinbl00  ·  1197 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The Dodge Stealth R/T Twin Turbo / Mitsubishi 3000GT VR/4 was introduced in 1991 at $33k. Then Japan had their "Lost Decade" and by the time the VR/4 exited the market in '98 (Dodge having lost the ability to sell them for a profit in 1996) they were $80k cars.

A number of the rationalists have been screaming "currency war" since December 2012 and Drachma Games are definitely a part of the fun.

Judt called the Eurozone an economic union masquerading as a political one with all the downside it entails. Politically, Greece is toxic. Economically, Greece is the bitter pill you have to swallow as part of being the EU.

And I dunno. I'm beginning to wrap my head around a CTS-V or CTS-4. Having lived in Los Angeles for 7 years I know one thing for sure: I will never own a german car. Two presidential administrations in this shithole have made me desire American cars for the sheer perversity of it.

b_b  ·  1197 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The new CTS-V that debuted at the Detroit auto show this year is a beautiful machine. It's also $80,000 or something crazy. I would buy one if I could afford it and I didn't live in an are where for three months of the year you can't drive a rear wheel with 650hp, so you need an additional snow car. Since I meet neither of these criteria, it will live as a dream where it rightly belongs. The 4 is pretty cool too, though, and that's an eminently drivable car in all normal situations. I'm toying between that and the smaller ATS for my next auto.

user-inactivated  ·  1196 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You know, if you have the room, you could get yourself either the CTS-V or ATS-V as your summer daily driver, then in the winter, buy yourself a beater to get you through those three months. After every winter comes tax return season and people have money they're looking to burn, so you can easily sell your car on Craigslist for just as much if not more than what you paid for it.

b_b  ·  1196 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Sigh. If I had my way I would get an ATS-V and an early 90s Bronco to mess around with. The downside of the V to me (besides that I'm not sure I want to sink that much money into a car) is that the designer of its exterior is a former boyfriend of my wife. Silly as it may be, I find that kind of emasculating. Not a normal situation for one to have to consider when purchasing a car.

user-inactivated  ·  1196 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I am happy to say that I have never found myself anywhere near such a pickle. I don't even have a response for such a dilemma.

b_b  ·  1196 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Haha. I highly doubt it's a situation that anyone besides me and like a hand full other dudes will ever have to consider, and most of those probably aren't as pitifully prideful as me.

user-inactivated  ·  1196 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You should show that you're secure in your manhood and have great taste in cars by getting a Miata. Your wife will appreciate your practicality as well.

b_b  ·  1196 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My very first car was an 1983 RX-7, which isn't dissimilar to a Miata in many ways, but like waaaaaaaay cooler. I loved that car, but totaled it in short order.

My wife drives a Range Rover Evoque, so practicality in automobiles isn't really her thing.

user-inactivated  ·  1196 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You know, if you want something similar to the RX-7, The Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ is actually a well put together car. You'll hear people gripe about their lack of power, but they're missing the bigger picture of amazing handling. They're nothing like the FR-S or the RX-7, but the Ford Focus and Fiesta STs are great cars in their own right.

If power is your thing though, and you still want something that's a bit more practical price wise, the new Mustang is hard to beat. Though, I'd probably wait until the 2016 or 2017 model year comes out, so Ford has a chance to work out the first model year kinks.

b_b  ·  1196 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I like the Mustang, and I'm Ford employee discount eligible, so it's crossed my mind, but I'm just not into muscle cars. The Camaro that's coming out next year is cool, too, but doesn't appeal to me for the same reason. When it comes to fast cars, I'm more a sport coupe enthusiast (ATS-V, M4, RS5, etc). As it stands, I'll only buy a Ford or GM, because I can get discounts on either (not because of any buy American ethos). Currently I drive a Silverado, and there's a strong possibility I'll just end up getting another one, but goddam is it annoying when faced with a small parking lot.

user-inactivated  ·  1196 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You know, each generation that Mustang becomes a bit sportier, especially this generation now that it has an independent rear suspension. You got a bit of a pricier taste in cars though. Pricier, but still tasteful.

Besides the parking, how do you like your Silverado?

b_b  ·  1196 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Parking and the gas. Besides that it's the best vehicle I've ever driven.

user-inactivated  ·  1196 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I've seen some decently priced used Toyota Tacomas. I don't need anything big, so I'm thinking about getting one as my next vehicle.

b_b  ·  1196 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Check out the new canyon/Colorado. They're awesome.

user-inactivated  ·  1196 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I absolutely will. I love cross shopping. It's half the fun.