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The Greek Economy Thread


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On the on going "negotiations", at least Varoufakis is putting up a good fight.

He speaks with dignity and is pushing hard for the best solution for Greece. He probably won't win, he doesn't have much to negotiate ate with, but at least he's trying his damn best and you know he gives a s%$#!.

ND and PASOK would have sold us all for some silver. Correction, they already did. They are a bunch of sell outs and pussies and people have the audacity to slag off Varoufakis.

spare me.

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Is it illegal to protest in Greece ?

 

 

it gets to a point where things need to move on.....business needs to be done...

 

protests are not illegal.....but there is no method to the madness....

 

protests are different to disruptive and Destructive behaviour...

 

we had 'protests' to release Xiros......I think that sums up 'Greeks rights to protest'....

 

you gotta wonder how a society that is obsessed with 'corrupt politicians'...then elects Beos to be Mayor of a major city..???????

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Is it illegal to protest in Greece ?

 

 

I think taking over a building at a University and protesting the closure of maximum security prisons should be illegal.  I have no idea what a college has to do with prison issues.  

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Russia doesn't have money. It banned Euro imports in order to conserve $$ (fewer western goods, less money needed to buy them). Russia cannot help Greece, because its economy is bad and getting worse, not only because of the western sanctions/embargo but primarily because the price of oil dropped 50% in one year. It costs Russia more to produce a barrel of oil (on average) that it sells in the open market! Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, makes money if the price is above $25-30/barrel.

 

Russia depends on natural gas and oil for some 65% of its exports. It's still not a wealthy country. Per capita income is about $3,500/year, though this is misleading, because most of the wealth is heavily concentrated at the top elites.

 

Aggression fueled by ultra-nationalism is Putin's best trump card.

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It looks like 2 choices are left, either leave the Euro or stick with what Germany wants. The whole Russian trip totally backfired as Russia didn't offer any help and didn't even give Greece an exemption on banned imports from Europe.

Not sure it was a failure. No loan was requested from the Greece side so I'm not so sure how the Beeb and German media can say it was a failure.

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I'm a little confused on one thing.  In US politics, the "left" is environmentally friendly which I assumed to be that way everywhere.  Now I'm reading Syriza wants Russia to drill for oil off the Greek coast.  Something isn't right.

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Energy independence is usually desired by most nations. In the US, fracking and traditional but more efficient oil usage has turned the US from a big importer to an exporter of oil. Greek govs would gladly exploit oil or natural gas if it means having serious income. 

But, not all oil extraction costs the same. Saudis get it very cheaply (probably you dig a meter and oil pops out), but Russia spends some $80 per barrel produced.

 

What Greece should massively exploit is solar and wind energy as it has plenty of both.

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I'm a little confused on one thing.  In US politics, the "left" is environmentally friendly which I assumed to be that way everywhere.  Now I'm reading Syriza wants Russia to drill for oil off the Greek coast.  Something isn't right.

 

Its not that surprising. Greece may well be "left", they are desperate I guess and cannot really promote so much of their green ambitions in this situation. The global economy often gives poorer countries little option but to exploit their fossil fuels for cash, while no one in a powerful enough position is willing or able to pull their finger out over the issue of oil.

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Looks like the people are turning against the Syriza.  All they do is say that they are confident an agreement will be reached and then they do absolutely nothing. Its better to borrow money and be in debt then to turn into Venezuela and have blackouts and empty super markets.

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As long as Greece complies with what the EU wants, which they have been doing, the EU couldn't care less.  I realize Greece is dragging its feet on reforms that the EU wants, but that is all fluff.  It's a distraction.

 

Ultimately, what does any creditor wants ?  They want their money back, preferably on their terms.  End of story.  ND was doing that, again dragging their feet but still eventually doing what the EU wanted for the most part.  Applause all round and pats on the back to those ND fellas, bravo.  Syriza, having made the promise to the people to "end the austerity" (m*****es) is now stuck in the middle.

 

The EU will not negotiate easily.  They hold all the cards, or at least they think they do.  They want their money back, and are not interested in growing the Greek economy or any other option put on the table.

