News & Analysis
EU Yard Sale: Location Greece – Everything Goes!
Greek sovereignty to be massively limited: Juncker ... Greece faces severe restrictions on its sovereignty and must privatize state assets on a scale similar to the sell off of East German firms in the 1990s after communism fell, Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker (left) said. – Reuters
Dominant Social Theme: Greece must be crushed so that it can rise again. The European Union alone is that bright, shining light on the hill that will illuminate truth and lead the way to rescue.
Free-Market Analysis: We can see from the above article excerpt in Reuters that the Eurocrats are wasting no time in stating what they intend to do to Greece. Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and President of the Eurogroup, has gone out of his way to make an extraordinarily blunt statement. Greece is to be dealt with like East Germany. Its bloated public sector is to be liberated; its tax system weaponized; its public efficiencies modernized.
What Juncker doesn't say is that the approach taken towards Greece is one typical of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). What he DOES say is, nonetheless, remarkable. It is a dominant social theme of sorts. "Greece" has requested help and the "European Union" has responded.
We notice as usual that the state itself is being treated as a person. Of course, one wishes to speak in a unitary fashion about a political entity because it is easier to attribute sentiments to an inanimate metaphorical concept. Who knows what "Greece" wants? Juncker can animate "Greece" as he chooses. Here's some more from the Reuters article:
In an interview published after euro zone finance ministers in the Eurogroup approved a further 12 billion euro ($17.43 billion) installment of Greece's bailout, Juncker said he was optimistic that measures agreed with Athens would help to resolve the country's problems.
"The sovereignty of Greece will be massively limited," he told Germany's Focus magazine in the interview released on Sunday, adding that teams of experts from around the euro zone would be heading to Greece. "For the forthcoming wave of privatizations they will need, for example, a solution based on a model of Germany's 'Treuhand agency'," Juncker added, referring to the privatization agency that sold off 14,000 East German firms between 1990 and 1994.
The Greek parliament voted on Thursday to set up a privatization agency under austerity plans agreed with the European Union and IMF, which have provoked violent protests on the streets of Athens. Greeks are acutely sensitive to any infringement of their sovereignty or suggestions of foreign "commissars" getting involved in running the country. "One cannot be allowed to insult the Greeks. But one has to help them. They have said they are ready to accept expertise from the euro zone," Juncker said.
Every part of the above statement is seemingly part of a carefully prepared promotion. Most telling is the phrase, "They are ready to accept expertise from the euro zone." Up to 80 percent of the Greek populace does not wish for help from such a zone, according to surveys. The Parliament itself was deeply divided and voted for the current Greek bailout packaged by a slim margin.
Now it comes clear why Eurozone leaders were so emphatic that the Greek Parliamentary opposition must make common cause with socialists: The promotion rolled out following the vote is that the Greeks have "requested" the various austerity measures yet to come. It is harder to promote this theme when the request is in the form of only a handful votes, as it is.
Nonetheless, the promotion will continue. Such is a feature of dominant social themes. Like the living dead, they advance even when wounded. Bereft even of whole limbs they lurch forward nonetheless. Doubtless, we shall hear over the coming days, weeks and months that "Greece" has "requested" everything about to happen.
And what exactly is that? According to Juncker and others, "Athens" must disgorge some five billion euros in state assets this year alone. If not, it may miss EU/IMF targets and funding to float Greece's debt would be in jeopardy once again.
The Reuter's article makes much of Juncker's reference to Treuhand. "Once the world's biggest holding company, Treuhand was supposed to sell off state property at a profit but closed its books with a huge deficit and a legacy of bitterness among the legions of workers whose jobs it destroyed."
This doesn't bode well for the Greeks, but presumably, it provides a blueprint for Eurocrats who love precedent. As Reuters points out, some four million Germans were employed by Treuhand-owned companies in 1990, but by the time the privatization program had wound down there were only about 1.5 million jobs left.
The gloomy news didn't stop there. "Instead of reaping profits to be distributed to all east Germans, as it was designed to do, it ran up debts of 270 billion marks ($172 billion) in the fire sale of assets." This, then, is what the Greeks have to look forward to. Juncker says it plainly.
Juncker is the fellow who caused a stir recently by estimating that all in Greece could raise some US$100 billion in asset sales. "The current package of measures, which Athens has agreed to, will bring a solution to the Greek question," he said. However, the Greek tax collection system was "not fully functional."
He also said the Greek crisis was the fault of the Greeks. "Between 1999 and 2010 wages rose 106.6 percent even though the economy did not grow at the same pace. The wage policies were completely out of control and not based on (gains in) productivity."
