## Friday, January 30, 2015 ... /////

### Will Russia bailout Greece?

The "mainstream" politicians in the EU countries – and the U.S. as well – lack not only the strategic thinking but also creativity, the ability to act cleverly yet surprisingly. We are pretty much facing a bunch of sterile, impotent, redundant, uninspiring, politically correct self-described "good doers".

Fortunately, there are other countries in the world as well. The Russian finance minister just said that he won't rule out that Russia will bailout Greece! Nice, that's what I call a twist. Greece may run out of funds as early as the end of February.

What does it exactly mean? I think it is rather unlikely that Russia will want to repay the Greek debt. At €320 billion, it is almost equal to all of Russia's foreign currency reserves! And the reserves turned out to be rather useful in the recent month when the rouble was under attack.

Well, surprising events may happen so one can imagine that Russia could even sacrifice all of its reserves for this move ;-) but I just find it unlikely.

It's much more likely that they will send a "tranche" to Greece, once or twice €10 billion or so, to postpone the problems by months or a year. In the short or perhaps medium term, Russia may play the role of the IMF if the international fund ceases to provide Greece with the subsidies.

If it materializes, such a help will be partly motivated by the natural proximity of Russia and Greece, two Orthodox Christian nations, partly by a big Russian minority in Greece, and partly by Russia's desire to hire a full-fledged Trojan horse within the EU. Greece would probably be ejected from the EU at some moment but the moment could be postponed if someone else "solved" the Greek short-term or medium-term financial troubles.

One should be extremely grateful to Russia if such events will take place. If it manages to convince Greece to cancel sanctions in a near future – but note that the EU just made Greece to agree with the anti-Russian sanctions today – it would be good news for the economy of the European nations such as mine as well and both Russia and Greece would deserve thanks for that.

Why is it more likely that Russia will bailout Greece than the continuation of the subsidies from the EU? One reason is that most of Europe has already recognized the mistake that the loans – and subsidies – to Greece have been. They have always been mostly wasted money, most of us seem to realize, and we would be very stupid not to learn a lesson from our previous blunders. If I were Russian and if I were not a staunch Orthodox believer or something like that, I would surely oppose any major aid to Greece for economic reasons: such aid may quickly become a huge burden for Russia, too.

But then there is the cultural dimension of the problem. By its current identity, Greece is just far closer to Russia than e.g. to Germany or other similar, traditionally Western or Central European nations including mine. This trivial fact is apparently counterintuitive for most Americans – including Swine flu – whose background in geography and history is either non-existent or coming from a Lalaland education.

We just don't care about Greece in the same sense in which we care about compatriots. It is a mostly "Eastern" nation and the EU is a totally artificial construct. The Orthodox Christianity is a major part of this gap between us. They don't care what we think about their economic and other policies and as a consequence, we can't have any responsibility for their screwing of their own economy.

The cultural proximity extends beyond the flavors of Christianity, of course. Look at the Russian and Greek alphabets:

абвгдеёжзийклмнопрстуфхцчшщъыьэюя
αβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρστυφχψω
The similarities are obvious. For example, a g-like letter appears at the beginning before the d-like latter, and z-like letters follow right after the first e-like letter (which comes after "d").

The Cyrilic script originally evolved from the Greek capitals-only alphabet, with some flavor from the Glagolitic alphabet that the Czechs knew since 863 when Cyril and Method brought scripture and the Orthodox belief to our state, the Great Moravia (Orthodox Christianity was beaten in the Czech lands by the Catholicism within a century or so). Yes, the Glagolitic alphabet contains the perfect left-right-reflected "euro €" character, called the "Jest" (="to be/exist" in old Slavic), and lots of letters that look like little circles connected with many legs, usually in ways that are more left/right or up/down symmetric than what would be necessary in an optimized, efficient alphabet. ;-)

The Greek alphabet wasn't invented from scratch, either – it was largely inspired by the Phoenician script. But let me stop with this ancient history.

The point is that just like Donbas and probably much wider regions of Ukraine, Greece much more naturally "fits" into the broader Russian civilization space than it does to a Germany-centered European confederacy – and the EU is such a confederacy today. These are facts. The silly caricature of Europe and the world that is usually presented to the Americans probably prevents them from understanding similar facts but that's too bad, they are facts, nevertheless. The Iron Curtain was an artificial boundary created after the Second World War and the border around Russia proper is even more artificial and unphysical – but Europe and Asia are full of some boundaries that are more important and more lasting than the Iron Curtain.

Of course that if Russia significantly helped Greece financially, it could be great for the markets and great for everyone, at least for a few years. I have significant doubts about all these things. Would Russians really like to subsidize Greeks – people who are in no way more hard-working than Russians – to enjoy the luxury that Greece has enjoyed for a long time? After the fall of the rouble, the minimum Russian monthly salary is equivalent to something like €50. Do the Russians really find it OK to subsidize Greeks so that they may enjoy the minimum salary of €751 per month (fifteen times higher than in Russia), as promised by Syriza? I have some problems to believe such a scenario but maybe the Russians may be authoritatively asked to endorse such a foreign "elite" subsidized by themselves. ;-)

I also have doubts because of explicit privatization projects. In recent years, both China and Russia were participating in the privatization of various Greek enterprises. China has invested into a port, and so on. Tsipras has already stopped all privatization in his country because privatization obviously isn't right according to his Marxist ideology. China has already vented anger: the Chinese media have pointed out that Tsipras is just like the mythological Phaethon who was given too much power he was not capable of using sensibly. So when Phaethon was proven not to be able to deal with horses, Zeus wisely killed him to save the land (from an ancient, sun-driven global warming episode, but that's a detail: Phaethon's dad was Helios, the minister of the Sun). This is a reason to think that China is somewhat more likely to bombard Syriza's Greece than to bail it out.

Maybe the Kremlin bets that these anti-privatization promises by Tsipras may be easily overruled once Greece is switched from the EU to Greater Russia.

I would surely prefer Greece to align themselves with their Orthodox brothers – our Eastern Slavic brothers – because Greece is a pain in the neck, indeed. And I am afraid that something completely different than the Orthodox Christianity is to blame.

#### snail feedback (103) :

reader Giotis said...

Classical Greek and Hellenistic era defined the Western civilization.

Greek Byzantine era defined the Easter civilization.

reader JollyJoker said...

"
Denisa just wrote me that the book is very well-written and touching."

Good to know that her fling with Frampton hasn't impacted your relationship ;)

reader BobSykes said...

Good points. Part of the Ukrainian thing is the Catholic/Orthodox competition.

As to Russia helping Greece, I think this is likely only if Greece defaults on its debt and gets kicked out of the EU and Euro. The fact that Syriza has already capitulated on one point (albeit minor) does not bode well for Russo-Greek relations.

reader MikeNov said...

What is the benefit to Russia? All they would be doing is transferring money to some bankers. Better to let Greece default, and then support them.

reader Luboš Motl said...

The benefit to Russia is to buy the hearts of all the Greeks and get its own country within the EU.

reader Luboš Motl said...

That's exactly what the sentence was supposed to convey! ;-)

reader Luboš Motl said...

The minister could have announced or decided the "possible bailout" claim before Greece agreed to prolong the EU sanctions against Russia...

