EUROBLOWN: American influence on the Greek Government waning – sources

Intrigue, austerity denial, side-deals, and economic collapse: but the bottom line is ‘debt monetisation’

Coalition dilemma…which way is up?

Senior sources close to Greek Opposition MPs are claiming this morning that those calling the shots in the ruling Coalition of Antonis Samaras do not view a return to the drachma with American support as “a viable alternative to staying within the EU”. The Troika’s abrupt change of attitude to Greece is also suggesting to some observers that “some kind of secret deal” has been done between the ECB and Athens to both reassure the Troikanauts, and keep the Greeks onside. But it’s clear the Germans aren’t on board with this.

Something very odd indeed is going on between Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt, Washington and Athens. On all sides, things said in public are either slightly mad, or completely different to what is thought in private – and then executed while nobody is looking. Facial expressions and media soundbites have turned 180 degrees to give the impression of Jolly Good Pals. But there is a great deal of intrigue going on behind all this.

Most people outside Greece find it less and less intriguing. “It’s holiday time, the Greeks owe a lot of money, the Troika seems to be happy again, it’s tough for the people – whatever. I’m all Greeked out.” It would be a mistake for any of us to think like this,  for two reasons.

First, at the sovereign level, the overlapping (and often contradictory) aims of the ECB, the Brussels Commission, the Americans, the Germans, and the Greek elite may be very close now to snatching meltdown from the jaws of chaos. Taken together, these swirling objectives could easily turn Europe and the Middle East into an unstable nightmare.

Second, at the globalist investment bank level, sooner or later – whether one lives in Finchley, Philadelphia or Famagusta – it will be our turn to be pauperised further. Bluntly, only an insane person would imagine that Greece can survive the latest round of cuts: so either the Troikanauts are all crazy, or there’s another game in play. The game is called monetising debt. One way or another, the financial Establishment  is hell-bent on squeezing real money out of the populace in order to meet the currently ‘virtual’ cost of a decade of unscored, frontal-lobe lending policies, and derivative salamis chopped up on the back of it. In my view, it can’t be done because the numbers are far too high. But mark my words, unless somebody courageous stops them, they’re going to have a crack at it.

A quick survey of the Troika’s feigned insanity – and the terror now felt by the Samaras Coalition – will suffice to make the point.

Following Draghi’s (in my view much underreported) new deal for the Bank of Greece concerning collateral relaxation, the negotiating mood changed immediately: the Troika left Athens all smiles and happy handshakes last week. But the first time the BoG tried to use the facility, they were turned down. And it now emerges that, behind closed doors, Christine Lagarde and her IMF officials maintain Greece’s debt must be reduced to “sustainable” levels before the fund releases billions more euros…..to keep Athens from running out of cash. That’s what I thought the Draghi deal was about, silly me. But now Chrissie the Countdown genius says – for once correctly – that the most effective way to do this is at least some degree of debt forgiveness.

Chrissie is not mad, just stupid and cunning. She knows perfectly well that Greece’s deep recession has blown the country’s bailout programme several light years off course. The statistics are horrendous, and are I think reported in the West for the first time here. 68,000 small businesses closed in the first 6 Months of 2012. 190,000 businesses stated they were at risk of closing down in the
next 12 months. One in Four companies are unable to meet their business loan repayments. One in Two faces difficulties in paying employees’ salaries. 30% have fallen behind on the rent. Three in Ten have debts to utility companies. The average fall in SME turnover was 34.5%  during the first half of 2012. This isn’t a slump, it’s scorched-earth economics worthy of the less sensitive form of Gauleiter.

I simply do not accept that even the barmiest neocon thinks this “retribution” (as the holy suits love to call it) is getting the european economy anywhere, or is indeed likely to achieve anything more than the destruction of the Greek economy….and violence against the new Athens government. That the Samaras Coalition realises this only too well is obvious: for these new cuts are the scimitar which dare not leave its scabbard.

