Saturday, February 11, 2012

On the euro crisis

I have just been reading the comments following an article by Eric Reguly in the Globe and Mail's Report on Business.  Reguly makes the point that anger against foreign demands for Greek austerity is rising, and a lot of it is aimed at the Germans, who are providing much of the funding for Greece's financial lifeline as lenders of last resort.

The more than 400 comments show very little sympathy for the resentment of the Greeks. Very, very little.  The Greeks are characterized as lazy, crooked, and beggars who can't be choosers.

Several commentators cite the old joke I first saw in the comic strip the Wizard of Id:  The joke was that the  "Golden Rule," was "he who has the gold makes the rules." This is used as a point in favor of the "German" position.  But in fact these Greek debts are not gold, nor do the Germans and others have gold to give to Greece.  The money involved in this crisis includes a lot of funny money created by a few politicians and bankers who committed their populations or customers to guarantee the profitability of basically unsound loans.  The question is really who will pay for this imprudence and sharp practice.   In the conflict between lenders of last resort and Greeks resisting debt slavery, the Greeks have almost as much ability to write the rules as the lenders of last resort who are trying to save the banking system from the consequences of its foolish behavior.  Who is the bigger crook, who should suffer, and who can be blamed, can be treated as purely moral questions, but that attitude will not save Greece, the euro, or the banks.

Image:  a gold ecu in more hopeful days for the pan-European currency.

No comments:

Post a Comment