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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn: "Greece should exit the Eurozone as quickly as possible and be offered a return ticket!"

In this interview with openeurope, Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn makes the following statement:

"For the population of Greece there is only one possibility, namely, exiting (the Eurozone) as quickly as possible and become competitive. I would say Greece should have a return ticket. Greece should be able to return to the Eurozone at a depreciated exchange rate at a later point in time if they satisfy the entry conditions. That would give the population hope. It would not be expulsion out of the Eurozone. They could even legally remain part of the system. They would be in a sort of hospital for a while and then they would return to normal. This is the right strategy".

Prof. Sinn makes this statement based on two very simple assumptions: First, the kind of austerity which has become necessary as a result of staying in the Eurozone is simply not sustainable (he refers particularly to the unemployment situation). At the same time, if Greece stays in the Eurozone, that kind of austerity will have to continue for years to come. And, secondly, if deflating Greece doesn't work, one would have to inflate Germany & Co. Prof. Sinn says that Germany would have to inflate by 5,5% annually for 10 years to bring Greece back into balance. The possibility of that happening he rules out.

I have to admit that, with every passing day, it is getting harder and harder for me to support my position that Greece should stay in the Eurozone. I know that Greece can't make it with the Euro in its present structure but I also think that a Grexit would be the worst of all evils.

I herewith repeat my old argument: Greece should hold on to the Euro but simulate a situation, on a temporary basis, as though it had returned to the Drachma. That would entail, among others, special taxes on imports; special incentives for new domestic production and for exports; and - above all - special incentives for new foreign investment.

If one doesn't like that approach, then the next best solution to me would be the introduction of a new local (parallel) currency in addition to the Euro. Also on a temporary basis.

Why not a clear-cut Grexit altogether? That depends on one's vision of Greece's future. If one shares the vision, which I do, that Greece indeed has the chance to become a modernized economy with an adequate level of own value creation, then a Grexit would wipe out that vision. The last 3 years have shown that even with the greatest pressure on society, there is an enormous popular resistance to make the necessary reforms (cutting wages/salaries are not reforms, in my opinion). A Grexit would do away with all such pressures and the likelihood of Greece then making the necessary reforms voluntarily is close to zero, in my opinion.

I have friends who know Greece much better than I do and they keep telling my that my vision is not a vision but an illusion, instead. They say that Greece will never change. One of them says that 'I see insurmountable problems in Greece which can only be resolved by a return to the Drachma and a sole concentration on tourism, agriculture and shipping - together with an abandonment of true reforms across a myriad of professions (i. e. Greeks will never change) and with encouragement to enhance the acitivites in the three areas that I have mentioned'.

I have not (yet) accepted that logic but I have to admit that not doing so becomes more and more difficult with every passing day.

52 comments:

  1. What makes Mr. Sinn believe that once out of the euro, one would want to get back in?

    The problem in Greece, is first of all political. It is like asking Queen Victoria to abolish british colonialism or something like that.

    The other problem, is exactly, that all foreign officials repeat how the "reforms" are going, while the citizen, sees wage cuts. It becomes a bit difficult to say "i like reforms, so please cut my wage more".

    The advantage of the drachma,is exactly that you are over with the "new month, here are your new wage cuts" story and you can sell easier reforms, probably under new parties, since the existing ones, won't survive after return to the drachma, since all this time, they have been selling the wage cuts as "lesser evil in order to stay in the euro". They will have no political defence whatsoever after a return to the drachma and their only fate will be dissolution.





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  2. I am getting very tired of theoretical economists -- like Sinn -- and the stupidity and arrogance with which they make pronouncements on things of which they know next to nothing. It is clear that he is far from competent to discuss the Greek economy, but I doubt his competence even in the German economy. In any other profession, such behaviour would be described as professional incompetence; it seems that econometricians and theoretical economists are not in the least embarrassed by their failings. Indeed, they generally refuse to admit to them -- and continue to live in a deluded universe that is only loosely connected with the one that we live in.

    The only purpose Greece could have in quitting the euro would be to devalue, stimulate the potential for exports and tourism, and recover both internal and external balance. Well, that is not going to happen. The first thing is that import dependence is now so high, that there can be no rapid substitution with domestic production. Therefore, there will be a massive spike in inflation (during a depression!!) which will be catastrophic. This will remove any progress made in fiscal balance domestically, with further collapse of economic activity and standards of living. The external balance will improve, because Greece will not be able to finance its imports. This is not any sort of gain: it is economic collapse.

    The second issue to consider is whether this could encourage FDI. Certainly not! Investors need stability, a reliable tax and legal system, as well as other infrastructural things that could collapse with further austerity. nobody in his right mind will invest in a collapsing economy (and polity and society, probably by that point). This is pure foolishness.

    So, where is the gain? It was a mistake for Greece to have entered the euro, at least without a strategy for economic adjustment. That mistake cannot be undone by quitting the euro. The only alternative would be if the euro collapses, then Greece may not have such a highly devalued currency in that context. Or a mediterranean euro would be also be sensible.

    No, I agree completely with you, klaus. Greece has to remain in the euro, make major adjustments (we have discussed elsewhere some of these)and given temporary protection from some of the requirements of EU membership, such as free trade and non-subsidy of infant undustry etc. It also needs a reflationary macro policy so that domestic demand provides some economic possibilities, as well as protecting the population from poverty and ill health both mental and physical.

    However, the EU will not entertain such ideas, because the Germans do not like them. End of story and possibly end of Greece.

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    1. 1
      I am getting tired of the economists (?) who don't understand or take into account the political economy of the policies adopted.

      A devaluation after a euro-exit could be a curse or a bless depending on who is going to do the action (and I am not talking about SYRIZA now). Depending on the assumptions a 60% devaluation after exiting the euro could cultivate to massive inflation (as projected by UBS) or to 9-10% inflation (as supported by Mariolis). The first assumes that the exit would take place under the current political and economic elite. Well, everyone know that this is not going to happen...NEVER.
      For the second scenario, the exit would be followed by public control of the banks as a first step to provide liquidity and investments to specified (through planning) areas of economic activity. Public control over some sensitive areas (such as transportation, public utilities etc.) should be re-established according to a modified version of the Developmental State and in contrast to the repeatedly failing neo-liberal prescriptions of the Washington Consensus that are sweeping the country. Besides, even though it is true that Greece is dependent on imports this dependency grows every year that the current policies are implemented due to the massive destruction of the base of production, especially manufacturing.

      Moreover, FDIs are not encouraged due to instability, that's true. However, it is even more true that instability right now primarily comes from the fact that the country's current level of indebtedness is unsustainable. Nobody invests in a country with reportedly unsustainable level of debt and this has put the country into a vicious circle of low/negative growth and indebtedness, while the austerity eliminates the economic base through the drastic reduction in infrastructural projects, healthcare, education etc., diminishing any hope for future growth.

      In effect, the country has become a debt colony, with a paralyzed economic base and gloomy economic expectations. These sacrifices could have been justified in the anticipation of a more strong future growth but this anticipation is more than illusionary, it is dangerous: given the current euro vs dollar bras de fer concerning the dominant global reserve currency (and that was the reasoning behind the Stability and Growth Pact) wages are slashed in the entire eurozone. Thus, as demand in the union would decline, the only hope is laid on exports to the rest of the world. With the US economy in trouble and the growth slow-down in China and the rest of the world, there is no prospect for strong export rebound for Greece in the foreseeable future. We have to be clear about this...

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    2. 2
      So, what would be left after the, most possible, win of the euro against the dollar in the next 3-5 years? Greece would be a heavily indebted country, with a povertized population and a very weak middle class, with 3rd class health, education and in general public utilities facilities, an increasingly undemocratic political system and authoritarian social life (I guess that it is indicative that no-one of the euro-supporters speaks about this issue), where a bunch of foreign and local capitalists would control the highest share of economic employing Chinisized/Bulgarized local and foreign workers. Similarly but to a lesser extend for the rest of the Euro-South.