“There will be spending cuts but no new austerity,” said a struggling Government minister on TV last week. But the reality (admitted by the Greek government) is that they have signed up to €11.5bn in new cuts…and although the estimates vary, there are around €4.5bn in savings that, I understand, nobody in the Cabinet seriously thinks can be carried out. Plans are being drawn up for pension cuts on a grand scale, but the hospitals (which haven’t paid any bills for some five months) are already flooded with old people either half-starved or unable to afford to run air-conditioning during the August heat. This is, if you like, literally scorched earth.

In fact, not far below the surface is the widespread belief that, while Samaras seems robotic enough to do the Troika’s bidding, his Coalition partners aren’t. Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, says in public the savings can be found, but in private he flatly rules out the possibility of firing public sector employees as “impractical”. PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos has told colleagues he thinks they will “all be strung up” if the full cuts are enacted. (If they are carried out without firing bureaucrats, then I suspect he’ll be proved right).

So the Government plan for the moment is Don’t Mention the Austerity Measures. It wasn’t helped by Greek President Stournaras telling the media that “there will be no layoffs in the public sector”, although more optimistic Hellenics have interpreted this to mean that things are not so bad after all.

But things could not be worse. Without massive debt forgiveness, Greece will default – and very soon. What’s more, if Mario in Frankfurt keeps on playing silly buggers with the Bank of Greece, it will be very soon indeed.

This is what the Americans would not so much like to happen, as like to be around to control: defensively, to protect Wall Street: and aggressively, to maintain its position in the South-east Europe-to-North African axis of energy. But their main contact at senior Governmental level, Finance Tsar Yannis Stournaras, hasn’t been able to get enough credibility behind the American ‘offer’.

“There is no offer,” asserts one source close to Opposition Party Syriza, “just a lot of bullsh*t which adds up to ‘you dive off the cliff and we’ll be there with a net at the bottom’. Samaras thinks the EU needs us more than the Americans. Maybe he’s right.”

But not every EU member State ‘needs’ any more Greek dramas. And so it is that we find ourselves back in Berlin, where the view expressed in the media (and by almost every source one talks to) is that forgiving Greek debt would be completely unacceptable to the German people. You can sort of see their point: having already lent €127 billion, not just Merkel but pretty much the whole country has drawn a line in the sand. Understandable, but mad. Not just mad, in fact, but a failure to draw the blindingly obvious conclusion: had they forgiven much of it three years ago, the cost to EU governments would’ve been a fraction of what it is now shaping up to be.

But that’s the point: governments and taxpayers have coughed up: so far, the bondholders and general lending community have got away with nothing worse that a profit-negating haircut in Greece. Bizarrely, they see even this as a disaster, a precedent…and above all, the clinching piece of evidence that dictates, “We have to get our money out somehow”. And so that’s what is happening in Greece.

As I wrote earlier, the strategy is doomed. Next up are Spain and Italy. Draghi’s response to that unaffordable cost is, decoded, “print money”. This is what the bankers have been wanting to hear for eighteen months, for not only will it start wiping out the real value of their obligations through inflation, it once more reaffirms the central daft assumption within their survival strategy: they can’t pay, so the customers must….via the Mints, whose banknote machines will now start to work overtime.

The Americans are up for this, but the Germans will make their move soon to get away from so much as a whiff of hyperinflation. The Chinese too will not accept it: they’re already letting the Yuan fall again. And as for the economies….ah yes, the economies. They’re at a standstill. Ben Bernanke will start up QE3 soon enough to keep the markets solid. But that will also feed the inevitable inflation.

Interesting times. But not if you’re an ordinary Greek citizen. And – the fundamental point of this piece – not if you are one of the 97% sinking under the weight of the super-rich. So don’t let Greece slide off your radar: keep looking underneath.

Just to remind the Nazi trolls who turn up to complain when I point out the difference between right and wrong, I am not “a Leftie”. I am an economic radical who thinks the current model of capitalism is straight out of the Dutch tulip-buying manual circa 1396.
 

