Je suis Varoufakis :)

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Message 1633738 - Posted: 27 Jan 2015, 23:40:56 UTC
Last modified: 28 Jan 2015, 0:06:07 UTC

Oh what a difference a day makes :)

A few random tidbits from your apolitical correspondent in Greece:

- An Engineer as Prime Minister of a Western country? Finally someone broke the mold of lawyers and economists.

- An atheist as Prime Minister of a Western country? Finally someone broke the mold of brownnosing the Christian vote.

- Greece's outgoing prime minister (Samaras) I'd lump in my "successful sociopath" category. Like a kid holding his breath 'till he gets what he wants, he didn't even show up to hand over the "keys" - which is, of course, customary.

- I may be apolitical but for some strange reason creepy people creep me out. It was a joy to watch Sarkozy try hard not to foam at the mouth :)

- The word "radical" may be part of the party's name but it's just junk DNA. SYRIZA is not what you'd call radical. You'd be laughed at in Greece for calling them that. I've been watching the foreign press get it wrong all day. And considering the grief you guys give The Guardian for being leftist, I'm surprised they too got it wrong.

- I just realized today, there's no Whip in Greece. Maybe there should be.

- If you are shocked by a Left Party win, don't be. This country may proudly state it's the birthplace of democracy, but it has only actually been a democracy for merely 40 years. Last century's intellectuals mostly fled to Paris and after the dictatorship the Left became a de facto standard for ALL artistic and intellectual types. I'd call them romantics and, as you may have guessed, I'm allergic to them too. I'll probably have to sit through 4 years of Manu Chao & reggae music so show me some sympathy! :)

- I saved the best for last: I wonder if Mrs. Merkel got any sleep last night. Greece will likely be unable to change it's fortune, but I'm looking forward to watching France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and any other country coming out of the woodwork, finally grow a pair. After over 4 years of Germany barking orders at everybody and telling every single country in Europe precisely how high to jump... well they're just gonna stubbornly continue barking, aren't they? It'll be fun to watch the other countries stonewalling them all of a sudden and Merkel & Co. striving not to throw a fit. You've got little ol' Greece to thank for that :)
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Message 1633752 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 0:07:39 UTC - in response to Message 1633738.  

- An Engineer as Prime Minister of a Western country? Finally someone broke the mold of lawyers and economists.

Sorry, the Germans did that first. Merkel is by origin a scientist in the field of quantum chemistry.

- An atheist as Prime Minister of a Western country? Finally someone broke the mold of brownnosing the Christian vote.

Perhaps in Greece, but there have been plenty of atheists politicians in other countries.

- I saved the best for last: I wonder if Mrs. Merkel got any sleep last night. Greece will likely be unable to change it's fortune, but I'm looking forward to watching France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and any other country coming out of the woodwork, finally grow a pair. After over 4 years of Germany barking orders at everybody and telling every single country in Europe precisely how high to jump... well they're just gonna stubbornly continue barking, aren't they? It'll be fun to watch the other countries stonewalling them all of a sudden and Merkel & Co. striving not to throw a fit. You've got little ol' Greece to thank for that :)

Yeah good job Greece, you are about to put some serious pressure on the EU as a thing. And why? Because for decades you voted for corrupt politicians, allowed corruption and inefficiency to strangle the life out of your economy, lied your way into the Eurozone, and when all that stuff came out, you needed our billions of Euro's to prevent you from going bankrupt? And now you are telling us that the money we loaned to you, you are not gonna pay it back, despite the agreements that you made? Yeah, thanks for that, real classy letting the rest pay for your mistakes.

Now there is a real risk you guys are gonna end up leaving the Eurozone and perhaps even the EU. It won't help you one bit, you guys will still be poor, your politicians will still be corrupt and nothing changes. But in doing so you will leave the EU empowering every anti EU politician and fracturing the cohesion making it more likely for other countries to throw a fit and quit. You guys might actually be the death of the EU, the one organization that has brought unprecedented peace, prosperity and understanding to our continent.
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Message 1633802 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 1:56:33 UTC - in response to Message 1633738.  

