“For the last 50 years, every austerity program that the IMF has made has shrunk the victim economy. No austerity program has ever helped an economy grow. No budget surplus has ever helped an economy grow, because a budget surplus sucks money out of the economy. As for the conditionalities, the so-called reforms, they are an Orwellian term for anti-reform, for cutting back pensions and rolling back the progress that the labor movement has made in the last half century. So, the lenders knew very well that Greece would not grow, and that it would shrink.
So, the question is, why does this junk economics continue, decade after decade? The reason is that the loans are made to Greece precisely because Greece couldn’t pay. When a country can’t pay, the rules at the IMF and EU and the German bankers behind it say, don’t worry, we will simply insist that you sell off your public domain. Sell off your land, your transportation, your ports, your electric utilities. This is by now a program that has gone on and on, decade after decade.
Now, surprisingly enough, America’s ambassador to the EU, Ted Malloch, has gone on Bloomberg and also on Greek TV telling the Greeks to leave the euro and go it alone. You have Trump’s nominee for the ambassador to the EU saying that the EU zone is dead zone. It’s going to shrink. If Greece continues to repay the loan, if it does not withdraw from the euro, then it is going to be in a permanent depression, as far as the eye can see.”
“The breakdown of how the programme funding was allocated clearly illustrates the crisis management strategy Greece’s lenders opted for. Eurozone leaders, with the reluctant agreement of the IMF, made a conscious decision to use almost two thirds of their ‘taxpayers’ money’ (as they like to refer to it) to service the debt which they refused even to reprofile at the beginning of the crisis, when it was essential and could have given Greece a chance of recovery.
To protect the integrity of the eurozone, the strategy has left Greece with a massive pile of debt and a quarter of the economy gone, still unable to stand on its own feet. It is this very debt and the pretence of key decision makers to present it as sustainable that keeps the country in a vortex of ongoing political instability, fiscal crises, troika fall outs and economic uncertainty. It is the magnitude of the surpluses required to maintain this sustainability pretence that in spite of the most phenomenal fiscal consolidation in ferocity and speed, Greece is still required to find savings in the volume of billions.
If the intention of eurozone leaders and institutions was indeed to keep their ‘boots on Greece’s neck’ due to the failings of its political class, as the ex-US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner claimed in his book, they have achieved their goal. Now they need to be open about their own crisis management decisions and answer the uncomfortable question: Where did all the money go?”
“The European Union is not a bastion of liberal values. Nor is it a safe harbor in the geopolitical storm. The economic agenda promoted by the European Commission and the European Central Bank since the Great Recession began — and now formally locked into European treaties — has done as much as anything to promote far-right advance in recent years.
If Greece now has an openly neo-Nazi party that can poll circa 10 percent of the vote, we can thank the troika for that; if Golden Dawn has thus far been unable to push beyond that level, we can thank the Greek left-wing and antifascist movements. In France and the Netherlands, Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders are soaring in the polls (and would still be soaring whether or not Brexit had happened).”
Hello. It’s been some time.
“According to [IMF’s then head of research Olivier] Blanchard, not only was the task unprecedented, but Greece was being asked to achieve the impossible in unfavourable external circumstances, when everyone was barely recovering from the 2008 global financial crisis and without any other policy levers (low interest rates or exchange rate adjustment). […]
Athens is currently under pressure to adopt another 2 percent of GDP in new fiscal measures, which relate to the tax-free threshold and pension spending. Since 2010, Greece has adopted revenue-raising measures and spending cuts that are equivalent to more than a third of its economy and more than double what Blanchard had described as unprecedented almost seven years ago.”