We can see the meme being constructed. It a simple one. The Greeks impetuously spent money they didn't have; and now the "experts" at the EU must move in and take over. Like a Hollywood screenplay, simpler is better. This scenario can be summed up in a single line.
It doesn't matter of course that the scenario is entirely false. The Greeks were enticed by huge amounts of money to join the Eurozone. At every turn, billions were offered and accepted. The Greeks were laved with euros to ensure that their economy was rebalanced and deficits were remedied.
Once the Greeks were part of the EU, banks stepped in again to lend to the government and even to the private sector, based on the credibility of the new, enlarged currency. At no time was the average Greek consulted. The money was offered and deals were made at topmost levels. Elites were enormously enriched. The average Greek was unaware of the damage until the bill came due. And now average Greeks are to pay for it.
It is not only or even mostly about money. It's about control of a more perfect union – European federalism in other words. Greece is merely a vessel into which the ambitions of the EU are poured. In light of Juncker's comments, we can now see why so much pressure was brought to bear on Greek's opposition parties to join forces with the socialists in agreeing to the upcoming Greek "bail out." The idea was to treat the Greek vote as representative of the will of the people.
This is the way EU leaders have operated in the most recent era, using Parliamentary votes whenever possible to substitute for what the larger masses of voters actually want. In fact, where a vote does have to go to referendum, the Eurocrats ordinarily lose. When referendums were held five years ago to approve a new EU constitution, its passage was defeated in several countries, including France.
The constitution was then rewrapped and presented as a Treaty, which conveniently reduced the legal barriers and allowed more Parliamentary votes (as opposed to popular ones). The sticking point was Ireland, where the Treaty required a voters' referendum. The Irish voted nay and the upshot was that the measure was brought to vote again; at which point it was finally approved. Europe had its federalism – further federalism, anyway – and as a result the federalist trend continues.
Here is a speculation: The Greek mess has been blown out of proportion on purpose to generate a precedent for such centralization. Greek's situation is no better or worse than a number of other countries up to and including the US and Britain. Statistics can be massaged any one of a number of ways. Right now it's Greece's turn.
In fact, as we've pointed out in the past, we're continually suspicious of a "market" that undermines Greece but not other countries. We also note how serially these crises occur; one after the other so that the focus is conveniently narrowed. After Greece, and suddenly no doubt, Portugal or Spain may reignite.
We have also suggested that the Eurocrats over-reached. There was to be a crisis – the powers that be made it clear that such a crisis would occur to further European centralization. But we continue to wonder if the crisis is perhaps worse than expected and complicated by the truth-telling power of the Internet.
There is no doubt, thanks to the Internet, that Greeks as whole understand more about what has taken place than they would otherwise. For once, the bankers alone are not being blamed. The system itself, which includes government figures and central bankers, has come under attack. The Internet has limited the ability of the elites to shift the blame wholly to the private sector.
Despite people's understanding, the planned scenario continues. Juncker's statements show us exactly what the Eurocrats have in mind. In order to save the Greeks from themselves, the EU must take over. The question now becomes whether the Greeks will tolerate their metaphorical disemboweling or whether there will be a continued public outcry.
Again, history resolves itself into a confrontation between the Internet and elite memes. The meme coalesces the arguments of the elite; the Internet provides information and organizational support to the Greek people protesting the austerity being inflicted on them. One can see this playing out. It is not a fantasy.
Conclusion: Like a previous Protestant Reformation long ago, the current Internet Reformation is creating changes that were not previously anticipated. The Eurozone faces complexities that may make outcomes increasingly difficult to predict. Greece, a fulcrum of a civilization, may play a galvanizing role once again.
Posted by Chrysotheras on 07/07/11 03:13 AM
"....The question now becomes whether the Greeks will tolerate their metaphorical disemboweling or whether there will be a continued public outcry."
...you can rest assured the opposing momentum that gained force in the past couple of months is not going to subside so quickly or easily. On the contrary, if there are no elections and/or a referendum soon, things could become ugly...
Posted by Summer on 07/05/11 04:08 AM
Thanks. It certainly is an exploitative system. And yes, those religions did prohibit interest, in fact, wasn't it after Oliver Cromwell came into England (sponsored by the money lenders) that interest was finally foisted upon the English; ending the Christian protective policy?!
Posted by Reader on 07/05/11 01:58 AM
It is the UK and US Media (read: Wall Street and the City ) that made such a hullabaloo about Greece.