 

75 thoughts on “EUROBLOWN: American influence on the Greek Government waning – sources

  1. ‘One way or another, the financial Establishment is hell-bent on squeezing real money out of the populace in order to meet the currently ‘virtual’ cost of a decade of unscored, frontal-lobe lending policies…’

    This is indeed the nub of the problem. Unless lenders are to lose absolutely everything and banks are to collapse, then the taxpayers and financial asset holders of the western world will have to pay, and pay big time. They can do that by all sorts of means, but one greatly favoured method is to spur on inflation, while denying that you are doing it. This is a slow but inexorable process. You can also debase the currency, known for some reason as QE. Mervyn especially likes that one, as it is all but invisible to Joe Public.

    But you are right, John, they are out to get our income and assets and frankly I think they will, other options being scarce and painful for bankers, central or otherwise. Being in or out of the EU/EZ will make very little difference in the long run, but short term, our detached stance has the benefit to politicians that they can blur the edges of the problem and spread it over time. And we know that politicians care nothing for next month, let alone 10 years’ time.

  2. Capitalism doesn’t need a “model”…its just a system where free and volentary interactions aren’t hindered by the state; any talk of a “model” means you’re introducing state control – therefore, suggesting a system which is not capitalism. The current “model” of capitalism isn’t capitalism but socialism where the government controls the money supply and implements their welfare/warfare state and social engeneering program. So all you’re really suggesting by your “economic radicalism” is that we tweak the current socialst model, making it more fair…

    I refer you to history to see how one that works out…

    • Why Mr Mad Maxi – I do declare Sir! – you are the very real red-in-tooth-and-claw Republican – (can never remember whether that’s the ass or the elephant!).
      The state should never interfere with business? Mmmmm. Wouldn’t be much work for lawyers then?

      • exactly, that would be a sure bonus

        I suppose I am a republican in certain definitions – certainly if it means getting rid of the royal family

    • The slight problem is that without some controls you end up with monopolistic, not free market capitalism. And monopolistic capitalism is as corrosive as monopolistic state control.

      • I see where you’re coming from but beg to differ. Monopoly doesn’t arise from a failure of the market – but from government intervention. The olympics are a perfect example. Small businesses are involentarily forced to pay for something – via confescationary levels of taxation. The government then decides where to dole out the contracts; they give them to special interests of course, those giving the most backhanders.

        I believe if you look carefully at economic history, you’ll find a culture of monopoly always arose as a result of this kind of intervention

    • Current model is in fact Corporatism, a close relative of Fascism. The crucial difference between Capitalism and Socialism is that the former is a system of economics, the latter, a system for everything. Capitalism should elevate the populace; Socialism and Corporatism loot it and destroy it.

      • Truth is… the company’s that actually do monopolize the world are faaaaaar above any state control as they operate like terrorist cells… moving from favorable country to favorable country in order to undermine and exploit local governments, people, and resources… the idea that government in any way truly “hinders” these forces is very 20th century.

  3. Wonderfully informed piece about a situation murkier by the day. Keep up trying to penetrate typically Greek Chaos and the Western responses. Only small flaw, a typo ?, the Dutch Tulip Mania was in the 1620′s-30′s.

  4. Pingback: John Ward – Euroblown : American Influence On The Greek Government Waning – Sources – 9 August 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  5. Maybe – maybe – Germany and Europe can afford to bail out Greece and take substantial losses. However, history is then set to repeat in a couple of years or even less as Greece private economy has no credible way to recover substantially, and will put under pressure again governement income and consequently, spending, feeding back the depression. And what about Spain, next in line… The numbers this time will be 5 or 10 times those of Greece. Debt monetization can’t be a long term sustainable solution and is likely to be stopped by German taxpayers quickly or by slaved democracies (either Greece or Spain). Of course, this mascarade could be postponed a few more weeks until at least November 2nd, but somehow, I doubt it. My fear is not Greece (which can be maintained alive as long as they want), but Spain. Time will tell,

