Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Protests in Greece

Greece had protests over the years against austerity measures. Some protests were violent leading to death of people. European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund wanted Greek Parliament to pass a package of new austerity measures to lend 170 billion dollars to Greece. Greek Parliament obliged. Protests in Greece have turned more violent. Buildings are set on fire. People are angry about wage and pension cuts and higher taxes. Many are unemployed. There is a disconnect between the government and the people. Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was imposed from outside. Greece should have dumped euro long back. It continues to hold on to euro. If it had drachma as currency many of its problems would have been solved. How much and why did Greece borrow and where did all the money go? The troika, as the three foreign lenders are collectively known, has decided to ask private lenders to take a cut of 70% of Greek debt. In that case Greece could have borrowed more than 300 billion dollars.

What happened in Greece can happen in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and many other countries. Ireland succumbed to pressure to take over loans of bankrupt banks. Iceland had rejected plans to take over loans of bankrupt banks. In its case the banks were too big to save. Portugal’s bonds are rated junk bonds. Spain and Italy are not much better. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti was imposed from outside. So much for democracy in Europe.

People should spend within their means. If they borrow they have to return. Governments should spend within their means but most of them do not. They get away because they print notes and make payments. That leads to inflation and devaluation. Some countries spend recklessly. From printing notes of hundreds and thousands they go on to print notes of millions and billions. Everybody who earns in the country becomes a millionaire or billionaire. Ultimately those countries introduce a new currency in which one new unit is equal to thousand old units. In Zimbabwe some became trillionaires.

Western countries have talked about protests in Syria. They should pay attention to Greece. When elected representatives vote against the wishes of the people they undermine democracy.

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