Right, the Catholic-Orthodox boundary is the main boundary defining the ongoing civil war, too.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Right. But due to the temporal proximity, contemporary Greece really inherited the latter, not so much the former.

reader Alex said...

To most westerners (english speaking) the words 'catholic',

'protestant', 'orthodox'and 'islam' are just words that

describe something.
Let me explain what 'orthodox' is in russian. It's not an

obscure term that needs to be looked up in a dictionary its

a word or combination of words that are used in daily life.
If you are not multilingual you may not get it.
'Pravoslavny' (anglicised)is the word for 'orthodox':

pravo means right/correct and is also the root word in

justice, truth and various other words that imply absolute

correctness in every way possible.

Slavny means wonderous/beautiful/ (sun shining from

arsehole).
Slovny which is a word that sounds similar means wordy or

wise.

If you put the two words together and then if you meet an

extremely ugly crippled dwarf and he is 'pravoslany' then he

becomes 'cool'.

Over 5 decades of communism hasn't killed this spirit. The

russian mafia uses church symbols in their tatoos. Every

russian I have met in the last 15 years is orthodox. Putin

bends his knee to the Russian Metropolitan. Every war that

russia fought is based on religious grounds. Today every

weapon is 'blessed by the holy russian church'. Every bullet

, tank and soldier by a priest.
Russians are way more fundamentalist than Americans. I am

forever thankful that they are not as loopy as muslims.
As to the Greek situation? God only knows.
I wouldn't underestimate the power of religion.

reader Alex said...

sorry,formatting shit

reader Tim said...

Dear Lubos, I think you are being rather not fare with both the Greeks and the Germans (I am talking about the people not their governments). I am 1/4 German, 1/4 US and 1/2 Greek and I spend most of my time between Greece and Germany. You might not be very much interested in my opinion but let me express it.

A walk on Athens' streets will disprove anybody's idea that Greeks live luxuriously. Additionally I am sure a person of your brilliance can find the work statistics of the EU nations (or global statistics) that show that Greeks, unlike Germans, work much much longer than the average. My wife's father has been doing two jobs for the last 10 years in order to get it through. It is a myth that Greek people are lazy of course and you must come to agree into that not only by taking a look at statistics but by coming over to this beautiful place and seeing it by yourself. Of course, there are (were?) huge pathologies, and for most part you have said recently about the public sector you are perfectly right. But please note, that uneducated people with low critical abilities can be easily manipulated as have been many Greeks of the previous two decades by lazy and dirty politicians controlled by corporation and media giants of tax evasion, black markets and so on. Furthermore, as you probably know, any money the Greek governments borrowed from EU/IMF the past 5 years went directly for the debt and not to the people. At the same time, and while yes, many Greeks were living above the standards they should be living, saw their income to drop as much as 50%, so how can the Greek people, and especially the young generation, be blamed for anything? Meanwhile, in 2009 the Greek debt was at 120% GDP and now, with all those loans it is at 170% of the GDP. On the other hand, Germany and of course the German people, although they might rightfully complain on the situation (as maybe other people of the Eurozone too) they have been seeing great profits with the huge drop of the euro. So, there is a funny situation where media in Greece blame the Germans (mainly) for getting profits and at the same time complaining while media in Germany present Greeks as lazy people drinking and festing all day long. The truth is completely different, in my opinion though. The only thing I can be sure of is that unemployment in Greece's young people is at 50% and it is not true that they do not want to work. In Spain it is also 50%. In Portugal and Italy very high too. In Austria though is at 4% and in Germany at 6-7% if I am not mistaken.

Spending most of my time in Hannover let me tell you that people who can use their "branes" do not obviously blame neither the Greek people nor the German (or EU) people. I am not an economist or a politician but maybe we should be sceptical about various things such as to "whom" Greece owes (e.g. German and French banks and hedge funds mainly) and who is getting benefited from this situation, and what is the cost (not only in terms of finance but also the humanitarian). A walk in some districts of Athens or in the small villages of Andalucia would depress you dear Lubos.

I am not suggesting any solutions, since I don't know what the proper one is, but I would like to ask you one thing. Just to show a bit more respect to the Greek (and German, and Spanish etc) people and not generalize.

With all due respect I hope we can agree on a subset of the above. Big fan of yours! Tim.

reader Luboš Motl said...

LOL, Alex, I am sure that you wouldn't underestimate religion. You are overstating it in every sentence of yours.

"Pravoslavný" is a nicely sounding composite word but it is just a word - a tendentious one that is supposed to make the believers in certain things look better in their own eyes.

But if someone calls himself "celebrating the right and correct", it doesn't make him great and honest yet, does it?

reader Alex said...

Hi Lubos.

I am stating a subtle thing. You, with your word power, understand the meaning of many words. Common folk in Russia 'hear' it differently. They don't need a reference to wikipedia.

Also, the word 'pravoslavny' that you dismiss so lightlly is a powerful word in Russia. A russian will never be your friend unless you have been aquainted with 'orthodoxy'.
There is a palpable difference in relations with russians. They are friendly enough on the surface, but when they realise you have been brought up in an orthodox environment then there is a subtle change.

reader Alex said...

On second reading of your comment I would like to add some things.
1 A word is not just a word. It is a powerful thing.
2 Someone who calls himself right doesn't make him right, but his belief guides his actions.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Well, communism doesn't work. I am sure that many people have to be poor, anyway.

You may use some Greek statistics saying that Greeks spend many hours in the work. But they are mostly not *working* in the useful sense of the word.

Just look at the fact that 50% of the workforce is in the public sector. The work may *demonstrably* be made with 1/2 of the people who are employed.

Just look at the number of ministers, 41, which could be slashes by 70%. All these people are counted as spending many hours at "work" but most of them, most of the time are not "working" at anything that would create values or that would be useful for the people.

reader Alex said...

Absolutely agree on the religion thing. As far as a Russian is concerned, if you are not orthodox then you are a non person. I don't know how the other side feels.

reader Alex said...

Lubos
I love your style. I think you are suggesting a military coup where all the top bureaucrats and most of the politicians are executed. The installed military dictator will be benevolent and institute a fair government. Ha Ha Ha

reader Luboš Motl said...

Surely the most successful government of Greece in the last 50 years, that in 1967-1974, worked almost exactly in this way.

reader Luboš Motl said...

I am not offending you in any way.

The fact that Greece is on the Southeastern side of Europe, or in the East, or whatever, doesn't mean that it can't work in particular industries etc. China is further to the East and it's full of industries of all sorts.

Moreover, it is not even true that some agricultural or other orientation of the economy - if a nation happened to be really emotionally close to it - should imply any fiscal mess.

All this fiscal mess and uncompetitiveness etc. is due to the irresponsible organization of the economy, not due to some technical details in its composition. You clearly have no idea what the problem of the country is.

It is also a lie that the politicians were not fulfilling the promises. They *were* and *this* is the real cause of the problem. I know that because I've read sufficiently many programs, and so on.

They *were* promising to raise the minimum salaries all the time, add new bureaucracies, harass employers and force them to provide the employees with advantages, and all this toxic junk, and that's what the Greek nation has been voting for since the mid 1970s, and that's what the governments have consistently delivered. The amount of this horrible stuff that was offered by the politicians grew, and so did the nation's excitement about these policies. Syriza is so far a culmination of this trend - a Marxist sect that makes Che Guevara a moderate in comparison.

