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Europe in its Labyrinth, Greece on its Knees

The results of the new Greek bailout announced Sunday should not be a surprise. The program requires tax increases, pension cuts, weakening of collective bargaining clauses, and “ambitious” primary surplus targets, which would require € 13 billion in spending cuts, in exchange for € 50 billion to avert default and the collapse of banks. The adjustment program will deepen the already incredibly prolonged and severe collapse of the Greek economy. It implements a draconian fiscal adjustment, that has utterly and visibly failed, and that was overwhelmingly rejected by the Greek people in a referendum last week. In many ways Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Syriza had an impossible mandate, to remain in the Eurozone, and to deflect the austerity policies that are the only solution accepted by the Troika – the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

Also, the proposed program is not the end of the story. It is unclear that the new agreement would pass in the Greek parliament, and it seems that several members of Tsipras’s party will vote against it. Left Platform, a subgroup of Syriza, would most likely vote against it. If the bailout is approved, which seems probable, it will be with the support of the traditional parties and ultimately with those that supported the Yes vote in the referendum. In that sense, those that suggest the bailout was a coup d’état, and that it undermined democracy are on the right track.

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Originally published in The Wire. Read rest here.

Comments

  1. This piece by Matias is one of the best I've read on the Greek debt crisis because he explains why seemingly poor, wrong headed views are in fact very much self-interested. Economics cannot understand the crisis, only political economy can do this. Krugman and other progressives like him simply refuse to enter the world of political economy.

    Jürgen Habermas offers some related thoughts, referring to neoliberalism as the "technocratic hollowing out of democracy."

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jul/16/merkel-gambling-away-germanys-reputation-over-greece-says-habermas

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