miércoles, 15 de julio de 2015

From Greek democracy to the not-very democratic tools of finance

Europe and the United States of America look to Greece as the “craddle” of democracy, and its empire—lasting from antiquity to around 600 AD is studied again and again in schools and universities, but thanks to the wack of undemocratic economic and financial weapons the country is in the process of becoming colonized by the no-holds-barred capitalism of banks, financial institutions and the political K.O. of German led northern Europe.
This “pinchers” movement is actually part of a larger process involving the consolidation and concentration of wealth around the world in the hands of gigantic corporations, financial and banking intuitions in an effort to unify and control the world’s economy to assure the maximization of profit—the essence of consumer society oriented capitalism.
Although U.S. leaders often praise the union of “free market economics” with democracy, the economics practiced by the world’s leading financial institutions has little to do with democracy.
This can be seen clearly in the present debt crisis not only in Greece but in most of the world’s “developing” nations. Following World War II, the value of the dollar was tied to gold and subsequently the oil producing nations agreed to trade exclusively in dollars, thus opening the doors of banks in Europe and the U.S. to the deposit of millions of oil dollars.
This capital surplus led banks and even developed countries to leoan enormous amounts of money to “Third World” or developing nations at high interest rates and without much concern about the ability of the debtor countries to repay the loans. Many in Latin America and Africa were anti-communist dictatorships because these loans were granted in the context of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
Thus poor counties have been obliged to borrow in order to make payments on their rising foreign debts—often they are barely able to pay accumulated interest. This situation has given way in turn to the imposition via the International Monetary Fund and other institutions of conditions which more than “help” the debtors facilitate the entrance of multi-national capital and investment, a clear demonstration of the desire to organize economic activity on a world scale.
More recently, however, a new phase appeared: speculation with money, using money to make money. This has taken enormous quantities of money into the lucrative business of financial speculation.
Greece was a prized piece in the division of the world into “Western” and “Soviet” areas of influence following the talks in Yalta. The country had also been devastated by Germany during the war and has never been repaid the damages it has demanded. In the comings and goings of democratically elected governments, a rapacious dictatorship and pressure to take necessary loans for its economic recovery, the country strung up an enormous debt. That rose even higher with entrance into the Common market and the Euro.
With the election of an anti-austerity government, pressure mounted to get the country to agree to a series of severe “reforms.” In fact, the Greek parliament must now approve a packet that includes such clearly colonial measures as supervision over any economic policies that may affect the bail-out agreement, massive privatizations, tax increases even on food and items of vital necessity, freezing retirement income and boosting the age for retirement to 67.
Even if Greece should approve these measures, the possibility of carrying them out is quite dim. The alternative of leaving the Euro or the European Community is neither desired nor a viable alternative: Greece lacks resources and an industrial base sufficient to go it alone. Its key industry is tourism.
It thus appears clear that the economically strongest nations en the Community, headed by Germany, have used the Greek crisis for economic as well as political reasons. That Greece should have a leftist and nationalist inclined political party in power not favorable to the impositions of international financial institutions is considered a provocation by Germany and the “hard liners.” The humiliating economic conditions imposed on Greece, beefed up after the referendum against the measures, reveal the desire to politically destroy the possibility of political and economic alternatives to the status quo. The message is meant also for the ears of any others in the Community who dare vote in politicians who question the prevailing notions on economics and politics.
The real intention of the measures was clearly expressed in the Wall Street Journal: “If Greece implements all the economic measures agreed to with its creditors, the country could end up with a more-flexible economy than Germany.” That is, the idea is to incorporate Greece into the corporate dominated free market system, giving up a good portion of its own social, economic and cultural independence.

Economist Thomas Piketty on the other hand suggests something which the most powerful nations in Europe are not likely to accept: "We need a conference on all of Europe’s debts, just like after World War II. A restructuring of all debt, not just in Greece but in several European countries, is inevitable."

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