Share good ideas and conversation.   Login, Join Us, or Take a Tour!
comment by kleinbl00

Not to defend Greece but to explain it:

When exchange rates between countries were forever frozen with the introduction of the Euro, countries that were doing well continued to do well and countries that struggled continued to struggle. More than that, there was no longer any currency flows to hide behind: an orange didn't cost X Drachmas and Y Deutschemarks, it cost Z euros and while Z might be higher in Cologne than Athens, there was no advantage from a cheap Drachma to sell oranges for expensive Deutschmarks. Strong manufacturing operations in Hanover could no longer be undercut by scrappy outfits from Pesaro. So trade protectionism needed to come from somewhere else.

Greece is already in the shitter. Macedonia is not. Macedonia would like to join the Grand Experiment and when they do, their place in the sky will be frozen forever (theoretically). So it behooves the Greeks to keep them out until their economy is in the shitter so that they can still compete against Macedonia (among others).

Greece, of course, is already a member of the EU. And they've been on a severe austerity budget from the rest of the EU (IE Germany). And it's been working. But they're about to need more money.

And dollars to donuts, Merkel told Tsipras to get out of the way in exchange for favorable treatment, and Tsipras is willing to go for it despite a challenge from his own 'winger adversaries, and it all boils down to who can crack more boons out of Germany and France using whatever means necessary.

So yeah. It makes Greece look petty AF. But you have to keep in mind that the Euro kinda made them a vassal state of Germany 20 years ago and they're starting to get bitchy about it.

Looking petty is the least of their problems.




ThatFanficGuy  ·  105 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    So it behooves the Greeks to keep them out until their economy is in the shitter so that they can still compete against Macedonia (among others).

Rather than improve their economy? To be fair, I have no idea how (or whether) they can do it. It seems to me a more mature response to work on their own problems.

kleinbl00  ·  105 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's just the point though: the avenues to improve their economy have disappeared with inclusion in the Eurozone.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  105 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Really? That's just... I'd feel betrayed in a situation like that. I reckon them getting out would mean further collapse?

kleinbl00  ·  104 days ago  ·  link  ·  

...and now you've found the problem at the heart of the European Union.

There's a lot of disagreement about this. But fundamentally, the EU is trying economically to be one country while legislatively it's a whole bunch of member states. And while, say, the United States of America can take money from California to pay for welfare programs in Alabama, the EU cannot take money from France to pay for welfare programs in Sardinia. More than that, Sardinia can pass laws about who gets welfare and nobody in France can say boo about it... but if Sardinia passes laws about price floors on tuna the EU can overrule them and shut 'em down. And by "the EU" we mean "unelected bureaucrats in Brussels that are de facto immune from recall or election by the people they govern."

It could all work out. It could continue to be groovy. I don't know if you've seen the James Bond movie Goldfinger, but the core premise is an evil billionaire tries to irradiate all the gold held at Fort Knox, thereby radically increasing the value of gold, impoverishing the United States, making himself crazy rich because of all the gold he owns and plunging the world into chaos as there is no longer any backing behind the world's currency. Goldfinger came out in 1964. In 1971 the United States said that the dollar was no longer convertible to gold, effectively doing everything Auric Goldfinger intended without nukes or spies... and this is the first time you've heard of it.

So we can make all sorts of dire prognostications. We can make all sorts of utopian predictions. But nobody knows what happens if somebody leaves the Euro. Current odds are as soon as one country leaves everyone else will be gone by sundown and then who knows what happens... but it's not like we have experience with this.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  104 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I also reckon that there's no way the rest of the EU can (or would be willing to) help Greece into a better place?

The way you describe it, it sounds like a bunch of people from different walks of life renting an apartment together. They're all doing their own thing in there, but they're all responsible for paying the rent. I guess they kind of agree to do so each at their capacity, so none sees a reason to help each other into better economic conditions (say, for the CEO of a growing startup to give the recently-homeless guy a job).

kleinbl00  ·  104 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I also reckon that there's no way the rest of the EU can (or would be willing to) help Greece into a better place?

The EU would disagree.

    The way you describe it, it sounds like a bunch of people from different walks of life renting an apartment together.

A better way to look at is as a bunch of feudal states that have been engaged in continuous warfare for millennia deciding they'll let the bank manager tell them what to do. It never would have happened without the Marshall Plan, whereby a bunch of New Deal American democrats chose to remake Western Europe in their own image. American influences replaced a lot of the Hapsburg shit but at the end of the day, Europe has not been a particularly unified place.

Fundamentally, there are economic advantages to a common currency and umbrella trade agreements. Those advantages, however, are neither uniform nor universal. Thus, the Greeks blocking Macedonia by whatever means necessary.