What you fail to understand is that these policies are toxic - they are the cause of all the problems in Greece. It's what *has* been done according to the promises, not the broken promises, that created this mess and will create much more of it in the future.

I have nothing against Greeks in the cultural sense whatsoever. But I just hate people obsessed with demonstrably harmful, e.g. left-wing and populist, policies that are ruining whole nations and continents. My nation has been a victim of something like that for 40 years, we've paid dearly, and when we have just barely liberated ourselves from the past, I surely don't want to come to a situation in which we will pay for other nations' communists, too. We can't afford it, I can't afford it.

Your comments "how dare you to blame the Greek nation" are very characteristic. After 40 years of the ordinary Greek's ass being licked by every single politician, it almost sounds politically incorrect to say that all the mess is the ordinary Greek's fault, doesn't it? But it's still true and Greece has no chance to recover as long as it will be looking for problems in someone else.

If you don't understand why you should work hard to assassinate Tsipras, rather than voting for him, it's a huge, almost lethal problem, but it should remain your problem, your lethal disease. Others have no duty to pay you for that disease.

reader Tim said...

Dear Lubos, fist of all you do not have to offend me. I would agree in most of the things you have said in the following sense: Greek economy was doomed to compete with the Western economies from its roots since it was not based on services and industry but rather on other stuff. What you have said about the public sector is completely true. Me and also many other people within Greece agree with you. But it is not Greek people's fault (and I am mainly focusing on the young generation) for the loans the governments have acquired. It is a naive stance for a citizen and one I completely disagree with but "if the money comes people wont complain" and unfortunately this is what happened in Greece. How can you blame a nation as a total, alongside its youth population for something they have no control on: the actions of politicians which are completely different than what they promised? I do blame a lot the Greek people but not for the 5-year situation rather than their failure to see what they should had done. Finally, I do not understand why the "hate" type of comments. While I agree in most parts of what you say, why you want to condemn people in a horrible situation (and sorry for being tiring again, but I am talking especially for the young ones who pay the price)? And, out of curiosity, what is your opinion on Spain, Italy, Portugal and (maybe) Ireland, France regarding the current situation (with their debts)?

I am not trying to provoke you at all, just trying to understand better your opinions :)

P.S. By the way I cannot vote in Greece. I vote in Germany.

reader ksnevsekci said...

Greece's debt IS mostly owned by regular people (German, French), e.g.,:
http://www.ieseg.fr/wp-content/uploads/2015-EQM-01_Dor.pdf

reader Alex said...

In the past, as a boss, I suggested to people that they come to me with solutions as well as problems.
Lubos, as a clever man, give us some details of what you would do to fix 'the Greek problem'. So far I have seen some general 'handwaving'. A few specific details and how you would go about achieving them would be useful.
No disrespect meant. I am actually curious.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Alex, I understand it. All these bizarre principles you are advocating are a part of your belonging to the Eastern traditions.

I don't belong to the Eastern tradition at all and my nation hasn't belonged there for 1,000 years or so.

Particularly today, when we're atheists, I and we are just surprised by your strange beliefs. By your opinion that words are more than words.

By definition and due to the basic axioms of inequalities, words cannot be more than words. ;-) And the idea that just some good-sounding or bombshell words "motivate people to do good thing" is downright preposterous - to the Western ear.

Yes, this opinion of yours is an utterly Eastern principle. It's the same philosophy that makes the jihadists kill tons of people in the name of Allah. It's His name that is so powerful. It's the Mohammed face that can't be drawn. And there is this obsession with superficial symbols and short holy words everywhere.

Sorry, we have grown out of this thinking some 500+ years ago. Indeed, the very content of your comments is an example why the East - including Russia - is underdeveloped regardless of the West. Of course that I don't think that all things occurring in the West are fine. But you haven't really gotten to the year like 1600 yet.

reader dreamfeed said...

Whether or not you are a marxist, selling off important resources to the Chinese so that you can make your interest payments for another few months is a terrible idea.

reader Alex said...

I seem to remember something about that. My final response of Ha ha ha was not that far off the mark. Maybe they need to do it again.

reader Luboš Motl said...

I am not going to clarify details of solutions of the Greece's problems because it's not my fucking job. It's their problems and their right to decide about their future. And then people who have some strong relations to Greece which is not me, or my nation, for that matter.

reader Tim said...

Lubos, once more, the second comment of your finds me in almost full agreement. What I meant with "promises" is not the populist ones that indeed politicians there made true, but the hard ones, the restructuring the country ones. Greeks should first look in the inside and wonder what they have done wrong (and indeed the answer is many things). But what I would like from you is not to condemn all the people, not to put everyone in the same bag. That is all. Also, instead of just saying "let them jump of the cliff" I would like some constructive arguments from a person of your brilliance. I mean, would you have some really good proposals?

Please, understand I am with your side, but maybe a bit moderate on accusations. So, please keep your temper, I am trying to make a useful conversation here. And, please, I did not say "how do you dare to blame the Greeks" not at all. And finally, I agree with you that Marxist and left policies have no future, but despite what it seems I think Syriza is not going to do what it says. One of the reasons is that it has allied with a right party.

Just a final comment, would you disagree with the statement that every western civilized and advanced economically state has among other things a really good scientific research and technology production? I think that, despite other policies, the choice of Syriza to create a ministry of research is a very good choice that might bring some new ideas and technology that will lead to capital from Greece, and might even stop the brainstrom towards Germany, UK, USA and Australia (a huge problem common in Spain and Italy as well).

Friendly,
Tim

reader Alex said...

The problem with your comment is that you think I am from the East. I was brought up in the west from age 3(I am 66). I just happen to be aware of many things. My heritage? is russian. Russian parents etc. but frankly I don't like russians and have as little do with them as possible. I only admit to being russian because of my name. I will not change my name for the sake of convenience. I made this point to my mother at age 12. My name is my name and everyone can go fuck themselves if they don't like it. But I am not russian in nature. I am as western as anybody else. I have the advantage of observing 2 cultures very closely. It does not mean I align myself with just 1, I hope I am more intelligent than that.
I completely agree with your statements regarding jihadists and old thinking. Unfortunately you have made an assumption that I am like that and think like that. I was just making an observation on what I I have seen and experienced.
I can tell you how a russian can react to you based on my observations of russian people. Just because I am russian (by blood) doesn't mean I react the same.
I have been giving you my observations and not my feelings. I am not subtle about my feelings. I will tell you that you are a c*nt if I think you are a c*nt. So far that has not happened.

reader Oleg said...

Sorry Alex, I'm not sure what you're reading about Russians,
but this is utter non-sense.

reader Swine flu said...

Speaking of history, it wasn't just Russia that actively supported Greek independence back in the 1820's and 1830's, so I wouldn't entirely dismiss the cultural proximity of Greece to the West. Nor am I aware of any sense of special connection to Greece in Russia during the Soviet days, but the two churches do have common roots, so that could form the basis for getting closer in the future.

