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Old 07-03-2015, 08:32 AM   #281
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Interesting article in The Economist via the Starbucks WiFi portal this morning. The comments are interesting as well.

A second article on Latin America and developing economies as well.

I find it distressing that I see attitudes in the US similar to those that are destroying Venezuela, etc.

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Old 07-03-2015, 08:32 AM   #282
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The Italian stock market index took a dump today, most of the other European markets stable.

Greece is full of antiquities. Sounds crass, but what would A billionaire or consortium pay for the Acropolis ?
Or at least offer naming rights. Welcome to the Verizon Wireless Acropolis!
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Old 07-03-2015, 08:49 AM   #283
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Good discussion. Tsipras and Vanoufakis are not helping the situation by being combative. They seem to be way out of their depth. Not the type of leadership to inspire confidence in a crisis. Greek citizens have no good options now. Will economic chaos evolve into violence? Will the UN send peacekeeping troops? Will the EU send administrators to run the country, since the Greeks clearly can't?
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Old 07-03-2015, 09:10 AM   #284
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With Mr. Putin, craftily rebuilding the USSR, he make a play for Greece, and obviously the Greeks are smart enough to play along. I can easily see Mr. Putin circulating rumors that a Greece to leave NATO, and granting Russia a Naval Base like he has in Syria. Putin being smart chess player, he may do this just to weaken the EU and force them to bail out the Greeks rather than risk a cash strapped going along with the Russian offer.
I saw an interview with Gary Kasparov, former world chess champion, earlier this year. He said something to the effect that Putin's game isn't chess, it's poker. All he does is bluff, and the world keeps folding!

I like Kasparov. It takes courage to speak critically of your homeland., and he's been doing it for at least a quarter century now. I even agree with him sometimes.
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Old 07-03-2015, 09:27 AM   #285
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I think the referendum this weekend is a serious mistake, most of the Greek people probably don't have a good enough understanding of what the problem is or what their options are; they do not have the criteria to choose, yet now will be forever blamed for the consequences. . . .
Apparently, there's at least a sliver of doubt that the referendum will occur. A Greek court has to rule on the constitutionality of it (today?). It apparently falls short on several accounts--poorly worded, not enough time, and the Greek constitution allegedly prohibits referenda that relate to fiscal matters.

As far as the blame--the people are ultimately to blame for the present situation and the years leading up to it, so they are to blame no matter what. "Luckily," in a democracy (not just Greece), the people don't seem to let the burden of their previous mistakes weigh too heavily on them, they just go on with their lives and find distractions to take their minds off things.
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Old 07-03-2015, 09:35 AM   #286
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most of the Greek people probably don't have a good enough understanding of what the problem is or what their options are; they do not have the criteria to choose, yet now will be forever blamed for the consequences.
Sounds like the prelude to elections/referendums just about everywhere.
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:41 AM   #287
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Good discussion. Tsipras and Vanoufakis are not helping the situation by being combative. They seem to be way out of their depth. Not the type of leadership to inspire confidence in a crisis. Greek citizens have no good options now. Will economic chaos evolve into violence? Will the UN send peacekeeping troops? Will the EU send administrators to run the country, since the Greeks clearly can't?
They may be out of their depth. But the previous govts. apparently let the EU dictate terms and didn't push back at all.

As a result, Greece has 25% unemployment with deep pension cuts and still very high debt.

It's no wonder they wanted to try something different.
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:57 AM   #288
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They may be out of their depth. But the previous govts. apparently let the EU dictate terms and didn't push back at all.

As a result, Greece has 25% unemployment with deep pension cuts and still very high debt.

It's no wonder they wanted to try something different.
The previous government was not a model of competence, but the economy was on the mend. Things have gotten worse (budget >and< unemployment) since the new government came in.

The people didn't like the pain, they went for the option that promised them less of that. Now they are waiting hours to withdraw their rationed cash from the ATM and the banks are about to run out of money (as soon as next week, if no one on a white horse comes). How's that "change" working out so far?

I think it will be very unfortunate if the referendum does not occur Sunday as scheduled. Either a "yes" ("take the medicine) or a "no" (further default, reforms when forced by the market) is probably better, in the long run, than rewording the referendum and giving people anther month or two in this mess.
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:58 AM   #289
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Are you saying unemployment reached 26% in the 5-6 months since Syriza took office?

So things were hunky dory in December?

Why do you think they voted the previous govt. out of office if things were so great?
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:06 PM   #290
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Democracy is imperfect and requires a certain maturity to work effectively...
Uh oh...
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:07 PM   #291
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Uh oh...


Not my intention to get into politics, so I deleted my previous post and would urge everyone to keep the thread on the even keel it's been on so far.
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Old 07-03-2015, 01:24 PM   #292
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It's a slow motion train wreck, and I can't stop watching.
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Old 07-03-2015, 02:50 PM   #293
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They may be out of their depth. But the previous govts. apparently let the EU dictate terms and didn't push back at all.

