Upcoming Events

International | Anti-Capitalism

no events match your query!

New Events

International

no events posted in last week

Blog Feeds

Anti-Empire

Anti-Empire

offsite link Brussels Parasites Vow to Kill China Inv... Thu May 06, 2021 15:45 | Finbarr Bermingham

offsite link The US Coast Guard Is Taking a Frontline... Thu May 06, 2021 14:23 | Christopher Woody

offsite link $264 Billion for a ‘Nuclear Sponge’ ... Thu May 06, 2021 13:17 | William J. Perry

offsite link After Blowing $84 Billion on Share Buyba... Thu May 06, 2021 12:04 | Wolf Richter

offsite link Iran Will Leave Vienna at the End of the... Thu May 06, 2021 10:07 | Elijah J. Magnier

Anti-Empire >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Russian Navy in the Eastern Mediterranean ? snapshot of activity Thu May 06, 2021 13:06 | amarynth
A snapshot of the Russian Navy escorting Iranian shipping from the Suez Canal to Syria. By Nat South for the Saker Blog Back in April there was uncorroborated information circulated

offsite link The forthcoming inevitable battle for Middle-East Peace Wed May 05, 2021 20:04 | amarynth
by Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog The alleged stray ground-to-air Syrian missile that landed near the nuclear reactor in Dimona Israel carried many messages; both overt and covert. And,

offsite link The Feminization of Western Men Wed May 05, 2021 09:48 | amarynth
By Paul Craig Roberts and posted with permission In a remarkable interview published on Russia Insider in March 2019, RT?s Anissa Naouai interviewed Danish journalist Iben Thranholm about the disappearance

offsite link Financialization and its Discontents Tue May 04, 2021 19:21 | amarynth
By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog THE NONAGE The term financialization is generally used as a reference to that part of the economy indicated by the acronym FIRE (Finance,

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2021/05/04 ? Open Thread Tue May 04, 2021 07:30 | Herb Swanson
2021/05/04 06:30:01Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

The Saker >>

Lockdown Skeptics

Lockdown Sceptics

Stay Sceptical. Control the Hysteria. Save Lives.

offsite link Why has the NHS COVID-19 app not been withdrawn? Wed Apr 28, 2021 16:46 | Toby Young
If the NHS app is going to be used as the vaccine passport app, is the NHS Test and Trace app going to be withdrawn, as Matt Hancock promised Harriet Harman?
The post Why has the NHS COVID-19 app not been withdrawn? appeared first on Lockdown Sceptics.

offsite link The EU?s Vaccine Passport Scheme Could Destroy Peace in Northern Ireland Wed Apr 28, 2021 16:36 | Toby Young
The European Parliament is about to waive through the EU-wide roll-out of vaccine passports. Ciarán McCollum, a Northern Irish barrister, is concerned that this scheme will destroy the fragile peace in Northern Ireland.
The post The EU?s Vaccine Passport Scheme Could Destroy Peace in Northern Ireland appeared first on Lockdown Sceptics.

offsite link Number of Covid Hospital Patients in England Falls to Seven-Month Low Wed Apr 28, 2021 15:59 | Michael Curzon
The number of people in English hospitals with Covid has fallen to the lowest level since last September, according to the latest NHS figures. The total is down by 96% from the peak in January.
The post Number of Covid Hospital Patients in England Falls to Seven-Month Low appeared first on Lockdown Sceptics.

offsite link Almost 70% Of English Adults Have Covid Antibodies Wed Apr 28, 2021 13:29 | Michael Curzon
New data from the ONS shows that across the U.K, more than half of adults are likely to have Covid antibodies. The figure is highest in England, where 68.3% were likely to have tested positive for antibodies.
The post Almost 70% Of English Adults Have Covid Antibodies appeared first on Lockdown Sceptics.

offsite link The Growing Plague of Mandatory Testing in UK Workplaces Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:59 | Will Jones
A Lockdown Sceptics reader writes to tell us about the depressing new "normal" in his workplace. Colleagues were sent home halfway through the day if they hadn't had a test, even if they'd recently recovered from Covid.
The post The Growing Plague of Mandatory Testing in UK Workplaces appeared first on Lockdown Sceptics.

Lockdown Skeptics >>

Voltaire Network

The leveraged buyout, exploitation and punishment beating of Greece as warning to others.

category international | anti-capitalism | other press author Thursday May 11, 2017 11:45author by 1 of indy Report this post to the editors

Many people still don't fully understand why events transpired the way they did during our financial crisis, but this analysis by Michael Hudson reproduced here serves to clearly outline how and why we ended up where we did. The interview is concerned with the greek situation with but the behaviours involved in "loaning to exploit" described in the interview are clearly recognisable from our own experiences.
greece1.jpg

[I'm reproducing this real news network interview as not only is it a clearly illustrative analysis of the way the system works to shake down vulnerable countries (by a respected economist) but it is also of particular relevance to the present financial predicament of Ireland as well as Greece - ed]

Sharmini Peries: It’s the Real News Network. I am Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The European Commission announced on May 2, that an agreement on Greek pension and income tax reforms would pave the way for further discussions on debt release for Greece. The European Commission described this as good news for Greece. The Greek government described the situation in similar terms. However, little attention has been given as to how the wider Greek population are experiencing the consequences of the policies of the Troika. On May Day thousands of Greeks marked International Workers Day with anti-austerity protests. One of the protester’s a 32-year-old lawyer perhaps summed the mood, the best when he said …

Speaker 2: “The current Greek government, like all the ones before it, have implemented measures that has only one goal, the crushing of the workers, the working class and everyone who works themselves to the bone. We are fighting for the survival of the poorest who need help the most.”

