Greece's financial crissis

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At least part of the problem is these governments can't print their way out of debt like they would do normally. Really need political as well as fiscal union. I was hearing something about France having issues too.

Most concerned they'll do a repeat of Cyprus. Could shake faith in the modern financial system not limited to EU.

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The usual story that capitalists would like you to believe is that the Greeks are fat and lazy and don't pay their taxes, so as a result they got their economy in a mess, and now the hard-working part

It's not realistically possible to establish a "total" and "absolute" democracy within ten or twenty years of the messy end of generations of rule by a fascistic regime.       They did not elect

Just because the government takes in more than the US (who need to do something too about their debt), doesn't mean that they are doing their share. If they give back welfare and the like, (back to t

IOW the fault is not only on the Greeks, the fault is also on the mathematics of the actual banking system.

The rules by which banks operate are formed, constructed and encouraged by elected governments.

not really. It's more that they were unable to levy taxes on their rich people, and got robbed by the international bankers.

Unable to level taxes! How come? And as for 'rich' people, they seen to be the whipping boys these days. If you take, punish or discourage the goal of making money away, degeneration, if not financial chaos, will surely follow.

Again: the rules by which banks operate are formed, constructed and encouraged by elected governments.

At least part of the problem is these governments can't print their way out of debt like they would do normally.

Printing money simply devalues everything and is no answer to anything.

If you lent someone some money which they then find difficulty in paying back, I'm sure you'd be happy if the government then started printing money to reduce the debt you're owed. And what's more, being enthusiastic to lend in future.

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The rules by which banks operate are formed, constructed and encouraged by elected governments.

Unable to level taxes! How come? And as for 'rich' people, they seen to be the whipping boys these days. If you take, punish or discourage the goal of making money away, degeneration, if not financial chaos, will surely follow.

Again: the rules by which banks operate are formed, constructed and encouraged by elected governments.

Printing money simply devalues everything and is no answer to anything.

If you lent someone some money which they then find difficulty in paying back, I'm sure you'd be happy if the government then started printing money to reduce the debt you're owed. And what's more, being enthusiastic to lend in future.

Isn't that what the U.S. are doing constantly?

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Printing money simply devalues everything and is no answer to anything.

People tend to riot less. Historically it has gone on for most of recorded history in one form or another.

Be better for all of us if our governments lived within a budget, but I honestly don't see that happening anytime soon.

If you lent someone some money which they then find difficulty in paying back, I'm sure you'd be happy if the government then started printing money to reduce the debt you're owed. And what's more, being enthusiastic to lend in future.

The trick is to do the exact opposite of this. I live on interest free credit and the government is kind enough to devalue the loan amounts for me.

Normally though the loan companies charge interest above the amount they expect the money to devalue. I'm sure they keep track of it, but provided the government doesn't go crazy or impose low interest rates they don't have too much to worry about.

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People tend to riot less. Historically it has gone on for most of recorded history in one form or another.

Exactly. Those rioting or the threat of rioting encourage governments to adopt policies that cause or caused them to riot in the first place! So presumably they are rioting for a situation that'll likely cause them to riot again later on.

Isn't that what the U.S. are doing constantly?

Apparently so. Up to their eyes in debt, I believe.

Just some side issues: Apparently both the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds cancelled all their displays this year. And no American contribution at RIAT this year. And Detroit's apparently gone bust.

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Unable to level taxes! How come?
Because the organized crime and corporate corruption of government that is the normal hangover of a fascistic regime turned out to be too powerful for the early and weak and nascent democratic socialism that tried to take over in the 80s.

And as for 'rich' people, they seen to be the whipping boys these days.
They have done a lot of damage, and hurt a lot of people, and ruined many lives, and broken many governments lately. Look at what Reaganomics did to the US.

Accountability is necessary, right? - and no modern industrial economy can be run for the benefit of its citizens unless the wealthy are heavily taxed.