Is this not a case of people throwing stones inside glass houses?
Posted by bob on 07/04/11 11:22 PM
I have a good friend and he is very proud of his Greek ancestry. I mentioned to him about beautiful Greek resort places to visit. He replied than now Greek people were not any different than Mexican illegals one can see in the States.
IMHO, the present Europe is a sick place. Once a cradle of civilization, democracy, science achievements, Europe became a perverted young brother of the former Soviet block.
For a while, Europe was a peaceful place but now things go to "normal" endless confrontations and wars.
So called peaceful transitions US leaders would like to see and/or impose in Europe and Arab world are nothing more than transitions from one group of corrupt and dictatorial governments to other likewise corrupt and totalitarian regimes. It will not work this way. It is just a matter of time.
Posted by turbomango on 07/04/11 09:59 PM
In Hellas' current events, violence is discovered to be caused by provocateurs -- police posing as rock /molotov-throwing violent hooligans, orders from the top. Evident game plan being to disperse the peaceful demonstrations. The "hooligans" appeared on the day the Parliamentary vote of the 2nd memoradum. A coincidental turn to fascist-style police brutality came with the MAT (the paramilitary darth vaders)all out unrestrained blood-drawing beatings of unarmed, peaceful demonstrators and the graduation from tear gas to illegal asphixiant, which MAT threw INTO the subway where innocent peaceful demonstrators were taking cover after they dispersed from the provacateurs' violent outbreaks. Doctors and emergency personnel who had set up makeshift clinics in the Syntagma subway were begging the MAT not to throw gases in the underground, but MAT did so anyway. See video of police provocateurs posing as hooligans as they run for cover behind police lines in the parliamentary patio. One of them is a proven brother-in-law of a higher-up in the chain of command of Hellas Security. Click to view link
Click to view link A MAT hitting an unarmed man who was begging them not to hit him.
Comparatively, more than 38 terrorist training camps are allowed to exist and practice in the US while our govt expands their nazi tsa and says nothing when cops illegally beat unarmed citizens for exercing their rights, zeroes in on true american patriots,gun rights, etc. Borders with Mexico left open intentionally, I say, as the plan for the overthrow of American municipalities is planned by the growing number of Muslim communities in Mexico. Also, soon after taking office, Obummer signed a NATO agreement to allow foreign troops to train on US soil as well as step in for military use when the "need arises".
Posted by Col on 07/04/11 09:24 PM
Italy went through it's own "Privatization" program in 1992, 20 years later it is still a PIG.
Quote - DB "It is not only or even mostly about money. It's about control of a more perfect union - European federalism in other words." /Quote
More like European Feudalism.
Posted by abdulHadiscott on 07/04/11 07:45 PM
Taking interest on loans is prohibited in Islam as in other reavealed religions. So are we too infer that the prohibition on interest in revealed religions is much closer to hoarding of wealth? Is that an accurate and all incompassing definition of reba? ( which is usualy translated as interest ) The Torah, I'm told also prohibits reba as does Qurán, but the jews seem to have interpreted it to mean prohibited to charge interest to jews, not gentiles. I think you have hit the nail on the head.
Posted by johnblenkins on 07/04/11 07:25 PM
Why is Juncker and the Eurocrats pushing ao hard?
Well with up to 80% of the population kicking so hard
and the rest of Europe looking on.The EC have to win this battle.
They are charged to wring every euro they can from the first tranche
of sovereignless/debt slaves.If they fail in Greece.
Who then becomes the first to bow to the EC.What Country is first too
pay the EC piper.Too become merely a province of a totalitarian superstate.
Like Roman Emperor's the PE look on as the battle rages before them.
General Rumpy heads a vast army enforcers, of course he dose our taxes
pay for them. The trap of debt sprung by the bankers, orchestrated by
up too their snouts politicians.All protected by the colour of LAW,
Yes The Bar. The Debt is false as it was created from nothing out of
fresh air.Hey lets not have the truth get in the way of genocidal enslavement and theft of private wealth.
Against us, yes we are many.Yet so unprepared.lacking in any
meaningful organization. And just as the Emperors like us, fighting
each other. Stirred up by another arm of the PE that we pay for.
CIA FBI MI6 Mossad et al.
The internet is without doubt the beacon of enlightenment and
hope. Its rays penetrating the darkness of the matrix.
Austerity spurring many to examine their plight.
