I was there for orthodox Easter when the story broke about finding gold ingots in the family home of Akis Tsochadzopoulis, the former PASOK defense minister. PASOK (Center Socialist) was still in power. Tsochadzopoulis was arrested and charged with receiving an €8m bribe from Ferrostaal, the German defense company who sold four Class 214 submarines to the Greek navy 12 years ago. The Greek government still owes a billion Euros on those submarines! It's part of their bloated national debt which just keeps growing and infecting other "peripheral" nations like my own (Ireland).
I call the contagion the Ouzo effect. It shares some similarities with the South American contagion of the 1990s, which economists call the Tequila Effect. The Tequila Effect began in Mexico and culminated in the Argentine collapse. The Ouzo effect is, obviously, still developing.Since the election there is some hope of change: the markets are not happy, they know that you can't squeeze blood from a stone. Greece may need one more election to realize the change it needs - and that may involve a hard default.
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Maybe it is time to get some more democracy into public finances? The European Central Bank is not a private bank, the Euro is a public currency owned by the Greeks and the Irish, too. The time has come to run the ECB and the Euro in the interest of the public that own them!
How to underdevelop a nation: IMF-EU prescription for Greece
It is now obvious even to the most casual observer that the IMF-EU austerity measures have reduced Greece from a semi-developed to an underdeveloped country, given that under austerity in the past two years GDP declined by an astonishing 13%, and it is expected to drop an additional 5-8% in 2012, for a combined three-year total of more than 20%.
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The above 13 points illustrate how the IMF and EU have underdeveloped Greece, depriving it of capital to develop its natural resources and take advantage of its highly-educated human labor resources.
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The lessons learned here are not whether Greece remains or leaves the eurozone, for that is not significant, as is the reality that capital has been drained by the domestic and foreign capitalists, leaving the country roughly at the same underdeveloped status as it was in the 1960s.