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Most of the US debt is owed to ourselves. Only ~34% is owed to foreign investors. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. We'll print a bit, cut back a bit and the country will continue.

I'm more curious if the crisis will cause the EU to become more like the US structurally. A dominant central government with subordinate local governments. Interesting to consider the possibilities. In the old days political integration was done at sword point. This might be the modern version.

Edited by Endy0816
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Because the organized crime and corporate corruption of government that is the normal hangover of a fascistic regime turned out to be too powerful for the early and weak and nascent democratic socialism that tried to take over in the 80s.

I'm not justifying it, but perhaps back handers and the like are a great tempter - and I don't think socialism is exempt. And as for democratic socialism, what on earth is that? Presumably mere socialism isn't democratic.

They have done a lot of damage, and hurt a lot of people, and ruined many lives, and broken many governments lately. Look at what Reaganomics did to the US..

That is a terrible indictment. For which I presume you can quote examples. Examples that are unique and only undertaken by what you refer to as the 'rich'.

It seems in todays world that whatever you do, don't make money if you start a business.

Upon speaking to a business friend of mine and how he baulked at opening a small shop in his local high street (UK), on account of the rent being £65,000pa and business rate of £13,000pa - that's £1,500 a week! And that's over and above any running costs. I challenged you to work out how many cups of coffee he's got to sell to even start making a bob or two.

And even if he did and opened several shops in various places, as was his idea, and made a decent wedge (not forgetting that a decent wedge will be taxed at 40% here in UK), he'd doubtless be labelled and categorised as one of your 'rich', ruining many lives and broken many governments.

I suggest if it wasn't for what you refer to as 'rich' paying taxes, the wonderful world of those who label others in such a way would be in dire straights.

Not forgetting that when they get upset about something, the modus operandi seems to be is to charge down the high street in groups smashing up your shop.

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Wrong example.

The "real" rich does not work.

Working to be rich is a myth.

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That is a terrible indictment. For which I presume you can quote examples. Examples that are unique and only undertaken by what you refer to as the 'rich'.
I did. Reaganomics.
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Wrong example.

The "real" rich does not work.

Working to be rich is a myth.

Who or what on earth are the real rich? What's all this splitting of definitions, one is either rich or one is not. Seems to me there's an element of envy rearing it's head.

As for working, money doesn't just appear out of nowhere, and what's more I think there are countless examples. And I believe at least one ennobled by a socialist government! You know, a house of the ennobled a onetime socialist government leader said, something like: such an institution should be flushed down the toilet!

Presumably in your ideal world there'd be no one in a position of being 'rich' as you describe. And as one couldn't become such as you imply, we'd all occupy more or less the same place in society. Doubtless sounds good to some, but such a situation would result in stagnation and degeneration, for the simple reason there'd be no reason to do much or improve anything at all.

Not to put too fine a point on it, businesses and innovation is undertaken to make money and become (as you describe) rich. Take that away and not much will get done.

We'll all work for the common good, do I hear you say? No chance. It might start off with such an ideal, but resentment and envy will soon rear up because someone has a tiny bit more, and chaos will eventually result. Perhaps starting like: why is your tent positioned slightly better than mine?

But returning to Greece. They followed the wonderful world of so called path of easy living, and the current situation is the result. Life is not easy, and anyone who says different and promises nirvana is a charlatan. As the drill sergeant said to the new recruits: you can have it easy or you can have it hard. Easy's hard, and hard is don't even think about it!

I did. Reaganomics.

Explain it?

And what's more, with a democratic president they are up to their eyes in debt (Detroit's gone bust, along with others), such that by the beginning of next month they could shutdown without an increase (yet again) in their borrowing requirement.

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Printing money simply devalues everything and is no answer to anything.

Printing money causes inflation. So printing currency causes the currency value of everything to go up. The actual value of everything stays the same. If your currency income stays the same during this inflation, then your income is devalued.

Isn't that what the U.S. are doing constantly?