Oh what a difference a day makes :)

A few random tidbits from your apolitical correspondent in Greece:

- An Engineer as Prime Minister of a Western country? Finally someone broke the mold of lawyers and economists.

- An atheist as Prime Minister of a Western country? Finally someone broke the mold of brownnosing the Christian vote.

- Greece's outgoing prime minister (Samaras) I'd lump in my "successful sociopath" category. Like a kid holding his breath 'till he gets what he wants, he didn't even show up to hand over the "keys" - which is, of course, customary.

- I may be apolitical but for some strange reason creepy people creep me out. It was a joy to watch Sarkozy try hard not to foam at the mouth :)

- The word "radical" may be part of the party's name but it's just junk DNA. SYRIZA is not what you'd call radical. You'd be laughed at in Greece for calling them that. I've been watching the foreign press get it wrong all day. And considering the grief you guys give The Guardian for being leftist, I'm surprised they too got it wrong.

- I just realized today, there's no Whip in Greece. Maybe there should be.

- If you are shocked by a Left Party win, don't be. This country may proudly state it's the birthplace of democracy, but it has only actually been a democracy for merely 40 years. Last century's intellectuals mostly fled to Paris and after the dictatorship the Left became a de facto standard for ALL artistic and intellectual types. I'd call them romantics and, as you may have guessed, I'm allergic to them too. I'll probably have to sit through 4 years of Manu Chao & reggae music so show me some sympathy! :)

- I saved the best for last: I wonder if Mrs. Merkel got any sleep last night. Greece will likely be unable to change it's fortune, but I'm looking forward to watching France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and any other country coming out of the woodwork, finally grow a pair. After over 4 years of Germany barking orders at everybody and telling every single country in Europe precisely how high to jump... well they're just gonna stubbornly continue barking, aren't they? It'll be fun to watch the other countries stonewalling them all of a sudden and Merkel & Co. striving not to throw a fit. You've got little ol' Greece to thank for that :)


Ya missed what is likely the most surprising development.


About three years ago, popular game development and digital distribution company Valve hired lesser-known economist Yanis Varoufakis to analyse and improve the Steam Market.

The economist has now gone places, with his appointment as the new finance minister of Greece.


http://www.ibtimes.co.in/valve-economist-yanis-varoufakis-appointed-finance-minister-greece-621689

An economist working for a computer game company becomes the new Finance Minister of Greece...

Well, it can't hurt... The Greek economy is just as bizarre as that in many computer games...
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Message 1633807 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 2:05:43 UTC - in response to Message 1633752.  
Last modified: 28 Jan 2015, 2:21:03 UTC

Yeah good job Greece, you are about to put some serious pressure on the EU as a thing. And why? Because for decades you voted for corrupt politicians, allowed corruption and inefficiency to strangle the life out of your economy, lied your way into the Eurozone, and when all that stuff came out, you needed our billions of Euro's to prevent you from going bankrupt? And now you are telling us that the money we loaned to you, you are not gonna pay it back, despite the agreements that you made? Yeah, thanks for that, real classy letting the rest pay for your mistakes.

Now there is a real risk you guys are gonna end up leaving the Eurozone and perhaps even the EU. It won't help you one bit, you guys will still be poor, your politicians will still be corrupt and nothing changes. But in doing so you will leave the EU empowering every anti EU politician and fracturing the cohesion making it more likely for other countries to throw a fit and quit. You guys might actually be the death of the EU, the one organization that has brought unprecedented peace, prosperity and understanding to our continent.

So you are arguing that the EU did not do due diligence when bringing Greece into the EU?
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Message 1633864 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 4:55:26 UTC - in response to Message 1633752.  

Did you think to look up Maggie's qualifications.