 

Syriza need to work out what they stand for.  Because their idea of asking the EU politely for better terms is farcical.  Realpolitik doesn't work that way.  They have two options :-

- give the EU what they want.  In which case it's like we voted for PASOK or ND.  Not much difference.

- play the game of chicken to the end.  Take the default to the last minute and see if the EU gives in or not.  If they do give in, they'll get what they want ie. better terms.  If not, well we're out of the Euro and all hell breaks loose .... It's a risky game.

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Syriza need to work out what they stand for.  Because their idea of asking the EU politely for better terms is farcical.  Realpolitik doesn't work that way.  

 

This I agree with. The latest stunt now is syriza wants to shut down the gold mine near Halkidiki and put about 4500 people out of work because mining gold doesn't cater to their left wing enviro-nutcase crowd. This mine is operated by a Canadian company. No wonder no one wants to invest in Greece and deal with all this bs. 

 

For a country that has 26% unemployment, this is the last thing they should be doing instead of bending over to cater to their earth muffin crowd. 

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What Greece should be doing even though it goes against principals, is skewing the play field away from workers towards company interests.  The reason ?  We need jobs!  It's a lot better to be making 600 Euros a week then zero.

 

Get the companies in, and 5 or 10 years from now when things are better, you can start to roll back the play field towards worker interests.  As long as it's balanced (I know, ha ha) then everyone wins.

 

The Greek government should be seeking to open up more mines, not less.

 

Having said all that, I don't really know much about the aforementioned mine.  Is it causing massive pollution ?  Are Greece's mining standards as eco-frienldly as Chinas ?

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The Americans should seriously take a look at the definition of hypocrisy over the Xiros affair. It's amazing that they would be lecturing any nation especially a free "ally" on letting off convicted terrorists.

In the USA it's OK if they sanctioned terrorism (via School of the Americas in Latin America) or the tacit sponsorship of the Colonels Coup of Greece or Argentina, Chile and associated terrorism associated with these Juntas.

Xiros committed crimes he should serve his punishment but he's not going to enjoy any time away from prison in his current state.

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  • 3 weeks later...

@Bananas - from what I understand, this mine will be particularly environmentally unfriendly (it's a strip mine in everyone's favorite Bulgarian resort peninsula, after all), and there are rumbles of human rights violations. But as is the case with many things, the two sides are both pretty extreme in their view of the other.

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The problem as always is finding out the truth.  If the mine is causing actual serious pollution, then it should be shut down.  Maybe the mine could be run but with different techniques that cause less pollution ?  Either way, without actual facts it's difficult to tell.

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Exactly. It's very hard to filter out the shrill rage on both sides, unfortunately. But diversifying the economy...putting people to work...it's all vitally important.

 

I was paying a visit to an uncle last weekend, at his pizzeria. He said there was some news out of my grandparents' favorite beachside town, Asprovalta (on the Strymonian Gulf). Apparently, huge swaths of land there have been bought by Russians in the past few months, and are being prepared for construction. Presumably it'll be hotels that cater to Russian tourists (the area already has a lot of Bulgarians). Massive news, right? Well, apparently, this is starting to cause some friction with the locals, who don't want to be overrun with foreigners. Admittedly speaking as someone who just visits once in a while...I'd put up with some blonde babes on my beach, if it means Mitso and Taki spend a few less hours at the kafeneio and a few more making cash to support their families.

 

Sometimes, making money means you can't allow your life to stay forever unchanging. I think that's one thing Greece as a whole needs to learn, and that this crisis *should* be teaching.

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My father's village isn't far from there.  He's from Askos near Sochos.

 

You're correct though about Greeks being somewhat xenophobic.  Having foreigners in a country, as long as it's done right, can be a really good thing.

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We are into Mid-May and there is no plan.  Tsipras keeps on repeating we are near a deal for 3 months, the Greek economy is getting worse because of the gridlock, and we are weeks from no more Euros.  Since the unemployment rate is so high, pensions are providing for grown kids and their kids.  What is going to happen when the Euros run out...  Complete chaos.  I don't understand this game of chicken.  Europe isn't going to blink.  They are suffocating Greece to teach them a lesson for electing the commies.  You notice the Spanish Left and the Italian Left have shut up with the wild promises and are towing the line because you can't promise to give everyone a job and raises with no money.  Even a little kid knows that.  Greek people are something else.  They don't know what the hell they want. 