Yes, and by doing so we reduce our debt burdens because the currency value of our debt stays the same while the currency value goes down. Why do you think the fed cancelled their quantitative easing taper? The US cant afford to pay it's bills.

Wrong example.

The "real" rich does not work.

Working to be rich is a myth.

You will never find a person that complains about the "rich" willing to define just what that term means. Is it the top 10% of earners? The lower threshold for these earners is $118,000 a year. I have been working in engineering and have been making that for more than two decades. I don't know any engineers that have more that 20 years of experience that don't make at least that. So by working for 20 years and reaching the ripe old age of 45 one can reach the top 10% of earners. That then leaves a person 20 more years to bank cash for retirement. In today's dollars thats$2.36 million in income over those 20 years. It shouldn't be too hard to bank half of that even while accumulating lots of cool stuff and having many fun adventures. I'm glad to know that the proceeds of such work won't make me one of the evil rich.

Printing money devalues savings because your savings can buy less. Think of it as a tax on savings. Ever wonder why Americans don't save money? If you save money inflation robs you of the proceeds of your labors. Spend your money and you have stuff that is not impacted by inflation.

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I'm not sure if the "rich" should be defined as the top x% of the income distribution or if it should be the group who, between them have more than - let's say- 50% of the money.

So, when you see something like this

"richest 10 percent of Americans control 75 percent of the wealth, leaving only 25 percent to the other 90 percent of Americans."

it's difficult to see that as fair.

It's also true that the current political system is king that bad situation worse.

The idea that hard work will make you rich is unrealistic. There are plenty of people who work like dogs and are still poor.

By far the best predictor of who will be a millionaire when they grow up is not "who works hard?" but "who has millionaire parents?"

All very interesting.

Now, pleasse can we get back to the reasons for the problems in Greece?

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Well, the surprising thing in Greece is that the "hard work" devaluated all of a sudden.

For the same job you earn less.

Not only, "they" say that all of the past years you didn't earned that much money for your job. It is like you have stolen. It was not "real money", it was "borrowed money".

It could happen to you, I don't wish that, but beware.

Imagine someone abroad tells you that your job as engineer is not worth 100,000 a year, but 10,000.

And that same person tells you: "you pig you don't produce anything worth, what you are producing is much too expensive because people like you ask too much money. You are unable to export anything, you are all of you a nothing and all these years you lived in a fake. Now it's time to give the money back".

That is not a pleasant surprise.

What is the cause?

"They" say its my fault. I and another 10 millions.

I have to pay back. I and another 10 millions.

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Printing money causes inflation. So printing currency causes the currency value of everything to go up. The actual value of everything stays the same. If your currency income stays the same during this inflation, then your income is devalued.

Money is a representation of labour. Devalue money (by printing the stuff) and labour is devalued. Everything doesn't stay the same, the value of your hard work is devalued.

Well, the surprising thing in Greece is that the "hard work" devaluated all of a sudden.

Ditto above.

Printing money is a delusion and evil.

The plain fact is we are not solving anything with todays policies. Which appear to consist of printing money, borrowing shedloads and encouraging inflation. They solve nothing.

But as I've said previously regarding complaints and criticisms about governments and riots, it is that we live in a democracy and rulers rule by plebiscite.

We install the leaders in office and as such we cannot complain. All we can do is reconsider our wrong decision and correct it at the next election. Riots and disorder are nothing more than the rioters complaining about their own decision.

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Money is a representation of labour. Devalue money (by printing the stuff) and labour is devalued. Everything doesn't stay the same, the value of your hard work is devalued.

Ditto above.

Printing money is a delusion and evil.

The plain fact is we are not solving anything with todays policies. Which appear to consist of printing money, borrowing shedloads and encouraging inflation. They solve nothing.

But as I've said previously regarding complaints and criticisms about governments and riots, it is that we live in a democracy and rulers rule by plebiscite.