  6. The Americans have sent a decommisioned aircraft carrier to the Gulf of Hormuz,so far they have not painted a target on it,just parked it on the front lawn of Iran’s beach-why?
    American elite bankers are allowed to launder billions of dollars of money for drug dealers,receive a fine which is a lot less than the profit but no one commited a crime,and its part of doing business.The American elites toxicity now seems to know even less bounds and even turning on their own population.During the 1970s they at least had the decency to only screw over the “moronic Arabs”now its everyone outside their class.As Einstein said WWW3 will be fought with nuclear devices whilst WWW4 will be fought with sticks and stones.Why does this group of elites assume they are immune from the disaster of nuclear war precipitated by their thieving money grabbing mechanism ?
    When do ordinary Americans seize this group and hold them to account,as we in Europe and Britain seem incapable of doing so?
    Why is the America I love being so unjustly steam rolled into a financial

      • Sending a decommissioned carrier to the gulf only makes sense if it is being towed by tugs and about to be sunk to form an artificial reef. Last time I looked both the USS Enterprise & the USS Dwight D Eisenhower were very much commissioned.

      • The USS Abraham Lincoln is not decommissioned – infact she is due for a reactor overhaul very shortly – not something you do for a ship you are about to scrap!

        But this was cleary some willy-waving by the Americans, if not to provoke Iran into a response then just to keep them simmering.

        USGov want to get stuck in to Iran big time but they cant go in on the ‘liberation from tyranny’ ticket so need Iran to do something dumb to give them an excuse to react.

    • Maria
      I still love ordinary thinking Americans: there are few nicer people on the planet.
      They despise Obama, hated Bush, were embarrassed by Clinton, and fought Nixon tooth and nail when they were kids.
      But their pensions are down the pan, their homes are being foreclosed, and their small businesses starved of money. Soon they will be dead.
      And then the mad elite thinks it will inherit the Earth.
      But they won’t: the numbers don’t work, and they take apathy for granted as a persistent, never-ending state. They’re wrong.
      People think I’m a pessimist, but they’re wrong too: I’m a realist about the present, and an optimist about the (eventual) future.

      • The average American seems content to eat the crumbs that fall from the masters table, at least for now.

  7. I do wonder what would have been the consequence of a Greek default in 2009-2010. I do not happen to agree with Herr Kastner that it was incompetent EU leaders who would not countenance this. This is, and always has been about the banks. In one way or another they are at the bottom.

    governments and taxpayers have coughed up: so far, the bondholders and general lending community have got away with nothing worse that a profit-negating haircut

    Which is the knub of the problem: Greece is being strangled to save banks that really should have fessed up to their silliness. They were taken in by what mature economists would not. But then, when have details like that ever gotten in the way of making money?

    What’s more, if Mario in Frankfurt keeps on playing silly buggers with the Bank of Greece, it will be very soon indeed.

    I wonder who is tying his hands? Surely the Americans would support money printing? Or do they perchance have another agenda?

    As an aside, it is interesting that many people here see Germany as the aggressor. Yet it is the Americans who have, in the last 60 or so years, taken on that mantle.

    • Gemz
      Thanks for that. Most bankers are knobs, most Socialists are knockers, and most women wear knickers. But problems have nubs, not knubs.
      It is in the nature of English to be infuriatingly irregular.

      • Thankyou for your illuminating comment. That is why I come to the Slog – although I must admit that being picked up for spelling mistakes is usually for the commenters. I mention no names, out of politeness.

        We can all make small errors. Shakespeare is remembered for his plays, not the fact that he couldn’t quite decide if he was Shakespeare, Shackespere, Shaxpere or Shaeaxsperre.

