A financially collapsing Greece has been damaging the world markets throughout 2011 before the country bankrupted in Spring 2012. Center-right Antonis Samaras (New Democracy) became the prime minister in June 2012. Since that moment, Greece was pretty much going in the right direction. It even managed to achieve a modest budget surplus.
I should have written about those relative successes. We should have praised them because this anomalous era of relative sanity may soon be over. A few days ago, the Parliament gave less than 60% of votes to Stavros Dimas, a former EU commissioner and a presidential candidate (I think that the 60% lower limit is too demanding and creates too much instability in the Greek system, but that's just another bad "detail" in Greece). By the rules of the game, this Parliament's "veto" led to the automatic dissolution of the Parliament within 10 days and new elections on January 25th.
The problem is that according to polls, the elections will be won by Syriza led by Alexis Tsipras. If you need to be reminded, Syriza is a mixture of green left, Maoist, Trotskyist, Leninist, Stalinist, left-wing populist, democratic socialist, and other groups. Think of a random stinky piece of left-wing šit and chances are high that this piece will be an important portion of Syriza.
For decades, the Greek nation – more precisely, the Greek government sector, but that is unfortunately representing a majority of the Greek nation these days – has been a nation living in a communist paradise where you don't have to do any useful work and where you are paid to live as well as the most hard-working and successful nations of Western Europe.
Virtually all Greek politicians – including those who call themselves right-wingers – have adopted this parasitic world view. Benjamin Franklin once said
"When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic."The Greeks found it out many decades ago which is why their country, a cradle of the Western civilization, has been a populist cesspool, not a republic, for quite some time.
What Samaras and his partners have been doing since Summer 2012 was sensible and, to a large extent, inevitable. Even though hundreds of billions of euros in Greek debt have been written off ("forgiven"), it's not enough for the populist whores in Syriza and they suggested that they will simply not pay the debt repayments if others won't dance according to their whistling. Syriza promises that it can restore the high living standards and end austerity.
They still live in the atmosphere in which they can blackmail the whole world but I hope that they are wrong. The lenders and European politicians have had quite some time to think about all these issues. The Greek exit from the eurozone and the EU was already possible in 2012 – it just didn't materialize. But people have gotten ready for that. The default was once considered unacceptable as well but it did occur.
Germans have been paying the largest fraction of the resources that were destined to get lost in the Greek black hole so it is of course German politicians and bankers whose opinion is the most relevant one. Michael Fuchs, a senior politician in Merkel's CDU, said that the eurozone is no longer "obliged to save Greece".
If Alexis Tsipras of the Greek left party Syriza thinks he can cut back the reform efforts and austerity measures, then the troika will have to cut back the credits for Greece. The times where we had to rescue Greece are over. There is no potential for political blackmail anymore. Greece is no longer of systemic importance for the euro.German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has previously said that Syriza would have to stick to the commitments, otherwise it will be a serious challenge for the financial aid that Greece is still receiving. I sincerely hope that if Syriza breaks the commitments, it will finally earn the fate for the country that Greece deserves.
Of course, there is a hope that Syriza, even if it wins the key influence over the government, will be forced to behave constructively. Someone in Der Spiegel has argued that Tsipras isn't irrational. That's quite a provocative statement, indeed! The German journalist wrote:
Is there a reason for Greece’s suffering?The answer is, of course, that both govern but in a genuine democracy, the capital is at the top. Democracy is about the people's collective or representative decisions what to do with their capital (and other estates and work and rights that belong to them). But whether there actually is any capital to democratically manage is a more fundamental question. If they don't have any capital, they can do nothing with it! And that's approximately the situation of Greece. To manipulate with the money one doesn't have is called either utopia or theft or communism – in neither case, it should be called democracy.
Who governs in a democracy? The people or the capital?
With democracy or without it, you simply can't live beyond your means. At least not in the long run. At least not years after your lenders have noticed that your life has been beyond your means, indeed.
Your nation may democratically elect a clique of thieves such as Syriza – but your nation may also be democratically told "enough was enough" and it may be democratically encouraged to democratically starve to death. And that's what a Syriza-led Greece would deserve and, I hope, would get. Democracy does not imply the automatic prosperity for everyone without need to work hard and creatively. Maybe some form of communism does guarantee that but this form of communism is impossible.
So I hope that most of the hysteria from 2011 and 2012 won't be repeated again. Greece is an isolated problem, it is possible to let it go to the third world where it has wanted to go for many decades, this change of the status of Greece shouldn't be assumed to affect anyone else, and a Syriza-led Greece should be treated as a rogue nation and not as a recipient of aid. I have been saying the same things for years but this time, I am confident that something compatible with my views has become common sense among a very large percentage of the relevant politicians and bankers.
To stop repaying debt even though you demonstrably can is criminal and whoever behaves in this way has to be treated as a criminal. Whether Greece stays in the eurozone is a relatively unimportant technicality, I think. What's more important is that the real income can't suddenly be much higher than what it was during the recent two Samaras' years. The salaries may be paid in the euros or the new devalued Greek currency but the real incomes imply can't be made "much higher" than during Samaras.
The only really important question – one that Greeks will be answering on January 25th – is whether Greece wants to remain at least a marginally credible business partner, or whether it wants to turn to a rogue third-world country led by a communist aßhole who deserves to be assassinated.