Maggie's Early life and education
She was reportedly more proud of becoming the first Prime Minister with a science degree than the first female Prime Minister.
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Message 1633865 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 5:01:13 UTC - in response to Message 1633807.  

So you are arguing that the EU did not do due diligence when bringing Greece into the EU?

Wasn't it shown some years ago that, with the help of Goldman Sachs, that Greece "cooked the books" on the country's financial situation to gain entry into the EU ?

Did the EU look hard enough at the figures, or was there a "nod and a wink" from people who saw the opportunity to make an awful lot of money out of the situation ??

T.A.
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Message 1633867 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 5:07:37 UTC - in response to Message 1633807.  

So you are arguing that the EU did not do due diligence when bringing Greece into the EU?


Now why would they have done that. People might have started asking for the books of other countries, already in the EU, to be examined a little more closely, before they went down the path of a common currency.
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Message 1633884 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 6:24:13 UTC - in response to Message 1633752.  
Last modified: 28 Jan 2015, 6:31:56 UTC

LOL, deep breaths Michiel! Deep breaths!

For someone that refuses to be terrorized by terrorists, I'm a bit surprised (I'm SHOCKED actually) you've been so easily terrorized by 2nd-rate political scare-tactics ;) "The death of the EU"? Seriously? Do you honestly think there's a single EU member that would consider leaving the Eurozone willingly? Greece included? And do I really need to tell you just how corny the end of your last sentence sounds? :D

OK, I'll start from the beginning. My above post was just the ramblings of a non-involved bystander. The diary of a smarta** if you will :) I've already told you I'm not politics material and I will shamelessly attempt to prove it to you in my next paragraph :)

Instead of the EU just being about funny paper money (and a gazzilion coin denominations) it should have been The United States of Europe from day one. One army, one passport, one tax-collector (ok, plus state taxes) and one English language (and probably a bunch of other "united" stuff I can't think of right now but you get the picture). You can see why I may have trouble trying to convince people that deep-down I'm a conservative at heart :) No, really.

Now don't worry, I understood the whole point you were trying to make and - yes - it is 99.999% accurate:
Because for decades you voted for corrupt politicians, allowed corruption and inefficiency to strangle the life out of your economy, lied your way into the Eurozone, and when all that stuff came out, you needed our billions of Euro's to prevent you from going bankrupt?


You lose a thousandth of a point for saying "when all that stuff came out". Otherwise you would have gotten a perfect score :) Though, to be honest, if I were you I would have asked, "Why is Greece still voting for the same 300 idiots that got the country in the mess it's in?". Now THAT would have been a fool-proof argument! ;) Unanswerable... but foolproof.

As I'm lazily writing this while making/drinking morning coffee, I'm happy to see WK and TA are already making the rest of my arguments for me :) Thanx guys! Goldman Sachs and "blind eyes" were next on my list but you just saved me the trouble :)

Last but not least. No matter how much money tiny little ol' Greece ended up swindling... the world may never have blinked. I'm guessing what really freaked out the global markets was that the awesome institution of "peace, prosperity and understanding" in all it's infinite wisdom was operating without a few safety-nets.

Edit: Oh yeah I forgot! "Engineer as Prime Minister of a Western country" deserved to be ripped apart. Sloppy copy/pasting on my part :) And thanx for the link Kong! I never got round to what happened with the ministries 'cause it would all just go over my head. I don't know the players :) But I'll definately be reading that Valve link, so thanx!
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Message 1633989 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 10:10:51 UTC

Absolutely fascinating stuff Alex, luv it to bits!

One of the problems that Greece has always had is that like all Mediterranean countries it relies heavily on tourism to survive. Consequently recently Greece has suffered greatly from the world recession, and has been central to the related European sovereign debt crisis. The Greek government debt crisis, subsequent economic crisis and resultant protests, have emroiled domestic politics and have regularly threatened European and global financial markets since the crisis began in 2010.

Its economy mainly comprises the service sector (85.0%) and industry (12.0%), agriculture (3.0%). Merchant shipping at 16.2% of the world's total capacity, is the largest in the world, but doesn't seem earn them much money.

