Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Greece On the Brink

Greece seems to determined to bite the hand that is feeding them.  The rest of the EU is tightening their belts to try to keep Greece from completely collapsing under their debt.  The condition on this bailout is that they have to, you know, get their fucking house in order.  The results has been an explosion of protests and violence that have now left three dead on the eve of the austerity vote.  More protests are planned for today.

I have no idea of the macroeconomic implications.  But if I were a resident of Germany of France, I’d be very tempted to just cut Greece lose.  Let them spiral down into debt and inflation if that’s what they want.  It’s quite clear that decades of generous government benefits have spoiled her people rotten and given them the illusion that money grows on trees.  If this austerity package is rejected, then let them eat baklava.

Update: Michael Moynihan draws the obvious comparison.  Violent and deadly protests in Greece are regarded as more legitimate than peaceful protests here.  Moynihan clearly does not understand the morality in play.  Anything is acceptable when you’re protesting in favor of more government; nothing is acceptable when you’re protesting against it.

Update: Read this article about just how bad things are.  Hairdressers in Greece can retire at 50.  Because their job is “hazardous”.  Also check out the infographic on the left.  See how many countries have obligations that are anywhere from 3 to 15 times their GDP.

There’s a generational war coming.  And I feel like the Baby Boomers are going to screw us all.  Again.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 05/06/10 at 06:06 AM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by AlexinCT on 05/06/10 at 07:28 AM from United States

Greece seems to determined to bite the hand that is feeding them.

You got it all wrong Hal. These people don’t see it that way. They firmly believe they are entitled to what they want, even if they can’t afford it, and feel the bad people are the others refusing to pay for it. This is in a nutshell why I find the concept of collectivism beyond the family, so reviling. These people aren’t even in the least bit ashamed that they live off the work of others, and actually are angered that said others would dare tell them that they need to change because thing have gotten bad.

But if I were a resident of Germany of France, I’d be very tempted to just cut Greece lose.

It would mean the end of the EU and the Euro, and neither the French nor the Germans want that yet.

Posted by on 05/06/10 at 08:19 AM from Germany

Greece is a country without much going for it.  Minimal industry, tourism, small amount of agriculture; there’s a reason everyone lives in 1000 year old buildings - everybody is too broke to build anything new.

I’m not sure if the welfare state or the poverty came first, but sucking off the welfare tit hasn’t prompted the Greeks to do anything their situation.

Posted by on 05/06/10 at 10:13 AM from United States

When you’re raised your entire life to assume that government handouts are not handouts but instead your birthright you won’t give them up easily.

In their eyes cut backs in social spending are akin to the government stealing their property.  Idiotic but they were indoctrinated well.

If only they put as much effort, planning, and thought in to actually being productive that they do in to protesting and rioting then they wouldn’t be in this situation. 

Oh well.  Better keep a close eye on how the government responds.  It will be a good indicator on a micro-scale of how things will go here in say 30 years.

Posted by on 05/06/10 at 10:19 AM from United States

I’m not sure if the welfare state or the poverty came first, but sucking off the welfare tit hasn’t prompted the Greeks to do anything their situation.

Like that old quote: the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples money.

The poorer socialist states will be hit first as they have less to steal.  But eventually basic economic realities will catch up to the rest.  Europe is in for a bumpy ride.

I wonder if when the whole system collapses and they start flooding here illegally trying to get jobs it will become acceptable to care about illegal immigration?  They’ll be white, so it won’t be defacto racism to complain that they are coming here illegally and taking jobs.  Hmm . . . that was a tangent but the thought just occurred to me.

Posted by AlexinCT on 05/06/10 at 12:31 PM from United States

there’s a reason everyone lives in 1000 year old buildings - everybody is too broke to build anything new.

I am sending you a bill for a new monitor and keyboard SO. And you alomst got me fired with everyone looking at me laughing out loud like a lunatic after reading this.