      Of course this could be great news for you (I don't talk personally) if you are a major stock holder, wealthy-man and generally part of the political and economic elite. But what you call "Greece's interest" is just the interest of your class (here comes again the political economy). But if you are a worker or a squeezed middle-class person, "Greece's interest" is to leave the euro-zone, emancipate from its corrupt and tax-free (among others) political and economic elites that control its economy since the WW II, face the difficulties of the first years after exit and see the future more optimistically later.

      Besides, you also admit that there is no future in staying in the euro...

      Nikos

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  3. Mr Kastner,

    Openeurope is a London based think tank, with Lord Leach of Fairford as a chairman. He is a "eurosceptic".I would suggest the years to come to focus with the same emphasis as for Greece exiting euro,in UK's economy and mainly in urgent political issues-
    I don't know if also mr Sinn is in favor of the new political party in Germany!
    However to remind that the monolithic target to become competitive thew internal devaluation for the first time in Gr is implemented partially (we have to observe it however) with huge cost and unemloymend.
    How to deal with unemloyment?
    The economy is simple things in some cases, if the issue was to pass hard measures (salaries -30 to 50% down),a reward would be to give motive, reducing VAT, in restaurants, taxes in gas, heavilly taxed energy cost in companies and inabillity of young professionals to start a profession because of large costs.This is only to stabilise the double digit negative consumption by spending for investment. To stop hard recession

    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2013/cr1320.pdf

    page 6/260 Wages

    Quality targets are problematic to reach, because of the luck of suffiecient examble as friends point out. Mr Tomsen for first time after 4-5y talk about the inability to tax equally tax evators and that internal devaluation does not work as far as the adjustment in prices!
    Troika should have "won" people to demand from political elites the right things to change 3-4y now!
    Reforms will be in need with euro or drachma, but an innovative economy only with euro.
    Mr Sinn proposal for Greeks having 120b E in Swiss banks is great to become reality the following years,by altering Swiss,Liechtenstein etc banking sectors,(and reduce their exposure to the gdp) while in euro.Why not now?

    MS

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  4. Just another question, toward greek insiders:
    There is an actual article in New York Times that leaves me quite alarmed. What du you think, how serious is it, especially that part:

    "Last year, an estimated 10 percent of Greek elementary and middle school students suffered from what public health professionals call “food insecurity,” meaning they faced hunger or the risk of it, said Dr. Athena Linos, a professor at the University of Athens Medical School who also heads a food assistance program at Prolepsis, a nongovernmental public health group that has studied the situation. “When it comes to food insecurity, Greece has now fallen to the level of some African countries,” she said."
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/world/europe/more-children-in-greece-start-to-go-hungry.html
    It sounds frightening. How deep are the problems?
    Should we start organizing private helping trecks with food and clothes as it was necessary in the early nineties with Romania, Bulgaria or Belorussia?

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    1. Roger: yes, it has got to that level in some schools and areas of Greece.

      My experience of walking down the street in central Athens, is very traumatic. Unlike New York or London, there is no threat of violence -- just very unhappy people living on the streets, asking for food and help, and almost nobody able to provide anything. Only in the last 2-3 years have I seen such things here: it is looking more and more third world every time I walk down the street. Rows of closed (bankrupt) shops, and a sense of despair in most people. As one of the luckier people, with employment and money, they can see from my expression (I guess) that I am moderately happy, and stare in wonder. (They think I am Greek, so it is not about ethnicity.)

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    2. @ Roger

      Do not believe such things. Greeks are floating in money. The children that have been fainting at school since once year ago, the lack of drugs of cancer in hospitals, are a facade we have to make up to fool the Germans. Unfortunately, the latest Spiegel discovered our plot.

      http://i48.tinypic.com/t9iezo.jpg

      Yes, unfortunately, our donkeys are so overloaded with money, that they spill over and they got us red-handed.

      As for Mr. Sinn, why doesn't he retire? I understand retirement brings boredom, so he 'd rather play armchair general from Bavaria and informs us about his latest masterplan for Greece, like a myriad of others self-appointed experts on greek matters that flooded the press in the last years, but it all comes to this. When the population exhausts its patience, Greece will return to the drachma. It's that simple.

      You can't sell to someone who is unemployed for 3 years any economic theory. For every Sinn out there, there is an "anti-Sinn" who says the opposite. At the end of the day, the populations wants results. IF doesn't see the results in one way, it will try the other.

      Up until now, Greece has made the biggest fiscal adjustment in the shortest time ever made in a OECD country, has seen a depression that surpasses the American Great depression and the recession that Argentina knew. Economic theories are good, just like military war plans. But just like in war, there is Murphy's law around the corner.

      As for Mr. Sinn, nobody in Greece really cares about what he says. Mr. Sinn is preoccupied on what is best for german interests, not greek. Otherwise we should also have to believe Mrs. Merkel that says that her "heart bleeds when she hears greek pentioners take a new hit". And who, Mrs. Merkel, decided to put Greece under a program twice as fast as the one the IMF though Strauss-Kahn was advicing and that now the EU Commission loosens for Spain, Portugal, because they don't want to have the same damage in the economy we did?

      Maybe we should gather money in Greece and send to IFO to Mr Sinn a nice collection of crosswords and quiz magazines, so that he can cheat his boredom up to the day he get his pension.

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  5. @Xenos

    Care to enlighten us how the euro allows Greece to finance a perpetual trade deficit?

    It doesn't.

    What it does, thanks to the troika's financing of the government deficit (and only the government deficit) is to allow for a softer landing (but also a longer landing). Nothing more, nothing less.

    Unfortunately, it offers no prospect. The internal devaluation is a joke (because it is sabotaged by fiscal consolidation), the banking system is zombified and the private sector is insolvent. Dead end. And yes, reforms, foreign direct investment, blah-di-dah. Not enough to turn, or to run the economy.

    Nobody disputes the hard landing scenario under a return to a national currency. But nobody should dispute it's prospect either.

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    1. It's not the Euro per see which allows a member country to run trade deficits without check. Instead, it's the Eurosystem's cash management system called Target-2. Through Target-2, national banking systems can make transfers abroad for, say, imports without regard to the liquidity they have available abroad. Instead, they simply charge der ECB credit card, that is Target-2. So, if you happen to have 10 BEUR in your account with Eurobank and if you want to use all of that to buy Porsche's in Germany, you can do it regardless of whether your bank has the liquidity for it. The bank simply effects the transfer to Germany and, at the end of day day, it owes 10 BEUR more to the ECB under Target-2.

      BTW, you are saying what Sinn is saying in the interview. He, too, says that, after a hard landing, things would improve quite quickly. But mind you, he is also saying the following.

      Capital would quickly flow back to Greece because Greece has become much cheaper and assets can be bought cheap. Sinn says mostly Greek foreign capital would return to Greece quickly for such purposes.

      What that means is that those Greeks (and others) who bet against Greece in the last 3 years will turn out as the big winners. I once read about the so-called 'Drachma gang'. Well, that Drachma gang would make a financial killing. The potential political backlash of that would also have to be considered.

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    2. As Klaus has explained, Target 2 outs eurozone countries in a completely different position with regard to trade deficits. This is because a monetary union actually has to operate as one, and membership of one is a big deal. Equally, quitting one would be an even bigger deal.

      As far as the motivation of people for the proponents of GR-exit is concerned. I am very troubled about the probable speculative intent is concerned. These are very large sums of money and the future of the mass population of the country at stake. IN addition, I smell a political agenda of anti-Europeanism and yet another attempt to abuse Greece for others' political agenda.

      My advice is for both Germany and Greece to keep well away from this sort of political machination through the media. It is malevolent and has no technical competence to recommend it.

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    3. Er, I don't agree with your explanation. Maybe partially, but it's a very one-sided view of the whole debacle.

      Target2 is just a bookkeeping system which keeps account of border transactions (and one central bank "owes" another central bank, blah) and allows the payments system to function. If it wasn't for Target2, there would be no monetary union, period.

      Time and time again you have compared "inner money" (bank reserves, of use only to the banks) with "outer money" (regular money that people use in their transactions). Yes, there is a relationship between the two (for example increased demand for cash drives down bank reserves), but they cannot be compared the way you compare them. They're two different things. The first don't affect inflation for starters, which is why this ocean of liquidity (during the crisis) hasn't brought any inflation.

