Sunday, 26 June 2011

Back to more of the same

I returned from France late on Friday to find nothing much had changed. The Greeks need yet more money, Dave is supporting the Euro for all he is worth and Annabelle Fuller is keeping UKIP's profile to the fore in the Sunday Mirror, click on link to read. I do hope for their next piece the Sunday Mirror research Ms Fuller more fully.

The Greek situation has been like a slow motion car smash for many months but slowly it is dawning on the media that this crisis loans are all about trying to save the Eurocrat's faces and highly paid jobs rather than helping Greece. Indeed the current extra loans can only worsen things for the Greeks. The money will go straight to the banks and  Spiros will be left to foot the very large bills. Its the usual privatise the profits and nationalise the losses that bankers love as it keeps them in bonuses.

To this end I read with some amusement the article by in today's Sunday Telegraph by Jim O'Neil chairman of Goldman Sachs whose solution is to issue common Euro bonds to fund roughly 50% of Greek debt at near German interest rates.  That's called talking your book in the City with lots of lovely commission for Golden Sacks selling such bonds and of course receiving the money for all that Greek junk that Goldman's and vulture funds have been rumoured to be recently buying. Its an ill wind that does not inflate the bankers bonus pool.

As I wrote months ago the Greek tragedy will be played out like the Athenian boule of 500 BC on the streets of Athens. Its easy enough to get the well paid and cosseted political elite to vote for austerity that will not affect themselves. Its a quite different thing to eradicate the rampant Greek tax evasion that such austerity measures need if they are to work.  A default by any other name will be just that.


Anonymous said...

"As I wrote months ago the Greek tragedy will be played out like the Athenian boule of 500 BC on the streets of Athens."

Dude, what does that even mean? What does the ancient Athenian senate have to do with Greek tragedy? What does ancient Athens have to do with the socialized mess that is modern Greece, except that ancient Athens grew progressively more incompetent as entitlements grew (i.e. juror pay, the theoric fund, etc.)?

Really, the date's totally off. Five hundred is thirty years too early for Aeschylus, the first surviving Tragedian and the one who came up with having more than one actor on stage: he wrote after the Persian Wars. But to get a sense of fiscal shenanigans into the metaphor, a year like 349 would have been better: that was when Demosthenes started complaining that the Athenians directed their government spending towards entertainment instead of defense against Philip of Macedon. He finally reversed that policy by 339, but by then it was too late.

Eric Edmond said...

The Athenian boule was a mass street meeting of Athenian voters that took place circa 500 BC. Old habits persist is my message.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you mean the Ecclesia. The Boule met indoors (and could thus keep secrets); it was limited in number—500 men served in the boule in the year 500 BC, up from around 400 before the reforms of Cleisthenes. The Ecclesia, on the other hand, was the raucous assembly of any Athenian men who happened to show up in the agora on the right day: the Ecclesia met outdoors, usually on the Pnyx hill, where dramatic performances also seem to have been held. That would give you a place to put tragedy into the metaphor, too!

Eric Edmond said...

I bow to your superior classics education. When I was at Oxford in the late 60s I remember a US classics Prof turning up at one of our frequent student debates/protests. He came he told me, to hopefully gain some more understanding of hoe the Athenian boule might have worked. I did science pkus modern languages at school.