We install the leaders in office and as such we cannot complain. All we can do is reconsider our wrong decision and correct it at the next election. Riots and disorder are nothing more than the rioters complaining about their own decision.

That's all well.

The question is that on a global scale, governments are asked to reduce their impact. More an more privatizations, lower budgets, less employees, less army, etc.

On the other hand you observe the appearance of private companies bigger than states. American ones, Chinese, Russians, Indians, Koreans and others.

The fact is that private companies are NOT based on democracy.

At this time, the rulers are not the politicians, They are bankers, CEO of huge corporations and anonymous owners of colossal fortunes. And the thing is getting worse.

Greece is a good example.

The Greek government observes the rules dictated by the Troika (International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, European Commission), these are 2 banks and 1 politic. The European Commission is ruled by Germany & France (as far as the Eurozone is concerned) which are taking decisions in function of their own debts to bankers.

I don't see much of democracy in this.

The only political alternative is to follow the arguments of the left wing, which is a suicide IMHO.

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The question is that on a global scale, governments are asked to reduce their impact. More an more privatizations, lower budgets, less employees, less army, etc.

I think you will find that however far you go back in time that always has been the case. Just about whatever field of human endeavour you care to name, like the day they invented the horse drawn plough. How many scribes put out of business when they invented the printing press?

In the fullness of time just about every vocation of pecuniary gain tends to disappear or become a minority venture. Although perhaps solicitors, plumbing and electricians might be more or less similar with just a few changes. And funeral directing might be fairly robust against the march of time.

What do I hear of recent times? Banks should be lending to finance business and house purchase. Well, I think that needs a fairly large organisation. We can't have it both ways.

Greece is a good example.

The Greek government observes the rules dictated by the Troika (International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, European Commission), these are 2 banks and 1 politic. The European Commission is ruled by Germany & France (as far as the Eurozone is concerned) which are taking decisions in function of their own debts to bankers.

I don't see much of democracy in this.

Again, we can't have it both ways. Reportedly they embraced the low interest rates of joining the EU - and I seem to recall reading to the point of a bit of creative accounting!

Again, it was democratic because they elected the government. And significantly, I suggest if someone came along and suggested caution, they wouldn't have got very many votes! I only saw disorder and complains when the pigeons came home to roost.

It was totally and absolutely democratic.

Passing the cause to others is avoiding the issue. If someone came along and advocated what you appear to suggest, with all the resulting consequences, I suggest he or she wouldn't get many votes. What we experience is the result of democracy.

As I believe Churchill said: democracy is a terrible way to run a country, but better that all the others.

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"I think you will find that however far you go back in time that always has been the case"

I don't.

I think that post WWII there was an increase in government spending in real terms- the setting up of the NHS and the rest of the welfare state.

That lasted, roughly, until the election of the Tory government in the late 70s.

From 1960 to 1980 UK GDP rose from about $70B to$540B A 7.7 fold increase over 20 years.

If that carried on it would give $4.2T by 2000 Then the Tories got in and it fell to about 440B over the course of 5 years. It picked up a bit but by 2000 it had reached$1.5T

"As I believe Churchill said: democracy is a terrible way to run a country, but better that all the others."

So, for example, democracy is better than plutocracy.

"It was totally and absolutely democratic."

Is it a democracy if those seeking power deliberately mislead the population?

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It was totally and absolutely democratic.

It's not realistically possible to establish a "total" and "absolute" democracy within ten or twenty years of the messy end of generations of rule by a fascistic regime.

Again, it was democratic because they elected the government.

They did not elect the military officials, corporation heads, bankers, and organized cirminals (a somewhat redundant list, in Greece) who cheated them and bankrupted the country. They did not elect the newspaper publishers or TV moguls who framed their political world.

You will never find a person that complains about the "rich" willing to define just what that term means.

Well, it's an informal term, but we all know what it means - except a few of the rich themselves.