      Bottom line, in a normal monetary union, there would be no discussions about the payments system. Have you ever participated in a discussion whereas a bank in Vienna uses the Austrian Central Bank's "credit card" to settle a payment with a bank in Salzburg? I think not.

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    4. Jim Slip
      I believe you and I have been through this before. You argue that the Eurozone does not work like a 'normal' currency union should; and you are right. I argue that the Eurozone was never designed to work like a 'normal' currency union should, and I believe I am right, too.

      Why does the target-2 problem not occur between Vienna and Salzburg? A couple of reasons. First, Austria is a federated state with a federal government, with federal taxes, with everything federal. Secondly, the regional economies of all 9 federal states of Austria are more or less homogeneous. I could give other reasons.

      The federal state of Salzburg has no sovereignty. It could not decide to leave the EU and the Eurozone. Thus, creditors know that, in the final analysis, the full faith and credit of the Austrian Republic stands behind the federal state of Salzburg. Thus, if the state of Salzburg got involved in huge scandals threatening their financial soundness (like they currently have), it will not trigger a confidence crisis or run against Salzburg bonds, banks, etc.

      If one state fell economically far behind the others and had chronic current account deficits with the others, unemployment in that state would increase unproportionally and people would relocate to other states where employment prospects are better. If they didn't, their living standard would tank because they would have to live on unemployment benefits and with a collapse in living standard (demand), the current account deficit would balance, too (see Greece).

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    5. My point basically was that you should stop using the expression "the ECB's credit card", because it leads to the wrong conclusions, especially with people that don't have a very clear idea of how the modern monetary system and reserve accounting actually works.

      Sinn has done the same, obviously for internal political reasons. Who can forget his misleading claims that the ECB is somehow funding the periphery's consumption, which is simply not true, because - like you - he equates inner money (bank reserves) with outer money (let's call them cash).

      The fact that when a cross-border transaction occurs one central bank owes money to another central bank (i.e. when a Greek transfers money to a German bank then the reserves of the Greek bank get debited, the reserves of the German bank get credited, and ditto for BoG's and Bubba's reserves at the ECB) is one extra complication which confuses a lot of people and leads them to the wrong conclusions.

      Like the following excellent article states:

      "The difference is that commercial banks have to clear their reserve overdrafts by either borrowing from other banks or the central bank, however national central bank overdrafts within the system are not cleared they are simply recorded in the TARGET2 system."

      http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2012/03/professor-sinn-strays-off-target/

      So, lot's of ado about nothing.

      You can at least be clear and say what really is at stake here, which is that the ECB allows the Greek banking system to function within the euro, because if the ECB (through the BoG) hadn't granted the Greek banks "liquidity", then Greece would be forced out of the euro.

      So once again the real issue is that Europe doesn't really want to be in monetary union, and yet it finds itself in monetary union.

      Good job, Europe!

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    6. Jim Slip
      I agree that calling target-2 an "ECB credit card" is a provocative term. Better not to use it; ok.

      The more proper expression would be an 'overdraft facility which the ECB affords the national banking systems to cover overdrafts which occur through the normal cash fluctuations in a cash management and/or settlement system'.

      Still, there can be absolutely NO DOUBT that the ECB, through target-2, has been facilitating consumption in the current account deficit countries in the last years. Much more importantly, the ECB, through target-2, has been facilitating hundreds of billions of deposit flight from the banking systems of the periphery. If you disagree, please answer these 2 questions:

      1) Who has been financing the current account deficits in the last years?
      2) Who has financed the deposit flight?

      Someone has been doing the financing and I can give you a hint --- it wasn't "inner money".

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    7. First of all, I'd like to ask you a question, just so that we can be clear about this.

      What would have happened if the ECB threw Greece out of Target2?

      Now, my answer to your questions.

      1) The troika, and accumulated wealth.
      2) The ECB (although I prefer the term allowed, rather than financed).

      One more point. If the interbank market was operating normally (as before the crisis) then the Target2 balance would be, well, more balanced, because deposit flight towards the North would be counteracted by liquidity flight towards the South, without the intervention of the central banks.

      Imho, the Eurozone is making a big mistake in policy by obsessing about government debt during a recession. Since obviously the real issue is one of current accounts, it should instead focus in an effort to rebalance the tradable and non-tradable sectors of the Southern countries (in favor of the tradable sectors).

      By that I mean that the EU and the governments should be heavily involved in this, instead of just impoverish the local population and hoping that somewhere along the way the private sector will get indebted again, and maybe this time he'll get it right and build factories instead of malls.

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    8. Jim Slip
      Ad 1) a current account deficit is seen in the aggregate financial statements of the banking sector. In a currency zone, the deficit withdraws liquidity from the banking sector which must be replenished (financed). So how did the liquidity in the Greek banking sector get replenished? Not directly through Troika loans because the borrower of Troika loans is the state and not any bank. I agree with you, though, that money is a fungible entity and, indirectly, part of the Troika loans will eventually end up in the banking sector. Accumulated domestic wealth could not have financed the current account deficit because that wealth declined dramatically due to deposit flight. The true answer you find in the balance sheet of the Bank of Greece. They show target-2 debt under 'liabilities to MFIs of other Euro area countries'. They started at close to zero a few years ago and peaked around 135 BEUR last year. There you have the overdrafts which the ECB 'allowed' to facilitate current account deficits and deposit flight.
      Ad 2) We agree.

      I think we once before went about the question of what I think the ECB should have done. Here is my position again.

      Already by 2008, foreign lenders began withdrawing funds from Greece. The process accelerated during 2009 and went out of control after Papandreou announced the corrected budget deficit. At that point, everybody and his brother should have had it clear that this would not be a temporary liqudity crisis. Instead, it would end up as a run on the country's bonds and banking sector. The IMF has innumerable precedents to that effect only in the last few decades.

      The ECB cannot be expected to finance a run against a country. That's the job of governments. The ECB should have maintained the age-old position of a Central Bank to act as a lender of last resort to banks against adequate collateral from banks. Once Greece was downgraded below investment grade, it was no longer adequate collateral.

      At this point, the ECB should have given the EU, the IMF and whoever an ultimatum that they would continue to finance Greece for only another, say, 3 months. During this time, the politicians would have had to come up with a solution for the country's ENTIRE FOREIGN DEBT (not only the sovereign debt). Then, the buck would have landed where it would have belonged from the very beginning - with politicians who are paid for taking political decisions (and NOT for passing the buck to the ECB!).

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  6. XENOS


    Oooooh mir kommen die Tränen; ich habe ja so großes Mitleid mit den Griechen.
    Klar ist auch, daß die Griechen völlig unschuldig sind an ihrer jetzigen Misere.
    Sie sind ja so zu bedauern. Arme Griechen.
    Verehrter Xenos,
    der griechische Wohlstand der letzten 12 Jahre ist nicht durch Arbeit, Anstrengung und Leistung erwirtschaftet, sondern hauptsächlich über Schulden erschwindelt und ergaunert worden. Die Griechen sind der süßen Droge billigen Schuldengeldes verfallen, wiegten sich in Wohlstandsillusionen und werden jetzt auf kalten Entzug gesetzt. Die griechische Bevölkerung, die jetzt an den Folgen ihrer eigenen Schuldenpolitik schwere Not leidet, wird sich darauf besinnen müssen, dass die Vergeudungs- und Pumppolitik, die nun ihre Opfer fordert, ein Ergebnis ihrer demokratischen Willensbildung war! Die Griechen sind die vollverantwortlichen Autoren der Situation, in der sie sich heute befinden.


    Nach der deutschen Bundestagswahl wird es einen weiteren griechischen Schuldenschnitt geben, und dann werden Milliarden von griechischen Schulden auf deutschen Konten landen.
    Fabelhaft!

    Mir als deutschem Steuerzahler kommt die kalte Kotze und bleibt nur der Zorn:

    Μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληιάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
    οὐλομένην, ἥ μυρί’ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε’ ἔθηκεν,

    Menin aiede, thea, Peleiadeo Achileos
    Oulomenem, he myri Achaiois alge eteke ….

