There is a pattern here. For the ECB to act as a lender of last resort was impossible, and the only answer was yet more austerity – until that austerity had been put in place and OMT became possible. When the French government tried to meet deficit targets by raising taxes rather than cutting spending, they were told that this was the wrong kind of austerity. When it came to Quantitative Easing (QE) some were quite explicit – a problem with QE is that it might take some pressure off governments to undertake austerity and ‘reforms’. So perhaps only when the Syriza government has fallen and their successor agreed to more austerity and reforms will it turn out that the Troika can after all be flexible about restructuring debt.
One of the charges frequently made against opponents of austerity in the Eurozone is that we are really seeking the failure of the whole Euro project. The opposite is nearer the truth. The problem for the Euro project is that it has become captured by an economic ideology, and austerity is that ideology’s principle weapon. A self-confident and mature Eurozone would be able to tolerate diversity, rather than trying to crush any dissent. A Eurozone captured by an ideology will insist there is but one path, and that the imperative of austerity is too important to accommodate democratic wishes.
Simon Wren-Lewis over de onderliggende oorzaak van de botsing tussen Griekenland en de rest van de Eurozone.
Een vergelijkbaar punt met betrekking tot de economische en politieke schade die ideologische rechtzinnigheid kan aanrichten, wordt gemaakt door Paul Krugman in een stuk getiteld Europe’s Many Economic Disasters:
It’s depressing thinking about Greece these days, so let’s talk about something else, O.K.? Let’s talk, for starters, about Finland, which couldn’t be more different from that corrupt, irresponsible country to the south. Finland is a model European citizen; it has honest government, sound finances and a solid credit rating, which lets it borrow money at incredibly low interest rates.
It’s also in the eighth year of a slump that has cut real gross domestic product per capita by 10 percent and shows no sign of ending. In fact, if it weren’t for the nightmare in southern Europe, the troubles facing the Finnish economy might well be seen as an epic disaster. […]
Why are there so many economic disasters in Europe? Actually, what’s striking at this point is how much the origin stories of European crises differ. Yes, the Greek government borrowed too much. But the Spanish government didn’t — Spain’s story is all about private lending and a housing bubble. And Finland’s story doesn’t involve debt at all. It is, instead, about weak demand for forest products, still a major national export, and the stumbles of Finnish manufacturing, in particular of its erstwhile national champion Nokia.
What all of these economies have in common, however, is that by joining the eurozone they put themselves into an economic straitjacket. […]
The urgent thing now is to loosen that straitjacket. […]
But there are many European officials and politicians who are opposed to anything and everything that might make the euro workable, who still believe that all would be well if everyone exhibited sufficient discipline. And that’s why there is even more at stake in Sunday’s Greek referendum than most observers realize. […]
Or to put it a bit differently, it’s reasonable to fear the consequences of a “no” vote, because nobody knows what would come next. But you should be even more afraid of the consequences of a “yes,” because in that case we do know what comes next — more austerity, more disasters and eventually a crisis much worse than anything we’ve seen so far.
En om dat alles te verhullen, vertellen ‘serieuze commentatoren’ gemakkelijk te bevatten (en daardoor gemakkelijk te accepteren) sprookjes over luie Grieken en hardwerkende Duitsers.
En dat werkt.
Ook de Griekse media hebben inmiddels een kant gekozen:
Strong emotions are in abundant supply. But impartial reporting is not.
Along with Skai TV, nearly all the mainstream press and television stations in Greece have skewed their coverage or are openly in favor of the “yes” campaign, throwing in doubt just how fair Sunday’s election will be. The snap referendum has already come under criticism for being called with too little notice by the left-wing Greek government — which is urging a “no” vote — to allow for proper campaigning and educating of voters.
“There is no doubt that the coverage is overwhelmingly biased,” said Nikolas Leontopoulos, an independent journalist who has investigated Greece’s power structure. The line between reporting and advocacy “has totally been blurred,” he said. […]
The bias toward the “yes” side reflects the fact that many of Greece’s biggest news outlets are owned by corporate titans and other “oligarchs” whose business interests would be directly threatened by a “no” victory and the potential abandonment of the euro in favor of the drachma, Leontopoulos said.