Your theory of Russia wanting a Trojan horse in EU, and maybe in NATO, seems plausible, however. I also wondered if Russia might have an interest in increasing the encirclement of Turkey, if ever so slightly, by befriending Greece, but that's hard to tell. Probably not.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Sorry, it is not. By decades of anti-business policies, Greeks have liquidated their country's ability to produce or do useful things easily and they don't have much of "ordinary things to sell". So of course that if they want to continue to have money etc., they have to sell whatever they have, and ports or "resources" are of course the most problem-free things they may sell.

The idea that companies can't be sold to the Chinese is a mixture of anti-capitalist ideology and Sino-phobia. There is absolutely nothing wrong about foreign nations including the Chinese that control some industries, even important industries.

And money is always like money.

In Czechia, the Chinese began their big investments as well - a few extra billion dollars was decided just last month. They will probably take control of Moser, our traditional and luxurious producer of glass products, and various other things. Not even the most left-wing parties protest against this sale of things to the foreigners because everyone already knows that it often works.

Korean Air bought a big (but so far minority) part of the Czech Airlines. Of course that we have many more examples of Asian investments, even in similar "rather traditional" or "strategic" industries. Of course, Hyundai has a Czech car factory competing against Škoda and others, and there are also Samsung factories here.

I don't have to explain that Western European (German but not only German) investments - and mothers of Czech companies - are everywhere.

Foreigners often manage things more efficiently and respectfully than the domestic people. They still pay taxes here, and so on. Even Czech communists have learned quite some lesson. Škoda Cars owned by Volkswagen is repeatedly voted the most respected Czech brand. Of course that communists wouldn't dare to attack this scheme because even most communist voters realize that this is something that was done right and that even gives them a part of their national pride.

The idea that such things can't be sold to foreigners is a combination of xenophobia and a deep, counterproductive, anti-business sentiment. And the idea that the Greeks can live in the relative luxury as they did so far, or a few years ago, while selling no products and privatizing nothing is downright crackpottery. It's just not possible OK?

Czechs own much of the industry as well, and sometimes try to do investments abroad, especially in Eastern Europe these days. But the freedom to trade - buy, sell, invest, and privatize - is a must. If you ban it, e.g. by your idiotic emotional justifications, you pretty much guarantee that the nation (especially if it is not a self-sufficient nation) converges to isolation and misery.

reader Alex said...

Oleg
You seem to have a Russian name. I am actually russian. I don't. 'read' about russians to get my opinions

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Tim, aside from Samaras 2012, do you have any example of a major Greek party since the mid 1970s that has actually promised some "hard" or pro-growth reforms and restructuring?

Can you provide me with some URLs evidence? If you can't, why are you talking about something that doesn't exist?

I have never stated that it is literally "all" people in Greece I am condemning. What I was condemning was the Greek nation, in the sense of its overwhelming majority or any other definition that implies that the people who were responsible and sensible were a negligible fraction of the nation that didn't affect the evolution of the nation in any detectable way.

The "right-wing" junior coalition partner of Syriza isn't really right-wing in any economic sense. It is exactly the same kind of anti-austerity, Marxist ideology - which is combined with some irrelevant socially conservative views.

Syriza will of course not realize its promises about the paradise on Earth - but it apparently *will* start to self-confidently launch the particular pro-communist reforms that will bring hell on Earth closer. It has started to impose these policies literally hours after it was elected. So all the privatization has already been stopped, and many other bad things were done. If nothing else, that's already so much harmful action that average parties in other countries don't do in their 4-year tenure.

The special ministry of research is a typical sick Marxist way of solving problems. The bureaucrats' value in this ministry will be exactly zero, just another bunch of useless parasites. Brains and creative people are escaping from Greece because its egalitarian, anti-competitive system doesn't give them the opportunity to apply their skills and be adequately compensated for that. You can't fix that by an extra ministry. You could get closer to a solution of the brain exodus if you *shot* everyone at 70% of the ministries so that these people no longer have to be paid salaries and the salaries may go to people who do something good if not exceptional - either the money is left in the pockets of the commercial sector because it's not taxed, or the money may go to some government employees who are doing something that goes beyond "sitting in an office for 8.5 hours".

reader Alex said...

I can live with that. It's not my problem either. I'm only interested in a Greek holiday. I frankly hope their economy goes down the shit hole and that the australian dollar stops going down. Might have an inexpensive holiday then. Why should I care about anyone else? Not my problem.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Swine Flu, you still like to look at the geopolitical issues from the direction of Soviet-vs-anti-Soviet blocs, and so on. This is completely flawed and it leads you to totally underestimate the depth of the Greco-Russians relations. Why don't you read e.g. this?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greece%E2%80%93Russia_relations

The relations are extremely good and it's not just the Orthodox religion. Many other things - although they depend on the religion partly, too - unite them, too.

So you will learn that they have the same views on the right organization of the Balkans, Kosovo etc. And concerning your "special relations during the Soviet era", well, there's still been many of them.

Greece is the only old NATO member state whose army runs largely on Soviet weapons, for example. Add pipelines, weeks of culture, and Russia's record of opposing Turkey, often and still current "natural enemy" of Greece, and you may get closer to the picture.

reader Luboš Motl said...

I haven't studied anything about your ancestors and I haven't claimed anything about your ancestors.

I just wrote, and insist that it's the case, that your thinking rooted in worshiping holy words is strongly Eastern in its character.

In the West, words like "orthodox" are not used as holy words that hold too much currency or dictate how people should behave. Even the word "Catholic", which could be the Western counterpart, is just a word that people use to describe their identity but what people with this identity worship is something else than the word.

Also, Oleg confirmed that your description that all Russians are obsessed with the word "orthodox" etc. doesn't correspond to the reality, and because he's spent many more (recent) years in Russia than you have, I choose to trust him and not you. (I have only spent 1 month in total in Russia, still much more than most others, but I've had dozens of Russian friends and colleagues in the U.S.)

reader Luboš Motl said...

Sorry, dreamfeed, but if AB owes some money, and CD repays a part of the debt, namely EF dollars, then CD contributed exactly the same EF dollars as if AB got the money and ate them.

One can't change the fact that AB i.e. Greece owes and has to return the money and it needs the money to repay the debt exactly as it needs the money for its people to eat or to build new ports.

One may also say that CD, China, isn't really paying for any activity done by the lenders. Instead, CD, China, would be paying for the things that Greeks happily consumed a few years ago.

Throughout your text, the implicit assumption is that whoever owes the money should escape, change his name or something like that, and refuse to repay the loan. But that can't really work.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Interesting, Alex, just 20 minutes ago, I read your comment - one starting with "The problem with your comment is that you think I am from the East." - where you say that just because you have Russian parents doesn't mean that you are like Russians or think like them.

And now, you claim to be as Russian as Oleg if not more so? LOL!

reader dreamfeed said...

Nothing against the Chinese - just that the Greeks would be giving up their port and getting absolutely nothing in return, since the money would go to their creditors.

Since default is now inevitable, the correct strategy is to take as much free money as they can get while giving up nothing substantial, and then default.

reader Swine flu said...

"But your implicit assumption is that Russia is East, isn't it?"

No, in the big scheme of things, I consider Russia part of Western Civilization culturally.

reader Oleg said...

You guessed correctly from my name that I also have first-hand experience with Russians (in Russia, Western Europe and the US). Never in my life have I experienced anything close to what you've described above. Just call me lucky then :)

reader Alex said...