That is: Sure you will - and they will differ and quibble over the cutoff lines of wealth and income, but will agree on a basic core. The upper 1% in both wealth and income, for example, are rich - and in the US, they now legally pay the lowest real tax rates of any economic group. In Greece, they skipped the "legally" part, as an unnecessary complication.

In Greece, that entire socioeconomic class emerging from fascism was a bunch of Koch brothers and Blankfiens and Cheneys and Bushes. It's almost impossible to be a decent and honest rich person under a fascistic government - you become a Coors, you become a Capone, you become one of the band of brothers, or you become a pariah and lose your money. Here's the most famous of the lot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Onassis-1932.jpg Tobacco smuggler, black market money launderer, shipping magnate who paid millions in fines to the US for illegal use of the US flag, his granddaughter was deprived of a good share of her inheritance because after her childhood she "hated all things Greek". and refused to say and do any different - even for hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Greeks were on average among the hardest working people in Europe over recent decades, btw - like the poor everywhere, they had to be. Poor people in most places work harder, on average, than rich people.

Edited by overtone
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"I think you will find that however far you go back in time that always has been the case"

I don't.

I think that post WWII there was an increase in government spending in real terms- the setting up of the NHS and the rest of the welfare state.

That lasted, roughly, until the election of the Tory government in the late 70s.

From 1960 to 1980 UK GDP rose from about $70B to$540B A 7.7 fold increase over 20 years.

If that carried on it would give $4.2T by 2000 Then the Tories got in and it fell to about 440B over the course of 5 years. It picked up a bit but by 2000 it had reached$1.5T

What on earth has that got to do with trades becoming redundant following emergence of new techniques? Because that was context of my riposte.

Anyway, regarding the spending you mention, I think it is the case that following the post WWII spending, the UK was closing in on bankruptcy. And I think it's ditto the previous occasions you mention.

And if you're bringing in party politics, it seems to me that every time the Tory party gained power they faced financial problems left by the previous lot. And on that point, I think the Tory's are playing it all wrong, as what they should be doing is spending like there's no tomorrow when in power to move phase or the point of greatest debt to when the other lot then regain power!

"As I believe Churchill said: democracy is a terrible way to run a country, but better that all the others."

So, for example, democracy is better than plutocracy.

I'm clearly not expressing my view correctly. Plutocracy, as you call it, is a result of the voting preferences of the populous.

In just about every aspect of endeavour it seems the emergence of a plutocrat is welcomed. For example, just take that popular recreation of football, the emergence of a foreign billionaire taking over a club and spending millions appears to be welcomed with open arms. And I suggest such would apply to just about any area of activity, from football to industry.

Take away the opportunity for some to become rather wealthy and it seems to me not much would take place. One might want to turn a blind eye to it all, but people make or do things for money. For example, the complex components of this computer I'm typing this on I doubt would be in existence if money, lots of it, wasn't made.

They did not elect the military officials, corporation heads, bankers, and organized cirminals (a somewhat redundant list, in Greece) who cheated them and bankrupted the country. They did not elect the newspaper publishers or TV moguls who framed their political world.

If that's the case then they elected the wrong government.

As for newspapers, how would they exist if people didn't buy the things?

And bankers, if they don't lend people complain they are damaging people and the economy. And if they lend they blamed for bankrupting the country.

Just trying to work out how much it costs to run one high street branch of a bank. Like how much money does it need to invest to earn enough interest for earnings to finance (say) five employees (the number I could see in my branch this morning), the building rent, business rates, heating, furnishings and all the other things? I lost count of the millions. And that's just one branch for people who want and expect free banking.

As for all these comments about 'corporations', they might not realise it, but that's clearly what the people want. It might not be the ideal, but for numerous reasons, like security of employment to mention just one, it seems it's only frowned on when it suits. But in reality the advantages for employment and the products we perhaps all enjoy, that can only be designed and manufactured by a largish organisation, it's welcomed. Like even during trivial social conversation: I work for so-and-so organisation, who do you work for? I'm not trying to belittle it all, but I think it's a complex, and not always about all those nasty big businesses - it's only nasty big business and plutocrats when things aren't as some expect.