Sharmini Peries: To discuss the most recent negotiations underway between Greece and the TROIKA, which is a European Central Bank, the EU and the IMF, here’s Michael Hudson. Michael is a distinguished research professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He is the author of many books including, “Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage the Global Economy” and most recently “J is for Junk Economics: A Survivor’s Guide to Economic Vocabulary in the Age of Deception”. Michael it’s been a while, good to have you back.

Michael Hudson: Good to be here.

Sharmini Peries: Michael, let’s start with what’s being negotiated at the moment.

Michael Hudson: I wouldn’t call it a negotiation. Greece is simply being dictated to. There is no negotiation at all. It’s been told that its economy has shrunk so far by 20%, but has to shrink another 5% making it even worse than the depression. Its wages have fallen and must be cut by another 10%. Its pensions have to be cut back. Probably 5 to 10% of its population of working age will have to immigrate.

The intention is to cut the domestic tax revenues (not raise them), because labor won’t be paying taxes and businesses are going out of business. So we have to assume that the deliberate intention is to lower the government’s revenues by so much that Greece will have to sell off even more of its public domain to foreign creditors. Basically it’s a smash and grab exercise, and the role of Tsipras is not to represent the Greeks because the Troika have said, “The election doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what the people vote for. Either you do what we say or we will smash your banking system.” Tsipras’s job is to say, “Yes I will do whatever you want. I want to stay in power rather than falling in election.”

Sharmini Peries: Right. Michael you dedicated almost three chapters in your book “Killing the Host” to how the IMF economists actually knew that Greece will not be able to pay back its foreign debt, but yet it went ahead and made these huge loans to Greece. It’s starting to sound like the mortgage fraud scandal where banks were lending people money to buy houses when they knew they couldn’t pay it back. Is it similar?

Michael Hudson: The basic principle is indeed the same. If a creditor makes a loan to a country or a home buyer knowing that there’s no way in which the person can pay, who should bear the responsibility for this? Should the bad lender or irresponsible bondholder have to pay, or should the Greek people have to pay?

IMF economists said that Greece can’t pay, and under the IMF rules it is not allowed to make loans to countries that have no chance of repaying in the foreseeable future. The then-head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, introduced a new rule – the “systemic problem” rule. It said that if Greece doesn’t repay, this will cause problems for the economic system – defined as the international bankers, bondholder’s and European Union budget – then the IMF can make the loan.

This poses a question on international law. If the problem is systemic, not Greek, and if it’s the system that’s being rescued, why should Greek workers have to dismantle their economy? Why should Greece, a sovereign nation, have to dismantle its economy in order to rescue a banking system that is guaranteed to continue to cause more and more austerity, guaranteed to turn the Eurozone into a dead zone? Why should Greece be blamed for the bad malstructured European rules? That’s the moral principle that’s at stake in all this.

Sharmini Peries: Michael, The New York Times has recently published an article titled, “IMF torn over whether to bail out Greece again.” It essentially describes the IMF as being sympathetic towards Greece in spite of the fact as you say, they knew that Greece could not pay back this money when it first lent it the money with the Troika. Right now, the IMF sounds rational and thoughtful about the Greek people. Is this the case?

Michael Hudson: Well, Yanis Varoufakis, the finance minister under Syriza, said that every time he talked to the IMF’s Christine Lagarde and others two years ago, they were sympathetic. They said, “I am terribly sorry we have to destroy your economy. I feel your pain, but we are indeed going to destroy your economy. There is nothing we can do about it. We are only following orders.” The orders were coming from Wall Street, from the Eurozone and from investors who bought or guaranteed Greek bonds.

Being sympathetic, feeling their pain doesn’t really mean anything if the IMF says, “Oh, we know it is a disaster. We are going to screw you anyway, because that’s our job. We are the IMF, after all. Our job is to impose austerity. Our job is to shrink economies, not help them grow. Our constituency is the bondholders and banks.”

Somebody’s going to suffer. Should it the wealthy billionaires and the bankers, or should it be the Greek workers? Well, the Greek workers are not the IMF’s constituency. It says: “We feel your pain, but we’d rather you suffer than our constituency.”

So what you read is simply the usual New York Times hypocrisy, pretending that the IMF really is feeling bad about what it’s doing. If its economists felt bad, they would have done what the IMF European staff did a few years ago after the first loan: They resigned in protest. They would write about it and go public and say, “This system is corrupt. The IMF is working for the bankers against the interest of its member countries.” If they don’t do that, they are not really sympathetic at all. They are just hypocritical.