I am 66 years old . My early years were split between the russian community in australia and australians. I spent 6 months with the American/ Russian community when I was 17. I have spent the last 10 years in a Chinese university teaching english. The university has russian teachers and students. We lived in the same hotel. I am currently giving private lessons to a russian teacher who wants to improve their english. Most of our conversations involve cultural differences between the russian communities abroad (4 hours a week). He is an intelligent man from OMSK university. I compete internationally in a sport for Veterans and meet russians every year and have deep conversations with them. Oleg can go get his face fucked.

reader Luboš Motl said...

He's crazy on these matters. In the past, I was seeing some nuances - he seemed "less crazy" than many others around - but I don't see these nuances anymore.

Someone should catch him and make him write a new BASIC for some computer or smartphone or something, to revive his neural cells.

reader Alex said...

I think you should get out more. You claim first hand experience with russians which tells me that you are not really russian but only have a russian name. I am not sure what is closer- first hand experience or actually being one. Russians are just normal people. The russians of today are not the russians of yesteryear- like any other nation, but there is an underlying something that doesn't change. Perhaps you should hone your skills to discover that. Maybe it's not that necessary in your line of business. I have found it necessary to find these things out for survival. Maybe you are lucky.

reader Alex said...

Understanding does not mean being. I can understand the insanity of ISIS without being a terrorist or being one of them.
Please don't be unintelligent by saying that I am comparing Russians to ISIS. I am just suggesting that words used to describe people's belief system can be very powerful. Particularly if those words are common usage words rather than esoteric dictionary words.

reader MikeNov said...

These bankers presumably got a high interest rate because they were giving a risky loan. Now when the loan is coming up, they are being relieved of their risk with a bailout. If there is no risk of a default, then this was not a fair loan process. The creditors are the ones who have been behind IMF bailouts in the past.

While the lenders may have the moral right to destroy Greece, I don't see that happening with Russians as backers.

Yes it will cripple borrowing, trade, other things. That's why others don't do it. Why should Russia care about what happens to Greece's credibility?

It depends on to whom Greece is owing the money, and whether Russia wants them to be made whole.

reader Tim said...

Dear Lubos, you are right, the only government that took hard measures is Samara's. My objection is not with austerity per se but with the way it was imposed to the Greek people. In that sense I agree with the new chief of finance, Varoufakis, that Greeks have to have a much more modest way of life but not what is going on the past 5 years. Additionally, I honestly think that you might have a wrong idea about the what the "Greek luxury life" was. With my best intensions I would like to invite you to visit the country (it is a nice place for holidays) only to realize that things might not be 100% of what you think or what the media claims and the rest of people think. In any case, you are right in the fact that string reformations have to take place with combination of austerity but also a descent life. And as you might have noticed I mainly care about the young generation: 15-25 year old people in Greece who are in a desperate situation (as in Spain and Italy).

Dear Lubos, a person with you brilliance can help this generation (that might include some amazing future string theorists) so I am kindly asking you to try to help this generation that is not to be blamed such that it has at least equal opportunities with a young from your country or a young from Latvia or UK or France. Please, look at the statistics of how many young of the Greek scientists are migrating for a better future and with your harsh but constructive critisism that is so welcomed please propose some solutions.

Thanks a lot.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear MikeNov, there has always been a risk of a default but the default doesn't mean that the borrower just decides not to pay and otherwise continue life-as-usual.

Default is the economic analogy of death, it's the ultimate economic trouble that may happen to the borrower,a trouble that makes him unable to repay anything. He goes broke. That only happens when the borrower no longer has any "decent" (whatever it means in a given context) tools to acquire the money needed to fulfill the contract.

The risk is *primarily* a risk for the borrower because the default is primarily a "complete catastrophe" affecting the borrower. For the lender, it's just a partial loss because the loan probably not all of his money.

So a default may only occur if the borrower is completely broke and demonstrably having nothing that can be paid to the lender. The risk of this occurring is nonzero, and it is *this* risk that is reflected in the interest rates.

What you are describing by the word "default" - the decision simply not to repay anything - isn't default, it's ordinary theft, and someone who does it is a criminal and must be treated as a criminal, otherwise the whole financial system would get gradually rotten and dysfunctional.

reader de^mol said...

After the scam of the big banks to put Greece purposely into more debt
https://www.google.nl/?gws_rd=ssl#q=goldman+sachs+greece+scandal

when Draghi was during that time Managing director of the same bank, and even denying he knew anything about it:

"When the issue was raised at confirmation hearings in the European Parliament for his job at the ECB, Mr Draghi says he wasn't involved in the swaps deals either at the Treasury or at Goldman.":
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/what-price-the-new-democracy-goldman-sachs-conquers-europe-6264091.html

we now see Greece going down because of these debts.

Anyway, Tsipras of Greece now writes the following:
"The second Greek 'bailout', enacted in the Spring of 2012, added another huge loan on the weakened shoulders of the Greek taxpayers, 'haircut' our social security funds, and financed a ruthless new cleptocracy." and "Europe adopted the tactics of the least reputable bankers who refuse to acknowledge bad loans, preferring to grant new ones to the insolvent entity so as to pretend that the original loan is performing while extending the bankruptcy into the future. ".
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-29/alexis-tsipras-open-letter-germany-what-you-were-never-told-about-greece

He is completely right of course. Brussels gave them loans as if Greece was a 'pate de foie gras duck'. Now he is in fact saying he wants breathing air for Greece, but not more loans:
"..., disagreed fiercely with the May 2010 loan agreement not because you, the citizens of Germany, did not give us enough money but because you gave us much, much more than you should have".

Common sense, much more than the bullies in Brussels.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Give me a break with these idiotic populist conspiracy theories. Greece is not in trouble because of some obscure derivatives. Greece is in trouble because virtually all of its citizens have lived beyond their means for 40 years.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Tim, I am living out of 70% of what is the minimum salary in Greece.

Things may be more expensive in Greece but that's a part of the problem. All these populist, pro-welfare policies also lead to higher local prices. which is linked to the lack of competitiveness of the local producers and services.

How the money is distributed among the different people or occupations or industries should ultimately be up to the free market, not Samaras. Pretty much the only thing that a sensible politician may do is to *revert* all these pro-welfare populist policies. Then employers will be motivated to hire again, they and other investors will invest, people will be motivated to work in productive commercial sector jobs because they aren't rich just by doing nothing or by sitting in an office for 8.5 years which is more or less the same thing as doing nothing, and production and exports will grow while the local prices will drop due to the competition between the producers etc.

Needless to say, Syriza wants to do exactly the opposite, to place them on steroids.

reader Luboš Motl said...

I agree they have too many loans - the country did mistake in the past - but one can't change the past.

What one can do is to change the future and Greece has to repay the debt if it wants to stay a civilized, Europe-like country.

reader Michael said...

Hi Lubos,

I got a feeling from this interview that his wife may have something to do with this left-wing attitude (although climate isn't discussed here), just her general attitude/energy I guess https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSL-iIskEFU

reader de^mol said...

They can't repay the debts...

Normally that means bankruptcy. The alternative is, speaking with Nigel Farage, violence...

reader de^mol said...

So you don't agree with Tsipras that they got too much loans? Weird.

I agree with you that I have no proof that these people did it in a planned manner, even though I suggested something like that last time. Because they either did it purposely, or they were fools.