Edited by gyros
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gyros, I must admit I'm not sure if Tsipras and Co. know what they are doing or not.  It all depends on what he wants to achieve.

 

If what he wants is better terms for Greece but to still stay in the EU, then I believe his tactics are correct.  Now, he might be doing this because he genuinely cares for the country, or because he's made the promise to the people and can't back down now or he'd look like an idiot and get smashed in the next election.  I can only speculate as to his motivation ...

 

So, let's say his goal is to get better terms.  There is no way in hell the EU wants to relax the terms.  There are a number of reasons for this.

 

- It sets a really bad precedent for other nations.  If Greece can renegotiate, why can't they.

- It will make them look foolish and weak to "serious" people.  The EU has been telling the world that they know what they are doing, they are responsible, Greece is reckless, lazy etc. for 5 years now.  To suddenly do a u-turn and admit they are wrong, well ... that ain't going to happen easily.

- It will make them look foolish to their electorate.  They've sold the aforementioned views to their public as well, and most of them leading busy lives only have a short time to analyze a situation in another country, have come to the conclusion that Greece is at fault etc.

- It will hurt their pride.  Admitting that the EU project has failed a country, is something some of the technocrats in the EU could ever admit.  You are talking about people here who consider the EU in almost religious terms.

 

So, what do we have ?  We have determined the EU will not relax the terms willingly.  If they do relax the terms, they would need to do so in a way that still makes them look good, but in order to get this, Tsipras has to force the situation.

 

So a lot of people will be thinking, "but the EU could kick Greece out".  That is a small possibility.  But I just don't think it's going to happen.  Although it will make the EU look good to their electorate, in economic terms (and economics always play a massive role), it's a huge f**king gamble.  At a minimum, the creditors can kiss their billions good bye.  Bye bye German and French pension funds.  The ECB better start printing money to stabilise the banks etc.  It could get crazy messy or it could go fairly smooth.  The value of the Euro would in time go up, since their economy is "stronger" now that they got rid of a weak link, and they would have lost a small export market in Greece.

 

If the EU could look into a crystal ball and confirm that it wouldn't be any worse than that, then they would probably kick Greece out.  But here's the thing.  You can't know that!  What if after 5 or 7 or 10 years Greece lands on its feet ok ?  What if at that stage, Portugal or Italy or France see this and think, maybe we should do the same ?  Of course their governments won't want to, but their people will put the pressure on to leave the EU.  Look how well Greece is doing now they would say!

 

So, back to my point.  As much as the EU postures about kicking Greece out or not giving them funds, I think it's an empty threat.  I think Tsipras knows this and therefore in purely business/strategic terms, he's playing a tricky game, but one where he could get a good result.

 

Gotta get me some popcorn and watch the show.

Edited by Bananas
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I was reading an article on the IMF and basically no matter what happens, Greece will never default on the IMF.  Even Argentina who defaulted paid the IMF back in full. If you don't pay them back, you will never get money from anyone except maybe a country like North Korea but they don't have any. Tsipras actually sent a letter last month threatening not to pay the IMF unless they got immediate liquidity and the IMF called their bluff and Greece paid on time.  What an amateur government we have to send something like that.  Some people say default but you can't default the IMF.

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Greece got away with this payment and they just managed it. The repayment schedule however in the upcoming months is eye watering. There is zero chance of making the payments without additional liquidity from the EU. I can see a 3rd bailout agreement as a distinct possibility. It will mean the EU won't have to worry about Greece for a couple of years and they get to kick the can down the road once again.

I did like Varoufakis statement that he wished we never entered into using the Euro although he did also say that trying to exit would be catastrophic. Having said that, catastrophic for whom ? The Greek people ? They don't have much to lose anyway and are emptying their bank accounts anyway.

I still believe that going back to our own currency is the only real long term structural solution but Germany and the EU would go into hyper drive mode to make life as difficult as possible for Greece. That is the really scary reality in my eyes. If Greece left the Euro and managed to succeed it would be bad news for the EU and they certainty don't want that.

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