Their fortunes will be interesting to watch to say the least.
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Message 1633997 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 10:43:08 UTC - in response to Message 1633807.  

So you are arguing that the EU did not do due diligence when bringing Greece into the EU?

The EU should (and could) have known better and Greece shouldn't have lied about the actual state of their economy. Both sides are to blame.
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Message 1634007 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 11:00:54 UTC - in response to Message 1633884.  

LOL, deep breaths Michiel! Deep breaths!

Heheh, yeah youre right. Sorry about that.

For someone that refuses to be terrorized by terrorists, I'm a bit surprised (I'm SHOCKED actually) you've been so easily terrorized by 2nd-rate political scare-tactics ;) "The death of the EU"? Seriously? Do you honestly think there's a single EU member that would consider leaving the Eurozone willingly? Greece included? And do I really need to tell you just how corny the end of your last sentence sounds? :D

That is the problem with unproven parties that had such a stormy rise in popularity. How far will they go? Will the new Greece government be willing to compromise, or will they take this all the way to the point where stepping out of the Euro and EU is the only remaining option left to them?

And no, the current parties that run the show in the rest of Europe are more or less committed to the EU. I'm not worried about them. I'm worried about the Front Nationals, the PVV's, the Pegida's and the UKIP's. They are run by dangerous idiots who are not committed to the EU on any level and who will gleefully rip it to bits, even if it comes at an insanely high cost to their own country.

I'm not afraid of terrorists because I recognize the insanely small odds of anyone getting involved in a terrorist incident. However, I am afraid of these populist anti EU movements, because they have a decent chance to succeed. The Dutch anti-EU party is doing extremely well in the polls, averaging about 1/3 of the Dutch voters.

OK, I'll start from the beginning. My above post was just the ramblings of a non-involved bystander. The diary of a smarta** if you will :) I've already told you I'm not politics material and I will shamelessly attempt to prove it to you in my next paragraph :)

Instead of the EU just being about funny paper money (and a gazzilion coin denominations) it should have been The United States of Europe from day one. One army, one passport, one tax-collector (ok, plus state taxes) and one English language (and probably a bunch of other "united" stuff I can't think of right now but you get the picture). You can see why I may have trouble trying to convince people that deep-down I'm a conservative at heart :) No, really.

Hehehehe, yep, you've proven that youre not politics material :P

Aside from the fact that I agree with you and that this is what I would have liked to see the EU be since the treaty of Maastricht, its politically just not feasible :(

Last but not least. No matter how much money tiny little ol' Greece ended up swindling... the world may never have blinked. I'm guessing what really freaked out the global markets was that the awesome institution of "peace, prosperity and understanding" in all it's infinite wisdom was operating without a few safety-nets.

Yep, the EU definitely deserves part of the blame. And contrary to what you may think given my first post, I do agree that we should be more lenient with Greece. I want my money back, eventually but I can wait and I think we should wait, until Greece is back on its feet and has an economy that is actually worth something. Thats when they can start paying back. And scrapping the interest on those loans is fine with me as well. I believe I read that the new minister of Finance had this idea as well.

That said, it does worry me that one of the promises is to rehire every government official that was fired during the previous government. The Greece government was already bloated and corrupt, and rehiring everyone does not sound like a way of fixing that problem. Combating poverty and unemployment is a worthy endeavor and deserves our support, but it needs to be done in a sustainable manner. This is not sustainable.
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Message 1634008 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 11:02:26 UTC - in response to Message 1633802.  


http://www.ibtimes.co.in/valve-economist-yanis-varoufakis-appointed-finance-minister-greece-621689

An economist working for a computer game company becomes the new Finance Minister of Greece...

Well, it can't hurt... The Greek economy is just as bizarre as that in many computer games...

Not just any computer game company. Its Valve. That says something, and this might be very interesting, given that Valve has a bit of a reputation of being...well lets just say unorthodox.
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Message 1634016 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 11:13:37 UTC

Some more background here.