All that I am showing with articles from mostly all newspapers, including bloomberg, bbc, the guardian, etc... is that these banks were involved in hiding the debts and give them even more. It is simply a fact that Brussels and the banks gave them these loans, nobody forced them to do so.

So useless to say , that, what occurred, occurred. That is, banks helped Greece to get into too much debt. And also that now Tsipras is talking sense. This debt circle has to be stopped. You should not go on and give money to a junk.

Of course Tsipras wants a way out of the debts, sort of controlled bankrupty. But if that goes with a haircut and less money, only money that can be sustained by Greece, then it is a structural solution. More debts for Greece, as they did in 2012, is going nowhere. Another, and even better solution for Greece is to get out of the euro, go bankrupt and start independently, controlling their own money system.

reader Luboš Motl said...

They demonstrably *can* repay the debts. Since 2012, the debt of Greece decreased.

What you mean is that they *do not want* to repay the debt, but that's something different than that they *can't*.

Your comments about bankruptcy and violence are really funny. The way to avoid violence is to fulfill the promises and contracts and to continue with business-as-usual. It's the breaking of the promises - like a sudden politically decided "default" - that produces violence. People will be angry they were robbed. And angry about indirect consequences if any.

If you mean the violence of Greek demonstrators who live out of government's money and they get angry if the money isn't higher by reducing debt or something like that, right, they may be angry or violent. But if they are violent and e.g. break too many windows, they are violating the law and if the country can't pacify them, it's a failed state.

It's totally unacceptable for someone to be blackmailed by a bunch of violent thugs, and if Greece decided to use this "argument" as a nation, then it's a rogue state qualitatively on par with the Islamic State that also demands ransom, otherwise it would kill some Japanese chaps. It's just unacceptable and it's people like you who are trying to open this confrontation. I have no doubts about the side I would support.

For Greece not to repay the (already twice reduced) EUR 320 billion debt is a huge theft – EUR 30,000 per Greek capita including infants - and Greeks' life has to be turned into hell unless we want such things to start to occur routinely, in which case the half-life of the European civilization would be about 15 years.

Of course there are tons of ways for Greece to avoid this pariah status - the sale of several larger islands could do - but the problem is that they don't want to do anything and they have been brainwashed into thinking that they can get away with it.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Right. But if Norway kidnaps two boys, they really stand against one Czech mother who can't do much - there are no clear international laws that would force Norway even to cooperate with Czechia in this otherwise obvious matter - plus 10 million of their compatriots who aren't too motivated to fight too hard because it's not really their personal business, and even if they fought, they're too weak, too.

If Greece steals €320 billion, it faces an army of tens of millions of people who were robbed, who are upset about Greece, and who will support all kinds of punishment.

China is stealing ideas against patents and copyrights, no doubt about that. But like in the case of the stolen kids, these laws aren't really enforceable at the international level and every stolen patent only has a few angry people in the West, and a few culprits at a random place of China.

This is again very different from this "happy default". In the case of the happy default, the millions of lenders are robbed in the same event, and the culprit is sharply located in the government buildings in Athens. Of course that it makes sense to start retaliatory measures against these buildings. Tens of millions of people who were significant lenders would support it strongly, and the rest of their nations' public could support it mildly because they paid something as taxpayers. That's a very concentrated confrontation. You can't compare it to two stolen boys or a stolen patent.

Of course that Greece would have a hard time afterwards. Politically correct clichés about the friendship between Europeans would certainly go away because they would become too ludicrous.

reader MikeNov said...

Who is holding the debt? I think for the most part, people would not be too upset about it, and military action would only be because the people who are upset have lots of influence at high levels.

On top of that Greece is in NATO and EU and Eurozone, and the people in charge of those institutions are not in the mood to evict anyone. I suspect for Greece, stealing may be where Syriza is headed. Not too surprising given everything else in their policy 'agenda'

reader MikeNov said...

Of course it's stealing. Countries do that sort of thing all the time. Look at all the software China installs.
Weren't you recently posting about Norway's kidnapping.

My point here is Russia might be better off just helping Greece out after a default than paying off Greece's creditors.

reader Luboš Motl said...

LOL, I am totally sure that Melinda is a far leftist and *she* is the reason why Gates has adopted similar positions. See e.g.

https://www.google.cz/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=melinda-gates+progressive&gws_rd=ssl

I won't watch it, sorry.

reader Oleg said...

This last sentence was rather emotional :) Is that the argument you give when you hear an opinion that differs from yours? I hope you didn't use this trick on all the intelligent people you've mentioned above :)

reader Oleg said...

Dear Alex, you are too quick to jump to conclusions. Pretty much everything you've guessed above is wrong.
The only rational explanation for your opinions that I can come up with is that you've dealt with Russians of a different generation and/or you've had a singular experience.

reader Michael said...

You clearly don't need to watch it, you already knew better than me. Indeed it is uncomfortable to hear her anyway. Thanks for the search-link,

reader physicsnut said...

With the recent oil volatility - it reminds me of just before the big mess of 2008. You are right that the Greeks really should know better - all that pandering by politicians, and telling themselves lies. But it is a mystery to me why this crap is going on now - it just seems unnecessary, and we are all going to end up paying a big price.
Thanks for your response re spin and boost etc

reader MikeNov said...

We saw Russia come in and occupy an airport in Kosovo at the end of the last century. Clinton's buddy Wesley Clark foolishly ordered to go to war with Russia, but his British counterpart refused to follow his order. I have doubts as to how much Europe is willing to fight on behalf of Greece repayment, with Russia supporting them, AND with the desire of the European ruling class to keep the groups together.

The only thing is it would create attempts by other countries to do the same.

reader Tony said...

How can one not like curved manifolds?

reader Tim said...

Lubos,

I am not an economist and I am not going to pretend I know well these stuff. I can offer you only my experience. You repeatedly write that almost all Greeks lived almost luxuriously for the past 40 years. Dear Lubos this is simply a lie. Even though if some considerably big part of the Greek population lived better than it should that was not a result of what you are thinking. Indeed, although the system had pathologies since the end of the junta in 1973, the public debt exploded only just before Papandreou (George, not Andreas) took over, mainly during Karamanlis' office. When Greece took the first bailout its GDP debt was only at 120%. The problem is that with the way austerity and all the (ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY) reforms took place the Greeks were not able to pay what they had to pay. Also, it is noteworthy to observe that Greece's private debt (debt of Greeks as physical persons) is considerably lower than the private debt of other countries such as UK or Germany.

Also let me tell you something that maybe "sweeten" you views. Since I understand Greek, I heard directly from Tsipras, that they are in general pro-foreign investments. What they disagree with is to sell companies such as the public electricity company or the water company. I don't think this is a Marxist view. But in any case, again, I agree in most stuff you say. But again, I think that generalizations and offensive a whole nation are not constructive. Always friendly, Tim

reader Dilaton said...

So he wants to rule the world?

He is not the first on trying and he will not be the last one ...

reader pEGO said...

I am seeing connection between history, Alexander the Great and present situation 8-)

My son, ask for thyself another kingdom,
For that which I leave is to small for thee.

Near to the East, in a part of ancient Greece,
In an ancient land called Macedonia,
Was born a son to Philip of Macedon,
The legend his name was Alexander.

