Greece: ‘Mere Anarchy Is Loosed Upon The World’

Maria Margaronis, for The Nation, from Athens:

Returning to Greece in October after three months away, I found the state close to dissolution and people in despair. The collapse is no longer just economic, or political, or social, but epistemological: it is almost impossible to make sense of what is happening. The air is full of threats and rumors that change every day: plans for new cuts and taxes, shifting deadlines to register for this or that exemption, warnings of punitive measures for those who don’t comply. No one knows what to believe; no one can plan beyond tomorrow. Conspiracy theories of all sorts rush in to fill the gaps, chaotic as the black graffiti scrawled on all the walls.

It sounds bad. And it does not bode well for the rest of the world.

Keep our new commenter L’Enfant de la Haute Mer in your thoughts and prayers.


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  • L'Enfant de la Haute Mer  On Friday November 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    How very nice of you Steve,
    thank you so much!

    American economist Nouriel Roubini has used his account on social media network (Twitter) to launch an attack on the conservatives (New Democracy), which he accused of lacking credibility, because of the way the conservatives handled the Greek economy when they were in power between 2004 and 2009.

    “The corrupt (New Democracy) who ramped up fiscal deficits to 15% of GDP & shamelessly lied about it, now want to run Greece’s government again,” wrote Roubini.

    “The Greek fox (New Democracy party) that raided the chicken coop now claims it wants to guard it again. Their credibility is dirtier than mud.”

    • Steve  On Friday November 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Good to “see” you, Enfant! Roubini is generally worth reading; unfortunately, I’m not on any social network, not even Twitter. Maybe I’m just too old to learn that new trick!

      Recently, economist Robert Reich wrote about Greece. Reich is an interesting fellow. He was Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor, and discovered to his dismay that his notion that the position was really about labor did not comport with Clinton’s. Eventually he wrote an autobiographical book titled Locked in the Cabinet, which is what he felt he had been.

      Thanks for the info about Roubini. (For what it’s worth, we have people who call themselves New Democrats over here, too. In short, they’re de facto Republicans.)

      • L'Enfant de la Haute Mer  On Friday November 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm

        I have read that as I am a subscriber to his page.
        As well as the ” The Austerity Death-Trap” of his.

        “..unfortunately, I’m not on any social network, not even Twitter. Maybe I’m just too old to learn that new trick!”
        neither am I.
        Keeping some three really active blogs take too much of my time: I can barely cope.

        Also, last paragraph on:

        “…Perhaps Papandreou should make sure there is a helicopter on standby, to rescue him from the presidential palace should he be forced to flee from angry protesters — as Argentine President Fernando de la Rue was in December 2001.”

        • Steve  On Friday November 4, 2011 at 9:29 pm

          Enfant, I’m sure a number of dictators (and legitimate presidents whose country is in social unrest) have been grateful for the existence of helicopters.

          I feel very international tonight… reading an article by a German professor at a Spanish university about a Greek economic crisis. Thanks, Enfant, for broadening my horizons!

  • Bryan  On Friday November 4, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    This is going to end badly, as the German and French banks are determined to outdo the Turks in looting Greece.

    While I certainly understand why the Greek government wanted to hold the Olympics, they have been an obscenely expensive boondoggle for years. No one can really afford to host them any more, and a huge chunk of the current debt is the result of the Olympics.

    There are reasonable ways of handling the problem, but not when the people in charge don’t understand the real economic effects of what they are doing.

    • L'Enfant de la Haute Mer  On Saturday November 5, 2011 at 6:00 am

      The Greek government should never have held any Olympics, as the country was terribly lacking beds of intensive care (for instance) or money for education…

      … as each Olympic project did effectively cost 100, 200, 1000 times more, due to corruption: huge bribes were paid under the table!!

      …as the ministers of defense purchased military equipment from whatever country gave them the biggest bribe…

      Even in austerity era, six months ago, web sites design (e.g. that of social security) instead of no more than 500 euro max, it did cost 1,360,000 euros.

      • Steve  On Saturday November 5, 2011 at 9:04 am

        Ah, good… some of the most knowledgeable among my commenters are finally beginning to meet and talk!

        A few months ago, I thought of a bank as a place to keep my money. Now I am beginning to see that in many cases, bankers (or “banksters,” which I take it is a combination of “banker” and “huckster”) have come to the fore as the most powerful of the criminal element, apparently not just in America.

        So, Bryan… when will you begin crafting €1m web sites? 😆

  • L’Enfant de la Haute Mer  On Monday November 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economics at Athens University, says: “When Greek hospitals are running out of bandages, the only bit of the budget not being attacked by the EU and IMF is military expenditure.”

    Greece is the highest military spender, in terms of percentage of GDP, in the EU. Professor Varoufakis adds: “Greece is a disproportionately crucial customer for the arma-ments industry. In comparison to Greece’s size, it’s preposterous.”

    Despite its dire financial straits, the country’s military expenditure has risen during the global financial crisis. It spent €7.1bn in 2010, compared with €6.24bn in 2007.

    Some 58 per cent of Greece’s military expenditure in 2010 went to Germany, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

    The US is the major beneficiary of Greek military expenditure, with the Americans supplying 42 per cent of its arms. In second and third place are Germany, with 22.7 per cent, and then France, with 12.5 per cent.

    • Steve  On Monday November 7, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      Enfant, as an old Texas saying has it, that horse left the barn long ago, at least in the U.S. President Eisenhower warned us and coined the phrase “military-industrial complex,” which in all honesty these days must be expanded to “military-industrial-governmental complex.”

      Feeding that beast takes a lot of my tax dollars and apparently a lot of yours as well. As a friend of mine once said, “Just how much death do you need to buy to feel safe?” Unfortunately, a lot of my fellow Americans seem to need to buy a lot of death, and we and the rest of the world suffer for it.

  • L’Enfant de la Haute Mer  On Monday November 7, 2011 at 12:48 pm


    • Steve  On Monday November 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm

      Now there’s a scary neologism!

      • L’Enfant de la Haute Mer  On Monday November 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm

        Today is a very difficult day for us over here: a new coalition government after dark and undemocratic agreement of the two main parties.
        We do not even know who the PM will be, anyway it does not matter. Transfer of power to a new government without elections !!!

        How would you call that?

        • Steve  On Monday November 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm

          Enfant, I’m going to start a new post on Greece at the top of my blog. In it I will refer to the NY Times for basic facts and quote you for your quite justifiable reaction.

          America’s “Gang of Twelve” plus one (Obama) are acting similarly without consent of the governed, nor do they give a good damn what we think about their actions on the budget. Democracy here may be a thing of the past. Not that I will cooperate, of course… but they have a lot of power.

          Do you think your new PM, whoever it is, will be made to stand for elections right away? Or are you stuck with him/her?

  • L’Enfant de la Haute Mer  On Monday November 7, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    They are talking about February 19th, 2012, but nothing is certain.

    They need this government to immediately sign the second loan agreement (about which we know absolutely nothing).
    Extreme poverty awaits the Greek people for many decades into increasingly harsh austerity.

    After this government has done the “dirty work”, elections will have no importance whatsoever.

    please, besides other sources, have a look here:

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