  8. The view of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is that to some degree Merkel and some leading Germans have quietly signed on to the monetisation programme … this makes sense, as the dirty secret in Germany is that the German banks, insurers and pension funds are extremely vulnerable, being stuffed with Mediterranean country bad debt or liable to be blown out by default contagion. A few of the articles on ZeroHedge quoting various analysts have been saying this for some months … that Germany, in the end, must agree to print, or else tell the German public that half their pensions etc. are vapourised. Easier to inflate than to say the money is gone.

    In the meantime Germany needs to pretend they are hard-money people, for internal political reasons – tho German ‘hard money’ really died some years ago when Deutsche Bank and the others levered up at 50-to-1 giving out dodgy loans and derivatives.

    Keeping the euro-game on negative edge also lowers the euro to help German exports in the short term. Though indeed they are playing with matches by a gunpowder barrel.

    EU staff tell me the assumption is that greater EU integration will eventually proceed, perhaps after a post-summer ‘crisis’ … after which the ECB will print like mad … but I am not sure I see the EU integration schemes holding. Not longer than 2013 when maybe Berlusconi leads Italy out of the euro and crashes the project. Have a feeling we reached ‘peak EU’ perhaps in 2010 or so …

    Thanks for the Slog keeping us informed.

  9. How can somebody be so wrong for so long????

    The problem Greece has is with its DEFICIT not its DEBT.

    Greece has had afailed economy going on at least 20 years. They have papered over this using cheap debt. Now the debt has run out and there is no economy left to build a recovery from.

    Bear in mind that GDP is based on private sector output + GOVERNMENT SPENDING. So if the government can’t spend anymore because the money has run out, then sure as hell you will get a GDP contraction. Doesn’t actually mean the private sector is screwed as well (although it probably also relies to a great extent on government spending so it probably is)

    The equation for GDP you will find here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_domestic_product

    You could write off the debt as you have suggested JW but since that won’t resolve the deficit issue the Greek economy would still be failing and nobody who has found themselves with a big default on their hands is going to give them more cash to continue to paper over the cracks. Even if they did it would only be kicking the can down the road. Printing money won’t resolve the problem in the Greek case (although it would be better than writing off 100% of the debt since the pain of default is more shared and more obscure than in an outright default) because the deficit will still be there.

    Basically Greece is a failed state and really the only hope for it isn’t to resolve its economic problems, which are now insurmountable, but to consider it as a suitable case for outright charity. I doubt that will happen though, since the world hasn’t shown much interest in bailing out developed countries with economic problems in the past.

    • Just Sayin’
      I hate to say this dear boy, but your certainties are a reflection of some very profund form of self-doubt. I wonder if perhaps your father contradicted your every statement, and your mother insisted – despite all evidence to the contrary – that you were a genius?
      Just askin’

    • Exactly.
      The problem is insolvency ,not liquidity.
      None of the rumored ‘solution’s’ solve anything.
      Greece is far from being alone in this problem,just the
      first exposed as an Emperor with no clothes.

    • Quite right, Just Sayin’! Greek debt default, or debt forgiveness or whatever, is inevitable, since the debt simply can’t be paid. But that’s not enough. Greece also must get rid of its primary deficit (i.e. they have to make ends meet when debt interest payments are excluded).

      Without that, they will still be unable to fund themselves even if all the debt disappears. And since no one will lend them money to pay for their running deficit after a default, they will still be a failed state. With this in mind, there just isn’t any other way forward than continued austerity – or, as you say, charity. But charity needs a deadline, it can’t go on forever. The best the Greeks can hope for is some charitable help in easing the path to reaching that all-important primary balance.

      I haven’t checked the veracity of the source (Greek economic statistics don’t have the best reputation these days), but at least according to this link, they’re progressing quite well towards that elusive goal:
      http://lolgreece.blogspot.se/2012/05/primary-deficit-continues-to-fall.html

    • Disagree it is both and as they interchange they are a measure of the same thing.

      Two points, insolvent and liquidity,

      Insolvent, cannot pay the debt full stop, not a cats chance. Liquidity, the ability to earn money elsewhere in the world from today going forwards so the insolvency problem in relative terms does not keep growing!