Posted by on 05/06/10 at 01:01 PM from United States

This sort of thing is why I’m against any sort of “government aid"---if and when it turns out to be unsustainable, you get people howling like they were being buggered by velociraptors.  Even if keeping the bennies in place means that the whole polity goes under, they’ll fight for them with a fury that would make the defenders of the Alamo look like wusses.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 05/06/10 at 04:54 PM from United States

It’s also a small country; they just don’t have any room to grow with a modern economy. They’ve become the 21st century version of the sick man of Europe.

In other market news, it looks like somebody literally pushed the wrong button at the stock market.

Posted by on 05/06/10 at 07:16 PM from United States

I rarely comment on European topics since I don’t give a shit what those clowns do over there, but this is a lesson of what will happen here if we continue to try to debt our way to prosperity. What we saw today is just a hint of what will happen if we don’t stop heading for bankruptcy, and we’re getting close to the tipping point. Yeah, there may have been some glitches that accelerated things today, but it’s not the cause of the downturn. The world is taking debt seriously FINALLY, and if a few B rated countries in Europe can shift the market, just wait until the bigger ones start going down. It looks like we still have a few years to be able to go down this path, but not much longer.

Posted by on 05/06/10 at 07:59 PM from United States

The fact that ya’ll can’t see the global ramifications of what is happening in ALL of southern Europe astounds me. If Greece falls Portugal,Spain and Italy will tumble within days.

If the euro collapses the Chinese yuan will devalue and no longer peg itself to the US dollar. Hell the Japanese stock exchange has been in free fall all week.
We live in a global economy, sticking ones head in the stand isn’t going to make that go away.

Oh and HAL, aren’t you the “spawn” of baby-boomers? If so why do you hate your parents?
(just kidding, sorta)

Posted by on 05/06/10 at 08:27 PM from United States

Oh and HAL, aren’t you the “spawn” of baby-boomers? If so why do you hate your parents?

In one sense, he may be right--back in 1989, my 8th grade history teacher, an early baby boomer himself, called us Gen-Xers a “generation of losers.”

He went on to explain that the sheer demographics of the baby boomers made it inevitable that they would end up getting the lion’s share of benefits in a democratically-structured government and that the culture would consistently cater to them in preference to other generations over time.

Of course, he was basing this on the presumption that Gen-Xers, Gen-Yers, and the Millenials would simply sit back and let it happen as the Boomers wafted into old age.  I think it more likely that the entitlement mentality the Boomers ingrained into our culture during the 60s, and in their offspring in later decades, is going to come back and bite them in the ass when the younger generations realize that all the goodies they think they “deserve” will simply not be there anymore.  I also believe it more likely that euthanasia is going to end up being a seriously discussed topic within the next 10-20 years as the remainder of the Boomers start demanding ever-increasing late-life government benefits.

It’s going to get VERY ugly here eventually.

Posted by on 05/06/10 at 08:34 PM from United States

The fact that ya’ll can’t see the global ramifications of what is happening in ALL of southern Europe astounds me. If Greece falls Portugal,Spain and Italy will tumble within days.

Not to pat myself on the back too much, but I pointed out here a couple of months ago, in a follow-up post to one of Hal’s, that this crisis in Greece was a bellwether for the welfare state as we know it.  I didn’t anticipate this much violence, of course, as I thought it was going to be a “shit or get off the pot” situation and that the Europeans wouldn’t dare tease this out as long as they did because of the fiscal ramifications with the other PIIGS.

Drawing this out may or may not have exacerbated the situation to be as volatile as it is now--for Greeks, striking is a national pasttime--but it’s pretty clear that Europe didn’t realize they were headed for the cliff until it was too late.

And as you probably know, our debt-to-GDP ratio is north of Portugal’s and getting worse.  The only thing that’s propping us up now is that we have the world’s reserve currency.  I think all that’s really ensuring is that we’ll be the last one in the race to the bottom.

Posted by on 05/06/10 at 10:06 PM from United States

It’s also a small country; they just don’t have any room to grow with a modern economy.

