DEBT DEMOCRACY AND GREEK NEMESIS
By James Constant
Copyright © 2012 by James Constant
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Since becoming a nation back in 1830, Greece has gone bankrupt and kept alive by external loans 5 times and, not withstanding its democratic vote in June of this year, is surely headed to the poorhouse again. Greece (10 million people) has a shrinking $310 billion GDP, an insurmountable $500 billion debt ($200,000/taxpayer), a $21 billion annual deficit, an antiproduction and consumption economy, endemic corruption, and an enormous parasitic state sector. The country, poor to begin with, has always lived beyond its means and, since antiquity, Greeks have emigrated to escape their economic condition. Today, the country cannot produce enough exports to pay for its food, fuel, industrial and military imports. Greece cannot compete globally and without loans it cannot survive as a modern state. Since WWII, the country has lived off loans to pay for its infrastructure and for lifting its society to European standards. Beginning with the Marshall plan after WWII (America's need to contain the Soviet Union) and the EU and Euro money standard (Europe's need to sell its industrial production) Greeks have lived on easily obtained international grants and loans. On the upside, one can say, Greeks benefited by joining the EU and adopting the Euro money standard, thereby transforming and lifting themselves into a modern consumption and service society. On the downside, they are now faced with paying their bills, giving up their jobs, incomes and social benefits, and being pushed back to peasant status for years to come. Athens will have to stick firmly to the tough policies it has already agreed to until 2030 and Athens may need more money after 2014. The West no longer has interest, military or economic, in making easy grants and loans to Greece. Located next to an increasingly strong Turkey (remember Cyprus) Greeks are left with no choice but the painful and dangerous choice of living within their own means. To mitigate their vulnerable condition, they must realign with world powers: unless Europe forgives debts, they can stay with Europe (as vassals) and/or go East to Russia and China (who need to contain the West's military and commercial hegemony and sell their own industrial production). Perhaps a mix of options is their best choice.