      If the liquidity was there, you could generate an income for 2 purposes pay the current borrowing at least and put a little aside to pay excess debt down then there is not issue it sorts itself out given time.

      That is the stumbling block and a few other nations seem to be waking up to this fact you can’t generate the level of income “that is the structural deficit” to pay what you want to borrow today and put aside some to start removing the excess debt.

      The thing with the curent levels of debt you have to put 100% to one side to pay this let alone consider anything for day to day borrowing. The worst thing was to ignore the structural deficit “pretend it did not exist” for so long as the debt grows until such a time as the ruling elite are prepared to admit the liquidity point and by then it is probably far to late.

      On that last point 2008 was like an admittance of the liquidity problem with the bailout of economies and since then personally I think it is too late now to change the eventual outcome. The best you can do it try to position yourself in such a way as to minimize the damage to oneself.

      We are all invited to the ending party with no exceptions.

  10. “There will be spending cuts but no new austerity,” let me give you an insight to what they mean by that ( straight out of the “cuts” they announced to the greek media last weekend )
    - we are CONSIDERING cuts to the state benefits given to income earners of more than 30,000 euro …
    - unemployment benefits will be RESTRICTED to the ones that are entitled to it and for the ones that are not entitled to it but have been collecting we will introduce a new benefit called ” help ” …
    We have a proverb in greece that says : either the coastline is crooked or we are sailing in a crooked way.

  11. Mr Maxi Psycho, the Govt have not lost control of the money supply, they never had it.
    The private banking cabal have issued 97% of credit money in the system. most of the remaining 3% issued by the Bank of England as cash currency to the banks for a small seignorage charge. Not including the recent QE, A very rare and desperate occurence
    This private bank credit money is issued in the form of mortgages,car loans and credit cards.
    These loans are further bundled and sold on to pension funds and mutuals for cash, known as securitisation, and more money enters the system. These securities can be pawned many times over,known as hypothecation,further increasing the credit money in the system. It is a house of cards and has tumbled down.
    This expansion of the credit in the economy has created inflation of assets. The loan servicing of these assets,consumes the greater part of peoples income. There is less free cash to purchase manufactured goods ,hence we have unemployment and shrinkage in the economy as companies go bust.This is known as debt deflation
    Austerity is imposed on the citizen to enable more money to be available to pay the bank debt.
    This is a downward spiral into the vortex,thanks to neo -liberal false economics.
    The only known cure as practised by the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians near 3000 years ago is debt forgiveness (ie jubilee)
    The Law of Hamurabi, ‘Debts that cannot be paid ,will not be paid’.

    • Agreed. About £ 2.8T of debt has been created by banks in the process of creating the £2.3T of credit money (sight deposits, numbers in your bank account). Simple Maths indicates that we in the UK can NEVER pay off our debt, there is simply not enough money in circulation. What does the slog think?

  12. nice piece JW. Disturbing, but incisive insight.

    ” … monetising debt. One way or another, the financial Establishment is hell-bent on squeezing real money out of the populace in order to meet the currently ‘virtual’ cost of a decade of unscored, frontal-lobe lending policies, and derivative salamis chopped up on the back of it…”

    Man alive we could all tell a tale of how we’ve suffered the last FIVE years now, as our standing of living drops like a stone month by month. All of us. From the UK to Europe to USA. Am I wrong ?

    ” … Interesting times. But not … if you are one of the 97% sinking under the weight of the super-rich. ”

    O Lordy, thats me. What the hell am I going to do. I’ve lost me electronics job at age 56 just the other week, there’s no work about, especially for old duffers like me, the mortgage has another 10 years to run and my ‘savings’ will cover me for 10 months idleness before I become one more ‘state scrounger’. What a life

  13. Your comment “the financial Establishment is hell-bent on squeezing real money out of the populace in order to meet the currently ‘virtual’ cost”

    Has it in a nutshell.