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What on earth has that got to do with trades becoming redundant following emergence of new techniques? Because that was context of my riposte.

Anyway, regarding the spending you mention, I think it is the case that following the post WWII spending, the UK was closing in on bankruptcy. And I think it's ditto the previous occasions you mention.

And if you're bringing in party politics, it seems to me that every time the Tory party gained power they faced financial problems left by the previous lot. And on that point, I think the Tory's are playing it all wrong, as what they should be doing is spending like there's no tomorrow when in power to move phase or the point of greatest debt to when the other lot then regain power!

I'm clearly not expressing my view correctly. Plutocracy, as you call it, is a result of the voting preferences of the populous.

In just about every aspect of endeavour it seems the emergence of a plutocrat is welcomed. For example, just take that popular recreation of football, the emergence of a foreign billionaire taking over a club and spending millions appears to be welcomed with open arms. And I suggest such would apply to just about any area of activity, from football to industry.

Take away the opportunity for some to become rather wealthy and it seems to me not much would take place. One might want to turn a blind eye to it all, but people make or do things for money. For example, the complex components of this computer I'm typing this on I doubt would be in existence if money, lots of it, wasn't made.

If that's the case then they elected the wrong government.

As for newspapers, how would they exist if people didn't buy the things?

And bankers, if they don't lend people complain they are damaging people and the economy. And if they lend they blamed for bankrupting the country.

Just trying to work out how much it costs to run one high street branch of a bank. Like how much money does it need to invest to earn enough interest for earnings to finance (say) five employees (the number I could see in my branch this morning), the building rent, business rates, heating, furnishings and all the other things? I lost count of the millions. And that's just one branch for people who want and expect free banking.

As for all these comments about 'corporations', they might not realise it, but that's clearly what the people want. It might not be the ideal, but for numerous reasons, like security of employment to mention just one, it seems it's only frowned on when it suits. But in reality the advantages for employment and the products we perhaps all enjoy, that can only be designed and manufactured by a largish organisation, it's welcomed. Like even during trivial social conversation: I work for so-and-so organisation, who do you work for? I'm not trying to belittle it all, but I think it's a complex, and not always about all those nasty big businesses - it's only nasty big business and plutocrats when things aren't as some expect.

(emphasis mine.

You wrote: "And on that point, I think the Tory's are playing it all wrong, as what they should be doing is spending like there's no tomorrow when in power to move phase or the point of greatest debt to when the other lot then regain power!"

That's what the socialist party did in Greece. The other political party (the right wing) followed exactly the same tactic in-between and afterwards. And look where we are now.

The U.S. citizens are not so far from Greece's situation. The only (and big) difference is that the U.S. are globally almighty while Greece is not.

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Take away the opportunity for some to become rather wealthy and it seems to me not much would take place.

The US generated wealthy people and much great accomplishment without succumbing to plutocracy, in the years between 1932 and 1982. So have many other countries at times, perhaps to lesser degrees.

If that's the case then they elected the wrong government.

The governments they elected beginning in the 80s were unable to enforce the tax laws or curb the behavior of the wealthy from the earlier regime. It happens that governments fail, you know - even good ones - in the face of superior power and influence.

As for newspapers, how would they exist if people didn't buy the things?

The important newspapers owned by the Reverend Moon's organization were and are bankrolled by his religion and investments. The Fox News TV station lost money for many years, but was kept afloat by its corporate backers. Many newspapers are distributed for free - nobody ever buys them.

And bankers, if they don't lend people complain they are damaging people and the economy. And if they lend they blamed for bankrupting the country.
That's what the socialist party did in Greece. The other political party (the right wing) followed exactly the same tactic in-between and afterwards. And look where we are now.