At the age of nineteen, he became the Macedon king,
And swore to free all of Asia Minor,

By the Aegian Sea in 334 BC,
He utterly beat the armies of Persia.

Alexander the Great,
His name struck fear into hearts of men,
Alexander the Great,
Became a legend 'mongst mortal men.

King Darius the third, Defeated fled Persia,
The Scythians fell by the river Jaxartes,
Then Egypt fell to the Macedon king as well,
And he founded the city called Alexandria.

By the Tigris river, he met King Darius again,
And crushed him again in the battle of Arbela,
Entering Babylon and Susa, treasures he found,
Took Persepolis, the capital of Persia.

Alexander the Great,
His name struck fear into hearts of men,
Alexander the Great,
Became a god amongst mortal men.

A Phrygian King had bound a chariot yoke,
And Alexander cut the "Gordion knot",
And legend said that who untied the knot,

He would become the master of Asia.

Hellenism he spread far and wide,

The Macedonian learned mind,

Their culture was a western way of life,

He paved the way for Christianity.

Marching on, Marching on.

The battle weary marching side by side,
Alexander's army line by line,

They wouldn't follow him to India,

Tired of the combat, pain and the glory.

Alexander the Great,
His name struck fear into hearts of men,
Alexander the Great,
He died of fever in Babylon.

-- Singer Sabaton, song “Alexander the Great”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSVykRn_uvU

reader Tony said...

Pussy whipped. West Coast. Propaganda. Women care. Men are just worthless cocks and warriors for no reason, while the new matriarchy awaits to arise and make everybody supper happy.

reader Gordon said...

Lubos, have you seen pictures of the Donesk Airport? I was reminded of it when you posted a picture of Sergey Prokofiev (it is the Sergey Prokofiev International Airport (Donetsk) and was built for over a billion dollars. It is now just a total rubble pile.
The carnage is complete and shocking.

http://mashable.com/2015/01/27/in-pictures-war-reduces-eastern-ukraines-donetsk-airport-to-rubble/?utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Mashable+%28Mashable%29&utm_cid=Mash-Prod-RSS-Feedburner-All-Partial&utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedburner

reader Fer137 said...

Is there some website with periodical information about that conflict?
With maps, etc. something similar to this in the case of Syria and Iraq: http://www.understandingwar.org/

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Tim, maybe luxury is relative but with the known data about the minimum salaries over the decades, I would surely call the living standards of a vast majority of Greeks over the last 30 or 40 years "luxury".

I don't know what to do with claims that "privatization of utilities etc. to foreign hands isn't Marxist". I think it is Marxist, Tsipras undoubtedly is Marxist, and it's a typical opinion that follows from his ideology so I think he would agree it is a Marxist idea. More importantly, it is a totally wrong and counterproductive idea.

It works just great. We have ČEZ, the main electric utility here, largely in Czech, partly state-owned hands. But lots of distributors are foreign-owned and so is the gas utility, which is owned by RWE. There is absolutely no problem here. Of course that if RWE did something extraordinarily harmful, it may be removed by some special measure. But there is really no reason to expect that they will do it with a higher probability than the probability that some un-ready Czech owners would do something wrong. It's business. It doesn't matter if someone is German - well, it really helps in average.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Yes, I've watched tons of videos of the destroyed Donetsk Airport, it's heart-breaking.

Just to remind you how close we were to seeing the airport when it looked cool. It is less than one year ago!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYLMlEur1Uc

when my hometown soccer team, FC Viktoria Pilsen, played the much richer Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League. We won 2-to-1, one of the famous victories of our little David against various Goliaths. ;-)

But our Pilsner players landed at the Prokofiev airport, everything worked fine. You know, in February 2014, no one would really be talking about any "war" in Donetsk.

What difference 11 months can make... Does someone really still think it was a good idea for Ukraine to encourage Ukraine to choose between the West and the East, to encourage the coup that clearly broke the subtle balance between the very different political forces and ethnic groups that co-existed in Ukraine?

BTW the fans of Shakhtar Donetsk are naturally right-wing nationalists, i.e.probably pro-Kiev, like the ultra right soccer fans in general, you know. I wonder how these folks live in the Donetsk People's Republic these days LOL.

reader Tim said...

Dear Lubos, I se what you mean. I cannot find a flaw in your logic. But if I understand correctly, correct me if wrong, you think that the government acts like a stabilizing force. So if one of these companies does something "bad" or "unfair" it can in principle step over to protect its citizens? Is this what you mean? If this is the case I think that you are right.

But let me tell you that in my other homeland, the US, things like these rarely happen, and the results for poor people are dramatic (quite often). In any case, I believe that despite of that the new Syriza government seems right now, it will "soften" their positions and talk more logically after they have established that they don't want to be Germany's or EU's puppets.

*Another comment on the minimum wages. The minimum wages might seem higher than many, especially Eastern block, countries, but that does not mean they were actually as high. I remember the mid 2000s and people protesting because they could not live with the then lowest wages. Life in Greece, back then before the crisis, was very much more expensive than it should had been. Anyway, let's just see what will happen.

reader de^mol said...

The current debt of today is even much worse:
http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/greece

Here you see the current debt clock of 2015, where you see it has risen above 200% GDP, 215% in fact. They have an annual debt of 30 billion euro's a year only in interest... That is really just impossible for that small country.

reader de^mol said...

Nope, it didn't decrease:
http://www.tradingeconomics.com/greece/government-debt-to-gdp

Historically, there is only one example of a country that did not default with such a high gdp (>170%), that was England in the 19th century. And that was because of the start of the industrial revolution, such as the invention of the steam machine. So it is possible, if some kind of miracle occurs, such as the invention of hot fusion or so, something that puts us and/or the Greeks onto another level, or if Brussels releases them from part of the debt, which they already did, so their debt decreased temporarily a little. But in fact, the latter is also partly defaulting.

Greece doesn't have a money-making industry. In fact they have large unemployment, etc, so I don't see any industry or whatsoever that can create money for them. The only thing they have is tourism, but they have a hard time to compete as long as they are within the Euro. That makes it hard to compete on price.

Make a plan how they can get out of this, and I might believe you, not just: 'they can pay it back'.

reader scooby said...

France and Germany had a comparable level of public debt at the end of the second world war, but this was resolved through massive inflation (and simple repudiation). Greece does not have this option now. Thomas Piketty says much the same thing as you do.

reader de^mol said...

yes, that was a way out, but such a mass inflation is not possible in current Greece, since they are part of the Euro zone. With a Grexit there will be a mass inflation, since it will most probably mean a large, very large drop of the value of the new Drachme (or whatever they call it). But it will also mean a de facto default, because that will surely mean that they will never, ever be able to pay back the Euro's they owe to the rest of Europe. Nevertheless, I am really saying that this is the best way out for everybody. In the short term, it will not mean that things get better in Greece, but in the long term it will.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Tim, well, not really, I don't really believe that governments are "stabilizing forces". Perhaps "forces of stagnation" - the kind of stabilization one usually doesn't want.

And in a hypothetical random dispute between a company and a government, I am completely open-minded about who is right. It may be the government, it may be the company.

I just mentioned the increased ability of a government to rob someone on its territory because I was assuming that you opposed foreign ownership of companies because of some security of the state. So if the security of the state were at stake, because of some water company (?), I suppose that the government would try to take the company away from the hands of the foreign company.