Greece
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Message 1634022 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 11:34:47 UTC
Last modified: 28 Jan 2015, 11:43:03 UTC

Even looks like new Athens government is more keen to make friends in Moscow than in Brussels. Where will this end?
https://euobserver.com/foreign/127393
Will they join the Eurasian Economic Union instead?

New Greek FM Nikos Kotzias in distinctly dubious company.
https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203775735849661&set=a.2016598130390.2103918.1106964109&type=1&theater
Greek left-wing SYRIZA forms a coalition with the pro-Kremlin far right
http://anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.se/2015/01/greek-left-wing-syriza-forms-coalition.html
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Message 1634064 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 13:29:42 UTC - in response to Message 1633752.  
Last modified: 28 Jan 2015, 13:30:35 UTC

- An Engineer as Prime Minister of a Western country? Finally someone broke the mold of lawyers and economists.

Sorry, the Germans did that first. Merkel is by origin a scientist in the field of quantum chemistry.

Thatcher was also a chemist.
Factoid of the day: Margaret Thatcher invented the 'Mr Whippy' style ice cream.

Edit: Just noticed WinterKnight beat me to it.
Life on earth is the global equivalent of not storing things in the fridge.
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Message 1634134 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 17:10:31 UTC

Simon .....

Whippy
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Message 1634153 - Posted: 28 Jan 2015, 18:12:35 UTC - in response to Message 1634134.  

Simon .....

Whippy




I heard David Mitchell say it on The Unbelievable Truth.
Life on earth is the global equivalent of not storing things in the fridge.
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Message 1635058 - Posted: 30 Jan 2015, 15:47:59 UTC

Have mercy! You guys are spreading me too thin! :)

OK with that little outburst out of the way, here's what I mean and what I've been up to these past few days, which is mainly reading (trying to follow the money) in my spare time. But the problem is I've been going in quite a few directions at once, all relevant to this thread. So never say I never invested in you guys... even though Michiel seems to think I personally owe him money ;)

So, in no particular order and with no expanded views yet on any of these subjects here ya go:

-On Chris's healthy fascination with the Greek fleet.
I've hardly looked into this and it interests me too. Couldn't find any low hanging fruit for consumption so I temporarily gave up. But two of Greece's most vocal opponents as far as austerity goes - Germany & Holland - also appear to be Greece's main intra EU rivals when it comes to shipping, ports, and refined oil. Funny how that works, innit? :D

- On Maggie & Angela:
Like Shirley, I too wonder is it all just a little bit of history repeating? Have our 2 favorite lady chemists and part-time economics dabblers fallen prey to snake oil peddlers and voodoo economics? Were their noble intentions also an Achilles Heel to let utopian & unfounded economics through their doors? I'll spoil it for you and say I'm having a really hard time finding evidence this isn't exactly what happened. Unfortunately this subject forks out all over my browser in the form of "tabs". Too large to deal with realistically.

- On Cronyism and political corruption in Greece.
Just running around trying to find statistics, anecdotes and news. BTW does anybody have stats on Greek public servants? Like percentage of population compared to other countries?

- And last but not least... the mother of all "forkers", the Hydra of "business" news, the original Vampire Squids, the one and only:
Goldman Sachs

Here's some weekend reading, so we're all on the same page should the discussion ever arise (article enjoys cult status):
The Great American Bubble Machine
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Message 1635658 - Posted: 31 Jan 2015, 11:40:55 UTC

Basically Alex, Greece is broke and it is politically unstable. But the EU can't afford to let it go down the plughole ....

Won't co-operate

No more bailout
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Message 1635659 - Posted: 31 Jan 2015, 11:49:00 UTC
Last modified: 31 Jan 2015, 12:33:35 UTC

Alas Hellas:)

Edit: But it is the European taxpayers who have to the bill when Greece neither are able nor willing to pay.
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