In the media and especially the forums, there is the ever-recurring question: More loans for Greece or stop transferring even a penny? The question is so badly phrased that it can not be truly answered. The question should at least ask:
loans what for and in which context
1. The loans have to create jobs
Instead of German tanks Greece should invest in solar energy and rail infrastructure, i.e. The loans are earmarked (for infrastructure projects) and projects are monitored by independent bodies to prevent corruption and nepotism.
2. The loans must have performance-related interest
Interest must be repaid proportionally to the economic gains so that the creditors are interested in the success and not merely squeeze the country.
3. Greece has to be economically attractive
A devaluation of its own currency, which would bring a competitive advantage, is not possible as this currency is missing. Since the Grexit is connected with unforeseeable consequences and so deters potential investors, a parallel currency is preferable to a Grexit: Greece pays some parts of wages, in particular for government officials in Drachmas, which are attached via a variable exchange rate to the Euro. Labour becomes cheaper, the domestic economy – especially tourism – improves.
4. Greece needs investors security
Greece needs confidence building measures to attract investments for small and medium sized enterprises. The ECB could vouch with risk guarantees, similar to a Hermes guarantee in Germany for exports. This is not to be confused with guaranteed bailouts for speculating hedge funds. On the contrary, risky speculations have to be banned.
But it’s really about Greece? In words Ulrike Hermann from the TAZ Greece has “an economic power as big as Hessen – Europe can afford it.”1 Why is the crisis so much hyped up if it is only a few hundred billion, which – compared to the overall economy of the EU – is not essential to survive?
The crisis yields benefits for Germany. According to German Newspaper Zeit Online2 these are:
1. Germany profits disproportionally
Interests on German government bonds are extremely low because of the Greek crisis what saved Germany tens of billions – Schäuble’s “black zero” is due to Greece!
2. The demographic problem (overaging of society) is defused
Germany as a place of work is in high demand – immigration of skilled workers is booming.
3. The cheap Euro mainly helps German export companies
4. The stock market boom strengthens German companies
In summary: Germany, respectively the corporate and financial elite of the country, have benefited massively from the Greek crisis, according to Jens Boysen-Hogrefe in the order of €80 billion3.
Greece got only 10%
The Greek bailout was not auxiliary in nature but a restructuring project. Because the loans for Greece flowed to 90% to foreign banks – especially German banks – rather than stimulate the Greek economy, Angela Merkel as a representative of the financial aristocracy (the 0.1 ‰) saved her clientèle in addition to the above advantages 90% losses.
If Merkel, Schäuble and Co. insist “against better judgement on the formal recognition of a in fact unsustainable debt”4 that can never be repaid by Greece, and the German media, including the state channels ARD and ZDF abuse Greece, then the conflict is not about Greece, but a Europe-wide class struggle. In words of Noam Chomsky: “What’s going on with the austerity is really class war.[..]As an economic program, austerity, under recession, makes no sense. It just makes the situation worse.[…]And the policies that are designed by the troika, you know, are basically paying off the banks, the perpetrators, […]. The population is suffering. But one of the things that’s happening is that the—you know, the social democratic policies, so-called welfare state, is being eroded. That’s class war.”5
We have no Greek crisis, we have a Merkel crisis. The “destructive German export mania”6 and the shameless political patronage under Merkel has brought not only the CDU to a moral abyss, but the idea of the EU is on the brink, too. The Merkel austerity is “a blunder of historic proportions”. This mismanagement has meant “that the EU is no longer the peace project today that it was at the beginning, but an organization for the defence of European corporate interests.”7 [emphasis added]
The EU (and the CDU in particular) are too much marked by the Merkel’s neoliberal clientèle politics that only a resignation can bring the needed change. The Merkel policy has failed and left behind a disaster. Schaeuble, Merkel, etc. are to withdraw! The EU needs a turnaround.
The next step for the salvation of the European idea is a radical departure from the neo-liberal course and an adaptation of the Euro to the national economic spheres with parallel currencies or similar instruments. With such measures differences in economic power can be offset and competitive advantages implemented. The democratic spheres – which at present are still the nation states – can be respected.8 The EU must concentrate on those tasks which can not be managed at the national level today, i.e. environmental protection, asylum, Europe’s military defence. The possibility of change of state borders must be included: Catalan and Scotland may become independent, Belgium might split …
In a European Union as a European superstructure this must be possible.
Partial autonomy and right to self-determination are essential.
2Zeit Online, Bundesregierung: Die Härte des Gewinners, http://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2015-02/bundesregierung-eurokrise-griechenland-ezb-rolle-deutschland
3Low bond yields have saved the German government €80 billion in interest since 2009, http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2013/05/22/low-bond-yields-germany-saving-billions/
5Noam Chomsky on DemocracyNow, http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2015/7/1/chomsky_greece_s_syriza_spain_s
6Philipp Löpfe, 1. Jul 2015, http://www.infosperber.ch/Artikel/Politik/Griechenland-Schuldenkrise-Grexit-Deutschland
7Rudolf Strahm im Interview von Lynn Scheurer, 06.07.2015, http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/schweiz/standard/Ohne-Schuldenschnitt-geht-es-nicht/story/18188910
8The intermingling of German politicians in Greek internal politics is simply outrageous.