Monday, November 9, 2015

Grebacle, Three Months On: Failing at Court Politics

Grebacle = Greek debacle

So Syriza caved in, the Eurocrats are looting Greece, and the Greeks are in a for a generation of poverty.

Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Finance Minister at the time, “I was warning the Cabinet this was going to happen [the ECB shut our banks] for a month, in order to drag us into a humiliating agreement. When it happened – and many of my colleagues couldn’t believe it happened – my recommendation for responding ‘energetically,’ let’s say, was voted down. […] out of six people we were in a minority of two.”

Looks to me like the Syriza leadership got cold feet. They also seem to me to have lacked imagination: they couldn’t imagine that the Germans would cut them off, even after it happened. I also think Syriza didn’t understand what a high-stakes negotiation would be like, and the ways the party with the upper hand acts to wear down the opposing side. Rulers need courtiers, so that they can maintain their energy and self-confidence in hard dealings. Even with good friends around me and adequate sleep, I would have trouble staying on track when faced with 14 hostile opponents. There apparently were only six members of the Greek negotiating team, which wasn’t enough. Add to that, the Eurocrats set a grueling schedule. Varoufakis comments: “I no longer have to live through this hectic timetable, which was absolutely inhuman, just unbelievable. I was on 2 hours sleep every day for five months.” After a few days of that the Greek team must have been negotiating like a crew of drunks—it is no wonder they brought back a poor agreement.

As to future Euro exits, I think that unless the Eurocrats adopt Keynesian policies, they are inevitable. Other countries will study the Greek debacle and learn from it.

The Greeks lost to their own failed leadership. We have the Greek public both wanting to stay in the Eurozone and wanting the austerity eased, and there was no way Germnay would every accede to that, but apparently no-one bothered to tell the Greek public, to present the choice and say, "We can have the Euro or control of our own economy, not both." And so Greece was sold.

Months down the road: in Portugal a coalition with a 62% majority has not been allowed to form a government. Who is in charge in the Eurozone? Apparently German bankers.

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