A view of Greece from the Outside - Commentaries and Opinions
If put to proper use, that could accomplish more than the Marshall Plan accomplished then.Did Marshall Plan accomplish that much? The reason why I ask is because I keep on listening Mr. Tsipras talking about a new Marshall Plan. I know that Mr. Tsipras isn't familiar with academic texts but one would expect that he would have read Y. Stathakis book about the Marshall Plan and its effect on Greece, which points out negative effects as well. After all Mr. Stathakis is currently a Syriza MP! It seems to me, however, that Mr. Tsipras isn't familiar even with popular left-wing reads like V. Rafailidis' legendary "History (comic and tragic) of the Modern Greek State, 1830-1974". I recall reading in this book the origin of the word "αμάκα" (translitaration: amaka) and "αμακαδόρος" (translitaration: amakadoros). "Αμάκα", a rather forgotten word today, more or less means "free lunch" (in a figurative way) and "αμακαδόρος" means "the one who has a free lunch". According to Rafailidis the term originates from the acronym AMAG (American Mission for Aid to Greece) and indicates the easy enrichment and corruption caused due to the american funds.
I am no expert on the Marshall Plan. What I remember reading about it is that the financial impact was quite limited (for Germany, I believe, 0,5% of GDP for 4 years). I think the Marshall Plan needs to be looked at as an overall package (particularly debt forgiveness for Germany). Perhaps it was more like the match which made a pile of wood burn. Interestingly, I don't think the funds were ever returned. Austria, for example, still has the ERP Fund (European Recovery Program) which provides susidized financing to Austrian industry today (and tomorrow). Which reminds me of some fun I had with this issue. When in anti-American debates (which are quite frequent in Austria), I would suggest: if we dislike America so much, why don't we return the ERP funds to them so that they can give them to other countries more in need thereof? That, of course, was always a discussion stopper.Regarding the TINSTAAFL ("there is no such thing as a free lunch"), I once published an essay about this which, as a matter of fact, won the First International Gary S. Becker Prize (back in 1996). I link the prologue which leads to the other 9 parts below.http://tinstaafl-kleingut.blogspot.co.at/2011/07/prologue.html
>"What has surprised me since the beginning of the crisis, and I have written about that, was/is that Greeks don't seem to get as excited about that as one would expect."I think that in each country that kind of money is seen as coming from far away Bruxelles and NOT belonging to the the individual taxpayer. Of course a fatal error!H.Trickler
This is a conversation about two separate issues.Issue one concerns the problems of the Greek economy and society.Issue two concerns the problems of the Eurozone and it's deficiencies.The two issues should not be confused, and yet they are. More importantly, the attitude of "two wrongs make one right" seems to prevail. We shouldn't use Greece's problems to justify the problems of the Eurozone, and yet that's what we do.The Eurozone is a very problematic structure as proven by the fact that it's not just Greece that is facing problems.Greece is what it is and no doubt it could do much better in many areas. But as I've said before, if other central banks behaved in the same manner as the ECB, then the whole planet would be bankrupt.The ECB chooses to not control interest rates. It's as simple as that.
I generally agree with the initial comment by Xenos. It is obviously written in anger, but the basic premise is correct: a variety of social and historical reasons conspire to create a powerful unwillingness to change. However I disagree with one point, which I think is very telling. I quote:"I have been told confidentially by investigators of massive embezzlement and corruption in the Athens metro construction -- with such sophisticated money-laundering schemes that the expert opinion was that the Greek courts could not cope with the complexity and there was no point in the Commission prosecuting." Let's parse this a bit. "I have been told ..........metro construction-" absolutely correct "with such sophisticated money-laundering schemes" this is complete tosh. It is well known that the trick was to raise the price of cement 5fold. If you got an invoice from a residential development and compare the cement price with the one paid by Athens Metro you will find that the wholesale prices of the Metro were 5 times up on the retail ones paid by single family dwellings developers. This inconsistency between the Brussels and Athens rumours is very strange. I suspect that the Brussels rumour is deliberate disinformation, to cover the experts' ass. They should have stopped the Athens party but they didn't, basically because they and their political bosses where on the take from that money. This goes a long way to explain both the unwilling-gness to reign in the Greek government and the virulence of the reactions once the party was over. Do you want a possible channel? Mr Baroso and Mr Latsis. When Mr Baroso came to the Commission he was caught by journalists to be on a Mr Latsis superyacht. The explanation (correct as far as I can tell) was that they were together at LSE as students. Oh Dear!!On a different note does anybody else has problems posting from Mozilla?This is posted from Explorer.
@theAthensdog.A clarification of the rules of this crazy construct called the Commission is called for I think. Contrary to national foreign aid programs, the grants from the EU are controlled by the government of the receiving nation (letting the wolf tend the sheep's). The Commission (OLAF) can only prosecute if the perpetrator is a staff member of an EU institution. If OLAF get information about local corruption or crime they can inform the local government and ask them to take action, OLAF will always offer their assistance as well. When I lose all hope for Greece I turn to OLAF's home page and see that their efforts with Greece is increasing and there are some small success stories. The latest such story is the confiscation of 40 million cigarettes in Pireaus port (EURO 7.0 MIO in taxes); it was touted in Greek media as a Greek accomplishment. How much political arm twisting do you think it took to get the Greek government to react? In some countries OLAF has an easy job, in Greece it is an uphill battle, but don't say they do not put up a fight. Will they succeed in Greece? I don't think so.Lennard