Size has nothing to do with it. Bad policies and their effects on people’s capacity to provide for themselves are what matter here.  Hong Kong isn’t exactly huge and its economy boomed for decades because of hands off economic policy.

Posted by AlexinCT on 05/07/10 at 07:39 AM from United States

The fact that ya’ll can’t see the global ramifications of what is happening in ALL of southern Europe astounds me.

Why do you think I brought what was happening in Greece up back when? Literally Greece is the first domino in the chain and the leading element in the implosion of the soon to come collapse of the modern socialist state. These things are unsustainable, and we have seen it over and over again. When mediocrity becomes the norm, everything goes south. It is true that a fraction of a percent of people actually do the things that make a difference and create progress, and that it usually is a smaller segment of humanity that does the real heavy lifting that gets things moving forward. Collectivism drastically punishes both those groups, and the economic and social foundations that drive the collectivist state literally stops progress of any kind. Humanity took the fortunes that the 20th century brought many of us, and squandered it away pretending it was bringing us progress. Get ready for some serious downgraded living standards.

If Greece falls Portugal,Spain and Italy will tumble within days.

And it won’t stop there. From what is coming out it looks like the British economy is in far worse shape than that of Greece. Ireland, Iceland and some of the other northern states are just as bad off. Germany and France are going to try to keep the EU together, and in the process it will hit the better off (not by much, mind you) economies of Europe. The Chinese economy is already on track for disaster as well. I meant to blog about that looming crisis, but have just been to busy to do so. And we won’t be spared this pain either.

The real scary thing is that this is now looking like it is unavoidable. It probably can be delayed, but unless we are willing to abandon socialism, the crash will come. Just look at how the Greek commies and socialists are reacting to the news that the gravy train has been derailed though, to understand why the safe bet is that we are doomed.

Posted by on 05/07/10 at 11:10 AM from United States

I also believe it more likely that euthanasia is going to end up being a seriously discussed topic within the next 10-20 years as the remainder of the Boomers start demanding ever-increasing late-life government benefits.

It’s going to get VERY ugly here eventually.

I don’t know, I kind of liked Logan’s Run

Posted by Hal_10000 on 05/07/10 at 04:54 PM from United States

Oh and HAL, aren’t you the “spawn” of baby-boomers? If so why do you hate your parents?
(just kidding, sorta)

Parents born in 1939 and 1941, so they weren’t boomers.  They also had three kids and educated them, so they’ve at least replaced themselves.  They also worked hard enough and saved enough so that they could survive without Social Security.  In fact, both are still working full time now.

Posted by on 05/08/10 at 09:35 AM from Germany

It’s also a small country; they just don’t have any room to grow with a modern economy

Tell that to Singapore and Hong Kong; it isn’t the size of the country, or even the lack of resources - it’s the attitude of the people that live there.

Posted by on 05/08/10 at 11:19 AM from Germany

The Greeks just peaked too early.  Should have passed themselves.  It’s been a painful decline in to irrelevance for several millennia now.

Posted by on 05/08/10 at 06:58 PM from United States

Literally Greece is the first domino in the chain and the leading element in the implosion of the soon to come collapse of the modern socialist state

Alex, I love you man and I am about 95% with you, but Greece is not literally a domino.  It may be one figuratively.

Posted by AlexinCT on 05/09/10 at 08:06 AM from United States

Alex, I love you man and I am about 95% with you, but Greece is not literally a domino.

It is literally the first domino in the chain of collapsing western socialist shitholes though, hist_ed.

It may be one figuratively.

It’s lots of things figuratively.

Posted by on 05/09/10 at 08:33 AM from Germany

Alex, is your record on economic predictions any better than your climate predictions?

‘Cause if you hold true to current form, we can probably expect boomtimes ahead in Greece and Britain and Iceland and Ireland…

Posted by on 05/09/10 at 10:44 AM from United States

It is literally the first domino in the chain of collapsing western socialist shitholes though, hist_ed.

Uhhhh, Greece is a small back tile with white dots on it?  Or a type of mask?

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