6 July Greek Crisis Endgame: The abyss stares back

Alexis Tsipras

If you gaze long enough into an abyssthe abyss will gaze back into you.  – F. Nietzsche

On the early morning of 27 June when reading that the leader of the Greek coalition government, Alexis Tsipras, called for a national referendum to get the views of Greece’s population on the bitter on-going disputes with Europe and the IMF, and in particular whether or not  to accept the Troika’s uncompromising  bailout conditions to settle the country’s government-debt crisis, I decided to see if we might do our bit by providing selective daily summary and international commentary on this unfolding  the topic – and, more importantly, the uncertain evolving process behind it.

This quickly took the form of a series of daily summaries of a certain number of what I regard as the key points, issues, ideas, attitudes and players shaping this debate.  You will find just below the dozen-plus articles that were posted in the pages of World Streets since the 27th. They appear here in the order written, and each is hot-linked to facilitate your access.

The core of this story is the huge gap between the level of understanding of leading members of the economics and policy community and that of the troika members. The ever combatative Paul Krugman put it like this in a 5 July article in the New York Times.

But the campaign of bullying — the attempt to terrify Greeks by cutting off bank financing and threatening general chaos, all with the almost open goal of pushing the current leftist government out of office — was a shameful moment in a Europe that claims to believe in democratic principles. It would have set a terrible precedent if that campaign had succeeded, even if the creditors were making sense.

What’s more, they weren’t. The truth is that Europe’s self-styled technocrats are like medieval doctors who insisted on bleeding their patients — and when their treatment made the patients sicker, demanded even more bleeding. A “yes” vote in Greece would have condemned the country to years more of suffering under policies that haven’t worked and in fact, given the arithmetic, can’t work: austerity probably shrinks the economy faster than it reduces debt, so that all the suffering serves no purpose. The landslide victory of the “no” side offers at least a chance for an escape from this trap.

The battle lines are drawn.  The hard work lies ahead and the challenges are going to be met, one way or another.

The resources and skills to get the job done are plentifully there, so if these challenges ultimately  remain unmet or unsatisfactorily met you will know exactly to whom to look. Everything is now out in the open and there is no place to hide. And that in itself is a great victory for democracy.

  Articles on Greek Crisis appearing in World Streets: 27 June – 6 July 2015

27 June. Learning from the Referendum on Economic Restructuring *

27 June. Piketty steps up to bat on Germany and Debts *

29 June. Jeffrey Sachs: Let Greece Default

29 June. Joseph Stiglitz on casting his vote *

29 June. “On Europe’s cruel capitalism”

30 June. Indicators of economic performance: 1974 – 2015 *

2 July. IMF says Greece needs debt relief

2 July. Declaration of 246 Professors of Economics and Business at Greek Universities

3 July. Krugman on why the Euro is the problem *

4 July. Last night I dreamt I wandered the stacks . . . *

4 July. Why all the bitter accusations from the North? *

5 July. Greece and Germany take the duel to a higher level

5 JulyGreece’s debt crisis explained in charts and maps

5 July. Europe wins *

5 July. As the polls close . . . *

6 July. Endgame: The abyss stares back *

In addition you can find more results from our efforts at finding the missing pieces at :

 Thinking about Economy and Democracy – here.

*   World Streets on the Greek Crisis – here.

The following also provide current references from international  sources of high quality and with quite different points of view:

* Paul Krugman on Greece – https://goo.gl/0c3ovm

* The Economist on Greece – https://goo.gl/rHNaEO

* The Guardian on Greece – https://goo.gl/jK5YsY

* Financial Times on Greece – https://goo.gl/2lGPNu

* Wikipedia page on Referendum – http://wp.me/p1zD54-Rv (useful external referen

# # #

My great regret

My great regret in all this is above all the appalling lack of greatness on the part of the Troika, the abject unwillingness to even try to understand the errors of the past years and in particular the tragic consequences of policies based on unproven (actually dis-proven) theory about “austerity”, and finally the brutal thoughtlessness of the key personalities and institutions who “decide for Europe”. I can only hope that at least one or two of them will understand the importance of this moment, that the decisions are not so much about that one small country that constitutes barely 2% of the European economy, but about the bold adventure of Europe itself.

After all that was all it took back in 1950 to lay the foundation for today’s Europe in the form of the European Coal and Steel Community were two committed Europeans, Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet who together dedicated themselves to the high ideal of a united and prosperous Europe.  Now all we have to do is to hope for signs of greatness in the chaos that currently surrounds us.

Greece deserves better, Europe deserves better and one can only hope

# # #

About the author:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as a development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and international sustainability activist who has lived and worked in Paris since 1969. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport - https://worldstreets.wordpress.com . | Britton online: https://goo.gl/9CJXTh

View complete profile

 

One thought on “6 July Greek Crisis Endgame: The abyss stares back

  1. Pingback: Greek Crisis Endgame: The abyss stares back | Sustainable Development, Economy & Democracy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s