    Den Zorn singe, oh Göttin, des Peleussohnes Achilles,
    den unheilbringenden Zorn, der tausend Leid den Achäern
    schuf und viele stattliche Seelen zum Hades hinabstieß …


    Verpißt euch aus der Euro-Zone!

    Bakwahn

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    1. Would like to continue to publish your good comments. In order to be able to do so, please refrain using language like in your last sentence.

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    2. KK wrote:
      „ … please refrain using language like in your last sentence.“
      eye, eye sir.
      Sorry for my my verbal derailment.

      Ich hatte gar nicht damit gerechnet, daß Sie meinen Text überhaupt veröffentlichen.
      Ich hatte beim Abfassen auch vielmehr Sie als Adressaten im Sinn als diesen Griechen.
      Der versteht ja kein Deutsch.

      Sie müssen wissen, daß ich zuvor auf deutschen Tageszeitungen Artikel gelesen habe wie diesen:
      http://www.focus.de/finanzen/news/staatsverschuldung/diskussion-um-reparationen-athen-beharrt-auf-entschaedigung-fuer-nazi-zeit_aid_965184.html

      Die Griechen haben die Frechheit, Reparationen zu fordern. Das ist der Gipfel der Unverschämtheit.
      Da platze mir die Hutschnur.

      Bakwahn

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  7. There was a long comment from an 'anonymous' which I inadvertently deleted. Sorry. I will try to retrieve.

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  8. Really i feel very big surprise that offer a ticket to return Greece in Eurozone.

    Really in Greece we dont kneed these kind of offers.

    We dont kneed because we prefer our indepedence.
    We go and we dont return . Enough.

    The problem is who get start first so will take the rensPosibility of what will go on after.

    So please put Greece out of the Eurozone .

    We want our indepedence .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GZlKxrmdyA

    George G.

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  9. Here is part 1 of the deleted comment:

    Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn: "Greece should exit the Eu...":

    Dear sir 10:29 AM,

    Unfortunately i don't speak german, i am a mere greek, so please forgive me for that. I tried an automatic translation with not much of a success, but i understood that you are in tears for the Greeks and their hardships.

    I would like to thank you for your compassion, i am saving your post for my greek friends who don't believe into the "german mercy" and show Merkel in a nazi uniform...

    And i assure you, that if Germany ever needs greek help for some reason, the population will gladly save Germany once more, with the same enthusiasm you did now, who despite the trully despicable greek choices, so graciously taught what "european partners" are for, to those who cheated you.

    But, you shouldn't be so sad for our hardships. We paid for our hubris. And we didn't deserve the german compassion. I see the current condition, as a Purgatory, where there is the rightful punishment for our sins.

    But i see, you are also a conosseur of the Iliad. And what a sage part you have chosen! How appropriate. In deed, we pay now for the conseguences of our choices. This has always been the history.

    But pray tell, what would the ancient Greeks say to Germany, out of everyone else? Maybe what is "ευδαιμονία". It was defined in different ways by different philosophical schools, but none of them included the attachment to money. The difference between the Greek and the German, is this. When the Greek, after being famished, plundered, raped by the German, was told by his Allies that "we must help now Germany because we need to think about Russia, so forget for an indefinite amount of time what we decided that they owe you", the Greek read it in the newspaper, raised his shoulders and went on with his life. The German, well, i need not say what he still does. I wonder whether after 50 years you will have

    How would an ancient greek describe that?

    Also, if it may sooth your anger, Germany has made quite some profit from the crisis, due to reduction in german interest rates, flow of foreign money in german banks and increased exports. Others have not been so lucky.

    But, beyond your righteous rage for the greeks, why aren't you equally raged for your banks? It was them that your chancellor rushed to save giving the money to Greece, to give them to your banks, under the pretext of a bleeding heart for the greek citizen, who sinned, but her, like a loving mother cared for. Where were the protests outside YOUR parliament?

    (to continue)


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  10. And here is part 2:

    Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn: "Greece should exit the Eu...":

    (continues)

    I think you mention your scarse enthusiasm about a possible new greek haircut. Protest outside your parliament... It will happen either decided by you or not, because "ούκ άν λάβεις παρά του μή έχοντος", as the ancient text says. Germany is in the place of Charon, Greece in the place of Menippus. Time to bring the ancient teaching out of the book and apply it in life, isn't it... Because that is what books are for ultimately.

    You have a choice too. A democratic choice. Vote Chancellor Merkel out office. Stop her for giving a haircut to greek debt. It is not too late.

    I agree with your last, "scandalous" sentence, because this is not the Europe i was imagining either. You are right to be angry and weep over your money. But i am tired of 3 years of hearing the weeping and anger and i know that Greece can live without euro too. We 've survived much worse than that, we ll come around. But i am tired of the gollumesque moneyweeping, of the 100th time that Mr. Sinn repeat the same things over and over, the same Bavarian ministers asking for Grexit, etc. This is why i will vote for a path that brings Greece away from this "civilized" union.

    When i ask myself, what will my last thoughts be before i die, i don't think i will think how much money i have left in the bank or in my wallet. You can die rich, i want to die in peace. This includes not having to hear Sinn for 1000th time.

    Forgive me for my bad english, i didn't want my greek to cause translating troubles and this is my last post in this blog, so no need to tell me to refrain too.

    A closing sentence. "Μηδένα πρό του τέλους μακάριζαι".

    P.S.: Thank you Mr. Kastner for the hospitality.

    P.S.2: Unfortunately, the debt is never quite "just". Today it is being paid by children unborn in the 80s. Or, Greece, finished paying debts to the 3 Great powers of 1830, in the 80s-90s.

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  11. Dear unknown Greek, my esteemed Greek colleague,

    here is my answer, I make it short.

    Go, go, go and leave the Euro-zone as fast as possible. Better today than tomorrow.

    Then you can stand on your own feet and you are independent again.

    We Germans don't want to support the Greeks any more. We don't need the Greeks.
    We are tired of being insulted as Nazis, we are tired of being confronted with (war) reparations.

    The Greece primeministers Papandreou and Samars have been to Germany; they promised the German people with flourished gesture to pay back the Greece debts. They lied without turning red!

    The problem:
    As long as the Greeks get money from the Europeans – money, which they will never pay back – they don't leave the Euro-zone.
    Please voluntarily forsake the euro zone. Go, go, go.


    Bakwahn
    PC-Support und Netzwerkadministration
    Hamburg Bangkok Düsseldorf

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  12. @Bakwahn

    I think that in Germany they don’t let you to see the true.
    They lie to you.
    The true is that German government earn and take a lot of money day by day from the situation in Greece . They like very much such situations .
    Check a little what Germany earn from such situation.
    Please don’t love us so much we can not affort your love.
    Certainly the propaganda and the yiellow press in Germany doing a good job.
    So eat the propaganda will be much better for you to believe what they want to believe.
    By the way . The war reparations according the international lows Germany must pay in Greece if you like or not . Will be pay by German Government any Government will be there . These are money 1- as loan Nazis took from Greek banks and 2. Also Germany must pay for the …..good actions of Nazism during the occupation in Greece . You as a honest and democratic German you must ask from your government to return the money which took as loan during the occupation from Greece . Hitler recognize these loan ….but you as a democrat new generation you don’t recognize ? That is your own problem . Not a greek problem.
    Learn something the money we take as loan we give back more than we take .

    George G.

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    1. @ George G., my young (i presume) and enthusiastic compatriot,

      Although i said i will not post again, i will make this last exception. Germany most probably won't pay neither the occupation loan nor the reparations. Read the conclusions of the vice president of the supreme court.

      http://www.otyposnews.gr/archives/51604#axzz2R8LsDQvO

      And this is today's newspapers' news, where it pubblished german verbal note of 1966, from the german embassy, where it says that they recognize that Greece never resigned from the claim on reparations (as Germany now claims due to the 110 DM payment of 1960 to victims of persecution for religious and racial reasons-read Jews).

      http://www.real.gr/DefaultArthro.aspx?page=arthro&id=227024&catID=11

      The problem isn't whether Greece has a case or as you say "according to international laws", but whether Greece can make Germany pay, which is another story.