The Greek financiers bankrupted the country not by lending, but by financial crime and tax evasion. The US financiers found it necessary to first get some of the laws changed, as the US had a better functioning government not as easily or safely ignored as the Greek one after fascism, but the net outcome was similar - prevalent long cons and tax avoidance by the wealthy will do serious damage to any economy, whether legal or not.

The name of the "other" political ideology in Greece, the major one opposed to the ideologies of that loose coalition you are calling "socialist party" with reasonable accuracy, is "fascism", and Greece was governed under it for generations. Fascism cripples - it is very difficult to recover from a generation of fascistic governance, and in practice it often seems to require bloody revolution or violence from outside the country - getting rid of the wealth and power structure installed under fascism is no easy task. Greece didn't succeed in that, is all - many others have also failed.

Edited by overtone
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The "socialist party" I am talking about is the PASOK, which is The Socialist Party of Greece.

Financial crime and tax evasion happens everywhere.

What does not happen everywhere is a public sector of more than a million for a country of 10 millions.

I agree that fascism cripples but I don't think this part of the past is relevant to today's situation.

Not even today's fascist party tries to link to the previous period (the Junta) but directly to Hitler.

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The "socialist party" I am talking about is the PASOK, which is The Socialist Party of Greece.

Then your statement is even farther from accuracy.

Financial crime and tax evasion happens everywhere.

Of course. But the degree matters - in Greece, the entire financial industry was being run by the leftover power and wealth hierarchy from the fascist regime. As if the financial and corporate elites of Las Vegas or Daley's Chicago - or Texas - were running the US.

It's like friction in a car engine - it's unavoidable, may even help smooth things out in small amounts, but too much and your engine breaks down altogether.

What does not happen everywhere is a public sector of more than a million for a country of 10 millions.

That's perfectly reasonable, if they are providing the services paid for - the US runs about 9-10% public sector employment, and the US does a lot of private contracting for government services. Most modern industrial countries run higher percentages than that.

I agree that fascism cripples but I don't think this part of the past is relevant to today's situation

Then how do you account for the existence of a large criminal class of wealthy people bankrupting the government by evading taxes? Are you claiming these people are unrelated to the criminal ruling elites of the fascist era, that ended a mere 25 or 30 years ago?

Out of curiosity, I checked up and found this: http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/2011/09/too-many-government-workersposner.html The guy seems to have a fairly loose definition of "public employee", which may be an issue, but one presumes his analysis is consistent across countries - he puts the US in the middle of the pack:

The percentage of public employees in the workforces of these countries ranges from 6.35 percent in Singapore to 33.87 percent in Sweden. Indeed the three lowest countries, and the only ones with fewer than 10 percent public employees, are Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan. The highest countries after Sweden are Denmark (32.3 percent) and Norway (29.25 percent). The remaining Scandinavian country, Finland, is fifth with 26.31 percent. In fourth place, just below Denmark, is Hungary. The other countries with public-employee percentages above 20 percent are Greece (22.3 percent), Canada, and Poland, Greece being the lowest in this group of eight countries, despite all the negative attention its public-employee workforce has received lately.

The rest of the countries in my list (that is excluding the above-20 percent and below-10 percent countries), are grouped pretty tightly between about 12 and 19 percent. The United States is in approximately the middle, with 16.42 percent

Edited by overtone
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That's what the socialist party did in Greece. The other political party (the right wing) followed exactly the same tactic in-between and afterwards. And look where we are now.

I said it somewhat with tongue in cheek, I wasn't really advocating such an irresponsible policy. But I think it's fair to say the Tory's have mostly inherited a financial problem when assuming power, which seems a tad unfair.

The U.S. citizens are not so far from Greece's situation. The only (and big) difference is that the U.S. are globally almighty while Greece is not.

Well, from what appears from today's news reports, it's shutdown time with bust on the horizon. And I don't think even Greece has declared a shutdown!

It's exciting times on the financial front.

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