Sharmini Peries: Right. I know that the European Commission is holding up Greece as an example in order to discourage other member nations in the periphery of Europe so that they won’t default on their loans. Explain to me why Greece is being held up as an example.

Michael Hudson: It’s being made an example for the same reason the United States went into Libya and bombed Syria: It’s to show that we can destroy you if you don’t do what we say. If Spain or Italy or Portugal seeks not to pay its debts, it will meet the same fate. Its banking system will be destroyed, and its currency system will be destroyed.

The basic principle at work is that finance is the new form of warfare. You can now destroy a country’s economy not merely by invading it. You don’t even have to bomb it, as you’ve done in the Near East. All you have to do is withdraw all credit to the banking system, isolate it economically from making payments to foreign countries so that you essentially put sanctions on it. You’ll treat Greece like they’ve treated Iran or other countries.

“We have life and death power over you.” The demonstration effect is not only to stop Greece, but to stop countries from doing what Marine Le Pen is trying to do in France: withdraw from the Eurozone.

The class war is back in business – the class war of finance against labor, imposing austerity and shrinking living standards, lowering wages and cutting back social spending. It’s demonstrating who’s the winner in this economic warfare that’s taking place.

Sharmini Peries: Then why is the Greek population still supportive of Syriza in spite of all of this? I mean, literally not only have they, as a population, been cut to no social safety net, no social security, yet the Syriza government keeps getting supported, elected in referendums, and they seem to be able to maintain power in spite of these austerity measures. Why is that happening?

Michael Hudson: Well, that’s the great tragedy. They initially supported Syriza because it promised not to surrender in this economic war. They said they would fight back. The plan was not pay the debts even if this led Europe to force Greece out of the European Union.

In order to do this however, what Yanis Varoufakis and his advisors such as James Galbraith wanted to do was say, “If we are going not to pay the debt, we are going to be expelled from the Euro Zone. We have to have our own currency. We have to have our own banking system.” But it takes almost a year to put in place your own physical currency, your own means of reprogramming the ATM machines so that people can use it, and reprogramming the banking system.

You also need a contingency plan for when the European Union wrecks the Greek banks, which basically have been the tool of the oligarchy in Greece. The government is going to have to take over these banks and socialize them, and use them for public purposes. Unfortunately, Tsipras never gave Varoufakis and his staff the go ahead. In effect, he ended up double crossing them after the referendum two years ago that said not to surrender. That lead to Varoufakis resigning from the government.

Tsipras decided that he wanted to be reelected, and turned out to be just a politician, realizing that in order to he had to represent the invader and act as a client politician. His clientele is now the European Union, the IMF and the bondholders, not the Greeks. What that means is that if there is an election in Greece, people are not going to vote for him again. He knows that. He is trying to prevent an election. But later this month the Greek parliament is going to have to vote on whether or not to shrink the economy further and cut pensions even more.

If there are defections from Tsipras’s Syriza party, there will be an election and he will be voted out of office. I won’t say out of power, because he has no power except to surrender to the Troika. But he’d be out of office. There will probably have to be a new party created if there’s going to be hope of withstanding the threats that the European Union is making to destroy Greece’s economy if it doesn’t succumb to the austerity program and step up its privatization and sell off even more assets to the bondholders.

Sharmini Peries: Finally, Michael, why did the Greek government remove the option of Grexit from the table in order to move forward?

Michael Hudson: In order to accept the Eurozone. You’re using its currency, but Greece needs to have its own currency. The reason it agreed to stay in was that it had made no preparation for withdrawing. Imagine if you are a state in the United States and you want to withdraw: you have to have your own currency. You have to have your own banking system. You have to have your own constitution. There was no attempt to put real thought behind what their political program was.

They were not prepared and still have not taken steps to prepare for what they are doing. They haven’t made any attempt to justify non-payment of the debt under International Law: the law of odious debt, or give a reason why they are not paying.

The Greek government has not said that no country should be obliged to disregard its democratic voting, dismantle its public sector and give up its sovereignty to bondholders. No country should be obliged to pay foreign creditors if the price of that is shrinking and self destruction of that economy.

They haven’t translated this political program of not paying into what this means in practice to cede sovereignty to the Brussels bureaucracy, meaning the European Central Bank on behalf of its bondholders.

Sharmini Peries: All right Michael, we will keep an eye on this. It looks like it’s going to get more heated in Greece. At least the people and the movements are planning to protest this new deal. I thank you so much for joining us and I hope you can join us again. I understand you are on your way to Greece in a few weeks and we’ll be expecting a report back from you about what you find there. Thank You.

Michael Hudson: Thanks for having me on.

Sharmini Peries: Thank you for joining us here on the Real News Network.

Note: Wikipedia defines Odious debt:

“In international law, odious debt, also known as illegitimate debt, is a legal doctrine that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable.”

Michael Hudson is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of J is Junk Economics (2017), Killing the Host (2015), The Bubble and Beyond (2012) http://michael-hudson.com

Greece Passes New Austerity for New Loans, The Real New Network, May 6, 2017.

© 2001-2021 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy