Saturday, July 04, 2015

Trying to Understand "Grexit"

The people of Greece will vote tomorrow on whether to accept a bailout deal to assist in paying the country's debts. A "Yes" vote would bring in even more austerity than they've already experienced, and some reform in exchange for funds desperately needed. A "No" vote could leave them even further up a dangerous creek without the proverbial paddle. It seems they'll be damned if they do, damned if they don't. There have, no doubt been faults on both sides: the Greek government and the Troika (or triumverate) of the EU (European Union) ECB (European Central Bank) and IMF (International Monetary Fund) - the the three bodies dealing with bailout loans within the Eurozone.

Until now I hadn't spent much time trying to understand how the situation in Greece had reached such an obviously dire level. I'd tried, but financial matters beyond a certain point go right over my noggin. I tried once again, this time by Google-searching "Greek crisis for dummies", and among responses found this at the Quora website:

How do you explain the Greek crisis to a layman. What is this crisis all about?

It's clever analogy written by one Evan Colvin, who is a student majoring in economics. He personalises Greece in order to tell his story in terms that ordinary people, like me, can relate to and understand. The comments following his piece help to clarify any remaining queries about metaphors and analogies used. If, like me, you're in the dark on this topic I'd highly recommend a look at Evan Colvin's explanation.

It's difficult to see what would be the better outcome from this referendum. I can appreciate a little of both sides' arguments, but my gut feeling would be that a "No" vote could, though bringing a risky and difficult few years, or even decades in its wake, be a way for Greece to adjust its course for the better. The country has a wonderful tourist industry, natural beauty and ancient history in its favour. I understand it has a shipping industry too, and its location in the world, kind of between east and west, has to have some strategic value....but that's heading towards matters I'm not equipped to be writing about!

Following the tradition of reason and empirical inquiry, the West bounds forward to conquer the world; the East, prodded by frightening subconscious forces, likewise darts forward to conquer the world. Greece is placed in the middle; it is the world's geographical and spiritual crossroads.
-- Nikos Kazantzakis, from Report To Greco


mike said...

I'm not sure anyone truly understands Grexit (or Grescue!), at this point. Greece has already missed deadlines, so it isn't clear whether there is anything to negotiate. If Greece should elect to negotiate, it isn't clear that creditors are willing to negotiate. It appears Greece cannot be forced from the Eurozone.

This from Raymond Merriman (,-2015/ ):

"Greece is analyzing possibly taking legal action against the European institutions to block its exit from the Eurozone, according to Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, whose country is expected to fail to make Tuesday's payment to the International Monetary Fund, or IMF… “The Greek government will make use of all our legal rights," Varoufakis told British newspaper The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday (June 30)… Greece, according to the newspaper, has threatened to file a court order to not only block the expulsion from the shared currency, but also to avoid stifling the country's banking system… 'We are taking advice and will certainly consider an injunction at the European Court of Justice. The EU treaties make no provision for euro exit and we refuse to accept it. Our membership is not negotiable,' the minister argued. EFE News Services, London, June 30, 2015.
You knew this was coming if you read this column over the past month. Greece isn’t going to pay and they won’t exit the Euro Union or the Eurozone. And why should they, since they are absolutely right: The EU treaties make no provision for forcing any country out of the Eurozone. No one can make them leave. They can only exit on their own decision. Here is truly a case of being too big to fail, even if the press is trying to create the illusion that they are a small country and their defiance can be easily contained. It can’t, unless the court rules otherwise – unless the court makes up its own interpretation of the treaty (the laws enacted by legislative processes). We see that happening elsewhere. This is the Cardinal Climax all over again, with the same cosmic players (Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto) all in hard aspects again through the end of this year."

mike (again) said...

Few are concerned with our own mess in our own backyard:

"With a single sentence — 'the debt is not payable' — Puerto Rico’s governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, acknowledged to The New York Times what Wall Street has long known: the island’s government and publicly owned utilities cannot hope to ever pay off a staggering $72 billion debt, which amounts to nearly 100% of the island’s total annual economic output. (By contrast, the average U.S. state borrows less than 10% of its economic output.)

Puerto Rico’s public electric company owes $9 billion in debt, and is expected to miss a payment due this week. Other public enterprises that operate sewers, housing and highways are also staggering under huge debts that the central government must eventually pay.

Default doesn’t appear to be an option: Under U.S. law, cities can declare bankruptcy but states can’t. As a semicolonial 'commonwealth,' Puerto is neither a city nor a state, making it legally unclear how, when and whether the island government can restructure or repudiate public debts.

... If you think the island’s problems don’t concern you, think again. Two-thirds of pension and retirement plans in the country — including yours, most likely — are holding Puerto Rico bonds, which were sold on the assumption that the triple-tax-free securities were government-backed. All these retirement funds now collectively stand to lose billions of dollars."

"But, the increasing fiscal and economic crisis ailing the island has brought more attention to Puerto Rico’s colonial situation. Already some stocks have experienced a decline especially those related to municipal bonds, or insurers of municipal bonds. The recent comments by Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla of the Popular Democratic Party (supporter of the commonwealth status) that Puerto Rico would not be able to pay its $73 billion debt caused strong reaction in the capital markets. That lack of liquidity because of lower tax revenues may even cause a government shutdown like in 2006. In addition a possible default could take place in September 2015 will hit Wall Street investors who have played casino with Puerto Rican bonds which are not subject to local or federal taxes."

mike (again) said...