      As you see, the possibilities are:
      1) Germany, accepts its obbligations on her own will. It won't happen. It is no coincidence that consistently Schauble only speaks of "war reparations" and never of the loan, since he attempts to include it in the reparations, which would seem more irrational nowdays, even to "neutral" judges.

      2) Greece asks to be formed ex novo, the Arbitration Court according to the 1953 convention. In the Court, Germany will have the right to pick 4 out of 10 judges of her own choice (say dutch, finnish, austrian, 1 jolly,i would choose British if i were german), while Greece can none. Of the rest 6 judges, do you really think that many would adhere to the "law"? Judges are people after all... And in such courts, usually serving national policies. In 1953 we would have won. Today? No... Historically, the defeated pays the winner. But only when is still the defeated.

      3) The International Court of Justice of Hague. Unfortunately only Greece has recognized its juristiction with no reservations. Germany only for cases after 2008, exactly to shield itself from annoying cases like ours. So we go there, Germany simply says "sorry, it's before 2008, i don't accept the court's juristiction" (turkish tactic).

      4) Last resort, as he says, for the loan only, the greek courts, with intervetion of Bank of Greece, no better explained. I assume to seize anything german in Greece, for years, until the loan is repaid? Hardly feasible. If anything, it is something Germany could do with Greece if tables were turned. I dare not what we would have heard every day for 50 years, if we had war debts to Germany. We are lucky we didn't invade them.

      Still, it is very entertaining observing the frustration of Schauble about it. Because we know he knows and he knows we know...

      Samaras is doing it for internal consumption, simply to make SYRIZA lose momentum.

      International law, exists, as far as you are powerful enough to enforce it. Schauble is right. The case is closed. Not because it is legally closed, but because it is politically closed by the side that has the power to keep it closed.

      Still, it is amusing how well propaganda still works nowdays. I admire the iron belief of the german population to whatever stories without shred of proof their politicians narrate them.
      But then again, they believed George Papandreou too. :)))

      As for the rest, just like we learnt to lose, they will too. Or, the next time, include also a pound of flesh in the contract. Oh, and blood! We don't want to make foolish mistakes others did before, do we? :)

      P.S.: Does Schauble the virtuous, know that every year the italian mafia money launders 50 bln euros for the last 20 years in virtuousland?

      http://italia.panorama.it/E-la-Germania-il-paradiso-fiscale-delle-Mafie

      http://affaritaliani.libero.it/cronache/scarpinato-la-mafia-lava-denaro-in-germania231012.html

      Who knew cypriot banks were so busy in Germany! :)


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    2. A pity you won't post again, as it's informative and fair-minded.

      I think one has to separate historical-based arguments from the political situation today. As you say, Samaras has domestic political reasons to "warm up" this theme.

      Germany has domestic politics too. And its politicians and media reflect those politics. In this case: on the subject of war reparations, pretty much across the political spectrum, people would react with fury to any payment, or in fact any negotiations.

      There's a long history behind that, related to the Treaty of Versailles and so on. Basically, anybody who would agree to war reparations would be politically destroyed. It's significant that the Left Party, which regularly invites Tsipras to speak in Germany, never refers to Syriza's demands for war reparations.

      There is, in fact, a historical case to be made, for the forced loan particularly. And one does occasionally see it being made in the german media - it's not all Propaganda.

      Former Professor of History in Athens Hagen Fleischer seems to be the german voice in the wilderness, making that case.

      http://www.dw.de/greece-ponders-german-war-reparations/a-16744823

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    3. Richard Bourke
      What Prof. Hagen is saying sounds very sensible (in fact, it is very similar to what Prof. Ritschl from the LSE is saying). A loan is a contract between two parties, voluntary or not. It would appear to be a simple exercise to look up the contract, see what it says and determine whether it has been fulfilled or not.

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    4. @ Richard Bourke.

      If you google translate the first link i posted (it's from the vice-president of the greek supreme court and analyzes all german arguments), you will see that Greece kept "bothering" Germany about the issues, through diplomatic channels, continuously. The last german who paid back a part of the occupation loan, was Hitler. Payments were subsequently unilaterally cut and Germany plays a "hiding game" for it, with the scope of falling into prescription.

      I know professor Fleischer and it is no coincidence he is in Athens... He came to know what we know for years. But in a "civilized" world, legal treaties aren't a matter of historians, but of judges. But as i said, international law, exists for the powerful ones. If you are USA, you can enforce a UN resolution or a payment of a debt even after 150 years. If you are Cyprus or Palestine, can you enforce it?

      Theoretically, the Court in Hague, exists exactly to solve disputes between states, so that it doesn't come to "politicians that must acknowledge" on their own initiative. But, you can't force another country, no matter how civilized and righteous, to recognize the Court of Hague, can you... I mean, if you have a land or debt dispute with your neighbour, you go to Court, not a historian, don't you. Can we freeze our debts for 50 years and then find a historian to say that for "historical justice", we have a moral right not to pay them or that now too many years passed? No...

      I have no expectations for anything to be paid and so should my young, but naive, compatriot. But i can't resist the cheerful temptation of exposing how the virtuous Schauble, who speaks all the time about morality and "duties" and "debts have to be paid", dodges bullets.

      Ι must admit, i do enjoy myself with the idea of Schauble dreaming at night that he is in a trial in Hague of Greece vs Germany and he wakes up screaming "immunity! we have state immunity and don't recognize the juristiction of the Court! Go away, lazy Greek! Oh, it was just a bad dream, what a relief!"

      If it was me, i would call for formation of the Arbitration Court and sue Germany for 1 euro. We would still lose, because Germany can't afford to lose this nature of a trial (the amount doesn't matter), but i would then give the trial archives to pubblic access, with the documents presented by each side, so that future historians would judge for the "kick" of it, as Americans say. That's the job of historians.

      Germans always take things very seriously, but they have very narrow sight once they decide which is the right thing. This has always been also their downfall historically, when they are convinced that the wrong thing is the right one. That's why they seem more outraged because Samaras ordered a legal exploration of the matter (didn't even move legally against Germany), than a greek is... At the end, if Germany is legally sound, nobody in Germany should ever worry what Greece does or does not. In the worst case, they should accept the juristiction of Hague Court una tantum and give us once and for all, a legal lesson and close the subject and be able to laugh at us... But waiting it out is more "safe" strategy. Wolfgang, you old fox! :)

      But, at least, satyre costs nothing and they can't stop us from stinging them, like an annoying horseflea. George G, has the optimism of the youth that he will win. But, taking a loan from a fellow southerner spanish source, George G. makes his calculations without him!

      http://i35.tinypic.com/fwm351.png

      It is not a pitty that i stop. I have long ago, come to the conclusion, that it is very tiring and an endless task, trying to explain to foreigners things that don't know about Greece and believe they do, by reading whatever they can come at hand in english. Even more, that nowdays, a Greek must prove that he isn't an elephant.

      Goodbye

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    5. yes, it's time-consuming. I get tired too. But I think "jaw-jaw is better than war-war" (Churchill, I think).

      Thanks for the links. I'll have to go through them again, as I'm unaware of Germany not recognising the ICJ before 2008.

      It was Germany that took the Distomo / Italian case to the ICJ, where it won.

      http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/143/16883.pdf

      I'll go over your links again, I think (google translate is hitting its limits on them, of course).

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    6. @ Richard Bourke.

      It works like this. Germany can use ICJ against Italy, because Italy allows so. Germany in her declaration, states:

      1. The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany declares that it recognizes as compulsory ipso facto and without special agreement, in relation to any other state accepting the same obligation, the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, in conformity with paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Statute of the Court, until such time as notice may be given to the Secretary-General of the United Nations withdrawing the declaration and with effect as from the moment of such notification, over all disputes arising AFTER the present declaration, with regard to situations or facts subsequent to this date other than:

      http://www.icj-cij.org/jurisdiction/index.php?p1=5&p2=1&p3=3&code=DE

      the greek one is more "loose":

      http://www.icj-cij.org/jurisdiction/index.php?p1=5&p2=1&p3=3&code=GR

      Germany won in the ICJ, not on the basis that doesn't owe anything because settled, but on the basis that enjoys state immunity, so the italian court, cannot enforce a ruling on the german state (which the german state doesn't want).