The stakes in this coming battle are staggering and the EC are
aware and prepared. Apparently French riot police were training at some base in Somerset England a couple of years ago.The theory being
in the case of serious civil unrest, when say the Greek police are sick and tiered unable or unwilling to keep battling with their own. A EU
force drawn from member counties riot squads could be drafted under
some EC directive.
I believe this to be true.
There is no death penalty in Europe?
Even War Criminals like Blair can not be hung for Treason
nor any politician for selling out there Countries to the
Accept for RIOTING: Slipped in some obscure paragraph in a hardly visited
subsection of the 1992 Mastrict Treaty.
Now why would you sneak a law like that through the books, foresight?
Posted by Summer on 07/04/11 03:41 PM
Interest (hoarding wealth) - the weapon giving so much control (to PE) - subservience of nations - debt slaves.
End interest, start economic freedom!
Posted by alexsemen on 07/04/11 02:39 PM
After few years of living in the EU Paradise of non-democracy and non free-market , non socialism... all this whatsoever, I've stated: soon will be such a situation that even the Stalin's years '30, could be considered a bucolic fairy-tale.
Comming from one inferno I've discovered at once that under the nice make-up the same personification of the Inferno.
Posted by Achim Palm on 07/04/11 10:47 AM
Dear Mr. America,
Please take the history book of Greece and go back a few decades. Greece has never been a island of peace and economic happiness like some other European countries, namely Switzerland for example.
The EU politicians are about as clueless as the Washington Belt Boys. Both would have serious troubles to manage an ice cream parlor from A-Z, why? ...... because their understanding of economics is pretty poor.
There is no need to have European Troops invading Greece, that is an American game plan and certainly not a European idea. Greece will simply fall off the EU tree like a rotten apple does. The question is:
What will the damage be for the EU?
Greetings from a neutral country where freedom still exists! Achim Palm
Reply from The Daily Bell
"Greetings from a neutral country where freedom still exists!"
Switzerland, we think ...
Posted by R M'Geddon on 07/04/11 10:33 AM
Civil disobedience in Greece? Almost a certainty. But the inept EU would be very unwise to get involved if there is any. Where would the EU troops come from? Other EU countries? Would that be popular in these countries? I doubt it? And what if they are accused of rough treatment? That would do the EU's already controversial reputation (though euro-enthusiasts still seem barely aware of it) real harm. And what if the EU troops take losses? Will their citizens demand that their governments promptly pull them out? And what about Greece's own army? Will it stand idly by? Or will it intervene - & on who's side? Perhaps to mount its own coup d'etat - again! Clearly this would be a very risky situation for the EU - perhaps one that ultimately brings the EU down (delicious thought!).
Reply from The Daily Bell
Why then are they pushing so hard? ...
Posted by george.von.uri on 07/04/11 09:48 AM
Perhaps after Greece has squeezed as much money as it can out of th EU, the government will withdraw from the Eurozone and attempt to deal with the problems without the Euro currency. While the EU reaction is likely initially to be severe, I suspect that the EU will eventually play along.
Posted by Odysseus on 07/04/11 08:53 AM
I am living in Greece and I get the sense that the recent developments lead to some kind of civil conflict. The people are getting desperate and the government turns one civil group against the other.
There are already military exercises taking place:
[ Click to view link ]
Reply from The Daily Bell
Yes, thanks. This just came up today. Is it impossible that the end game is an EU invasion of Greece? That would make a statement about the EU's centralization that no amount of Treaty-composing could provide.
Posted by Shilo on 07/04/11 07:39 AM
Junker (how often are names apt!)is on record as opposing centralised eurozone economic governance by the Eurogroup on the basis that the time is not ripe. Note it is pragmatics not ideaology driving his reasoning.
That was relatively recent ...2008. But why now the incendiary language about the fate of the Greeks Mr Junker? Is it to ignite an uprising? Are the Greeks supposed to revolt and shed blood in the streets? Highly likely. What's needed is a full on crisis requiring a saviour. C'mon Greeks, you brought down Troy, you can do it again. Now, it starts by pretending you are withdrawing......
Reply from The Daily Bell
It is Juncker, not Junker. Sorry for the photo typo. As to why he is using this language now, you have a VERY GOOD POINT. Is it possible the EU intends for civil disobedience to spread like a fire until the EU ITSELF MUST SEND IN TROOPS? What better way to declare the EU's sovereignty? Now that the Greeks have "passed" another bill requesting aid, civil disobedience can be reconfigured and placed into the category of civil insurrection. Then the Greek government could ask for EU civil and military policing.
Perhaps the Greeks better keep their protests non violent.