Another interesting perspective is that China's Shanghai Stock Exchange lost 30% the past several weeks, thought to be caused by Greece's possible default.

"Shanghai Stock Exchange is the world's 3rd largest stock market by market capitalization at US$5.5 trillion as of May 2015."

A 30% decline translates to a loss of about 1.7 trillion $US!!!!! The Greek debt is small change compared to the tsunami it is causing to the Chinese market.

The Shanghai Composite Index performed worse:
"It was the first time since April that the index closed below the psychologically sensitive level of 4,000 points. About $2.65 trillion in market value has been wiped out in three weeks."

Twilight said...

mike + mike (again) ~ I'm not clued up enough to contradict or agree with any of that - I shall read it all again when fresher tomorrow though. There must be some point in Greece's having a referendum (re Merriman's words). I'm not sure he's going to be the expert in this particular field, even if he's a good astrologer...but then, what do I know. It's all a big muddled mess-up. That's probably how The Powers That Be want it to stay, too.

I'd read some bits and pieces about Puerto Rico - thanks for the additional info. Other Euro countries could find themselves in trouble too, before long(Spain, Ireland, Portugal I think have been mentioned).

Then there's the US's debts to China - nobody's mentioning that much.

The world's goin' mad!

mike (again) said...

"Official projection shows 'no' winning in Greek referendum

Greece faced an uncharted future as its interior ministry predicted Sunday that more than 60 percent of voters in a hastily called referendum had rejected creditors' demands for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans."
Jul 5th 2015 2:30PM EDT|main5|dl1|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D1684792359

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Yes, I've been following events on Twitter, it looks like a definite "No" vote.
What'll come next is anybody's guess!

I read a very good piece by Steve Randy waldman at a blog "Interfluidity" earlier. there's a comment there from earlier today by "Alexander A" that I hope he wouldn't mind my copying here:
Comment #76
Paradise Lost by "Alexander A at interfluidity, earlier today, following a very good piece on the Greek crisis by Steve Randy Waldman:

We stand today 05.07.2015 several hours before the completion of the national referendum in Greece about accepting further cuts from the European Union or not, and dealing with the consequences, however harsh they may be: the famous “GREXIT” being one of them.

But in the midst of the discussion about money, debt, economy, financial aid,… we lose easily perspective why the discussion became so heated. Europe was rebuild after WW2 with the premise that a Union on the state level must prevent any armed conflict, on any scale, and enable mutual growth in science, wealth and culture : a very respectable belief but a belief nonetheless. The European community grew to the Union, as belief became religion. And the European Union is more than just a economic and financial super-construct, it is in theory governed by all premises of this religion; ONE currency; free travel … There is one word for it: PARADISE.

The main emotional factor is that there may be not so small a minority, if not a majority of people who may want to leave paradise. How can anyone WANT to leave paradise? And as every religion has a monopoly on heaven and hell: you leave, and you are condemned to the fiery underground.

St. Merkel and St. Juncker guarding the gates of paradise want to have the expulsion from paradise as a weapon of last resort threatening other members who don’t and won’t behave. This weapon will lose all its awesome threatening power if a small country just leaves by itself (and gives St. Merkel the finger :) ).

Will the EU survive the GREXIT as an economical structure? YES. Will Greece to pay its debt sell itself more into slavery? NO. But will the EU survive the GREXIT as a BELIEF STRUCTURE? NOT SURE.

Greece doesn’t have money stashed somewhere in a secret hideout, so there is no money to be had. And now the question will stand like this: Will the EU risk with the exit of Greece changing its belief structure, or if you want its underlying religion.

Changing money is easy, changing an idea is easy too but changing a belief structure? For as long as humanity exists, changing a belief proved astonishingly disastrous for the belief.
July 5th, 2015 at 7:11 am PDT

mike (again) said...

A May, 2012, post by Paul Saunders (Solaris Astrology):

"The European Debt Crisis - Exploring the astrological link between Greece and the Euro"

Paul's very last sentence, "Astrologically, it looks very much like the breaking of the link between Greece and the Euro should be beneficial to both."

The current transits are indicative of a somber, changing Greece. Transiting Sun & Mars conjuncting Mercury, Venus, Saturn. The July 1st full Moon knocked this conjunction, too. Pluto retrograding back to the descendent. Transiting Saturn retrograde square Mars, again. Transiting N Node is conjunct Moon-Pluto. There will be a full Moon eclipse Sept 27th, with Sun conjunct natal Moon-Pluto, and square natal Venus. This eclipse in the 4th house, plus transiting Saturn's entry into Greece's 6th house, may bring imposed asceticism.

With the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in 2020 on Greece's 8th house cusp and Pluto's entry to the 8th (ruler of) in 2025, will bring major changes.

Anonymous said...

I found it remarkable no one used the phrase 'Scylla and Charybdis' in respect of the choice facing the Greeks ;P

This item provides some interesting facts -

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ thanks for this astro link. Whatever happens it's not going to be an easy ride for the people of Greece, for several years. But, as some of the Greek commenters have said, with regard to voting "No", they are thinking not so much of themselves but of their children and their grandchildren.

Twilight said...

Sabina ~ I haven't seen that used, you're right - I've seen variations of it, but not that exacly, and it IS surprising.

Thanks for the link. Depressing though yet, in this case, not surprising that the Military Industrial Complex is, and has been, a player in the shadows.