As a result, Greece has 25% unemployment with deep pension cuts and still very high debt.

It's no wonder they wanted to try something different.
I wish them luck, as when I go to the bank to borrow money, the bank tells me the terms too.

Difference is that I won't take a loan if I can't pay it back quickly, and I won't blame the bank either.
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Old 07-03-2015, 04:07 PM   #294
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...
Difference is that I won't take a loan if I can't pay it back quickly...
Next time my bank offers me a loan for $336 billion Euros (or dollars), I'm accepting that loan right on the spot--especially if I can't pay it back quickly-like in the next 240 years or so.
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Old 07-03-2015, 05:48 PM   #295
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I was watching Ken Burn's series the Roosevelt's last night. The episode was about FDR assuming the presidency and his remarkable 100 first days.

We had a bank run in 1933 and week long bank holiday very similar to what is happening to Greece now. There were also similar levels of unemployment.

FDR got on the radio in his first fireside chat and told them people how the banking system worked. He then urged them to take the money from under their mattresses and deposit them back in the banks.

I think the Greeks need an FDR, and Tsipras ain't the guy.
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:07 AM   #296
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Way off. The pop. of the EU is a little over 500 million and the Greek Debt is said to be approx 370 Billion. A wag would be about 600 euro per EU citizen. I bet the website was just a scam, and got shutdown.
The crowdfunding campaign was about funding the part of the loan by the IMF that Greece just defaulted on, so not the entire debt.

As far as I could tell the site wasn't/isn't a scam, they will refund the proceeds if the target isn't reached. But one never knows ..
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:20 AM   #297
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Basically the greeks lose access to debt markets, but at the same time also get to write off the debt (the former is the cost of doing the latter).

Therefore, the immediate effect of removing all debt could actually be positive for Greece, despite a future inability to incur more sovereign debt (at least until the markets forgive the default).

There is another positive factor - once out of the Eurozone, Greece gets to print their own money. This means they have access to a whole range of monetary policies which are currently out of their reach.

Their currency is likely to be weak compared to other currencies which will in turn boost Greek exports and boost Greek tourism (due to relatively low prices in Greece vs. Euro-denominated destinations). These boosts may help fuel a growth spiral in the Greek economy.

The upshot is, it's not a given that Greece is worse off outside the Euro. The pensioners certainly won't starve.

I still feel that staying in the Euro is the better option for Greece, but there are clearly trade-offs to be made.
Defaulting and getting kicked out of the international debt markets and the eurozone is in the short term a disaster, and in the mid to long term too.

Just as an example: Any imports will demand being paid in Euros in advance (as is already happening), and who will trust the Greek government or new currency? In addition, Greece does not have a strong manufacturing base so they'll have to keep on importing. Tourism is all fine but won't keep any economy humming healthily, it is also very volatile by nature and cannot get you up to first world development levels. As soon as prices go up, volumes shift.

In the mid to long-term you lose easy access to a huge market, a voice in the EU to influence policies and subsidies, favorable infrastructure grants, loss of respect and trust in all sorts of treaties, etc ..

Writing off the debt in Euros as a net win is not a big gain: in most current proposals the payments on the debts and its interest are so stretched out that in practice about half of it is already forgiven.

Just my opinion obviously, but I just don't see how Greece will be better off at all leaving the Eurozone. What is true is that if current leadership keeps acting like it does, in the end the damage will be that great that it won't matter anymore.
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:37 AM   #298
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It sure looks like the current Greek leaders are trying to blackmail and humiliate the rest of Europe.

I read that some parallels with the vote to nix Mussolini's overtures in 1940 are being made. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/03/wo...eferendum.html

Patriotism is alive and well … and not just in the United States of America.

Perhaps this will also serve as a lesson for what an emergency fund should be.
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:48 AM   #299
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I really feel for the Greeks though.

They are being asked a question that is irrelevant and unanswerable with a simple yes or no.

So you end up with people having to vote yes or no based on what they think the question probably is, and leaves them guessing what the outcome will actually do. All the confusion divides citizens and emotions take over.

This is not democracy, but an abandoning of duty by their leaders.

We'll see on Sunday and Monday I guess.
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Old 07-04-2015, 08:59 AM   #300
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I really feel for the Greeks though.

They are being asked a question that is irrelevant and unanswerable with a simple yes or no.

So you end up with people having to vote yes or no based on what they think the question probably is, and leaves them guessing what the outcome will actually do. All the confusion divides citizens and emotions take over. ...
I think that's an excellent capsule summary of the situation.

I have not dug into all the details and history of the Greek crisis, but in simple terms, this just looks like a case of 'kicking the can down the road'. And that strategy always seems to end in these places where there no longer is a good way out.


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This is not democracy, but an abandoning of duty by their leaders.
Agreed. Even where we vote for our leaders, there can be such ingrained power that the elect-able choices are not what we really want (the redistricting power in the US is a strong example of this).

I see such parallels in Chicago/Illinois. I can see a similar end. It's scary.

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