Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ending Greece's nightmare

γεια σας Ελλάδα (Hello Greece)

I arrived to Greece during some interesting times, to say the least.

Paul Krugman has a great column on the moralizing of Europa over the Greek debt crisis, where the crisis really came from and the fallacies behind it.

Krurman has a second great column on the Greek debt crisis, and the Greek myths behind it:
First, about those myths: Many people seem to believe that the loans Athens has received since the crisis broke have been subsidizing Greek spending.
The truth, however, is that the great bulk of the money lent to Greece has been used simply to pay interest and principal on debt. In fact, for the past two years, more than all of the money going to Greece has been recycled in this way: the Greek government is taking in more revenue than it spends on things other than interest, and handing the extra funds over to its creditors.

Or to oversimplify things a bit, you can think of European policy as involving a bailout, not of Greece, but of creditor-country banks, with the Greek government simply acting as the middleman — and with the Greek public, which has seen a catastrophic fall in living standards, required to make further sacrifices so that it, too, can contribute funds to that bailout.
I just got here, so haven't had too much of a chance to gauge the feelings around the agora. Just initial conversations are a bit of pride that Greece feels like it has a say again in its own affairs, and a bit of realization that Greece has a lot more leverage now, especially as elections loom in Spain and other countries wracked by austerity and with parties similar to Syriza rising in the polls.

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