I can't really imagine how this would happen so it's a purely speculative scenario. I haven't really heard why you think that the privatization of water, gas, electricity, telephone, or banking companies to foreign owners should be wrong, so I can't really argue against your position in detail except by saying that I think that this position violates the principles of the free market and you haven't written any argument that would "compensate" these basic considerations.

The U.S. is a large country interacting with mostly smaller ones so not too many things on the U.S. territory are owned by foreign companies or individuals. But I guess that there are examples. Such individuals or companies usually become parttime Americans or transnational companies.

But in principle, it's possible for foreign companies to own things in the U.S., isn't it? Well, it surely should be possible. In small countries like the European ones, this setup should be more frequent because they're smaller relatively to the rest. But the moral or legal treatment of the foreign owned companies should be analogous in all countries regardless of the size.

Your claim that "Greeks don't want to be Germany's puppets" is very bizarre to me. They have lived beyond their means, their debt of €320 billion is mostly owed to Germany, so of course that they largely *are* Germany's puppets. If you owe lots of money to a bank, the bank probably can take a house from you or something like that, so it can make you dance according to its own whistling. Of course that someone in big debt is largely a puppet of the lenders. It has to be so.

You can't really "vote yourself out" of being a puppet.

reader asdf said...

lol.. phosporus boms and cluster bombs... do you have any real evidence? but don't show me some fake videos from Li(f)eNews please...

reader asdf said...

Oleg (russian name?), stop writing bullshit...

1)Poroshenko was democratically and legally elected

2)He is not pro-Nazi. Not even close...

You may be confusing him with Yarosh from Right Sector, who though not nazi but a nationalist, wasn't elected as president (he took 1% or 2% only).

3)Yanukovich was democratically elected president until he gave orders to beat peacfull students and later to kill hundreds of people in Maidan...
Then he fled as a last coward, taking with him billions that he stole from Ukrainian people...

4) No one ever tried to ban russian languege in Ukraine. This is the most stupid lie of russian propaganda. Poroshenko is himself russian-speaking...

reader asdf said...

Another disappointing post from Lubos about Ukraine...
All the phrases you are using (civil war, novorussia etc.) are taken directly from russian propaganda chanels...
This is not civil war, it's russian hybrid war against Ukraine. There are thousands of russian soldiers, hundreds of tanks, Grads and other heavy weapons brought from Russia.

Please educate yourself in history of russian hybrid wars in the past. This is not something new...

reader asdf said...

What do you have to say about the Grad shelling by russian militants of
the city Mariupol, few days ago, that caused more than 30 deaths of
civilians?

Or what about the recent civil casualties in Volnovaha or in the center of Donetsk.

There are proofs (even by OSCE) that all these recent deaths are on the hands of russian militants...

It's a shame that you are supporting them.

You are reminding me some folks from Syriza that are saying same things and supporting Russia against Ukraine.

reader Eric Cartman said...

If Bill had put his mind and money toward developing androids, we would not need women. Simply buy your hot fembot on the interweb store.

reader Luboš Motl said...

If you were not retarded, you would not only know that Oleg is a Russian name but you could know quite some something about him.

I will always make sure that people don't have trouble on this blog for their being Russian. That's one reason why I banned you. The other reason was that you posted about 5 comments at the same time all of which were really insulting and dishonest.

reader Oleg said...

Would blatantly anti-Russian Daily Mail work for you ?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2657220/Russians-claim-Ukraine-town-hit-banned-white-phosphorus-fire-starter-bombs.html

reader efalken said...

His wife was project manager for Microsoft Bob, the progenitor of 'clippy', so there's a lot of fail in her oeuvre.

reader Tomas Habala said...

What realy said chief of the General Staff Viktor Muzhenko at a briefing on Thursday:

"Currently, we have documentary evidence of the Russian military participation in the conflict on the separatist's side. They are documented."

"We have some evidence about individual members of the Russian Armed Forces and citizens of the Russian Federation being a part of the illegal armed groups in combat activities. Currently, we are not engaged in combat operations against the units of the regular Russian army."

http://www.ukrinform.ua/eng/news/ukraine_has_evidence_of_russian_military_presence_in_donbas_328608

Do not believe the Russian propaganda....

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Tomáš, my Russian media sources have given me exactly the quote you wrote down and I reproduced its content. Your accusation that there has been an inaccuracy in the Russian media is just your personal demagogy driven by your anti-Russian xenophobia.

Of course that there are many Russian fighters over there. There are many fighters from other countries as well but the Russians are obviously most connected to this conflict because it's ethnic Russians who are being liquidated by the Kiev junta, and it's near the Russian borders.

But the point is that there doesn't exist absolutely any justification for harassing Russian politicians or officials in Moscow because the actions are not commanded by them. It would look very differently - maybe we will see what it would look like soon.

reader BMWA1 said...

Very recent video footage showing fighting in Debaltsevo rajon, Russian is easier to understand than CZ, so Lubos should be able to understand too (ktera, katory, atd):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gf08k27WuY&t=180

reader Tomas Habala said...

Dear Luboš,
my whole memo is just: Do not believe the Russian propaganda. This can you disturb?

reader Luboš Motl said...

To use the word "propaganda" for Russian news is at most as justified as it is for other news sources. I don't "believe" what I hear: I always maximally verify, recheck, and cross-check what I hear.

And the sentence "This can you disturb?" doesn't make any sense which increases the probability that the state of your mind is troubled if I have to avoid the word fucked-up.

reader Tomas Habala said...

Ok.
Ok.
I am not pleased with your diagnosis of my mind. :/

reader Rami Niemi said...

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/02/04/putin-aspergers-syndrome-study-pentagon/22855927/

Okay. Now I got it

reader Luboš Motl said...

I don't know what you think about this but the article is totally pathetic.

One reason is that there is nothing else about having Asperger or autism. Newton and perhaps Einstein were autists, and so on, there are great people in that category.

Especially in the U.S. where people are full of hypocritical comments about the rights of various minorities - women, black, homosexuals, transsexuals etc. - to be allowed to work in any job like everyone else, it's particularly striking if they suddenly decided it's not OK to be the president of Russia. Russians are much more rational - they just look who seems to be the best candidate for a leader, and if he's more macho or more autist than others, then it's how things should be!

The hypocritical Americans have full of mouths of ludicrous proclamations that everyone is equal but it's really them who is thinking in terms of "good" and "bad" groups and stereotypes all the time.

Second, the methodology how the conclusion was obtained is bizarre. Google Scholar also shows that the "scientists" quoted in the article are pretty much worthless.

Third, this whole thing only shows that the authors of these "texts" 1) hate Putin, 2) hate all people who differ from the average, and therefore they feel it's very impressive if they identify the two. What it shows instead is that the author of the text is just a pile of šit.

reader Critic said...

I stumbled upon this blog after a couple of months and what I see (again)?! A "brilliant" analysis by Motl, an under-average mediocre physicist who never made it. That's perhaps his understanding of real world is twisted to the point of an ordinary conspiracy theorist. To be a good physicist, the most important thing is critical thinking and this is something you lack. But I admit you probably have some IQ, but without critical thinking it's just a usual whim of Nature. It happens from time to time. Let's move on.

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