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  13. Please note the loan took nazis from Greek Bank was a loan under violence a loan under force.
    @Bakwahn

    If someone take loan by force of the guns do you have any idea how we call him ?
    Even that Hitler Government recocnize this loan which took by force . The democratic and social democratic Germany realy dont recocnise dont accept this loan? German troops wermacht 3rd reich took from Greek Bank ? They signed in ROME 14/3/1942.

    The international lows AND courts will make Germany to pay soon i hope . Germany owns Greece and no Greece owns to Germany. Wait you will see my friend. Be calm and relax .

    George G.



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  14. Soon i will return sorry at the moment .
    I have answer for every one.
    There is something else also which must be clear.
    German troops in Greece they took many greek archeological status from the Ancient Greek civilazation. There are the names and what they stolt during the occupation . This has nothing to do with politic parts samaras or Tsipras or anyoneelse . Things will become very clear . I dont know why the Greek Government dont put on table all these at the moment.

    Soon i hope everything will become very clear .
    We are very proud people and we dont permit to anyone to still our archeological status . Of course the NAZIS the German troops of Wermacht under
    the force of the guns they stolt they killed even small boys and girls but it was not enought for them they had to still our archeological status to show that are lovers of civilazation . .

    We are not going to forget if all the stollen status will dont return to their home here in GREECE. Not any politician here or anywhere will make Greeks to forget this fact. Not for any reason. Germany owns a lot things in Greece . We dont care we dont give a damn what soiblue says is better to check the German Archeological museums or search where are the stollen status of greece and say also to us if he found or not .
    Germany has to apology in Greek people for many things .We dont forget until to find everything.

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    1. I would only suggest that you read what Prof. Fleischer is saying. One has to remain realistic. Pursuing 'war reparations' is like beating a dead horse. Why beat a dead horse when you have a better horse like that forced loan?

      PS: I would also be cautious about the issue of war reparations, massacres, ethnic cleansings, etc. etc. One never knows what kind of a pandora's box one opens. I have just travelled through the Chameria. Well, let me just say that there is also an issue which would deserve some attention but Greece, in a Schaeuble-like manner, has always said "case closed". And there are several other issues of treating minorities and/or ethnic cleansing which might just as well remain buried under the blanket of history.

      I would also say that when it comes to war time destruction, Greeks, understandably, focus on the period 1941-43. One should also look at the period 1941-49. The historical accounts which I have read state unequivocally that the material destruction from 1946-49 by far exceeded that of 1941-43.

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    2. Mr. Kastner, i had violated my word again and written you a long reply, but i am not very good with computers and i did something and i lost everything and i have not patience to write it down again.

      The position of Germany is the same for the loan and the reparations. Samaras himself, first raised loan issue officially in 1991, while acting as foreign minister. I need not tell you what happened. Germany enjoys the same legal weapons for both the case of loan and reparations and thus uses them at the same way.

      About the Epirus (which you call Chameria). In this list, you will find the countries that recognize the International Court of Justice.

      http://www.icj-cij.org/jurisdiction/index.php?p1=5&p2=1&p3=3

      You will find Greece, with a very open declaration.

      http://www.icj-cij.org/jurisdiction/index.php?p1=5&p2=1&p3=3&code=GR

      You will not find Albania. It is not a forgetfullness. You see, the Italians, used Albanian Chams (and not only) as occupation forces and administrative too (Mussolini had promiced them a part of Greece, already to partecipate in the italian army, which they did, enthusiastically according to italian archives). After the occupation, the Italians had a sort of loose supervisions, while chams had a sort of "executive manager" position, often giving the names of those to be executed.

      Quick link:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramythia_executions

      After the italian armistice in 1943, ironically they joined the germans, and hunted down italian stranded soldiers, who again, ironically, saught refuge to the greek guerillas. In about that time, a greek guerilla leader, clashed with both armed Albanians and killed some civillians, while the bulk of them (about 23000) fled to Albania, trying again later, on the side of the greek communists and losing again. Now in Albania this is celebrated as genocide and it is their right to do so.

      The reason of why Albania doesn't simply deposit a note in Hague recognizing the Court and sueing Greece, as you say, is that... Greece could sue back... Because Greece accepts Hague, on the basis of reciprocity. Greece can raise an issue on the status of Northern Epirus,which according to an old (1918 more or less) treaty, should be autonomous. And the bad thing with treaties is, they remain legally valid, unless they have a time limit or are superseded by new one on the same subject. And the second, is, if Albania wants reparations from WWII, why shouldn't Greece ask for reparations from Albania? (there are already greek lawyers that have quantified what we should ask, but it's a policy that was deemed nationalistic long ago). Otherwise, nothing is stopping them... Of course, to ask Greece to accept their claims, without the possibility of reciprocity, goes beyond the good heart of Greece. If anything,greek foreign policy has made the mistake of being for too long "claimless", while everyone else in the Balkans claims something from his neighbour.

      Bottom line, is, we can probably, outsue anyone in our region and get out with profit.

      Another technical detail, is that in the german case, we talk about reparations that Germany signed in. Otherwise Greece could sue Italy for roman devastations and Iran for the persian wars.

      That said, nothing will happen and in the spirit of "european partnership", admittedly, not its apex nowdays, Greece would be ungracious to raise it. Not that it would matter raising it. But, it is often useful to remind certain things.

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  15. Greece should leave the Euro-zone as fast as possible. GO, GO, GO!

    One of the reasons:
    When Greece leaves the Euro zone then Germany cannot earn money any more.
    Hahahahahaha I laugh my ass off (das können Sie ruhig stehen lassen, Herr Kastner)

    I and my generation - born after war! - will not pay war reparations!
    The children of my, of our family (7 to 26 years old now) will not pay for things which did their !!!great-grandfathers !!! Why?
    They do not want to be taken into liability for the crimes of their !!! great-grandfathers !!!

    End of the discussion!

    Leave the Euro zone. Go now.

    Bakwahn
    PC-Support und Netzwerkadministration
    Hamburg Bangkok Düsseldorf

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    1. The fool laughs even if there is nothing to laugh for...

      Pittacus of Mytilene

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  16. Oh, and i hope, after all, it becomes more clear, why i no longer partecipate in foreign discussions about Greece. I used to up to some years ago. But you always come across the usual foreigners that read something and think that now know everthing.

    But "knowing something in half, is worse than ignoring it totally". And i am tired of writing down the other half, only to find myself to the position to have to do the same a day later and again and again.

    Regards and i hope you have a nice Easter in Greece (i hope you do not intend to miss Easter!).

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    1. No, you should participate. For what it is worth, I have fights with both the foreigners and the Greeks about Greece! But I first came to Greece (to study the economy) in 1988, and have had a residence here (not always living) since 1995.

      I think the most remarkable incident concerning understanding Greece occurred for me in 2002, when I gave the opening lecture of an academic conference. I was aware that Greek professors were jealous that I spoke first, but I tried to give a good presentation. Nobody said anything to me directly, but one foreigner (with a Greek wife) knew greek well, and told me: "They are all saying that your analysis is correct, but that you have no right to say such things. Only Greeks can comment like this on Greece."

      With this comment, one can understand that Greece has serious problems that preceded the crisis. For the western world, the Renaissance removed the dogma from respectable thinking, and replaced it with scientific method. It seems that Greek people have still some way to go, before understanding that the truth is an ideal that is open to all, regardless of ethnicity, gender or religion.

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    2. Dear Xenos,

      I have no issue with anyone thinking what he wants for Greece or anything else. I have lived either shortly or for long time, in 3 countries, i have met all kind of foreigners in each country, each had his ideas of it, others liked it, others not, some adapted well, others could never adapt, etc. I have my own theories too and memories, some others have different.

      A scientific method, which you mention, is based on a logical procedure of thinking, based on the evaluation of all possible data, gathered by any available means and elimination of personal and procedural bias, possibly through standardization procedure and confrontation with the results of others. To give a hard example: If you are a doctor, who is trying to decide on the antibiotic to give against a certain microorganism, but you ignore half the antibiotics or half the microorganisms that you are dealing with, there is nothing scientific in your approach, but rather are a charlatan. Already a 90% is "educated guess".

