Thoughts on the Greek Tragedy

So I’ve been reading various opinions on the interesting debacle in Greece. The overwhelming ‘oxi’ (no) vote (anyone else thinking oxi-clean?) seem to be grounded in a desire of the Greek citizenry for autonomy.

While my Libertarian heart agrees with their sentiments, I have to ask, why did Greece think it was such a good idea to join the EU in the first place?

Answer: Because they were a poor country, looking to become rich by joining up with rich countries, while neglecting the causes of their own relative poverty. In short, they are the irresponsible relative who comes begging every month for money to pay the rent, all the while castigating you for having the temerity to suggest that they might want to stop pissing away money hand-over-fist for non-essentials, and possibly look for a job.

The bigger issue is this: An economy is a balance of various factors in a society — productivity, among other things. The Greek culture celebrates its leisure — Greece is known for its liberal policies on the work-week, retirement age, and generous pensions. All of this makes for a nice relaxed attitude toward life, except that, all other things held equal, there will eventually be an issue of being unable to put as much food on the table as one would like.

Say’s law states that (basically) output is equal to input – you cannot enjoy the fruits of society unless society actually produces fruit. A society which congratulates itself on a low level of productivity, will be saddled with a corresponding low level of product – in short, if you work less, you had better be ready to enjoy less.

Greece (and they are by far alone in this) wanted the eat their cake and have it too. They insisted upon their right to produce less, while demanding (far more than) their fair share of the output. They managed to accommodate themselves by borrowing, then borrowing again. Indeed, their primary interest in joining the EU seemed to center around the fact that membership there-in, guaranteed them an unending bail-out for their poor economic sense.

Math being unaccommodating to wishes, Greece soon reached the point where they had to borrow to simply pay the interest on the loans.

When the creditors finally demanded that Greece straighten up, at least to the point of being able to pay interest, then, and ONLY then, did Greece rebel against the EU. They wanted the rest of Europe – specifically Germany – to shut up and pay their rent. Over and over.

So, yes, kudos to Greece for realizing that it sucks to have someone in a position to tell you to stop wasting money (and your life) away. But they deserve several wacks with a clue-bat for putting themselves into that position in the first place.

The concept behind the EU and the Euro was always stupid, and any honest economist could tell you that, and why that is the case, inside of two minutes. Unfortunately, the media and various governments are riddled with dishonest economists. The current debacle in Greece is the thoroughly predictable result.

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