    When a government supplies unlimited cash to it’s favoured banks at 0% interest any previous financial agreement undertaken is void. The citizens are being raped to ensure he real assets will be stolen by these groups.

    The US has already inferred, Bernake hinting but not delivering many times now, the virtual QE3 and the markets have priced it in to their “investment” plans.

    No wonder the citizens are revolting. The banks can be “too big to fall” but a country and it’s citizens can be starved to death!

  14. “On all sides, things said in public are either slightly mad, or completely different to what is thought in private – and then executed while nobody is looking.”
    Have you seen Michael Frayn’s play ” Noises off ” ?
    Beneath the pretend order lurks a terrifying mess . If only we could see the play backstage .At least we would laugh with the farse .

  15. The funniest part about all this is that the EU is looking to Germany for the fiscal firepower to bail the whole project out (Greece is a gnat on the radar really)… unfortunately everyone is still chugging along on the premise that the Germans can actually AFFORD to do so… ZeroHedge puts real debt to GDP at close to 300%. I don’t understand why everyone is going on and on… game over folks… without serious financial power in Germany… no amount of “tricks” will keep this stupid ball rolling… why is everyone pretending that papa bear Germany either has or can have the political will or finances to do what is needed. Seems like everyone is avoiding the big fat elephant in the room and focusing on the gnats. America relies on a stalled Chinese economy to keep it’s stalled zombie economics going, Europe looks to Germany, and so on, and so on… what a joke.

  16. The slow motion collapse of the EZ is somewhat reminiscent of another failed conglomerate,whose European operations were run from Brussels,namely ITT.Under megalomaniac, Harald Geneen,ITT expanded in size from 1959 to !977 at breathtaking pace.Did this benefit the shareholders?Silly question.Then, in 1995, along comes a new CEO,Rand Araskog, who splits the company into 3 separate entities.Whoever thought up the Euro would benefit from reading Anthony Sampson’s book on ITT,’The sovereign State’.

  17. The Tulip Mania was 1636 to 1637.
    Prices started at about 1 on Nov 12 1636, peaked at 200 on Feb 3 1637 and crashed back down to 1 by May 1 1637.
    The economy was ruined for 10 years.

    • About time.
      Lets hope they do not use the same civil servants in charge of
      Olympic ticket sales to handle the Brexit.

  18. Throughout the 60′s, 70′s and early 80′s one of the key leading economic statistics was Britain’s Balance of Trade figures. Somehow their importance over the past couple of decades appears to have melted into the background. Today the Beeb is reporting: “The UK’s trade gap widened sharply in June, to its worst level since comparable records began in 1997.”
    I can’t help but thinking if we want to avoid ending up in the same parlous state as our friends in Greece & Spain, the Treasury and our captains of industry have got to focus their attention on the Balance of Payments. (Yes I know the Balance of Payments always balances – it has to by definition – but mega borrowing to achieve the balance cannot continue ad-infinitum).

  19. “the current model of capitalism is straight out of the Dutch tulip-buying manual circa 1396.”

    Exactly Mr Ward.

    Why is the EU, USA, UK and the rest of the world at the table though? Ever thought all the value they pretend something is worth is tied to this hence all same countries have been busily propping each other up to keep it all going and to prevent collapse whilst maintaining their current valuations otherwise they fall into the same position. In a closed loop economic trading system through backhanders, dodgy deals and manipulated figures you are either in or be devoured.

    It also explains in part why the value of things keeps rising while demand falls and the detachment of markets from government figures “their valuations”.

    The King of Holland stepped in on the tulip deal and offered guarantees that were realised to be worthless and the fact you are only holding a frigging tulip that represents the sum of your life savings for ordinary folk.