      That's all. The renaissance, was a rediscovery-thanks mainly to bizantine manuscripts- of the ancient logical thinking, which leads to scientific knowledge. Τhe concept of "epaion" of Plato, was nothing less than the definition of the scientist-expert.

      Or to give you a more mundane example, if you like. If you live in Greece since 1995 and in 2013, you write that it is odd that they give you the receipt before paying, because in other countries this is the invoice, for me it becomes very tiring and hard to find anything scientific in that. I was abroads and still am and still i knew evertying about the new law. You in Greece since 1995, haven't you noticed that up until now, the receipt is as normal as in any other country and that there is "invoice" too, but now there is a new law for specific (idiotic) reason? This isn't a matter of opinion or search for truth. It's a matter of knowing or not basic facts. Fact, as in scientific. Fact= objective observation. Opinion= subjective conclusion. If i say to a British that i didn't see Big Ben anywhere, the problem isn't with the British if he looks at me in a weird way.


      Regards.

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    3. Dear Anonymous

      You repeat two of the errors that Greeks tend to make, which I always have arguments about. The first concerns harking back to ancient times, when clearly the discontinuity between then and the medieval period in Europe was so great, that it is irrelevant. By this time, the writings of Aristotle, form example, were taken as the word of God, and not open to discussion. There was no scientific method, and the western European societies had to fight the power of the Church. The Orthodox socities did not do so, and the lack of this modern tradition is a very serious problem for Greek thinking. In the universities here, students and professors are actively discouraged from original thought -- and told to follow the line of the great authors. That is medieval thinking, not scientific method.

      The second point, I really do not understand. Of course, I was and remain aware of everything you say. It was always a serious problem that receipts were being demanded of me before I was paid (as a self-employed person). In fact money was stolen from me, using this technique: it is not a trivial issue, as you seem to think. I tried invoking the law, took legal advice, and was told "everyone is breaking the law, what is your problem?" That was in 2001. The situation has deteriorated since then, and yet nobody seems to understand about the temporal aspects of transactions. These are basic to the legal principles underlying western capitalism -- which apparently neither Greek people nor the politicians understand.

      You dismiss this as merely knowing basic facts. Indeed, it is not an opinion. However, getting a society to know and accept basic facts is as important (and arguably more) as developing analyses. Why exactly you find it tiring I do not know: but this is your personal problem. Over the years I have had repeated arguments with Greeks who don't want to hear things they already know: I find it a little childish, to be honest. If you already know of problems and fail to act on them, then it is appropriate to be repeatedly reminded of their existence. Only in that way can a society hope to make any progress.

      Thank you for your discussion.

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    4. Dear "colleague" Xenos,

      I think you misinterpret what i say. I simply said where the rennaissance was based. And much time has passed since then. You present things, as if, one is still trapped forever many centuries ago and thus can't access the available knowledge... I disagree... You don't need to be in Britain to study Shakespear. People LEARN. I also think that the current Europe has very little to relate to the rennaissance anymore. Europe's cultural production is laughable in comparison... Europe still floats thanks to technology, but China is catching up, rennaissance or no rennaissance. Greece has many problems, the lack of access to scientific thinking i wouldn't say is one of them, the foreign universities and research centers around the world are full of greece-bred professors and researchers to prove it. I have also never been impressed by the “brainpower” abroads, as individuals. On occasions, i was unpleasantly surprised by the incapacity for deductive thinking or naivety in political awareness. The difference is in the organization, both in the schooling process and its connection to the work market, as well as in the available funding. Then there is relation to other deficits in the political life and terrain to cover in progress, but this is another chapter. Greece has a long way to go.

      I would also dare say, that in this very topic, i didn't see the “scientific thinking” you describe. Is it the “go, go, go, go, go?” Is it something else i missed? Just to be clear once, more, since, everything i say, you turn into generic, greek, issue. My saying that i am tired, has to do with having to reply to strong, decisive assertions, that lack, some basic facts. To give a more comprehensible example, with something everyone (for the good fortune of Americans and British, are familiar): You can debate, with different opinions, on whether the bombing of Dresden or Hiroshima was necessary or what where the implications of Alamo. What i wouldn't be able to stand as “American” or “British”, would be, to have to write down, that a) Prior to that, there was a world war, with Germans firing V-1 missiles to London, Japanese making Pearl Harbour and subsequently expanding on british possessions in the Pacific and that in Alamo there weren't only Americans firing at some Mexicans, but there were also Mexicans laying siege on the Americans. Now, one may argue if Mexicans or Americans were the “good” ones, or which was the “better” one, but at least, it is known what each side was doing. Fortunately, for Americans and British, these are basic facts, that are accepted as such by virtually everyone, without having to explain them everytime. A Greek, has no such good fortune. For this i don't have anymore, patience, to have to explain each time. It is the same thing for Italians, when foreigners have their idea of “mafia” and its roots, from watching “the Godfather” and meet an Italian and start discussing on the basis of the facts they “know” (thanks to Coppola) about the mafia.

      Delete
    5. (continues)

      Also, upon searching for Margaret Thatcher, i stumbled upon this. I suppose you are the same “Xenos”.

      http://insidegreece.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/margaret-thatcher-her-masters-voice/#more-1524

      Allow me to say, that i see nothing scientific there either and unlike you, as the Americans say, “I am too old for this”. Despite my lacking greek thinking, i do have one thing. I remind myself the inscription of Delphi “Know thyself”. I am aware that i have been already very abrasive and that the host himself is offended and i don't like offending my hosts. But as i said, i am too old to go slowly. This is another reason for not continuing, not with you, not with anyone. Because, as you see, it can get derail, and there is nothing scientific in name calling, colourful expressions, aphorisms etc.

      I can tell you one thing, i learnt from Italy. “When in Rome, do as the Romans”. “Rome wasn't built in one day”. “All the world is one village”. Too much time to explain, but three pearls of wisdom.

      Good luck from a fellow Xenos around the globe for years.

      Delete
  17. Hello again EVERY ONE.
    Let start from mr. Flaisher
    He said between other
    Fleischer, who once said it was an “irony of history” that it would be he, a German, who would be the first historian to lecture on the history of the Second World War at a Greek university, said he doubts the validity of Germany's objection that all reparation claims were settled by a 1960 bilateral accord when Germany paid 115m Deutschmarks in reparation payments to the Greek victims of Nazi terror in accord with a bilateral reparation agreement.
    The Netherlands, which suffered much fewer losses, received a larger amount of money – Hagen Fleischer
    But the 1960 reparations must be put into context, Fleischer told DW. "The Netherlands, which suffered much fewer losses, received a larger amount of money."
    Germany argues that the 1960 payment settled all claims definitively, but Greece points to the 1953 London Agreement on German External Debts stipulating that payment obligations from the war were to be deferred until "after the signing of a peace treaty" between Germany and the victorious allies. That was signed in 1990 between the West and East Germany and the Big Four - UK, France, the USA and the Soviet Union. Focus on the forced loan
    But it is precisely the forced loan that should be regarded separately from any other claims, Fleischer told Deutsche Welle.
    The forced occupation loan was imposed by the occupying German and Italian forces on Greece under the terms of a unilateral decision which they took in Rome on 14 March 1942, and which was subsequently presented to the collaborationist government in Athens. These are the remarks of Mr.Flaisher which i appreciate very much for his Historical work in the University of Athens.
    Mr Flaisher says also - because passed many years maybe is difficult Germany to accept that . At first by my side i dont care at all what Germany accept or not, what like them or don’t like them. I want to see only the facts the rights of my country and the people of Greece which today is in difficult situation because some gentlemen and madams want to play economic games for their own interest and make protectorate my country .. To them we will resist including any Greek government there is in Athens .
    By my side i care very much what the International low says. The International low say that these kind of reparations never end even will pass 100 years there is not expire date. So on this i Have a different position with Mr.Fleisher which i respect him very much. Lets make clear something else mr. Kleingut.... I saw that you had some questions .
    Continious to B.
    George G.

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  18. B.
    Where is the signature of Greece of This Loan ? Mr.Kleingut You look a clever man what you try to find really ?
    You will dont find mr. Kleingut. Because mr.Kleingut History and politics are very close each other. And as Mr. Fleicher writes and explain you very clear as you see (not only Fleicher but many other too.) .- The forced occupation loan was imposed by the occupying German and Italian forces on Greece under the terms of a unilateral decision which they took in Rome on 14 March 1942, and which was subsequently presented to the collaborationist government in Athens.- It is mean that Italians by mr. Gizzi (italy) and Gerrman government by mr. Altenburg from the side of Germany.
    That mean very clear ....they were occupied Greece they were doing what they wanted to do . Are you really mr. Kleingut you Try to find the signature of Greece still? I don’t want to believe something like this.
    They....forgot to call the Greek pupy government in ROME to sign.I Have a question also i can not understand what you want to say by writting
    1946-1949 and cleaning etc etc . Make it clear pls . I send my best greetings to my compatriot. Also my best regards to mr. Bakwahn i am doing the same wish with him To go out soon of the eurozone because i dont want to still my country and the people of Grrece ..maybe is difficult for mr.Bakwahn to understand this.
    For the stollen archeological status which german troops still from Greece we ll speak an other time . There are exact names and dates of stollen Archeological structures of Greece.
    For your info Have a look also of this just for spending some time reading .
    http://www.tlaxcala-int.org/article.asp?reference=7040
    George G.

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  19. Good morning from Athens



    Es ist eine moralische Pflicht, sich gegen die verlogenen Reden über die angebliche Solidarität entgegenstellen, die die Regierenden der stärkeren Länder der Eurozone dem griechischen Volke und den Völkern anderer gefährdeten Länder (Irland, Spanien, Portugal usw.) erweisen sollen. Die Tatsachen widersprechen diesen Äußerungen, die die herrschenden Medien unaufhörlich wieder aufnehmen.
    Zuerst werden wir das praktisch unter Beweis stellen. Schalten Sie übers Internet einen Browser ein und geben Sie „Griechenland ist zugute gekommen“. Sofort wird Ihnen auffallen, wie viele Medien in Endlosschleife nachplappern, dass dieses Land eine beträchtliche Hilfe erhalten hat. So z.B. behauptet Hans-Werner Sinn[1], einer der einflussreichsten deutschen Volkswirte und Angela Merkels Berater ohne jedes Zögern, dass „ Griechenland über verschiedene Beschlüsse eine Hilfe von außen in Höhe von 460 Milliarden Euro zugeflossen ist. Die dem griechischen Staat bisher zugekommene Hilfe beläuft sich also auf 214% seines BIP, das ist zehnmal mehr, als Deutschland im Rahmen des Marshall-Plans erhalten hat. Von dieser Hilfe hat Berlin ein Viertel, das sind 115 Milliarden Euro, gespendet, das sind zehnmal mehr als der gesamte Marshallplan oder 2,5mal die im Londoner Schuldenabkommen festgelegte Summe.“[2]

    http://www.tlaxcala-int.org/article.asp?reference=8455


    In Greek language
    Είναι ηθική υποχρέωση να εναντιωθούμε στους ψεύτικους λόγους περί αλληλεγγύης που δήθεν δείχνουν οι κυβερνήτες των ισχυρότερων χώρων της Ευρωζώνης προς τον ελληνικό λαό και προς τις άλλες ευάλωτες χώρες (Ιρλανδία, Πορτογαλία, Ισπανία ...). Τα λόγια τους, που αναμεταδίδονται συνεχώς από τα κύρια μέσα μαζικής ενημέρωσης, διαψεύδονται από τα γεγονότα.
    Ξεκινήστε με μια μικρή πρακτική επαλήθευση. Ψάξτε στο Internet «Η Ελλάδα έχει λάβει» με κάποια μηχανή αναζήτησης. Θα δείτε πώς τα μέσα μαζικής ενημέρωσης επαναλαμβάνουν ότι αυτή η χώρα πήρε μια τεράστια βοήθεια. Π.χ. ο Hans-Werner Sinn |1|, ένας από τους πιο σημαντικούς οικονομολόγους στη Γερμανία, σύμβουλος της κυβέρνησης της Άνγκελα Μέρκελ, δεν δίστασε να πει: «Η Ελλάδα έχει ωφεληθεί από την εξωτερική βοήθεια με 460 δισεκατομμύρια ευρώ μέσω διαφόρων διατάξεων. Η βοήθεια προς την Ελλάδα μέχρι στιγμής αποτελεί το ισοδύναμο του 214% του ΑΕΠ της, ή περίπου δέκα φορές περισσότερο από όσο η Γερμανία είχε επωφεληθεί από το σχέδιο Μάρσαλ. Το Βερολίνο προσέφερε περίπου το ένα τέταρτο αυτής της βοήθειας προς την Ελλάδα δηλαδή 115 δισ. ευρώ, ποσόν που αντιπροσωπεύει τουλάχιστον δέκα σχέδια Μάρσαλ ή δυόμισι φορές μια συμφωνία του Λονδίνου». |2|

    http://www.tlaxcala-int.org/article.asp?reference=8452

    George G.

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  20. This comment was inadvertently deleted.

    Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn: "Greece should exit the Eu...":

    Ah, Mr. Kastner, something almost funny (because it was quite uncommon for an invaded country to give war reparations left and right) else that you may have not heard of.

    Greece, is quite a unique case... Upon the surrender of Greece, it was forced to pay reparations as following:

    - To Germany 339.103.214 drachmas, for the damage caused to german troops.
    - To Italy 3.273.307.666 drachmas, for the damage to italian troops.
    - To Albania 218.300.000 drachmas, for the fact that during the counteroffensive against the Italians, the greek troops caused destructions inside Albania.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This comment was inadvertently deleted.

    Richard Bourke has left a new comment on your post "Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn: "Greece should exit the Eu...":

    yes, it's clear why you don't participate. I'm sorry. Ignorance is widespread, and media coverage also skews the presentation. In every country. To give you some hope, here's an interview by die Welt with Manolis Glezos regarding war reparations.

    http://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article115121884/Es-geht-nicht-um-Geld-sondern-um-Gerechtigkeit.html

    That this interview even appeared is progress. I wouldn't recommend running the comments below the interview through google translate, though!

    I tend to avoid discussing the conflict in northern ireland with people from outside ireland, for much the same reason. It's hard to argue with people who can google the facts, but not the feelings.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Klaus
      I have followed your blog for a couple of years and found it interesting. I find most of your proposals for the greek economy correct. However,there is one thing that has to happen before they can start to implement the proposals:
      The majority of the Greek voters will have to admit that they have (and are) making mistakes, as a nation and as individuals, Mea culpa.
      I think you are close to reaching the conclusion I reached 6 years ago, "do not hold your breath and wait for that", it will not happen in your lifetime.
      Lennard

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    2. Lennard, I guess you are pretty good at reading between lines!

      Delete
  22. Dear Mr. Kastner,

    This is trully, my last post, i am deleting the link to make sure. :)

    I would also like to ask you to forgive me for being abrasive and offensive with you, but i have grown to have very little tollerance left, after years of encounters with foreigners that were starting a discussion, with the assumption, that their knowledge of facts, was all there was, only because it's what they knew and in their view i was supposed to carry on from there and explain or in alternative, pretend i agree. For anything one can possibly imagine. At first, after the initial surprise, one is still "fresh" and politely tries to circle around, attempt to slowly bring out some "missing tiles", hoping not to offend. Unfortunately, as you have experienced on yourself, i am long over that stage.

    One must know when to retire, including internet discussions. This is my bell ringing :) I leave you my younger compatriot, be patient with him, he has many energies :)

    Thank you once more for the hospitality.

    @ Richard Burke,

    Thank you for the link, although german to greek translation isn't yet a perfect science and english confuses me more than greek. Still, i get to understand more or less the meaning.

    @ GeorgeG.

    Goodbye my young one. But do not waste too many energies on the subject of reparations-loan, trust me, it's a political game, nothing more.



    ReplyDelete