  20. We seem to be persuing two different arguments/solutions here; on the one hand your are all discussing the fact that Greece can never generate enough GDP and is therefore a “failed state”, elsewhere on this Blog we/you discuss the fact that Greece is sitting on huge reserves of oil/gas/rare earths etc. with the Americans et al waiting in the wings. Isn’t this the opportunity Greece needs for salvation?.

    • It is… but, it is still underground and we can’t get to it ourselves… our partners in Europe have offered about 50 Billion euro’s for example to privatize/buy our national oils and gas utility… at this point Greece’s minimum estimated reserves are about 30 Billion barrels or 300 Billion euros worth, additionally, mainland natural gas reserves are valued at 9 trillion euros… so really it’s just another case of Investors manipulating the ratings agency’s and bond rates to devalue a country into being desperate enough to sell that oil and gas for “fire sale” prices. There is a long history of financial and political machinations in many other country’s of the world to gain cheap energy sources… do people somehow think that oil investors care whether this is in Greece or Iraq, Nigeria etc etc

      • Thank you for pointing this out! Needs to be said!!
        One of the memorandum’s 10? points from the beginning is that we sell/handover ALL our energy assets. By this they did not mean sun & wind….
        We are told that our greek government has continuously dragged its feet in selling off/handing over state assets. We can only pray that this is true!

      • I take your point, what a world!, but surely there is a point between “fire sale”, and a negotiated long term investment with advantages to both (all) parties. Isn’t the demand for energy there?.
        Mind you, I would hate to see that lovely part of the world turned into one big oil well.
        I suppose, (reading the Slog over many months now), the only card the Greeks have is the American bases.

  21. I find this essay convincing:-http://www.economonitor.com/danalperts2cents/2012/07/24/another-summer-of-discontent-the-four-factors-that-explain-why-what-were-doing-isnt-working/

  22. Pingback: Η βαθιά ύφεση στην Ελλάδα έχει εκτινάξει το πρόγραμμα διάσωσης της χώρας πολλά έτη φωτός μακριά από την πορεία του. | TheNewsGr

  23. Pingback: EUROBLOWN: American influence on the Greek Government waning – sources / Ευρωκατάρρευση :Σύμφωνα με πηγές στην αθήνα “Η αμερικανική επιρροή στην ελληνική κυβέρνηση φθί

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  25. I think @MdS means the Enterprise. It was due for decommission last year.
    ZH Stratfor postings have long been saying that it would be cheaper to have the ship sunk in the Gulf than to decommission it in the USA.

  26. @BT and Bru Bank-Guy:
    Yes, agree with both of you. I have been canting on for a while now that I believed that the printing has been going on for some time now, albeit covertly.

  27. I suspect Merkel’s tune will change after re-election… if the Eu can wait that long… as far as Greece printing up bank notes… that story is over 6 months old… never confirmed, and it would have been by now.

  28. “Neither will solve the fundamental problems of the EZ and Greece’s corrupt economy but at least it’ll make the problem look better.”

    You are knowingly proposing solutions that don’t work? Sounds like a typical conservative “righty” idea (see how ridiculous that left/right crap sounds?). I see your proposal on a broader scale… if there is no coordinated world wide form of debt forgiveness for all country’s infected… then your options will unfortunately have to be applied to EVERY country right? Greece is a microcosm of the world… what happens here, will end up happening everywhere else as well… think world default, I am not necessarily against that. If you can not still see past your 20th century “left/right” fantasy to understand there is no “good” side… only two ideologies working in tandem to appease, and sublimate the masses while they are getting prison raped… then good luck with that.

  29. I was confused by the way you wrote it… agreed with number one… I just wish we had done so in 2009. I would disagree with why… my opinion it has not been any “ism” at work but the greed of the banksters that created the problem, because of a lack of regulation (government or internal) regarding bad lending (they knew was backed by tax payers), that actually control the ‘crats who employ different ‘isms” (leftism, rightism, socialism, capitalism) to control and placate the masses into believing in the validity of “isms”, voting, or governance in the first place… “Choice is an illusion created between those with power and those without.” IMHO.

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